Author Archives: bhally21

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.

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Sovereign Power and Counter-Law — Larsen and Piché vs. Agamben

To start I will briefly describe Larsen and Piché’s article “Exceptional State, Pragmatic Bureaucracy, and Indefinite Detention: The Case of the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre”. This article focuses on KIHC which is a prison built for individuals subject to security certificates that is located in Bath, Ontario and was created in 2006. This so called hold centre was created due to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks when most western nations were under much duress and facing international pressure to take action on anti-terrorism. In its hurry to act the government of Canada embraced the approach that exceptional measures found outside the realm of “normal” political practices in democratic nations must be taken.(Larsen and Piché, 2009). KIHC was a prison made to detain persons held on security certificates under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The people being held at this facility were considered to be threats to the nation, and maybe possible terrorists.

Agamben’s theorization of “The camp” focuses on World War II, as he uses this example to show the conditions in the camps, and the inhuman situations individuals were forced to live in due to their race and religion. Also the camp provides a kind of model “by which to understand this degraded life form that is excluded from the operation of law, and where a sovereign ban is exercised over such bare life without the protections of law”(Pavlich, 2011, p. 158).

Larsen and Piché’s theorization of Kingston immigration holding centre (KIHC) in their article differs from Agamben’s theorization of the camp , mostly on the basis of that there will be a shift from a post- to a pre-crime society. Saying that a society in “which the possibility of forestalling risks competes with and even takes precedence over responding to wrongs done” (Larsen and Piché, 2009, p. 209). Therefore, “the convergence of the state of exception and the precautionary paradigm can take the form of counter-law, whereby laws are drafted or reinterpreted with the goal of circumventing barriers to preventative action—such as stringent judicial standards and the right to a fair trial—in the name of pre-empting imagined sources of harm” (Larsen and Piché, 2009, p. 209).  Larsen and Piché  theorization is that state of exception will take form as counter-law which is known as undermining conventional legality. As for Agamben, the state of exception begins to become the rule. According to Agamben, “the camp is the space opened when the exception becomes the rule or the normal situation, as was the case in Germany in the period immediately before and throughout World War II” (Mills, 2005).

Furthermore, Larsen and Piché  make a normative argument in opposition to the KIHC and to the security certificates by stating that the making of the KIHC is an attempt to humanize this way of imprisonment, by making an environment better suited for long-term incarceration. But most importantly Larsen and Piché state that “institutions that operate within the rule of law have proved ineffective,  the claim that we can humanize the camp through gradual reform is dubious. The alternative to incremental “reform” is abolition” (Larsen and Piché, 2009, p. 227). I do agree that these camps can not be humanized and that it is wrong in society for a prison to be designed to hold non-citizens, who are being held there without charge or trail.

Larsen, M. & Piché, J. (2009). Exceptional State, Pragmatic Bureaucracy, and Indefinite Detention: The Case of the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 24, 203-229.

Mills, C. (2005). Giorgio agamben (1942– ). In Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy . University of New South Wales: Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/agamben/

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

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“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”

