Thursday, November 29, 2007

The incredible rubber Mountie cleared

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP has concluded that the killing of Ian Bush, who was shot in the back of the head by an RCMP officer, was "self-defence." There was no explanation of the amazing contortions that the shooter, Constable Paul Koester, would have had to perform in order to manage this feat.

The new Commissioner of the RCMP stated that he disagrees that there is a problem with the public perception of the RCMP's integrity when it investigates itself. After this report, it seems to me that there's plenty more problem where that came from.

Video interview with Ian's bereaved mother here.

UPDATE: (November 29) Here is the full text of the report. And here is the money quote from the Vancouver Sun:

In a physical feat even RCMP investigators conceded was worthy of a contortionist, the Constable got the gun behind his own back, up to the back of Bush's head and shot him.

He refused to reenact what happened for investigators and the coroner's inquest that was held earlier this year.

UPDATE: (November 30) Gary Mason has a good column on the affair in today's Globe and Mail (subscriber wall). He notes that the RCMP investigated themselves once again, this time on behalf of Paul Kennedy, the civilian "watchdog" who exonerated Constable Koester in his report. Here is Mason's conclusion:

[S]omeone should take a look at the independence of Mr. Kennedy's office. Can he really call himself an independent civilian oversight commissioner when there appears to be nothing arms length about the relationship between his investigators and the people he's investigating?

Mr. Kennedy needs to have his own team of investigators conducting reviews of RCMP investigations such as the one held into the Bush shooting.

Having the RCMP investigating an RCMP investigation on behalf of the country's RCMP civilian oversight commissioner is wrong.

UPDATE: (December 1) More on the Kennedy Kover-up: blood-spatter expert Joseph Slemko speaks out. (H/t Mound of Sound). Slemko also reports that he was threatened by an RCMP officer at a recent police conference: "You watch your back." Lovely.

Whoops--NDP gets bum rap?

I just received this earlier this afternoon. (Reprinted with permission.) I'm glad for now that I held off on the card-shredding. But why didn't the NDP get out a press release yesterday on this?

In any case, assuming a thorough, proper evisceration of C-6 at committee or an NDP "No" vote, it looks like a little sheepishness is in order. Bad Dawg.

Dear Editor,

RE: Bill C-6 - visual identification while voting [NDP supports show-your-face bill, Nov 28, 2007]

We have serious concerns about Bill C-6, the motivations behind it, and the manner in which it will be applied. That's why, as responsible parliamentarians, we believe the testimony of witnesses before Committee, the views of Canadians and any amendments that result will be so important.

To be clear, contrary to the above-noted article, our caucus has not taken a final position on Bill C-6.

New Democrats agree with the Globe and Mail's editorial position that this bill was motivated by politics and that “the last thing Canada needed was this unnecessary targeting of a minority group that had done nothing to provoke it.” We will be introducing amendments at committee to fix the Bill.

I would like to remind your readers that problems around Canada’s voter identification laws began with the introduction of another Bill on voter identification: Bill C-31. That bill, supported by all parties except the NDP, introduced new rules around voter identification, which the government claimed would improve the integrity of the electoral process, despite the fact they couldn’t point to any actual examples of voter fraud.

Bill C-31 was a solution looking for a problem. The NDP was very concerned that this bill would create new problems, disenfranchise voters and infringe on Canadians’ right to privacy by revealing their birth dates to the political parties.

New Democrats believe that if this government was really concerned about voters’ rights, their priority would have been to fix existing barriers to democratic participation through measures that would increase voter turnout, instead of combating problems that never existed.

Paul Dewar, MP (Ottawa Centre)

House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada

CIA destabilization of Venezuela?

Well, what a surprise. It is now being reported that a CIA memo from the US Embassy in Caracas has been intercepted. It contains a detailed plan of destabilization activities leading up to, and following, the current referendum.

The memo, from CIA officer Michael Middleton Steere, addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington, DC, outlines the following orchestrated actions (original article in Spanish, translation provided by venezuelanalysis):
  • Take the streets and protest with violent, disruptive actions across the nation
  • Generate a climate of ungovernability
  • Provoke a general uprising in a substantial part of the population
  • Engage in a "plan to implode" the voting centers on election day by encouraging opposition voters to "VOTE and REMAIN" in their centers to agitate others
  • Start to release data during the early hours of the afternoon on Sunday that favor the NO vote (in clear violation of election regulations)
  • Coordinate these activities with Ravell & Globovision and international press agencies
  • Coordinate with ex-military officers and coupsters Pena Esclusa and Guyon Cellis - this will be done by the Military Attache for Defense and Army at the US Embassy in Caracas, Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO)
To encourage rejection of the results, the CIA proposes:
  • Creating an acceptance in the public opinion that the NO vote will win for sure
  • Using polling companies contracted by the CIA
  • Criticize and discredit the National Elections Council
  • Generate a sensation of fraud
  • Use a team of experts from the universities that will talk about how the data from the Electoral Registry has been manipulated and will build distrust in the voting system
The CIA memo also talks about:
  • Isolating Chavez in the international community
  • Trying to achieve unity amongst the opposition
  • Seek an alliance between those abstentionists and those who will vote "NO"
  • Sustain firmly the propaganda against Chavez
  • Execute military actions to support the opposition mobilizations and propagandistic occupations
  • Finalize the operative preparations on the US military bases in Curacao and Colombia to provide support to actions in Venezuela
  • Control a part of the country during the next 72-120 hours
  • Encourage a military rebellion inside the National Guard forces and other components
Those involved in these actions as detailed in the CIA memo are:
  • The CIA Office in Venezuela - Office of Regional Affairs, and Officer Michael Steere
  • US Embassy in Venezuela, Ambassador Patrick Duddy
  • Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO) at the US Embassy in Caracas and Military Attache Richard Nazario
Venezuelan Political Parties:
  • Comando Nacional de la Resistencia
  • Accion Democratica
  • Primero Justicia
  • Bandera Roja
  • Alberto Federico Ravell & Globovision
  • Interamerican Press Society (IAPA) or SIP in Spanish
  • International Press Agencies
  • Pena Esclusa
  • Guyon Cellis
  • Dean of the Simon Bolivar University, Rudolph Benjamin Podolski
  • Dean of the Andres Bello Catholic University, Ugalde
  • Students: Yon Goicochea, Juan Mejias, Ronel Gaglio, Gabriel Gallo, Ricardo Sanchez
On the face of it, the US is up to its old tricks. Rigged opinion polls, in 2004 (h/t) and possibly now, may be just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for official US denials, cover-ups, and the other assorted dirty-tricks paraphernalia of the Manifest Destiny crowd.

