Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer is Blockbluster time!

I admit I have turned away from the tragedy of the gulf oil spill and the mediocrity of our politicians to enjoy a little of this fleeting summer. No, I'm not relaxing outside, I'm indoors obsessing on Go Animate, the cool online cartoon creator that was used to make the famous Officer Bubbles vid. But, because it is summer, it's time for the blockbuster movie. Here'a a trailer for the fictional Avatar II - Revenge of the Bun'i Avatar II by Fillibluster

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010


My first foray into animation. Please enjoy responsibly.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Fighter jets good - health care, not so much

Are Canadians beginning to get the message? Today it was announced that "Ottawa", ie Harper and his government of thugs and scoundrels, will spend $16 billion on an untendered contract with Lockheed Martin for 65 new fighter jets, after recently spending $2.6 billion upgrading existing jets. Does anyone still think we're going to be getting out of Afghanistan, as promised, in 2011?

At the same time, mini-minister of finance, Flim-Flam Jim scolded the provinces for their "rampant" spending on health care. "This is an issue that needs to be grappled with," he told New Brunswick's Telegraph Journal. You know what really needs to be grappled with? His boss's bullshit priorities.

All the relief I felt when the Repuglicans were defeated south of the border has been replaced by dismay over the continued presence of Harper and his goon squad of recycled Mike Harris incompetents, used car dealers, ambulance chasers, xenophobes and religious wing-nuts.

Harper's "hidden agenda" is becoming less hidden by the day. When are Canadians going to awaken from their collective stupor and bring this government down?

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cons try to block G20 hearings - it's deja vu all over again

So much so that I can barely summon the energy to write about it. But then, that would play right into their hands wouldn't it? A scenario in which people become so disgusted with politics that they simply disengage, when what we need to do is engage fully, and vote these conniving slime balls out on their collective asses at the earliest opportunity.

So, yeah, here we go again with another attempt by the Cons to block a hearing, this one into their G20 malfeasance, that saw the largest sum ever spent on security at any summit in the history of the world and the largest mass arrests in the history of Canada. Over $1 billion spent, over 1000 arrests made = $1 million per arrest. Priceless!

And wouldn't you know it, the now-standard "you must support the bad guys" canard was trotted out by former used car salesman Dean Del Maestro thusly: “I don’t agree with the NDP and the fact it seems to be lining itself up with anarchist groups that went to Toronto and caused damage.” I mean really, how do these guys manage to keep a straight face? And who are the poor benighted fools that believe this tripe?

Tory committee chairman Garry Breitkreuz allowed MPs to fill the time with incoherent ranting and refused a Liberal request for unanimous consent to move to the vote. In the end, the filibuster ran out the clock and no vote on whether to launch a probe was held.

“I think the government doesn’t want to have an inquiry, they’re hoping the summer is going to wash this all away,” said Liberal MP Mark Holland. “Their refusal to have a vote, their filibustering I think is evidence that they’ve got a lot to hide.” reports the Montreal Gazette. He added that they have already drafted the request to call a second meeting, which would then have to take place within 5 days.

The good news in all of this? Politicians unable to get away to their cottages. That calls for another beer!

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fascism in 10 easy steps

This was originally written by Naomi Wolf about the US, but I think in light of recent events we can see how well our glorious leader has been taking notes and rolling out the program. The original article appeared in the Guardian in April 2007. We're a lot closer to the endgame now.

The G20 was merely a test.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
"After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a 'war footing''. 

The US Patriot Act was a massive attack on civil rights, especially the right to privacy. In Canada, the response to 9/11 was not nearly as extreme as in the US. Here, the general consensus seemed to be that America was overreacting, that it couldn't happen here, and that we didn't need any special build-up of security forces. Of course, Chretien was PM then, and he had a certain disdain for Republican fear-mongering in general, and Bush in particular.

Harper, however is quite happy to follow the Republican playbook. So, enter the so-called Black Bloc, who if they didn't exist would have to be invented as I argued in this post. Naturally they were given free rein to demonstrate how dangerous they are. Otherwise there is nothing to be afraid of is there?

2. Create a gulag
"Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place."

The temporary detention center was built to house arrestee's from the G20. It was put in a large warehouse type building that lacked running water. It also lacked medical facilities, adequate food, and was kept very cold, while detainees were stripped of all but a single layer of clothing. While detained in the cages, people were deprived of basic human rights, taunted by police, threatened with rape, deprived of water for up to 12 hours, phone calls, and the reason for their detention. Yes, this was a facility outside the rule of law. Inmates in maximum security have it better than those who were detained in Torontonamo.

