Royal Bank firebombed in Ottawa - part 4

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Unionist

Provocateurs always attach themselves to live mass movements and try to disrupt and discredit them through acts of individual violence or terror. They're the ones who say, "I know where we can get some guns", or "I know where we can get explosives", or, "this whole shit is going nowhere, we gotta do something and wake people up!" Of course, any experienced activists shun them, exclude them, expose them, etc., as a warning to others. But they prey on the inexperienced, those of good faith who feel a deep sense of injustice and frustration that the whole world isn't instantly joining the struggle.

The irony is, it doesn't matter whether the provocateurs are paid police agents, or just some wackos. The effect is the same - discrediting of the movement, implantation of a public perception that "they're just a bunch of terrorists", or "they're violent", or "they're dangerous", and always: "They don't understand our problems, our needs, our issues, they can never represent us."

That's why, for progressive people actually working for change (instead of bombing for change), it is essential to loudly condemn and expel such elements from any healthy movement - with vigour and contempt, and as publicly as possible.

Ah, but if they're not guilty - great. But I have a hard time listening to anyone who says simultaneously, "how do we know they're guilty", and then, "the RBC bombing is an acceptable tactic in getting our message out". They should make up their minds.

ETA: And yes, on this issue, Stockholm is right on the money.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Cytizen H wrote:

I don't agree with the whole "we must condemn" line of reasoning. If you are really opposed to it it's probably be best to ignore or dismiss it. The more people talk about the firebombing the more successfull it was. The point of an action like that is, quite obviously, to bring attention to issues. If you're talking about it it's working. No matter what you're saying about it. These people, if it was these people, weren't trying to bring attention to themselves, nor were they trying to be heroes. Nor was this a cathartic act.

..warning bells went off in my head when i read this. i'm not suggesting that this is what you meant but i want to make it clear that i am sick of people doing nasty things on my behalf or for the greater good. i don't accept it from the right nor will i accept it from the left.

Cytizen H

Stockholm wrote:

What's more likely to happen is that it will create a backlash against all anti-corporate protesters and any debate about sponsoring events like the Olympics will be shut down and compared to the "Ottawa bombers". These attacks accomplish NOTHING except to play into the hands of Harper and the police.

I won't argue with that possibility. But, in truth, that's not what I see happening right now. In fact, the mainstream media (besides the National Pest and a few folk at the CBC) have been remarkably sympathetic towards protestors. I haven't heard much of people (other than the cops) trying to imply that Toronto protesters, even Toronto anarchists, are in any way affiliated with FFFC-Ottawa.

Stockholm

Thaat would all change very quickly if Toronto protesters at the G-20 started to express solidarity with the "Ottawa bombers" so that's why I say KEEP AWAY...KEEP FAR FAR AWAY!

Cytizen H

Unionist wrote:

That's why, for progressive people actually working for change (instead of bombing for change), it is essential to loudly condemn and expel such elements from any healthy movement - with vigour and contempt, and as publicly as possible.

I don't think you're wrong, but there a few problems I see with this. The first is falling into the trap, which CSIS and the ISU would very much like, of confusing one action by a group or an individual with the entire modus operandi of that group or individual. Just because a group or individual does something that you feel damages the movement, does not mean everything that group does should be ignored. If someone breaks a window today, it doesn't change the fact that they were working at a free school yesterday.

Secondly, there is the trap of falling into a paternalistic approach of deciding who does or doesn't get to be involved in demosntrations, actions, etc.

Unionist wrote:

Ah, but if they're not guilty - great. But I have a hard time listening to anyone who says simultaneously, "how do we know they're guilty", and then, "the RBC bombing is an acceptable tactic in getting our message out". They should make up their minds.

Again, two things. Firstly, I think the point was about effectiveness, not acceptability. I, for one, never meant to imply that I support the bombing %100. As I said, I won't be rushed into condeming the action. Which leads to my second point. I don't see the contradiction you are trying to point out here. Waiting to have all the facts before condemning the accused seems pretty reasonable to me.

Unionist

Anyone see the call for the demo in support of the Toronto 18?

Didn't think so.

And yet, my sympathy for them (the ones who weren't just falsely accused in the first place, that is) is far greater than for whichever lowlife types torched the RBC branch. In the case of the 18, there is much to indicate entrapment and provocation - self-fulfilling prophecies on the part of the police forces - and preying on innocents genuinely outraged by real injustices. Burning a bank? Give me a break.

