Friday, November 20, 2009

Stephen Harper and Protesting the Right to Protest

The above video is part six of the documentary The Nation's Deathbed.

The introduction or trailer outlined the SPP and the danger it imposed on Canadians.

Part one dealt with the 'harmonization' of safety standards between the US, Mexico and Canada; with a policy of 'Risk Management' rather than one of prevention.

Part two delved a little further into the fact that the SPP agreement now mentions our water as a 'good' and all 'goods' are part of the NAFTA deal.

Part three discussed the plans for a global government with the world being divided into trading blocks, and the increasing police presence in Canada.

Part four was a continuation of the concerns of a different style of policing and the fact that our Internet use appears to be monitored.

Part five revealed the stepping up of police intimidation, and the determination of protesters to have their voices heard.

In part six we witness the stormtroopers trying to box in the crowd, and using pepper spray and tear gas without provocation. Grassroots protests are a vital part of a democracy. Once we lose our right to protest, we have officially lost all of our rights.

They had an important message to deliver in Montebello. Stephen Harper was selling away our natural resources that belong to all Canadians. Everyone should be speaking out against this.

But it also speaks to something else that is quite different from previous protests in this country. Mrs. Peacock's Kindergarten Class no longer listens to their side. They report on the protests, but paint the citizens as common criminals. In fact, many of these demonstrations are not covered at all. That may be the real story here. Pravda Ca-Na-Da is not doing it's job.

What are the Olympics Protests Really About?
By Jonathon Narvey
Vancouver Sun
November 3, 2009

A mob of demonstrators blocked the Olympic torch relay last week and protests are expected to continue from now until the Olympics are done. Which brings us to the main question: What is the point of these protests?

Plenty of demonstrators seem incensed at the money spent on the Olympics instead of, say, health care, education or housing. But that money has already been spent. And it's not like the protesters are going to be able to actually prevent the Olympics from taking place. So what do you think the demonstrators want? Isn't the traditional media falling down on the job here in terms of probing the protesters with basic questions? For instance, in this Ottawa Citizen report:

Police rerouted the torch to avoid a clash with the shouting protesters — wearing masks or face paint and hoisting signs — who had blocked the route by gathering at one of the intersections of the route.

So, what precisely were the protesters shouting? What were the messages on their signs? And later in the same report:

Events at the afternoon Five-Ring Circus anti-Olympics protest were much more peaceful, with speeches and "poverty games."

OK, then. What precisely was the Five-Ring Circus? What does one do at a "poverty games"? Could we at least get a quote or two from those speeches? Instead of this information, we're treated to a story in which Olympics protesters are mostly made to look like incoherent lunatics bent on little more than venting anarchic rage against the cops (which undoubtedly some members are -- but all of them?). One incident involving marbles being tossed at horse-riding police (presumably to bring down the animal and its rider, causing injury or death) is being particularly cited as an ominous sign of the lengths protesters are going to go to in order to make their point. Later in the report cited above, the specter of terrorism is raised:

Bomb-sniffing dogs swept the torch route, said Hamilton, noting that "in past Olympic events there has been terrorist activity."

This kind of reporting certainly leaves one with an impression of the protesters as unreasonable malcontents, and potentially very dangerous ones at that -- as though thrown marbles are just a prelude to fertilizer bombs. There's no question that the Olympics are a target for terrorists, but I'd be awfully surprised to find out that the ringleaders of the Olympics protests received training from Al Queda in the untamed borderlands of Pakistan.

Overall, I'm a supporter of the Olympics and recognize that there will be benefits accruing from the games, not least for those private business interests in a position to capitalize on the event. I also have very little sympathy for the protesters at the extreme end, with their slogan of "No Olympics on stolen Native Land", who seem to imply all Olympics supporters are fascists. Some of these people will be satisfied with nothing less than a wholesale handover of British Columbia to Native groups. But as usual, the best response to the lunatic fringe is to let them spout off -- and when their ideas don't find traction, they can go back to living under a rock. (What a horrible thing to say)

That said, I recognize there are plenty of good reasons to criticize these Olympics and you don't have to be an anarchist or terrorist to do so. We've already seen impacts on freedom of speech due to IOC rules. Taxpayers will also be on the hook for huge debts. And the amount of money expended on Olympic officials and delegations brings to mind the disgusting compensation arrangements made by financial sector parasites. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the real story behind these protests.

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