Archive for July, 2010

Photos and Videos from the G20 Inquiry Rally on July 17, 2010

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Here are some photos I took at the G20 Inquiry Rally on July 17. Just click on the slideshow to begin. If you don’t like slideshows, go to the main page for “G20 Inquiry Rally – July 17, 2010”.

I also shot a few videos.

First, bubbles! There was a bubble rally in response to a cop who apparently hates bubbles. (See “‘Bubbles’ exchange between protester, police blows up online”. I’ve embedded the video of the dialogue between the cop and bubble blower at the end of this blog.)

At some point, a counter-protester shows up saying he supports the police and the military. He has the right to come to Queen’s Park too, though he just might not get a warm reception…

Next, is a clip of some music courtesy of Sara Marlowe (I hope I got the name right).

After Judy Rebick’s speech, she encourages the people to get up and dance. Here’s some people “gettin’ jiggy wit’ it”.

Next up: Small world. These two girls train in taekwondo at the do jang where I help teach. Wonderful girls and good students. I’m very proud that they went on stage and spoke out. 😀 Teaching kids confidence is a part of what we teach.

They want the police to say “sorry” for beating up Bailey’s dad, who wears black clothes nearly all the time. He reportedly has broken ribs.

A few more videos on the G20 Inquiry Rally can be found on my youtube channel, feyMorgaina.

Here’s the video of the cop who hates bubbles – I think he needs a tranquilizer or something.

I’d also like to point out that the male cop didn’t let the female cop handle the situation. I’m sure she’s quite capable of handling a young woman blowing bubbles. If you’ll notice, the male cop interrupts the female cop in the middle of the conversation and just starts in on the young woman blowing bubbles. Why didn’t he just let the female cop do her job the way she wants? Sexism in traditionally male-dominated jobs is common. Some men feel threatened by a woman who can do the job better. (Believe me, I know. See a diatribe I wrote a while back, “Please no tears, no sympathy”, which mentions the chauvinism I had come across in doing some volunteer work that was basically public security.)

For a background into what was going on before the bubble blower got arrested, watch this video.

At 11:40 into the video, the lawyer, Riali Johannesson, points out that “Your average Canadian who has the full protection of those rights every single day, all day long, their entire lifelong, in my experience, doesn’t appreciate the tremendous value of those rights until they need to avail themselves of the rights.” Johannesson is also the daughter of a former OPP officer. She clearly disagrees with the actions of the police during the G20.

~~~C

Canadian Government Should Request Repatriation for Omar Khadr NOW!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I read about the Omar Khadr case a while back. Recently, he decided to fire his lawyers. Why? Read “Omar Khadr: In his own words”. Clearly, this seems to him to be the only thing he can do to protest the “kangaroo court” in which he is being tried.

Amnesty International Canada has been trying to convince the Canadian government to request for Khadr’s repatriation to Canada. To date, the Canadian government has done nothing except send a “diplomatic note to the US”, despite the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision that Khadr’s human rights have been violated for the past 7-8 years.

Please consider signing Amnesty.ca’s “Take Action: Omar Khadr: Repatriation to Canada is the only option!”

I have added the following comment to the petition:

Recently, Khadr fired his lawyers as refusal to participate in a justice system that he considers a sham, a “kangaroo court”. For about eight years, his human rights have been violated. Repatriating Khadr is clearly the only way to end the injustices done to him.

I urge the Canadian government to act in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision (that Khadr’s human rights have been violated) and repatriate Khadr now. To not do so sends the message that the Canadian government chooses to be complicit in the continued violations of Khadr’s human rights. Canada, being a member state of the United Nations, has a duty to live up to international human rights law.

Repatriate Omar Khadr now!

Amnesty.ca also suggests writing to U.S. President Obama urging him to abandon military commission proceedings against Khadr. See “Omar Khadr: Canada ordered to find remedy as trial looms”.

~~~C

A Dedication to the G20 Protesters and All Those Who Fight for Freedom

Friday, July 16th, 2010

This is one of my favourite songs by Linkin Park – “Hands Held High”. This is a live version.