UPDATE: (December 3) Assorted commenters and Larry Johnson (referenced in the comments) have made their point abundantly well. The CIA has played this game so often before that it was too tempting to think that they'd done so again. But I think the commenters are right. The "CIA memo" does have a bad smell about it. The point about encryption of CIA cables, in particular, is an excellent one. This is a case of the boy who cried wolf in reverse--in this instance, for once, there doesn't appear to be a wolf.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bill C-6, backlash politics, and the NDP

Positive choice, eh? Not any more, by the looks of it.

The New Democratic Party will be supporting Harper's Bill C-6, which will force electors at polling booths to uncover their faces in order to vote. Bill C-6 is a pandering, xenophobic piece of trash.

Just to review: a few months back, a Parliamentary committee grilled the Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, for daring to read the current electoral law correctly. It was a bizarre performance, which I blogged about at the time. Some by-elections in Québec were about to happen, hérouxvillisme was in full flower there, and the parties were falling all over themselves to prove that they could be just as intolerant and ignorant as the next guy. They had had ample opportunity to fix the legislation earlier, and had indeed been given a heads-up by M. Mayrand, but didn't lift a finger to change it. What woke them up was a bellow of backwoods bigotry, and, rubbing their eyes, they gleefully joined the chorus.

The thing made no sense, on the surface. No veiled Muslim woman (niqabi) had ever asked for accommodation of this kind. The law did not require out-of-country voters to produce ID of any sort; here at home, non-photo ID was perfectly acceptable at the polls. What, then, would unveiling accomplish--besides offering hope to the grubbier sections of the populace that the damned Muslims would be put in their place?

Well, precisely.
C-6 has nothing to do with the integrity of balloting, nothing to do with protection against electoral fraud. If it was intended to safeguard the process, it fails, laughably, to accomplish any such thing, even in its second iteration. As Chris Selley succinctly puts it, they've f**ked it up again. Voters still don't have to show photo ID. In his measured words:

So, let's follow along. The concern was that a veiled woman could provide photo ID but not have to show her face, rendering the photo ID pointless. All hail the new reality: a veiled woman can provide non-photo ID but has to show her face, rendering the unveiling pointless. Well, I should say, pointless when it comes to ensuring the integrity of our electoral system. But it's been a long time since anyone could assume with a straight face that this had anything to do with the Elections Act. It would almost be better if there were aspiring veiled voters out there—at least then we could legitimately discuss how they fit into the process. At the moment it's difficult to conclude anything except that the Tories—and any other party that doesn't come out against this in the strongest possible terms; Mr. Dion, I'm looking in your direction—are content to score points off the imagined humiliation of Muslims.

The Globe and Mail, too, has been a calm voice of reason in the midst of this surreal process:

This is a bill meant to appeal to a sentiment expressed vociferously in Quebec that Muslim women should not be voting from behind face veils. On the surface, the sentiment seems reasonable ; a country should not weaken the integrity of the vote by allowing voters to conceal themselves. But look at the facts. Voters are not required to show photo identification, largely because many people do not have photo ID. Two pieces of government-issued ID approved by the Chief Electoral Officer are enough. Alternatively, a voter with ID may vouch for another voter without. Beyond all that, a voter may mail in her vote from abroad. Without photo ID, showing a face proves what ? That the bearer has a face ?

But nothing, it seems, will deter our politicians, of all stripes, from hastening to assure the cross-burning bigots and
hérouxvilliste yokels who disfigure our political landscape that they're on-side. The Bloc Québécois, which has by now morphed into a frankly nativist, opportunist formation, is even unhappy that Muslim women will be permitted to have access to a female returning officer for the unveiling. That's not nearly enough humiliation to please the knuckle-draggers who now form their core constituency.

Meanwhile the Conservatives are trying to change the debate into one about respect for the electoral process--people have been showing up at the polls with pumpkins on their heads. Tsk, tsk. Let the pumpkinheads vote, I say, if they can show the requisite non-photo ID. In the meantime, Peter Van Loan, you're fooling no one.

And now the NDP--the alleged "conscience of Parliament"--is about to down the Kool-Aid, hoping for that ever-elusive breakthrough in Qu
ébec. No thanks, Jack, I'm not thirsty. I'll be returning my party card, in many small pieces, to NDP headquarters if you folks follow through with this. Will anyone join me?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


More junk science, via Cjunk and SDA. The CO2 data is wrong! Global warming is a swindle! A hoax! A scandal!

The latest authority trundled out by these scientific illiterates is none other than Zbigniew Jaworowski. Who?

Why, the man who writes for fascist demagogue Lyndon LaRouche's 21st Century Science and Technology Magazine, of course. And for his Executive Intelligence Review, where the article breathlessly cited by these ideologues appears. Neither are by any stretch refereed journals, but hey, who cares?
And Jaworowski isn't even a climatologist, but so what?

He's predicting global cooling. Take that, IPCC!

Next: "Intelligent Design proven 'beyond a reasonable doubt,' says astrologer."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Newsflash: Canadian conservatives hate their country!

Read what they have to say, and weep for Canada.

And send some positive messages to the National Post:

Mine? Canada: "You get used to the weather." :)

Faster, RCMP! Kill! Kill!

A new victim. More RCMP probes.

Robert Thurston Knipstrom. Robert Dziekanski. Ian Bush. Ryan Snopek. Kevin St. Arnaud. Dennis St.Paul. Gurmeet Sandhu. More: Paul Saulnier. Jason Doan. Kevin Geldart. Clark Whitehouse. Clay Willey. Terrance Hanna.


Four RCMP in-custody deaths in one province (BC), in August of this year alone.

More investigations. More inquiries.

The outcomes? Not positive, if past experience is anything to go by. But one thing is certain. There will be more deaths in the future.

Maintiens Le Droit.
Uphold the law. But whose law? And whose police?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sympathy for the devil

In deference to the troll who said he was creeped out by my occasional usage of monstrous images, I offer this clean, sanitized version of devilish doings. After all, isn't that what a certain swatch of the Right is doing, metaphorically, of course?

