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Counter the Lies: Government and Police Lawlessness

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

If there has been one continuity during the history of industrial, corporate, and now, “global” capitalism it has been government, police, and corporate lawlessness.

The radical American journalist I.F. Stone observed in 1967 that “[a]ll governments lie.” If this past week, from 21-27 June 2010, has taught us anything it is that we should not believe those in power or the corporate media who project their lies. From Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, and to Toronto Mayor David Miller, we should not submit and accept the flagrant lawlessness they perpetuated and condoned throughout the lead up to, and during, the G8 and G20 in Ontario.

The G8 and G20 meetings in Huntsville and Toronto from 25-27 June 2010 have solidified the fact that governments and the municipal, provincial, and federal police can do whatever they want, break their own colonial laws, and deal with the consequences later (if at all). While world leaders sneered and snickered behind the fortified Toronto Convention Centre and the militarized fascist police state – in many cases paying more attention to the World Cup than the economic summit – the people’s democracy was attacked from every angle and hundreds, if not thousands, faced abuse never witnessed before in Canadian history so Stephen Harper could make fancy statements and look tough on television. While the G8 and G20 summits accomplished virtually nothing – publishing a twenty-seven page G20 Toronto Summit Declaration that made almost no concrete agreements except to try to cut national deficits by 2013 – politicians, police chiefs, and analysts lauded the actions of the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and its over one billion dollar “security budget.”

Toronto’s mayor, David Miller, had the audacity to commend the professionalism of the TPS. At a post-G20 press conference on Monday 28 June, Miller stated:“I think our police officers did a remarkable job in acting with professionalism and not responding to provocation. I’ve got every confidence in Chief Blair.”  Miller went on to say: “They acted with professionalism, um, and, ah, and, with respect for people’s rights to lawfully demonstrate, while trying to keep the peace.” Why should we believe this? The simple fact that the TPS arrested more people than ever before in Canadian history at one time (over 900 people) suggests a violation of people’s rights to demonstrate lawfully. In video after video as seen on television and posted on the Toronto Media Coop suggests David Miller is flatly lying and providing cover for the TPS.

In countless instances, the police provoked demonstrators by shoving their bike pedals and handle bars into citizens shins and ribs, in countless instances riot police charged peaceful demonstrators in Queens Park and throughout the streets of Toronto and in many other countless instances the police broke their own impromptu agreements with citizens as was the case at the jail solidarity protest outside of the Film Studio detention camp on the night of Saturday 26 June. In this instance, caught on video (watch videos 1 through 4), the head of the riot police assured that those peaceably assembling and freely expressing their opinions could leave after being surrounded by roughly two hundred and fifty riot cops. The police lied and arrested roughly twenty five out of the roughly one hundred and fifty demonstrators.

And what about mayor Millers confidence in TPS Chief Bill “the butcher” Blair? The Globe & Mail reported on Tuesday 29 June that Chief Blair and the Ontario Cabinet purposefully confused and mislead the public about the so-called “five-metre” rule around the security fence and the search and seizure powers of the police. In countless incidents – including this author on Friday 25 June – police illegally searched and seized citizens’ property at Allen Gardens and Queens Park, blocks away from the security perimeter. In my case, Police Sgt. Nancy McLean explained to me that the police would wilfully break their own colonial laws and deal with the consequences later. During the illegal search and seizure at Allen Gardens, Sgt. McLean and the other fascists could not articulate what law I was breaking while they still illegally searched me and seized my goggles for protection against the use of chemical weapons.

The state and the police have shown this past weekend the means it will go through to continue to perpetuate the ends of colonialism, imperialism, ecocide, and the pillaging of the earth for the mega-profits of fat cats snickering behind closed doors. While Prime Minister Stephen Harper chastised the “actions of a few thugs” - he could have easily been talking about the Toronto Police, the RCMP, CSIS, and the ISU. Lauding the actions of the Black Bloc as the confirmation that the one billion plus security budget was necessary funadmentally negates the fact that leaders will spend, and have spent, countless billions to protect the rich and the elites so that they may continue engineering our future and the destruction of the planet for their own interests. We still do not even know where the money has gone and what other powers and privileges have been granted to CSIS and the RCMP with the millions they stole from our communities.   

While looking tough on television, the people’s democracy and the people’s rights were ripped apart and laughed at by the guards in the makeshift detention camp at the Film Studio on Eastern and Pape. As the Guardian journalist, Jesse Rosenfeld, who has been working in the Middle East since 2007, commented on Democracy Now! on Monday 28 June: “the jails actually remind me a lot more of the ones I’ve seen that Israelis hold for Palestinians or the Palestinian Authority holds.”

Many more questions need to be answered about the detention camp and who had authority over it: was it run by the TPS, the federal government, or was it contracted out to a private company? While the mainstream media convolutes the experiences of detainees and questions the validity of their stories, they give the TPS a free pass stressing the truth will take months and years to come out. (See CBC article on Tuesday 29 June, “Police Give Tour of G20 Prison Site” or the CBC’s newscast “Finding Truth in G20 Chaos” at www.cbc.ca/video/player.html?category=News&zone=toronto&site=cbc.news.ca&clipid=1533613646

And what do we get? Dissent is the problem, people participating in the political process is the problem, trying to disrupt a totalitarian economic summit and send a message to world “leaders” that they cannot get away with selling away our future is the problem. We are told citizens are the reason for the billion-dollar security budget because we cannot be trusted. Mayor David Miller commented: “If you step back for a moment, and think about the impossible job those police officers had, when people are literally hiding in demonstrations, seeking to use innocent people as a cover for their criminal activities, ah, a, very difficult job and I felt the police, ah, distinguished themselves in handling that job as best as anyone could expect and I think we should be proud of the police.”

The only people I saw hiding in demonstrations were undercover police officers. Do you really think the Black Bloc can hide in a demonstration? It are false statements like these that will be countered in the days, weeks, and years that it will take to reclaim the people’s democracy and protect the earth from the “thugs” hiding behind a billion dollar security budget.

If we truly want to “step back for a moment,” as mayor Miller suggests, we need to recognize that in the horrendous history of industrial, corporate and “global” capitalism the one constant has been government, police, and corporate lawlessness. In the people’s attempt to reclaim their lives and save mother earth from these “thugs” and their destructive weapons – we have been the victims and not the executioners.

While we must cope and recount our stories, we must also seize this opportunity to expose the lies, the corruption, and the lawlessness of those in power. We must continue building the communities and the future we want. We must continue to lead by example and prove we have alternatives to colonialism, imperialism, and ecocide. We must continue to disrupt the future these “thugs” who hide behind fortified police states want to impose.

We are all leaders and they can never take that away from us.

In Solidarity!

 


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apology?

I was on Youtube that she promised to apologize later if she was wrong - did she do it?

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