 

Stockholm

Cytizen H wrote:

 I, for one, never meant to imply that I support the bombing %100. As I said, I won't be rushed into condeming the action.

 

So what, you only support the bombing 80% or 90%? what a relief - for a moment there i thought you were being an apologist for a blatant act of terrorism and violence that could easily have killed peole.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Unionist wrote:

Anyone see the call for the demo in support of the Toronto 18?

I did. Indeed there were pretty much round the clock protests at shopping malls all over Toronto organized by various Muslim organizations. More like small vigils and information stands. However, as usual there is a certain disconect in activist circles between our immigrant friends and "mainstream" society. There was very little coverage.

Did WASPS come out in droves to protest what can largely be seen to be a frame-up of many of these individuals? No.

Cytizen H

Stockholm wrote:

Cytizen H wrote:

 I, for one, never meant to imply that I support the bombing %100. As I said, I won't be rushed into condeming the action.

 

So what, you only support the bombing 80% or 90%? what a relief - for a moment there i thought you were being an apologist for a blatant act of terrorism and violence that could easily have killed peole.

Let me just be clear. Whoever Peole is, I would never support an action that would see him/her harmed! PROTECT PEOLE!!!

Sorry. But seriously, poor choice of phrasing on my part. I just won't be baited into condeming this action. That doesn't mean I support it. 

Stockholm

Cueball wrote:

Did WASPS come out in droves to protest what can largely be seen to be a frame-up of many of these individuals? No.

Didn't most of the accused end up pleading guilty and confessing to everything?

Unionist

Cueball wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Anyone see the call for the demo in support of the Toronto 18?

I did. Indeed there were pretty much round the clock protests at shopping malls all over Toronto organized by various Muslim organizations. More like small vigils and information stands. However, as usual there is a certain disconect in activist circles between our immigrant friends and "mainstream" society. There was very little coverage.

Did WASPS come out in droves to protest what can largely be seen to be a frame-up of many of these individuals? No.

Ummm... Cueball... I don't mean years ago... I understand your point... I mean [b]today[/b], with guilty pleas. How many demos? How many activists or Muslim organizations speaking up in "support"? I don't know, that's why I'm asking. If I had to bet, though, I'd say zero. Because people sympathize with youth victimized by the police. But no one sympathizes with someone actually planning (even if idiotically) to blow up buildings and behead people. But feel free to correct me.

Stockholm

How many of you who are so concerned about supporting ANYONE who is charged with a crime, did the right thing and wrote a cheque to the Michael Bryant Legal Defence Fund? I'm sure his legal bills were very high and he'd be more than happy to accpet your support in helping to pay the bills!

Cytizen H

Unionist wrote:

But no one sympathizes with someone actually planning (even if idiotically) to blow up buildings and behead people. But feel free to correct me.

Okay. Honest question: understanding that you absolutely condemn the RBC firebombing, do you see a difference in actions that are designed to kill vs. actions that are designed to damage property? I don't mean to imply anything at all with this question. I am curious on how you view actions with varying degrees of violence.

Stockholm

Cytizen H wrote:

 do you see a difference in actions that are designed to kill vs. actions that are designed to damage property? I don't mean to imply anything at all with this question. I am curious on how you view actions with varying degrees of violence.

The infamous Air India bombing was originally only supposed to damage property and not kill anyone. The bomb was supposed to go off after the plane landed in London and not hurt anyone - ooopsie! the flight was delayed and so the bomb went off while the plane was flying over the ocean. I'm sure that the family of the 300-odd Canadians who died in that terrorist attack are very consoled by the fact that the terrorists didn't really mean to kill anyone and that its all Air India's fault for delaying the flight.

Unionist

Cytizen H wrote:

Unionist wrote:

But no one sympathizes with someone actually planning (even if idiotically) to blow up buildings and behead people. But feel free to correct me.

Okay. Honest question: understanding that you absolutely condemn the RBC firebombing, do you see a difference in actions that are designed to kill vs. actions that are designed to damage property?

Sure. The ones designed to kill are much more monstrous than the ones designed to damage property. But does "damage property" means gluing up a poster on a pole or construction hoarding - or does it mean torching a probably maybe empty building? In the former case, it is not only standard activity of activists of all kinds, it is something that ordinary people don't find disgusting and repugnant. In the case of burning down a bank, it is typical secret police behaviour aimed precisely at creating revulsion against a movement. That's what the Keable Commission concluded about the RCMP, and it's still true today.

So, whoever burned down this bank are either cops, or assholes. Either way, the effect is the same, and our job is to contain it and condemn it.

