1. Some key terms
Three terms are at play in the situation I wish to analyze. The first is a new Canadian government whose leader has espoused positions more right-wing than those of any prime minister in living memory-but is for the moment constrained to some degree by his party’s minority position in parliament. The second is the unhappy fact that Canada is at war in Asia: as a result of commitments to the Bush regime’s ‘War on Terror’ which the Canadian parliament has never been given the opportunity to vote upon, some 2,300 Canadian troops are currently engaged in offensive operations in southern Afghanistan-where, as the noisily simple-minded General Rick Hillier, the current Chief of the Defense Staff, has declared, their function is not peace-keeping (the primary traditional role of Canada’s military) but bringing the lives of “detestable murderers and scumbags” to abrupt and violent ends.1
Who, precisely, is so “detestable” as to deserve such an end? By whom, in whose country, and by what right are such determinations arrived at? These are not questions that trouble General Hillier’s sleep, though they might well bother more ethically oriented people, as well as those who believe that in a democracy policy decisions should be made by elected officials rather than by military officers2-not to mention the larger collectivity of Canadian taxpayers, who by mid-2006 had ponied up $1.8 billion to pay for our part of the occupation of Afghanistan.
The third term at play here is immigration policy-which, as I wish to show through consideration of our governing class’s current treatment of one immigrant minority, Canada’s Muslim community, and also one current aspect of its treatment of that other minority whose members are neither immigrants nor the descendants of immigrants, but aboriginal, appears to have been seriously deformed by a determination to convince the Canadian population of the rightness and necessity of our participation in George W. Bush’s “long war.”
What might seem an unexpected conjoining of distinct issues of immigration and indigeneity makes sense, I would argue, both conceptually and ethically. A recognition of their linkage is evident in recurrent expressions of sympathy by native elders for the plight of Algerian and Palestinian refugees further victimized by deportation orders,3 and likewise in the support announced by the Canadian Islamic Congress in May 2006 for the Six Nations land reclamation campaign near Caledonia, Ontario.4 The logic involved is not difficult. From the longue durŽe perspective of indigenous people the rest of us-settler-colony Canadians-are all immigrants, and the laws and administrative practices we direct toward Onkwehonweh or First Nations people and toward more recent arrivals make up a single continuum of what one might call ‘the policy of immigrants about immigration.’
Such a perspective, to the extent that we can rise to it, may help us avoid the ethical obliquities of much contemporary discourse on immigration-in which, for example, the descendants of refugees or of illegal immigrants call for the exclusion of refugees and the hunting down and deportation of illegal immigrants, or in which people whose right to the land they occupy may be dubious at best invoke principles of right to exclude both native people and would-be immigrants from any share of it.5
2. Multiculturalism and the politics of immigration
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s proclamation of multiculturalism as official government policy in 1971 inaugurated a period in which immigrant communities in Canada have tended more often than not to give a preponderance of their votes to candidates of the federal Liberal Party. There may be some irony to this, since the policy was not fully enshrined in law until the passage of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act by Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government in 1988. But immigrant communities have not wholly forgotten that the Trudeau Liberals who inaugurated multiculturalism were likewise responsible for a shift in immigration policies leading to the abandonment of previous openly racist admission criteria (and their replacement, one might add, by criteria of social class).6 The persistence of this memory has no doubt been assisted by the enduring presence of racist anti-immigration sentiment in the parties of the right-most distinctly within the Reform Party, which many Canadians suspect underwent no more than cosmetic changes when it absorbed the struggling remnants of Mulroney’s old party to form the new (no longer ‘progressive’ even in name) Conservative Party.
How has current Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper sought to manoeuver within a situation in which the votes of immigrant communities, both European and non-European, are recognized as a determining factor in many urban ridings across the country, and hence potentially decisive in his pursuit of a parliamentary majority in the next election?
He has, in brief, tried to distance himself from his party’s (and his own) sometimes openly disgraceful past record on immigration issues, to take advantage of the failure of Paul Martin’s Liberal government to abolish an unintelligent and widely resented “Right of Landing Fee” on new immigrants, and to make use of potentially divisive issues like gay marriage as a means of appealing to ‘social conservative’ elements within immigrant communities. He has at the same time played to exclusionary and racist tendencies within his most reliable block of supporters (former Reform Party members and residents of predominantly white rural communities) by cancelling the previous government’s commitment to a large-scale infrastructure program for native communities, and by treating refugee claimants and illegal immigrants with the utmost severity. (The latter tactic carries the risk of backfiring in such vigorously multicultural cities as Toronto and Vancouver-but only, Conservative strategists hope, in ridings where the Tories already run too distant a third to the New Democratic Party and the Liberals for it to make any difference to their electoral fortunes.)
Two currently ongoing events permit us to define more closely the orientation of this government in relation to immigration issues-and perhaps more generally as well. One is the occupation since February 2006 of contested land at Caledonia, near Hamilton, Ontario, by the people of the Six Nations Haudenosaunee (a situation that may help to remind Canadians that a nation which developed out of colonial settler colonies has large unpaid ethical and material obligations to the indigenous peoples whose lands we have not ceased to appropriate and whose cultures we continue to violate). The other is the arrest on June 2, 2006 in Toronto of seventeen Canadian Muslim men and youths on charges of plotting terrorist atrocities. Both, as it happens, are plausibly connected to Canada’s participation in the Bush regime’s fraudulent and spurious ‘War on Terror.’
Analysis of these unfolding events in relation to the faultlines evident in Stephen Harper’s positions on immigration will suggest, I think, that a government more deeply subservient to the dictates of American geopolitics than were the Liberals of Jean ChrŽtien or Paul Martin is finding it convenient to exacerbate intercommunal hostilities involving both Onkwehonweh or First Nations people and Canadian Muslims. But before proceeding to this analysis, I should explain my reasons for applying what may have seemed disconcertingly strong adjectives to George W. Bush’s ‘War on Terror.’
3. Faking the ‘War on Terror’
The ‘War on Terror’ is spurious because there is strong evidence that the events to which it is purportedly a response-the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001-were orchestrated not by Osama bin Laden (whose partisans or minions served, however, as useful patsies), but rather by high-placed elements within the United States government. There are several converging lines of evidence: taken separately, they cry out for investigation; taken together, they appear seriously incriminating.7
There have been substantial developments during the past year in the assessment of material, photographic and testimonial evidence relating to the collapses of the three towers of the World Trade Center (the 47-storey WTC 7 as well as the 110-storey Twin Towers). These include scientifically informed analyses which demonstrate the physical impossibility of the official account of the Twin Towers’ collapse,8 analyses of statements by fire department personnel and by survivors that there were numerous secondary explosions in the buildings in the interval between the airplane crashes and the collapses,9 video and photographic evidence that structural steel in the South Tower was being cut and melted by thermate charges during the final minutes before the tower’s collapse,10 videos and photographs of the collapses of the towers in which “squibs” (explosive horizontal ejections of dust and debris) are visible well below the lines of collapse,11 and laboratory analyses of structural steel from the towers which point to its having been cut by thermate charges.12
Controlled demolition of course implies foreknowledge of the attacks as well as a complex pattern of organization-some aspects of which were made visible by Michael Ruppert, whose book Crossing the Rubicon revealed that the U.S. air defence system was effectively disabled on 9/11 by a network of air-defence and anti-terrorism exercises which transferred most of the available interceptor aircraft out of the northeastern U.S. to Alaska and Alberta, and for a crucial period that morning left the military air traffic controllers responsible for deploying the remaining jet fighters unable to determine which of the many apparently hijacked aircraft appearing on their radar screens were real, and which blips were merely part of a response-to-multiple-hijackings exercise.13 The likelihood that al Qaeda operatives could have organized the demolitions in the World Trade Center complex (whose security was contracted to Securacom, a company with close Bush family connections),14 as well as somehow coordinating airliner hijackings with what amounted to a planned disabling of the air defence system, is close to nil.