Today's sympathizers are Kate McMillan and Canadian Sentinel. Fining a self-described "full-time Nazi" for advocating the death of homosexuals has aroused their ire. And check out the comments at Kate's for more of the same.

Funny--no mention in either place of Beaumont's neo-Nazi sympathies and activities. But there are no scales and fangs on my smiley-face either.

H/t Canadian Cynic and Chet Scoville.

UPDATE: (November 23) Thanks to Doug Newton, who posted the link to the HRC judgment in the comments. Everyone should read this for themselves. The complaint listed thirty hate messages. Quotes from Leviticus occur in exactly one of them. Yet the whole issue is being framed by the usual suspects as a bare-faced attack on religion by the HRC. To call this disingenuous would be an understatement.

One also needs to look at the context (a neo-Nazi website) in which the Leviticus quotations were published. To argue that calling for the murder of homosexuals is protected speech because the means of doing so consists of quotations from the Bible, provides a fresh new instance of the devil citing Scripture for his purpose.

For example, uttering threats is a criminal act. Should I be able to claim protected speech if I email
an opponent, "We will burn your house around you with fire!" and then tell the police that I'm merely quoting Judges 12:1? Or if I exhort an angry crowd gathered outside a certain prominent conservative commentator's house: "Suffer not a witch to live" [Exodus 22:18]? Nope, wouldn't hold water. And you know what? The usual suspects wouldn't exactly be going to bat for me in the blogosphere, either.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Slate Magazine's true colours

Biological racism was pioneered by Arthur de Gobineau in the mid-nineteenth century, honed by Francis Galton, Darwin's cousin, and transformed into state policy by the Nazis. It's been carried on since by racial theorists like the fraudster Cyril Burt and his disciples Arthur Jensen and Hans Eysenck, and of course Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, whose Bell Curve was an attempt to justify discrimination against Blacks. It's a fairly prominent conservative fringe phenomenon (Phillippe Rushton, Steve Sailer, Richard Lynn, Kevin McDonald, and our Kathy Shaidle), a cultish, Volkische pseudo-science deployed to explain and defend white privilege.

But the genetic Truther virus is now oozing alarmingly into the liberal mainstream. The latest carrier is none other than William Saletan, the chief national correspondent of Slate Magazine, who is promoting the "Negroes-are-stupid" line in a three-part article.

I would like to explore both the tone and the substance of this devious piece of racialist propaganda: but first, a general observation. These days, when people come out with this sort of stuff, or even ranker nonsense, all they have to do to escape the charge of racism, it seems, is to deny it. So long as they don't wear a white sheet or use the n-word, they're home free. It's a double-tongued strategy, employed in tandem with the deliberate use of the word "racist" to describe affirmative action programs and other measures to overcome the effects of historical racializing. ("Race" is a social construct: the Irish were once considered a "race," for example: skulls were collected and measured, and their alleged "inferiority" supposedly scientifically established. Imposing that spurious and mutable notion on an entire group of people is to racialize that group.) Never mind. Saletan is a racist, pure and simple, no ifs ands or buts.

Racism is, and has always been, an instrument of political policy used to justify the subjugation, exploitation, oppression and even wholesale slaughter of entire groups of people. As US domination of the world through economics and endless warfare continues apace, there is no shortage of racial ideologists to reinforce its mission--the useful idiots of hegemony, always helpful to have around when brown people are dying. Saletan is just doing his bit. Observe. This is how a liberal does racism.

Saletan begins with the senile
James Watson, and his recent comments about Blacks. He outlines some of the fallout, and then begins his more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger refutation of Watson's critics. "Tests," he says, "show an IQ deficit" of Blacks relative to whites, and (using the common "I can't be a racist" alibi frequently peddled by the likes of Phillippe Rushton) whites relative to Asians.

Well, whose tests? What do they measure? Could these be the same tests that led Richard Lynn to claim that the San (Bushmen) have an average IQ of 54? (How long
would a group of individuals of that putative level of intelligence last in the Kalahari Desert?) Well, Saletan's just gathering speed.

Gosh, he says, if the thought that Blacks are genetically inferior to whites is bothering you, think of the poor Christians confronting evolution! With that neat rhetorical flourish, putting anti-racists in the same camp as snake-handlers and faith-healers, Saletan continues to flog his IQ-test nonsense, pointing out that Blacks get a mean score of 85, while whites score 100 and "Jewish Americans" 113, along with Asians. He mentions other groups, too, but I quote his reference to Jews because it indicates the degree to which racial categorization has suffused his thinking.
Echoes of Nuremberg, anyone?

Then we get to the nub: head size:

How could genes cause an IQ advantage? The simplest pathway is head size. I thought head measurement had been discredited as Eurocentric pseudoscience. I was wrong. In fact, it's been bolstered by MRI. On average, Asian-American kids have bigger brains than white American kids, who in turn have bigger brains than black American kids.

I wonder how Saletan and his merry gang of genetic racists explain this sort of thing away. Yup--you can lead a normal life with very little brain indeed. You can do well in school. You can probably even write articles for Slate. I have challenged these people before with such findings, but the answer is always an embarrassed evasion. Rushton runs around with string measuring people's heads, and Saletan tells us that size does matter.

"I know, it sounds crazy," he concedes. Well, uh, yes it does, now that you mention it. Head size. Mmhmm. Why not penis size? Oh, wait, that's been covered. (Our friend the gorilla, incidentally, has an average penis length of 2".)

But back to IQ.
If it's all socio-cultural, he says, "[y]ou also have to explain why on IQ tests, white kids of parents with low incomes ­and low IQs outscore black kids of parents with high incomes and high IQs." Hold on a sec. Even Blacks with high IQs give birth to Blacks with low IQs? And low-IQ whites give birth to kids with high IQs? Now, how does a genetics-based theory of intelligence explain all that, exactly?

Then we get to the hand-wringing, because, l
ike every good liberal, Saletan feels must express personal anguish as he imparts the bad news:

Why write about this topic? Why hurt people's feelings? Why gratify bigots?

Because truth matters.

Is that the odour of sanctimony that's making me rush to open the windows? Saletan goes on to say that there needn't be any social consequences, none at all, if we just accept the bitter pill of racial differences in intelligence. The Aryans won't be happy, he says, because Jews and Asians are smarter than us Caucasoids. We can't easily impose averages on individuals. Intermarriage can eliminate differences in the long run (as though the bioracialist creed wouldn't have an effect on that). The environment has some role to play. Anyway, intelligence isn't a measure of human worth, after all. And just to reinforce his liberal bona fides, Saletan scatters breadcrumbs throughout his piece--damning comments about explicit genetic racists. Hey, he's not like those guys.* He wants to help these poor genetically-disadvantaged people.

