Monday, September 24, 2007

Stand Up For Your Rights!

Toe to Toe With Law and Order!

Is Freedom In Canada Just An Illusion!

Quebec police admit they infiltrated protest
CanWest News Service
Friday, August 24, 2007

QUEBEC -- The Quebec provincial police acknowledged in a statement Thursday that their agents had infiltrated protesters demonstrating during the recent North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que. but denied that they acted as "agent provocateurs" to instigate violence.

"They had the mandate to spot and identify violent demonstrators to avoid the situation from getting out of hand," the Surete du Quebec said in a statement. "The police officers were identified by demonstrators when they refused to throw projectiles." "At no time did the Surete du Quebec police officers act as agents provocateurs or committed criminal acts," the statement adds.
A spokesperson for the police force refused to further comment on the statement.
Protesters have accused police of planting agents outside the Chateau Montebello to instigate violence during Monday's demonstration.
A prominent labour official pointed Wednesday to video made available on Youtube and photographs of three burly men, dressed as "Black Bloc" anarchists, standing out in the midst an otherwise peaceful sit-in adjacent to Surete du Quebec and RCMP riot squads.
The video shows the three black-clad bandana-wearing men being singled out by union organizers and the crowd. Other protesters started pointing at them and crying "police."
One of the three men is seen shoving and swearing at Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada, who is angrily confronting the trio, demanding they put down the rocks, remove their bandanas, and identify themselves.
After being backed into a corner against a line of provincial police officers in riot gear, they try to force themselves through the police line and are arrested while the crowd cheers.
"People have the right to peacefully protest something they don't like," said Coles this week, demanding answers from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest.
"They think that they have the right to infiltrate us as they've done before. But to be packing large boulders, they were going to do something with those rocks and it wasn't peaceful."
© CanWest News Service 2007

A police officer stands outside the North American leaders summit at the Chateau Montebello hotel in Montebello, Quebec
August 20, 2007. (REUTERS/Shaun Best)

Saturday Special: Only in Arkansas
Action Alert: Anti-War Activist Targeted by Country Beginning With the Letter "C" (Hint: It's Not China or Cambodia)
Posted by admin on September 24th, 2007
For those of you who still think it can’t happen here: Subject: URGENT Appeal for Support: US Anti-war Activist Arrested at Canadian Border!