Add to this the destruction of material evidence at the WTC site, the extreme reluctance of the Bush administration to permit any inquiry into the events of 9/11, and the well-established fact-mendaciously denied by senior members of that administration-that foreign intelligence services, having evidently penetrated different parts of the 9/11 planning, gave them detailed advance warnings, and a pattern emerges that cries out for criminal investigation. Searching analyses of these issues, as well as of many features of the attacks, the ensuing cover-up, and the underlying geopolitics, have been published by Michel Chossudovsky and by other researchers,15 and the theologian and ethicist David Ray Griffin has produced magisterial summations of the evidence pointing to the Bush administration’s implication in the events of 9/11.16
The ‘War on Terror’ is fraudulent, then, because its purported and actual goals are systematically at variance. Only in the most nakedly Orwellian sense can one claim that a project which began with apparent false-flag terrorist attacks that killed some three thousand people on American soil, and has since involved wars of aggression that have killed and maimed well over 25,000 American soldiers-not to mention killing scores of thousands of Afghans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and exposing millions of their fellow citizens to the murderous and ineradicable toxicity of depleted uranium-is in any sense concerned with enhancing the security of Americans, or of anyone else. The pretexts used to legitimize the invasion of Iraq have without exception been exposed as lies and disinformation17-an embarrassing fact that has not prevented the Bush administration, with the supine or active collaboration of the corporate media, and, to their shame, the diplomatic support of western countries including Britain, France, Germany and Canada, from constructing a parallel set of lies and deceptions to legitimize an apparently imminent attack upon Iran.18
It is less widely appreciated that the invasion of Afghanistan was likewise carried out under false pretexts. Planned and threatened months before 9/11, this act of aggression was carried out for geopolitical reasons enunciated more than a year earlier by the Project for the New American Century, a pressure group whose key members have all held high office in the Bush administration.19 It should be of some interest to Canadians to know that in September 2001 the United States rejected offers of the Afghani Taliban regime to deliver Osama bin Laden to Pakistan for trial there;20 to know that opium production, which the Taliban had nearly eliminated in the provinces it controlled, bounced back to a new high once the U.S.-backed warlords of the Northern Alliance came to power;21 and to learn that the appalling oppression of Afghan women by reactionary theocrats that the Bush regime adopted as an ex post facto reason for its invasion appears not to have significantly diminished under the Karzai regime.22 Canadians might also be intrigued to discover that in June 2006 a journalist who wondered about the absence of any mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s FBI Most Wanted listing was informed by Rex Tomb, the FBI’s Chief of Investigative Publicity, that the reason for this absence “is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”23 This looks rather like an acknowledgment that the so-called “Bin Laden confession video” released by the U.S. in December 2001, and widely represented as justifying the attack on Afghanistan, is in fact not authentic.24
The ‘War on Terror’ is also fraudulent because while purporting, as Bush himself has declared, to confer upon others what Americans “wish for ourselves-safety from violence, the rewards of liberty, and the hope for a better life,”25 his administration has in fact sought through false-flag terrorism and shameless propaganda and disinformation to frighten Americans into supporting a resource-war geopolitics of unconstrained aggression. Concomitants of this endless warfare include the devolution of what is now called the “homeland” in the direction of a one-party state,26 a deliberate voiding of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and a parallel extinction of international human rights law whose visible embodiment is an archipelago of prisons and torture houses extending from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Graib and Bagram.27
4. Harper on immigration
This, I would contend, is the unhappy context within which we must consider contemporary Canadian discourses on the subject of immigration. Let’s begin by considering the views of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the matter. Harper counts among his formative influences the writings of the American right-wing intellectual Peter Brimelow, whose books include Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster(1995).28 As recently as 2001 Harper gave voice to opinions that seem recognizably connected to Brimelow’s alarmist vision of a country losing its cultural (read racial) identity in a swamp of ethnic otherness: on January 26th of that year, Harper declared in an interview with Kevin Michael Grace that
West of Winnipeg, the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent immigrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettos, and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.29
Interviewed a year later by the same congenially right-wing journalist, Harper sought to re-state his views in more acceptable terms. Declaring himself “pro-immigration on principle,” he attacked the refugee screening process as “a boondoggle” that “threatens national security” as well as “the integrity of the immigration system”:
I’ve been saying for years that the most important thing is that the country make its own immigration selection and that this policy be consistent with Canadians’ views. A refugee determination system that has effectively created a backdoor immigration stream that bypasses legal channels is unacceptable. And we need to tighten that system. But […] I don’t want it to be said that I’m anti-immigration. I’m very supportive of [a] significant [level of] immigration and always have been.30
This is interestingly coded language. A proportion of the people recently admitted to Canada under existing refugee determination processes have been, among francophones, Algerians, Moroccans and Haitians; and among the larger anglo- or allophone group, Central Americans, Palestinians, South Asians (especially Sri Lankan Tamils) and Africans (among them a substantial number of Somalis). The notion, post-9/11, that such people might threaten “national security” would seem to be a coded allusion to the fact that many of them are Muslims. Those Canadians with whose views Harper thinks refugee policy should be made consistent are presumably people of European origin, of narrowly Christian or Jewish faith, and of racist predisposition: the fact that growing numbers of Canadians are none of the above (and might in addition vote for parties of the centre or centre-left) evidently dismays him.
