Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

Crossing the Line
Bob Stark

"Our detention and interrogation were not only a violation of freedom of the press but also a violation of the public's right to know. Because if journalists feel there are things they can't report on, that they'll be detained, that they'll be arrested or interrogated; this is a threat to the free flow of information."

Amy Goodman,host of "Democracy Now!," a daily inter-national TV and radio news hour via NPR, in the U.S.A.

And where exactly did Amy and fellow reporters get detained and interrogated? Iran? Iraq? China? North Korea?

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

The answer is Canada.

"Et pourquoi?" you might well ask.

Amy's purpose in crossing the border was to give a speech in Vancouver about several issues: health care, climate change, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A celebrated "leftist" in some quarters, a "commie pinko" in others, she obviously posed a serious threat to homeland security.

The PMO continues to thwart any constitutional efforts to investigate Afghan detainee policies and actions by the Cons, redacting key documents to an extent that makes them unintelligible and thus useless, which would appear unnecessary given the security clearance provided members of the Military Commission established to investigate such things in the first place. Maybe Amy was going to be less than positive about Canada's role in Afghanistan, so the border guards requested a copy of her speech, for redacting.

Since Amy always prefers to speak off-the-cuff - without even crib notes - she could not provide any such document(s). So the border guards ransacked her car and everything in it. In the end, she was allowed to continue her journey on the caveat that she be out of the country within 2 days and to stop for further inspection on the way home.

So, what's the big deal Clobber? The border guards were just doing their job; protecting Canadians from subversives and rabble-rousers. Shut up, stay at home, and enjoy your freedoms.

Alas, the guards did not seem to be concerned at all with her declared topics for discussion during her pending speech, including the war in Afghanistan.

What they WERE interested in was whether or not she was going to say anything detrimental about the Olympics!

Things appear to be going, er, downhill, in a hurry, here, folks.

You will be escorted out of venues if you vocalize your objections to the Games or any of its sponsors. Don't even think of wearing any anti-Olympics and/or anti- corporate messages on a T-shirt.

Can't wait to hear Harpoon's chastising China over human rights!

Apparently, some critics suggest that my apartment could be raided if I so much as hang an anti-Olympics poster or flag or whatever in my window.

That's like sending Sid the Kid in on a break-away and reminding the Clobber that he might get a penalty for tripping!

I'm sorely tempted to put a sign up!

Any suggestions?

Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.

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