Saturday, March 13, 2010

As Harper Destroys 'Enemies of the State', Will No One Speak Up?

"In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me—and by that time no one was left to speak up." (Martin Niemoeller - 1892-1984)

As many were beginning to draw parallels between the Harper government and the Nazi Regime, I dismissed it as nonsense.

When I myself started to draw parallels between the Harper government and the Nazi Regime, I made light of it. I was clearly losing my mind, which some may argue is not necessarily a stretch.

However, I believe it's time to start looking at this seriously. This country is in far more trouble than just being on the brink of losing our health care. We are now teetering on the the brink of losing our basic freedoms.

And one of the most important freedoms in a healthy democracy is dissent.

Martin Niemoeller was a German Lutheran pastor, who was initially supportive of Adolph Hitler and his agenda.
When Hitler stressed the importance of Christianity to German nationality and Christianity's role in the renewal of national morality and ethics, Niemöller enthusiastically welcomed the Third Reich ....
But later as he realized what was happening, he began to speak out, especially over the new German Christian Church that taught a pro-Nazi dogma. He ended up spending seven years in a concentration camp, before being rescued by a Allied soldiers.

A key to the success of the Nazis was propaganda, and anyone who questioned their public statement was deemed an enemy of the state.


W.T. Stanbury is a professor emeritus, at the University of British Columbia. In November he wrote an article for the Hill Times entitled: Harper's communications strategy and some principles of propaganda

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a 'control freak,' who prides himself on being a top-flight political strategist, and central to his strategy is tight control over his government's messages. But let the pundits wail, thrash about, and pontificate. They are irrelevant to the PM's strategy.
Stanbury quotes from an earlier Hill Times article:

Harper has sought "to manage the government information flow to the media as well as the public appearances and statements of his own MPs and Cabinet ministers." Critics have said that "the wall of selective silence and control that shrouds the entire government undermines the free flow of information citizens could normally expect in a western democracy."

Has anything changed since either article was written? Of course not. In fact it might be worse. This new so-called 'openness' of a live interview on YouTube, is just more message control. I tried to ask a question about the legitimacy of accepting such a huge gift from Google, who are a registered lobbyist. It wouldn't accept my question. Others have tried to ask questions about abortion and the same thing happens.

They are clearly filtering what will be asked, and the answers are already being scripted in the backrooms. But that's it. That's what we get.

Some of the professor's concerns, and he later compares this to known 'propaganda' driven regimes, which includes:

Centralize communications for the entire government in the PMO (Prime Minister's Office). Threaten Cabinet ministers and others with pain of dismissal if they fail to keep their mouth shut, or when told to open it to speak from the centrally prepared talking points. This only works because Harper also centralized all important government decision-making in the PMO backed up by the PCO (Privy Council Office). This is perhaps the most extreme example of court government in Canada's history.

The most 'extreme' example. That word 'extreme' is becoming all too common when describing this government.

Those of us paying attention knew that Stephen Harper was from the 'extreme' faction of society. He was involved in some pretty 'extreme' groups back in the day before our taxpayer funded image consultants made him look 'prime ministerial'.

Many in the media remember those days, but sadly few of them are speaking up today.

According to one authority, "Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels," (Richard Alan Nelson, A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States, 1996).

But in their defense, there is another word that is driving those in the know: FEAR. This is a government of fear, and if you do speak, up they will ruin you. Lesley Hughes, Linda Keene, Richard Colvin; are only a handful of the people that Harper has viciously attacked.

I should correct that. King Stephen doesn't get his own hands dirty. He'll be seen on TV watching a hockey game, playing the piano or sipping coffee; while his minions do his dirty work.

How I became an Enemy of the State

The most troubling area of concern, is not just the secrecy and tight message control, but one of the reasons for it.

I'm firmly convinced that this government has a sinister objective for the Middle East. Driven by religious extremism and fueled by hatred, I think they are going to use Israel to launch a nuclear attack on it's 'enemies'.

Spearheading this initiative are fundamentalists like John Hagee and Charles McVety, who head up a group called Christians United for Israel. Hagee preaches from his pulpit that Israel must be left alone to do it's job.