It's Saletan's open-mouthed faux-innocence that's the most galling thing about the article. He uncritically starts from the notion of DNA-based "race," even though this hasn't merely been debunked but nuked, most notably by Stanford University professor emeritus and
population geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza. He takes the objectivity of IQ tests and the existence of the "g factor," a mysterious measure of general intelligence, as givens. His own racial superiority, of course, would only be used for good. One almost longs, after reading this rubbish, for the straight talk of a Phillippe Rushton or a J.B. Stoner. At least they fully accepted the social consequences of their ideology, without apology or prevarication.

UPDATE: (November 26). Racial scientists and the company they keep. H/t JahSun in the comments.
"One of the strangest passages in IQ scholarship is a recent attempt by hereditarians to minimize their own mediated-learning study because, while it 'did raise the IQ of the African students from 83 to 97, this is still low for students at a leading university.' You've got to be kidding. Screw the other universities. Going from 83 to 97 is a screaming success."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stockwell Day's apology

Stockwell Day says he's sorry. Well, the word "sorry" does appear in the text, so the Toronto Star calls it an "apology."

There's nobody can watch this without just feeling the emotions that this man's mother felt, that all of us as Canadians felt. This was a tragic incident that took place. We never want to see it happen again. I'm sorry it took place. I think all Canadians are sorry it took place and we want to make sure it never happens again. That's why there are a number of inquests at a variety of levels.

This is, in fact, a near-classic non-apology apology. The man should have just kept quiet, rather than making things worse with his vapid temporizing. What a sorry individual.

Reconstruction: a new national police force

Some time ago
I called for disbanding our "horribly broken" national police force. I have now been joined in this enterprise, after the Dziekanski killing, by the esteemed Crawford Killian over at The Tyee and by several other bloggers.

I believe, pace Crawford, that we do need a national police force, although the provinces should maintain their own provincial forces.
Assume the federal political will and substantial funds (I know, I know) how would we go about creating a new one? The following are some suggested steps:

1) A comprehensive, top-to-bottom, outside organizational audit of the RCMP. This would look in detail at the present organizational structure,
accountability frameworks, practices, and the over-all corporate culture of the force. It would include a detachment-by-detachment review, covering both internal practices and relations with the communities that they serve. Public hearings would be an essential part of this review.

2) The production of a report, with specific recommendations, to a special parliamentary committee charged with overseeing the creation of a new national police force. These recommendations, based upon the audit, would define the parameters for that force, and establish timelines and costings for phasing the new force into being. They would deal with questions such as:
  • New name and service mandate
  • Training/re-training needed for front-line officers and administrators alike to carry out this mandate
  • Transfers of personnel (corporate cultures are built and maintained with relationships and networks: to rebuild the culture, old networks must be replaced, new relationships created)
  • Possible replacement of senior managers through early retirement
  • New accountability frameworks and whistleblowing mechanisms
  • Relations with the community
  • What corporate structures need to be altered or replaced
  • What current practices need to be amended or replaced with more efficient and effective ones
  • Regular comprehensive audits
3) In tandem with the creation of a new force, a Civilian Complaints Commission that has the authority to mete out appropriate discipline must be established without delay. A possible outline for such a commission, with an Office of the Citizen Advisor to assist the public, might be found here (declaration of interest: I am a member of the Ottawa Witness Group) and here (scroll down to p. 36).

4) What's in a name? Suppose it turns out after the audit that much of the existing structure, and many of the existing personnel, could and should be retained? I would argue that a name-change is an essential symbolic rupture with the past. It would send a message to the public, to the police administration and to front-line officers that the old ways are gone, and that a new body with a new mandate to serve has been born from the ashes.

Discussion, pro and con disbandment, is welcome.

Reality: the outcome of four five investigations [updated]

There are to be four separate investigations of the Dziekanski homicide.

1) An internal RCMP investigation. Yeah, right. I don't have the heart to laugh out loud.

2) A coroner's inquest. As we saw from the "incredible rubber Mountie" Ian Bush inquest, the terms of reference are so narrow that the jury is not permitted to assign blame.

3) Vancouver Airport Authority. May uncover good stuff about the incompetence of the airport personnel, who told Dziekanski's mother, after three anxious inquiries, that her son was nowhere to be found, but the RCMP is not under their jurisdiction.

4) The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. They can say what they like, but they will be ignored, as usual.

The ever-sensitive, intelligent* Stock Day has ruled out a public inquiry. Why on earth would we need that?

Here is the likely outcome. Picture yourself, having watched the video, metaphorically being told what's what in Harper's Ministry of Love:

'Some months ago you had a very serious delusion indeed. You believed that a would-be immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, was executed by the RCMP. You believed that you had seen unmistakable documentary evidence proving that RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre's account of the event was false. There was a certain video about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually seen it on the Internet. It was a video something like this.'

A cassette had appeared between Day's fingers, and he inserted it into a VCR. For perhaps five seconds the screen was within the angle of Winston's vision. It was a video, and there was no question of its identity. It was the video. It was another copy of the video of four RCMP officers killing Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver Airport, which he had chanced upon months ago ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the cassette in his fingers again, or at least to see it.

'It exists!' he cried.

'No,' said Day.

He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. Day lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail plastic box was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. Day turned away from the wall.

'Ashes,' he said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.'

'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.'

'I do not remember it,' said Day.

Winston's heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain that Day was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that Day had really forgotten the video. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the thought that defeated him.

Day was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.

'There is a New Government slogan dealing with the control of the past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'

'"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,"' repeated Winston obediently.

'"Who controls the present controls the past,"' said Day, nodding his head with slow approval. 'Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?'

Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston. His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not only did not know whether 'yes' or 'no' was the answer that would save him from pain; he did not even know which answer he believed to be the true one.

Day smiled faintly. 'You are no metaphysician, Winston,' he said. 'Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?'


'Then where does the past exist, if at all?'

'In records. It is written down.'

'In records. And --?'

'In the mind. In human memories.'

'In memory. Very well, then. We, Canada's New Government, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?'

'But how can you stop people remembering things?' cried Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. 'It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!'

Day's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the dial.