Turn my mic up louder I got to say somethin’
Lightweight step it aside when we comin’
Feel it in your chest, the syllables get pumpin’
People on the street, they panic and start runnin.’

Words on loose leaf sheet complete comin’
I jump on my mind, I summon the rhyme I’m dumpin.’
Healing the blind I promise to let the sun in
Sick of the dark ways we march to the drummin.’

Jump when they tell us they wanna see jumpin’
Fuck that I wanna see some fist pumpin’
Risk somethin’, take back what’s yours
Say somethin’ that you know they might attack you for.

‘Cause I’m sick of being treated like I have before
Like it’s stupid standin’ for what I’m standin’ for
Like this war’s really just a different brand of war
Like it doesn’t cater the rich and abandon the poor.

Like they understand you in the back of the jet
When you can’t put gas in your tank
These fuckers are laughin’ their way to the bank and cashin’ the cheque
Askin’ you to have compassion and have some respect.

For a leader so nervous in an obvious way
Stutterin’ and mumblin’ for nightly news to replay
And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
In their living room laughin’ like “what did he say?”

[Chorus:]
Amen
Amen
Amen
Amen
Amen

In my living room watchin’ but I am not laughin’
Cause when it gets tense I know what might happen
The world is cold, the bold men take action
Have to react or get blown into fractions

Ten years old it’s something to see
Another kid my age drugged under a jeep
Taken and bound and found later under a tree
I wonder if he had thought the next one could be me.

Do you see the soldiers that are out today
They brush the dust from bullet proof vests away
It’s ironic at times like this you pray
But a bomb blew the mosque up yesterday

There’s bombs in the buses, bikes, roads
Inside your market, your shops, your clothes
My dad, he’s got a lot of fear I know
But enough pride inside not to let that show

My brother had a book he would hold with pride
A little red cover with a broken spine
On the back, he hand-wrote a quote inside
“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die”

Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stutterin’ and mumblin’ for nightly news to replay
And the rest of the world watchin’ at the end of the day
both scared and angry like “what did he say?”

[Chorus x6]

[x6]
With hands held high into a sky so blue,
As the ocean opens up to swallow you.

Book Nook: Some Fiction and Non-Fiction (Sophie Scholl and The White Rose)

Friday, July 16th, 2010

It’s actually been a while since I’ve read much fiction. The month of June was a busy month. Following is a list of novels I read between February and probably around April:

The Laughing Corpse (an Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Year of the Unicorn by Andre Norton
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ancestors of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson
Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong
The Spell Sword (published in the omnibus, The Forbidden Circle) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

And, some of my favourite graphic novels:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Retreat (season 8 – volume 6)
Fallen Angel: Reborn (It guest-starred Illyria! :))
Angel: Only Human
Angel: Last Angel in Hell (Angel volume 6)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is published by Dark Horse Comics while Angel and Fallen Angel are published by IDW.

My current fiction reading list is:
The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (I rather liked Dime Store Magic, but am curious as to how well she can write as different characters since she writes in first person)
Crossroads of Twilight (book ten of The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan
Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
A Storm of Swords (book three of A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin
Gormenghast (the sequel to Titus Groan) by Mervyn Peake
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I am on part three of book two, page 443)
The Transition of Titus Crow (published in Brian Lumley’s Mythos Omnibus) by Brian Lumley (or possibly Necroscope seeing as I enjoyed Lumley’s writing, I am curious if I might like his other series as well)
Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

I find I rather like the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. It is “smart and sexy” like many reviewers have commented. At the same time, the stories are adventurous mixed with a little bit of mystery, and a certain if morbid sense of humour. One distinction of the Anita Blake series that I like is that vampires have rights. It’s an interesting premise that subtly creates a different world for an urban fantasy series. It also provides some real food for thought about how we determine who has rights. I personally think it goes beyond the tired “life versus death” duality, it’s about conscience and the ability for people, animals, a species to feel pain. But I digress into a topic best left for another time.

