Term Paper – Anti-Terrorism and Security after 9/11

The topic I have chosen for my term paper is about anti-terrorism and security following post-9/11. When many measures taken by national security created fierce levels of insecurity among certain individuals and groups at home and abroad, specifically because most of the actions taken have come up against respect for human rights, international law, treaties, and conventions. Over this issue many have argued intensely that during exceptional times the state can, if necessary, suspend some of the basic human rights of the few (such as the right against arbitrary detention) in order to conserve the security of the many, others have shown that few such measures have proven themselves prosperous in actually reducing the threat of terrorism (Dobrowolsky, Rollings-Magnusson & Doucet, 2009).  Sadly, what we have seen in Canada of late is a alarming number of instances of national security preoccupations. Unfortunately, impinging on freedom and liberty, not only undermining civil liberties, but also undermining citizenship, equality and human rights (Dobrowolsky, Rollings-Magnusson & Doucet, 2009). Since 9/11, the “war on terrorism” has greatly undermined the principles of liberal democracy, altered the rule of law, expanded the use of executive mandate, held thousands in secret detention  without the right of habeas corpus or representation or trail (Teeple , 2009). Also, opened the door to torture as acceptable although its status as jus cogens in international law, and killed tens of thousands of civilians (Teeple , 2009). The principles of the “U.N. Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights and associated covenants and conventions, moreover, have all been trumped by declarations of unilateralism and pre-emptive intervention” (Teeple , 2009, p.33). Meanwhile, as for Western freedoms, the anti-terrorist laws passed by the state since 9/11 allow for more executive arbitrariness (I will discuss this more in my paper, and with my first theoretical approach).

For my first theoretical approach will focus on the work of Durkheim and his work on the evolution of morality, social solidarity, and law. Durkheim main argument was that there are two basic kinds of law, repressive (penal, criminal) and restitutive (civil,administrative, commercial, procedural); each is related with a particular kind of sanction, and each reflects a underlying social solidarity (Pavlich, 2011). The societies that are structured through mechanical solidarity, and which is expressed by penal law: “a social solidarity… which arises because a certain number of states of consciousness are common to all members of the same society” (Pavlich, 2011, p.77). While mechanical solidarity and penal law are common in traditional societies, “Durkheim argues that they persist in contemporary contexts where punishment to avenge offenders is used to protect and reaffirm the collective consciousness” (Pavlich, 2011, p.77). More now than ever, penal law and punishment come to be replaced by notions of deterrence rather than vengeance. This theoretical approach from Durkheim can be used when referring to anti-terrorism legislation. The main legislation post 9/11 is the Anti-Terrorism Act (2001) (or ATA), which was the first solution to the predicted terrorist threat to Canada and its people. The Act represented the Canadian government hasty response to the 9/11 attacks. (The ATA will be discussed more in detail in my paper). The act itself is incompatibly with the rule of rule and accepted principles of criminal justice requires adjustment, and undermines rights guaranteed to Canadians under the Charter, but most of the problems with the act are traced back to the way terrorist activities are defined  (Rollings-Magnusson , 2009). According to Durkheim’s ideology, I think that the ATA is a punishment to avenge offenders or deter, and is used to protect and reaffirm the collective consciousness.

For my second theoretical approach will focus on the ‘critical race theory’ which emerged in the 1960s to confront race and racism (will outline principles of the theory in my paper).  Regarding anti-terrorism and security there has been enormous implications put on race and religion. There has been this false perception in our society that links immigrants and refugees to terrorist and criminal activities and is being reinforced, serving only to further entrench racism in our society (Wilkinson, 2009). The changes to Canadian immigration law in terms of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act  and the Joint Statement on Cooperation on Border Security and Regional Migration Issues, including the fast-tracked introduction of the permanent resident card and the  introduction of the Safe Third Country Agreement all further encourage racism in our society (Wilkinson, 2009). These policies have led to instances of misuse, deportation, extraordinary rendition, and long-term detention without charge, all resulting in human rights abuses in Canada (Wilkinson, 2009).

Dobrowolsky, A., Rollings-Magnusson, S., & Doucet, M. G. (2009). Security,insecurity, and human rights. In S. Rollings-Magnusson (Ed.), Anti-Terrorism Security and Insecurity after 9/11. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Rollings-Magnusson, S. (2009). Buying security with freedom In S. Rollings-Magnusson (Ed.), Anti-Terrorism Security and Insecurity after 9/11. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Teeple, G. (2009). Towards a theory of terrorism. In S. Rollings-Magnusson (Ed.), Anti-Terrorism Security and Insecurity after 9/11. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Wilkinson, L. (2009). Are human rights jeopardized in twenty-first-century Canada. In S. Rollings-Magnusson (Ed.), Anti-Terrorism Security and Insecurity after 9/11. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.


1 Comment

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One response to “Term Paper – Anti-Terrorism and Security after 9/11

  1. It looks like you have put some time into the preparation of your descriptive section. Good work! On post-Sept. 11 Canadian anti-terrorism policy, see also the works of Kent Roach (including ‘Comparative Counterterrorism’ and ‘September 11: Consequences for Canada’), Richard Ericson (‘Crime in an Insecure World’), and the article we studied by Larsen and Piché.

    You can definitely apply Durkheim’s framework to make sense of the C-36 / Anti-Terrorism Act provisions. Note, though, that the most controversial powers available under the criminal law created by the ATA were not used (although the new criminal code sections around terrorism were). Indeed, many anti-terrorism practices operate through administrative or regulatory law. Security certificates, for instance, have punitive and repressive effects, but they are an immigration mechanism.

    I would also invite you to consider the function of anti-terrorism laws, from a Durkheimian perspective. Recall that Durkheim proposes that crime is necessary and inevitable. How does this apply to terrorism?

    Good work on the critical race theory section.

    The Rollings-Magnusson edited volume is a good resource, with several valuable chapters – just make sure that it isn’t your only source!

    I look forward to reading your paper.