Tuesday, June 29, 2010

G20. Toronto Black Block get a green light to rampage

Outraged protesters rally against police

Female protesters strip searched by male officers, detainee says


Protesters gathered outside Toronto police headquarters on Monday.

Protesters gathered outside Toronto police headquarters on Monday.

LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR

Brendan Kennedy and Amy Dempsey Staff Reporters

Police followed protesters through downtown streets once more Monday as about 1,000 people rallied against alleged police brutality and the detention of people without charge during the G20 summit.

The crowd buzzed with talk of conditions in the Eastern Ave. detention centre: cramped and filthy cells, mismanagement and disorganized paperwork, lack of food, water and toilet paper, and denial of legal aid and access to lawyers.

Taylor Flook said she spent almost 24 hours in detention before being released without charge and witnessed strip searches of women by male officers, as well as sexist remarks made by several officers.

“The entire city of Toronto has gone through extreme trauma,” said Flook, who spoke to the crowd. “We have all been victims of the G20 summit.”

Read on...



Cabinet secrecy opens door to legal challenge

G20 search powers ripe for constitutional attack, experts say


Tracey Tyler Legal Affairs Reporter

As crews dismantle the massive security fence from the G20 summit, questions are piling up about a secret cabinet decision giving police immense power to search and arrest anyone within five metres of the barrier.

Legal experts say a regulation authorizing the searches could be vulnerable to attack not just for potentially violating Charter protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

It could also be challenged on the grounds the public was not given adequate notice of the sweeping changes that required them to identify themselves to police officers or agree to be searched.

Read on...


Multiple Guelph-linked people among those arrested in G20 police actions




TORONTO – Multiple people with Guelph connections were among the hundreds arrested in connection with G20 protests.

Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) staffer Mandy Hiscocks, 36, is to appear in court today for a bail hearing. She was arrested Friday and charged with conspiracy to commit indictable mischief. She was among 15 suspects police charged in connection with a crackdown of alleged ringleaders of violent G20 protesting.

A roommate of Guelph activist Julian Ichim said Ichim is also in custody in Toronto in connection with a G2O arrest. His mother, Florica, said her son “was in jail” when contacted by the Waterloo Region Record on Sunday night. Attempts to reach him and his lawyer so far Monday have been unsuccessful.

Read on...

Some of these arrests sound like "preventative detention". This was done at the Republican Convention in Minnesota. And I think the courts eventually found it to be unlawful. Tom


National civil liberties group demands accountability

Police fire tear gas near the temporary detentiion centre on June 27th, 2010.

Police fire tear gas near the temporary detentiion centre on June 27th, 2010. Ian Willms for The Globe and Mail

Jeff Gray

As workers dismantled the security perimeter in downtown Toronto on Monday, and the city began assessing the aftermath of the G20 summit, a group of more than 1,000 people gathered for a loud but peaceful protest outside police headquarters.

A series of speakers denounced the aggressive tactics of police over the weekend, following a series of violent skirmishes and a record number of arrests.

While the police have defended their actions, saying the show of force was necessary after militant demonstrators vandalized businesses and set cruisers ablaze, other groups are demanding answers.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it will release a postmortem on Tuesday, outlining what it claims are serious breaches of civil rights and insisting on compensation for those they say were victims.

Read on...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Populist Protests From The Left

by digby

People keep asking where "the left" is and why they don't take to the streets in light of these neo-liberal policies wreaking havoc on working people everywhere. Where is the populist uprising from the left and why there isn't more direct confrontation of the corporatist mindset. It's a good question, but you have to wonder why we never cite these regular protests and why we don't bother to comment on the tactics that are used against them. Are we on the American left really not part of this? Do we philosophically disagree with the critique, even now, after everything that's been revealed during this economic crisis? Are these people wrong?

Now, I understand that these folks have gotten the reputation for being thuggish and destructive, largely based on the Seattle protests over a decade ago. But it's quite clear by now that this is a phony image, conjured up by the authorities to justify their police state tactics against the protesters:

They call it the Miami Model.

Read on...

G20 editorial: Brutal spectacle failed a city and its people

Police rush as protesters scatter after a second police car was set on fire during G20 Summit protests on June 26, 2010.

Police rush as protesters scatter after a second police car was set on fire during G20 Summit protests on June 26, 2010.

Image By John Cruickshank

The G20 security strategy has been spectacularly successful at cocooning the world’s leading politicians and staggeringly ineffective at protecting the property and peace of mind of Torontonians. And the one, inevitably, led to the other.

By bringing in thousands of heavily armed strangers and throwing up barricades everywhere to regular traffic, frightening off good and decent citizens, Canadian authorities created a ghost town in the heart of our city.

Perfect for the political leaders. Protesters were kept blocks away from where the deliberations were going on.

Read on...

