Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’
Do you remember NAFTA?
Canadians exercised our democratic right to fire Brian Mulroney and his entire political party (save 2) for inflicting NAFTA on Canada. We said NO to NAFTA.
In decimating the Progressive Conservative Party, we replaced Mulroney with a new Liberal Prime Minister. PM Jean Chrétien took office with a decisive majority, because he had:
“…campaigned on a promise to renegotiate or abrogate NAFTA; however, Chrétien subsequently negotiated two supplemental agreements with the new US president.”
No one doubted that the majority of Canadians emphatically said NO. We did what we are supposed to: we changed the government to make our point. Yet it didn’t help. NAFTA is alive and well in Canada.
[And people wonder why so many Canadians don't vote.]
It’s no wonder governments seek to negotiate trade agreements in secret; citizens might vote them out if we knew what they were doing. Even our protests might slow them down.
In spite of onerous non-disclosure agreements, information about the dreadful secret trade agreement ACTA (the so-called “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”) kept leaking out. I blogged extensively about ACTA in my interweb freedom blog. Enough was known about it to frighten Europeans into taking to the streets. The result was that ACTA was rejected emphatically after European citizens took to the streets to tell their governments “NO!”
The ACTA agreement crumbled, or so the world thought . . .
The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In 2012, Mexico, the European Union and 22 countries which are member states of the European Union signed as well. One signatory (Japan) has ratified (formally approved) the agreement, which would come into force in countries that ratified it after ratification by six countries.
Although many people believe the world rejected ACTA, Canada has not. Some of the worst of the laws that erode civil rights that are being forged by Canada’s “majority government” are in service of the ACTA trade agreement. ACTA is alive and well in Canada.
And now the The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership is coming.
Governments and special interests pursue these treaties in secret because the terms are detrimental to citizen interests. They then use the existence of such “trade treaties” to justify draconian changes they then make to our domestic laws. We are told they “have to do it” because of the treaty commitment. Funny how the Harper Government doesn’t “have to” live up to Canada’s Kyoto commitment.
Make A Difference
The Inter-Continental Day of Action, 31 January 2013 is gearing up across Canada, the United States and Mexico to protest the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP), the latest in the dizzying proliferation of “trade agreements” that sacrifice the public good in the interests of servicing the objectives of corporations.
Find your local event, or start your own!
In Canada we can write or call our Member of Parliament (MP) to let them know when they are making a mistake. I expect the legislation drafted as Bill C-60: Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 — An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures has other problems threaded throughout its 128 pages but the mistake that concerns me is the bit about Crown Corporations in general, and in particular, the CBC.
To make it easy for Canadians, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting set up an online form letter. I’m one of the 71,393 Canadians (so far) to use their form letter to tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper and my own MP, Harold Albrecht, not to threaten the CBC’s autonomy by passing Bill C-60.
I haven’t heard back from the Prime Minister’s Office, but today I heard from my own MP, Harold Albrecht.
Thank you for contacting my office to express your concerns regarding Bill C-60 and the CBC. I appreciate your input on this matter.
Crown Corporations, such as the CBC, receive appropriations from Parliament, and our Government would like to see consistency in wage and benefits among all Crown Corporations and the civil service. This means that any individual doing the same type of work at the CBC should be receiving the same amount of money if they were doing the same job in any other Crown Corporation or Federal Department.
This is what Bill C-60 is seeking to secure. This mandate will make certain that we have the correct instruments in place to protect taxpayer dollars at the bargaining table if it is necessary. We have a responsibility and commitment to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and will work closely with Crown corporations to ensure this happens.
I would like to ensure you that the measures in Bill C-60 do not affect the funding or the independent operation of the CBC, or any other Crown Corporations.
I thank you again for contacting my office to express your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any future concerns or inquiries.
Harold Albrecht, MP
While I am sure Harold is sincere, his government has missed a couple of key points, so I decided to help matters along by writing him back to clear a few things up.