A similar coding was apparent in an interim policy document released by Harper’s Conservative Party in 2004, which as a journalist from Now Magazine commented, “refers darkly to focusing on attracting immigrants who can best integrate into the ‘Canadian fabric’ (read mostly white, mostly Europeans).”31 But at the same time, the Conservatives were seeking to attract the votes of recent immigrants, declaring on the party’s website that “The Conservative Party will fight for immigrants. We will work to ensure earlier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience.”32
During the Winter 2006 election campaign Harper reached out to immigrant communities by pledging to immediately cut the $975 Right of Landing Fee by half, and then to further reduce it “as the fiscal situation allows,” and by claiming that the social values of immigrants are also those of his party: “Hard working New Canadians bring to Canada a strong work ethic, a commitment to family life, an appreciation of higher education, and a respect for law and order…. These are Canadian values, these are Conservative values, and these are values that we will bring to a new Conservative government.”33 Harper also sought to gain traction from long-standing complaints that foreign professional qualifications are only grudgingly accepted in Canada by proposing the creation of a new federal agency to facilitate the process-a proposal that some commentators found disingenuous, since it stood in evident contradiction to his otherwise sweeping support for increasing the provinces’ autonomy in their areas of jurisdiction.34
Once in power, Harper began, as he had promised, to deport illegal workers. Among them, most notoriously, were Portuguese tradesmen doing skilled labour in the Toronto construction industry, some of whom had been in Canada for more than a decade and had school-aged children-people, one might say, with a commitment to precisely those work-ethic and heterosexual-family values Harper had extolled during the election campaign. A commentator at the ViveleCanada.ca website remarked in early April 2006 on the political stupidity of the deportations:
Harper could have turned the presence of these illegal workers into a political coup that eroded the Liberal hold over the immigrant vote. It was Liberal [immigration] policy that so drastically favoured rich over poor […]. Saying that policy was so flawed that a general amnesty for illegal workers was needed as long as they came forward and registered would have done a lot to increase the Conservative vote in the immigrant community.35
But the Harper government has consistently refused to implement an amnesty for illegal workers,36 and two further incidents in April 2006 showed that it was prepared to defy normal civilities in its pursuit of illegal immigrants. On April 27, a brother and sister were forcibly removed from Dante Alighieri Academy in Toronto by immigration officials and taken out to the sidewalk where, as an angry school official remarked, “there was a van waiting with their parent-their mother waiting to be deported.” On the following day, two girls, aged seven and fourteen, were removed from St. Jude School in Toronto by officials who then telephoned their mother, an illegal immigrant from Costa Rica, “and threatened to take them away if she did not turn up within half an hour.” Toronto School Board trustees and Toronto-area members of Parliament responded with outrage to these police-state tactics. Faced with Liberal MP Andrew Telegdi’s reasonable demand that he “instruct his officials that schools are for learning and are off limits for the purpose of immigration enforcement,” Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day replied obliquely that the matter would be reviewed, adding that “This is not a normal process or procedure nor do we want to see it become that.” 37
Day’s choice of adjective is telling, given that normal considerations of political advantage seem not to be in play in these events. It would appear that a different kind of political calculus is being applied, one in which intercommunal tensions are being deliberately aroused in the hope of political gain. But only if we have not been sufficiently attending to the treatment of Canada’s Muslim immigrant communities-and to the treatment of Canada’s non-immigrant communities, its First Nations peoples-will such developments strike us as wholly new.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, it was widely reported in the American press-incorrectly, as it happens-that members of Mohammed Atta’s supposed team of hijackers had entered the U.S. through Canada. Faced with American calls for the tightening of border crossings (which would obviously hurt our export economy), the government of Liberal Prime Minister Jean ChrŽtien passed anti-terrorism legislation,38 deported numbers of Algerian and Palestinian refugees,39 stepped up the practice of locking suspected Islamist activists away on so-called “security certificates,” which entitle the state to hold suspects indefinitely without trial,40 and collaborated in the arrests, “rendition” to foreign prisons, and torture of Canadian citizens who had aroused the suspicions of the gum-shoed incompetents of the RCMP and of CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (principally, it seems, by being Muslims). In the most notorious such case, Ottawa engineer Maher Arar was arrested in New York in September 2002 while returning to Canada from a family holiday in Tunisia, and was flown by the CIA to Syria, where he was tortured and held in solitary confinement for ten months. The false information that led to his arrest was provided to the FBI by the RCMP, which had put Arar and his wife Dr. Monia Mazigh on an al Qaeda watch-list, and which continued to slander him even after his release.41
A further regressive move was the implementation, on December 29, 2004, of the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, according to which the two countries recognize one another as safe third countries for refugee claimants and oblige refugees to seek protection in the first of the two countries they enter. As a result, Canada now turns away one-third of the refugee claimants who arrive at our borders, throwing large numbers of them upon the mercies of a U.S. asylum system many aspects of which, as a report published by the Harvard Law School remarks, “violate international legal standards.”42
5. “Home-grown terrorists”
On June 2, 2006 the arrests of seventeen Muslim men and youths in Toronto on terrorism charges made headlines around the world. And yet any careful reader of the news stories which followed these arrests could not help but be struck by a number of anomalies. The case was represented as a major triumph of police and intelligence work, and the dangers involved were underlined by massive paramilitary theatrics at the arraignment hearings, including grim-faced snipers-on-rooftops, and helicopters thumping overhead. But how were we to interpret these theatrics? Did Canadian intelligence agencies really anticipate that squads of heavily armed terrorists might descend on the Brampton courthouse in a desperate Robin-Hood style attempt to free their captured comrades? Or would it be cynical to think that the state was trying to panic the Canadian media and the public at large with this graphic demonstration of how terrified we should all be-if not of the handcuffed prisoners, then certainly of their shadowy accomplices. The logic is clear: if the brave and clever men who dress like ninjas, carry big automatic weapons and work in intelligence are worried, then the rest of us ought to be gob-smacked with fear.
This message appears to have got through quite widely-not least to an American versifier on the Buzzflash website who proposed ironically that his compatriots should stop worrying about building a fence along their southern border to stop Mexican immigration, given what seemed more urgent problems to the north:
Putting up a Mexican fence
May not be the best defense.
Let’s build one near Toronto
And get it finished pronto.43
No-one, presumably, had told him about the existence of Lake Ontario.
Snipers and helicopters notwithstanding, there turned out to be a bizarre disjunction between the material resources the arrested group (if it was a group) possessed, and what the Toronto police claimed were their goals: blowing up the Houses of Parliament, the CN Tower, the headquarters of CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) and the CBC, and beheading Stephen Harper. For the arsenals of weaponry revealed by the arresting officers were distinctly unimpressive. In addition to five pairs of boots, they consisted of “six flashlights, one walkie-talkie, one voltmeter, eight D-cell batteries, a cell phone, a circuit board, a computer hard drive, one barbecue grill, a set of barbecue tongs, a wooden door with 21 bullet marks and a 9 mm hand gun.”44
Oh yes-and centrally displayed, a bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, as evidence that the group had intended to emulate Timothy McVeigh’s feat of destroying the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City with an ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) truck bomb.45 Not that any of the accused had actually been in possession of that or any other bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer-much less fuel oil, or an appropriately configured truck in which to mix the two, or a detonating device-in the absence of which ammonium nitrate makes plants grow, but won’t blow anything up, not even the headquarters of CSIS. Yet one or possibly more of the accused had been lured by a police agent into making a purchase order of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate, and had accepted delivery of some quantity of a harmless substitute chemical, at which point the police swooped.
Most media outlets found nothing worthy of comment either in the entrapment of the accused or in the extreme sketchiness of the accused terrorists’ equipment. But the motif of decapitation, which was headlined in many accounts of the arrests,46 ought to have prompted a pause for critical reflection. This motif evokes the most lurid misdeed of the arch-terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi-who for several years (until, that is, a narrative of his extinction seemed more useful than stories of how he ran the Iraqi resistance more or less single-handedly on behalf of al Qaeda) was represented by the Pentagon’s fabulists as a demonic Scarlet Pimpernel: that “demmed elusive” one-legged Jordanian was here, there, and everywhere.47
In the spring of 2004, a fortnight after revelations about the torture and murder of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Graib were headlined throughout the American media, Zarqawi very conveniently videotaped himself beheading an American captive, Nicholas Berg. It would be an understatement to call this videotape problematic. Berg, who had been arrested by American forces, was acknowledged as having been in their custody shortly before his death; in the videotape he is wearing American orange prison overalls, while a plastic chair in the background closely resembles chairs that appear in Abu Graib torture photographs. Cries of anguish were dubbed onto the tape, but Berg was clearly already dead when he was beheaded. Zarqawi, his executioner, whom the CIA described as having an artificial leg, is vigorously bipedal, and speaks Arabic without his known Jordanian accent. In brief, the video appears to be a black-operations product, and Berg a victim of the same people who ordered the Abu Graib atrocities.
The reason for the Zarqawi video’s manufacture seems obvious. It abruptly reversed the valences of news about torture and executions, making an American the hapless victim and a brutal terrorist the perpetrator. And it allowed media pundits to argue that whatever the lapses of a few ‘bad apples’ on their side, their adversaries were wholly barbaric. Meanwhile, damning evidence of the responsibility of Bush, Rumsfeld and other senior officials for systematic torture in the American gulag could be flushed down the memory hole.