Feel free to weigh in with any comments. What did you think of the G20 conference? The police behaviour? The protesters behaviour? The raid on UofT? etc. Tom


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guest Post: Destined to Fail – Magical Thinking at the G20

Submitted by Chris Martenson

Destined to Fail – Magical Thinking at the G20

The G20 meeting has revealed two important things that tell us something about our combined economic future. First we learned that the US lost the battle to try to get everyone back on the Keynesian print-a-thon bandwagon. This tells us something about US leadership in these troubled times. Once-upon-a-time, the US could dictate such things, and those days are apparently over which deserves to be noted.

I am a supporter of austerity as the least worst of two paths which I will outline below (the other being printing), but I want to be sure to give the global rejection of the US position on stimulus the proper attention it merits. Here’s the relevant information:

Read on...

May Toronto's G20 Be the Last

by John Hilary

To a foreigner, the Canadian police are a confusing bunch. With Toronto locked down for the G20 summit, several of them have been cycling around the deserted streets on mountain bikes presenting what we would see as the very picture of community policing. Yet side by side with this benign image is an intimidating, militarised presence that many Canadians feel has been deliberately cultivated in order to undermine their right to protest against the G20 and its damaging impacts.

The security operation on the streets of Toronto has provided Canadians with the greatest single talking point of the G20 gathering this weekend. Many locals are furious at the $1bn price tag for policing a summit which they never wanted to host in the first place. As John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty pointed out, that same money could have paid for five years of the provincial food supplement programme that has just been scrapped in the latest round of austerity cuts.

The high level of militarisation that has been witnessed over the past couple of days has also been a major talking point, as Canadians are not accustomed to seeing such weaponry being so openly paraded at civil demonstrations. One small protest against poverty and homelessness in Toronto itself was quickly surrounded by vast numbers of police in full riot gear, including mounted police. More chilling still was the visible presence of heavily armed officers touting tear gas rifles and other firearms; police have also confirmed firing plastic bullets and pepper spray capsules at demonstrators on Saturday night.

Read on...

Report: Toronto Police Rough up Journalists, Arrest Peaceful Protesters at G20

by Daniel Tencer

Reporters covering the G20 summit in Toronto say they were the target of police violence overnight, as riots blamed on anarchist groups left four police cars burning in the financial district and resulted in the arrests of some 150 people.

"A newspaper photographer was shot with a plastic bullet in the backside, while another had an officer point a gun in his face despite identifying himself as a member of the media," reported the Canadian Press news agency. The agency did not say if it was its own reporters who were targeted.

Previously: Toronto gets ‘secret' arrest powers ahead of G20 protests

In a remarkable series of Tweets early Sunday morning, journalist Steve Paikin of public broadcaster TV Ontario said he witnessed "police brutality" against a reporter and the arrests of peaceful demonstrators.

Read on...

Activists decry arrests at peaceful march

A woman is arrested as she was waiting outside Toronto's detention centre during the G20 summit.

Activists are condemning arrests at a peaceful protest this morning outside a G20 detention centre in Toronto's east end.

At an afternoon news conference, the Toronto Community Mobilization Network said they had negotiated with police ahead of the march and received assurances that demonstrators would not be arrested if they protested peacefully.

Spokeswoman Maryam Adrangi said police were rounding people up when they went to the detention centre to try to find their friends.

“We are finding police are meeting them there with brutality,” she said. “They are circling groups of people in smaller groups. We have seen plainclothes officers snatching people and throwing them into cars.”

Read on...


Peaceful beginnings, violent ending as G20 protests grip Toronto

Some pictures of the G20 protests from the Toronto Star.

About 50 arrested in U of T G20 raids

A alleged protester's personal effects are passed on to a court officer Approximately 50 people were arrested on the University of Toronto Campus on June 27, 2010.

A alleged protester's personal effects are passed on to a court officer Approximately 50 people were arrested on the University of Toronto Campus on June 27, 2010.

Early Sunday, police raided a building on the University of Toronto campus.

At least 50 people, not believed to be students, have been arrested and charges are pending.

A spokesman for the Integrated Security Unit says officers have found a cache of “street-type weaponry” such as bricks.

Dozens of officers were combing bushes and garbage cans, collecting articles of black clothing.

Read on...

Some photographs of G20 protests

Courtesy of Garth Turner's blog www.greaterfool.ca
Btw the couple kissing seem to be on the street right in front of the Center of Criminology.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Police Powers - Do You Care? Does Anyone?

Crimbrary did a quick survey of editorial reaction to the new police powers that the Ontario government instituted without public debate or legislative input. Here is a sampling.
The Toronto Star has an editorial "Police Powers too Sweeping." The Globe and Mail weighs in with "Compromised Civil Liberties." The Ottawa Citizen's editorial is titled, "Power Grab." The Montreal Gazette, the Vancouver Sun and the Guelph Mercury didn't think this issue was important enough to warrant a comment.

