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THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. (Edward Bernays in Propaganda)

Proud to be Canadian
Screenplay

1. EXT. FOREST FLOOR – DAY

A column of six men is advancing in a single file through the trees. Except for the second man in the column, they are all dressed in combat fatigues and carrying guns. The second man stands out as he is dressed like he is going on a safari.

2. CLOSE –UP: (SECOND MAN)

The man is white and is trying hard to keep up with the pace set by the first man in front of him. He is sweating. His eyes are focused on the neck of the first man. We can see that the first man is not white. His skin color is brown. His gaze stops over the backpack the first man is carrying. It’s a military style backpack green in color. However there is an image on the top lid of the backpack. It is red and white. It is the image of the Canadian flag. The first man raises his hand and the line stops. The second man continues and stops by the side of the first man. They both looked intently at what is below them at the bottom of a small valley. There is a small village there.

Second man
Remember, no killings.

First man
You Gringos are so soft-hearted. A little blood makes you panic. Still you understand that my men must have their fun.

Second man
Nobody cares about a few brutalized villagers. Dead bodies are another matter. They complicate things and attract attention. And we don’t want any questions or attention. So you men can have their fun but keep them under control. No killings!

The first man nodded while signaling his men to advance upon the unsuspecting village. Suddenly one of the man stumbled upon one of the villager. She is a woman. She tries to run but the soldier throws her on the ground. Screams of women start to echo around the village.

3. FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

A young man is packing his backpack. A man and a woman enter the room.

Man
I have something for you, son.

Young man
Dad, I told you I did not want any money.

Man
I know. I know. But this is special. I remembered the day when like you I decided to travel the world. This was on the lid of my backpack.

The man shows the young man a patch of cloth with an image of the Canada flag.

Man
I want you to put it on your backpack.

Young man
Why?

Man

To tell the people you meet in other countries that you are one of the good guys. Wherever you go you can be proud to be Canadian.

END

I almost graduated with an English literature degree before getting involved into guerilla information warfare as an Information Guerrillero. What can I say? This was not the career path I had contemplated when I had applied and was accepted by McGill University. Unofficially my title is Information Guerilla Writer. The pay is awful. In fact, there is no pay and certainly no benefits at all. As a result, I am now supporting myself by taking on small translation contracts. Mostly this work involves translating web content from English to French. It is not great work but it provides me with the independence I need to carry on my extracurricular activities.

Today I was excited.

“The time has finally come,” I thought. We were ready to engage the mainstream Media in our very first battle for the control of the minds of the sheeple.

I observed the crowd surging like a tide around me. There they were. These were the sheeple and they were particularly busy today blissfully content to graze on their little spot of green grass unaware that the world was turning brown around them; unaware that the wolves and the dogs were circling them. The sheeple needed to wake up to a very painful reality if this world was to have a chance.

“You all can keep your head down but it won’t prevent me from smacking your ass with the truth…” I muttered to myself. Useless thing to say but it made me feel good.

I stopped in front of a window using it to see if I had acquired a tail. It was unlikely as no one knew of our existence yet. Still I love spy novels and having read hundreds of them, I could not resist the temptation of using the lore I had obtained in this fashion. On my way here, I had use mirrors of parked cars to observe anyone following me. I kept stopping abruptly; crossing across the road suddenly to see if anyone would try to match my actions, revealing themselves by standing out amongst the sheeple.

After doing this for almost one hour, I could guarantee no one was following me. I supposed the day I acquire a tail will be my first and true graduation day.

I swore out loud when I looked at my watch. I was late but my destination was near. I started running toward a vacant and abandoned parking lot stopping in front an old iron door decorated by many graffiti. Using the palm of my right hand, I banged against its hard surface to reveal my presence. The door slowly opened creaking loudly against its rusty hinges revealing a man whose face was covered by a mask. He motioned me to enter and to proceed down a dark corridor.

“You’re late,” he said.