In the case of the Toronto 17, the beheading motif strengthened associations with al Qaeda by linking the accused with Zarqawi-even though, behind the headlines, it appeared that beheading Stephen Harper was not a crime any of them had actually proposed to carry out, but rather something an imaginative police officer had speculated in a synopsis of accusations one of them would be likely to want to do.48
The outlines of an interpretive framework-or framing narrative, if you like-were thus in place. Like McVeigh, whose method and object of attacks they are accused of wanting to imitate, the Toronto 17 are constructed for us as ‘home-grown terrorists’; but the association with Zarqawi’s most sensational supposed crime makes them at the same time barbaric outsiders, with spiritual loyalties to the Islamist terrorist international for which his name is a metonymy. The links to both key aspects of this framework, we can observe, are provided by the police: the first through entrapment, and the second through mere supposition.
Only some time after the arrests did the elaborateness of the entrapment scheme become apparent. Early reports made much of an alleged “training camp” session the group conducted in Washago, Ontario in December 2005-one of the leaders of which, Mubin Shaikh, turned out to have been a CSIS mole, who has received $77,000 for his services and claims to be owed a further $300,000.49 Shaikh seems to have taken some trouble to establish his ‘cover’ role, agitating so noisily for the acceptance of sharia courts in Canada that fellow Muslims urged him to desist. Yet as multicultural chair of Liberal MP Alan Tonks’ York South-Weston riding association, he let the mask slip: according to the association’s website, this “Traveller, philosopher, theologian … is not your ordinary Torontonian. At first look, one might think they’ve encountered an extremist but on second take, you realize you’ve been had!”50 It would appear that whatever technical expertise the Toronto 17 possessed was also provided by the government: a second mole, an agricultural engineer, “provided evidence to authorities that the conspirators had material they thought could be used to make bombs.”51
Most journalists who covered the story found nothing out of the ordinary in the fact that after their arrests the men and youths were subjected to sleep deprivation torture-confined in brightly illuminated isolation cells and woken every half-hour-by authorities obviously desperate for evidence.52 Nor were they able to remember that three years previously another large group of Toronto Muslims had been arrested on suspicion of plotting similarly lurid acts of terrorism-which had turned out to be no more than products of the active imaginations of RCMP and CSIS agents, Toronto police detectives, and Immigration Canada officials. In that case, an investigation called Project Thread (and re-named “Project Threadbare” by skeptics) led to twenty-four men being arrested as members of an al Qaeda sleeper cell with plans to destroy the CN Tower, blow up the Pickering nuclear power plant, and set off a radioactive dirty bomb. The allegations were eventually dropped, and no charges were laid. And yet the men were held in maximum security detention for months, no statements of exoneration were issued, and seventeen of them were deported, in a manner marked by flagrant illegalities, to countries where the mere suspicion of terrorist affiliations could have very dangerous consequences.53
There may then be good reason to suspect that the Toronto 17 are “terrorists” in much the same sense as were the father and son in Lodi, California who, after being set up by a lavishly paid agent provocateur, were talked by FBI interrogators into confessing they had attended an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan (or perhaps Afghanistan or Kashmir) which they located variously on a mountaintop and in an underground chamber where a thousand jihadis from around the world practised pole-vaulting.54 Or perhaps they could be compared to the infamous “Miami Seven,” members of an oddly un-secretive “Sons of David” cult who are accused of having conspired with al Qaeda to conduct terror attacks “even bigger than September 11” against targets like Chicago’s Sears Tower: the men, who had no visible means of carrying out such attacks, actually committed nothing worse than the thought-crime of swearing allegiance to al Qaeda-an oath that was administered by their FBI agent provocateur.55
One begins to notice how regularly these much-hyped terror threats dissolve into mist and confusion. The vaunted “UK poison cell” whose members planned to murder thousands of Londoners with ricin turned out not to be a terrorist conspiracy after all.56 The “red mercury plot” ended with another embarrassing but largely unpublicized acquittal: the ‘terrorists’, as John Lettice writes, “had been accused of an imaginary plot to produce an imaginary radioactive ‘dirty’ bomb using an imaginary substance.”57 The deployment of 250 London policemen to shut down an equally imaginary chemical bomb factory in Forest Gate resulted only in the near-murder of a man who, though otherwise innocent, was indeed both Muslim and bearded.58 No less asinine was the huge international stir in August 2006 over a purported “liquid bomb plot”: most of the alleged plane bombers possessed no passports and only one had an airline ticket, and the bombs that someone in Pakistan had been tortured into saying they planned to make in aircraft toilets are a technical absurdity.59
Even in cases in which large-scale terrorist atrocities have been perpetrated, there are serious doubts about the official accounts of what occurred. The London bombings of July 7, 2005, for example, are said to have been carried out by suicide bombers-a story that is contradicted by the testimony of survivors that the explosions blew the floors of the underground carriages upward from below.60 If the bombs were not carried onto the carriages, but detonated from beneath, then the purported Islamist fanatics said to have been responsible for these appalling crimes cannot have been the actual mass murderers.
6. The Caledonia standoff: sisters of Antigone
The spectre of Islamist terrorism so successfully invoked by governments and the corporate media in the English-speaking world is perhaps especially alarming because of the spatiotemporal dislocations it implies. People who typically feel no distinct connection with or responsibility for conflicts in faraway places-even those stirred up or initiated by their own governments-find the more or less tranquil continuity of their lives threatened by the possibility that their familiar civic landscapes could be suddenly transformed into scenes of ruin and carnage. This experiential dislocation, involving a fear that safely distant horrors might unpredictably translate themselves into one’s own most intimate space, is compounded by the thought that the appalling transposition would be carried out by people who are our fellow citizens-but also, in secret, deadly enemies. What the venomously de-historicized ideology of the “war on terror” suggests is that religious and ethnic otherness must be, in the special case of Muslims, an ineradicable stain: immigrants of this kind, even if they have appeared, while retaining marks of otherness in their cultural and religious practices, to be moving towards social integration in the host country, are fatally susceptible to reversions into the radical otherness of their distant ancestral homelands-which are understood as places marked, in George W. Bush’s memorable inanity, by a perverse inclination to “hate us for our freedoms.”
A precisely inverse pattern of spatiotemporal dislocation is set in motion-no doubt less violently, but with a cumulative force that should not be underestimated-by the conflicts arising out of First Nations land claims. The issues are typically intensely localized-involving, in the case of the Caledonia dispute, little more than three hundred acres of land. But they carry a powerful historical charge, and much wider spatial-and ethical-implications. The persistence of the Six Nations Haudenosaunee in asserting their title to the lands of the so-called Haldimand Tract-the land six miles on either side of the Grand River from its mouth to its source which was formally granted to them in 1784 in recognition of the fact that their alliance with the British during the American War of Independence had cost them their ancestral lands in New York State-serves as a standing rebuke to the fact that over the past two centuries “this territory was steadily whittled away by encroaching white settlers and squatters, and by deliberate land confiscations by federal and provincial governments”-to the point that “the Six Nations reserve near Caledonia now encompasses a mere 5% of the 950,000 acres originally granted to them.”61 There is little doubt about the flagrant illegality of most of the processes through which the Haudenosaunee were divested of their land: a people with whom the Crown had made formal treaties of alliance, and who in the War of 1812 had been instrumental in frustrating the American conquest of Canada, had an alien system of governance imposed on them by force, and were denied recourse to any form of legal redress when they sought to resist this imposition and the dispossession that accompanied and motivated it.