Man arrested and left in wire cage under new G20 law

Dave Vasey stands outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre after being arrested and placed in a metal cage under the new G20 law giving police greater powers. (June 24, 2010)

Dave Vasey stands outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre after being arrested and placed in a metal cage under the new G20 law giving police greater powers. (June 24, 2010)

Jayme Poisson Staff Reporter

Standing outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre, Dave Vasey is trembling.

It is about 9 p.m. and he has just spent the past five hours sitting alone in a wire cage, on a metal bench, with few answers.

Most of the perimeter is boarded up with plywood. A dozen police officers watch from behind a fence while more are bused in and out of the building.

“There was very little information given to me while I was in the cell,” at the temporary staging and detention area set up for the G20 summit, said Vasey, lighting a cigarette with shaky hands.

Read on...

Toronto gets turned into Guantanamo in a couple of minutes. This is disgusting. Just listening to the radio and the police are warning protesters to leave the kids at home. Just who is planning on being violent? Tom


First ‘secret law’ arrestee plans Charter challenge

Lawyers say law’s creation is reminiscent of a ‘police state’


Noor Javed
John Goddard Staff Reporters


A tourist places his camera through a small opening the in the security fence to take a photo of mounted officers in riot gear as they prepare to go on patrol Friday.

A tourist places his camera through a small opening the in the security fence to take a photo of mounted officers in riot gear as they prepare to go on patrol Friday.

The first protestor arrested under the “secret law” that gives police the right to apprehend anyone near the G20 security zone who refuses to identify himself has announced he’s launching a Charter challenge to the law.

“I take my civil rights seriously,” Dave Vasey, 31, said at a news conference at Allan Gardens Friday night. “I’ll be filing a lawsuit to challenge constitutionality of this dangerous police state law.” He said he planned to do so Monday.

Vasey was arrested Thursday afternoon while exploring the G20 perimeter with his friend and was questioned by an officer at York St. and Bremner Blvd.

Read on


Dalton McGuinty, Bill Blair defend quiet boost in arrest powers

‘Police state regulations’ decried


David Rider
Robert Benzie
Rob Ferguson and Robyn Doolittle Staff Reporters

Premier Dalton McGuinty denies it was an abuse of power for his government to secretly approve sweeping new powers for police.

“I just think it’s in keeping with the values and standards of Ontarians,” McGuinty told the Toronto Star on Friday amid a battery of complaints from opposition parties, city councillors, civil libertarians and regular Torontonians that the new rules were kept secret and, some say, may go too far.

The rules allow police to arrest and potentially jail anyone refusing to produce identification or be searched within 5 metres of the G20 security zone.

Read on...


Guelph-based protesters plan to tear down G20 fence

GUELPH — Members of a Guelph-based anti-poverty group intend to bring down a section of the four-kilometre G20 security fence that encompasses an area of Toronto’s downtown where world leaders will meet June 26-27.

“People have to make sacrifices,” said Julian Ichim, one of the organizers of Sense of Security, adding that the fence is a symbol of militarization. “. . . We have to get ready to be beaten, brutalized . . . whatever else they will do to us.”

Ichim said at least 25 Guelphites are participating in Saturday’s march to the fence. They expect to be joined by several other groups.

Read on

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

G20 security prepared for any threat, at any cost

Ensuring the safety of world leaders, authorities face a ‘bottomless barrel of demands’

A police officer with a riot helmet on his hip watches as a police motorcyclist drives past in Toronto on Tuesday as final preparations are made to host the G20 summit later this week.

A police officer with a riot helmet on his hip watches as a police motorcyclist drives past in Toronto on Tuesday as final preparations are made to host the G20 summit later this week. CHRIS YOUNG/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Colin Freeze

The moment Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided Canada would host this week’s G20 meeting, Toronto was fated to become a fortified city.

Police and military leaders decided that Muskoka, host of the G8 summit, could not also accommodate the G20 to follow. So they were forced to accept that dozens of world leaders would be crammed into the densest corners of Canada’s largest city – and that, to protect them, authorities would need to install three-metre-high fences and summon thousands of police, leaving residents bemused and bothered.

This is the new reality of hosting global summits in an urban setting, when the only thing officials agree on is that they can’t spend too much to safeguard against the nightmare of playing host to an international incident.

Read on...

As expected the mainstream media is falling into line to defend the police state security. The headline for this article in the print edition of the Globe is: "And is All This Worth It? Yes It IS". People were being grilled on their way into the Royal York at 7:20 this morning. The Royal York is outside the security zone. There was a long line of ambulances parked on Bremmer St. Queen's Park continues to look normal. I asked one riot clad officer if he thought much would happen in Queen's Park. He said anarchists don't like to follow the rules, so they would hardly show up at a designated "free speech zone". Organized labour will be there on Saturday for sure. Tom

Update: Noon: The riot clad police have arrived in force at Queens Park, even if the protesters havent. I have some good photographs of two bus loads and three mini vans full of snoozing police. Also some motorcycle police and an ambulance. Also rumours that the OPP are at all exits of the Gardiner. Guess some Leaders are about to arrive and traffic chaos will ensue. Tom


When it comes to summit security, police answer to no one

With neither legislation nor precedent to limit their powers, the rights of Canadians come off second best

Police make their presence known Tuesday on the streets of Toronto.