Quote:
I don't mean to imply anything at all with this question. I am curious on how you view actions with varying degrees of violence.

I have nothing whatsoever against violence. That's what saved the world against Nazi Germany and its allies. That's what threw the U.S. aggressors out of South-East Asia. That's what is driving the Canadian and other invaders out of Afghanistan. Sometimes violence is necessary (and possible), other times it is not possible (because of the balance of power) or other means can work.

But individual violence - always bad - whether big or small scale. It's the last refuge of desperation, frustration, and defeatism. Violence, when carried out by the people and those who have their trust and support, can be quite the opposite.

If someone throws rocks through the windows of the home of the CEO of the Royal Bank when they know no one is at home - or of the CEO of the company which employs me, during a strike - and they're caught, and if the media ask me how I feel about that, I will tell them that we do not condone such behaviour and it has nothing to do with our movement. Likewise if some striking worker decides to assassinate a scab. But if a bus full of scabs makes a run at our picket line, and we resist and unfortunately tip the scabmobile over, well... shit happens, ya know?

In short, your question is ill-founded. The violence of the individual misguided frustrated impatient self-styled hero, vs. the violence of those who are defending themselves against violent disenfranchisement and marginalization - that's where I try to draw the line. It's not always clear. But in the case of the RBC assholes, it is shiny and bright.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Cytizen H wrote:

Unionist wrote:

But no one sympathizes with someone actually planning (even if idiotically) to blow up buildings and behead people. But feel free to correct me.

Okay. Honest question: understanding that you absolutely condemn the RBC firebombing, do you see a difference in actions that are designed to kill vs. actions that are designed to damage property? I don't mean to imply anything at all with this question. I am curious on how you view actions with varying degrees of violence.

honest answer..yes i see a difference but for me it's the bomb. it comes with a lot of really negative baggage.

Sineed

Cytizen H wrote:

Okay. Honest question: understanding that you absolutely condemn the RBC firebombing, do you see a difference in actions that are designed to kill vs. actions that are designed to damage property? I don't mean to imply anything at all with this question. I am curious on how you view actions with varying degrees of violence.

Okay; I'll bite.  Whether it's property damage, or violence directly against individuals, the intent is the same: to bully and intimidate.  And it's the same sort of people who do both.  Gentle, non-violent people (like me for instance) don't go around breaking things.

skdadl

Unionist wrote:

Ummm... Cueball... I don't mean years ago... I understand your point... I mean [b]today[/b], with guilty pleas. How many demos? How many activists or Muslim organizations speaking up in "support"? I don't know, that's why I'm asking. If I had to bet, though, I'd say zero. Because people sympathize with youth victimized by the police. But no one sympathizes with someone actually planning (even if idiotically) to blow up buildings and behead people. But feel free to correct me.

Maybe we don't count that much, but my blogger friend Alison at Creekside and pogge and I and a number of friends at BnR have been tracking the Paintball 18 -- er, 11 -- er, 3 -- as often as we can (on the forum, on our blogs, on American blogs we frequent), and I tells ya, we're supportive. That is an outrageous case, and at the heart of it lies at least one agent provocateur, maybe two.

I agree with you, though, Unionist: given the major Hollywood production number that was rolled out for the original arrests (every level of police force in teh country), it is shocking that people haven't yet figured out they were gulled and risen in anger against our absurdly paranoid and politicized propaganda machine -- sorry, I mean our governments, at all three levels, plus the major media, plus plus plus.

You are right to single out this case as politically significant in a way that the bank bombing is not.

Tommy_Paine

The more people talk about the firebombing the more successfull it was. The point of an action like that is, quite obviously, to bring attention to issues.

 

Actually, since I'm one who still watches the boobtube the only thing I noticed was that RBC fired up it's PR machine, and we were treated to lots of cute commercials about how RBC cooperates with aboriginals and does such nice things for our environment.

 

And, that's about the only money that the firebombers made the bank spend in all this, which they were probably happy to anyway.

 

Anyway you want to slice this firebombing thing, it keeps coming up stupid.

 

 

Cytizen H

 

Unionist wrote:

In short, your question is ill-founded.  

Thank you for the reply to the question. I have no idea why you felt a need to throw in this dig at me. But, anyways, I feel like sometimes in these kinds of debates or discussions that assumptions about the definition of and reactions to violence are taken for granted, and I felt context in terms of how we look at violence is important. Full disclosure, I recently read Zizek's book Violence. It still rolls around in my head.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..every time i hear of a missile being shot into israel from gaza there is a part of me that cringes. how stupid can you get i say to myself. inviting yet more violence and misery for what gain? i feel this in spite of my full support for the palestinian people and my limited understanding of what they are going through.
..i cringed when the bank bomb happened as well for the same reasons. the link between the act and the result is clear when it comes to the response by the oppressor but really vague from the intent of the act.