The Six Nations are not seeking to reclaim the land now occupied by the cities of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, Ontario, and many smaller communities, or to expel white Ontarians from their farms and houses in the Grand River watershed. But on February 28, 2006, after the developer Henco began construction of a housing estate on misappropriated farmland adjoining their reserve, they decided to repossess the so-called Douglas Creek estate. The ensuing standoff over this apparently local issue62 brings into focus some of the foundational inequities of Canada’s settler-culture legal regime. The problem is again one of an incomplete assimilation-though in this case what it exposes is the enduring hypocrisy and racism of the immigrant culture, as well as the slow violence of a perverted legality that it has inflicted upon its one-time allies.
If the paranoid distorting lens of the “war on terror” projects monstrosity onto an imperfectly assimilated Muslim immigrant minority, the mirror that the Caledonia standoff holds up to the would-be assimilationist immigrant majority shows with pitiless clarity where the actual monstrosity resides. If the Haudenosaunee would only consent to the complete assimilation that the settler culture has attempted to force upon them, ever since it acquired the power to do so-a consent which would mean disappearing, as a collectivity, from history-then this mirror might be removed and the unflattering image it returns to us might be dissipated. (Is this perhaps why Canadian governments have sought to impose on the Onkwehonweh a system of private and individual, rather than collective and national, title to land? The theft of the Haldimand Tract lands is an undoubted wrong to the Six Nations, but what claim for justice and recompense could any individual native person make in response to that wrong?)
The Harper government has seemed willing to let the Caledonia situation drift toward intercommunal violence. Its only visible action on the subject-beyond grudgingly indicating in November 2006 a willingness to talk with the Ontario government about possibly paying some share of the 40-million dollar cost of policing the stand-off-has been to intervene at the United Nations to block the passage of a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.63 In contrast, the Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty attempted in mid-June to defuse the crisis by purchasing the contested land from the developer and declaring its intention to hold it in trust.64 This, of course, does not amount to a resolution of the matter.
As Six Nations elder Hazel Hill declared in an eloquent message she sent to the local newspapers in Grand River and Caledonia in April 2006, what is at issue is not merely a question of land ownership, or a jurisdictional dispute, but a conflict between two laws, one that has served oppression and another higher law:
It’s not about militancy but about believing in who we are as a people, standing together as one, in accordance with the Kaienerekowah for we have been under the thumb of the oppressors for far too long
It’s not about disrespecting the OPP and the laws of Canada, but more importantly about respecting our own law, the only true law in Creation, the Universal Law given to us by the Peacemaker and Gigonsaseh and upholding our responsibilities as individuals in accordance with that law
It’s not about claiming the land, because we know that we hold title to it
It’s not about an occupation, but about asserting our jurisdiction
We have been accused of inciting a war, and yet who are the ones with the guns, threatening to come in and remove our women and children. To arrest and make criminals out of us. Who are the ones who have helicopters flying overhead, and an abundance of police presence….65
Part of this declaration’s power comes from the claim, formulated by Six Nation women elders Katinies and Kahentinetha in relation to another issue involving environmental degradation in the Haldimand Tract, that the Canadian Constitution itself concedes a place for the Six Nations’ Kaianereh’ko:wa or Great Law: “According to Section 109 of the British North America Act 1867, indigenous peoples’ ‘prior interests’ supersede that of Canada and its provinces. According to Section 132 Indian title can only be surrendered through a treaty made with the sovereign constitutional people of the nation with a clear question and a clear majority. This never happened.”66
Between these two systems of law there is also a radical disjunction, a diffŽrend.67 For as Katinies and Kahentinetha also write, “According to Wampum 44 of our law, the Kaianereh’ko:wa/Great Law, the Women are the ‘progenitors of the soil’ of the Rotinonhsonnion:we. We are the Caretakers of the land, water and air of Turtle Island. As the trustees, we are obligated to preserve and protect the land’s integrity for the future generation.”68 Concepts of this kind are only beginning, very hesitantly, and in a manner not wholly free from hypocrisy, to enter the constitutional discourses of the Canadian confederation.
Yet unexpectedly, perhaps, one discovers within the central traditions brought to this country by the immigrants themselves something very much like the radical disjunction that these women elders identify. The voices of Hazel Hill, and of Katinies and Kahentinetha Horn, are the voice of Antigone, who in Sophocles’ great tragedy proclaims to Creon, the ruler of Thebes, that his civic law-his proclamation against the burial of Polynices, the son of Oedipus who had died in leading an assault upon his own city-itself violated another greater law. As Antigone tells Creon, in response to his ruling that Polynice’s corpse is to be left for dogs and birds to devour,
It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least
who made this proclamation-not to me.
Nor did that Justice, dwelling with the gods
beneath the earth, ordain such laws for men.
Nor did I think your edict had such force
that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods,
the great unwritten, unshakable traditions.
They are alive, not just today or yesterday:
they live forever, from the first of time….69
Another kind of sister of Antigone can be recognized in Dr. Monia Mazigh, the wife of Maher Arar whose tenacious campaigning on behalf of her husband was largely responsible for the growing public pressure that led to his release from “the coffin-sized dungeon”70 in which he had effectively been buried alive in a Syrian military prison. In Sophocles’ play, Antigone has already given due burial rites to Eteocles, the brother who died defending the city. She then refuses to accept the tyrannical judgment of Creon that her other brother Polynices, who made war upon the city, must be denied human burial and relegated to the category of carrion-which is the category as well of what Giorgio Agamben, borrowing the term from Roman law, has called homo sacer: those who can make no claim upon the law because they are denied recognition as being fully human.71 Creon punishes Antigone’s defiant act of giving due rites to the unburied dead by committing a further symmetrical violation of the great law to which she appealed: he condemns her to be entombed alive. Antigone escapes from this condition of living death by committing suicide-an act promptly imitated both by her lover, Creon’s son Haemon, and then by Creon’s wife Eurydice. One might say that Monia Mazigh redistributed the terms of this myth: defying arbitrary descriptions of her husband and herself as enemies of the state, and rejecting the legitimacy of their relegation to the status of homo sacer, she succeeded, like a more steadfast Orpheus with another Eurydice, in rescuing her husband from the living entombment he had endured for ten months.
What these aboriginal or immigrant sisters of Antigone are telling us is, at the very least, that we have been guided by a radically deficient sense of justice in our applications of law. They are also telling us, I believe, that insofar as our system of law contains elements that contradict the constitutive principles of justice-elements that permit us, for example, to legitimize past acts of land seizure as faits accomplis, or to cast aside civil rights on the grounds of a pretended emergency-then that system must be reformed. The patterns of events out of which their voices have arisen should also alert us to problems having to do with our sovereignty as people who claim to make, and re-shape, our own legal and political regime. For one of the more alarming features of the Arar case was the revelation that the RCMP routinely shares its raw data (suspicions, paid slander, malicious gossip, the lot) with American secret police agencies;72 and one of the more disturbing events during the Caledonia stand-off was the capture by Six Nations activists of American Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents carrying out surveillance, with the full collaboration of the OPP, within Canada, and on Six Nations land.73
Judith Butler has suggested that the limit for which Antigone stands is “the trace of an alternate legality that haunts the conscious, public sphere as its scandalous future.”74 What Butler is proposing, Slavoj Zizek writes, is that “Antigone undermines the existing symbolic order not simply from its radical outside, but from a utopian standpoint aiming at its radical rearticulation.” She may be “publicly assuming an uninhabitable position, a position for which there is no place in the public space,” yet she is not doing so “a priori, but only with regard to the way this space is structured now, in historically contingent and specific conditions.”75
Isn’t it time we began changing these contingencies?
