Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble… G8/G20

I admit it, the bard actually wrote “Double, double, toil and trouble” in the Scottish play.   But in the light of the continuing aftermath of the Canadian G8/G20 debacle, the soap opera of international celebrity “Officer Bubbles” makes the often used misquote so terribly apropos.

View this Video with this YouTube Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGMTm3QRwEc
View this video in OGG format: http://russwurm.org/hostess/frombubblestobookings.ogv

Over and over again, the peaceful protests against the G8/G20 summit were met with over-reaction and unmerited violence by the authorities. I assume the well paid security forces were operating on the theory that the best defense is a strong offense.

If you smash opposition mercilessly beneath your jackboots, perhaps protesters can be frightened away.

I would suspect the reason a social worker Courtney was arrested was simply that she was not cowed by “Officer Bubbles.” After the officer threatened her with arrest, Courtney put the bubbles away as he instructed.   But she was not cowed.   Although she complied with the order, she had the temerity to tell him that she did not feel respected.  On camera.   If you want to keep order, arresting anyone who is not frightened into backing down can seem to be a good thing.

Officer Bubbles was very much aware he was being filmed, placing the camera over the camera.   It is only that this camera catches Courtney being arrested away from the action.   While Officer Bubbles stands beside the officer who is actually cuffing the young woman, scanning the crowd, you can see him stiffen as he realizes that the camera has caught the arrest.

Knowing there were cameras everywhere, Officer Bubbles interjected himself in non-confrontational conversation being held between the other officer and the protester.    The protester with the camera was directly in front of him, closer than the bubble blowing protester.   Of course it was captured on video. Of course it went viral.

People all over the world have seen this video. It is all over YouTube.   It has spawned cartoons and comments he apparently finds defamatory.   Officer Bubbles is now attempting long distance intimidation by bringing lawsuits against people who made comments on the various YouTube video postings.

View this Video with this YouTube Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H12AI6dkVIM
View this video in OGG format: http://russwurm.org/hostess/IntervieWwithElderlyWomenAttackedatG20TorontoJune2010.ogv

While Officer Bubbles considers being impacted by a soap bubble an assault, I am more inclined to think that being physically pushed around and thrown to the ground falls into the more universally understood definition of “assault.” Although this incident is “relatively mild,” I fail to see what purpose is served in manhandling elderly ladies — or anyone — exercising their democratic right to peaceful protest.

Learning that these particular grannies emigrated here to Canada in search of democratic freedom makes it all the more poignant.

View this Video with this YouTube Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiLt40d_AbU
View this video in OGG format: http://russwurm.org/hostess/PoliceOpenFireOnPeacefulProtestersG20toronto2010.ogv

This is Canada. For the most part Canadians are deserving of our mild mannered and law abiding reputation. This does not preclude our ability to stand up for what is right. Dissent is an important part of democracy. Without it, there can be no democracy.

We have a tradition of peaceful protest. Clearly, these protesters sought to keep the protest peaceful. The forces of “law and order” did not.

View this Video with this YouTube Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw2TokwsmKQ
View this video in OGG format: http://russwurm.org/hostess/G20TorontoPoliceFireAtWoman+PeacefulProtesters.ogv

Our government appears interested in crushing dissent in any way possible. Is this the Canada we want?

Is this the Canada our young people have fought and died for over the years? A Canada where free speech is suppressed, grannies are manhandled, and peaceful protesters are shot with dangerous weapons?

There are many many videos on You Tube, documenting peaceful protesters being run down by horses, herded like cattle, caught between a rock and a hard place. Where mass arrests are made as a deterrent.

To silence dissent.

An Invisible Abuse of Power

Byron Sonne was arrested before the G8/G20 even began.

A middle aged husband, a computer security expert with his own business, a homeowner, a concerned citizen active in the community.

Byron Sonne posted remarks on Twitter which caught the attention of the G8/G20 security forces monitoring Twitter. They searched Byron Sonne’s home, then arrested Byron and his wife (who has since been released) on a series of charges.

Charges that can be applied extraordinarily broadly:

  • Possession of explosives for an unlawful purpose.
  • Possession of dangerous weapons.
  • Intimidation of a justice system participant by threat.
  • Intimidation of a justice system participant by watch and beset.
  • Mischief.
  • Attempted mischief.

CBC Online: G20-related incident nets weapons charges

Free Byron

Sounds pretty scary, right? I’m not a lawyer, I’m a writer, but both exist within a framework of definitions. To understand what I mean about a broad application of the laws, offenses often include a range of actions. If you look at any law, you’ll find it begins with an extensive list of definitions.

Lets look at “Possession of explosives for an unlawful purpose.” Just by looking at an explosive, you can’t tell of it will be used for a lawful or unlawful purpose. That stick of dynamite might be intended to blow out a tree stump. They may even be a permit for it. Since Byron Somme is a security expert, it is not unreasonable to assume he might have material of this type for study. Proving “for an unlawful purpose” would be the hard part.

