Sunday, June 24, 2007

U.S. Embassy building in Ottawa an abomination

During a recent trip to Ottawa I happened upon the U.S. Embassy in downtown Ottawa for the first time. Located at 490 Sussex Drive the site is bounded on the north by Murray Street Extension, on the south by the York Steps, on the east by Sussex Drive, and on the west by MacKenzie Avenue. It’s a stone’s throw from the Parliament Buildings. It’s also a monstrosity and an insult to the city.

The embassy was dedicated by President Bill Clinton on October 8, 1999; the first time in American history a president had personally dedicated a new embassy.

With layer after layer of security measures the building resembles a fortress or a bunker in the middle of the city. The only missing is a moat, alligators and a drawbridge.

Traffic has been hampered by the closing of one of the lanes on Sussex Drive and MacKenzie Avenue to accommodate a cement barrier that runs the length of the building. Inside of that are concrete bollards, cement flowerpots and then a tall steel fence with spiked tips that surround the perimeter. There is virtually no way to drive a vehicle near the complex which is clearly the purpose of the security.

An article on the embassy’s website notes security measures also include “forced-entry and ballistic steel doors and windows and thick walls”.

You almost feel sorry for those having to work inside such a forbidding place located in the middle of perhaps one of the safest most open and free countries in the world. Then again when your country is run by a wholly unpopular lunatic warmongering president the building seems fitting and unfortunately represents the level of resentment that exists towards the nation in nearly every corner of the world today. And our Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper can’t seem to run fast enough to shake the man’s hand and offer to do his bidding. What an embarrassment.

The U.S. Embassy building in Ottawa of course does not come close to comparing with the new super-embassy the Americans began building in Baghdad, Iraq following the illegal U.S.-led invasion, overthrow and occupation of the country to gain control of its vast oil reserves. The $1-billion dollar structure on 104-acres apparently has 15-foot blast walls surrounding it and will have its own army to defend it. It will have its own water wells, electricity plant and wastewater-treatment facility.

(Photos by Joe Kuchta, June 19, 2007)


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