Sent: 24 Sep ‘07 13:53
The Alison Bodine Defense Committee is appealing to all progressive groups and organizations who fight for a better world to support the campaign to defend Alison Bodine, a US citizen who is being targeted by Canadian Border Services Agency for being an anti-war and social justice activist.
Originally from Broomfield, Colorado, Alison is a central organizer with Vancouver, Canada antiwar coalition Mobilization Against War & Occupation(MAWO), for three years was the president of the University of British Columbia’s Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq and Internationally (CAWOPI), along-time executive committee member of the UBC Social Justice Center, is a prominent activist in solidarity with Cuba and the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba,and a supporter of immigrant and refugee rights in Canada and the US.Near midnight on Thursday September 13, 2007, Alison was arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when she attempted to legally cross the borderat Peace Arch border crossing, travelling from Canada into the United States. Three days prior, Alison was harassed by CBSA officials while traveling from the USinto Canada. The ordeal began after border officials searched her vehicle and identified her as a political organizer after they found various political materials and progressive newspapers in her car.As an international student at the University of British Columbia who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Physics in June 2007, Alison has traveledbetween the US and Canada on dozens of occasions, and had never been denied entrance to Canada or asked to return to the US.As she was returning to the US on Thursday September 13th, Alison returned to claim items confiscated earlier by the CBSA. Upon presenting her receipt to claim her materials, she was handcuffed and told she was under arrest, and that a warrant for her arresthad been issued across Canada. She was then taken into detention. This unjust and illegal imprisonment was met with a huge protest and organizing drive by thenewly-formed Committee to Free Alison Bodine. Friday afternoon, on only 5 hours notice, 80 people came together at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Offices inVancouver, demanding the immediate release of Alison Bodine. Media was also quick to pick up this important case, which was covered locally and nationally by newspapers, TV and radio.Following all of this, Alison’s status took a major turn. Officials constantly reminded her all day that there was no way she would be released from detentionbefore Monday. However, at 8:00pm on Friday, Alison was given notice by immigration officials that she would be released from custody immediately until herAdmissibility Hearing on Monday Sept 17th – a major victory in the campaign for her freedom. However Alison’s ordeal is not yet over. In the early afternoon of September 17th, Alison learned from a CBC reporter that the CBSA had cancelled her AdmissibilityHearing scheduled for 2pm that day. Alison herself was never officially notified by CBSA.
At 1:30pm Monday September 17th, more than 50 supporters rallied outside the downtown Citizenship & Immigration Canada offices, especially because of thecancelled hearing, to demand that all charges against Alison be dropped immediately. The CBSA postponement of Alison’s hearing is a maneuver to delay because they know they won’t be able to prove the charges they have made up so far. It also shows they have decided to escalate this case to a more political level byfinding some different charges to bring because they know right now their case cannot win in a hearing.Being without status in Canada, Alison’s situation is always uncertain, and she can still be arrested at anytime. All progressive, humanity loving people must unite around this case. We must understand that this is not just an attack on Alison, this is an attack onall of us. This is an attack on the basic democratic and human rights of all people, especially social justice activists, immigrants, refugees and all non-status people and non-residents in Canada. The illegal and unjust arrest and detention of Alison Bodine means the Government of Canada and its agencies want to continue and escalate the silencing of free speech and political expression and continue their terrorizing ofpeople who oppose their policies at home and abroad and the new era of war and occupation. They are also testing and evaluating our response to defend ourselves against their attacks against us. The degree, seriousness, effectiveness and consistency of our defence impact their decision on how to further their repressive measures.
For this reason, we are appealing to you to join us in this struggle by endorsing this emergency campaign and by writing a letter of support demanding that the CBSAdrop all charges against Alison. Please send this appeal to your email lists and friends. We must show the Government of Canada and their agency, the CBSA,that they cannot get away with trying to intimidate activists. We have attached a template support letter,as an example. Letters of support should besent to:
The CBSA might think that by delaying the Admissibility hearing this campaign will lose steam and the pressure against them will lessen. On the contrary, this campaign is only just beginning. People all across Canada and the world know about this case of political harassment and this will only gain momentum from here. This is a political case; Alisonhas done nothing wrong or illegal. Alison, along with supporters in Vancouver and across the country will keep up the demand that the CBSA must drop all chargesagainst her and restore her full rights to travel between the US and Canada. For now, they have re-scheduled her Admissibility hearing for Friday, September 28th at 9am. In the time between now and then we will not back down, we will not slow down andwe will continue fighting! Our fight is not over. Your support is essential to get all charges against Alison dropped!
WE WILL WIN! Alison Bodine Defense Committee (ABDC)
Robert von Tobel Says: September 24th, 2007 at 7:13 pm
Detention of Alison Bodine is an outrageous,illegal and immoral act of terrorism and must be treated as such. I am ashamed of Canada for perpetrating it. People all across Canada and the world know about this case of political harassment and this will only gain momentum from here. This is a political case; Alison has done nothing wrong or illegal. Alison, along with supporters in Vancouver and across the country will keep up the demand that the CBSA must drop all charges against her and restore her full rights to travel between the US and Canada.
Sharon Ellis Says: September 24th, 2007 at 8:14 pm
I am thoroughly ashamed of our government at this point. Harper has been quietly and secretly pulling this country into line with US policies, without allowing dissent or input into the process.
I will be writing letters. This is disgusting.
Canada Refuses Entry to CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel Ann Wright

WASHINGTON - October 3 – Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, were denied entry into Canada today (Wednesday, October 3). The two women were headed to Toronto to discuss peace and security issues at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition. At the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. They will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC to ask the Canadian government to reverse its policy of barring peaceful protesters.
The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.
Let me tell you, my fellow countrymen, that all the signs point this way, that the twentieth century shall be the century of Canada and of Canadian development. For the next seventy-five years, nay, for the next one hundred years, Canada shall be the star towards which all men who love progress and freedom shall come.

~ Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 14 October 1904
The beaver, which has come to represent Canada as the eagle does the United States and the lion Britain, is a flat-tailed, slow-witted, toothy rodent known to bite off it's own testicles or to stand under its own falling trees.~ June Callwood, journalist and social activist


In Another Part of the World ... Burma

Burma death toll much higher than reported:
28 September 2007
Crowds taunted and cursed security forces barricading central Rangoon overnight, as the junta tried to prevent more mass protests against Burma's 45 years of military rule and deepening economic hardship.
Meanwhile Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australian diplomats feared the true death toll in the country was much higher than has been reported so far, and could be in the hundreds.
Potentially deadly games of cat and mouse went on for hours around the barbed-wire barriers in a city terrified of a repeat of 1988, when the army killed an estimated 3,000 people in crushing an uprising.
Few Buddhist monks were among the crowds, unlike in previous days, after soldiers ransacked 10 monasteries on Thursday and carted off hundreds inside.
When the troops charged, the protesters vanished into narrow side streets, only to emerge elsewhere to renew their abuse until darkness fell and an overnight curfew took effect.
"We only want democracy," some yelled in English. "May the people who beat monks be struck down by lightning," others chanted in Burmese.
Despite the visceral anger in their voices, far fewer protesters turned out in Rangoon than earlier in the week, when they had walked alongside thousands of maroon-robed monks.
Shots were fired on Friday but there was no word of more casualties a day after troops swept protesters from the center of Rangoon, giving them 10 minutes to leave or be shot.
Troops fired on several crowds on Thursday and state-run television said nine people were killed.
Downer, Brown comment
"The Burmese official estimate of 10 dead is likely to be a real exaggeration [sic]," Mr Downer said. "I think the numbers are going to be substantially higher than that. I think they could be multiples of ten higher."
His comments were echoed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"I am afraid we believe the loss of life is far greater than is being reported," Mr Brown said on Friday after talking by telephone with US President George W Bush and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
There has been no word on the fate of the monks, who turned what began as small protests against shock fuel price rises last month into a mass uprising when they lent their moral weight to demonstrations against the ruling generals.
Burma's main internet link has been cut off and internet cafes in Rangoon are closed. Several newspapers have also stopped publishing. Witnesses in the city say soldiers have beaten and arrested people found with mobile phones or cameras.
In other developments, UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari was in Singapore and is expected to arrive in Burma later today.
Some monks told foreign Burmese-language broadcasters they were not going to give up. Speaking anonymously, they said a "united front" of clergy, students and activists had been formed to continue the struggle.
Mr Bush and Mr Brown discussed the need to maintain international pressure on Burma's rulers and the White House condemned the crackdown as "barbaric."
Asked whether Mr Bush and Mr Brown talked about the possibility of encouraging Burma's people to overthrow their government if protests grew into a full-scale uprising, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that would be "a hypothetical."
"We certainly support the people who are marching for democracy and peace," he said.
The European Union summoned Burma's senior diplomat in Brussels and warned him of tighter sanctions.
EU experts looked into possible restrictions on exports from Burma of timber, precious metals and stones but did not reach any decisions, one diplomat said. Investments by specific Europeans in the country were not raised, he said.
Activist Mark Farmaner of the Burma Campaign UK called the EU sanctions "pathetic" and said a freeze on assets had netted less than 7,000 euros in all 27 EU member states and many countries allowed companies to do business in Burma.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said sanctions were premature but that he was sorry to hear about civilian deaths.
"As far as sanctions are concerned, this is a topic to be especially considered in the United Nations," said Mr Putin.
Russia is, like China, a veto-wielding UN Security Council member and has shown growing interest in energy cooperation with Burma. China, the main backer of Burma's military government, has flatly ruled out backing sanctions.
The junta told diplomats summoned to its new jungle capital of Naypyidaw that it was "committed to showing restraint in its response to the provocations," one of those present said.
There were protests across Asia, with many people wearing red to symbolise the blood spilled in Burma.
What's in a Country's Name?Myanmar to Some, Burma to Others, Violence and Repression for AllBy Kirit Radia
Sept. 28, 2007 —