The statement that “law’s repressive coercive functions are obscured by its ideological functions that portray it as equal , universal and just,” means that the law is not really equal, universal and just, it is just portrayed as such to society. In reality, law operates on behalf of the power holders in society. The system of law is focused away from elites (major corporations and top government officials) and on street level crime and poor crimes. Furthermore, most research and theories in the criminal justice field focus on street crime, and most policing targets street crime and poor crime. As well, the disparity between the rich and poor is growing, with an increasingly smaller number of Canadians controlling much of the country’s wealth.
Marx argues that class struggle is central to the movement of history and that the working classes are the agents of social change (Pavlich, 2011). Marx states that classes are the product of, and defined through, relations to the mode of production (Pavlich, 2011). The capitalist class are the owners of machines, land, buildings and raw material which are used in the production of goods, which are sold in the market: “capitalists control the production of commodities and benefit from their sale. By contrast, workers have access only to their labour power, which they sell to owners in exchange for a wage”(Hogeveen, 2011, p.193).
An example of the disparity between the rich and poor is in the quality of space. Whereas the poor are often found in inner-cities that are older, crowded, often abandoned and over-policed, and set aside for the impoverished – including the mentally ill, the criminal, and the drug addicted – the sprawling suburbs complete with beautiful, well-kept properties and green spaces are enjoyed by the rich (Hogeveen, 2011). Harvey (1989) and Lefebvre claim that the history of capitalism is the history of a struggle for command of space: “the whole history of territorial organization, colonialism and imperialism, of uneven development, of urban and rural contradictions, as well as of geopolitical conflict testifies to the importance of such struggles within the history of capitalism” (Hogeveen, 2011, p.194).
A contemporary example is the federal Conservative Party’s commitment to be even tougher on crime, with mandatory minimum sentencing being the center-fold for the model. The plan holds that offenders convicted of a series of crimes would be sentenced to custody. The main issue with this is that research has failed to demonstrate the overall effectiveness of mandatory minimums in protecting the public, deterring crime, or rehabilitating offenders (Hogeveen, 2011). Furthermore, the target for these tougher and more intrusive measures are the poor and marginalized groups and they will be hit the hardest. Clearly, these law and order policies “locate their logic and justification in the poor and marginalized, who are subjected to exceedingly harsh punishment” (Hogeveen, 2011, p 192).
Overall, governments have undertaken a profound strategy of implementing harsh controls over the working class and street-level crime, and have not yet introduced similar levels of control over the rich and powerful. Now more than ever, the rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting sent to prison (Reiman, 1979).

References:
Hogeveen, Bryan. (2011). Zombies in Bel Air: Class and Marginalization in Canada. In P. Barbara (Ed.), Diversity, Crime, And Justice In Canada (p. 187-205). Dons Mills Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.
Reiman J. (1979). The rich get richer and the poor get prison: Ideology, Class and Criminal Justice. New York: Wiley.

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Society Sui Generis – Durkheim Socializes the Law

Durkheim’s sociology of law proposes that crime is a normal part of society, and that it is necessary and indispensable. This means that for Durkheim, crime is a social fact. Durkheim stated that “even in a society composed entirely of saints or holy men, there would still be crime as the exceptionally high moral standards enshrined would mean that the tiniest transgression would amount to rule-breaking, hence, a crime”(Pelovangu, 2010). He meant that even in a perfect society, it would be difficult for someone to follow every rule, and therefore even the smallest mishap would be considered a crime. Furthermore, Durkheim concluded that crime was not only indispensable, but is also necessary. Criminologists treat crime as a pathological spectacle and inquire in the mind of the criminal whereas Durkheim thought of crime as normal in terms of its occurrence, and even as having positive social functions in terms of its consequences (Coser).

He thought crime was normal in that no society could really enforce total consent to its prohibition, and even if society could, it would be so repressive as to leave no room for the social contributions of individuals: “deviance from the norms of society is necessary if society is to remain flexible and open to change and new adaptations. Where crime exists, collective sentiments are sufficiently flexible to take on a new form, and crime sometimes helps to determine the form they will take. How many times, indeed, it is only an anticipation of future morality–a step toward what will be” (Coser). Durkheim therefore argued that too much compliance coupled with too little crime was detrimental to society.
I agree somewhat with Durkheim’s statements, especially concerning the unlikelihood of a perfect society. No matter how great of a society we live in, there is always going to be a reason for people to violate the rules or laws.
A contemporary example that can be discussed along with Durkheim’s theories is the anti-terrorism legislation that is being implemented in order to enforce public fear about terrorism. Anti-terrorism legislation is bringing change and new adaptations to crime; therefore, many extreme activists are nowadays labelled as terrorists, and therefore may face consequences that heretofore did not exist.
Overall, for Durkheim to state that crime was normal meant that crime was useful “a factor in public health, an integrative element in any healthy society”(Pelovangu, 2010).

Sources

Pelovangu, R. (2010, march 5). Emile durkheim theory. Retrieved from http://suite101.com/article/emile-durkheim-criminology-and-sociology-a209663

Coser, L. (n.d.). Masters of sociological thought. Retrieved from https://www.d.umn.edu/~bmork/2111/readings/durkheimideascoser.htm

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