Michael Keefer is Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. His writings include Lunar Perspectives: Field Notes from the Culture Wars, two new editions of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, and essays on Renaissance literature and philosophy, on literary and textual-critical theory, and on issues in contemporary history and cultural politics.
1 On 29 August 2005, Janet M. Eaton and Janis Alton, Co-Chairs of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, complained to Prime Minister Paul Martin of General Hillier’s “swaggering, offensive and militaristic language”: “To refer to the [Afghan] enemy as he did as ‘detestable murderers and scumbags’ who detest our freedoms, society and liberties and to then aver that the job of the Canadian Forces is ‘to be able to kill people’ is at odds with our sensibilities and cultural sensitivities as Canadians, with our core public policy values and with our foreign policy tradition.” See “Voice of Women on General Hillier’s Abusive Language,” Canadian Action Party (10 September 2005), http://www.canadianactionparty.ca/MainPages/News.asp?Type=TRUE&ID=531&Language=English . For an acerbic comment on the new aggressive reorientation of Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan, see the editorial “We’re from Canada. We’re here to kill you,” Canadian Spectator (11 February 2006), http://canadianspectator.ca/stuff/We’re%20here%20to%20kill%20you.html.
2 A recent Reuters article gives evidence of an apparent transfer of policy-making power from civilian authorities to Hillier and his subordinates in National Defence Headquarters. Canada’s commitment of troops to Afghanistan was scheduled to end by early 2007. But after “senior Canadian military officials” declared in March 2006 that “the NATO mission would have to last at least a decade,” Foreign Minister Peter MacKay “conceded the schedule for the return of the troops was now unclear. ‘The (military commanders) … have indicated this is going to be a longer term commitment than was perhaps originally intended as far as the troop deployment,’ MacKay said.” See David Ljunggren, “Canada troops could stay longer in Afghanistan,” Reuters (6 March 2006), http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N06282602.htm.
3 This sympathy is no doubt linked to acknowledgments by Onkwehonweh or First Nations elders of historical continuities between Western European crusades against Muslim powers and subsequent projects of transatlantic conquest and settlement. See, for example, Leroy Little Bear’s remarks in the Ipperwash Public Inquiry: Indigenous Knowledge Forum, pp. 29-30 (14 October 2004), http://www.ipperwashinquiry.ca/policy_part/meetings/pdf/Indigenous_Knowledge_Forum_Oct.14.2004.pdf ; and Doreen Silversmith, “Message from the Onkwehonweh [Six Nations] to the United Nations,” 1 May 2006, available at Autonomy & Solidarity (5 May 2006), http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/2051.
4 “Islamic Congress Supports Six Nations Land Reclamation,” DailyMuslims.com (19 May 2006), http://www.muslimsweekly.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1963&itemid=343&pop=1&page=0 . This press release recognized a parallel between a situation “in which aboriginal peoples are systematically being denied their birthright,” and the theft of Palestinians’ land “by the Israeli occupying power that denies them justice through unilateral expropriations and by refusing to negotiate in good faith….”
5 I am myself descended on my father’s side from refugees: the widow and the elder son of a New Jersey farmer who had died defending Long Island from the army of George Washington. I am not sure by what right George III’s colonial administration gave them title in 1790 to Anishinaabe land in what became the town of Thorold in the Niagara peninsula.
6 Despite residual elements of racism in the process, applicants for landed immigrant status under multiculturalism have been assessed primarily on the basis of their ability to make immediate contributions to the Canadian economy. During the 1980s it became possible for wealthy foreigners to purchase citizenship by investing $250,000 or more in a business that would employ Canadians. Class had previously been part of immigration criteria-sometimes in an inverse sense, as when at certain times in the first half of the twentieth century applicants from central and eastern Europe were accepted only if they could show calloused hands that would identify them as manual labourers.
7 The following account of this evidence overlaps at some points with my recent essay “Into the Ring with Counterpunch on 9/11: How Alexander Cockburn, Otherwise So Bright, Blanks Out on 9/11 Evidence,” available at Scholars for 9/11 Truth (4 November 2006), http://www.st911.org, and forthcoming in Cold Type (December 2006), http://www.coldtype.net.
8 See for example “MIT Professor [Jeff King] Breaks Down WTC Controlled Demolitions,” Google Video (17 March 2006), http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1822764959599063248 ; Judy Wood, “A Refutation of the Official Collapse Theory,” (March 2006), http://janedoe0911.tripod.com/BilliardBalls.html; as well as articles by Frank Legge, Gordon Ross, and Kevin Ryan in the first two issues of the Journal of 9/11 Studies (June and August 2006), and Steven E. Jones, “Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Completely Collapse?” Journal of 9/11 Studies 3 (September 2006): 1-48, http://www.st911.org.
9 See David Ray Griffin, “Explosive Testimony: Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral Histories,” 911 Truth.org (18 January 2006), http://www.911truth.org/artice.php?story=20060118104223192 ; and Graeme MacQueen, “118 Witnesses: The Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers,” Journal of 9/11 Studies 2 (August 2006): 47-106.
10 See “Shot from street level of South Tower collapsing,” Camera Planet, 2 min. 49 sec., posted 24 February 2003, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2991254740145858863&q=cameraplanet+9%2F11 ; and also photographs reproduced by Jones in “Why Indeed….?”
11 Squibs are visible in photographs of the collapses reproduced by Eric Hufschmidt, Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack (Goleta, California: Endpoint Software, 2002); see also Dylan Avery, Dir., Loose Change (2006), available at http://www.st911.org; Dustin Mugford, Dir., September 11 Revisited: Were Explosives Used to Bring Down the Buildings? http://www.911revisited.com (2006), available at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4194796183168750014 ; and In the Wake Productions, 911 Mysteries: Part I, Demolitions (2006), http://www.911weknow.com/911-mysteries-movie.html.
12 See J. R. Barnett, R. R. Biederman, and R. D. Sisson, Jr., “An Initial Microstructural Analysis of A36 Steel from WTC Building 7,” Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society 53/12:18 (2001); cited by Jones, “Why Indeed….” Jones’s own laboratory analysis of steel samples from the Twin Towers is forthcoming.
13 Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004), pp. 308-436. See also Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, The War on Truth (Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2005), pp. 267-91, 304-16.
14 Securacom’s CEO from 1999 to January 2002 was Wirt D. Walker III, a cousin of President Bush-whose younger brother Marvin P. Bush was also a principal in the company from 1993 to 2000. See David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor (2nd ed.; Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2004), p. 180.
15 Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization: The Truth Behind September 11 (Shanty Bay, Ontario: Global Outlook, 2002), The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order (2nd ed.; Shanty Bay, Ontario: Global Outlook, 2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (Pincourt, Quebec: Global Research, 2005). See also Paul Thompson, The Terror Timeline (New York: HarperCollins, 2004); Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, The War on Truth; Webster G. Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA (2nd ed.; Joshua Tree, California: Tree of Life Books, 2006); and Paul Zarembka, ed., The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 (New York: Elsevier, 2006).
16 Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor is cited in note 14; see also The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2005), and Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 (Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006).
17 See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”; Milan Rai, War Plan Iraq (London and New York: Verso, 2002); Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2003); Dilip Hiro, Secrets and Lies (New York: Nation Books, 2004); Naomi Klein and others, No War: America’s Real Business in Iraq (London: Gibson Square Books, 2005); William R. Clark, Petrodollar Warfare (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005).
