Rendezvous in Kananaskis
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Rendezvous in Kananaskis
General News Archives (May 1 - 16, 2002)
Note: for information on the anti-terrorist bills, the so-called 'dirty C's' (C35, C36, C42...), see: Civil Liberties Under Siege. Also, in addition to the following links, try checking the G8 related news items archived at the Digital Banff News Service (scroll down to the "related stories" section for a large list of articles), the Newstrove G8 archive, and G8.activist - Media Working Group. Keep in mind that because mainly original links are provided at these sites, some of the articles will have expired.
Other News Archive pages:
Ottawa police brace for G8 (May 16, 2002 / Ottawa Citizen) The Ottawa Take the Capital convergence appears to have the makings of something of major proportions, although the article also makes clear that the police are already working hard to channel the focus on "potential violence by protesters" in order to justify a security-overkill / pre-emptive crackdown paradigm. However, Ottawans may not be as docile regarding their political rights as the police would like; in the wake of vicious and unprovoked attacks by police on peaceful protesters last November, heightened scrutiny of police and an atmosphere of disillusionment among the Ottawa public are likely to force the police to ease up on their aggressive tactics. See: Re: Ottawa police brace for G8 (May 23, 2002 / Ottawa Citizen) for a reader's response.
G8 summit protest remotely possible (May 16, 2002 / Globe&Mail) Please refer to this Alberta Indymedia article for a critique of this item. And for more on how the RCMP managed to undermine this initiative, see also G-8 activists hit roadblock to rent Alberta native land for village (from April 29 in these archives).
Bono, U2 reported headed for G8 talks (May 16, 2002 / Victoria Times Colonist) How Bono can be involved in these political junkets to Africa, WEF hobnobbing, SuperBowl-style patriotism, etc., and still expect to have credibility is beyond me. Debt is a phenomenon tied to a larger system of exploitation and imperialism and yet Bono acts as if it were possible to treat the problem as something that is isolated. Meanwhile he himself becomes increasingly coopted into the very mechanisms which are driving the larger problems (in which debt is admittedly a powerful factor). He may believe that by working within the system, he can gain more leverage regarding the debt issue, but in the balance, it seems that he is just lending false legitimacy to processes and people whose main goal continues to be the expansion of the neoliberal agenda. See also the May 14 AP article about Bono and Paul O'Neill going to Africa in the 'Africa news' section of this site.
G-8 Solidarity Village moves east (May 16, 2002 / Canmore Leader) Solidarity Village will be moved to private land 50 kilometres south of Calgary near Highway 2A en route to Lethbridge. Organizer Melissa Scaman says the move will allow for actions in Calgary and will avoid "being stuck out in the middle of nowhere." G8 security personnel will no doubt be relieved by the prospect of a site which will keep protesters at an arms length from the stretch of TransCanada highway between Calgary and Canmore to be used as a main artery for G8 delegates and corporate media personnel shuttling from Calgary to the G8 site....
G-8 activists seek place to call home (May 15, 2002 / Calgary Herald) I won't bother to comment on Mark Reid's gloating. Except to say this: with Calgary being transformed into an armed occupation area, complete with barbed wire barriers, "constitution-free zones", and over $40 million being spent on security, Reid's "Solidarity Suburb" quip sounds pretty unlikely. More like "Solidarity Refugee Camp"....
PM counting on bear brigade (May 15, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Callous idiocy from one of the great exponents of this genre.
G-8 activists scrambling to find new location after tent village vetoed (May 14, 2002 / CP) Note: for those reluctant to be doing free publicity for cable conglomerate, Shaw Communications Inc., the name is MEWATA Park, not 'Shaw' Millenium Park. See this letter from a University of Calgary professer for details.
Focus on Africa but watch U.S. (May 14, 2002 / Saskatoon Star Phoenix) An editorial which warns against letting U.S. unilateralism get out of control while attention is focussed on Africa.
Huge military presence set for G-8 summit (May 14, 2002 / Edmonton Journal) Here we learn that up to 5000 military personnel will be deployed in the Kananaskis area... and in spite of which, Defence Minister Art Eggleton continues to maintain that the government's new anti-terrorism bill cannot be used to declare Kananaskis a military security zone (meaning, we are required to believe, that those 5000 soldiers will have no mandate to employ force). With a twisted sense of irony - or perhaps mere macho idiocy - the mission is being termed 'Operation Grizzly', even though the Kananaskis grizzlies (and the environment in the region in general) will be major losers as developers seek, in the wake of the G8 meeting, to exploit the increased visibility of the area (see 'bears' articles in the Kananaskis section of this site). This is not to mention the collars the grizzlies will be forced to wear for the rest of their days as a momento of the G8 leaders' 2-day palaver (see May 9 articles on G8 bear collars).
Activists won't be happy campers (May 14, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Here is Mark Reid, once again, making every effort to cast as pessimistic a light as possible on the Solidarity Village initiative, and doing his part to encourage protesters to focus instead on Calgary where more than 40 million dollars in security expenditures are yearning for some form of justification.
Enviro-police patrol summit as eco-crimes go unpunished (May 13, 2002 / Edmonton Journal) See March 3 CP article in these archives for context.
