TERRORISM AND POLITICS
TERRORISM AND GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE
1. Case Study: Canadian National Security Certificates
2. Surveillance versus Privacy
3. Case Study: United States NSA PRISM Program
CONCEPT OF TERRORISM
Use of violence, fear, and intimidation to bring about political goals.
Potential Impacts of terrorism:
Life and Physical Security: harm to citizens
Political life: threat to political structure (assassination of political leaders; fear of
Economic Life: impact on economic growth due to higher security and market anxiety.
Individual Freedom: fear of harm leads people to change their everyday lives.
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AND LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY
Liberal democratic theory is based on a particular idea about how political power ought
to be organized.
Legal Authority: Citizens voluntarily obey because they respect the rules that the
government has set.
COMPETING INTERESTS IN A LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
Protecting society is important. However, pursuit of security raises concerns.
LEGAL RIGHTS AND FARINESS: LIGITIMACY
Another important rule is maintaining the legitimacy of liberal democracies is the concept
of legal rights and fairness.
Important to the rule of law (nonarbitrary use of power)
When faced with the coercive power of the state, persons should be guaranteed a “fair”
judicial process. Example: Criminal Trials
The state charges an individual with a criminal offence.
The accused is entitled to a fair and impartial trial to ensure that coercive power is not
being exercised in an arbitrary rule.
CASE STUDY: NATIONAL SECURITY CERTIFICATE
Permits the Canadian government o detain and deport permanent resident or foreign
nations deemed to be a security threat.
Process for Issuing Certificate:
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Solicitor General cosign certificate; often
results in immediate detention.
Federal court judge reviews evidence and determines whether the certificate is
Accused is only informed of the decision of the judge
State Interests: act quickly to prevent a terrorist event; protect personnel and tactics in
Legal Rights and Fairness: fair trial (knowledge of full evidence against); cruel and
unusual punishment (deportation to country where individual may face torture).
Certificate system is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court of Canada (Charter
CASE STUDY: HASSAN AHMED ALMREI
Syrian national living in Canada as a refugee.
(2001) Arrest: Suspicion of being a terrorist
Purchasing a false passport for a friend; participating in Afghanistan counterinsurgency
against Soviet Union; images of known terrorist on computer.
Detention: Held in special terrorist prison
Legal Limbo: Was not deported; risked torture in Syria. Was not released due to concern
about terrorist activities.
2009 Release: Due to lack of evidence that he was a terrorist.
• Court was critical of Canadian security agencies for not thoroughly reviewing
the accuracy of the information they has supplied to the courts.
SECURITY AND STATE SURVAILLANCE
Concept of Surveillance: State using the police, military, and other security agencies to collect information on the
activities of citizens.
Examples of Surveillance:
Observation (personal, satellite, drone, automated camera)
Data gathering (phone, internet usage, email)
Many western liberal democracies (including Canada) passed legislation to broaden their
surveillance powers, as well as improved their capabilities to gather information.
SUPPORTERS OF INCREASING STATE SURVEILLANCE
New Powers for New threat:
No longer foreign states or military; non