'On the contrary,' he said, 'you have not controlled it. That is what has brought you here. You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of Canada's New Government, which is pro-individual, pro law and order, and, thanks to Stéphane Dion, immortal. Whatever the New Gov--well, how does "North Star" sound?--holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the North Star. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.' [with apologies to George Orwell.]

Be prepared to be shocked sane, folks. The fix is in.

UPDATE: (November 20)

Now there will be a fifth investigation: the BC Attorney-General has launched a "full public inquiry" into the death--an "open and integrative review," including a review of the use of Tasers in the province. While the terms of reference have still to be established, the inquiry will be

- reviewing policies surrounding the use of Tasers and recommending any necessary changes;

- reviewing the incident involving Dziekanski, including the actions of the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency and immigration processes and Vancouver airport;

- recommending how the handling of foreign passengers coming to B.C. through Vancouver airport can be improved.

BC has stepped in where the federal government, in a shocking abdication of responsibility, has refused to tread. The bumbling Stockwell Day is more interested, it seems, in drunk drivers than justice.* An open, transparent and comprehensive BC inquiry might allow the BC Solicitor-General to lay criminal charges, if appropriate, and encourage the government to ban Taser use in the province. But, given that the RCMP is under federal jurisdiction, a federal public inquiry would have been far more appropriate in the circumstances, allowing a fuller investigation of the internal operations of the force.

Meanwhile, BC Premier Gordon Campbell has had the grace and good sense to apologize for the killing. A Polish-speaking airport worker, on the job at the time, has been dismissed by the Vancouver Airport Authority, possibly for speaking out. And could one of the four officers, trained in the use of a defibrillator, have used one of several available in the airport to save Robert Dziekanski?

* H/t apply-liberally.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Naming: privacy vs. the "public's right to know"

Do we have a right to know the identities of the four RCMP officers who killed Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver airport last month? I raised the issue in a previous post, and elsewhere, and have had some interesting responses. I hope we can get a few more.

The matter tends to be framed thus: no charges have been laid, so the officers have a right to privacy. But is this the right way to look at the question?

Let me note that I've never agreed wholeheartedly with the media's sweeping and self-interested claim that "the public have a right to know." No such "right" exists
, in my opinion. Moreover, I have always been critical of publishing the names of people who have been charged with a crime but not convicted. Acquittals of those same people often go unnoticed by the media, and a lingering cloud hangs over them, even though we are all supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. I far prefer the Dutch system of using initials.

That being said, however, I think we need to re-frame the issue. The police officers in question are highly visible, front-line public employees. Their actions will be investigated in the public interest. These officers freely chose a kind of public life in which their actions are (theoretically) open to scrutiny by other parties, and in which they are (theoretically) accountable for their actions. I am not convinced that they have an absolute right to privacy when it is precisely their public role that is at issue.

Moreover, the media are simply not being consistent. What of the "public interest" in this case? The video that has horrified millions--four officers repeatedly shocking a distressed, unarmed man, and then putting their full weight on him, including a knee on his neck, until he was dead--could reasonably make ordinary citizens apprehensive about RCMP officers in general. The officers in question have been "reassigned," but are they in contact with the public? Are they still doing front-line work? What of officers who had nothing to do with the killing of Dziekanski? Should they come under public suspicion as well, as they carry out their responsibilities, because of the anonymity granted their co-workers?

All the public knows, at this point, is that four uniformed officers brutally killed a man, effectively before our very eyes, and that they may still be performing a public role. Is it not in the public interest, under these unique circumstances, for us to know who they are? If not, why not?

UPDATE: (November 19)

The four officers are apparently off the streets -- ironically, to "guarantee their personal safety," as public anger mounts in BC.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I sincerely hope that I never have to do this again.

To David Beers, editor of The Tyee, I apologize. I triple-checked the comments on Glavin's article. My comments were nowhere to be found, nor the ones that stated their approval of what I had had to say. David emailed me indignantly, and copied those comments to my earlier post. I went back to check again. Nothing by Dawg.

Then I discovered the problem. It seems that, when comments are closed over at The Tyee, two comboxes are created. One is called "Best Comments." The other is called "All Comments." The former is the default. The latter contains my comments, minus the passage that David expunged.

I've never seen this feature before. But the fault, obviously, is still mine. Instead of giving David the benefit of the doubt, I was prepared to think the worst of him, and I didn't check further. I should have. Mea maxima culpa. Damn it, anyone got something to wash this thing down with?

PS: Tyee link restored.

UPDATE: (November 18)

David let me know by email that he's still unhappy, and wants the original post deleted. But that would be creating my own memory hole; it would make this post unintelligible; and the original post is cached all over the Web anyway. What do people think?

Double standards

Why is it that a civilian involved with the police is invariably named in the media, but the Horsemen who killed Robert Dziekanski have been allowed their perfect anonymity--while remaining on active duty? Shouldn't the travelling public at the Vancouver airport know whom and what they're dealing with? What about that "right to know" the media are always going on about? Did it vanish into thin air?

Anyone with information, please email me:

In the meantime (and what took them so long?) media apologists for the cops are beginning to appear. Nice.

And Kate blames the Liberals.

UPDATE: (November 17)

The officers have been reassigned. The new RCMP boss, same as the old boss, it seems, is concerned about growing public "misperceptions." So, whom do we believe--Commissioner William Elliott, or our lying eyes?

Man bites dog isn't news any more...

...these days, you've got to marry 'em. (H/t Dilbert's blog. Some of the comments over there are worth a read.) Maybe this is the "mainstreaming" Ms. Shaidle is currently fussing about.

But Suzanne will be relieved. It wasn't a same-sex wedding, after all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Canada's complicity in torture

It's official--torture of prisoners of war in Afghanistan is routine, and our government has known about it from the beginning.

For some time now, credible accounts from sources like Amnesty International and University of Ottawa human rights professor Amir Attaran have been pooh-poohed, shrugged off or explained away by NATO, federal politicians, military leaders and their milblogger apologists. Now, thanks to the Globe and Mail, we know the truth, and as Canadians we should be ashamed, if we have any shame left over after the RCMP killing of Robert Dziekanski.

Fact: Officials knew of the routine torture of detainees while senior ministers of the Harper government were issuing public denials.

Fact: Prisoners turned over to the tender mercies of the installed Karzai regime have simply disappeared--possibly hundreds of them.

