Don’t get me wrong. There is no comparison to be made between the assassination of people (some of whom are American citizens) not convicted of any crime on the one hand and the banning of events on a university campus on the other.
Nevertheless, the protocols followed by the US Kill Panel (that authorizes drone strikes on American citizens) and Concordia University’s Risk Assessment Committee (that censors on-campus events deemed “too controversial”) are strikingly similar.
Both bodies meet in secret and take no minutes (so no paper trail is produced). In both cases, the body is an ad hoc group of anonymous security experts whose decisions we are supposed to trust because (we are told) they are experts. Both bodies offer no justifications for their decisions and no recourse is available for appeal.
The Kill Panel and the Risk Assessment Committee largely fly under the media radar because of their shadowy existence. There is built-in “plausible deniability” for those involved in questionable decisions.
Are there other such committees operating within Canadian and American public institutions? That is hard to say, since such star chambers are designed to avoid public scrutiny. Reading over this blog entry, I realize that I sound like a conspiracy theorist. But these committees really do exist.
Strangely enough, there is much more coverage of mysterious panels that do not exist, like the ones conjured by the far right (Sarah Palin et al) – the infamous “death panels” that supposedly come with a public healthcare system.
For more information about the Kill Panel see http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/10/06-4
For more information about the Risk Assessment Committee see
There is no information about Death Panels because they do not exist, but see