Harold Albrecht, MP
House of Commons
Thank you for your response. While I do understand your position, it fails to take into account two very important considerations.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has no equivalent to Mr. Dressup.
Nor is a Camera Operator a Letter Carrier. A Letter Carrier follows a set of rules laid down from above, while a Camera Operator has achieved a level of technical expertise which is used in conjunction with a certain degree of creativity.
Although I have not myself worked at CBC, I have written television drama professionally, and I very much hope that there is no job like that at the Bank of Canada.
Canadian commitment to the CBC (and the NFB) has helped grow our cultural heritage. No one is suggesting that CBC is perfect, but direct government intervention to micromanage it is not the way to go.
The second crucial consideration is the other reason CBC was established, to ensure all Canadians have access to Canadian News — which does not simply mean a regional version of American News.
Public broadcasting is important to ensure Corporate agendas don’t trump the public good, which is why Canada is not the only nation in the world delivering public broadcasting to its citizens. Even the United States – the world leader in commercial broadcasting – has independent Public Broadcasting.
For the better part of the first two years I was writing the Stop Usage Based Billing blog, the only national mainstream media outlet in Canada that reported on our peculiarly Canadian UBB issue was CBC. Unlike its self interested commercial competitors (which worked to keep the issue away from Canadians), CBC’s mandate is not just the the bottom line, but to keep Canadians informed.
While it is appropriate for the Federal Government to disburse funds to CBC, if government dictates how the money will be spent, journalistic independence will be lost and news will become propaganda. If the news media is controlled by government, there can be no free press.
You must appreciate that while your government has a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, this can be done without compromising press freedom. The Broadcasting Act gave CBC total autonomy in staffing decisions to ensure a free press, which is a necessary component of democracy.
Your assurance that the measures in Bill C-60 will not affect the funding or the independent operation of the CBC, or any other Crown Corporations, rings hollow in light of your government’s rejection of the Peggy Nash motion asking the finance committee to study the measure. If we are to have accountable democratic government, legislation requires sufficient scrutiny.
Bill C-60 will do remarkable damage both to Canadian culture and Press Freedom. For these reasons, as well as others echoed across the news media and the Internet, I ask you, as my duly elected Member of Parliament, to please vote “no” to Bill C-60.
Laurel L. Russwurm
I didn’t go into the inappropriateness of Omnibus Bills in a democracy ~ this one contains so much disparate material that Peggy Nash wanted it split into six parts.
Since I’m not an expert on Crown Corporations, I limited myself to addressing the CBC issues.
Maybe I should have suggested it would be wise to consider why these Crown Corporations were established as independent entities in the first place. The CBC is not a branch of the Civil Service, nor should it be.
Bill C-60: An attack on CBC’s autonomy by Karl Nerenberg on Rabble
Will Bill C-60 influence Bank of Canada’s independence? Flaherty should explain by Kevin Carmichael, Globe and Mail
Ottawa kicks the CBC, a wounded critter on a short leash by John Doyle, Globe and Mail
Maybe it’s because of movies I’ve seen, or possibly because of my interest in history, or both, but Remembrance Day has always been important to me.
When I was a kid I borrowed the vinyl LP “Billy Bishop Goes To War” from the local public library. More than once.
This masterpiece of Canadian theatre has everything that a good war story ought to have. Humour. Drama. A valient hero. Politics. And tragedy. Later I bought my own copy, which I played for my child on Remembrance Day.
One of the most haunting songs I’ve ever heard is Chris DeBurgh’s “This Song For You.”
All are powerful works of art, each carrying the clear message that wars should be avoided.
On past Remembrance Days I’ve written about copyright in The Eleventh Minute, the Eleventh Hour, the Eleventh Day and the tragic monument at the University of Toronto: In Flanders Fields….