Fact: Visiting Canadian corrections officers
long ago offered first-hand accounts of the hell-holes to which captured prisoners have been consigned. Well before the Globe and Mail published its first report of torture this past Spring, one of them asked for better boots for herself and her team because they had to wade through blood and fecal matter on Afghan prison floors.

Canada is a willing and complicit partner in the savage mistreatment* of prisoners of war. (Go ahead and call them "detainees" if it makes you feel any better, and call handing them over to Afghan sadists a "detainee transfer" by all means.) All we've been getting from the Harper government is spin, spin, spin, deny, deny, deny, until a court forced the release of documents showing they've been in it up to their eyeballs from the start. One partially blacked-out report even suggests that Canadians were present during the "questioning" of "detainees." Good God.

Now, of course, there'll be yet another "investigation" to give the government yet more breathing space. But all along, as it turns out, we've had nothing from these moral imbeciles but a pack of lies, and we may as well be prepared for more of the same, folks, while the screams of the victims continue to ring out in Afghan dungeons.

*As POGGE reminds us, Harper doesn't want us to use the word "torture."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I love Big Brother

Not to be remotely paranoid, but I thought I'd check my visitors today, and it appears that the RCMP is very interested in yrs. truly's humble blog--31 visits in less than twenty-four hours. Something to do with yesterday's post?

Referring Link No referring link
Host Name
IP Address [Label IP Address]
Country Canada
Region Ontario
City Ottawa
ISP Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Returning Visits 31
Visit Length 23 hours 54 mins 53 secs
Browser MSIE 6.0
Operating System Windows XP
Resolution Unknown
Javascript Disabled

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage
14th November 200708:02:27No referring link
15th November 200707:57:20No referring link

Here's the Whois information:

OrgName: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Address: 1200 Vanier Parkway
City: Ottawa
StateProv: ON
PostalCode: K1A-0R2
Country: CA

NetRange: -
NetName: RCMP-GRC1
NetHandle: NET-199-212-148-0-1
Parent: NET-199-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
RegDate: 1994-03-23
Updated: 2005-05-27

OrgTechHandle: PDU16-ARIN
OrgTechName: Dube, Paul
OrgTechPhone: +1-613-993-3004

Hey, no problem, officers, really. Drop by any time--good for my traffic stats. Just...don't Tase me, bro. Or kill me in an airport. Mkay?

The Tyee memory hole [updated]

Until today, the quirky and often interesting on-line West Coast publication The Tyee was on my linkroll. But a funny thing happened on the way to the latest red-baiting column by Terry Glavin--I was mugged by the editor, David Beers.

Here's the story. I posted a comment (unfortunately, I didn't retain a copy of it) that took issue with Glavin's whole approach to his perennial strawman "left." I didn't mince words. I'm no Glavin fan, as people here know: his intellectual dishonesty has irritated me for some time now. The thrust of my comment was that no "leftist" I know supports rule by mullahs, hanging gay teenagers and so on, but that Glavin offered nothing constructive in his article--the Iranian situation was just another excuse to stick his hairy finger in our eye.

A couple of people made approving comments. When I went back, part of a sentence had been erased, replaced by an editor's "offensive comment removed." Going by memory, I had accused Glavin of being disingenuous and (given his bizarre insistence on calling himself a leftist) a political fraud. Beers tried to give gave the impression that I had used obscenity or some-such. I posted again simply to clear up that point.

Lo and behold, when I visited the site again yesterday, Beers had closed the comments, removed both of mine--and also the comments of those who had indicated support for what I had said. It was a classic Orwellian exercise, from an erratic editor who recently banned a commenter for "anti-Semitism" because s/he had voiced criticism of Israel.

The palmy days at The Tyee appear to be over. Murray Dobbin still has a space, for which we should all be thankful, but I'm reminded a bit of the Georgia Straight, which signalled a rupture with the past by running a column by the now-mouldering anti-Semite Doug Collins. Or of the great expectations we had for Zimbabwe when the young and progressive Robert Mugabe took over, who morphed into...well, not pretty.

Anyway, if anyone was curious, that's why The Tyee is no longer featured at my place. And if you hold up four fingers, I'll still say it's four, Comrade Beers. Any guesses how many fingers I'm holding up at the moment?

UPDATE: (November 17) Damn. I was wrong. Follow the link.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Deadly Dudley: the Mounties get their man

"Our national police force looks like a gang of thugs." The video of the RCMP killing of Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver Airport on October 14 is now public, despite a clumsy attempt shortly afterwards to deep-six the tape.

is the 267th person (no misprint) to die in the custody of, or while being pursued by, police in BC (municipal and RCMP) since 1992. That's about 18 people a year.

The video will be posted by the Vancouver Sun at 6:00 pm local time. I'll update with it then. In the meanwhile we have a gathering flood of reports. The main point is that there is no apparent reason for the Tasering, as the victim appears quite docile, and indeed, says the witness who filmed the event, was surrendering himself to police. But four cops confronted him and almost immediately piled on. Full body pressure was applied by one officer to the victim's neck, which may offer a clue as to why he died.

Fresh from putting away young Ian Bush, and clearing themselves of any wrongdoing, the Horsemen have claimed another victim, and cleared themselves yet again. When will this out-of-control organization be disbanded--and, in the meantime, kicked out of BC? Will this cold-blooded, fatal act of violence be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back?

UPDATE: (November 14)

Here's the video, in three parts (click on the segments to the right). Decide for yourselves.

UPDATE: (November 15)

There's now a support site: Justice for Robert Dziekanski (h/t a commenter here). Write your MP, send letters to the editor--you know what to do. Rule of law, yes; rule by unaccountable thugs, no.

Other links on this: Aaron, Hippie, Galloping Beaver, Paladiea, John, Sean ("manslaughter caught on video") and Erik, who makes an excellent point about RCMP Sergeant Pierre Lemaitre's lies to the public before the video was released. And more good comment and links at Matt's.

UPDATE: (November 15)

And here, as a welcome surprise, is a post over at the Western Standard's Shotgun blog. H/t Mark Collins in the comments.

UPDATE: (November 16)

Dziekanski's last words, by way of the New Zealand Herald--he was pleading with the cops for help. (H/t Pale and Erik.) And the Globe and Mail is calling his death a "summary execution."

UPDATE: (November 16) Well, shoot. The Shotgun is not remotely unanimous. Read why Dziekanski deserved to die. It was his fault. Those of us who give a damn are guilty, it seems, of "multicultural naiveté."