Adam Radwanski

It's known as the “red zone.” But given the extent to which police are being left to their own devices in locking down a large swath of Toronto for the G20, the “grey zone” might be more apt.

The federal government did police and local residents few favours by sticking the summit smack in the middle of downtown. That it’s in an area more difficult to secure than other available locations, such as the city’s Exhibition grounds, forced more heavy-handed enforcement than should have been necessary.

But it doesn’t help that, as officers are expected to balance security with civil liberties, there’s neither legislation nor clear legal precedent specifying what they can and can’t do. From the handling of protesters to the requirement of identification to enter public spaces and private homes, it’s left to their discretion.

Read on...


Lawyers in court to stop police from using sound cannons during G20

Civil rights groups will be in a Toronto court today, hoping a judge will stop police from using controversial sound cannons during protests.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Labour Congress are seeking a court injunction.

Read on...

G20 turning downtown Toronto into a ghost town

Downtown restaurants and parking lots already seeing dip in revenue


Protesters representing gay, lesbian and transgendered people marched along Yonge St. Tuesday in a G20 protest to raise awareness of violence against the queer and trans communities.

Protesters representing gay, lesbian and transgendered people marched along Yonge St. Tuesday in a G20 protest to raise awareness of violence against the queer and trans communities.

RICK MADONIK/TORONTO STAR

Jennifer Yang
Liam Casey

There are no tumbleweeds rolling down Bay St. just yet but the signs are everywhere: downtown Toronto is set to become a ghost town once the G20 takes over.

The summit is just days away and while protesters and police are beginning to flood the downtown core, the well-heeled and pinstriped are starting to flee.

Big banks have already kicked in their contingency plans, emptying their Bay St. towers as employees work from home or satellite locations. At the Bank of Montreal, about 20 per cent of its approximately 6,000 downtown workers are already offsite, with as many as 75 per cent expected to stay away Thursday and Friday.

Read on...

Gonzalo Lira: Is the U.S. a Fascist Police-State?

By Gonzalo Lira, a novelist and filmmaker (and economist) currently living in Chile and writing at Gonzalo Lira

I lived in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship—I can spot a fascist police-state when I see one.

The United States is a fascist police-state.

Harsh words—incendiary, even. And none too clever of me, to use such language: Time was, the crazies and reactionaries wearing tin-foil hats who flung around such a characterization of the United States were disqualified by sensible people as being hysterical nutters—rightfully so.

But with yesterday’s Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision (No. 08-1498, also 09-89) of the Supreme Court, coupled with last week’s Arar v. Ashcroft denial of certiorari (No. 09-923), the case for claiming that the U.S. is a fascist police-state just got a whole lot stronger.

First of all, what is a “fascist police-state”?

A police-state uses the law as a mechanism to control any challenges to its power by the citizenry, rather than as a mechanism to insure a civil society among the individuals. The state decides the laws, is the sole arbiter of the law, and can selectively (and capriciously) decide to enforce the law to the benefit or detriment of one individual or group or another.

Read on...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sentencing act to cost billions: report

A new act that limits credit given to prisoners for time served in custody before and during their trials will cost taxpayers $1 billion to implement and billions more to maintain, the parliamentary budget officer said Tuesday.

More than half of the expected total, $1.8 billion, will go towards constructing new correctional facilities, the PBO said in a report quantifying the implications of the Truth in Sentencing Act. A further $618 million will be needed annually for capital appropriations and operations and maintenance costs.

The numbers are rough estimates, which the PBO suggested was due to unwillingness on the part of the federal government to provide significant data.

G20 protesters try to take over downtown property

Group occupies Esso gas station for 10 minutes


The group Sense of Sensibilty marches down Sherbourne St. on June 21, 2010, in protest of the G20.

The group Sense of Sensibilty marches down Sherbourne St. on June 21, 2010, in protest of the G20.

DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR

Jayme Poisson Staff Reporter

They were the first out of the gate, the first to occupy an Esso, and the first to disperse. Welcome to protesting G20-style.

About 100 protesters briefly occupied an Esso gas station and convenience store at Dundas and Jarvis Sts. Monday afternoon in the first major protest of the G20 summit.

Some came with bandanas covering their faces. Others carried signs that read “Fake lake or human rights.” Most had a legal aid phone number scribbled across their forearms in case of arrest.

Read on...

Traffic into Toronto via the 427 and Gardiner has been extremely light on Monday and Tuesday. Guess everyone except these fine folks from Guelph are staying away. Police presence in the security zone is extremely heavy. But North of King St. everything is "normal". BTW, Queen's Park, the official protest site for G20 shows very little activity at this point. Tom



Some in Huntsville ‘getting nervous'

They should chill out, says bemused resident

A LAV 3 (Light Armoured Vehicle) is set up near Hidden Valley Road near the G8 Summit site in Huntsville.