Sadly, the wrongs that I wrote about have not yet been righted. Earlier this week my friend Satipera shared this powerful article from the UK which looks closely at the wearing of the poppy Robert Fisk: Do those who flaunt the poppy on their lapels know that they mock the war dead?
I very much doubt that a single Canadian politician anywhere in the world will be without a poppy today. Yet who, more than they, hold the responsibility for the continued sacrifice of a new crop of young Canadians soldiers engaged in a war because … ?
“Since 2001, 158 Canadians have died in Afghanistan and another 6,700 are collecting disability payments from Veterans Affairs, about 130 of them under the age of 25. “
— Tamsin McMahon ~ National Post: “Canada’s newest veterans having trouble accepting the label“
Canada has been involved in an almost invisible war for nearly a decade. It is barely spoken of, but young Canadians fight and die and I can’t tell you why. I suspect they can’t, either. Unlike the glamorous Great War, or the Second World War, the only citizens who are really involved and affected are the Canadians whose children are overseas, fighting and dying. Has a decade of this fixed anything? Has anything good come of this war? A war that Canada is supposed to be withdrawing from by the end of this year. Will we really withdraw?
I can’t begin to count the times in my life that I’ve heard it said that our soldiers fought for our freedom. But there is much less freedom now than there was when I was young.
The erosion of civil rights that the blood of our soldiers was to have bought for us was never more clear than in the events around last year’s G20 Summit in Toronto.
Today, Canadians across the country are organizing and participating in the “Occupy” movement.
And Byron Sonne is on trial in Toronto. He’s fighting for his freedom, and ours.
Where did our freedom go?
“Airfield to Salute” photograph by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez
Wikipedia: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–Troops deployed to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Regional Command South gathered on the flightline of Kandahar Air Field to salute fallen Canadian servicemember Sapper Sean David Greenfield on February 1, 2009. Greenfield, who was deployed as part of the 24 Field Engineers Squadron out of Petawawa, Ontario, was killed in action in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province on Jan. 31, 2009 ISAF photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez (RELEASED). ~ This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made during the course of the person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
freebyron poppy cc by laurelrusswurm
Once a nation honored for our commitment to peacekeeping, today Canada’s international reputation is in tatters thanks to Tom Flanagan.
EVERY Canadian needs to see this CBC interview video clip. You can watch it on YouTube:
Tom Flanagan, described by Wikipedia as a “political scientist”, a man who previously served as Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, characterized by the Walrus as The Man Behind Stephen Harper, is currently employed as a Professor by the University of Calgary. Far from being a media novice, Flanagan has run federal political campaigns.
Yet this week Professor Flanagan said the unspeakable live on air in the CBC’s Power & Politics interview.
“I think Assange should be assassinated, actually, [laughs], I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something.”
—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010
CBC Interviewer Evan Solomon tried very hard to give Professor Flanagan the opportunity to backpedal, but instead of retracting or making light of his statement, Flanagan reiterated it:
“I woudn’t be unhappy if Assange disappeared.”
—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010
It is one thing for ordinary citizens to discuss the pros and cons of the #Cablegate issue, or even to think this is a reasonable response to #WikiLeaks. It is quite something else for a man with such close connections to the Canadian Government to advocate assassination.
This from a man saying that WikiLeaks is irresponsible. But what Wikileaks does is bring government and corporate malfeasance under public scrutiny. Professor Flanagan advocated assassination as a valid method for government to handle opposition. Not a method I would connect with democratic government.
Flanagan is often described as a member of the “Calgary School,” which is a small group of conservatively inclined professors at the University of Calgary, including Barry Cooper, David Bercuson, F.L. (Ted) Morton, and Rainer Knopff. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute and a founder and former president of Civitas, a national conservative discussion society in Canada.
Terrorists assassinate people with opposing viewpoints.
Who is Julian Assange?
Julian Assange is a man on Time Magazine’s shortlist for “Person of the Year” because of his dedication to the concept of government transparency. He created the WikiLeaks website.
