When the events of September 11, 2001 occurred most people did not have the slightest idea of their implications on civil liberties. The majority of Americans believed that those responsible were to be brought to justice by any mean necessary. With the benediction of American congress and American people, the Bush administration was provided with an arsenal of tools to go after anyone suspected of terrorist activities. Some remember vividly the famous words of President Bush prior to launching an attack to Iraq that even those who are against America’s war on terror agenda will be considered as its enemy (CNN 2001). It is now clear that Bush wasn’t addressing only countries that may refuse to be part of his plan but also those individuals who would dare to question the American motives. For example Bill O’Reilly suggested prosecution for war protesters as ‘enemy of the state’ (American Civil Liberties Union Report 2003).
Since 2001, hundreds have been arrested for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms, some have lost their jobs or been suspended from school (Boykoff 2007) and others such as Georges Galloway have seen their movements restrained on the basis of their political ideologies (Clark 2010). My case study analysis will examine the implication of the post 9/11 repressive laws on activists and will use George Galloway incident to describe how the Canadian government under the pretext of national security denied him entry on the basis of his political views.
Georges Galloway is a well-known British politician and anti-war activist for his view against wars. Mr. Galloway has criticized his own country Britain and Canada, United States of American and they allies for their involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Iran. He has also spoken against Israel settlement of Palestine and the blocking of Gaza. On 20 March 2009, at the invitation of Canadian Anti-War movement, Mr. Galloway was deemed inadmissible to Canada on the ground of “national security”, presented by Alykhan Velshi the director of communications of Canadian Immigration (Clark 2010). Galloway was accused of funding a movement involved in providing basic materials (food, medical supplies, clothes) to Gaza Strip under Hamas control: a movement placed on the list of terror organizations despite being elected democratically.
Clark (2010) argues that the Canadian motive to refuse entry to Galloway was not based on security threat that CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Agency) also confirmed but for his criticism for Canadian foreign policy on Afghanistan and the Middle East. Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley decision that cleared Galloway’s return to Canada confirmed that his political views of Canada should not be a reason of his inadmissibility (Clark 2010). Boykoff (2007) provides us with similar cases (Tariq Ramadan and John Milios) where individuals are denied entrance or “detained and grilled for hours” (p 271) because of their political views and association to organizations deemed terrorists. It is quite clear that Mr. Galloway treatment by the Canadian government was intended to squash political dissent using the post 9/11 repressive laws.
American Civil Liberties Union Report. 2003. “Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post 9/11 America.” America Civil Liberties Union, May 8. Retrieved December 10, 2012. (http://www.aclu.org/files/FilesPDFs/dissent_report.pdf)
Boykoff, Jules. 2007. “ The Suppression of Dissent after 9/11.” Pp. 261-308 in Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States. Oakland: AK Press.
CNN. 2001. “You are either with us or against us.” CNN, November 6. Retrieved December 10,12 (http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/11/06/gen.attack.on.terror/)
Clark, James. 2010. “What George Galloway’s successful tour of Canada proved.” rabble.ca. December 20. Retrieved December 9, 2012 http://rabble.ca/news/2010/12/what-george- galloways-successful-tour-canada-proved