If I were asked to choose two words that most comprehensively describe Canada’s role in global politics these days they would have to be hypocrisy and absurdity.

Take, for instance, the idea that Prime Minister Trudeau is trying to find an opportune time to announce that Canada will ban the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies from developing 5G networks in Canada because China might (some day) use some aspect of that to spy on Canadians.

Yikes-my jumping jollipers! “Might Spy-someday”!!? Did these guys miss the whole of the biggest surveillance news of this century with the release of the Snowden papers? The Americans (now)spy on everything that moves through their immense, pernicious monitoring of everything that exists.  You can’t fluff in the wind without some American spyware analyzing the air for hints of borscht, chop suey, perogies or Canadian cheese.

Back in the 1990’s I had a close friend who was extremely capable at computer programming: so capable that after a few years developing software for the movie industry he was asked by the American military to help write code for war games so military men could get experience at war time contingencies before they were actually in a war with difficult to predict outcomes. (Horrendous or perhaps hideous—the options they were willing to consider) From the military he went on to establish his own software development firm. One night over several beer he confided to me that in the US software developers are required to put back door access code into their programs so the US military can access any computer it wants to search for info OR to place info that will mislead the computer’s owner and, thus, act in some way that he wouldn’t otherwise do. Those who refuse could be imprisoned until they relent.

I was shocked at how Orwellian computer technology had become but that was trivial compared to the American spying that was going on by the time Snowden began releasing his papers. Snowden documented the conspiracy of Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia and UK in a “Five Eyes” alliance to spy on everything that moves. Empowered by legal hocus pocus to avoid any/every  kind of legal restraints on spying on their own citizens the Five Eyes unleashed a spying network that makes 1984 look like play station 1a. This massive, global spy system collects, stores and analyzes everything: private, commercial, military, research down to the least blink of a mouse’s eye–faxes, email, data, phones—nothing escapes the FVEY roving eye.

And auxiliary to the collection of data goes the export of malware of every sort. I see in the NYT today the US is now planting disruptive malware into the Russian power grid—to disrupt their economy. The CIA’s global covert hacking program exploits a wide range of U.S. and European company products, including Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows. Even Samsung TVs, are turned into covert microphones. You don’t have to have your smart TV on for it to be spying on you.

The CIA even forged a surveillance partnership with Libya’s ruler Muammar Gaddafi to spy on Libyan dissidents, in exchange for permission to use Libya as a base for extraordinary rendition—a torture centre that lays bare the myth of America as land of brave, free and decent people.

And there is no end to it. The Americans are spying on all their associates—even while they profess to be conspiring with them to spy on others!

Canada through the Five Eyes is outsourcing its surveillance of Canadians and others to US surveillance dragnets while hiding our spying from Canadian courts. We knew that being connected had a price – our privacy. But we (no not we but our politicians) don’t seem to care how high that price is.

And, on Donald Trump’s word,  we are supposed to ban Huawei because it might someday be commandeered as an instrument of governmental spying?

Yikes, remember when, under a very different Trudeau, we had an independent foreign policy in the interest of Canadians?

Now we have a Prime Minister Trudeau who proclaims “rule of law” while overseeing  the imprisonment of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Why? Because her firm reportedly circumvented the US declared sanctions on Iran. Sanctions that not even US allies support. Canada doesn’t, but we are willing to arrest and confine Meng Wanzhou because her firm doesn’t dance to the US fiddler? If the US decrees that it is illegal to be Palestinian—the kind of thing tin-pot despots are inclined to do—are we going to go around arresting and confining Palestinians because of “the rule of law”? Or are we going to stand up for laws that are based in equally/fairly applied justice? Do we, in fact, still believe in the right of citizens to some kind of privacy?  Will we base our commercial and international relations on fairness and a desire to work together for the benefit of all or be managed by the inconsistent, one-sided, hypocritical absurdities that are blowing out of Washington these days? 

 

Norm Reynolds