We also know that Stephen Harper is building prisons. Why, you ask when crime is at a 30-year low?

3. Develop a thug caste
"When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution."

Like riot cops operating outside the law, or under a law which turns out never existed.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system
"In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched."

We know that police were monitoring Facebook and other social media before and during the G20. It's no secret, they even bragged about it. Thus, our ease of communication is a double edged sword. Both the US and Chinese governments have an internet "kill switch." I've often thought of late that an alternative net of some sort is needed to circumvent government surveillance, but what do you bet that anyone who tried to start one would find themselves in contravention of "national security"?

5. Harass citizen's groups
"...the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens"

Sadly, this is nothing new. During the 70's I shared a house with 3 other women, one of whom belonged to a feminist group called Wages for Housework. There were perhaps 10 members, and they were pretty harmless and ineffectual. The house was in a kind of rough neighbourhood and our neighbour's place was broken into twice, each time stealing his stereo and tv. Our house was broken into once, but the only thing taken was the Wages for Housework files.

Before the G20 there were numerous reports from activists of harassment from police at their homes and workplaces. Additionally there were arrests just prior to the summit of leaders of several groups.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
No explanation needed here I think, we've all seen it for ourselves by now.

7. Target key individuals
"Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors."
Richard Colvin, Linda Keen, for just two examples.

8. Control the press
"The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf, a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration."
So, we're not just talking about corporate ownership and control of the media, we're talking about the actual criminalization of journalists. I wondered why the police were targeting journalists during the G20.... now I get it.

9. Dissent equals treason
"...most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly."

Thank god we're not there yet, but stay tuned. This has got to be on our glorious leader's agenda. And let's not forget all those comments in the HoC equating criticism of the handling of Afghan detainees with support for the Taliban. Yes, it seems like overblown rhetoric right now, but someday soon, it may be taken quite literally.

10. Suspend the rule of law
"...the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. [unless of course you were in Toronto in June 2010]

In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing..."
 ... Canada Day is being celebrated, people are watching the FIFA World Cup.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

July 10 Day of Action for Civil Liberties

For 48 hours on June 26 and 27 Toronto was turned into a police state. A place which, according to police was not part of Canada. A terrifying place called "G20 Land" where civil rights do not exist, a phantom state more like a South American dictatorship than the civilized democracy we have come to take for granted.

Under the pretext of stopping vandalism, (which they failed, utterly, to do) riot police attacked peaceful protesters and confused passers-by with disproportionate, arbitrary and excessive force, including raids, beatings, rubber bullets, tear gas and pre-emptive detentions. In total, 1,090 people were detained and denied basic human rights in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.

Demonstrate your opposition to the excessive use of police force and the unprecedented curtailment of civil liberties. Demand an independent public inquiry. Join the Day of Action for Civil Liberties in towns and cities across Canada on July 10, 2010.

For more information see this Facebook Group. or email In Toronto the rally will be at Queens Park on July 10, 1 - 4 pm.

This Day of Action is called by:
Amnesty International
Canadians Advocating Political Participation (CAPP)
Canadian Arab Federation (CAF)
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario (CUPE Ontario)
Council of Canadians
Greenpeace Canada
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
Steelworkers’ Toronto Area Council
Toronto and York Region Labour Council

We must not allow our rights to be taken away through complacency and apathy. Come out to your local rally!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

McGuinty, closer to Nixon than Trudeau

Dalton, I hate to break it to you but you are not Trudeau. Not even close. And the G20 Summit protests are nothing like the situation in which Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. In case your memory needs refreshing, the October Crisis involved the actual kidnapping of a British trade envoy James Cross and the kidnapping and murder of Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte by the FLQ. It was not invoked because a few windows were smashed. If so, the Montreal Canadiens would have to move somewhere else, lest the whole city end up in jail. And yet the Star reports, McGuinty defended his refusal to call a public inquiry into police conduct during the G20 by making that very comparison.



Members of his caucus are unhappy with police heavy-handedness, as well as the lack of clarity from the Ontario Liberal government on the special "fake law" that was used to illegally search people all over the city. According to one incredulous MP, McGuinty “told us, ‘Just remember, the same guy who gave us the Charter also gave us the War Measures Act.’”