Ancestors of Avalon was an interesting enough story. It has a happy ending at the very least, and you probably expect that since it’s about how the Atlanteans arrived on the British Isles. The novel itself starts some time after The Fall of Atlantis, which Bradley actually wrote before The Mists of Avalon. While I liked The Mists of Avalon, I found that The Fall of Atlantis had its own appeal. In many ways, the Atlantis story is darker than the Avalon one, the heroines slightly more tragic. At least that is my sense in comparing the two. Perhaps it’s simply because we know King Arthur is meant to die in the Avalon story, but in the Atlantis story we have no preconceived notions as to what is to happen to the Atlanteans. Arguably, the appeal and success of The Mists of Avalon over The Fall of Atlantis was simply that King Arthur and his sister, Morgan le Fay, are popular mythical characters/legends.

Ancestors of Avalon was meant to bridge the stories of Atlantis and Avalon together. It was written after Bradley’s death by Diana L. Paxson, who co-wrote Priestess of Avalon. There are some differences in Paxson’s writing as compared to Bradley’s. It’s only slight though. It’s actually hard for me to describe the difference because it seems such a slight difference that I can’t put my finger on what exactly is different. Maybe the language is slightly more modern. That’s my best guess for now. If you’re a Bradley fan, maybe you have a different sense about it than me and might have a better way of describing the differences between Bradley’s writing and Paxson’s. I had no real problems reading Paxson, so it’s no big deal to me. Just a curiosity.

After reading Dime Store Magic, which was rather an amusing story, I decided to read Armstrong’s first novel, Bitten, in her series titled “Women of the Otherworld”. Another urban fantasy series like Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Armstrong does not just write about one character, but rather writes about a variety of characters. The first character in the series you are introduced to in Bitten is Elena, a female werewolf – in fact, the only female werewolf. As mentioned, I decided to read Bitten because I wanted to see how well Armstrong writes from another character perspective. So far, I have no complaints, but I have yet to finish reading Bitten.

I’m still trudging my way through Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. I’m on book ten and like many of the previous books, the book is at least 800 pages. I said “trudging”, but don’t get me wrong, I like The Wheel of Time, it’s just sometimes you wonder if Jordan couldn’t have told the story with fewer words. LOL. Really, I’m only complaining because I don’t read as fast as I’d like to, I’m not a speed reader, although I can skim quite well if I’m pressed for time or am searching for something particular in what I’m reading. However, I read fiction for the sheer joy of reading and occasionally I linger over passages for various reasons (amusement at the writing, found something humourous, just can’t believe I read that, and so on). I do like The Wheel of Time story, and like many others, want to know what’s going to happen when the last battle, Tarmon Gai’don, comes. I’m on book ten right now, I have up to book eleven. After that, I might take a break from the series and see if Brandon Sanderson actually finishes the story by book fourteen. There’re a few other books I wouldn’t mind getting around to reading (nevermind the other things I need/want to do).

Currently, I am reading a non-fiction book. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose is an account of a group of Munich University students (in Germany) who were involved in a passive/nonviolent resistance movement against Hitler’s regime. I meant to read this book for a while because I’ve always been drawn to stories about resistance movements since they are usually about the fight for freedom against an oppressive and tyrannical force (government or otherwise). In light of recent events in Canada, I was reminded of the book again and thought I should just read it now. Sophie and Hans Scholl were a sister and a brother who grew up during the Nazi regime. She was twelve and he was just over fourteen at the time of the Nazi takeover. Both were “free-thinkers” having grown up with a liberal-minded father. Later, they would both be part of The White Rose, a passive resistance group hoping to educate fellow students to oppose the Nazi regime. Hans and Sophie Scholl were later executed for treason. One other member of The White Rose was executed along with them, later other members were also executed.

