Posted by troublemaker on December 3, 2011
Like most presidents have in the past, President Barack Obama made statements and promises during his campaign which he did not live up to while in office. One of those promises was that he aspired to a transparent government. Why then has there been a fundamental change in border and police policy without little more than a mention? Previously, we pointed to the fundamental shift in the role of the U.S. military. Where previously, the US military was responsible for protecting U.S. boarders, today it has been deployed within the United States for riot and crowd control. Thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act, civil rights have effective been suspended in the United States. If a US citizen is suspected of being a subversive, s/he can be arrested and held indefinitely without the right to a lawyer, court, or judge.
On the heels of the fundamental shift in the function of the U.S. military, an agreement has been struck between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama. Created behind closed doors, that agreement grants armed U.S. law enforcement agents to operate north of U.S. border. In addition to sharing arrest authority on both sides of the shared border, the agreement will result in the generation of shared lists of all persons not only crossing the U.S. / Canadian border but all persons exiting or entering either country. As a U.S. citizen, if you visit Mexico your government will notify Canada. As a Canadian citizen, if you visit Germany your government will notify the United States. (1)
“This process has really been conducted behind closed doors. We’ve had no white papers, no reports — nothing that we could point to say, ‘Here are the pros and cons, here are the drawbacks, here are the things we are considering,’ ” – Micheal Vonn, policy director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association(1)
Although this program will be introduced to the citizens of the United States and Canada as a joint operation intended to combat terrorism, Micheal Vonn, policy director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has been clear in her belief that there has been little Canadian involvement in this joint project.
“It’s contemptuous of Canadian citizenry to unveil a program in which we’ve had essentially no input,” – Micheal Vonn, policy director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.(1)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to the U.S. terms despite Canadian citizens objection and concerns over privacy issues. He agreed despite concerns expressed by Canadian Assistant privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier. He agreed despite concerns expressed by many other heads of Canadian state.
“…our sovereignty needs protection as this unfolds.” – Canadian Assistant privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier(1)
Although the United States puts forward the notion that this new agreement is intended to improve border security and trade, one has to wonder why the name of the pilot program is “Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness ” (2). The idea seems to be to address the United States and Canada as one country, evidently with a common law enforcement entity.
“To preserve and extend the benefits our close relationship has helped bring to Americans and Canadians alike, we intend to pursue a perimeter approach to security, working together within, at, and away from the borders of our two countries to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. We intend to do so in partnership, and in ways that support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity.” – From the White House (2)