Dr.Dawg

Conservatism: not a politics...

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…a diagnosis.

This is a bit of a tangled tale: of Afghan detainees, torture, Canadian complicity, the work of University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran to bring the truth to light, and the sick persecution of the latter by extreme-right hooligans.

1) Some clinical notes

Those with tender sensibilities might want to stop reading at this point. Those with a clinical interest in the workings of the conservative mind, press on. Here is mail received from CF veteran booster Malcolm Bisset:

From: malcolm bisset leddhed@hotmail.com
Date: Saturday, 8 September, 2012 6:56 PM
To: Amir Attaran
Subject: you phoney canadian piece of shit

GO HOME YOU PHONEY CANADIAN MUSLIM PIECE OF SHIT . PUT UP OR SHUT UP ASSHOLE . WE DO NOT NEED PEOPLE LIKE YOU BRINGING YOUR 1000 YEAR WAR TO CANADA , COMING HERE AND EXPECTING US TO CHANGE OUR CONSTITUTION FOR YOUR PHONEY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS . AND WE PAY YOU 127.000 A YEAR TO SPOUT A LOT OF SHIT FROM THAT BROWN PIE HOLE OF YOURS . GO HOME YOU FAG , MOHAMED IS A CHILD MOLESTER [ BOYS OF KABUL] . SOMEBODY NEEDS TO PUT THEIR PROUD CANADIAN MADE BOOT UP YOUR FILTHY ASSHOLE , PUSS NUTS MUSLIM PIECE OF SHIT . YOUR KIND DESECRATES CANADIAN WAR GRAVES IN DAMASCUS THEN HOLDS OPEN THEIR HAND FOR HELP JUST FUCK OFF AND GO HOME . LIKE WE SAID TO HITLER DAS DICKE ENDE KOMMIT NOCHE AND WE MENT IT , SO ONE DAY CHRISTIANS IN CANADA WILL FUCKIN DECLARE JIHAD AGAINST YOU FUCKERS AND WE’LL GIVE YOU A NASTY FUCKIN SURPRISE SO GO FUCKIN HOME YOU LOUD MOUTH LIAR PIECE OF MUSLIM SHIT . MAY THE FLEES OF A THOUSAND PALISTINAN CAMELS INFEST YOUR SISTERS TWAT! YOUR PEOPLE ARE TURNING CHRISTIAN CANADIANS AGAINST THEM BECAUSE YOU DON’T KISS OUR ASS WHEN YOU FUCKIN COME HERE . DAS DIKE ENDE KOMMIT NOCHE COMMRAD ! MALCOLM BISSET EDMONTON ALBERTA [ MUSLIM HATER]

Attaran dug around a little, and responded:

Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 19:01:46 -0400
Subject: Re: you phoney canadian piece of shit
From: Amir Attaran
To: leddhed@hotmail.com

Dear Malcolm,

This is you? http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/land-terre/news-nouvelles/story-reportage-eng.asp?id=5493 I thought people who worked with the military were honourable, but if that’s you, I guess not.

Amir

The immediate reply from Bisset was:

From: malcolm bisset leddhed@hotmail.com
Date: Saturday, 8 September, 2012 7:03 PM
To: Amir Attaran
Subject: RE: you phoney canadian piece of shit

FUCK OFF ASSHOLE

But Attaran pressed the point:

Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 19:55:01 -0400
Subject: Re:
From: Amir Attaran
To: leddhed@hotmail.com

So you were the fellow who restored the tank in that video? That’s you? Such a nice fellow in the video, if that’s you.

I don’t know who your loved ones are, but tell them that you need psychiatric help, because it is not normal for people to have two such radical sides to their personality.

Amir

And he received his confirmation:

From: malcolm bisset leddhed@hotmail.com
Date: Saturday, 8 September, 2012 8:00 PM
To: Amir Attaran
Subject: RE:

yes thats me and i am a proud canadian and have redical views about white christians born in this country to which i am and do not like your kind and all the world war 2 veterans i know feel the same way so you can still kiss my ass

2) The backstory

OK, what brought on this sick slobbering of racist hatred?

Readers will recall that, quite some time ago, Attaran called for the release of documents that implicated the Harper government and Canadian Forces brass in the torture of Afghan detainees.

