Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harper and Xenophobia



The Vancouver Sun ran an article yesterday claiming Civil rights groups say the (Harper) government is stoking the fires of xenophobia and vigilantism by making public a list of 30 foreign men in Canada suspected of war crimes. I had to look up what xenophobia meant. Xenophobia is defined as the "hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers or of their politics or culture. I'd have to admit, the Harper government is very much guilty of that. Just as fear and ignorance are the seeds of racism, so too are xenophobia and hypocrisy.

Harper's media machine has recently released three stages of finger pointing distractions. First we hear that new Canadian citizenship applications are way down. Then we hear the Harper Government is planning on revoking 1800 Canadian citizenships. Then finally we hear the Harper government has 30 men on a war crimes wanted list, looking for them to revoke their citizenship.

Personally I find this information inherently hypocritical. Yes acts of torture are wrong. They do in fact constitute war crimes and yes we should be vigilant in opposing war crimes. Yet Harper's Canadian Most Wanted list missed the three biggest offenders. George Bush vetoed the bill to stop torture at Guantanamo bay. He didn't just lie and cover up the fact that they were torturing prisoners at Guantanamo bay. He didn't just fire the whistle blowers that leaked out the information that they were torturing prisoners at Guantanamo bay. Everyone knew they were. That's why congress passed a bill stopping it. George Bush vetoed that bill. You can't get any more war criminal than that. If we are to pursue the 30 men on Harper's Canadian Most Wanted list, then we have to arrest George Bush when he comes to speak in Surrey this October. It would be pure hypocrisy not to do so.

Obviously Harper failed to add himself and Peter MacKay to his list of wanted war criminals. Yet they are much larger scale offenders than the 30 petty war criminals on his list. Peter MacKay did what he does best when asked if the Harper government knew Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan were handing over prisoners to be tortured, he lied. Just like he lied about calling Belinda Stronach a dog in Parliament. Why lie about that? It was a funny dig after what she did. Why lie about it when he was caught on tape and did so in a house full of witnesses?

How can we place Peter MacKay in a position of trust if he is a progressive liar? I say progressive because lying about making fun of his old girlfriend is a small lie. Lying about the Harper government's knowledge about prisoners being tortured in Afghanistan is a huge lie. As is refusing to release the documents which proved it on state security claims and then heavily censoring the evidence with a giant black felt marker.

Peter MacKay was most certainly not acting alone in that capacity. He was Harper's right hand man. Harper assumes legal liability for MacKay's cover up because he was acting under Harper's direction with the goal of protecting Harper. Stephen Harper slandered and fired the whistle blower for leaking the fact that we were handing over prisoners to be tortured in Afghanistan.

If the Harper government is going to pursue the 30 war criminals on their Canadian Most Wanted list, then he is under legal obligation to release the uncensored documents proving his knowledge and participation in the torture of prisoners in Afghanistan and he needs to put himself in one of those nice new cosy jails he plans on building after he cut funding for the RCMP and the Gang task Force. That would be justice. Privatizing prisons is wrong.

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