Newspapers this week have been plastered with headlines of violent crackdowns against peaceful demonstrations by Buddhist monks. Exactly where this is taking place depends on whom you ask.
Thursday, the Washington Post carried the headline "Burma Meets Protests With Violence" on its front page while The New York Times exclaimed, "Myanmar Attacks Protestors, Arresting Monks."
As the confrontation between pro-democracy protesters and the repressive military regime continues to dominate the news, the debate over what to call the country not only confuses audiences, but also cuts across a contentious political debate that goes back nearly two decades.
Until 1989 the southeast Asian country of more than 47 million people was known as Burma. Since then, however, the ruling military junta has called the country Myanmar. It even renamed the capital from Rangoon to Yangon.
That year the military regime, which had dominant political control for the previous 26 years, lost landslide elections to the main opposition party. It refused to hand over power and instead jailed many opposition leaders. Others fled the country and formed dissident groups abroad, maintaining that their homeland is called Burma.
The government still holds a vice grip on even basic freedoms, making Myanmar (or Burma) one of the most repressed countries in the world.
The U.S. government has clearly taken the side of the opposition, insisting that the country's rightful name is Burma.
"The decision for that might have something to do with the fact that the decision internally in Burma to change the name of the country was done by the military junta rather than by a democratically elected government," said State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey.
"I think maybe we choose not to use language of a totalitarian, dictatorial regime that oppresses its people," White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said.
Tuesday, President Bush announced new sanctions on the regime in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, declaring that "Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma."
But as Bush looked out at the U.N. assembly from the podium, he wouldn't see anyone from that country, at least according to the placards that adorn the desks of each country's delegation. The United Nations refers to the country as Myanmar.
"The U.N. refers to countries by the title their governments choose," U.N. spokesman Farham Haq said.
The U.S. government isn't the only one to refer to the country as Burma. The British, who ruled the country for 62 years in the 19th century, do as well.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

Monks meet with Myanmar's Suu Kyi

YANGON, Myanmar - Hundreds of demonstrating Buddhist monks marched past barricades to the home of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, raising pressure on the junta by symbolically uniting their growing protest movement with the icon of Myanmar's long struggle for democracy.

The two strands of the escalating opposition to Myanmar's military government came together on a tree-lined Yangon street after police unexpectedly let more than 500 monks and other protesters through a roadblock.
Suu Kyi has been seen only by a handful of guards, servants and her doctors for more than four years.
Monks have been marching for the past five days in the Myanmar's biggest city and around the country as a month of protests against economic problems under the junta have ballooned into the biggest grass-roots challenge to its rule in two decades.
By linking their cause to Suu Kyi's activism, which has seen her detained for about 12 of the last 18 years, the monks increase the pressure on the junta to decide whether to crack down or to compromise with the demonstrators.
The government has been handling the well-respected monks' disciplined but defiant protests gingerly, aware that forcibly breaking them up in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar would likely cause public outrage.
"The key is the monks and Aung San Suu Kyi have one thing in common: peaceful protest," said Larry Jagan, a Bangkok-based journalist specializing in Myanmar. "They want to see change through peaceful means. What we're seeing is a coming together of the main political force in the country and the main religious leaders."
The monks stopped briefly in front of Suu Kyi's house and said some prayers before leaving at the other end of the street, said witnesses, who asked not to be named for fear of being harassed by the authorities.
The part of University Avenue where Suu Kyi's house is located has been closed to traffic since Sept. 17. After the monks passed, the road was closed again.
"Today is extraordinary. We walked past lay disciple Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house today. We are pleased and glad to see her looking fit and well," a 45-year old monk told about 200 people at Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city. "Daw" is an honorific used in referring to older women.
"She came out to the gate and paid obeisance to us and later waved at the crowd when we left," said the monk, who did not give his name.