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G8/G20 Communique: G20 Most Wanted List and the criminalization of activism

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If I controlled the media, I would not have wasted prime front page real estate today promoting the police's G20 Most Wanted list like the Toronto Star. I mean, the BP Oil spill is on its 86 day and counting!

I have no problem seeking the public's help through the press. As a journalist for rabble.ca, I've done it myself when I asked for people's help to stop global warming before my homeland melts. 

But this G20 Most Wanted list amounts to a cynical attempt to promote the criminalization of activism. Let's be honest, using the phrasing "Most Wanted List" is never talking about puppies or cupcakes but evokes in the mind of the public American TV shows promoting hunting down criminals or images of the Wild Wild West. 

All I Want Most right now is our friends out of jail, our democratic right to protest without crushing police repression or feeling like the state permits our march (ie, having to apply for a permit) in a cynical attempt to cloak itself in a sort of civil benevolence by allowing its citizens to exercise our civil rights.

Toronto the Good is only good because the police(=state) beats the life out of anyone who acts bad -- according to the state's definition of a "bad" protester which pretty much meant anyone protesting during the G20 weekend.

First off, this is the second attempt by police to use the media in what has become a case of duelling press conferences by both police and activists to win the hearts and minds of the public.

1: Police press conference on July 7, 2010, seeking the public's help in holding activists accountable for their actions regarding property destruction.

2: Toronto Community Mobilization Network (TCMN) press conference on July 13, 2010, seeking the public's help in holding police accountable regarding police brutality and denial of civil liberties.

3: Police press conference hastily called the day after the TCMN press conference on July 14, 2010, to release the G20 Most Wanted list.

Well played on the part of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network!

The TCMN's calling the police on their posturing reminds me of another police press conference; supposedly the big reveal of the G20 Summit protests and a weekend's worth of  "weapons" confiscated from activists that amounted to such objects as a gas mask, golf balls and bear spray. 

The kicker: the police added weapons to their display that were totally unrelated to what was stripped from activists and were called on it by the mainstream media. Busted!

Quote from the Globe and Mail article: 'Weapons' seized in G20 arrests not what they seem: 

"Chief Bill Blair, who told reporters the items were evidence of the protesters' intent, singled out arrows covered in sports socks, which he said were designed to be dipped in a flammable liquid and set ablaze.

However, the arrows belong to Brian Barrett, a 25-year-old landscaper who was heading to a role-playing fantasy game when he was stopped at Union Station on Saturday morning. Police took his jousting gear but let Mr. Barrett go, saying it was a case of bad timing.

Police also displayed a crossbow and chainsaw seized in an incident on Friday that they said had no ties to the summit. When asked, Chief Blair acknowledged they were unrelated, but said 'everything else' had been confiscated from demonstrators."


So ask me what I would have placed on the front cover of the Toronto Star instead? Here are some examples of stories I could have run instead.

BP Oil Spill: 86 Days of hell and counting

--Nearly 3,000 birds, 660 sea turtles and 64 mammals have been treated by the International Bird Rescue and Research Centre.

--On July 14, 2010, Oil hits Louisiana's largest pelican nesting area, smearing 300-400 pelicans in oil.

--BP to Get Huge Tax Break for Poisoning the Gulf?

Quote: "The costs to the foreign oil giant BP for poisoning the Gulf of Mexico will lower the company's taxes by billions of dollars, and BP 'may be able to get a refund for taxes paid in previous years.' If BP's cleanup costs reach $60 billion, as Merrill Lynch & Co. estimates, the company will be able to deduct almost $20 billion over time.

In addition to billions in subsidies, the company has received $10 billion in federal contracts from the American taxpayer in the last ten years. BP spokesman Steve Rinehart told Bloomberg News that BP will deduct the $3.5 billion already spent on cleanup efforts and any future expenses:

Taxes are paid on profits. If our profits are down due to increased expenses such as the cost of responding to this spill, then it follows that our tax bills will be lower as a result."


Canada is UN's Global Village Idiot

--First Canada refuses to ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; making it one of four hold outs which also include colonial powers such as Australia, New Zealand and the US.

--Now Canada has purposely destroyed the UN's attempt to get access to clean water recognized as a basic human right.


The Tar Sands Blow

--The Council of Canadians has launched a campaign against the Alberta Tar Sands called: the Tar Sands blow.

Quote: Dear Canadian Leaders:

I will not allow Canada to exploit the world's dirtiest oil while the rest of the world fights to prevent catastrophic climate change.  P.S. If you think the tar sands are the answer, then you're asking the wrong question.

--Americans angry over BP oil disaster turn their sights to the Alberta Tar Sands


Here's a good song to soothe the soul:

Lyrics: "How did Mandela get the will to surpass the everyday
When injustice had him caged and trapped in every way?
How did Gandhi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all?
Didn't do it to gain power or money if I recall

It's to give, I guess, I'll pass it on
Mother thinks it'll lift the stress of Babylon
Mother knows, my mother she suffered blows
I don't know how we survived such violent episodes."


And a kick ass youtube vid mocking BP, see below:

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