I did not bother to respond. What was I going to tell him? That I was playing spy? I walked to a room located at the end of the corridor entering without bothering to knock. There were four people sitting around a decrepit table, its surface marred by cigarette burns. On the middle of the table lay one and only book; Propaganda ‎by Bernays which was our bible and also the bible of our enemy. One seat, the one closer to the door was empty and I quickly sat there while at the same time pulling out a stack of paper from a brown envelope I had been carrying.

“Finally!”

I looked up offering a smile to Dan who was sitting across the table. As a control freak, he would be the one most offended by my lack of punctuality by taking it personally. Dan was a video producer. His last documentary on fracking had received critical acclaim from the few people who had been to able to see it as it had been heavily censored. He felt robbed of the recognition he thought he deserved. His sense of importance had been slighted and as a result, he was always trying to reassert himself. Personally I did not like him for many reasons. First he was a pompous ass and the second reason was the girl sitting beside him who had taken Dan’s hand to stop him into launching into a tirade.

“Let it go. It’s not the time,” she said with a soothing voice.

I loved her voice. I smiled at her while wondering what she found in him and what I was lacking. Well, sort of… I had made several advances towards her in the past but all of them had been ignored or rebuffed and she had been quite vocal about my short comings; lack of good judgment, immaturity… Her name was Martine and while she was going to assist Dan with the production of the video, she was the only true activist of our cell. She even had been imprisoned when she had protested against the G20 Toronto Summit in 2010. She had blond hair cascading upon her shoulders. Her blue eyes were simply mesmerizing. As usual she was wearing a vest with a turtleneck underneath. I could not remember her once showing any cleavage since I had met her. This did not prevent me to fantasize a lot about her breasts. Yes, I was horny and it was not my fault. You did not meet a lot of girls doing work as a translator or by getting involved into information warfare. Damn! After all, I should still be a student chasing girls around the university campus. My track record in this department had been quite successful during my first few months of university. But then fate had intervened and decided otherwise and now my sex life was in a rut; a total disaster.

To the right of my lovely Martine sat another guy. His name was Mark. I did not know him well because he was always well-guarded. I kind of regarded him as our political officer since he knew a lot about guerilla warfare. I had the impression he wanted to be the Che Guevara of the digital age. As a result, he was in charged of communications and logistics between our cell and the rest of the world. Then there was me; the last member of the cell; a university dropout not out of purpose but out of necessities. I had been a student until last year. These were best months of my life until I met a girl. She was from Libya and her foreign charms were a spice I needed to taste. It took me almost a month to seduce her into my bed. She had been quite a passionate partner and we had many nights without sleep, just talking and having sex until morning daylight. It was during one of these pillow talks when she revealed to me the tale of how her family was able to send her to study abroad.

While her father was a minor bureaucrat, he occupied a position of importance for any foreign companies wanting to secure contracts in Libya. One on those companies was one of the biggest engineering Canadian companies located in Quebec. SNC- Lavalin was spending millions in order to secure government contracts in Libya and many of her family members had been the beneficiaries of this benevolence. Did I mention that my dream was to become a journalist and I was now sitting on one of the biggest stories I could think of? We were talking about SNC-Lavalin, an engineering giant which was considered as the example of success; a success which was supposed to be emulated by other companies. I started a small investigation which corroborated the truth of my lover’s allegations. I then proceeded in making the biggest mistake of my life. I wrote a text accusing SNC-Lavalin of corruption which I tried to pitch to different newspapers without realizing that the press was controlled in Canada by a few patriarchs probably sitting on the board of SNC. My attempts failed and suddenly I was facing one of the biggest law firms and they were able to secure an injunction while launching a multi-million dollars lawsuit against me at the same time. Do you know how ridiculous it is to be served in class, in front of other students, documents stating that they wanted me to pay millions of dollars in damages for libel and defamation when I was worth less than $10,000? It had taken me two years to save this kind of money to go to university and it took less than a day for this money to disappear when I sought the help of a lawyer. I was forced to drop out of university. In the end, the lawsuit was dropped as it had served its purpose of marginalizing me. So now you understand my true motives in doing what I was about to do. Retribution was a powerful motivator. I wanted to strike back against this system which allowed corrupt individuals to lie and destroy the life of honest people. My need for vengeance did not decrease when the SNC CEO Pierre Duhaime was arrested in Montreal.