UPDATE: (November 16) Dziekanski's killers are still on the loose active duty. If anyone can provide their names, please email me, in the public interest.

UPDATE: (November 18): More on the unrestrained use of Tasers by the RCMP. (H/t Pale.)

Under the North Star

I was going to let Stephen Harper's sleazy backdoor approach to capital punishment go--much good stuff has already been written about it, and I could add little more than a "me-too." But then this nonsense appeared in my daily newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen. I quote it in its entirety:

Re: Former Supreme Court justice denounces Tory death-row reversal, Nov. 10.

I think that it is important to set the record straight for your readers regarding a recent story which highlighted comments from former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour.

There is no death penalty in Canada — nor is there any attempt at all to change that policy.

We are not, however, going to actively seek to bring murderers back to Canada after they have been convicted in a democratic country and sentenced under the rule of law. To do so would send the wrong message to Canadians, who want safe streets and expect their government to crack down on crime.

People should be held responsible for their crimes in other democratic jurisdictions, and we will not interfere with their processes when there has been a fair trial.

I would also like to make sure there is no confusion regarding Canada’s position on the UN death penalty resolution mentioned in the article.

In accordance with our laws, we will vote in favour of the resolution. Canada isn’t co-sponsoring the resolution because there are a sufficient number of cosponsors already. We will, instead, focus our efforts on co-sponsoring other resolutions within the UN system which are more in need of our support.

Maxime Bernier,
Ottawa Minister of Foreign Affairs

Now, such a desperate tangle of slyness and contradiction cries out for a firm rebuttal. We aren't going to try to bring back capital punishment--no-o-o, of course we aren't--but to intervene when some other country is going to put one of our citizens to death would be to "send the wrong message" to Canadians, who want safe streets and a crackdown on our hardy but ever-diminishing band of criminals. So what is the good Minister saying--that we're going to get our deterrence vicariously now? That opposing capital punishment here is just fine, but supporting it in some other part of the world will make our streets safe? Good grief, trying to follow the logic here could lead to synaptic shock.

And then we get to the UN resolution against capital punishment. We've always co-sponsored it before, but not this time. But hey, that's no biggie--there are lots of other sponsors, and we're going to vote for the thing, aren't we, because (deep breath) it's "in accordance with our laws." Well, at this point it is, so we hardly have a choice. But let's keep sending those messages to our base, eh? Like boycotting an international AIDS conference, and bouncing an uppity candidate who went anyway.

veiled Muslim women are going to be forced by law to remove their veils when they go to vote, even though none had objected to doing so in the first place, and there will still be no photo ID requirement. A local anti-gay rabbi leads Remembrance Day crowds at the Cenotaph in a chant of "We love our troops," and Harper is promoting his Odinist Norsefire "North Star" claptrap, just to see if it resonates. Pinch me, someone. This can't be happening. Not here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tautoko, e Hone

...I support you, Hone Harawira.

Mr. Harawira is a Māori Party Member of Parliament in the New Zealand legislature, who has had quite a bit to say about the anti-"terrorist" police raids in New Zealand/Aotearoa, and about the current strengthening of the "Terrorist Suppression Act," which just passed third reading, and is probably as unintelligible as the original. The Prime Minister and her supporters claim that one has nothing to do with the other. Ordinary
Māori, many of whom were victimized by the police raids, descended upon Parliament today in a hikoi (mass march), and beg to differ. And here, for the record, is what Harawira had to say in the House:

Mr Speaker, over the past couple of days, comments I made about this
Terrorism Suppression Bill seem to have generated some heated debate from
politicians, both inside and outside of this House.

So I thought I'd recap on my comments, so the House was absolutely crystal
clear about what I actually said, and here it is .

"I will not sit quietly by, while State forces terrorise my people. If this
requires of me that I speak out against the rule of law that would impose
terror on Mâori communities in this country, then I will speak out. I will
speak out against it in this chamber, on television, in newspapers, and
anywhere else I possibly can."

And I stand by those comments today, in spite of all the personal abuse I
have had from someone who called for and signed up to a Code of Conduct
which states that: "we will debate the issues raised and refrain from
personal attacks" and then twice in as many weeks, issued press releases
abusing me as a person and insulting my position as an MP.

I stand by those comments, because they reflect the feelings within many
Maori communities, all round the country.

I stand by those comments because they reflect the feelings of New
Zealanders who are proud to stand up for their rights, and who respect the
right of all New Zealanders to do so as well.

I stand by those comments because neither I, nor the Maori Party, will
allow our views to be silenced by those who think the only good Maori is a
dead one.

And I stand by those comments, because, unless somebody has changed the rules in the last couple of days, and I know that some of the petty little players in this House have been desperately climbing onto the "let's do
whatever we can to shut this Harawira up and get some media for ourselves"
bandwagon, I have the right as an elected member of this House of
Representatives, as do the rest of my colleagues in the Maori Party, to
speak freely on any issue that affects this country and it's citizens.

So let's look at what this whole Terrorism thing means. What exactly is
terrorism and who are we talking about when we call people terrorists?

People in this House say that the Taleban are terrorists. And my question
is, is that the Taleban that was funded by the Americans to throw the
Russians out of Afghanistan, or, as if there's 2 different groups, is that
the Taleban who turned around and said "and now you Yankee warmongers can get out of here as well!"

And Saddam Hussein. Is that the Saddam Hussein who was bankrolled by the Americans in the war against Iran, or is that the Saddam Hussein who told the Americans to get out of his country?

Or is it the terrorism of the United States 7th Cavalry, operating under a
clear mandate from their masters in Washington in the 1870s, to crush
everything that stood in the way of the land-hungry, gold-crazy settlers,
and to round up, and hunt down and kill where necessary, any natives who
stood in their way?

And when we talk about the fight against terrorism, I recall attending a
conference in Canada - the United Nations Expert Seminar on Treaties,
Agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and
Indigenous Peoples - held in Hobbema, Canada last year, where I was given
this picture of Geronimo and his warriors carrying guns, and the caption
below which read:


And I ask, is that the kind of fight against terrorism that we're talking
about here?

Or is it the terrorism of the apartheid regime of South Africa, and I like
many others in this House, will never forget the image of a young man
running through the streets of Sharpeville carrying a young girl, killed
by government-sponsore
d agents of terror; an image which helped shape an
understanding in the minds of thousands of New Zealanders, that our

passion for rugby should never again be sullied by links to
state-sponsored terror and state-sponsored murder.