It’s been 65 years since the end of World War 2 and 92 years since World War 1. While I may have grown up with an awareness of how horrible the events of those two wars were (in primary school, we were introduced to some war amputees; the missing legs apparently upset my system so that I actually fainted afterwards – I since have built up a better control over my body so I don’t faint quite so easily, also I ascribe my fainting issues back then to lack of proper nutrition and diet), I fear that over time people will forget and will never understand the horrors of those events. I still remember when Remembrance Day was actually a holiday, but then it changed and although we were still required to go to school on Remembrance Day, the school still held Remembrance Day ceremonies. That eventually changed to simply having a moment of silence at 11 a.m. I have no idea if they even still do that now in school, though the Wikipedia article linked above suggests they do. Yes, I do fear that as we move further away in time from the World Wars, people will never understand how truly terrible it can be to have another one. We have been lucky to not have had another world war for 65 years; yet, at the same time, has this made some people complacent? The threat of oppression from a tyrannical government or regime is never too far away. This threat does not just occur over night, but quietly and subtly. All it takes is the wrong person (or rather, right person depending on how you want to discuss this) to gain a position of power for that person to gradually and subtly make changes that lead toward oppression from a tyrannical government. Then, to end that oppression we will need resistance groups to fight the tyranny, to help spread knowledge and information, we will need resistance groups like The White Rose and many others.

Thus, I am reading Sophie Scholl and The White Rose to remind myself of a time when we didn’t have civil liberties/human rights, to remind myself that throughout history, we will always need the freedom fighters, the resistance groups; otherwise, human civilization is doomed to die, doomed to fail. A thousand years later, will humans still be here? Or will we be a lost civilization? And if a lost civilization, what will be the cause of our ultimate destruction – a war amongst ourselves or devastation from a “natural” disaster that we caused? Either way, we are responsible for whether or not human civilization will continue, if we indeed actually care about it continuing. “What is the meaning of your life?” I ask. Something for my readers to think about.

~~~C

P.S. Yes, I did read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was younger, probably when I was around the age of twelve.

Amnesty International: Good News articles

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Some good news from Amnesty International:

An “Indonesian Prisoner of Conscience Jailed for Raising Flag is Released”. He received a presidential pardon last month.

“Egypt Releases Bedouin Rights Activist”. Musaad Abu Fagr was detained for almost three years without trial.

“Argentina Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage” making it the first Latin American country to do so.

~~~C

Post-G20: Articles and a Video

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

There will be another rally in Toronto on Saturday, July 17. See “G8/G20 Communique: Saturday’s Civil Liberties rallies across Canada and other solidarity events”.

The CCLA has filed complaints with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). See “Canadian Civil Liberties Association files complaints against G20 police”. Not sure if anything positive will come out of it. I think Police Chief Blair has already made up his miind and that the OIPRD may just well be a “kangaroo court”, but I guess let’s wait and see what happens.

“Community groups launch their own investigation into police actions during the G20 Summit”, but can’t make any assurances regarding the confidentiality of submissions.

“Harper G20 agenda a direct attack on public sector workers, says Labour Council president” is an audio file. It’s a short interview.

“Photos: G20 public inquiry rally” links to lots of photos of last Saturday’s rally.

The below video is a testimony of one of the arrestees.