Finally there was one person left at the end of the table. I cannot tell you who he was and what he looked like as he was wearing a mask. This was the recruiter. His role was to recruit and form individual cells which operated individually from each other. This is why we did not know who he was. If we were compromised we would not be able to identify and the damage would be limited to our individual cell.

“Well there we are. As you remembered,” I said “in our last meeting we decided that our first target was the mining industry.” I noticed Dan twitching in his seat. He had strongly opposed this decision expecting that his point of view would automatically prevail. He desperately wanted another shot at the fracking industry. We chose to differ. “We felt the mining industry represented the best target in view of the recent report hidden and suppressed by the Harper’s Government revealed by MiningWatch Canada . This report showed that Canada is now the leading; the number one country engaged in the greatest number of human rights violations in developing countries. If I remember correctly this number is by about 400% of any other countries in the world. Human Rights Violations goes from corruption, rapes, displacement of communities to murder. In addition we have the Blackfire Embassy Report just released. It demonstrates without a doubt political support through the Canadian Embassy for this kind of activities. Not surprisingly this information has not been presented to the Canadian public by the mainstream Medias. Have I missed something so far?”

They all shook their head negatively.

“Good,” I continued, “I was therefore given the task to come up with an idea and a script for the production of a video that would shock the sheeple in less than 2 minutes; forcing them to react to this information. The message in the video has to be powerful enough to change their reality… their vision of the world. Basically the idea is that after this video, fireworks on Canada Day will take an entirely different meaning.”

“It sounds like we gave you an impossible task,” said the recruiter from the end of the table.

“Yeah it was. For a while anyway. For two days I stared at a piece a blank paper. On the third day I was staring at the bottom of a bottle of tequila and then at the bottom of toilet bowl. Do you know the water always flush the same direction? Google it and it seems it’s not the result of unseen forces. Just the result of simple engineering. Bloody Google for revealing the trick behind the magic.” I expected a laugh or two but only complete silence met my attempt at a joke. “Anyway I did come up with an idea. A great idea, I believe. Hope you’ll share my feeling. So here is the script. The title is Proud to be Canadian. I’ll read it for you but stop me if you have any questions”

Proud to be Canadian
Screenplay by S.C.

1. EXT. FOREST FLOOR – DAY

A column of six men is advancing in a single file through the jungle. Except for the second man in the column, they are all dressed in combat fatigues and carrying guns. The second man stands out as he is dressed like he is going on a safari.

2. CLOSE –UP: (SECOND MAN)

The man is white and is trying hard to keep up with the pace set by the first man in front of him. He is sweating. His eyes are focused on the neck of the first man. We can see that the first man is not white. His skin color is brown. His gaze stops over the backpack the first man is carrying. It’s a military style backpack green in color. However there is an image on the top lid of the backpack. It is red and white. It is the image of the Canadian flag. The first man raises his hand and the line stops. The second man continues and stops by the side of the first man. They both looked intently at what is below them at the bottom of a small valley. There is a small village there.

Second man
Remember, no killings.

First man
You Gringos are so soft-hearted. A little blood makes you panic. Still you understand that my men must have their fun.

Second man
Nobody cares about a few brutalized villagers. Dead bodies are another matter. They complicate things and attract attention. And we don’t want any questions or attention. So your men can have their fun but keep them under control. No killings!

The first man nodded while signaling his man to advance upon the unsuspecting village. Suddenly one of the man stumbled upon one of the villager. She is a woman. She tries to run but the soldier throws her on the ground. Screams of women start to echo around the village.

“Do you have any questions?” I asked.

“The camera,” answered Dan,” on the close-up, it moves to the position of the second man. Does the camera remains there when the column stops and when the second man moves forward to be besides the first man?”

“Yes the camera stays put. I think this is best.”

“Why?” asked Martine

“Because it means we never see any faces. Sometimes evil does not need to be identified to show how it lurks in the heart of men. By not putting a face onto it, it’s like we are using its anonymity to bring it out. Whether it is the victim or the oppressor, it could be me, it could be you, it could be them or it could be us. Evil links all of us and we can all fall under its influence unless we are vigilant. I don’t know if you are following me.”

