No 1744 Posted by fw, August 7, 2016
“What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?… There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity… You can smell it. It smells like death.” —Harvey “Big Daddy” Pollitt, fictional character in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
“Mendacity, for those without instant dictionary access, is a code word for behaviour that is disingenuous, two-faced, deceitful, hypocritical. In other words, a term that more and more Canadians will soon be applying to Mr. Trudeau, whose PR perfume will not be able to cover up the mess he and his team are making in Ottawa much longer.” —Matthew Behrens, rabble.ca
Behrens’ concluding sentence — “Yes, Virginia, there is an odour in Ottawa. And that stench is mendacity.” — brings the reader full circle to Big Daddy’s “odor of mendacity”.
Below is a repost of Matthew Behrens’ article, which includes my extensive bulleted reformatting, added subheadings, and a couple of minor sentence revisions for the purpose of my own clarification. To read the original piece, click on the following linked title.
There’s something about Justin Trudeau and his PR-spinning Liberal Team that reminds me of the Tennessee Williams character Harvey “Big Daddy” Pollitt from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Pollitt famously uttered the line:
“What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odour of mendacity in this room?… There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odour of mendacity… You can smell it. It smells like death.”
Mendacity, for those without instant dictionary access, is a code word for behaviour that is disingenuous, two-faced, deceitful, hypocritical. In other words, a term that more and more Canadians will soon be applying to Mr. Trudeau, whose PR perfume will not be able to cover up the mess he and his team are making in Ottawa much longer.
Examples of Trudeau’s “odour of mendacity”
Useless platitudes, while carrying on much of Harper’s devastating legacy of military spending and troop deployment
Like the presidential American cousin with whom an embarrassing bromance [close non-sexual relationship between men] has been going on since the election that booted Harper from office, Trudeau has specialized in useless platitudes that, apart from the odd tinkering with the system, has carried on much of Harper’s devastating legacy. It’s particularly evident in Trudeau’s repeated eagerness to whip out his CF-18s and deploy them in eastern Europe and Pacific war games, all the while committing Canadians to a $30-billion outlay in new warships and warplanes while increasing troop numbers on the ground in Iraq.
Trudeau’s Syrian PR photo-op overshadowed by less well publicized refugee meanness and pettiness
And as anyone who works with refugees can tell you, after they got their Syrian photo-op, the Liberals have pretty much resorted to the Harper-era level of meanness and pettiness
Trudeau’s Justice Department engaging in legal assault on a number of specific communities
Here at home, Trudeau’s Justice Department has carried on a legal assault on a number of specific communities.
The resolution also called on Canada to issue a:
“[C]lear ministerial directive against torture and the use of information obtained from torture for all departments and agencies responsible for national security. The ministerial directive must clearly state that the exchange of information with countries is prohibited when there is a credible risk that it could lead, or contribute, to the use of torture.”
“[A]s part of discovery process related to the civil suit, Justice Department lawyers again ‘cross-examined’ at length not only Almalki, but also his wife, two oldest children and his elderly mother. Almalki says an RCMP officer — tied to the now discredited original probe of him — was present throughout several of the interviews. As well, government lawyers wanted to cross-examine his frail 91-year-old father in person, but agreed, reluctantly and at the last moment, to conduct the questioning in writing. ‘My family has been re-traumatized,’ Almalki said.”
Trudeau carries on his father’s practice of RCMP infiltration and disruption of peace groups
Such brutally heartless decisions have been made by Trudeau’s Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould. Like his father, Trudeau the younger is enamoured of Canada’s state security agencies and has no qualms about bowing to their every command. Veteran peace campaigners will no doubt recall how the RCMP regularly infiltrated and disrupted peace groups in the early 1980s who were resisting the Trudeau government decision to build and test cruise missiles in Canada. Such dirty tricks were part of what led to the creation of CSIS in the first place, and now Justin Trudeau is carrying on the family tradition.
Trudeau’s fight to prevent disclosure of documents in torture cases, exposes his contempt for their human rights
In yet another mendacious act that speaks to Trudeau’s contempt for the human rights of returnees from torture, on June 14, the Trudeau government appealed a Federal Court ruling that found disclosure of certain key documents in the torture cases could proceed even in the unlikely event it would reveal CSIS “sources” from 14 years ago. Claiming national security privilege, Trudeau’s lawyers have insisted that CSIS should enjoy absolute impunity in whatever it does. This issue arose under the Harper government with the case of secret trial detainee Mohamed Harkat of Ottawa (originally imprisoned on secret allegations via the signature of Liberal MP Wayne Easter. Harkat is now fighting a Trudeau government that seeks to deport him to torture in Algeria). When Harkat’s case made it to the Supreme Court, the judges ruled CSIS did not enjoy absolute class privilege, even in closed, secret sessions with only lawyers and a judge present.
