Monday, March 30, 2009

'They just bully their way in'

Paul Palango, in Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP:
It is normal for the FBI and CIA to have agents in Canada attached to the American embassy, just as the RCMP and CSIS have liaison officers in other countries. But the Canadian approach to such work is much different than that of the Americans, who feel it is their right to enforce their laws anywhere in the world... 'Everyone knows how the Americans are, they just bully their way in,' one high-ranking official told me... 'What were we going to do, tell them to leave?'

The FBI, the CIA, and presumably other foreign police and intelligence services have been exploiting a loophole in the Canadian system. Informed sources say it is not uncommon for foreign intelligence services to retain Canadian lawyers, who in turn hire accounting firms and private investigators -- who can then hide behind the lawyers -- while conducting an investigation. The private investigators, most of them ex-Mounties, operate without the encumbrance of search warrants and other legal niceties. They gather evidence against Canadians in Canada while circumventing the laws of the country. All of this is being done with complicity of governments, which have collectively turned a blind eye to the practice.

J. L. Granatstein, quoting Robertson Davies, in Yankee Go Home? Canadians and Anti-Americanism: Americans are 'beguiled by the notion that the fate of mankind and human culture' lies wholly in their hands. They are 'natural-born crusaders, forever in the right, even when they are least aware of what they are crusading about.'

Rachel Maddow, interviewed in The San Francisco Chronicle:
Q: You are a proud progressive, yet you regularly take on the left. What has the Obama administration done wrong so far?
A: Oh, tons of stuff. State secrets? That was in a San Francisco courtroom, wasn't it? The judge was so incredulous that the Obama Justice Department folks were going to continue with the Bush administration's argument that one of these horrible terrorism rendition cases shold be dismissed on the basis that the whole idea of it was secret. Not that a specific piece of evidence was secret, but that the whole idea of the case was about a secret thing. [And the administration] dropped the enemy combatant designation, but kept all of the meaningful things about making somebody an enemy combatant. So there's been a bunch of important national security/constitutional things where the outcome is confusing at best and a continuation of the Bush policy at worst.
Image source here.