1) Letter to the Ottawa Citizen: The Suicide Pilots do not Celebrate Terrorism/2) Article: CSIS spying on The Suicide Pilots
” … We believe that individuals who feel the paranoid ‘War on Terror’ has become a self-perpetuating, overzealous, violent enterprise would strongly disagree with your conclusions. … Perhaps the Citizen should focus its scrutiny on those abusing power. … “
Suicide Pilots Music: http://www.myspace.com/thesuicidepilots
The Suicide Pilots do not Celebrate Terrorism
The Ottawa Citizen
May 29, 2008
Re: The “What Do you Expect” dept., May 23.
It is no surprise that establishmentarians like the members of the Citizen’s editorial board object to our band’s art work and political message.
We believe that individuals who feel the paranoid “War on Terror” has become a self-perpetuating, overzealous, violent enterprise would strongly disagree with your conclusions.
To be clear, The Suicide Pilots do not celebrate terrorism, as your editorial suggests. Rather, our message alludes to the rise of neo-conservatism in this country and its consequences. We are pointing out how the state calls its own violence law, but calls the deviance of individuals “crime” or “terror.”
Such a love-it-or-leave-it attitude by the editorialists serves a mystifying function, insofar as their trial by media comments comprise an individualizing discourse unable to account for state violence and the corporate media’s complicity therein. We are not “celebrating suicide terrorism,” but we are very much empathetic towards those who have been poached and tortured in this phony “War on Terror” by paranoid security agencies. Only organized resistance to state violence — its security certificates, its deportations, its secret trials, its renditions, its detentions — will suffice as a real challenge.
There are many reasons to be in opposition to the “War on Terror.”
That the editorialists conflate a satirical critique with both jihadism and Nazism shows how it is their position that is “crude” and “cheap.” The reactionary attack that you so gladly articulate at the expense of more intellectually honest treatment of our politics is but another example of the Citizen’s hypocrisy.
Where was your editorial condemnation when the Conservatives tarred all those critical of Israel’s foreign policy as anti-Semites? If you wish to discuss crude invocations of tragedy for petty political gains, you missed a sterling opportunity provided by the current masters of hyperbole and spin themselves. Shame.
Perhaps the Citizen should focus its scrutiny on those abusing power.
The Suicide Pilots
CSIS spying on Canadian punk band
Matthew Brett, May 20th, 2008
(Share widely) Canada’s spy agency and an RCMP anti-terror unit carried out an intelligence campaign against Ottawa-based punk band The Suicide Pilots, documents obtained through Access to Information requests show.
Following the arrest of the band’s drummer, bones (aka Jeffrey Monaghan), the RCMP’s anti-terror unit opened a file on the band, alleging their logo “depicts an airplane flying into the Peace Tower on Parliament
Hill.” A copy of the frightened-looking airplane caricature was included in the 184 page file.
“If you want an example of bloated police powers, this is it,” says Ottawa-based lawyer Yavar Hameed. Hameed notes that the investigation seems to be completely unrelated to the arrest of Mr. Monaghan. Monaghan was alleged to have leaked the Tory Green Plan last spring. The anti-terror investigation appears to have surfaced after media coverage of Mr. Monaghan denouncing the Harper regime’s actions of climate change. Monaghan has never been charged. The investigation is organized through the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), and the documents reveal an explicit coordination with Canada’s spy agency, CSIS.
Hameed notes that this case illustrates the unaccountability of police agencies in their efforts to catalog and criminalize activists. The Suicide Pilots have commented that the intelligence effort is another example of state-lawlessness in the so-called “War on Terror.” “The explosion of security culture over the past few years has cost countless innocent people very dearly, in ways we can’t even begin to fully appreciate – but this just straddles the line between disturbing and silly. What’s next? A tag-and-release program for social activists? We already have a make-work program for creepy, paranoid voyeurs,” says the band’s vocalist NaCl.
It is unclear why, precisely, the band has been targeted. The documents indicate that investigators believe the band compares “Harper to Hitler” — a reference to the band’s song entitled Harper Youth. It notes that the band has “anti-Harper songs” and a “9-11 type drawing showing an airplane crashing into the Parliament.” The documents also make several references to the recently-opened Anarchist infoshop, Exile, in Ottawa.
“Transforming artistic expression into a terrorist thought-crime is outrageous” declares University of Victoria Canada Research Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art Allan Antliff. “I would be interested to learn more about the definition of terrorism under which the police justify their actions. I define terrorism as the illegal use of violence for the purposes of influencing someone¹s behaviour, inflicting punishment, or seeking revenge. By those criteria they should be investigating the CIA, not a Punk Rock band.”
This is only one more example of Harper¹s “War on Terror” gone mad. If a no-name punk band in Canada can have a domestic terrorism file opened on them for promoting an anti-statist message, it sets an alarming precedent for the Harper government to monitor and censor all dissenters that voice their politics through art. All art, all music, is threatened by such RCMP and CSIS monitoring.
-The investigation seems to be unrelated to the alleged Green Plan leak.
-The investigation is organized through the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET). INSET is a recent amalgamation of intelligence and security agencies. It was created with the mandate to coordinate information flow between Canadian, US, as well as other policing and intelligence agencies.
-A PDF of the ATIP is available from firstname.lastname@example.org and Yavar Hameed
Yavar Hameed, Legal Council, 613 853 0840 (cell)
Allan Antliff, Canada
Research Chair, Art History, University of Victoria (email@example.com)