While the Court found that CSIS sources did not enjoy informer privilege, they declared there is no “unlimited ability to interview and cross-examine human sources.” They fretted that if CSIS sources had to testify, even in secret session, this may have a chilling effect on the agency’s “ability to recruit new sources.” This concern is bizarre, considering ongoing reports from targeted communities indicating that most potential CSIS “sources” would hardly be reliable since they are coerced into spying in exchange for status in Canada. Indeed, one source in the Harkat case appears to have had special inspiration to continue producing “intelligence” because he carried on a torrid affair with the CSIS agent handling him.
Not happy with that finding, the Harper government introduced C-44, the Protecting Canadians from Terrorists Act (sic), better known as the Protecting Informers Who Don’t Tell the Truth Act. Based on this legislation, the Trudeau government has been arguing against disclosing key documents to Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin because it is concerned about the potential for identifying informants from 14 years ago.
Trudeau supported Federal Court of Appeal decision that justified the unjustifiable
The Federal Court originally ruled that the government could not apply C-44 retroactively in the torture cases, but this was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal with the full support of the Trudeau regime. The Federal Court of Appeal, using the technical language of the law to justify the unjustifiable, conceded that the new law changes “the rules of the game to the disadvantage of” the torture returnees. The judges then say in one of those wonderfully mendacious moments of sheer naiveté or willful blindness that “it is also important to keep in mind that the legislator is presumed to know the law and how it has been applied.”
Trudeau government supported court decision denying rights of tortured to know why they were tortured
In a preferential option for the powerful, the Trudeau government argued, and the Federal Court of Appeal agreed, that disclosure in these proceedings “could have a direct impact on the life and security of human sources.” What they fail to acknowledge is that denial of the truth about why these men were tortured, and holding spies accountable, also speaks to the most basic human rights that have been violated in the returnees’ cases.
Trudeau government supported RCMP’s search and seizure of materials from a non-accused citizen’s home
While this case drags on, another recent state security case that received little attention allows the RCMP and CSIS to carry on their usual abuse of human rights in vulnerable communities. Again, the Trudeau government chose to support the RCMP. In this instance, seven months after the Parliament Hill shooting, a person in Ottawa had their home invaded and materials seized by the RCMP, which carried with it a warrant allowing it to seize “any document, data and/or Internet search history related to Islam.” Other search terms looked for included the Government of Canada, “combat politics,” and the Canadian Armed Forces. All legal searches, for those wondering…
Home owner’s request for information on why the warrant had been approved was refused on illogical grounds
The individual whose house was raided was not charged, nor informed of why possession of any document related to Islam could be connected to a crime. Among the items seized by the RCMP were recordings of recitations of the Holy Quran. Seeking answers, the person sought a copy of the Information to Obtain (ITO) in support of the warrant, which had been sealed by the Ontario court. This was denied because the court maintained the individual failed to demonstrate that the order was unlawful.
Catch 22 — Defying logic, the judge declared the home owner responsible for proving the sealed search warrant had been obtained unlawfully! Huh?
In a December 2015 court hearing, a judge found that the rights of a non-accused person to know why their home was subject to a raid and seizure of materials was not the same as those of an accused person. The judge also found that the burden of proof that the search warrant was obtained unlawfully is on the individual who was subject to the raid. But how can that be proven when the information needed to prove that is sealed and beyond reach?
In state security matters, it appears Trudeau’s legal system and apparatus is stacked against citizens
In addition, what inflammatory allegations are in that sealed packet of information to obtain a search warrant that could be harmful to the individual? After all, it appears to have been connected — without any explanation — in some way to the Parliament Hill shootings, and under C-51, a whole range of government agencies can be sharing this information freely not only amongst themselves but with foreign agencies as well. This does not bode well for the individual in question, especially when it comes to overseas travel and the potential for detention and interrogation. In other words, the very issues still being raised by Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin, and still being resisted by the Trudeau government.
There was an effort to have this important case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. But Trudeau’s Justice Dept. had other ideas, and fought the motion to have it heard by the country’s highest court. The motion was refused.
Many Canadians refuse to accept that Trudeau continues to carry on Harper era assault on human rights
Those still intoxicated by the dream of a world without Harper don’t want the fresh perfume of Trudeaumania to be erased by the cold, hard facts of reality. But so many Canadians’ refusal to acknowledge that Trudeau continues to carry on the Harper era assault on human rights (one that is not unique to Harper, but which was also very much a part of earlier Liberal regimes) simply adds to the collective trauma experienced by so many of the assault’s victims.
Yes, Virginia, there is an odour in Ottawa. And that stench is mendacity.
Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. ‘national security’ profiling for many years.
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