The FBI free to operate within Canadian borders: worse.
Years ago when people stoked fears of co-called "deep integration" between Canada and the United States, conversations tended to focus on tangible signs like a North American currency. I admit I wasn't concerned. Now, trends like this speak to an even more insidious and troubling integration.
Bhaskar Sunkara, the editor of Jacobin, and a reporter for In These Times, reports on his treatment on his way to Montreal:
There weren’t any bright lights or stress positions, but it was definitely an interrogation. Crossing over to Canada yesterday, I had the unusual experience of being detained for a few hours.It ended, as Cory Doctorow writes in Boing Boing, with
It started off innocently enough. I filed off a Montreal-bound Greyhound bus at the border with a few dozen others to go through customs. As usual, I was paid extra attention. Security officials may notice me, because I look suspiciously Muslim, but it’s a small price to pay for having enough melanin to pull-off a salmon-colored blazer.
Reasonably, a border official asked me why I was visiting Canada. . . . It was all going well enough, though, until I was asked what I did for a living. I said that I just graduated from university on Sunday. Oh, so you’re unemployed? That’s where they got me. My precarious employment is a point of personal pride. Of course, I wasn’t unemployed. I do administrative work and write on occasion. Probably should’ve left out that last part. I was whisked away from my lovely new bus friends. . . .
a going over from Canadian border cops who accused him of being 'political' for knowing about health insurance, and of being a 'bigtime journalist embedded in the student movement,' then demanded his phone and details of his contacts.Political journalists in solidarity with the resistance in Montreal are not welcome in Canada. But the FBI is. The RCMP plans to take "baby steps" to get Canadians used to the idea of living in a US-style police state. Embassy Magazine, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
...the Harper government is moving forward on several initiatives that could give U.S. FBI and DEA agents the ability to pursue suspects across the land border and into Canada.Smaller, more personal incidents of border friction are a frequent occurence. A woman in Maine is suing the CBSA over an incident with an overzealous border guard. It's good to see people fight back against that sort of power-abuse and bullying. But the larger picture requires a much bigger fight.
But, according to a RCMP officer, they're doing it in "baby steps."
"We recognized early that this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians," RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, the Mounties' director general for border integrity, told the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on May 14.
"We said 'Let's take baby steps, let's start with two agencies to test the concept, let's demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work."
Baby step 1, according to Embassy Magazine, has already happened in the form cross border pilot projects allowing Canadian and American agents in each others waters.
Step 2 is the 'Shiprider' program which will make it permanently legal for U.S. agents to be certified as police in Canadian waters. This is on track to be passed into law by the Harper government's omnibus budget bill, C-38.
And step 3, is to roll out cross-border policing over land.
Embassy also notes that the government is not ruling out U.S. aerial surveillance over Canadian territory.
These initiatives are part of the much-touted perimeter security initiative between Washington and Ottawa, designed to provide a thicker wall of security around the continent while easing trade barriers at the borders.
Canadians weren't asked whether we want the FBI operating in our country. And it's going to occur without our consent. Our only chance to stop it is to speak out in massive numbers, like the people in Quebec are doing. Because by now it should be clear that it's not just Quebec students in the street, and the fight isn't just about tuition fees. (More on that here, and more coming soon.)
Canadians, we need to wake up - we need to reach more of our apolitical neighbours - and we need to make noise.