So why did the Arar affair happen?
Because the State is paranoid, and the most paranoid of the State's apparatchicks are the police, especially the 'secret police', or official 'state police'. Those who protect secrets and weed out secret conspiracies opposed to the the state.
The Paranoid Style, indeed, lends itself to a worldview that has more in common with tragedy than comedy. Belief in conspiracy requires an interpretation of events as sinister and significant, and the vigilance needed to avoid being manipulated demands a constant looking beneath the surface and assumption of dishonesty on the part of others. As with Classical tragedy, in which the will of the gods was the unpredictable and inevitable mover of events, in the modern Paranoid Style the machinations of government (or the secret powers behind the state bureaucracy) are unpredictable (because individuals cannot understand that which is carefully hidden) and inevitable, with layers upon layers of secrecy and manipulation entrapping the individual (even the individual spy working in service of the government). This layering makes possible the twists and turns of plot line in a typical spy novel. This layering also creates a relationship between man and state that is alienating and disempowering. Man’s quests for freedom, rationality, and justice are hubris, doomed to disappointment and a tragic ending, according to the shared logic of the Paranoid Style and the generic spy novel.
In point of fact, however, the post-Cold War spy story seems to be more an example of comedy than of tragedy. This was perhaps predictable. Writing in 1988, Ed Black noted that “The disclosure of secret agents and agencies is not terminal; it concludes nothing beyond itself. It is ad hoc, a transient skirmish in a prolonged conflict; it functions merely to confirm the ideological position that generated it. Such a disclosure is, in sum, not purgative. It leaves the fundamental affliction in place and extirpates only one of its local manifestations.” (p. 60 in Rhetorical Questions) The crucial key to understanding tragedy is the moment of catharsis, which alone can signify the necessary closure. In espionage, there is no moment at which everything becomes clear and all the secrets are revealed. For the paranoid, there is always the suspicion that where there was one double-agent, there might be more who are better hidden.
For the individual onlookers, there is always the suspicion that what the state bureaucracy (CIA, FBI, or KGB, it doesn’t matter) is not revealing is greater than what is revealed by the limited disclosure of the spy case, and that context might very well alter our understanding of the case at hand.
Such was the case with the Liberals who after 9/11 joined other States around the world implementing anti-democratic, authoritarian, Bonapartist security legislation that stripped 'some' Canadians of their rights.
Yep we have heard this before its called the War Measures Act used to intern foreign aliens like Ukrainians in WWI and then 'foreign nationals' the Japanese Canadians in WWII. Of course then there was the 'apprehended insurrection' declared by PET over the FLQ Crisis in Quebec and that was the last time the WMA was used. However it resulted in the RCMP become an internal spy and agent provcatour against the percieved Enemies of the State; the left, unions, the anti-war movement, the PQ etc.
RCMP Spied on Tommy Douglas For Three Decades
It is the criminalization of dissent, of democracy. And the Canadian state and its private army of the right, the RCMP have along history of anti-democratic paranoid politics.
Scandal ensued which exposed the RCMP as engaging in illegal activities, burning barns, illegal wiretapping, agent provacatuers planted in movements, etc.
The result was the Macdonald Commission identified the problem with Canada's Military State Police when they were exposed for spying and dirty tricks on Canadians back through the sixties and seventies. Its recommendation was to sever espionage/spying/intelligence from the RCMP. Thus was CSIS created.
But the RCMP remained the same para-military secret police force it always had been.
It would seem so. In 1981, the MacDonald Commission, echoing the conclusions of the earlier Marin Commission, concluded that an independent civilian review mechanism for the RCMP was necessary to ensure proper accountability.
It took a while - five separate bills were tabled in the House of Commons - but in 1986 Parliament confirmed the need for civilian review of RCMP conduct was beyond debate.
It's now 17 years later and, quite frankly, I shouldn't have to be addressing the need for effective civilian review of RCMP conduct and, more particularly, civilian review of the national security activities of the RCMP.
However come 9/11 and the Democratic Governments of the World use it as an excuse to bring in draconian anti-libertarian laws against their citizens. All were potential enemies of the State but none more so than those who are Muslim or from the Middle East, who have swarthy looks, funny last names. It's called profiling and it was done on Arar and others by the RCMP.
The Liberals again unleashed their personal police force, to do their dirty work. Given carte blanche the RCMP did the internal spy search while CSIS coordinated international connections. And in between these two came a dangerous disconnect, one that ended up with Maher Arar being sent to Syria to be torutured by the Syrians on behalf of Homeland Security and CSIS.
Given their past practice I believeCSIS was looking for usable double agents, agent provacatuers, its usual modus operandi. When embarassed through internal misinformation and not being able to turn Arar or use him they abandoned him to be dealt with by the US Homeland Security and the CIA.
Once again the RCMP have engaged in domestic spying and espionage in the name of the Liberal Government of the day.
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