That, together with the riveting testimony of diplomat Richard Colvin, ignited a bit of a firestorm. The government was found to be in contempt of Parliament for not releasing pertinent documents. Then a toothless all-party committee was struck, and was permitted to examine 10% of the documents its members requested. When Harper achieved his majority last year, he soon put a stop to the proceedings.

A separate investigation, by the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) ended this past June with the exoneration of several Canadian troops. The MPCC had been neutered by continued government stonewalling. Judging by its frantic cover-up moves, the government has always had something to hide on the Afghan detainee issue.

Meanwhile, the torture of Afghan prisoners remains commonplace, and a particularly notorious torturer has just achieved high office in Afghanistan.

And in Canada, torture is now being mainstreamed by the Harper government.

Now, as many have learned to their cost, it doesn’t pay to mess with the mafia. Professor Attaran suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a virtual barrage of Access to Information requests, demanding the most personal details of his life at the University of Ottawa.

The University simply rolled over, providing the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner with, among other things, his credit card number, his home address and the address of his parents. But eventually, reason prevailed. The Commissioner ruled that most of the requested information didn’t have to be provided, and that the abuse of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act by “John Doe” was a serious attack on academic freedom.

Other critics of the government have been subjected to similar assaults. The Prime Minister’s Office, of course, has disclaimed all knowledge of any of that. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.

3) The frontstory

Enter, at last, Brian Lilley, a “senior Parliamentary correspondent” for SubMedia, who is not so much a journalist as a shrill extreme-right polemicist for whom facts are all too frequently distractions. In a characteristically vicious article published thsi past Thursday, he calls Attaran a “hypocrite” because the latter demanded disclosure of the government’s torture-documents, but resisted giving out information including his own credit-card number to an anonymous troublemaker.

For Lilley to throw the word “hypocrite” around is really a bit rich. This great defender of free speech had nothing to say, for example, when the RCMP recently grounded a plane hired by a union to trail an anti-Harper banner. And this strong opponent of hate-speech restrictions in the Canadian Human Rights Act has no difficulty with state intrusion into the personal lives of professors with whom he happens to disagree politically. Accusing Attaran of “smear-mongering” is the icing on the cake.

Too often these “small government” types, as we see over and over again, turn into jackbooted statists when it suits their purposes. SubMedia gets taxpayer dollars too—I wonder how Lilley and his colleagues would feel about being forced to disclose their parents’ addresses and their credit card numbers to total strangers? One can imagine the pearl-clutching faux-libertarianism that would fill the SUB’s pages and stuff the SubTV airwaves.

But Lilley has no difficulty launching an irresponsible attack on a Canadian citizen for resisting an all-out assault on his privacy, ending thus:

Amir Attaran smeared the Canadian Forces. He made outrageous allegations about our troops to the Canadian public and the world that he hasn’t substantiated, and sullied Canada’s reputation internationally. Now he his attempting to bully anyone that wants to look into his work. The next time you see his name cited as an expert in anything, consider the source.

No mention that Attaran’s and similar claims have been taken seriously enough to be the subject of two separate investigations, which failed only because of massive interference by the Harper government. As noted, Attaran’s stand against state-facilitated snooping merits not support but scorn. And do not ignore the bizarre non sequitur contained in the final sentence.

Lilley’s inflammatory piece was guaranteed to whip up the rabid dogs who inhabit Harperspace, as we have seen. It is not going too far, in fact, to suggest that this is the whole point of the exercise. Lilley is deliberately selecting a target and provoking a public reaction, without getting his own hands dirty, of course, with material like that reproduced above. Similar sub-literate yowls of hate may be found in the comment threads at the National Post, the Toronto SUB, and at several far-right blogsites, drawn forth by similar columns and posts.

It takes only one nutcase with a gun to take that sort of thing seriously enough to act, as we have observed again and again in the US. We may be thankful, I think, that mob-inciters like Brian Lilley, and their disturbed conservative readers and viewers, live in a country where access to firearms is—at least for the moment—relatively restricted. Otherwise, opponents of the Harper government would have every reason to seek police protection.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on September 9, 2012 1:09 PM.

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