What is Wikileaks?
WikiLeaks is a website that publishes “leaked” documents, making the “secret” information available to anyone who cares to read the information online.
Wikileaks makes information that governments want suppressed available to citizens. WikiLeaks publishes information that is “leaked” by concerned citizens with access to this information. Citizens concerned by paths and actions their governments are taking. Government Policies that are being undertaken in secret.
I believe that the reason for making these things known is to allow the public the opportunity to form an opinion. Perhaps I am naïve, but I think that is eminently reasonable in a democratic nation. Transparency and dissent must exist in a democracy. If they don’t, democracy hasn’t got a prayer.
Tom Flanagan is/was an unelected Canadian power broker who may or may not have the ear of the Canadian Government. As an ordinary Canadian I have no way of knowing. What I do know is that he is employed to impart his wisdom to some of Canada’s brightest young minds at the University of Calgary.
His statements are not only overwhelmingly arrogant, they embody “above the law” thinking.
I would think that someone who actually teaches political science at the university level would have at least a nodding acquaintance with the cautionary tale of Thomas Becket, and appreciate the danger of anyone in public life making such statements. That was, after all, one of the classic political gaffes in recorded history.
Clearly, the public outcry following these irresponsible statements was enough to convince Professor Flanagan to recant. And today he
regrets his “glib comment”
But because of Tom Flanagan’s strong ties with the Canadian government, his words and statements ring with far more authority than that of the average Canadian history professor. His words taint Canada’s international reputation.
At the very least, this calls for strong government censure. Perhaps even criminal charges. Does Canada actually support assassinating whistle blowers?
The Canadian Government must speak up.
As a Canadian I am appalled.
The WikiLeaks website has been suffering problems,possibly friom huge traffic, possibly from a DDoS attacks.
You can also attempt to access Cablegate cables directly, but of course that site is also having problems.
Julian Assange at New Media Days 2009 Photo by New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (cc-by-sa)
Canadian Flag CC-by lothlaurien.ca
OGG conversion via TinyOgg
NOTE: The original video I linked to has been taken down; so I’ve replaced it with another copy of the same.
The United States is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I would think that should afford their citizens a reasonable expectation that the American Government would take these human rights into account when drafting government policy.
Before stripping these inalienable rights from citizens.
What is happening under government auspices at TSA (Transit Security Administration) checkpoints in airports across the United States is wrong.
At best, the “BS Scanners” are an invasion of privacy, at worst, a serious health risk.
Clearly what is being done to citizens by the TSA contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Here, for your information, is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the bits both the American Government and the TSA need to remember:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
The General Assembly
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
- Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
- Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.
- Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
- Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
- Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against all types of discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to any form of discrimination.
- Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
- Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
- Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
- Article 11
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
- Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
- Article 13
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
- Article 14
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Article 15
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
- Article 16
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
- Article 17
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
- Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
- Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 20
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
- Article 21
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
- Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
- Article 23
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
- Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
- Article 25
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
- Article 26
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
- Article 27
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
- Article 28
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
- Article 29
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
—Universal Declaration of Human Rights Wikipedia
To my American friends
I hope none of you need to fly.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is excerpted from an official document of the United Nations. The policy of this organization is to keep most of its documents in the public domain in order to disseminate “as widely as possible the ideas (contained) in the United Nations Publications”.
Activism is an incredibly broad term that can mean many things to many people.
Activism consists of intentional action to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change.
This action is in support of, or opposition to, one side of an often controversial argument. In contemporary use, “activism” tends to be a word associated with the actions and ideologies of those on the political left.
The word “activism” is used synonymously with protest or dissent, but activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, both sit-ins and hunger strikes, or even guerrilla tactics.”
Of course, you can’t always believe what you read. Just because something is in print does not necessarily mean it is true or accurate, whether in a book, a newspaper or a web page. Wikipedia is certainly in error in conflating “violent revolutionary activities” with Malcolm X, who was himself non-violent like the majority of activists. It was only after Malcolm X was assasinated that his followers turned to “violent revolutionary activities.”