That’s all for now about the post-G20 issues.

~~~C

Post-G20: Rallies, More Articles and Videos

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

It’s been a while since I blogged about the G20 and it’s associated civil liberties/human rights issues.

A few peaceful rallies have taken place since the G20. The latest is scheduled for July 17 – see “Update on G20 Days of Action across Canada on July 17”. The rally in Toronto took place on July 10. Torontoist.com’s article, “With Yet Another Rally, the G20 Protest Movement Gets Sophisticated” provides some coverage of and commentary on this rally.

There was a rally on Canada Day (July 1st) for a “Public Inquiry into G20 Security Measures.”

Following are tweets from @SimaSaharZerehi

March ends with chants in Queen’s Park: “this is what democracy looks like!” #g20 #g20report
March turn towards Queen’s Park from College #g20 #g20report
20 minutes ago via Twitterrific
Protestor pointing to cops: “they’re wearing black, they’re on bikes, they must be Black Block” #g20 #g20report
25 minutes ago via Twitterrific
Crowd chants: “wasted, wasted, billion dollars!” #g20 #g20report
27 minutes ago via Twitterrific
Police line blocking road north on Bay & east on College #g20 #g20report
31 minutes ago via Twitterrific
Retweeted by you
March moves west in College-several people yell shame at cops as they pass #g20 #g20report
32 minutes ago via Twitterrific
Crowd sing O’Canada standing before line of cops on College & Bay #g20 #g20report
33 minutes ago via Twitterrific
Crowd chants “get those animal’s off those horses” #g20 #g20report
34 minutes ago via Twitterrific
March turns north on bay-chanting “our Canada” #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21lu1i
about 1 hour ago via Twitpic
Crowd chants:”protesting’s not a crime-no more cops on overtime!” #g20 #g20report
about 1 hour ago via Twitterrific
While chanting “freedom of speech under attack – unite fight back” the march turns east on Dundas #g20 #g20report
about 1 hour ago via Twitterrific
“our city!” chants the crowd #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21lpe2
about 1 hour ago via Twitpic
Today’s march & rally twice as large as Monday’s #g20 #g20report
about 1 hour ago via Twitterrific
Several thousand strong march moves south on University Ave #g20 #g20report #fb http://twitpic.com/21ln61
about 1 hour ago via Twitpic
Crowd now several thousand strong #g20 #g20report #fb http://twitpic.com/21ll26
about 1 hour ago via Twitpic
March route: South on University, East on Dundas, North on Bay & back to Queen’s Park #g20 #g20report
about 1 hour ago via Twitterrific
Protests begins to gather for march, gathering behind Samba Squad #g20 #g20report
about 1 hour ago via Twitterrific
Kate accepts marriage proposal in front of cheering crowd #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21lisf
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Tommy Taylor gets down on one knee & proposes to girlfriend Kate #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21lipk
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Taylor: “I kept begging for water & I begged & than I passed out-I can’t wait until they release the footage” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Taylor: “before today I was never anti-police, those officers put all police to shame” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Taylor: “we were handcuffed the entire time” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Taylor: “we told them there’s a 16 year old boy in here. That kid was in there for the full 24hrs I was” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Taylor: “8 hours in detention, no water. I’m a Canadian citizen & I had to beg for water” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Taylor: “I’m ashamed 2 say I was not a protestor-I was out going 2 dinner with my girlfriend, enjoying t city when arrested” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Tommy Taylor & his girlfriend was not protesting when he got arrested in front of the Novotel #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Tommy Taylor one of 900 people detained speaks #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21lfib
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Mullah: “we the people of Toronto, the people of Canada, we will not be bullied, we will not be censored” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Mullah: “when u go home tonight mark in ur calendars on July 1st I stood up for Canadian human rights & civil liberties” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Ali Mullah from Canadian Arab Federation speaks #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21lehe
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
“Free, free the detainees!” chants the growing crowd #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Khan: “The real thugs we saw on the steers were the police” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Khan: “despite the 1billion dollars & showcasing of weapons it didn’t work, people came out on Saturday, Sunday, Monday” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Sharmeen Khan from Toronto Community Mobilization Network speaks to crowd #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Shanaaz Gokool: “the cost of security can never be @ the cost of human rights” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Shanaaz Gokool: “go to amnesty.ca & demand accountability from Harper & McGuinty” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Shanaaz Gokool: “All findings from independent review must be made public” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Crowd at Queen’s Park grows rapidly as speeches continue #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Shanaaz Gokool calls for independent review into police action & violation of human rights in Toronto #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Shanaaz Gokool from Amnesty speaks to crowd #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21laud
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Cartwright: “it’s the cold hard light of day that must be brought into account” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Cartwright: last incident of mass arrests in this city was in 1981 in the Bath-house raids against the gay community #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Cartwright speaks of history of Chinese exclusion passed on Canada Day #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
First speaker John Cartwright President of Toronto & York Region Labour Council #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21l938
