Lecture 10 Saturday, August 3, 2013
• Check out the New York magazine—good comics.
• We were finishing our out west, Red River rebellion of 1870, Louis Riel and his demise
after the failed Northwest Rebellion, last battle at Batosh.
o HUGE piece in the Globe and Mail about Louis Riel!
o And his provisional government set up in 1869 (unhappy with how the
government of Canada was going to come up with scrip, the land/compensation
to the 7,000 Metis after purchasing a huge chunk of land in Manitoba from the
Hudson’s Bay Company)
o Metis victory 140 years in the making in the Supreme Court of Canada last week
o The Metis ought ot be very happy that the courts have come through, essentially
said that everyone in the Aboriginal area is going to have some form of
o Not often that you see such an ancient claim surfacing like this
o Louis Riel regaining some credibility form the fact that his cause is being fulfilled
here in the 21 century
• **Question: how far back do you go to compensate?
o None of the people alive today were alive 140 years ago when all of this
transpired. No one is directly personally financially aggrieved.
o More like great-grandchildren who have claims to certain parts of the land…
o Interesting ethical issue
o Scottish heritage—should he claim money against the British government for the
Highland clearances? Should the Irish go to court for grievances?
o Should there be ongoing truth and reconciliation department that picks up the
slack and apologizes for historical issues?
• BOOK: “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda nd the Road to 9/11” by Lawrence Wright
o Well-researched, not just paranoid or reacting to sensationalist press or anything
o Highly readable
o Begins with Coleman (CIA agent in the 1990s), who had compiled 36 volumes of
transcripts, data, etc. on Bin Laden, and no one was interestd in the higher ups.
They just thought he was a billionaire Saudi prince
o He eventually got the FBI to open up a file on Bin Laden… o The book moves through the ultimate tragic irony that Coleman hooked up with
John O’Neil—dedicated himself to bringing Bin Laden to some form of justice…
Tragic irony: his funeral in Atlantic city. He was brought down in the Twin Towers.
o Gives you the real history of Al Qaeda, not just the boogie man amorphous
idea…from its early stages an dthe period in which Americans totally
underestimated Bin Laden and his early associates (all seasoned veternas of
Afghan Russia experience)—they had a guiding principle which defines terrorism
in a nutshell: a terrorist is someone who’s completely dedicated to dying himself
as long as he kills you.
o That’s tough for people ein Western democracies to swallow. We don’t go about
saying we can’t wait to die for a cause. Our credo doesn’t compel us to hrow our
lives as part of the ammunition.
• Convention against torture--- the one that Madame Louise Arbour (former justice of our
Supreme Court used)
o Article 3—says “no state party should expel, return, “refouler”, or extradite
aperson to another state if it’s believed he’ll be exposed to torture”—that’s
tantamount to saying there would be no extraordinary rendition
o That’s basically saying we were being incompentent or deviant for Mahar Arar,
o Article 4—“each state party shall insure that all acts of torture are offences under
its criminal law”—we’ve never taken any position on Guantanemo and we know
that water boarding has taken plae there. Not to mention many other forms of
• Wording is incredibly iomportant in terms of treaties, protocols, conventions, because of
the heightened levels of atrocities and grievances we’res seeing. Whether other groups
are choosing to intervene depend on how those treaties/conventions are interpreted
o Al-Bashir in Darfur—ICC in July 2008 began looking into criminal responsibility
against him. Eventually a year later, released an arrest warrant. But they took
most of a year to determine whether what he did counted as genocide. It caused
embarrassing debates to be reported from the UN (hundreds of thousands
dying). What’s in a word is very important.
o The Conservative government has retooled much of the language coming out of
Foreign Affairs. They changed a lot of the language related to things to do with
terrorism. They’ll no longer use the phrase “international humanitarian law” but
just “international law”—reduced to a vague sphere of cases, whereas the word
‘humanitarian’ breaks it down into human rights and indvidiauls.
o Under our current government, you’ll see that the drift in foreign affairs has been
to deal with regimes. We favour Israel to the detriment tof Palestine. In Libya, we
joined in the rather surgical demise of Gaddafi. But that puts the focus on the
nebulous, amorphous state and regimes as opposed to individuals. We aren’t
focusing on humanitarian abuses and individuals. o That’s why Al-Bashir is just laughing at us and doing what he wants.
o Child soldiers has been removed from published commentary from the
department. Now referring to them as children in armed conflict—doesn’t activate
the protocol in the same way against the use of chid soldiers.
o This waters down Canada’s attitude towards our international obligations (Romeo
Daillaire thinks this)
o We’d like to think of ourselves as peacekeepers and human rights activitists and
o Erl Mendes (uOttawa prof) says that changing the name to ‘international law’ is
shocking…it’s basically just interstate law, whereas ‘international humanitarian
law’ can be used interchangeably with ‘international criminal law’, very specific,
focuses on indivdiuals and potential prosecutions of indivdiuals.
o If we don’t use ‘international humanitarian law’, we’re not activating ICC, drifing
away from using it and supporting the use of the court, downplaying its
o DRC (Democratic Epublic of Congo)—Canada has a confusing presence there.