Tommy_Paine

 

Actually, for budding terrorists, there's a clear strategy for successful firebombing.  

 

First, find a neighborhood you don't care about.   Working class works good, poor even better. 

 

Next, find your explosive of preference.  In my example, propane makes a good show. 

 

At this point, you need conspirators to help you.   You'd think it would be hard to find people eager to blow up neighborhoods in Canada, but not so!  

To place enough propane in a neighborhood to blow it up, first you will need to bribe politicians at the municiple and provincial level.  There are by laws to cancel, provincial ordinances to get rid of.   And those pesky safety inspectors!   You need someone to know how to make sure they are never listened to.

This is where your henchmen/thugs come in, the people to do all this dirty work.  Legal firms and PR firms to get the newspaper people to write the right stories, do the palm greasing and all that good stuff.

 

Now, you have your propane in place.   But, if you are an artist, you can make sure all the pipes and such are insulated with asbestos so you not only have a fire ball and shockwave, but a dirty fall out too.   

 

Not so fast, rookies!  You were just thinking that now is the time to go out there and set the fuse and light the match.  NO, no, no.  As a good terrorist, you just let that stuff happen through perfect negligence.

 

Works every time.

 

And, best thing is, no one in the law or politics cares, and the public forgets about your little terrorist enterprise months, if not weeks later.

 

Now, that's terrorism boys and girls.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Exactly. Despite the fact that there was plenty of evidence for the fact that highly paid RCMP operatives were present and actively promoting illegal activities in order to entrap the individuals, going so far as to actually purchase bomb making materials, and being the people to actually bring the only weapon available in the so called "terrorist training" camp, led by that same RCMP operative (a self confessed cocaine addict), the individuals came under extreme pressure to plead guilty, just so as to get out of the judicial nightmare they were caught in.

The whole thing should have been thrown out on technicalities right from the get go.

Cueball Cueball's picture

epaulo13 wrote:

..every time i hear of a missile being shot into israel from gaza there is a part of me that cringes. how stupid can you get i say to myself. inviting yet more violence and misery for what gain? i feel this in spite of my full support for the palestinian people and my limited understanding of what they are going through.

They gained this post. This post would never have been made were it not for the fact that Palestinians use violent means to resist violent occupation. Most would happily go through there days in complete ignorance of the issue at all. In fact, Palestinians are killed by Israelis on a weekly basis but this hardly ever makes the news. When Palestinians kill Israelis the news is flashed all over the world in hours.

To ask this question you have asked is to beg the question why do Israeli's invite violence upon themselves by routinely killing Palestinians, almost every week? Such question are hardly ever asked of course, because the great majority of people never find out about these killings of Palestinians.

June 7th, 2010 5

June 1, 2010 2

May 4th, 2010 11 (2 children)

May 21st, 2010 2

March 21st, 2010 5

January 8th, 2010 3

The reality is that the Palestinian need do nothing more than exist in order to "invite" violence upon themselves.

B'Tselem: 83 Palestinians Killed in Gaza, West Bank since Cast Lead

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Cueball wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:

..every time i hear of a missile being shot into israel from gaza there is a part of me that cringes. how stupid can you get i say to myself. inviting yet more violence and misery for what gain? i feel this in spite of my full support for the palestinian people and my limited understanding of what they are going through.

They gained this post. This post would never have been made were it not for the fact that Palestinians use violent means to resist violent occupation. Most would happily go through there days in complete ignorance of the issue at all. In fact, Palestinians are killed by Israelis on a weekly basis but this hardly ever makes the news. When Palestinians kill Israelis the news is flashed all over the world in hours.

To ask this question you have asked is to beg the question why do Israeli's invite violence upon themselves by routinely killing Palestinians, almost every week? Such question are hardly ever asked of course, because the great majority of people never find out about these killings of Palestinians.

June 7th, 2010 5

June 1, 2010 2

May 4th, 2010 11 (2 children)

May 21st, 2010 2

March 21st, 2010 5

January 8th, 2010 3

The reality is that the Palestinian need do nothing more than exist in order to "invite" violence upon themselves.