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Crowds chant “protesting is not a crime – no more cops on overtime!” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Crowds chant “A billion dollars – Wasted” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Crowd chants ” Hey,hey, Ho, Ho, Bill Blair has to GO!” #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21l82u
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Crowds chant “what do we want-Public Inquiry-When do we want it-Now!” #g20 #g20report
about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific
Several hundred already gathered at Queen’s Park #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21l746
about 2 hours ago via Twitpic
Crowd of anti-police brutality activists behind to form at Queen’s Park #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/21l4dd
about 3 hours ago via Twitpic

Following is an amusing video about the G20. If you go to the youtube page for it, you can find the lyrics there.

Rabble.ca’s article, “Was Stephen Harper the hidden hand behind the G20 fiasco in Toronto?” consists of a video by The Real News Network.

This video has some good commentary. Also, if you pause at 5:26 into the video, you can see the budget for the G8/20 weekend. What is “Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness”? “How to beat civilians” seminars? Why would the RCMP need $500 million (and change)?

Here is the budget breakdown from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, as shown in the video above:

RCMP $507,459,400
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness $278,310,228
National Defence $77,570,000
CSIS $3,137,483
Health $2,266,619
Canadian Border Services Agency $1,180,070
Transport $1,240,581
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority $399,399
Public Health Agency of Canada $583,330
Industry $2,839,000
Contingency Reserve (Fiscal Framework) $55,000,000

Following are few more articles of note:

“G20 capitalism is attacked in the streets of Toronto”

“G8/G20 Communique: G20 activist claims police pulled off his prosthetic leg”

“Medics at G20 protests speak out against police brutality”

“All of the serious injuries we treated were inflicted by the police. While violence against property received a great deal of coverage, violence against people — broken bones, cracked heads and eyes filled with pepper spray – has yet to feature prominently in any mainstream media. Our teams of medics witnessed and treated people who had been struck in the head by police batons, had lacerations from police shields and had been trampled by police horses…

Street Medics faced barriers in many instances. We witnessed people being seriously injured behind police lines who could not be assisted. Our concern for these individuals is immense. Several medics were detained by police and intimidated, despite identifying themselves. Medical equipment, such as gauze, band aids and gloves, was confiscated. We were intimidated and made to feel that what we were doing was illegal. In fact, we were simply providing first-aid…

as a community, we must begin to recognize a pattern: the criminalization of dissent.”

The “criminalization of dissent” is indeed a pattern amongst human rights abusers. Tyrannical governments find it necessary to silence those who oppose the government because they are afraid of others joining the cause of the dissenters. In more severe human rights cases, this form of silencing involves killing or brutally beating dissenters or making dissenters disappear. In Human Rights Watch’s World Report for 2010, Kenneth Roth writes in his article, “The Abusers’ Reaction: Intensifying Attacks on Human Rights Defenders, Organizations, and Institutions”:

Certain abusive governments, sometimes working together, sometimes pursuing parallel tracks, are engaged in an intense round of attacks on human rights defenders, organizations, and institutions. The aim is to silence the messenger, to deflect the pressure, to lessen the cost of committing human rights violations.

The techniques vary from the subtle to the transparent, from the refined to the ruthless. In some cases, human rights activists—be they advocates, journalists, lawyers, petition-gatherers, or others who document and publicize abuses or defend victims—have been harassed, detained, and sometimes killed. Organizations have been shut down or crippled. The tools used range from the classic police raid to the more novel use of regulatory constraints.

The perpetrators of these attacks are not limited to classic authoritarian governments such as Cuba and China. Democracies such as Sri Lanka have increased the pressure on local and international human rights groups that documented violations, as have governments that hold elections but fall short of democratic rule, such as Russia.

It is because the criminalization of dissent is a clear pattern that we have cause to worry that things may worsen in Canada under Harper’s government. I’m just really surprised no one got shot or Tasered to death.

“Of my illegal detention (with 899 others) and the G20 protests”

Ben Powless’ article above is well worth reading. Well-written. Lots of photos. (He was smart and switched out his SD card before he got arrested that night; though how he kept the SD card on him, I’m not sure I want to know, hopefully in his pants pockets)

“TTC worker caught in G20 police sweep”

I had heard through Twitter about the TTC worker being arrested. I’m glad to see a news article about that case. I still find it insane that some people still think that innocent civilians weren’t arrested. If you weren’t a protester or a journalist, you were a “thrill-seeker”. It’s amazing what some people will tell themselves to make themselves feel better at night. Fact of the matter is that people should be able to walk around public streets without being told which way to go, without being told to leave, and without fear of being arrested. Those civilians who make excuses for these arrests, who stand behind the police force and government on this, are complicit in the violations of people’s civil liberties/human rights because they’ve tacitly agreed to the/this police state.

Some more videos that I think are important to watch:

Rabble.ca asks Did you see these G20 ‘provocateurs’? See video below.

Something to note: the Black Bloc tactic involves camouflaging yourself in black amongst a group of others wearing black. It also involves covering your face so you’re not easily recognized.

G8/G20 Communique: Journalists attacked by police at G20 protests

“First they came for the activists, then they came for the media…” (Refer back to the link above to Kenneth Roth’s article.)

Some more videos can be found at G20 Protesters Being Abducted, Bundled Into Unmarked Vans In Toronto.

That’s it for now. Don’t forget about the Day of Action on July 17th.