A LAV 3 (Light Armoured Vehicle) is set up near Hidden Valley Road near the G8 Summit site in Huntsville.

RICHARD J. BRENNAN/TORONTO STAR

HUNTSVILLE—Sipping on a cold beer, Steve Groomes looks at the reinforced steel mesh wall in front of his place on Highway 60 outside Huntsville and lets out a chuckle.

“I call this part, prison valley,” said the 43-year-old contractor, who minutes earlier had been mowing the lawn, a simple chore that seemed somehow out of place.

His home and that of his father's next door are behind the security perimeter that is meant to keep intruders away from nearby Deerhurst Lodge, where the long-awaited G8 is being held, starting Thursday evening, a kind of a warm-up act for the G20 in Toronto on Saturday.

Read on...

Now it's personal. LCBO shutting down seven stores for G20

Siri Agrell

October 20, 2009 - Photographed at the LCBO at the Manulife Centre. For Beppi's wine column about


Okay Toronto, this time it’s personal. The LCBO has announced that seven stores will close for the duration of the G20 weekend.

Chris Layton, spokesperson for the provincial liquor retailer, said the decision was made “in deference to the safety of customers and staff.” Mr. Layton also said they expect major traffic delays in the downtown core due to the security perimeter, and do not want their customers to add to the congestion.

Employees from the affected stores are being redeployed to other LCBOs and Mr. Layton expects business in the rest of the city to be booming.

Read on...

They're going too far. Tom

Monday, June 21, 2010

G20 traffic fence can be closed at ‘a moment’s notice,’ police say

Jill Mahoney

Construction of the traffic fence in downtown Toronto is finished, allowing officers to close the area to motorists at “a moment’s notice” if there is a security risk, police say.

Workers finished assembling the outer barrier surrounding the G20 summit zone on Monday morning.

“The fence is at a stage where … if we have any reason to believe there’s a security risk and we need to secure and close down that area completely, we have the ability to do that now,” said Constable Wendy Drummond, a spokeswoman for the Integrated Security Unit that is handling G20 security.

Const. Drummond said an emergency closure could happen on “a moment’s notice”. Fencing for the traffic diversion zone extends from Spadina Avenue in the west to Yonge Street in the east, and from King Street West south to Lake Shore Boulevard.

Read on...


Police add water cannon to G20 arsenal

Expect more traffic congestion,


German police used water cannons in 2007 against anti-G8 protestors in Hinter Bollhagen, Germany,

German police used water cannons in 2007 against anti-G8 protestors in Hinter Bollhagen, Germany,

FABIAN BIMMER/ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Jesse McLean Staff Reporter

Police have added a water cannon to their arsenal as they step up security ahead of this week’s G20 summit in Toronto.

Provincial police Const. Michelle Murphy of the Integrated Security Unit says the water projection system will be used to control large crowds if there are riots.

Workers were busy all weekend building the zigzag of steel fencing that will surround the leaders and delegates during this week’s G20 summit and have put the finishing touches on the three-metre-tall fence that surrounds the security zone.

Read on...



Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting a G8 makeover



HUNTSVILLE — In a bid to shine up the fire-damaged and now hazardous Empire Hotel for the G8 Summit, vinyl appliqué images are being installed in the building’s windows.

“It’s really just to spruce up that corner (so) as people come around the corner and look at that building it’s not just looking at stores that have absolutely nothing in them,” said Helena Renwick, community marketing co-ordinator for the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce. She’s also the chamber’s representative on the Downtown Huntsville Business Improvement Area.

The Empire, a downtown Huntsville landmark, caught fire in October.

Read on...

If Toronto can get a fake lake why shouldn't Huntville get some nice vinyl applique. Tom

Toronto G20 protest hints at more to come

By Cameron French and Pav Jordan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Kicking off protests that will draw thousands to Toronto during two top-level summits next week, oil-smeared demonstrators urged Canada on Thursday to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and act against world poverty.

The group paraded through Toronto's financial core with an outsized papier-mache head of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, handing out fake C$1 billion bills that spoofed the price tag just for security at the summits.

"(Harper's) backing the wrong solutions," said Graham Saul of the Climate Action Network Canada, part of the umbrella organization that organized the march.

"We're here to say we need to stop subsidizing the problems, phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, and we need to invest in clean energy technology."

Read on...

Guest Post: What Do BP And The Banks Have In Common? The Era Of Corporate Anarchy

On the occasion of the BP oil spill disaster, President Obama's delivered an Oval Office speech last night—a masterpiece of milquetoast faux-outrage. The speech was all about "clean energy" and "ending our dependence on fossil fuels". Faced with the BP oil spill—likely the most severe environmental disaster ever—this was President Obama's response: Polite outrage, and vague plans to "get tough", "set aside just compensation" and "do something".