18 See Seymour M. Hersh, “The Coming Wars: What the Pentagon can now do in secret,” The New Yorker (24-31 January 2005), http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050124fa_fact , and “The Iran Plans: Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?” The New Yorker (17 April 2006), http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060417fa_fact ; Michael Keefer, “Petrodollars and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: Understanding the Planned Attack on Iran,” Centre for Research on Globalization (10 February 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=KEE20060210&articleid=1936 ; and Jorge Hirsch, “Nuclear Strike on Iran is Still on the Agenda,” Antiwar.com (16 October 2006), http://antiwar.com/Hirsch/.
19 See Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, Forbidden Truth, trans. Lisa Rounds et al. (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002).
20 Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, “How Bush Was Offered Bin Laden and Blew It: Give Him an ‘F’ in the War on Terror,” Counterpunch (1 November 2004), http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11012004.html.
21 See Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terror”, pp. 224-36.
22 See “On the Situation of Afghan Women,” Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), http://www.rawa.org/wom-view.htm ; and Marc Herold, “Afghanistan as an empty space: The perfect Neo-Colonial state of the 21st century, part one,” Cursor.org, http://www.cursor.org/stories/emptyspace.html .
23 Ed Haas, “FBI says, ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11,” Muckraker Report (6 June 2006), http://www.teamliberty.net/id267.html#_ftn1 . For the spin machine’s wholly inadequate response to this embarrassment, see Dan Eggen, “Bin Laden, Most Wanted for Embassy Bombings?” The Washington Post (28 August 2006), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/27/AR2006082700687.html .
24 For a judicious analysis of the myth-making surrounding Osama bin Laden, see R. T. Naylor, Satanic Purses: Money, Myth, and Misinformation in the War on Terror (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006).
25 George W. Bush, Speech at West Point Military Academy (1 June 2002), http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/; quoted by Pierre Guerlain, “New Warriors Among American Foreign Policy Theorists,” in Dana D. Nelson, ed., Ambushed: The Costs of Machtpolitik, special issue of The South Atlantic Quarterly 106.1 (Winter 2006), pp. 113-14. The Bush administration’s claims to be promoting democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere are demolished by Noam Chomsky in Failed States(New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), pp. 102-65.
26 See Michael Keefer, “The Strange Death of American Democracy: Endgame in Ohio,” Centre for Research on Globalization (24 January 2006), http://globalresearch.com.ca/articles/KEE501A.html .
27 See Timothy Brennan and Keya Ganguly, “Crude Wars,” Nikhil Singh, “The Afterlife of Fascism,” and Thomas L. Dumm, “George W. Bush and the F-Word,” in Dana D. Nelson, ed., Ambushed: The Costs of Machtpolitik, pp. 19-35, 71-93, and 153-60. Key collections of documents relating to torture include Mark Danner, ed., Torture and Truth: America, Abu Graib, and the War on Terror (New York: New York Review of Books, 2004); and Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel, eds., The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Graib, intro. Anthony Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). See also Onnesha Roychaudhuri, “Tracking the Torture Taxis,” The ColdType Reader 9 (November 2006), http://www.coldtype.net/Assets.06/Essays.06/1106.Reader9.pdf.
28 Brimelow is himself an immigrant: born and raised in England, he worked as a journalist in Canada during the 1970s and moved to New York in 1980. His combative Afterword to the second edition of Alien Nation (New York: HarperPerennial, 1996) is available at his website VDARE.com (named after Virginia Dare, “the first English child born in the New World”), http://www.vdare.com/pb/041206_afterword_an.htm. v
29 “The Devil in Stephen Harper,” Now Magazine, vol. 23, No. 40 (3-9 June 2004), http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2004-06-03/news_insight.php. Kevin Michael Grace also quotes the statement in a later article, “Canadian Conservative Leader No Immigration ‘Extremist.’ Too Bad,” VDARE.com (29 May 2004), http://www.vdare.com/misc/grace_conservative_leader.htm.
30 “Stephen Harper: The Report Interview” [with Kevin Michael Grace], Report (6 January 2002), http://web.archive.org/web/20021126055715/http:/report.ca/webonly/wo020106gra.html.
31 “The Devil in Stephen Harper.”
32 Quoted by Grace, “Canadian Conservative Leader No Immigration ‘Extremist.'”
33 Press release, Conservative Party of Canada, 4 January 2006, http://www.conservative.ca/EN/1738/37785.
34 See “Reality Check: Harper’s Immigration Proposals,” Canadian Press (4 January 2006), http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060103/ELXN_immigration_check_060104/20060104?s_name=election2006&no_ads=.
35 ‘Reverend Blair’, “Deep Immigration,” ViveleCanada.ca (5 April 2006), http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article/php/20060404235243777/print.
36 See Maria Jimenez, “Ottawa rules out amnesty for 200,000 illegal workers, The Globe and Mail (27 October 2006), reproduced online by CERIUM (Centre d’Etudes Internationales de l’Universite de Montreal),
37 “T.O sisters used as deportation bait in hiding,” CTV.ca News (2 May 2006), http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060501/Deportation_bait060501?s_name=&no_ads=.
38 See Kent Roach, September 11: Consequences for Canada (MontrŽal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003).
39 See Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, http://refugees.resist.ca/refugees/about.htm; No One Is Illegal Collective et al., “Bring Mohamed Cherfi Home!” Zmag.org (20 March 2004), available at Solidarity with Mohamed Cherfi, http://www.mohamedcherfi.org/article.php3?id_article=29; and “Non-Status Algerians on Trial: Update,” Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (March 2005), http://ocap.ca/node/858. v
40 Three such prisoners, who have been held since June 2000, August 2001, and October 2001 respectively, began a hunger strike in May 2006; see “Ontario: Secret Trial Detainees on Hunger Strike for Two Full Weeks,” Infoshop News (5 June 2006), http://www.infoshop.org/inews/artiucle.php?story=20060605114435478.
41 See the Hon. Dennis R. O’Connor, Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar: Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar (Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2006), http://www.ararcommission.ca/eng/AR_English.pdf. n See also “Documents suggest Canadian involvement in Arar interrogation,” CBC News (22 April 2005), http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/21/arar050421.html; Jeff Sallot, “How Canada failed citizen Maher Arar,” The Globe and Mail (19 September 2006), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060919.warar0919/BNStory/National/home; and “Maher Arar: Timeline,” CBC News (19 September 2006), http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/arar/.
42 Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights, Bordering on Failure: The U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement Fifteen Months After Implementation (Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, March 2006), pp. 4, 23, http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/hrp/clinic/documents/Harvard_STCA_Reports.pdf
43 Tony Peyser, “17 Canadian Terror Suspects Arrested,” Buzzflash.com (5 June 2006), http://www.buzzflash.com/peyser/0606/pey06156.html.
44 Marjaleena Repo, “Canada: A Galloping Police State?” Centre for Research on Globalization (19 June 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index/php?context=viewArticle&code=REP20060619&articleid=2668.
45 The terrorist atrocity of April 1995 for which McVeigh was convicted and executed killed 169 people, 19 of them children. In May 1995 retired Brigadier General Benton K. Partin, a USAF explosives expert, distributed to the members of Congress a report, “Bomb Damage Analysis of Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building,” in which he concluded that it was destroyed not by McVeigh’s truck bomb, but principally by “explosives carefully placed at four critical junctures on supporting columns within the building.” There is other evidence that the attack involved state operatives and state foreknowledge: see David Hoffman, The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror (Venice, California: Feral House, 1998); Partin’s report is reprinted at pp. 461-74.
46 See for example “Canada man ‘planned to behead PM’,” BBC News (7 June 2006), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5054198.stm.