~~~C

AI Canada: Independent Review of G20 Security Measures Urgently Needed

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Amnesty International Canada writes:

The G8/G20 Summits were supposed to have been a chance to talk about putting human rights at the heart of global fight against poverty. Instead, the voices of thousands were silenced or ignored and the headlines dominated by images of burning police cars and broken windows.

We urgently need an independent review of the security measures adopted and the range of police actions taken in association with the G20 Summit in Toronto.

While we welcome the forthcoming review to be undertaken by the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Summit Management After Action Review Team, this is not an adequate response to the concerns of Amnesty International and other organizations and individuals. The TPS review is not independent, nor does it enable public participation or cover the wider range of actors involved, including various levels of government.

Please sign AI Canada’s “Take Action” on this issue. There are 1058 signatures, WE NEED MORE! Here is the letter being sent to the Canadian government:

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

I recognize that providing security for the G20 Summit in downtown Toronto was not an easy policing challenge. I am concerned, however, that the security measures and police tactics adopted to deal with incidents of violence and peaceful protest have resulted in extensive violations of the rights associated with peaceful protest and due process, including rights to freedom of expression and assembly and the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest.

I call on the Canadian government to cooperate with the government of the province of Ontario to launch an independent review of the security measures put in place for the G20 Summit in Toronto. The review should include opportunities for public input and the results should be released to the public. The review should consider:

• The impact of security measures, including decisions about the location and venue, on the protection of human rights, including the freedoms of expression and assembly.

• The ways in which police operations and the use of legal provisions such as the Public Works Protection Act have impacted the rights of the many thousands of people living, working and operating businesses within and near the G20 security zone.

Yours sincerely,

AI Canada has also outlined a framework to use for the review:

The review should be given terms of reference that will facilitate and ensure cooperation among the different levels of government involved in summit security – federal, provincial and municipal. It could take the form of a public inquiry or other process that is independent and comprehensive. Here are some of the human rights concerns that should be investigated:

• The security challenges inherent in the location and venue that was chosen for the Summit (the downtown core of Canada’s largest urban centre).

• The failure to ensure public input into and awareness of the designation of the G20 security zone under Ontario’s Public Works Protection Act and the implications of the designation with respect to police powers of arrest.

• Whether the extensive police build-up in the lead-up to the Summit and the overwhelming and intimidating police presence on the streets of Toronto may have deterred members of the public from participating in peaceful protest and/or may have in any way fueled or provoked the likelihood of acts of vandalism and other violence.

• Whether the police response to acts of vandalism and other violence during the afternoon of June 26 was adequate.

• Whether adequate measures were taken to protect the rights of individuals living and working in and near the G20 security zone

• The justification for wide-sweeping arrests during the evening of June 26 and throughout the day on June 27, many of which appear to have failed to discriminate between individuals who may have committed crimes or been reasonably suspected to be planning to commit crimes, and individuals who are reported to have been involved in legitimate protest or to have simply been passers-by or bystanders.

• Whether appropriate steps were taken to ensure that conditions of detention complied with recognized standards for detention.

Amnesty International is an independent human rights organization operating world-wide. They answer to no government, but are a legitimate voice in the United Nations providing the UN and governments with advice and recommendations on how best to deal with human rights issues world-wide. I strongly recommend supporting Amnesty International Canada by signing this “Take Action” if you want answers regarding the events of this past weekend relating to the G20. Our human rights are at stake, they were denied us this past weekend. It should not have happened and it should be prevented from happening again. There is “No Security Without Human Rights”.

~~~C