President Obama missed what the BP oil spill disaster is really about. Though unquestionably an environmental disaster, the BP oil spill is much much more.

The BP oil spill is part of the same problem as the financial crisis: They are two examples of the era we are living in, the era of corporate anarchy.

In a nutshell, in this era of corporate anarchy, corporations do not have to abide by any rules—none at all. Legal, moral, ethical, even financial rules are irrelevant. They have all been rescinded in the pursuit of profit—literally nothing else matters.

Read on...

Imagine What Father's Day Is Like for All the Dads and Sons in Prison

We can only celebrate Father's Day correctly if we include all fathers -- black, white, brown, rich and poor.



For more than ten years, in every week or two, I have spent a couple of hours in conversation and reflection with men in the prisons at Attica or Sing Sing -- men whose long years in prison have sharpened in them a desire for inner freedom not common in "the mass of men." In respect for the men I have known and for their aspirations, and because the spirit of fatherhood belongs to all who are mature, let us take advantage of this Father's Day to turn our well-wishing toward the ends for which our hearts are shaped; toward compassion for every son and every father who is in prison. And especially for black and brown men in prison.

The men I have met in prison are black, black, Latino, black, white, black, Latino, black. I would like you to see them and to feel their condition. Many have not known their fathers well. Many are determined to know and support their own children well -- and feel anguish and shame for being now far removed from their youths. Some of you are no doubt the fathers and grandfathers of men in prison, their sisters and wives and mothers, their brothers, their daughters and sons. I say this not because we feel free to tell the stories as yet, but because in 2006, one in fourteen black men was in prison versus one in 106 white men. Between the ages of 20 and 35, one of every nine black men is behind bars. One third of American black men are under the control of courts, prisons, or parole boards. These men are your sons. We are all their fathers. But America is pitiless. For the most part, the culture of the American church makes it unsafe to talk about the systematic injustice of our prison practices. The whole situation resembles the aftermath of that terrifying storm in New Orleans, when every body in the ruined waters was black and black and black, yet America would not acknowledge that the human disaster was one of edgeless racial indifference built over decades to those awful days.

Read on...


Monday, June 14, 2010

Area activists get tips on proper protesting as G20 approaches

KITCHENER — Never lie to the police. You have the right to stay silent. If you are arrested, provide your name and address.

These were some of the tips Kitchener lawyer and social activist Davin Charney told a group of about 14 activists in the Kitchener-Waterloo area preparing to head to the G20 summit June 26-27 in Toronto, where world leaders will gather to discuss key issues in the global economy. The activists gathered at the University of Waterloo Saturday for a day of workshops, organized by the Kitchener-Waterloo People’s Summit, for the G20 resistance.

Charney said he wanted people to understand the consequences of confronting police. He offered his expertise as a lawyer and as an activist, who has been arrested at least 15 times but never criminally convicted. Charney now defends other activists who get in trouble, along with accused criminals he sees as victims of circumstances in an unjust society.

As activists prepare to head to Toronto for the protest, Charney said they shouldn’t be afraid of dealing with police.

Read on...

G8/20 Toronto Community Mobilization

The Group of 8 Leaders and the Group of 20 Leaders are meeting in Ontario from June 25-27, 2010. Toronto-based organizations of women, people of colour, indigenous peoples, the poor, the working class, queer and trans people and disabled people are organizing a people's convergence

  • Photo-block - Economic Justic
  • Photo-block - Indigenous Sovereignty


Read on...

This site might be useful for following some alternative news about what is going on in Toronto during the G20 Summit. Tom

Hume: G20 and the architecture of paranoia.

Looking west on Wellington St. from Bay St., Christopher Hume wonders whether these fences erected for the G20 are there to keep us out -- or world leaders in.

Looking west on Wellington St. from Bay St., Christopher Hume wonders whether these fences erected for the G20 are there to keep us out -- or world leaders in.

CHRISTOPHER HUME/TORONTO STAR

Judging from the preparations now under way for the G20 meeting later this month in Toronto, the world is no longer safe for the leaders of the planet’s largest economies. Whether that’s true or not we’ll never know; they will be hidden away behind so much fencing and weaponry, they will be invisible.

Still, one can’t help but wonder if the point of all this effort and expenditure — $1.3 billion and counting — is to keep them in or us out.

In either case, it says much about the state of our civilization that leadership — or what passes for it — has grown so wildly disconnected, distrusted and disliked by those being led that Canada feels it necessary to beggar itself to cover the cost of its own worst fears.

Security is one thing; paranoia quite another. What’s happening now in Toronto has little to do with the former, and everything to do with the latter.

Read on...

Crimbrary is thinking about a pool to guess how many places/times this fence will be breached. Let me know if you're interested. Tom


Prison Racism and the Myth of a Colorblind Justice System

A conversation with author Michelle Alexander on media manipulations and the mass injustice incarcerated minorities face across the United States.



A conversation with author Michelle Alexander on media manipulations and the mass injustice incarcerated minorities face across the United States.