47 For an illuminating analysis of the Zarqawi phenomenon, see Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, pp. 171-97; and his articles “Who is behind ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a ‘Zarqawi Legend’,” Centre for Research on Globalization (18 April 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060418&articleid=2275 ; and “Who was Abu Musab al Zarqawi?” Centre for Research on Globalization (8 June 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060608&articleid=2604.
48 See John Chuckman, “Terror in Toronto or Tempest in a Teapot: Canada’s Chatroom Jihadis,” Counterpunch (10-11 June 2006), http://www.counterpunch.org/chuckman06102006.html; and Bruce Campion-Smith and Michelle Shephard, “Plan to ‘behead’ PM: Brampton court hears of plot to storm Parliament Hill and take politicians hostage,” Toronto Star (7 June 2006), available at http://www.yayacanada.com/toronto_torstar_chand_military.html. (The Yayacanada.com website lists parallels to the Toronto 17 entrapment: see “The Toronto ‘Terrorist’ Arrests: A rundown of related news reports,” http://www.yayacanada.com/toronto_terrorist_arrests_03-06-06.html. )
49 Michelle Shephard, “Informer wanted to protect Canada,” Toronto Star (14 July 2006), http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637 177&c=Article&cid=1152827412841 ; and Sonya Fateh, Greg McArthur, and Scott Roberts, “The Making of a Terror Mole,” The Globe and Mail (14 July 2006), A1, available at “The Infamous Mubin Shaikh Revealed as Mole in Terrorism Plot,” SAFspace (14 July 2006), http://www.safiyyah.ca/wordpress/?p=275.
50 Quoted by Shephard, “Informer wanted to protect Canada.”
51 “2nd mole played key role in bomb plot probe,” CBC News (13 October 2006), http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/10/13/second-person.html.
52 Repo, “Canada: A Galloping Police State?”
53 See “Project Threadbare: One Year Anniversary of PreDawn Raid,” Autonomy & Solidarity (6 August 2004), http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/794?PHPSESSID=30.
54 Alexander Cockburn, “The War on Terror on the Lodi Front,” Counterpunch (1 May 2006), http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn05012006.html. See also Veena Dubai and Sunaina Maira, “‘Witch-hunt’ in Lodi, California,” Not in Our Name (23 June 2005), http://www.notinourname.net/detentions/lodi-23jun05.htm.
55 One of the men also took a photograph of the Miami FBI headquarters-using a camera supplied to him by the FBI agent. See Bill Van Auken, “Miami ‘terror’ arrests-a government provocation,” World Socialist Web Site (24 June 2006), http://wsws.org/articles/2006/jun2006/miam-j24.shtml; and Tony Karon, “The Miami Seven: How Serious Was the Threat?” Time (23 June 2006), http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1207412,00.html.
56 See George Smith, Ph.D., “UK Terror Trial Finds No Terror,” National Security Notes: GlobalSecurity.org (11 April 2005), http://www.globalsecurity.org/nsn/nsn-050411.htm.
57 John Lettice, “Amazing terror weapons: the imaginary suitcase nuke,” The Register (31 July 2006), http://www.theregister.com/2006/07/31/red_mercury_trial/.
58 John Lettice, “Homebrew chemical terror bombs, hype or horror?” The Register (4 June 2006), http://www.the register.com/2006/06/04/chemical_bioterror_analysis/, and “Drowning in data-complexity’s threat to terror investigations,” The Register (6 July 2006), http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/06/_90_days_terror_law_analysis/.
59 Thomas C. Greene, “Mass murder in the skies: Was the plot feasible?” The Register (17 August 2006), http://www.theregister.com/2006/08/17/flying_toilet_terror_labs/; Craig Murray, “The UK Terror Plot: What’s Really Going On?” Counterpunch (17 August 2006), http://www.counterpunch.org/murray08172006.html ; James Petras, “The Liquid Bomb Hoax: The Larger Implications,” Centre for Research on Globalization (25 August 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=PET20060825&articleid=3069.
60 For two separate accounts, see Mark Honigsbaum, “‘Someone help me … Please help me’,” audio report linked at Owen Bowcott and Mark Honigsbaum, “Stories of screaming, despair and courage,” The Guardian (9 July 2005), http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1524554,00.html , and also available at http://www.prisonplanet.com/audio/guardian_journalist.mp3; and the testimony of Bruce Lait in “‘I was in tube bomb carriage-and survived’,” Cambridge Evening News (11 July 2005), http://www.cambridge-news-co.uk/news/region_wide/2005/07/11/83e33146-09af-4421b2f41779a82926f91pf.
61 Tom Keefer, “The Six Nations Land Reclamation: Overview and Context,” Upping the Anti: a journal of theory and action 3 (November 2006): 136; available at http://auto_sol.tao.ca.
62 For detailed accounts of the sequence of events, which included an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) assault on April 20 that was humiliatingly repelled, and an ensuing closure of Highway 6 until May 24, see Documents Regarding the Struggle at Six Nations (Toronto: AK Press, July 2006), available at http://www2.akpress.org/2006/items/documentsregardingthestruggle; the Six Nations Caledonia Resource Page, Autonomy & Solidarity, http://auto_sol.tao.ca (which contains an important archive of articles, pamphlets, and video interviews); and “Caledonia land dispute,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caledonia_land_dispute.
63 See Joseph Quesnel, “Canada tries to buy African states at UN to delay UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights,” First Perspective: National Aboriginal News (17 November 2006), http://www.firstperspective.ca/fp_combo_template.php?path=20061117africa; and Quesnel, “UN delays Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” First Perspective (29 November 2006), http://www.firstperspective.ca/fp_combo_template.php?path=20061129un.
64 “Ontario buys site of disputed Caledonia claim,” CBC News (16 June 2006), http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/06/16/caledonia-bought.html.
65 “MNN ‘Ongwehonwe Women’s Manifesto’ at Six Nations,” introduced by Kahentinetha Horn, MNN Mohawk Nation News (12 April 2006), http://www.gatheringplacefirstnationscanews.ca/PressReleases/sixnations/060412_01sixnationsmanifesto.htm?selected=77.
66 “Demand from Women Title Holders of the Rotinohnsonnion:we/Six Nations to Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. of Barrie Ontario to Cease and Desist the Building of a Natural Gas Pipeline Under the Pine River in Hornings Mills on the Haldimand Tract,” Mohawk Nation News (15 September 2006), http://www.mohawknationnews.com/news/print.php?lang=en&layout=mnn&newsnr=300.
67 See Jean-Franois Lyotard, Le diffŽrend (Paris: Les ƒditions du Minuit, 1983).
68 “Demand from Women Title Holders.”
69 Sophocles, Antigone, lines 450-57; quoted from Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays, trans Robert Fagles, intro. by Bernard Knox (1982; rpt. London: Penguin, 1984), p. 82.
70 Doug Struck, “Canadian Was Falsely Accused, Panel Says,” The Washington Post (19 September 2006), available at Information Clearing House, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15021.htm.
71 Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).
72 See O’Connor, Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar, part III, chapter 7, pp. 101-27.
73 For contrasting accounts of this episode, see “U.S. agents swarmed in Caledonia dispute: police,” CTV.ca (11 June 2006), http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060610/caledonia_conflict_060611/20060611?hub=Canada; and Kahentinetha Horn, “What’s Wendigo Psychosis?” MNN Mohawk Nation News (9 June 2006), available at First Perspective (11 June 2006), http://www.firstperspective.ca/fp_template.php?path=20060611caledonia1.
74 Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), p. 40; quoted by Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real (London: Verso, 2002), p. 98.
75 Zizek, p. 99.