“I think I do,” answered Martine.

“I may add that there is also an element of security there. Actors that are not seen can’t be identified and we must remember the origin of this video cannot be traced to us,” added Mark.

We all nodded in agreement.

“Anyway I ended with the screams of the women in the village and then there is a fade to a bedroom.” I continued.

3. FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

A young man is packing his backpack. A man and a woman enter the room.

Man
I have something for you, son.

Young man
Dad, I told you I did not want any money.

Man
I know. I know. But this is special. I remembered the day when like you I decided to travel the world. This was on the back of my backpack.

The man shows the young man a patch of cloth with an image of the Canada flag.

Man
I want you to put it on your backpack.

Young man
Why?

Man

To tell the people you meet in other countries that you are one of the good guys. Wherever you go you can be proud to be Canadian.

“Do you have any comments? Do you want to change anything?” I asked all of them.

“I think we all like it,” answered the recruiter. “The imagery is very effective.”

“My father,” said Martine “was one of these people who traveled Europe and Asia with a flag of Canada on his backpack. He kept telling how well he was welcomed wherever he went. I think if he was alive to see this video, he would be upset.”

“Thanks and sorry about your Dad,” I answered simply. I had not known her Dad was dead. There was a lot I did not know about her and it was unlikely I was going to get one on one time with her with Dan in the picture. “Here is the third part.”

FADE IN:

4. Int. Studio-Day

A member of the indigenous Mayan Q’eqchi’ population from El Estor, Guatemala sits in front of a camera addressing it.

Mayan Q’eqchi

On july 22, 2013, the Superior Court of Ontario ruled that Canadian company Hudbay Minerals can potentially be held legally responsible in Canada for rapes and murder at a mining project formerly owned by Hudbay’s subsidiary in Guatemala against members, friends and family of my community. At one time, anyone of my people would have been glad to welcome anyone bearing a picture of the Canadian flag. Now we fear you. Is this what Canada stands for? Please help us by speaking up or by making a contribution to the “Proud to be Canadian” campaign.

Information about the campaign appears slowly on the screen.

End

“Well I am done. Last chance for any comments?”

They all remained silent until Mark started to speak. “Now that we have the weapon in this video we still must discuss strategy. There are objectives to be taken. First objective is creating awareness from the sheeple. We will monitor our success for this objective through the number of views for the video.”

“Do you think YouTube will censor the video?” asked Dan.

“Most likely,” answered Mark. “However are prepared for this contingency. We have many people available who can load back the video if it is removed. It will also be on Facebook. The video itself will be loaded on its own site will show the total number of views from all of the sites. Our second objective is to create an action. This is through our campaign “Proud to be Canadian” and will be measured by the amount of donations. Our goal is $500,000.”

“What are we going to do with this money?” I asked Mark.

“Half of the money will go to the Mayan Q’eqchi’ population from El Estor and the other half will fund various organizations that fight against Canadian Human Rights violation by Canadian companies. Our third objective is to displace the main media by creating new paths to alternative information sites on the web. We have implemented a google strategy where any google search will lead the sheeple to independent and objective news provider hoping that a certain percentage of the sheeple will bookmark these sites. Any questions?”

We all shook our heads negatively.

“Finally the last objective is to create a political reaction. For this we will be using the Blackfire report as a way to imply that Canadian embassies actively support these human right violations. The government will have no other choice than to respond. Denial will be perceived as a lie considering the government history in lying.”

“Should we use this as a way to bring Harper down?” asked Martine.

“Good question and I want to answer this.” The recruiter was now standing. “This has been the subject of many discussions and a consensus has been reached. We are not a revolutionary movement. Our goal is not to bring down governments to replace it by one that meets with our approval. We fight this information war to protect democracy; to re-establish the lost pillar of democracy which is freedom of the press. It is not up to us to tell which government the Canadians should elect for the moment Canadians have access to the truth in order to choose the right government. This is what this war is about. The right to information. The right to independent and objective media which are not controlled by a few individuals.”

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