B'Tselem: 83 Palestinians Killed in Gaza, West Bank since Cast Lead

.. would like to rerspond but don't have time right now. what i would like to do is apologize for using the word "invite". it was a really bad choice on my part.

krishna krishna's picture

(how do i post pre-formatted text?)

[Please forward widely.]

Ottawa Movement Defense
RBC FIREBOMBING ARRESTS UPDATE
Saturday, June 19th

This email contains the most current information about the individuals arrested in relation to the May 18th firebombing of an Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa, Ontario.

Thank you to everyone who came out today to support the accused!

============
CONTENTS
============

1. Update on Court Proceedings
2. Note of Caution to Friends and Supporters
3. Donating to Legal Fund
4. Donating via Pay Pal
5. Media Inquiries and General Contact Information

==================================
1. UPDATE ON COURT PROCEEDINGS
==================================

On the morning of Friday, June 18th, 4 people were arrested in Ottawa in connection to the May 18th firebombing of RBC branch in Ottawa, ON.  One of those individuals was released last night with no charges. The remaining 3 people appeared in court today in Ottawa, and each has secured legal counsel for their defence.

The bail hearings for all 3 have been held over until next week, possibly Friday, June 25, though that date is not confirmed. The arrestees are being transferred to the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, and will appear via video in court on Monday, June 21, to set a firm date for their bail hearings. We will update everyone once a specific date and time are set.

The charges and names of the three individuals are, as reported by CBC Ottawa are:

Roger Clement, of Ottawa, charged with arson causing damage, possession of incendiary material, using explosives with intent to cause property damage, and mischief

Mathew Morgan-Brown, of Ottawa, charged with arson, arson causing damage, possession of incendiary material, using explosives with intent to cause property damage, and mischief.

Claude Haridge, of Ottawa, charged with arson, careless storage and handling of ammunition, and mischief.

Source:
   http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/06/19/firebombing-charges.html

More than 50 friends, family and colleagues were present in court today to support the 3 arrestees. Thank you to everyone that came out. It's vital we make it clear to the Crown, to the cops, and to the media that these three individuals are part of our communities and that we won't allow them to be railroaded or treated unfairly by the justice system. Again, thank you so very much for all the support we received on such short notice.

===============================================
2. NOTE OF CAUTION TO FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS
===============================================

Please be careful when discussing this situation publicly, including online and to the media, as incautious statements may compromise the ability of the accused to defend themselves in court.

Now that this matter is before the courts, we need to ensure the Crown is able to base its case only on substantive evidence, rather than relying on sensational or incautious public comments.

In particular, IT IS THE POSITION OF OTTAWA MOVEMENT DEFENSE THAT SPEAKING VOLUNTARILY TO THE POLICE WILL PREJUDICE THE DEFENSE OF THE  ACCUSED AND MAKE THEIR COURT PROCEEDINGS MORE DIFFICULT.

ANY STATEMENT MADE TO THE POLICE OR MEDIA CAN BE USED AGAINST THE ACCUSED, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT IS HYPOTHETICAL OR BASED ON  DISTORTED INFORMATION.

No matter how friendly or intimidating police may appear, or how clever you think you might be in getting information out of them, nothing good can come of voluntarily talking to the police.

If police contact you, please let us know as soon as possible at [email protected]

==============================
3. DONATING TO THE LEGAL FUND
==============================

Right now, financial support is crucial for two reasons. The first is that, while it is unclear at this time what possible bail conditions the Crown may ask for, or even if they will consent to releasing the 3 arrestees, we may need to put forward a significant amount of money for bail. We're very grateful to everyone that has contributed already. But we may need a considerable amount more.

Unfortunately, as bail conditions weren't discussed at all in court today, we are unable to provide more specific information at this time.

The second reason is that we must begin fundraising for ongoing legal costs, which will be significant. All indications are that this could be a lengthy and involved proceeding and, while we can't speculate at this time where it will end up, a trial could be a year or more away.

If you are able to donate any money, please contact us the Pay Pal account (described below) or contact us at [email protected] and indicate if you would like to contribute to bail, legal costs, or both.

========================
4. DONATING VIA PAY PAL
========================

To donate to the legal defense fund via PayPal, please follow the below instructions:

1. Go to http://www.paypal.com/sendmoney

2. Type in [email protected] in the "To" box.

3. Type in your email address in the "From" box

4. Type in Amount and find CAD (Can Dollars) in the menu to the right.

5. Click on the "Personal" Tab and check the button "Gift".

6. Click "Continue".

7. The next page will ask you to either Log In to your paypal account or sign up for an account. If you sign up for an account, you can link up your account to your credit card or bank account.