Or is it the terrorism of those who lied to the whole world about Weapons
of Mass Destruction which were never found, and the link between Al Qaeda
and Saddam Hussein which was never proved, so they could invade Iraq to
get control of the oilfields?

Mr Speaker, when a member of this House characterises terrorism as the
importation of deadly diseases, the murder of innocent civilians, and the
wholesale theft of a people's lands and territories, is he referring to
the terrorism of the colonial invasion of Aotearoa, because you'd have to
be deaf, dumb and blind not to see those very terrorist activities in our
own history?

Mr Speaker, when we think of this Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill,
all I ask is that we put aside the blinkers of the red, white and blue and
be honest about the reality of terrorism, in all its forms.

The Maori Party is no apologist for the regimes of either the Taleban or
Saddam Hussein Mr Speaker, but neither are we so blind as to vote for a
Bill clearly designed to punish those who would challenge injustice in

Mr Speaker, Nicky Hagar, author of The Hollow Men, says that since the
passing of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, people taking part in
ordinary protests have found they are being subjected to much heavier

He reckons that police are now routinely removing computers, charging
people well out of proportion to the original activity, and using far more
draconian measures against people exercising their legitimate right to

He even pointed out how protestors had been charged with wilful damage for writing in chalk on a footpath, outside Marian Hobbs' office for heaven's sake !!!

This country is faced by the terror of silence; those who would silence
the voice of radical protest, of vocal dissent and of genuine opposition;
those who would tell us "wait, just wait, the police know what they're

And then there's those of us who would sit silently by, muttering about
how those so-and-so's deserved it, but secretly terrified that our
children might be the next ones to get picked up, and I am reminded of
those famous words from Pastor Martin Niemoller who said of the Nazi
purges of the Second World War:

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out, because I was
not a Communist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not
speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the
Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. And then they came
for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak out for me.

So no, we will not be terrorised into silence on this, or any other issue
that so hugely impacts upon our people.

And for all those who think that the Maori Party stands alone, listen to
these testimonies:

Archdeacon Hone Kaa and the Anglican Church itself, have criticised the
authorities for their actions, and said that "there is no excuse for
women, children and the elderly being subjected to terror".

Reverend John Thrupp of the Presbyterian Church spoke of the overwhelming hurt and sense of anger amongst the people of Ruatoki, the innocent people being held at gun point, the children being frightened out of their wits by police with guns, and the kids being stranded by police arresting their parents.

Te Teira Davies, a highly respected Ringatu Minister who was arrested,
taken from the college where he works, and questioned, for daring to know
Tame Iti.

Maaaate, you can call the Maori Party whatever you like, but when the
church starts criticising police action, you knoooooow that something's

So when members of this House criticise the Maori Party and the Green
Party for standing against state terrorism, I gotta ask all of you .

Do you really think it's acceptable behaviour for the state to use armed
and masked gunmen to blockade communities, smash into people's homes, hold innocent people at gun point, frighten children with guns, arrest and hold people without bail, and suppress all information on those cases?

Mr Speaker, any freedom-loving New Zealander, Maori, Pakeha, Pasifika,
Asian, whatever, would be horrified by the call for us to simply sit back
and say nothing about the overkill of the recent police terror-raids, and
the denial of basic human rights to our fellow citizens.

We are not dumb; we are not blind; we are not deaf; and we will not be

Mr Speaker, they say that in dictatorships, denying legal rights to
terrorism suspects is normal, but in countries like Aotearoa with a
history of political tolerance and non-violent protest, - it is a
development we must rage against with all our might.

On the 29 March 2007 I said in this House that the Maori Party will
oppose the use of terror to impose one-eyed nationalistic misconceptions
of religion and governance on any people, whether committed in the name
of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda or in the name of George Bush and the
United States of America.

Today I repeat that statement. The Mâori Party will oppose terrorism in
all its forms, be it international terrorism or state terrorism, and we
will stand alongside our people whenever our lands, our communities, and our people are threatened.

Again, tautoko. And for his pains, as noted in his speech, he has been vilified by political opportunists of all stripes. He's an anarchist! A disgrace to the House! But as one commentator pointed out:

This guy is opposed to detention without bail, suppressed evidence, potentially unjustified search and seizure by the state and what he sees as an erosion of our human rights?

Yeah, he sounds like a dangerous radical all right.

New Zealand and Stephen Harper's Canada have much in common. Both countries refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Terrorism has become the rationale for passing draconian legislation and beefing up domestic "security" at the expense of the right to dissent. In both countries, the police have seen such measures as a good excuse to harass innocent people: in previous posts on this topic, I have indicated just who were the victims of the police raids in Aotearoa--Māori activists, environmentalists and peace groups. I might have failed to mention that even here, racist distinctions were made--pakeha (European) were shoved around and subjected to property damage, but the police actually locked down an entire Māori community (Ruatoki) and terrorized the population.

Now, I want to make one thing crystal clear: I do not now, and have never believed that 9/11 was "an inside job," or any of the other squirrelly notions about that crime against humanity. But that terrorist act was cynically seized upon by numerous politicians and governments, who took full advantage of the fear it generated, coming up with legislation aimed, not at terrorism, but at dissent. We have watched police behaviour in Canada post 9/11, most recently at Montebello, and Harper's absurd emphasis (if you believe in statistics) on crime and terrorism in Canada. What recently happened in New Zealand was the attempted criminalization of dissent. Similar attempts have been seen right here at home.

Meanwhile, we are actually having debates about whether torture is OK--Tasers, or waterboarding, or even needles under the fingernails (suitably sterilized because, after all, we are not savages). It's not the specific instances of, say, Tasering that are the main point, of course, but the discourse that such incidents generate-- the neutrality of tone, or even open support, as such events are relayed to us. On the conservative side of the blogosphere, a debate has erupted over whether alliances should be made with neo-nazis, white nationalists and others of that ilk. The fact that we democratic, civilized folks are in the position of actually having to discuss the legitimacy of torture and neo-nazi alliances show how far we have sunk since that day on September 11, 2001.

Yes, those jihadis have a lot to answer for, not the least of which is our steady evolution towards their own sado-political, absolutist mindset. And the only thing that will save us is people, people like Hone Harawira standing up to be counted, people saying, No! Kāti anō!

Kia kaha, e hoa, e hoa mā.