Quite belatedly, I came to see that mass incarceration in the United States had, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow. —Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: The New Press, 2010), p. 4.

If news reports from the last three decades should check clean, Black and Brown males only number the Criminal Justice System today because they choose, of own free will, to turn the ways of crime and disorder; perhaps also because they seem to come from stock inherently deformed and defiled—unable to adapt to a civilized world where barbarism is unacceptable.

And if the renowned rants of Black butlers on the Right should be treasured, Black males only find their human rights violated constantly, only find their dignities criminalized, only fall in the crosshairs of this very real War on Drugs, because they’ve discarded phonetics, filled their iPods with N.W.A. records, altogether accepted academic success as a White Thing, and preferred to sag their khaki pants three inches below waist level.

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G8 countdown begins

Security briefing full of glitches


HUNTSVILLE - There were toys – tanks, helicopters and gadgets. The Integrated Security Unit put on a show on Sunday at the Canada Summit Centre.

The national media was out in full force and everyone from young families to senior citizens were cruising the parking lot adjacent to the centre to check out the security hardware that will be on the streets of Huntsville, in the air and on guard in case of emergencies during the G8 Summit.

The Integrated Security Unit, comprised of the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Forces, put on the show for the people of Huntsville, and the people of Canada via the television cameras that caught the act.

Kids played in the army vehicles, dressed up like soldiers and took turns pretending to fly the helicopter. Families wandered the lot, chatting with security personnel, paramedics and soldiers in fatigues.

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Lets not forget there are two fiasco's coming up. G20 in Toronto and G8 in Huntsville. Tom

Hate crimes up by one-third in 2008

Most motivated by race or ethnicity, but incidents related to sexual orientation more than double

Jill Mahoney

Hate crimes reported to police increased by one-third in 2008, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

Police forces logged 1,036 hate crimes in 2008, up 35 per cent from 2007. More than half the incidents were motivated by race or ethnicity, one-quarter by religion and 16 per cent by sexual orientation.

While all three categories recorded increases over 2007 levels, those motivated by sexual orientation more than doubled and were the most violent in nature, Statscan said in a report released Monday.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

G20 summit forces Bay Street to move house

Bankers, lawyers and traders will work from home, shift to temporary offices and hotels outside security cordon

Boyd Erman and Jeff Gray

A pedestrian walks in front of The Royal Bank Plaza Tower on Front St., Toronto.

The heart of Canadian finance will shift from the gleaming towers of downtown Toronto to a series of non-descript buildings around the city's fringes to keep markets pumping during the G20 summit.

Banks and law firms that negotiate and broker deals are concerned less with G20 protesters causing violence during the June 26-27 leaders' summit, and more with the troubles that crowds and security would cause for employees getting to work.

The people that can are being told to work from home, or to take time off. But for many traders and other key deal makers enmeshed in non-stop global transactions, it's not that simple.

Law firms headquartered downtown are making plans such as booking hotel rooms for crucial “deal teams” who are working on time-sensitive negotiations that can't stop for protests. Financial behemoths such as Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal are prepared to move hundreds of their traders to secret backup locations scattered around Toronto, where full trading floors are ready and waiting for just such an evacuation.

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Come on. This is getting ridiculous. Just move the summit to Camp Borden. Let the leaders rough it. By the way, watch the video at this link. Your billion dollars in action. Tom

Wanted: Jailhouse doctors for G20 summit

But critics fear physicians will treat injured protesters to keep them in custody

A police officer wears a sound cannon to be used during the G20 sumit in Toronto this month. Police in riot gear stand behind during a security demonstration on Thursday.

A police officer wears a sound cannon to be used during the G20 sumit in Toronto this month. Police in riot gear stand behind during a security demonstration on Thursday.

CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO S

Jesse McLean Staff Reporter

Arrested protesters who have suffered minor injuries during the G20 summit will be treated in custody, according to an email soliciting doctors for a temporary jail.

However, the message raises fears that the physician’s goal in treating patients will be to keep protestors in detention, a practice medical and civil rights experts call unethical and improper.

Injured detainees will be treated in a 10-by-30-foot trailer where water is provided by a hose, said the email from Michael Feldman, a medical director at the Sunnybrook Osler Centre for Pre-hospital Care.

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And exactly how is someone going to be able to peacefully, legally, and meaningfully protest? Tom


A glimpse behind the G20 security curtain

Most observers won’t see what the police and soldiers are doing in the hot zone

Toronto police will have 22 dog handlers with 34 police dogs at its disposal for the G20 summit. The unit demonstrated its crowd control techniques on June 3, 2010.

Toronto police will have 22 dog handlers with 34 police dogs at its disposal for the G20 summit. The unit demonstrated its crowd control techniques on June 3, 2010.

CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR

Jennifer Yang Staff Reporter

What exactly does $1 billion worth of summit security look like? Most Canadians will never truly know, seeing as the bulk of security efforts will unfold behind the scenes at the G20 summit this month.

