Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Federal Government sold out the mentally ill to US Homeland Security

If you aren't outraged at what our government is doing, you soon will be.

Thanks to Wikileaks and their dump of diplomatic cables (released early because of actions by The Guardian) we find out that if you have a mental illness, the US Department of Homeland Security might know, because our government had no problem with sharing something that might be considered private records.

The CBC story focuses on a woman who attempted suicide 4 years ago, and was not allowed to cross the border, because US Homeland Security knew about it. She couldn't enter the country, because, well, you know, she might pose a risk. A terrorist risk.

The part of interest is summed up very well by the CBC:

"...any information entered into the national Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database is accessible to American authorities."

Which means if you had a mental health-related episode, and the police responded, the United States probably knows about it.

Fuckin' disgraceful.

I'm not sure what scares me more. That the US requested this information, or that the Canadian Government handed everything over, clearly without regard for cases like this, attempted suicide. Or other petty issues relating to other personal things.

In December of 2010, when the diplomatic cables started to be released by Wikileaks, media around the world exploded in a wave of intense criticism, over the "damage" that would be caused, over the uselessness of the information, that it is stuff we don't need to know about. How misguided and short-sighted. In December 2010, I had my first op-ed published in the Winnipeg Free Press, in response to one of their opinion writers who thought maybe Assange would publish his phone conversations and emails.

My digging around turned up this piece by the Globe and Mail, condemning releasing the cables as "irresponsible" and chiding Wikileaks for all the clearly non-terrorist-related material.

And this would seem to prove all those op-eds wrong, wouldn't it? All the people who said it was irresponsible, that the cables had nothing to do with terrorism. Except that what people miss from that the point of releasing these cables is not because of terrorism, but to release information that maybe, just maybe, the public should know.

Because for shit like this, the Canadian people, have a right to know. This is not the kind of thing that should be kept inside diplomatic doors.

Democratic countries just like our own all over the world are having similar revelations about their governments. The information age needs Wikileaks.


The Analyst said...

This truly is disgraceful. Why the hell the US government requested that info, I have no idea - I can understand (even if I strongly disapprove) the rationale of using "anti-terrorism" to dig up info on political activities, but *suicide* attempts?

prodigalcoqui said...


Reed Solomon said...

It's shit like this that makes the fact that the conservatives are "working closely" with the Americans on border security infuriating. Will it mean we can cross the border without having to pay for expensive passports? No? Then screw working closely with the Americans.