#DDoS and Internet Freedom

A black & white remix of the UN Globe surrounded with a laurel wreath, an "invisible man" with a question mark where the head should be

Both participation and activism are very necessary to healthy democracy.

Along with all the other confusing things that are happening in the world because of the digital evolution is a new way of protesting. The first I heard of DDoS attacks was when it has been employed in the copyfight. On both sides, I might add. Although I’m not a tech person, I’ve necessarily been learning a lot from many who are for my StopUBB blog, but this DDoS business is something we all need to understand.

So I’m reprinting the comment I made on the Guardian’s Richard Stallman article The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control

Internet Freedom may well be the most important issue of our time.

First,

When the DDoS attacks began I spent days arguing against the Anonymous protest, but I’ve come to understand it is no different than any other peaceful protest. Amazon operates in digital space, so too must the protests.

How I arrived at this conclusion is detailed in my StopUBB blog post DDoS?

And Amazon has the right to not host a company.

Just as the public has the right to picket Amazon.
Like any peaceful protesters, the digital protests are using the same techniques employed by civil rights activists forever.

Please note: these protesters are behaving more ethically than the forces deployed in the DDoS attacks against WikiLeaks. We should be calling what “Anonymous” does Civil Rights Denial of Service protests, or CRDoS

Using digital means to do it does not change the fact that they are engaging in peaceful protest.

Second,

Corporations are NOT branches of law enforcement.
Corporations are immortal artificial constructs that are not accountable to citizens.
Corporations don’t operate on a level playing field with humans,
Corporations exist to make a profit. Nothing else.
Under no circumstances should corporations EVER be allowed to dictate morality or ethics to human beings.

As @FarrenWide points out, the blockage of electronic funds transfer is by far more dangerous.
Why should a banking institution be allowed to tell the citizens of any democracy how they may spend their money?”

That should NEVER happen.


The originating article by Richard Stallman can also be found at Defective By Design: Kettling Wikileaks
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Human Rights Day #freebyron #chargeflanagan

I’m not a lawyer, so I mistakenly thought the Straight.com article meant that University of Calgary Professor Tom Flanagan would be charged once the complaint was filed.

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 any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights>

Ordinary people may be able to make such comments as calling on Presidents to assassinate people as a “joke,” but people with strong ties to a sitting government should not be making such statements on news magazine programs that are being broadcast across Canadian’s national television broadcaster, CBC.

No doubt Mr. Flanagan was on the program in question because of his strong ties to the Canadian government.

For a political scientist employed at a Canadian University professor teaching young Canadians it was an unconscionable thing to say.

This reflects badly on all Canadians. I do not want my government either condoning (if serious) or trivializing (if not) something as heinous as assassination. If nothing is done about it, the implication left with the world is that this is how Canada is run. Not my Canada.

But it’s an unusual case, so no one really seems to know how to proceed with it. And it was couched as a “joke”, so some people don’t take it seriously.

Yet the man whose assassination Tom Flanagan has called for is under attack from all sides right now. Other threats to his life and liberty and his family have been leveled at him. I doubt he finds it a laughing matter. I am horrified at the thought that my country would condone such a thing.

Yet nothing is being done about it. No one seems to want to do anything about it.

I wrote to Gail Davidson of the Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), the lawyer who made the complaint. Ms. Davidson initially tried to report to the RCMP, but they referred her to the Vancouver Police Department, where she made her complaint, which was assigned a file number (10-206617).

464 Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the following provisions apply in respect of persons who counsel other persons to commit offences, namely,
(a) every one who counsels another person to commit an indictable offence is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment to which a person who attempts to commit that offence is liable; and
(b) every one who counsels another person to commit an offence punishable on summary conviction is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

464. Criminal Code (R.S., 1985, c. C-46).”

Gail Davidson has since learned that the Calgary Police Department (Tom Flanagan’s current location) has opened a file. From the RCMP, to the Vancouver Police Department to The Calgary Police Department, no one seems to want to do something. Is it because they don’t know how to proceed? Or is it that there is no law to cover it?

equal before the law

Yet the authorities managed to arrest and charge Canadian businessman Byron Sonne on the basis of Twitter remarks protesting the G20.

Byron Sonne is currently being held without bail, and may remain so incarcerated,

deprived of his liberty maybe for years pending trial.

Without having been convicted of anything.

The question then becomes: is it that there is no will to proceed because Mr. Flanagan has strong ties to our government? Charges are not even brought against one man, while another man without such ties is deprived of his liberty.

Maybe a court would find one or both guilty. Maybe not. I don’t know. The point is this issue is serious enough that a court must try.

How does it look to the world?

Canadians engaging in peaceful protest are arrested and brutalized during the G20. Citizens expressing dissent like Byron Sonne are punitively incarcerated.

While a University Professor calling for the assassination of Julian Assange – on National television – in an infamous clip seen around the world, is given a free pass.

Canada looks very very bad indeed.

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Making it even worse:

According to this CTV article a Toronto woman received threatening email from Mr. Flanagan, but the police in Calgary will not do anything about it unless she makes a complaint in person:

Woman felt threatened by Flanagan email

To lend your support to the complaint against Tom Flanagan, you can contact:

Vancouver Police Department,
or the Calgary Police Department.

Free Byron

Oh! G8/G20 Summit Madness

A post script to yesterday’s “Oh Canada” singing peaceful protesters: Oh! Toronto

Mother and child at Caribana a few years back
I have fond memories 0f living in Toronto.

Because Toronto is such a great city, this year’s summit madness bothers me so much.

Here is the other G8/G20 video that really got to me.

It bothers me deeply, partly because my sister lives nearby, partly because it’s Toronto, and partly because I’m a citizen.

Why is this happening here?

Canadian citizens, Toronto residents, have been confined to their homes and terrorized by a legal repressive regime.

This is Canada 2010

Canadians being intimidated by faceless black clad cops armed to the teeth. Tear gas. Ordered inside their own homes. Threatened for recording these government instigated breaches of the peace. This is madness. It sure as heck doesn’t look like anything that I recognize as democracy.

Canadian taxpayers… the same Canadian taxpayers and citizens being harassed and threatened and arrested on the streets of Toronto… are footing the bill.

Why? Did anyone ask citizens if we wanted to host these summit meetings? Did anyone ask if we wanted to foot the bill?

And what IS the bill?

Canadian Flag

The number being talked about for hosting the twin G8/G20 summits is

One billion dollars

$1,000,000,000.

That is a very large bite during a recession.

A lot of money a country with a total population of 34 million.

The thing to remember is:

the Billion Dollar price tag is
ONLY
for the security.

How much are they we spending wining and dining these world leaders.

At a time when many Canadians are unemployed or underemployed.
A time when many Canadians are homeless.
A time when poverty is such that food banks are feeding a great many hungry Canadian citizens:
because our government is not.

Surely this isn’t my Canada.

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[Thanks to Liana Russwurm for passing the video along, and Zack Gilbert taking the risks involved to record this terrible scene from the front porch.]