Good, it sounds like pressure from the public is at least getting through to MPPs if not to the pointy-headed one. We need to keep it up.

However, our boy Dalton wasn't finished. In an even more bizarre comparison, McGuinty referred to Nixon's "silent majority". Nixon. Really? He actually went there? Presumably he meant most Canadians don't mind illegal searches, illegal detentions and police brutality as long as it doesn't happen to them, or as long as you have Conservative-friendly polling companies asking the questions.

It may even be true but it's completely beside the point. The point is we have a Charter of Rights, we have laws protecting citizens from such KGB style police tactics, and those laws were repeatedly broken during that nightmare weekend.

Here's one, from the Criminal Code of Canada:
C.C.C. - Neglect by peace officer
69. A peace officer who receives notice that there is a riot within his jurisdiction and, without reasonable excuse, fails to take all reasonable steps to suppress the riot is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 70.

How about this one?
C.C.C. - Spreading false news
181. Every one who wilfully publishes a statement, tale or news that he knows is false and that causes or is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 177.
Yes, Bill Blair, we're looking at you here, as well as every single cop who knew the Public Works Act only applied inside the security fence, not outside.

Take a look at more indictable offences committed by police and security forces over at G20 Justice, as well as a growing archive of victim statements. Will someone please tell me, what fucking country do we live in again?

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We asked them for mercy. They laughed at us. More tales from the G20

From the Real News, another account of police brutality at the G20 Summit in Toronto. "I was not there to protest. I was there to ride my bike, through the city of Toronto, which I thought was legal." Evidently not. This man ended up being charged with inciting. Also illegal: witnessing police brutality. Witnesses were threatened with charges of obstructing police.

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Christie Blatchford, "real" journalist

Christie Blatchford is what used to be commonly referred to as a "sob sister" -  a female journalist who covers human interest stories, heavy on the pathos angle. The term originated in the early 1900s when a relatively minor homicide was ramped up by a fevered press into the "crime of the century". A jealous man murdered his wife's lover. Three newspapers detailed 4 women writers to provide daily, tear-jerking coverage, and thus, the "sob sisters" monicker was born. It fits Christie, and her counterpart at the Star Rosie DiManno to a T.

It is therefore somewhat ironic that she chose to lambast "self annointed" citizen journalists in her column, taking them to task for a lack of accreditation, and I quote:

"First, journalism is not merely a collective of the self-anointed. For all that it may not be a regulated profession, neither is it just a coming together of people with cellphones, video cameras and blogs as receptacle for an apparently endless stream of unfiltered, unedited consciousness."

I see. Not a regulated profession. You just said a mouthful there Christie.

"In other words, just as you are not a physician or a lawyer merely because you say you are, much as you may want to believe it so, neither are you a journalist because you and your friends say you are or because your “writings” appear on a website."

Except that medicine and law are regulated professions, so that's not a fair comparison. Journalism is not, as you already stated. Anyone can call themselves a writer, artist, musician, car mechanic, home renovator, gardener, faith healer --  it seems there are a lot of unregulated professions, mostly in areas where the outcome is not life and death. I'm okay with that.

"You will have heard reports of various independent/alternative journalists who claim to have been illegally detained and threatened by the police."

Yes, you're right Christie, I have heard those reports. I heard a number of them in real time thanks to Twitter feeds from people who were actually there. There was also live coverage on CP24 throughout Saturday and Sunday. The attack of the riot police on peaceful demonstrators in Queen's Park, at Queen and Spadina, outside the Novotel Hotel and the detention center was well documented in real time both by real journalists from CP24 and by eyewitnesses. I was not actually there, and neither were you.

"But let us not pretend that these folks are working journalists or that they are the equivalent. 
They aren’t, for the most part.
Their work isn’t subject to editing or lawyering or the ethical code which binds, for example, the writers at The Globe. The websites on which they appear don’t belong, as do most reputable newspapers in this province, to the Ontario Press Council, a body which hears complaints against traditional journalists and publications."

I think you can leave out the sanctimonious reference to editing now that the Globe and Mail has fired half its editors and proofreaders. Face it Christie, running an article through a spill chuck is not real editing.

"Why should an alternative journalist (self-anointed, often with a demonstrable political agenda) be automatically assumed to be an infallible truth-teller or always accurate?"

In the first place, citizen journalists posting eye-witness photos and videos were actually there. It's a concept that I realize is rather difficult for you to grasp, since you prefer to sit in glorified segregation around the fake lake and slap your byline onto press-releases from the government, or Bill Blair.

In the second place, bloggers and other citizen journo's do not answer to advertisers, ownership, or the PMO. As to your point about a demonstrable political agenda, surely you jest. The Globe and Mail has a very clear political agenda, as does the NatPo, the Sun chain, CTV, Global, and just about every mainstream media outlet you care to name. At least bloggers are clearly voicing an opinion, not couching that opinion in the illusion of factual reporting.

"... the press pass doesn’t grant even traditional journalists carte blanche access everywhere.
In the midst of a riot, it is not a shield that can be waved to keep either police or rioters at bay. It is neither an avoid-jail nor get-out-of-jail-free card."

Look, there is no reason for anyone to be arrested for being a mere observer. The law does not require bystanders to intervene in a crime, nor does is state that observers are guilty of participating in crimes they observe. This applies both to citizens and journalists. Of course if a reporter breaks the law, journalistic accreditation does not provide an out clause. I have yet to see anyone claim it does. I think the problem people have is with the whole illegally arrested thing.

"Thus, in the G20 protests, journalists, real or self-appointed, traditional or otherwise, had no special rights to go where we wanted and no special badge of protection against arrest."

You're kidding right? Since when are special rights required to walk the streets of this city? Further, it's now common knowledge that no special police powers to search were ever actually granted. That was a fabrication from your BFF Bill Blair. I'm suprised you haven't  read about that yet. Or do you only read your own column?

"...I would point out that the area north of the Ontario Legislature was indeed designed as a protest area during the summit. It was never, however, meant to function as a no-go zone, to which the darling practitioners of the Black Bloc arts could retreat unchallenged and un-interfered with by the police to change clothes so that they might blend back with the regular crowd."

The fact is, that the time for police to interfere with the Black Bloc was when they made themselves visible by detaching from the crowd. D'UH! How stupid do you have to be not to see that? There may well be vandals hiding within the civilian population, but that does not give police the right to attack and arrest the civilian population as though all are criminal, or to accuse them of harbouring criminals. When you know they hide in the crowd, then detach to wreak destruction, then go back into hiding in the crowd, when would you, in all your wisdom, have gone after them Christie?

"... since with the wisdom of hindsight it is now apparent that everyone knew that the anarchists/Black Bloc types would try to wreak havoc on the city, why are the organizers of the legitimate protests not being questioned about their accountability? They too presumably knew – as did police and security forces – that their peaceful demonstrations likely would be disrupted; what steps did they take to stop such a hijacking?"

Wisdom of hindsight? Seriously? Your buddy Bill Blair had been saying for weeks before the summit that this would happen. It happens like clockwork at every summit. Hindsight my ass. And again, it is not the responsibility of the protesters to police the vandals. That's what the taxpayers of this country paid over a billion bucks to the police to handle. They didn't.

"...since “the sweeping powers” granted the police via the “secret” law saw them, according to Toronto Chief Bill Blair, arrest exactly one (1) person under the temporary regulation to the Public Works Protection Act, isn’t the angst-ridden, hyperbolic debate rendered, as someone brighter than me remarked recently, nothing but an intellectual exercise?"

No, it's an exercise in splitting hairs. Police illegally demand to search people citing a non-existent law. Anyone who doesn't comply is arrested for breach of peace. So technically, no one was arrested under the law which didn't exist, but like I say, that's just splitting hairs.

"It would quite one thing if the 1,000 folks who were detained on G20 weekend were detained under the temporary regulation. The discussion would be meaningful."

Oh I see. The discussion is not meaningful. Right. Move on folks, nothing to see here. Largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Brutal detention conditions. Police brutality. Kettling. Rights abrogated. But don't worry. Christie says it's not meaningful.

"But when it’s all said and done, it will turn out that most of those detained were arrested for breach of the peace or to prevent a breach of the peace, which is an arrest authority, not a criminal charge."

As I said above, this is bullshit. People were declining to be searched under a law that doesn't exist and then being arrested for breach of peace.

"In my view, it’s a vile authority too, generally speaking easily misused by police, and it may have been misused here as well."

Ya think?

Does it not bother you just a teeny tiny bit that your bud Chief Bill Blair spent over a week lying about what the law was?

"Finally, how amusing it is to see Toronto, press and public alike, whip themselves into a frenzy of outrage over alleged police inaction and then alleged police overreaction, when all of this, in terms even more stark, happened in Caledonia, Ont., from 2006 onwards, and no one gave a fig."

We are not talking about Caledonia. We are talking about the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. We are talking about illegal searches, a law that the chief of police made up on the fly, police brutality, a massive failure to catch the real criminals in the act despite the presence of 20,000 police and security forces, and totally inhumane detention conditions.

Try to keep up, huh? And if you can't, move over and let the bloggers and citizen journalists take over.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

If there were no Black Bloc, it would have to be invented

How unfortunate that the vandalism of the Black Bloc turned media attention away from the legitimate messages of the peaceful demonstrators. Or so we're told by Bill Blair, Toronto's chief of disinformation and outright lies er, Police, sentiments that were echoed by several other media outlets. Oh yes, poor media, prevented from covering anything at the real protest rally by the urgency of a few burning cop cars, footage which was repeated over and over and over.

How unfortunate that the peaceful demonstrators in Queen's Park later that day had refused to specifically condemn violent forms of protest. That was all the proof police needed to accuse them of harbouring criminals, making them all de facto criminals and justifying whatever actions police took.

Several of these protesters “actually donned masks” and were carrying weapons en route to the protest site, [police spokesman] McGuire said. The others, he said, were “people who chose not to disassociate themselves” with the Bloc. Toronto Star

And wow, did they ever take action! Mounted cops trampling people underfoot, beating seated people with their batons, darting into the crowd and snatching people, then preventing anyone from seeing or recording what was happening behind police lines. The brutal kettling outside the Novotel Hotel, at Queen and Spadina, outside the detention center on Eastern Ave. and of course the single largest mass arrest in Canadian history - over 900 people, most of whom were never actually charged with anything - because they didn't do anything wrong.

"Hey Joe, that's really burning. Think we oughta do something?"

But was this really an "unfortunate series of events" or was it the intended script from the very beginning? Was the purpose of the 20,000 strong Integrated Security Force ever really meant to keep the peace?

Consider this one little fact, gleaned from the wife of one of the officers. During summit duty training cops were shown video of a police officer being dragged into the crowd at a violent protest in Berlin and beaten to death. Now, before you go all "I completely condemn that kind of violence" let's think about what the effect of seeing such footage might have on your average cop. It sure ain't sensitivity training, folks.

Consider too what effect seeing cop cars burning and windows being smashed by black-clad "anarchists" would have on the average cop who had no idea that this was permitted to happen by their superiors. Shame? Outrage? Feelings of impotent rage?

And now consider being told that those supposed peaceful people in Queens Park actually approved of the violence, and were helping the criminals to hide within their ranks. A chance to get back at those violent "thugs", to teach the punks a lesson, to redeem oneself and one's pride.

I believe it takes a lot to get police to turn on their fellow citizens to the degree they did over that nightmare weekend. Of course it helps if they are from out of town, from places like for example Calgary. What's better than a chance to kick some spoiled, commie Toronto butt?

This ugly narrative played out exactly as it has at every recent globalization summit from Seattle, to Miami, to London, to Pittsburg and now Toronto.
1. identify groups who oppose globalization and neutralize their leaders either through intimidation or arrest
2. intimidate the general public through threats of violent riots taking place
3. intimidate protesters through illegal search and seizure
4. expand the term "weapon" to include items of protection like bandanas and gas masks
5. permit vandalism, or if there is no vandalism, instigate it
6. respond with a brutal, military style crackdown on everyone in the vicinity
7. suspend civil rights (with or without the authority to do so)
8. mass arrests

Obviously the essential trigger for this series of events is some form of violence: anarchists, terrorists, black bloc tactics. It doesn't really matter what the label is. They are the bad guys and we will smash your rights to get them and keep you safe. We know you'll understand.

The Patriot Act, the bullshit at airports all over the world, spying, wiretapping, you name it. All are justified in the name of protecting the citizens, when the real purpose is the suspension of civil rights. So let's give a big shout out to the Black Bloc for helping the powers that be, the IMF, WTO etc, to put us all under the jackboot of repression. If they didn't exist, they'd have to be invented.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Three Fucking Stooges

Left to right: McGuinty, Blair, Miller.
Or maybe that should be Harper in the middle... whaddaya think?