All kinds of violent rape by various soldiers and rebels and Lord’s Army types
there. The Minister’s office has reoved the words ‘impunity’ and ‘justice’ when
calling to an end to sexual violence, instead calling preference to prevent sexual
violence. That’s really saying that they’re not talking about the victims of sexual
violence because impunity and justice are not in the equation.
o Makes you more cynical and analytical when reading about the Foreign Affairs
department. Look at the quote and what’s coded in it.
• Another article “Duality of Gun Mayhem”
o How quickly we forget the horror of a case…we don’t learn from the violence
o Following the Newtown horror, in Connecticut, where teachers and kids were
shot to death with assault rifles, this New York Times editorial points out that life
is settling in…politicians feel freer to talk about more limited action as time moves
on beyond the event…
o Newtown is the national headquarters for leading anti-gun control organization,
the National Sports Foundation, with a bunch of shooting ranges!!
o Imagine the sound of a rifle shot these days, it must make them all so paranoid!
o People setting outdoor shooting ranges sets off the people who went through the
o One man was shot form a stray bullet in someone’s shooting range!
o Imagine having an outdoor shooting party where there was a horrific shooting
incident! • Cheney was invited to speak at Vancouver by a book club…spoke about his biography.
Totally unapologetic for the entire Bush administration. He even calls Condoleeza Rice
(former Secretary of State) and Colin Powell (distinguished military figure and politician)
o He was the one that said waterboarding ‘saved hundreds of thousands of lives’,
said he’d do it all over again
o You have to look at the quality of the person flouting these policies
o If there’s a person with integrity and candour advancing something you don’t
agree with, you could at least respond to it.
o But Cheney, when he was congressman in Wyoming back in the 80s, opposed
the bill to call for the freedom of Nelson Mandela when he was being
incarcerated in South Africa, he dodged the draft when he was young…
o Bush got himself into the National Guard (did air service)…
o Paul Sullivan of Metro magazine says, “what was he doing taking about
interrogation techniques and waterboarding…who will they ask to speak at the
book club next? Is Hitler dead?”
o That’s what our democracy means…that such a man can walk around, write a
book, come to our country and speak…
• He always goes on about how we ought to be embarrassed for not fulfilling our
international obligations and questioning some techniques used in preventing terrorist
infiltration to our security…
o But Italy, in great economic tumult…Burlesconi enjoying a resurgency (he dilly-
dallies with teenage prostitutes and is a billionaire and has no integrity)
o Italian prosecutors celebrate convictions of CIA operatives! Italy, of all places!
o This country took an incidence of extraordinary rendition and prosecuted against
o This is in relation to the abduction in Italy by Americans, of a person known as
Abu Amar. He wasn’t charged with anything but was flown from US airbase in
Italy to Egypt where he was tortured. He now lives in Alexandria and seeking $14
million in damages from CIA agents
o There were court-appointed lawyer for them, they were successfully prosecuted
o these charges
o **BOLD MOVE! Sets a precedent.
o **POTENTIAL EXAM QUESTION: contemplate whether war crimes charges
could be levelled against people like Bush or Cheney.
There has been known accounting for what happened during Bush
administration Extraordinary rendition has been going on since Clinton, under Bush, now
Here’s a country that stood up and was heard. They prosecuted, made
the statement, pursuant to and other principles and the ICC, that foreign
states can’t intervene in your sovereignty on their own whim and commit
international criems with impunity. They took that stance.
We were party to extraordinary rendition and part of the refueling stations
o some of these flights into black holes
The prosecutor said he was considering asking the Italian government for
an international arrest warrant fo the fugitives…what a principled stance.
Certainyl Italy can sleep well at night. They took their stance.
o BUT-- Seeing what else hasn’t happened in the world, you have to consider
might is right. If you are the ascendant power, you don’t have to be accountable.
It’s dynamism at play between the ICC and the US, which still hasn’t ratified it.