8. For all transactions, there is a charge of 2.2% of the amount + $0.30. You can decide whether you will pay this amount or the Ottawa Movement Defense (in which case this amount is deducted from the amount you are giving).

===================================================
5. MEDIA INQUIRIES AND GENERAL CONTACT INFORMATION
===================================================

You can reach Ottawa Movement Defense at:
[email protected]
613 304 8870

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i never wanted to deviate from the discussion of the bombing when raising gaza. how naive and very silly of me. i accept any and all rebuke i get for this.
..to explain i chose gaza because i support the struggle in the same way i support the struggle in n. ireland in the same way i support the struggle here. my interest re this thread is internal to those struggles and the tactic of bombing. in no way do i mean to diminish the need to fight back.

Sineed

Turns out 2 of the accused took a course taught by controversial ex-professor Denis Rancourt at U of Zero:

Quote:
A former University of Ottawa professor said Saturday two of the accused men were students in his Science and Society course four years ago. He did not say which two.

It was a course known by students as the "activism course" because each class began with a lecture by a guest speaker such as an animal-rights or anti-arms activist, former student Valérie Duchesnau told CBC News in 2006.

The ex-professor, Denis Rancourt, said Saturday the course "was a lot about activism, a lot about speakers who were doers. They weren't just scientists. They were also various people in politics and activism.

Furthermore, one of the accused in the bombing, Matthew Morgan-Brown, was arrested in 2007 at a protest outside the Chateau Laurier, and Professor Rancourt showed up at the police station, demanding to why he'd been arrested.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/19/firebombing-charges.html

Cueball Cueball's picture

... and... ...umm... ...err... what?

We are supposed to be somehow shocked that "activists" take courses where subject matter includes "activism"... or are we now calling for our universities to be cleansed of university courses which discuss "activism"?

Sineed

I'm mentioning it because we had several threads discussing Professor Rancourt's dispute with the U of Zero at length.

 

Freedom 55

Thanks for posting that, krishna.

 

I don't get it... is Ottawa the only city that has a history of showing solidarity with activists when they're arrested? Ottawa seems an unlikely place for this to have sprung-up on it's own, but based on the comments in this thread it seems like no one has a clue what this is all about.

 

Nobody was picketing the courthouse. No one brought signs denouncing the cops, or even supporting those arrested. There was no chanting.

 

Roughly 50 people showed up. We took our seats in the benches. Those of us wearing caps, removed them. We stood when the judge entered. We stood when he left. We sat quietly while the judge, Crown, and defence lawyer spoke.

 

The only thing we offered the accused was our silent presence during their brief appearance in the courtroom.

 

I didn't see any kids (not even the "kids" in their 50s and 60s) saying stupid things to the media. In fact, I didn't see anyone talking to the media, (but please don't let that shatter your assumptions about publicity-seeking activists).

 

I fail to see what's controversial about any of this.

 

To those who think the accused should show evidence of their innocence before being deemed deserving of support... what good is your "solidarity" at that point? What a hollow gesture it is to proclaim your support for someone only when it's no longer needed.

Unionist

Freedom 55 wrote:

To those who think the accused should show evidence of their innocence before being deemed deserving of support... what good is your "solidarity" at that point? What a hollow gesture it is to proclaim your support for someone only when it's no longer needed.

I'd be quite impressed if they proclaimed their innocence, condemned the adventurist folly of whoever torched the bank, condemned the authorities for their campaign of harassment and intimidation of activists, condemned them for creating a paranoid frenzy around the G20 and G8, and asked for support on that basis.

I would definitely be there with banners, placards, and drums.

But if they are arsonists who got caught - then you're right, my support would no longer be needed.

Meanwhile, we don't know what or who they are, as they haven't told us yet. All we know is that some support group needs lots of money because it's going to be a long costly trial, besides bail. That presumes they're going to plead "not guilty" to the charges that have been laid. I didn't quite get that from the statement, however, so I'll wait and see what the story is.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Excelent post.

However, I am sure that will all go over the heads of the guilty until proved innocent crowd. It is a very sad testament to the ever expanding power of self-censorship and McCarthyte paranoia that even the whisper of being associated with something controversial is enough to silence people. True, I would have highly advised against this adeventuristic act, but to me it is much above the level of vandalism, and even if these folks did it, solidarity is not just about supporting people only if we agree with them, it is also about supporting people even if they make mistakes.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Perhaps they will fly in one of the friends of the accussed to handle the prosecution and they can all get a pre-trial pardon like Michael Bryant.

Unionist

I asked earlier if there are any demonstrations today in support of the Toronto 18 (or rather, the minority who are still charged, and have pleaded guilty)? I ran across this March 2010 item on the Canadian Islamic Congress, which I thought struck the right balance, in the face of Muslims being smeared with - and expected to apologize for - the crimes of tiny handful:

Quote:
It is not up to any of us - Muslim or non-Muslim -- to explain or make amends for the utterances and actions of those whom any society would describe as criminally pathological or insane. This great country has extensive laws and jurisprudence to deal with them. Thus it is the height of social injustice to assume that Canadian Muslims pose a potential threat, simply because an infinitely small percentage of them "go bad." No racial, religious or national group anywhere can claim exemption here.

Yet nearly a decade after 9/11 we are still asking: Why should Canadian Muslims have to apologize for what Osama Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda did? Why should we have to apologize for what Mr. Parwaz did to his daughter Aqsa here in Canada? Why should we apologize for the thoughtless and immature actions of "Toronto 18" member, Zakaria Amara? Why should we have to apologize for the murderous actions of Nidal Malik Hasan at the Fort Hood U.S. military base in Texas? Indeed, why are we expected to apologize for the actions of radicalized individuals somewhere in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other place in the world? Canadian Muslims are as outraged and disappointed as any other citizens by misguided and criminal individuals who have done more damage to the image of Islam and Muslims than to anyone else... This entire scenario of guilt-by-association just does not make sense!

Why must it be assumed that "only Muslim" individuals commit crimes supposedly linked to the expression or vindication of their faith? And why, by comparison, are the motives of non-Muslims apparently so unimportant? If other human beings occasionally and tragically succumb to overwhelming anger, stress, fear, insanity, or any other motivation, should Muslims be such superhuman beings that they do not also experience these conditions?

[url=http://www.canadianislamiccongress.com/fb/friday_bulletin.php?fbdate=201...

Sineed

Unionist wrote:

I'd be quite impressed if they proclaimed their innocence, condemned the adventurist folly of whoever torched the bank, condemned the authorities for their campaign of harassment and intimidation of activists, condemned them for creating a paranoid frenzy around the G20 and G8, and asked for support on that basis.

I would definitely be there with banners, placards, and drums.

Precisely.

By the way, where is the money being kept for the legal defense fund?  In a sock under somebody's mattress?

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

Does anyone know the nationalities of the suspects? I don't want to assume anything just based on a last name. I'm frustrated with the lack of information here. Who are these people? If people are gonna be doing stuff in my name, I want to at least know who they are.

skdadl

Freedom 55 @ 81, I also believe in witnessing just the way you did. I presume the innocence of the accused, but even if and when guilt is proved, I still believe in witnessing, and I was moved by your description of the supporters who showed up in court.

You speak of solidarity, though. Whoever fire-bombed that bank seems to me a little challenged on the solidarity front. Others have used the word adventurism, and that was a lesson that  got knocked into my head pretty early on too. There are a lot of things you just don't do if you haven't done the movement-building first, and even then you don't do them if, eg, there might be minimum-wage workers you don't know about inside that building in the night.

But my respect and admiration to you for showing up in court today. I agree: we do that for all those who are struggling towards justice, even the ones who need to think a little harder about what they're doing to all their comrades.

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/police-seize-hundre... seize hundreds of bullets in arrests of three Ottawa men[/url]

Quote:

Police say they seized hundreds of bullets while raiding a group of suspected anti-capitalist arsonists who are accused of firebombing an Ottawa bank.

However, they retreated from Saturday's initial claims they had recovered “sniper”-grade ammunition – .50-calibre bullets – during Friday's raids.

Ah, so they're "anti-capitalist", are they? I guess that's what "anti-capitalists" do - burn down the capitalist system, one bank branch at at time.

Quote:

The accused are alleged members of an obscure activist group known as the Fighting For Freedom Coalition – or FFFC-Ottawa – which had also promised to protest the coming global summits.

The suspects are also accused of attacking bank machines with rocks and hammers last February. The alleged progression from hammers to a firebomb to the discovery of bullets has alarmed police.

Poor police.

So it's also an obscure [b]"activist"[/b] group. That's what "activists" do, I guess... destroy capitalism one ATM at a time, then when that doesn't work, go after the whole branch. What next, one wonders?

Sineed

edited because unionist already noticed the correction.  Fast work, unionist!

