It’s not on their website yet, but the International League for Peoples’ Freedom has issued the following statement:
*Group decries racism and creeping fascism in light of so-called ‘home-grown terrorist’ arrests*
/For immediate release: June 8, 2006/
With the arrest last Friday of 17 people in a suspected terrorist plot (the largest Canadian operation carried out under the Anti-terrorism Act) an alliance of anti-imperialist groups calls on all Canadians to be more critical and vigilant against racism and creeping fascism. They also called on Canada to ensure the anti-terrorism measures would not violate people’s human rights and civil liberties.
According to reports, a mosque in Toronto was vandalized not less than 24 hours after the arrests. Lawyers for the accused also complained their clients are in solitary confinement, under 24-hour surveillance and have been denied access to family members.
“We are witnessing another wave of anti-terrorism hysteria being whipped up much in the same manner as after the September 11th World Trade Center attacks,” says Ning Alcuitas-Imperial Canadian representative of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) an international alliance of over 300 democratic mass organizations from over 40 countries.
“Government officials, Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), police forces and even journalists should be more responsible in their use of labels and terms,” says Imperial. “By playing up the idea of so-called ‘homegrown terrorists’ they are effectively creating hatred and fear-mongering against Muslims and people of colour in Canada who are already victims of racial profiling and marginalization,” she says.
The group cites the case of Maher Arar the Syrian-born Canadian engineer who was arrested and detained as a suspected terrorist in 2002. Arar was deported to Syrian police where he was tortured, beaten and detained for one year. The group also cites the exposure of Operation Thread in August 2003 when 22 Pakistani men and one Indian man were arrested as suspected terrorists. Many of the men were deported.
According to the group, it is more than mere coincidence that only a few days before the arrests in Ontario, the CSIS gave testimony before the Senate Committee on national security and defence that there is a “phenomena” in Canada of an “emergence of homegrown, second-and-third generation terrorists.” Jack Hooper, CSIS deputy director of operations said that 90% of immigrants from Afghanistan and Iraq do not pass security standards.
The group also criticized the call for an increase in police spending while “urgently needed social service spending continues to be cut.” The Vancouver Police Department announced the formation of a new anti-terrorism unit while $175 million is already budgeted for security for the 2010 Olympics to be held in the city.
The issue of anti-terrorism laws and labels will be one of the issues discussed in next week’s international conference, “Towards a Just and Lasting Peace” to be held on June 16-19, 2006 at the Russian Hall (600 Campbell St.) in Vancouver.
Featured speakers in the conference will include: ILPS chair Prof. Jose Maria Sison via recorded keynote address from the Netherlands, Luis Jalandoni, Chief of the Peace Negotiating Panel of the New Democratic Front of the Philippines, Sammi Ala’a of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, Dr. Carol Araullo of BAYAN Philippines, David Dennis of the United Native Nations, Elmer Labog, Chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement), Philippines, Rafeef Ziadah with Al-Awda Right of Return Coalition, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Sumoud Political Prisoners Solidarity group, Raquel Scarlatelli of CEBRASPO a regional anti-war group in Brazil, Gabriel Sainos of The Other Campaign, Mexico and Richard Becker of ANSWER Coalition, USA.
ILPF has also issued a request for Solidarity Messages:
We welcome letters of solidarity from your organization and messages of support for the “Towards a Just and Lasting Peace: An international anti-imperialist conference against imperialist war and plunder”.
This conference is being organized under the auspices of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), taking place on June 16-19 of this year, in Vancouver, Canada.
Please send your letters and messages by *Monday, June 12, 2006* to the Conference Secretariat at the address, e-mail or fax listed below:
The Conference Secretariat
ILPS Towards a Just and Lasting Peace Conference
c/o 451 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 1G7, Canada
Fax: (604) 215-1905
ILPS-International Coordinating Committee Member for Canada
ILPS-Alternate International Coordinating Committee Member for Canada