Even “explosives” have room for interpretation. At one end of the scale you find nuclear warheads. On the other you don’t even have to go to Toys R Us to buy a child’s chemistry set to make explosives, you can find the ingredients to make explosives in pretty much anyone’s kitchen. Fireworks are explosives too. It’s a work covering many things. Not too long ago Cory Doctorow provided the recipe for a smoke bomb he created as an adolescent on his popular boingboing site: Explosives

Or “dangerous weapons.” When I was a kid, my older brother built a slingshot capable of killing small animals. (It’s O.K., he didn’t grow up to join the NRA, these days he’s a sensitive artist.)

a few years of pre-trial custody

“Now that we’re looking at a few years of pretrial custody, this is something that’s taking off quite rapidly,” said James Arlen, a security consultant in Toronto and a longtime friend of Sonne’s.
Toronto Star: ‘Free Byron’ campaign grows for man in G20 case denied bail

Whatever happened to the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” ?

I’ve never met Byron, and I only learned about his plight the other day at an Ubuntu Release Party.   The publication ban prevents release of the facts in the case, but at the same time, I find it strange that he is being held without bail when black bloc protesters who actually acted have been released.

Four months later he is still incarcerated without bail.  This is a Canadian citizen who has not been convicted of anything.   In a country where accused murderers routinely get bail. What is going on?   It certainly looks as though Byron Sonne is a political prisoner.   In Canada.

I can’t believe this is happening here.

Visit the Free Byron website if you want to help. There are links to the published articles, and advice on the different ways we can help Byron get through this ordeal. Donations to his defense fund would be appreciated, but I’ve been told that he is in need reading matter, and very much appreciates receiving letters from people.

Of course the thing Byron needs most is his freedom. Don’t we all?

Free Byron

I’ve also written about this in my personal blog

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

A.C.T.A.: Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (double speak)

This is terribly important information for all Canadians.

Wikipedia: Double speak language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.”

Since 2007 Canada, Australia, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and Switzerland have been participating in secret negotiations initiated by the United States for a supposed “Trade Treaty” called A.C.T.A., an acronym for the misleading “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”

The American copyright lobby, made up of media corporations, trade associations and copyright collectives representing the Movie and Music recording industries have somehow convinced the American government that this would be a good thing for the United States. On the American side, the treaty is being pursued under an executive order, which means that the American president has the authority to ratify it on behalf of the United States without first subjecting it to congressional scrutiny or vote. A.C.T.A. negotiations are continuing at break neck speed under heavy non-disclosure agreements which mean that most of the elected representatives of the countries involved in the negotiations are not privy to the terms under negotiation.

President Obama has denied Freedom Of Information inquiries on the basis of National Security. This type of treaty negotiation is not only wholly unprecedented, but possibly illegal as well under 19 U.S.C. 2902(b)(2).   Although it purports to be primarily about counterfeiting, the ACTA secret treaty negotiation seeks to regulate the Internet on a global scale.

I have spent a great deal of time attempting to make sense of this, since it will have serious consequences not only on Internet users but also huge impacts will be made on culture and economies around the world. The intent appears to be to legislating anti-progress by imposing strict control over the Internet.

A.C.T.A. “ stands to fatally wound all user-generated content sites from mailing lists to YouTube; which stands to criminalize kids for noncommercial file-sharing; which stands to put your internet connection in jeopardy if anyone in your house is accused of infringement, and much, much more.”

Cory Doctorow: Everything you want to know about the scary, secret copyright treaty

The media isn’t talking about A.C.T.A. which is possibly the most important and under-reported news story in the world so it is left to us to spread the word. Contact your elected reprentatives and tell them that A.C.T.A. is bad.

For more information on ACTA:

I have been blogging about A.C.T.A. in an effort to help other non-technical people understand what the issues are.

A.C.T.A. is BAD

errata: A.C.T.A. is BAD

A.C.T.A. is still BAD

Much Ado About A.C.T.A.

As well as some of the underlying issues: Nutshell Net Neutrality

D: BitTorrent

Personal Use Copying vs. Bootlegging

Free Culture, Copyright and Open Video


I’ve blogged a great deal more about copyright in the wind
This might explain why my novel “Inconstant Moon” is not finished yet.

Weightier A.C.T.A. Sources

Michael Geist, University of Ottawa Law Professor and Copyright Reform Proponent has laid it out in detail.

The ACTA Guide, Part One: The Talks To-Date

ACTA Guide, Part Two: The Documents (Official and Leaked)

ACTA Guide, Part Three: Transparency and ACTA Secrecy

ACTA Guide: Part Four: What Will ACTA Mean To My Domestic Law?

The quantity of leaked material seems to be increasing, so the latest info can usually be found in Michael Geist’s blog

Cory Doctrorow reports steadily on A.C.T.A. developments in his , and recently wrote a summary which can be found at Copyright Undercover: ACTA & the Web for Internet Evolution and he

Other excellent sources of information about A.C.T.A. include the digital liberty proponents: