In November, 76 Tamil refugees escaped Sri Lanka on a rusty freighter. They arrived in Victoria, where they were met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who promptly jailed them for three months on allegations of terrorism. It would be fully half a year before the CBSA would admit that it had never had any evidence… In 2008, the federal and provincial governments were forced to issue apologies for the Komagata Maru. Now, two years later, if those words are to mean anything, we cannot afford to repeat history: let them stay.
by Fathima Cader
They’re at it again.
In November, 76 Tamil refugees escaped Sri Lanka on a rusty freighter. They arrived in Victoria, where they were met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who promptly jailed them for three months on allegations of terrorism. It would be fully half a year before the CBSA would admit that it had never had any evidence.
By then, however, it was too late: anti-Tamil and anti-refugee hysteria had spread like wildfire. Now, mere weeks after that most tepid of mea culpas from the CBSA, the hysteria greeting the Tamil MV Sun Sea passengers is worse. As with the Ocean Lady, these migrants will be detained in Maple Ridge jails before their refugee claims are considered. The Conservatives have begun to create new rules to treat refugees who arrive by boat differently from others. Meanwhile, Paul Fromm, the infamous neo-Nazi, has been receiving uncritical coverage in mainstream media with his demands that the migrants be sent back.
As the paranoia grows ever more heightened, it becomes increasingly important that we resist it. The universal rights of safety and mobility must be upheld, not only for the Sun Sea migrants, but for all people fleeing violence.
I just came back from a two-week vacation. (I mention this almost completely irrelevant fact because in the field of activism we don’t seem to talk about the perfectly natural human need for rest.) In the throes of contemplating whether to flip over to my backside, or give my ass a bit more quality sun-time, I managed to complete a task I’ve been working at for months (yes, months! That’s how much I needed a vacation): Reading Robert O. Paxton’s ‘The Anatomy of Fascism.’
The Anatomy of Fascism – Mini Book Review
There’s a lot of historical data in The Anatomy of Fascism. Numbers, names- things I’ll never remember because they’re not much use to me, and frankly, they make for a very boring read (with respect to the author’s obvious hard work, dedication and love of his profession). Another thing that makes The Anatomy of Fascism a boring read is that pitfall of most history books: The empire point of view. I couldn’t care less about the Fuhrer and Duce’s political contortions into power, just like I don’t care about the in-house bickering of the Likud and Kadima. Telling me of the empire without any moral stance (except for some small, simplified statement near the end of the book that all this is something we should be repulsed about) is not only uninteresting, it’s also as unethical as the third monkey.
Yesterday Rona from the Shabak called me and asked me to come talk to meet her in the police station on Dizengof st. (Tel Aviv). She refused to tell me what was it about, but made it clear I wasn’t going to be arrested, and that this is just an acquaintance or “a friendly talk”…
At five o’clock I got to the Dizengof police station and was sent to the second floor of the rear building, where a guy who presented himself as Rona’s security guard waited for me. I was taken to a room and subjected to a pretty intimate search to make sure I didn’t install any recording device on my testicles. After I was found clean I was let into Rona’s room. She was a nice looking girl, apparently from a Yemeni origin, in her early thirties.
The police, in the northern Italian town of Novara, fined a 26-year-old Tunisian woman for wearing a black niqab; she was going to a mosque for the Friday prayers. According to the New York Times she was fined about $650 under a regulation introduced in January 2010. Apparently, Novara — a bastion of the xenophobic Northern League — “bans clothing in public that prevents identification by the police.”
This Memorial eve, culture in Israel took a turn to the right. Highly respected artist, Amir Bennayun, has written a song that can only described as messianic hateful state incitement and propaganda. Here it is in all its disgusting glory [lyrics below limited by my translation]:
A network of suspected far-right extremists with access to 300 weapons and 80 bombs has been uncovered by counter-terrorism detectives.Thirty-two people have been questioned in a police operation that raises the prospect of a right-wing bombing campaign against mosques. Police are said to have recovered a British National party membership card and other right-wing literature during a raid on the home of one suspect charged under the Terrorism Act.
In England’s largest seizure of a suspected terrorist arsenal since the IRA mainland bombings of the early 1990s, rocket launchers, grenades, pipe bombs and dozens of firearms have been recovered in the past six weeks during raids on more than 20 properties. Several people have been charged and more arrests are imminent. Current police activity is linked to arrests in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
The Dutch crypto-fascist MP Geert Wilders, who has been recently banned from the UK with the Home Office viewing his presence as a “threat to one of the fundamental interests of society“, says that the sequel to his first movie Fitna will focus on “how the forces of Islamization are specifically targeting Israel in a fight against all free societies.” In an interview with Haaretz, he not only commended Avigdor Liberman for his electoral succes and said he is “proud” of the similarities between his own Party for Freedom and Yisrael Beiteinu but calls the “two-state solution is an internal Israeli matter“. His “personal belief is that there is a two state solution for the Palestinians. One of those states is called Jordan.” Whilst such statements are nothing new from Wilders, the fact that he seized 15% (2nd place) of the vote in the Dutch European Parliament elections means that he’s becoming a political force to be reckoned with.
Israel will be a major part of Geert Wilders’ next film on Islam, the rightist Dutch legislator said last week in an interview for Haaretz. He praised Avigdor Lieberman, observing “similarities” between Yisrael Beiteinu and the Party for Freedom – a small movement which has grown to become Holland’s second most popular.
Wilders, a controversial anti-immigration politician, rose to international fame last year when he released a 14-minute film entitled Fitna, which attempts to portray what he considers as Islam’s “violent nature.” The film, which has been viewed by millions online, provoked mass protests throughout the Muslim world.
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram are well known. Less so the police detention centers where the innocents caught in the ‘war on terror’ dragnet were subjected to similar abuses. Inigo Thomas reveals:
In his remarks to the American Enterprise Institute last week, Dick Cheney said that inmates at Guantánamo should remain imprisoned on Cuba because they are too dangerous to be incarcerated in American jails. What about the Americans arrested and jailed under the terms of the war on terror? Should they be incarcerated on Cuba, or does Cheney suppose that Americans are, regardless of what they have done, inherently less dangerous than other people and therefore don’t need to be jailed at Guantánamo?
Nor – surely – can Cheney have forgotten that immediately after 9/11, hundreds of men were rounded up by the FBI and other police forces in the US and imprisoned in high security American jails: 760 in total, 184 of whom were considered especially interesting by the authorities. Just over half of them were interred at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, a former warehouse on the waterfront overlooking the harbour and the Statue of Liberty. The story was covered by the New York Times, but it was treated, mostly, as local news and carried in the ‘New York Region’ section of the paper.
‘Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists’, the Independent reports. Orwell could not have imagined this. This is Labour Party’s Britain, where a child can be criminalized for adopting “bad attitudes towards ‘the West'”! Soon enough, even infancy won’t protect you from the long hands of the state. Blair was more forthright. He had once told an interviewer that criminal behavior should be monitored even before birth (implying it is genetic). And now we got the bovine home secretary giving the most imaginative dystopians a run for their money. Notice the tone of the reporter (Mark Hughes, Crime correspondent). He treats this news as if he were reporting on a lost umbrella. Pathetic.
Drastic new tactics to prevent school pupils as young as 13 falling into extremism
Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are “vulnerable” to Islamic radicalisation.
The number was revealed to The Independent by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention.
He said the “Channel project” had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008.