You also see that Obama said when he first came into power, he wasn’t
going to open up the past. The political cynicism underlying that is that
many senators, agency officials, etc. would be implicated in various
aspects of waterboarding. Think of the doctors pursuant into the legal
protocol for even the CIA doing waterboarding !They’re complicit. They
were party into what was a war crime/torture. The accountability would go
Justice Department lawyers who wrote memos to Bush saying he could
do whatever he wants with no accountability would get into trouble…
• Speaking of torture, and might is right…could look into the records since Nuremberg
(after Vietnam, after the French got knocked out, having learned their lesson in Dien
Geng Fu in 1954, and the Americans lost 50,000 men and walked out with dishonor)
o in Vietnam we had the Milai massacre and one lowly lieutenant was held to
account for that horrible massacre. It was clearly the result fo a policy with free-
fire zones that ran up to the high command
o In US, the president is “the commander in chief”. If that had been Hitler, he would
have been in Nuremberg. But we didn’t see Nixon or Johnson standing in the
dock for Milai.
o Guantanemo, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib!
Abu Ghraib: originally a horrible prison during Saddam Hussein’s reign in
Americans went in, converted into military holding facility
Seymore Hirsch (journalist) broke the milai magazine in Harper’s
magazine in 60s and 70s…now he write about the torture in Abu Ghraib. There was military policy in terms of handling the prison and detainees.
Three groups of people there:
• Common criminals
• Potentially security detainees (could be dangerous to coalition
forces, including Britain)
• High risk potential terrorists
But there were several thousand, including women an dteenagers
Eventually, the female reserve brigadier general Carpensky was relieved
of her post…a formal major investigation was conducted by Major
General Toguba—53-page report referring to sadistic criminal and
blatantly wanton abuses.
Muslim criminals forced to appear naked, do sexual activity with each
other, demeaning things…two detainees dead, one of which put into a
freezer and put away before even being assigned a number!
Eventually a few, low-level personnel were dealt with…the people in
charge of this had no experience with prison scenarios.
As a military person, don’t dismiss a brigadier general because a few
rogue personnel members were being stupid…there’s more going on than
Abu Ghraib is something the US could have been taken to, but that didn’t
• ICC include epopel like Louise Arbour, Romeo Daillair, Mahar Arar (spokesperson for
child soldiers, reform of security operations..), Lloyd Axworthy (former minister of foreign
o Axworthy wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail about Al-Bashir, said that Canada
ought to support the ICC’s arrest warrant for him…
o Al-Bashir has planned and executed systematic campaign of mass terror in
Darfur…hundreds of thousands have died (300,000 since 2010), 3 million
displaced and left homeless, unknown numbers tortured and raped…
o some people say putting out a warrant is not productive, leaves Al-Bashir little
room to negotiate and he’s still the titular leader of Sudan. Something can be
done with some negotiation. Some critics say what’s his incentive?
o But they said that when the international criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia
put out the warrant for Milosevic…but that didn’t derail the fragile piece of the
time, he was put on trial and that was fine. o Axworthy ends his piece by saying, “peace cannot prosper within a culture of
impunity for perpetrators of crimes against humanity…fo the sake of the people
of Darfur, indictment against Bashir ought to happen…”
o Haven’t heard of anything about that since…
• Having rambled on about aspects of terrorists, ask ourselves “what is terrorism? Is it still
a condition, a force that justifies the continued special legislation/extraordinary
rendition/torture/reduction of civil liberties?”
o We can agree that terrorism is non-geo-political (there’s no country against
whome we’ve declared war as being part of a war on terror)
o Interestingly, Al-Qaeda and terrorist elements have coelsced into local clusters
(North Africa—Mali, Libya, Algeria, etc.) But we don’t see the 9/11 activity of
o What is terrorism? (student responses)
US is trying to scare people from doing harm to the country…isn’t that
• Pakistani and Afghani people probably feel the same way
• The drone is the ultimate terrorist weapon
o Do you feel there’s a clear and present danger of terrorism in this country?
In the 38 years between 1970 and 2007, other than 9/11, the number of
Americans killed by terrorists was 340. That includes the 190 killed by
Timothy McVeigh (white Anglo-saxon military dude).
The number of Americans killed by terrorists on American soil since 9/11
to date is 11. That’s less than half of the kids kille din Newtown by guns!
o What’s come with the age of terror is paranoia. Playing on historical insecurity in
the US (we’ve seen the Red scare, cyclic nature of the bogeyman in our society)
o In the Atlantic (magazine) of 2005, a former White House counter-terrorist official
prophesied that by the 10 anniversary o 9/11 attacks (now), American economy
would be shut down by bombings of casinos, subways, malls, commercial
airliners, sabotage of chemical plants…the massive bureaucracy of Homeland
Security sprung up from re-examinatino of the diaspora of intelligence agencies
in the US—the bureaucracy was created overnight in order to reassure the
American nation. HOW? Ther were colour-coded terrorist alerts, advisories to
stock up on plastic sheeting and duct tape! Hilarious! Like the atom bomb drills in
the 1950s, hi