Thursday, July 1, 2010

Toronto G20

What a horrendous, predictable and well orchestrated mess that was!  I can't say that I was sad to be out of the province that weekend, but I was very sad to see the destruction of property, the inconveniencing and abuse of innocent people and the erosion of our civil liberties, all taking place in a span of a few days in Toronto.

And who could honestly say that they were surprised?  Leading up to the G20 summit, the mainstream news, politicians and police did nothing but prepare us for violence, and **gasp!** violence happened!

And isn't it funny that in all of the interviews and televised meetings which took place in the days leading up to the G20, there was no mention made whatsoever by the government nor the police that a little-known, and very disturbing act known as the Public Works Protections Act (PWPA) would be enacted that weekend in order to basically institute a state of martial law within the vicinity of the G20 conference?  And isn't it funny that Chief Blair "mistakenly" told the public (which the MSM reported repeatedly) that people travelling within 5 metres of the outside the security fences could be arrested if they failed to show ID or consent to a search by police? The truth was that these powers were only available to the police in an area inside the fence. Chief Blair went on to admit, days after the summit ended, that the five-metre rule never existed.  (For more on the imaginary 5 metre perimeter check out this article from the Globe and Mail.)

The PWPA, first drafted back in 1939, was apparently meant to be applied to "public works", and has most often been applied to courthouses.  The thing is, as per the act the definition of a "public work" includes "any other building, place or work designated a public work by the Lieutenant Governor in Council."  So basically, as long as a building is officially declared a "public work" this then allows law enforcement officers within the vicinity of such a space the power to arrest and detain people who refuse to identify themselves, whether or not they have committed any crime.  This act also allows people, who are not normally licenced to be law enforcement officers, to be appointed such a position -- like police from outside of Ontario or even security personnel.

Under this act the right to privacy, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, presumption of innocence and probable cause all get thrown out the window.  People who were peacefully demonstrating and people who were in the area just to watch the demonstration and even reporters were beaten and arrested.  And yet, on several news sites the majority of the comments I read was "the protesters got what they deserved", "if you don't want to get arrested, don't smash windows", blah, blah, blah...  So arresting peaceful, undisguised individuals, practicing their right to free speech is justified by the actions of a small group of people of people dressed in black?  Punching reporters and threatening to arrest them if they don't leave is justified by the actions of a few people with black bandannas and sticks?  Take a good look at the footage of people being arrested and make note of how many of those people are wearing all-black.  The people being arrested were not the so-called Black Bloc.

I find the whole alleged "Black Bloc" phenomenon quite suspicious.  Firstly, to call them "anarchists" is an extreme misnomer: Anarchy does not equal wanton destruction -- far from it; anarchy means being a responsible human who is able to set their own limits and contract with other human beings, as opposed to having laws imposed upon them by a third party who may or may not be looking out for their best interests.  In fact, anarchists want nothing to do with government, so it would seem to me that the last thing they would want to do is participate in a political demonstration.  But this is all assuming that this Black Bloc is a legitimate organisation of some kind...

I also find it uncomfortably contradictory that the same people who wear things to cover their faces -- presumably so that they can cause destruction with anonymity -- choose at the same time to wear the very recognisable Black Bloc "uniform" (i.e. all-black) so that they are easily identified in a crowd.  And why do we always have great video footage of these people vandalising property, seemingly unmolested by anyone, including law enforcement, despite the fact that their clothing makes them stand out and therefore easily tracked by the police?  And why did the police drive their cars into the middle of the street then abandon them with the keys in the ignition after repeatedly warning the public about possible violence and vandalism prior to the summit?

Let us not forget that there were obvious police officers dressed in the black bloc "uniform" who were trying to incite violence during the protests held at the SPP conference in Montebello, Québec in 2007 -- this was later admitted by the Sûreté du Québec.  And in a community meeting held in Toronto prior to the G20, I remember noting the discomfort that George Tucker displayed when Dan Dicks of Press for Truth asked him whether or not the Toronto Police planned on using agent provocateurs like those used by the Sûreté du Québec in 2007; watch George rock back and forth just as he answers the question and how he doesn't make any sort of statement that the Toronto Police would never use such a tactic or had no plans to at the G20.  You can watch the entire meeting here, and you can see that George never shifted in his seat during the rest of the meeting like he did when Dan asked him that question.  You will also note that in this video George makes sure to mention 9/11 and then ties this into the idea that increased security is now needed due to "certain members of society." (Now who would they be? Hmmmmm...)  Then at the end of this subsequent video he talks about how most demonstrators are peaceful, but that there are some who cause mischief.  He then directly reinforces his statement about "certain members of society."  (Got that? 9/11 = more security measures to protect us from "certain members of society" and "certain members of society" = G20 protesters.....What?)

So what truly went on during the G20 protests?  Were there angry people there just looking for a reason to wreak havoc?  It's very possible.  Were there actions taken by the police to ensure that some of that havoc would occur?  It seems just as possible to me.  Then the next logical question would be: Why?  Why would the police want to incite acts of vandalism and violence only to crack down on innocent protesters and the press?  And why do a bunch of world leaders, who are so worried about their own personal security, all choose to come together in one spot every year -- putting themselves at serious risk and costing the host city millions of dollars -- when they could all have easily met by video-conference?  I'll leave you to answer that for yourself, but if you've read my previous posts or visited my YouTube channel you probably know where my position is on that...

There may be one upside to all of this, though: The actions of the police may well backfire on them, because innocent, unassuming people like this lady or this guy or the people in this video or these people -- people who might not have otherwise had any opportunity in their lifetimes to be handled by police nor to question the law -- got to see first hand how unfair the police can be (hardly "innocent till proven guilty"...) And now these people will spread the word to their family and friends who might not have believed the same story had it come from the mouth of a so called "anarchist."


For many more videos related to the G20, including testimony from both reporters and others who were abused and/or arrested during the G20 demonstrations, checkout my Toronto G20 playlist on YouTube.   I've also found a link to a report published by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association who had many of its own observers present during the events of the G20, some of whom were arrested and detained themselves.

1 comment:

  1. your definition of anarchism may be more accurate, but it's just not as "punk" :D