Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Harper Casts a Dangerous Net. He's Fishing For Your Rights, Your Freedoms.

One of the classic goals of terrorists is to force the government side to become regressive, to turn on its own people.  Western governments, too stupid to realize this, use incidents such as the Paris massacre, to invest themselves with new powers that usually do more to suppress dissent than thwart terrorism.

Case in point, French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala.  He's facing up to 7-years in prison and a 5,000 Euro fine after being charged with "condoning terrorism."

Prosecutors opened the case against the comedian after he posted on his Facebook page: "Tonight, as far as I'm concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly" - mixing the popular slogan "Je suis Charlie" used in homage to the slain Charlie Hebdo magazine journalists with a reference to Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

Coulibaly killed four Jews at a supermarket on Friday and a policewoman the day before.

Dieudonne's arrest is one of 54 cases that have been opened in France for "condoning terrorism" or "making threats to carry out terrorist acts" since last week's Islamist shootings left 17 people dead.

Dieudonne made his controversial Facebook post after attending Sunday's unity march against extremism that brought more than 1.5 million people onto the streets of Paris after the attacks.

He described the march - considered the biggest rally in modern French history - as "a magical moment comparable to the big-bang".

This business of exploiting controversy to ramp up the state's powers over ordinary citizens is a racket, one our own prime minister, Captain Cowered, never passes up.

The CBC's Neil Macdonald drives home this very point.

...with all due respect to the sentiment behind it, Sunday's great march through the centre of Paris, and others like it around the world, must qualify as one of the greatest collective acts of slacktivism so far this century.

And the consequences of all this outrage may be far from what the protesters intended.

The leaders of several governments were in fact marching right up front with them in Paris over the weekend, which was a wonderful photo op, but really a bit rich given some of the alliances and the practices that some of those nations are involved in.

Certain close strategic partners of the U.S. and Canada are actively and violently anti-free-speech.

Egypt, a big recipient of U.S. aid, imprisons and tortures people just for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was democratically elected to govern and then overthrown.

On Friday, two days after the Charlie Hebdo killings, Saudi Arabia administered the first 50 of a thousand lashes to Raif Badawi, a blogger convicted of insulting Islam.

He is also serving a 10-year prison sentence. Which means, effectively, that the Saudis intend to lash Badawi grievously, perhaps even to death, for speech far less corrosive than Charlie Hebdo's deliberately insulting cartoons.

How does that make Saudi Arabia substantively different from the Charlie Hebdo attackers? Is it merely a matter of scale and method?

...Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his official statement of outrage at the Charlie Hebdo attack, made no reference to free speech at all, which shouldn't surprise anyone. Canada, unlike the U.S., offers no guarantee of absolute free speech in its constitution.

And Canadians are certainly not Charlie. My guess is that an English-language version of Charlie Hebdo wouldn't last even a few days in Canada before concerned Muslim or Christian or Jewish citizens would be demanding charges be laid under Canada's hate-speech laws, or dragging the magazine before one of our provincial human rights commissions that specialize in rooting out offensive expression.

Canada even has an anti-blasphemy law on the books. It was last used in an attempted private prosecution against the distributors of the Monty Python movie Life of Brian in 1980.

...Canada is preparing new legislation to expand the powers of its security agencies.

The French, and the Americans, and no doubt the Canadians, are considering how better to monitor and obliterate incitement on the internet.

Or, more precisely, what security officials consider incitement. It's a term that can be interpreted rather broadly, and no doubt will be.

Clearly, the ultimate answer to the Charlie Hebdo massacre will not be freer speech. It will be a mostly secret intensification of police power, with attendant shrinkage of individual fre

And we will all be told not to worry: If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

At least one French demonstrator seemed to recognize some of this over the weekend. The sign he hoisted read: "Je marche, mais je suis conscient de la confusion et de l'hypocrisie de la situation."

I march, but I am aware of the confusion and hypocrisy of the situation.

Amen, brother.


Toby said...

Every government loves a crisis. When someone runs amok and creates chaos the people scream for protection. "Do something!" is the rallying cry. Now, it is not possible to prevent someone from running amok and creating chaos so governments will always enact regulations to control the rest of us who are not running amok and creating chaos. The end result is always more government control and less freedom for us which is what all governments want.

Anonymous said...

This is becoming more and more rediculas. Perhaps we all need to march on Ottawa but the thought is Canadians are too cowardly to do that.

Anonymous said...

Spealing on purpose.