Tag Archives: wire tapping

Afghanistan Strategy Is Not Working

Canadian journalist, Thomas Walkom, writing in the Toronto Star, states bluntly the strategy being used in Afghanistan, “put simply, it isn’t working.” He notes recent deaths of Canadian soldiers and aid workers clearly demonstrated the strategy of providing security for the Afghanistan government so it can develop a program of stability has failed. UN figures show Afghanistan has become LESS safe since 2006 despite the dispatch of thousands of coalition forces to the nation. Walkom points out the Canadian aid workers were murdered within fifty miles of Kabul while on a major highway, and a Canadian soldier was killed by a security guard working for “our side.”

The reporter interviewed former CARE Canada president John Watson who worked in Afghanistan while the Taliban were in power. Ironically, the CARE worker was able to accomplish more in providing assistance while the Taliban ruled and even built educational facilities for girls. Walkom also cites figures about the growth of Afghanistan’s economy which has nearly doubled in the past few years, but a considerable portion of that growth is linked to increased production of drugs.

The recent death of a Canadian soldier by someone working for a security firm and the recent death of a security firm member by Canadian soldiers forces Walkom to conclude: “Afghanistan remains a country where groups of armed men, many of whom are ostensibly on the same side, roam the country shooting at one another.”

The Canadian reporter’s remarks do not provide evidence there is need for return of the Taliban, but he is identifying an important need, creating a vibrant non-drug based economy and having a military strategy that can cope with the Taliban. Those simply are not in operation in Afghanistan.

No Approval Needed Says Canadian Judge, Just Listen In

An Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled the Criminal Code emergency provision allowing police wiretapping without a judge’s authorization, while not perfect, is constitutionally valid. His ruling dealt with a major case currently underway in a Toronto court. The ruling comes at a time when Ontario Provincial Police are being attacked for using wiretaps without judicial approval. Mohawk activist, Shawn Brant, told a news conference this week, the OPP used emergency wiretaps to eavesdrop on four people, including Brant and his brother, who is a lawyer, because they knew they’d never get the interceptions approved by a judge. Section 184.4 of the Criminal Code permits a “peace officer” to intercept private communications in emergency situations– without prior judicial authorization–in order to prevent serious harm to persons or property in narrowly defined, exigent circumstances.

As always, if it is left to police authorities, the situation will always be “an emergency” and the threat to “persons” or “property” will always be imminent. Earlier this year, Justice Barry Davies found Section 184.4 to be unconstitutional. He expressed concern over the lack of “oversight and accountability” in making decisions when wiretapping was appropriate.