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Why we MUST have a public inquiry

Any one of these events indicates a public inquiry is needed.

1. Police exercized powers they did not have.
2. Province did nothing to clarify police powers to the public.
3. Community activists targeted and subjected to harrassment.
4. Police ordered to stand down during only real violence.
5. Police use of agent provocateurs.
6. Hundreds of people arbitrarily arrested contrary to Charter of Rights.
7. Inhumane conditions in detention center.

1. Police exercised powers they do not have
Just prior to the G20 weekend, the public was told that police had been granted new powers in a secret meeting of the McGuinty cabinet under something called the Public Works Protection Act, a holdover from WWII. These powers were to give police the right to ask for ID and perform searches, suspending probable cause, within 5 meters of the security fence.

They immediately widened that zone to include the entire city as this man, who was correct when he stated his rights, was illegally threatened with arrest in Allan Gardens. Allan Gardens is several kilometers from the security zone.

All weekend long people were subjected to this non-existent law. Blair is splitting hairs when he says no one was charged under the law. They were charged with breach of peace when they stood up for their legal right not to submit to a search. For that matter, they were arrested even when they did comply, in the hundreds.

2. Province did nothing to clarify police powers to the public
The Globe and Mail has an excellent timeline of the law that never was.
"To counter complaints that Ontarians weren't made aware of the new law, the government directs reporters to an advertisement taken out by Toronto police in some newspapers prior to the summit. The ad, titled “What you need to know about the G20 Summit,” makes no mention of the Public Works Protection Act, any recent provincial decisions, or a five-metre rule."

3. Community activists targeted and subjected to harrassment
Numerous citizen activists were targeted by police and visited in their homes and workplaces prior to the summit in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and various other cities. Their crimes? "Oh, nothing....yet" to paraphrase the police.

4. Police ordered to stand down during only real violence
During an hour-long rampage along Queen St. W. to Yonge St. and then up to and along College St., so-called black bloc vandals smashed windows at will, with no police in sight. An independent journalist followed them for over an hour. According to Paul Warrington's article in the Sun:
The officer said that eventually there was "a clear order from the command centre saying 'Do not engage' " and, at that point, smelling weakness and no repercussions, the downtown was effectively turned over to the vandals while police, up to 19,000 strong, were ordered to stay out of it. 
The command center was run out of Barrie ON, far from media attention by the RCMP. That suggests to me that political motives were at play, and ties in with the next point.

5. Police use of agent provocateurs
After the SPP conference in Montabello it was proven, and subsequently admitted by Quebec police that they had used "undercover" police to incite violence. This, according to what's called the Miami Model is standard procedure, used to justify both the costs of security and the massive police crackdown that follows.
“They threw rocks.” That’s the line police use after tear-gassing or beating protesters most times. Urine and human feces are variations on the theme. But it’s always the protesters who triggered the violence. 

Man who trashed police cruiser at Queen and Spadina. Inset: police agent provocateur at Montebello.

6. Hundreds of people arbitrarily arrested contrary to Charter of Rights
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects people against arbitrary arrest. And yet in the numerous roundups following the staged vandalism on Saturday, hundreds of people were arrested simply for being there. From the Miami Model again:
A popular police tactic is called “kettling.” Officers on bike or horses herd protesters into an enclosed space, so they can’t leave without trying to break through the police line. Take the bait; you provoke a beating or arrest. 

Or, in this case, sit down and sing O Canada.

7. Inhumane conditions in detention center.
In a post prior to the summit, I wondered why the detention center was served only by an outside hose for water. Hundreds of people locked up in cages begging for water for over 12 hours, denied medical treatment, denied the right to a phone call, denied a reason for their arrest, not read their rights, mocked and humiliated by their jailers, and in some cases threatened with rape.

Amy Miller - Alternative Media Centre, Independent Journalist from Darren Puscas on Vimeo.

For a chilling and heartbreaking summary of one young man's Kafkaesque arrest and nightmare detention click here.

Any one of these travesties of justice and human rights should be subject to a full public enquiry. But that won't happen unless we demand it. I urge everyone to write all of these people and demand it, and demand Bill Blair's resignation as well.

David Miller, Mayor of Toronto:
Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario:
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1 
Your local federal MP

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Toronto Canada Day 2010 - we have our city back

So many things that could be said, but today we needed this holiday. A return to normal, a gathering in the park, a reminder of what democracy looks like. Happy Canada Day!
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