I’ve never met Byron Sonne, and only heard about him recently. The publication ban means what I know about it is limited to what has already been published. Which may or may not be true. Still, there is enough there in the public record to cause me concern, which is why I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it.
One of the comments posted to my first article Silencing Online Activism: From “Officer Bubbles” to “Free Byron” states emphatically that:
Byron Sonne is in jail because he purchased TATP explosives over the internet deliberately to provoke the police into arresting him. “
—BelchSpeak commenting on Silencing Online Activism: From “Officer Bubbles” to “Free Byron.”
If Mr. BelchSpeak is correct, that would certainly qualify Mr. Sonne’s actions as being political. Which would be an act of political activism. The objective of that type of activism is to challenge laws and the legal system.
When I attempted to point that out to Mr. BelchSpeak, he didn’t seem to understand what I was saying, which is why I’ve written this post to explain it a little better.
In itself, buying explosives is not activism.
Explosives may be bought to blow up the large stump and root system that makes half your field unusable. That’s farming, not activism.
Explosives might be bought to blow the door off a safe. (An excellent Parker story springs to mind…) That’s criminal activity, not activism.
Explosives were bought to drop out of Lancaster Bombers on Nazi Germany in the second world war. That was an act of war, not activism.
Explosives might be bought to create pyrotechnic special effects in Raiders of the Lost Arc. That’s special effects, not activism.
Explosives are sometimes bought to blow up symbolic buildings as a means of attempting to intimidate governments into doing things they otherwise would not do. That’s terrorism, not activism.
Explosives are bought to create community fireworks displays in communities across Canada on Victoria Day or Canada Day. That’s community spirit, not activism.
Explosives can also be bought to set off in back yards, although they are often used inappropriately and too often one hears stories of children harming themselves, sometimes even losing body parts or causing damage when using these fireworks without adequate supervision. That’s foolishness, not activisim.
But if explosives are bought for the express purpose of provoking the police, that would in fact be activism. Explosives purchased to expose flaws in G8/G20 Summit Security arrangements, with the intent of ridiculing the authorities, in the hope of encouraging them to not hold the G8/G20 Summit here now, or any in the future, would certainly qualify as activism, because it would be “intentional action to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change”
Again, I have no way of knowing if it’s true or not, I’m simply basing this on what BelchSpeak said.
But if it is true, it would mean Byron Sonne is an unlikely flight risk. Because this type of activism is done in order to challenge, draw attention to and hopefully change societal and legal inequities.
Mr. Sonne had a well ordered and comfortable life. He owned a business, a beautiful home, had strong community ties. People aren’t often willing to jeopardize those things unless they fee very strongly about an issue. Usually that the risk is warranted if there is a chance that wrongs can be righted. The last thing that Byron Sonne would be is a flight risk, since because having a day in court would be the point.
People accused of murder are routinely released on bail. Bail is granted if they are not considered a danger to others or a flight risk. Accused people are allowed to resume their normal lives while preparing for a trial date which may be years in the future. An accusation is not a conviction, and in the eyes of the law, people accused of crimes are considered innocent until they are proven guilty. Even convicted felons are sometimes subject to serve a sentence of “House Arrest” or “Work Release.”
I do not pretend to have all the facts. I don’t know what Byron Sonne actually did. The point is that the charges brought against him could be very broadly interpreted.
The facts that I do have are that Byron Sonne has been charged, but not convicted of anything. Unless and until he is actually convicted of anything, he should not have to serve years in jail.
So if what Mr. BelchSpeak wrote is true, it would mean that Byron Sonne is neither dangerous or a flight risk, Byron Sonne’s denial of bail would itself be a serious miscarriage of justice.
Because it would mean that his bail was denied as a punishment.