Sineed

Freedom 55 wrote:
I fail to see what's controversial about any of this.

 To those who think the accused should show evidence of their innocence before being deemed deserving of support... what good is your "solidarity" at that point? What a hollow gesture it is to proclaim your support for someone only when it's no longer needed.

Okay so let me ask you this: would you have been there if it had been an abortion clinic that had been bombed??

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

(Sineed) Baiting. Nice.

Unionist

When do we see this story:

[center][b][size=25]Pro-capitalist bank robber confesses[/size][/b][/center]

Quote:
"Yeah, I stuck up the bank and asked for bags full of cash," said a member of an obscure Ottawa activist group. "Nothing against capitalism, mind you - I just wanted to get rich quick the way they did!"

A police spokesperson said police are concerned that growing support for capitalism in the National Capital Region may require more funds than they can spare on new security measures - "... and the banks say they're too short of cash to lend us the difference!"

 

Sineed

No, I think it's a fair question.  If their stance is that they don't agree with this particular action but stand in solidarity with their fellow activists, innocent until proven guilty, etc etc, it shouldn't matter what was bombed.

My point is, by showing support they are tacitly supporting violent tactics, and as I've said before, these tactics must be roundly condemned by progressive people.  I'm not going to rehash all the arguments against violent tactics, but in a nutshell, whether it's a bank branch, an abortion clinic, a daycare centre, or a British Petroleum station, bombings don't help the cause and justify Harper's $1B security expenditure.

And really, if these people can't handle muscular questions from a middle-aged pharmacist, how are they going to justify their stance to anybody?

adharden

In agreement with Unionist comments 36 and 51, and respect your belief in just war theory - collective vs. individual violence... problem is with the doctrinaire groups of activists who want to use violence... my former student being one ... would dearly like to see themselves as waging some kind of collective struggle, so they  buy into the fact that they are waging a just war by using violent tactics.  I'd like in no way to associate my former student with the firebombing-level of violence, and certainly hope he isn't headed that way, but he and others make it clear that violence is a preferable tactic.  So Unionist, I think opposing individual vs. collective doesn't cut it here..

Cytizen H likes to talk about Zizek - he is fuzzy on violence, and if you read Catchfire - or search for him and 'Zizek' you will find a sample saying essentially that 'the system is violent' - so... what's a little violence in return?  Well, the point is that along with Unionist I wholeheartedly agree that violent tactics are only holding things back. 

Finally, Cytizen H mentions curiously that he/she 'won't condemn' the firebombing but 'doesn't support' it.  So you hold true to the idea of 'diversity of tactics' to the extent of spinning it a la George Orwell.  In attempting to avoid judging violent tactics, you still judge them - in condoning them tacitly.  You may not condone them explicitly, but you do tacitly... by not condemning them.  There is no 'sitting on the fence' in this sense.  

In response to Unionist's good sum-up in comment 36, to err with caution is to not support, and certainly not support carte blanche, which is the preference of some.  Only the trial will bring out the facts. Whatever way the truth cuts, the act should be roundly condemned by all who care about putting forward real alternatives to what the g8/g20 represent...

 

Unionist

Food for thought, adharden - I'll come back to this later. By the way, your blog looks excellent. I'll have a look through that too.

 

Freedom 55

I'll take the bait.

 

I do not assume that people are guilty just because the police and MSM say they are. So yes, if it's a choice between shunning someone who is charged with an offence, or standing by them to ensure they receive fair treatment from the legal system; I'll choose the latter, no matter the charge.

Freedom 55

adharden wrote:

Only the trial will bring out the facts.

 

 

Only a fair trial. Which is what activists in Ottawa are trying to ensure. Nothing more.

Unionist

Freedom 55, why not take a moment and find out whether they proudly carried out this arson, or whether they vigorously deny it?

Or, will that make any difference to your support?

Sincere question.

ETA: By the way, if they get up in public and say: "We never did this" and plead "not guilty", I will fully defend their presumption of innocent in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

If they say "we did it", then they don't need a trial, do they - just sentencing.

 

Sineed

Freedom 55 wrote:

 

I'll take the bait.

 

I do not assume that people are guilty just because the police and MSM say they are. So yes, if it's a choice between shunning someone who is charged with an offence, or standing by them to ensure they receive fair treatment from the legal system; I'll choose the latter, no matter the charge.

 

Again, it was an honest question, not meant to be baiting.  You are ethically consistent - I can respect your stance (though not actually agree with supporting people who were found with boxes of bullets in their house.  Jebus).

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