That Harper is suddenly pro-Israel would be an understatement, but this is more than just mere support for another nation. They have taken this to the worst possible level, because they are now trying to pass legislation that prohibits dissent. Merely stating that you believe that Israel must be accountable for their actions, including war crimes, could land you in hot water.

Jason Kenney has been saying for months that criticism of this country could be deemed to be a hate crime under the guise of anti-Semitism.

His assistant Alykhan Velshi was a Bush administration insider who was the former (?) Manager of Research for a group; the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

In early 2001, a tightly knit group of billionaire philanthropists conceived of a plan to win American sympathy for Israel's response to the Palestinian intifada. They believed that the Palestinian cause was finding too much support within crucial segments of the American public, particularly within the media and on college campuses, so they set up an organization, Emet: An Educational Initiative, Inc., to offer Israel the kind of PR that the Israeli government seemed unable to provide itself.

And to be sure that we don't start to give any support to the Palestinians cause, new legislation both provincially and federally, will put us in our place. From Linda McQuaig.

The great 19th century political theorist, considered one of the seminal thinkers of Western civilization, is perhaps best known for his fierce defence of free speech as one of the foundations of liberty. Mill surely would have found it curious that elected members of the provincial legislature – presumably people who value liberty and democracy – unanimously voted last month to condemn "Israeli Apartheid Week", an annual student-run teach-in held on campuses in Canada and around the world, which takes a critical look at Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.

The attempt by our elected representatives to discourage this sort of critical examination of a nation's policies is particularly disturbing since it was directed at students, who are doing exactly what they should be doing. Our universities should be about more than just preparing young people for a slot in the corporate world. They should be hotbeds of critical thought, places where the conventional wisdom is ruthlessly scrutinized, where sacred cows are slaughtered. This sort of scrutiny isn't just one of the perks of living in a free society; it's actually an essential tool for preserving that freedom ...

And what will the government do if students protest tyranny anyway? Will we see another Tiananmen Square?

A similar motion was presented in the Canadian Parliament which didn't get unanimous consent but still passed to the next stage. According to Murray Dobbin:
On Thursday, a number of NDP MPs denied the unanimous consent of the House of Commons required to hear a motion from a Conservative back-bencher which would have condemned Israeli Apartheid Week. Risking the wrath of the vicious and well-funded Zionist lobby in Canada took courage as that lobby has managed to cow Michael Ignatieff and Liberals who run for cover whenever they are called upon to act with integrity on the Palestinian issue. No Liberals denied unanimous consent.

Don't get me wrong. I really like Dobbin, but he may have forgotten that horrible hate mail that was distributed by the Reformers in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods. Will we see some of this poison now sent to the ridings about the NDP? We can be sure that they will receive the wrath of Stephen in some form, and very soon.
The motion was part of the international effort to silence the voices exposing the racist nature of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. Many suspect that these resolutions will gradually lead to laws making it illegal to refer to Israel as an apartheid state. The denial of unanimous consent is a real victory in this fight and a set-back for Harper and his pro-Zionist policies.

This attempt to silence dissent should be of concern to every single solitary Canadian. This is not democracy, this is fascism.

And until my rights as a Canadian are completely stripped from me, I will continue to sound the alarm. Because unless our media and our citizens wake up and see what's going here, we have very little hope of saving this country from Harper's no longer secret 'secret agenda'.

Chris Selley wrote in the National Post, defending Jason Kenney's prejudices toward Arab Canadians and blind support of Israel by suggesting that he was well within his rights:

If you've been paying attention, you will know that Mr. Kenney's government makes no secret of supporting Israel more hawkishly than its namby-pamby, honestbrokering, Palestinian-coddling, UN racism conference-attending Liberal forebears.

Palestinian coddling? How is that not hate speech?

If we don't speak up now, who will be left to speak up for us? Consider this me speaking up.



  1. Thank you for speaking up Emily. Awesome post!

  2. Emily, you rock. I admire your tenacity :)