But at a “technical briefing” Thursday morning, summit officials offered a snapshot of G20 security on the streets this June 26 and 27.

Hosted by the summit’s RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit, the event was a veritable dog and pony show of law enforcement — quite literally, in some cases, because some demonstrations involved K-9 and horse-mounted units. The phalanx of law enforcement officers included cops on bicycles, cops in riot gear, cops with bomb-defusing robots; security units also demonstrated everything from motorcades to the controversial “sound cannons” or long range acoustic devices (LRADs) that may be used on restive protest crowds. The show of force was both reassuring and disturbing to behold.

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Do these stories have any purpose other than to intimidate potential protesters. Tom

Thursday, June 3, 2010

States with Higher Gun Ownership and Weak Gun Laws Lead Nation in Gun Death

Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, and Nevada Have Highest Gun Death Rates

Washington, DC--States with higher gun ownership rates and weak gun laws have the highest rates of overall gun death according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of just-released 2007 national data (the most recent available) from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The analysis reveals that the five states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, and Nevada. Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.34 per 100,000 for 2007. Each of the top-ranking states has lax gun laws and higher gun ownership rates. By contrast, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death. Ranking last in the nation for gun death was Hawaii, followed by Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. (See rankings below for top and bottom five states. See http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart10.htm for a ranking of all 50 states.)

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Meanwhile crackpot author John Lott has brought out a new edition of More Guns Less Crime. Glowingly reviewed by rightwing jounal Human Events. Here is a link to Who is Mary Rosh, just one site devoted to debunking Lott's odd research, and odder behaviour. Tom

SWAT Raids Gone Wrong -- Paramilitary Policing Is Out of Control

In 1980, 2,884 SWAT deployments were recorded nationwide; the number today is estimated by experts at 50,000 annually or more.



As is periodically the case, law enforcement SWAT teams have once again come under the harsh gaze of a public outraged and puzzled by their excesses. First, it was the February SWAT raid on a Columbia, Missouri, home where police shot two dogs, killing one, as the suspect, his wife, and young son cowered. Police said they were looking for a dealer-sized stash of marijuana, but found only a pipe with residues. When police video of that raid hit the Internet and went viral this month, the public anger was palpable, especially in Columbia.

Then came a botched SWAT raid in Georgia -- not a forced entry, but otherwise highly aggressive, and directed at the wrong building -- that left a 76-year-old woman hospitalized with a heart attack.

And then came the tragedy in Detroit two weeks ago, where a member of a Detroit Police SWAT team killed seven-year-old Aiyana Jones as she slept on a living room couch. Allegedly, the officer had a tussle with the girl's grandmother as he charged through the door after a flash-bang grenade was thrown through the window, and the gun discharged accidentally, though the account has been disputed by the family's attorney. In this instance, police were not looking for drugs but for a murder suspect. He was later found in another apartment in the same house. Again, the public dismay and anger was palpable.

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Hightower: Who the Hell's in Charge Here? BP Disaster Caused by a Nasty Mix of Government Impotence and Corporate Rule

"What we're witnessing is not merely a human and environmental horror, but also an appalling deterioration in our nation's governance."



Many news reports about the Gulf oil catastrophe refer to it as a "spill." Wrong. A spill is a minor "oops" — one accidentally spills milks, for example, and from childhood, we're taught the old aphorism: "Don't cry over spilt milk." What's in the Gulf isn't milk and it wasn't spilt. The explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez faire politicians and obsequious regulators.

As the ruinous gulf oil blowout spreads onto land, over wildlife, across the ocean floor and into people's lives, it raises a fundamental question for all of us Americans: Who the hell's in charge here? What we're witnessing is not merely a human and environmental horror, but also an appalling deterioration in our nation's governance. Just as we saw in Wall Street's devastating economic disaster and in Massey Energy's murderous explosion inside its Upper Big Branch coal mine, the nastiness in the gulf is baring an ugly truth that We the People must finally face: We are living under de facto corporate rule that has rendered our government impotent.

Thirty years of laissez-faire, ideological nonsense (pushed upon us with a vengeance in the past decade) has transformed government into a subsidiary of corporate power. Wall Street, Massey, BP and its partners — all were allowed to become their own "regulators" and officially encouraged to put their short-term profit interests over the public interest.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Supreme Court Miranda Ruling: Suspects Must Explicitly Tell Police They Want To Remain Silent

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that suspects must explicitly tell police they want to be silent to invoke Miranda protections during criminal interrogations, a decision one dissenting justice said turns defendants' rights "upside down."

A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are the first of the Miranda rights warnings, which police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But the justices said in a 5-4 decision that suspects must tell police they are going to remain silent to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.

The ruling comes in a case where a suspect, Van Chester Thompkins, remained mostly silent for a three-hour police interrogation before implicating himself in a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield, Mich. He appealed his conviction, saying that he invoked his Miranda right to remain silent by remaining silent.

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