Graffiti busters tackle anti-G-8 scrawl (May 12, 2002 / Toronto Star) Faced with a spate of anti-G8 graffiti in Calgary, Marcel Dubois, police 'graffiti specialist', together with his posse of G-8 investigators, "are dissecting the messages for any hint the authors may be from violent militant groups." Notice how, the Calgary Herald, in carrying this CP article, has supplemented it with a photo, under which we find the following caption: "A smashed shop window bears graffiti in downtown Genoa, Italy in this file photo during anti-globalization protests. Calgary's graffiti busters will aim to find the vandals within hours of making any anti-G8 markings." Conclusion: graffiti sprayers are all violent window-smashers!! (for photo, see Graffiti busters ...). Notice, also, how the article makes a special attempt to draw a line between anti-G8 graffitti and other graffiti, supposedly on artistic grounds (!) : "Unlike most urban graffiti, these anti-G-8 slogans are neither artistic nor sophisticated." The Calgary Sun also carries a version of the CP article - G-8 graffiti no worry -- yet - which includes a couple of extra Dubois quotes, including this one: "The graffiti could be used as a newspaper for protesters." Ah - the threat of an alternative voice outside the control of the corporate media ... now we're getting closer to the truth.
Debt relief for third world not on G8 agenda (May 11, 2002 / National Post)
Expert slams G-8 security (May 11, 2002 / Calgary Sun) Security consultant Alan Bell continues to panic-monger in order to drum up business for the private security sector whose interests he represents.
Labour challenged to cut G-8 violence (May 10, 2002 / Edmonton Journal) Manitoba Liberal MP John Harvard wants to save on security costs, so instead of addressing the root causes of confrontation ( i.e. overly aggressive police tactics and a continuing refusal to put a halt to a global agenda which puts profits before people) he wants protesters to repress protesters (cheaper than paying the police). How's that for neoliberal efficiencies?
Closures in K-Country for G-8 begin (May 9, 2002 / Global News) Security forces have begun establishing their "huge staging area" on the Nakiska Ski Resort grounds.
Summit security collars bear threat (May 9, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Last month, the Calgary Sun ran an April Fool's spoof in which it was announced that the Kananaskis area would be cleared of wildlife by means of ultrasonic blasts. They weren't so far off the mark, apparently - although the truth is, in many ways, worse. We are told, now, that grizzlies in the Kananaskis area will have to spend their remaining days wearing radio collars so that eight shameful human specimens (who, unlike the grizzlies, deserve to be collared) can have their exclusive two-day 'retreat'. Bruce Leeson, environmental spin-doctor for the government's security operation, says: "we're doing this for the benefit of the bears and for the benefit of our own staff." Well, if anyone had any real consideration for the bears, there wouldn't be a G8 summit in Kananaskis in the first place. But if patrolling police and military personnel are to be informed when grizzlies get dangerously near - what about protesters? Will police simply vacate danger zones without informing protesters - effectively creating lethal traps? It seems to me that if police had such information and did not share it, thus resulting in the injury of a protester, it would amount to involuntary manslaughter. But stay tuned - hopefully I will be able to get a professional legal opinion on this.... For more on bear collars, see: Bears to be 'protected' from leaders (May 10, 2002 / National Post)
Police unclear on the concept (May 9, 2002 / Montreal Gazette) A few examples (comparatively tame ones - I can think of many more extreme cases) of how the police are working to erode citizens' rights to political dissent.
The thin blue line and Securing G-8 (May 9, 2002 / Calgary Sun) More Calgary Sun drivel, remarkable mainly for its greater-than-usual inanity. Nevertheless, there are a couple of new appearances here: police 'body snatcher' formations are apparently planned, as well as "constitution-free zones" (!) which will reportedly be set up around City Hall and major hotels. But most notable of all, I think, is the desperate desire of the City of Calgary to conjure up an expectation of protests, preferably violent ones, in order to justify an immense financial outlay on security (over 40 million and counting) as well as to get businesses compensated by the feds for 'lost business' (i.e. for doing nothing). Unfortunately for "Mayor Bronco", the only protest planned for Calgary that I've heard of is the June 23 Family March... not quite what "Rambo Al" and his posse were hoping for....
Bicycles to replace fences in downtown Calgary to control G-8 protests (May 8, 2002 / Canadian Press) The bicycle stuff sounds like another superficial PR initiative to deflect attention from the tasers, extended batons, snatch-squads, armored-vehicles, etc. that police are planning on using. And notice how the police training drill is reported to include learning how to "quickly retreat in large numbers" - not "attack". All PR....
There's a better way (May 8, 2002 / Globe&Mail) Here is Paul Martin crooning about there being "a better way", when what he really means is that there's a better way to bilk people. Look at these 'clauses' (in debt contracts) which he is so keen about. They work to sidestep outright debt cancellation by adding more flexibility - thus extending the debt's lease on the lives of its victims. Same goes with the so-called 'breathing space' measures. For stylistic purposes, Martin allows himself a brief moment of wistfulness - "Establishing a structure analogous to an international bankruptcy court is the ultimate answer...." But a sentence later he is back to his "sustainable debt" track. This is Martin's pattern. When it comes to measures of real, tangible improvement - things like debt cancellation, international bankruptcy court, the Tobin Tax - his commitment invariably flags after a bit of initial song and dance. Remember how he was among the large majority in Parliament who supported Lorne Nystrom's call in 1999 for Canada to push the Tobin Tax forward at the international level? What happened there? Placed in a singularly opportune position, as host of the G7 ministers and chair of the G20, to forward this agenda, Martin didn't even so much as raise the subject (see: MPs call for government action on transaction tax). For Roy Culpeper's take on the March 8 Martin article, see: Action plan not enough (May 9, 2002 / Globe&Mail).
PM will pitch plan for Africa to Europeans (May 7, 2002 / Globe&Mail) Chrétien is off to Europe this time. And why not save millions by simply using the telephone for this pre-summit ice-breaker? Because "body language is key to delivering the message and noting the reaction of the other leaders," says an entourage official. The trip will also give Chrétien an excuse to avoid embarrassment at the U.N. summit to Eliminate Child Poverty (see: Chretien ducking poverty summit: activists).
Paper tidal wave taking over summits (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald) The Calgary Herald has really gone all-out today. Eight articles - and not one of them representative of the views of the protesters they so readily villify. Here, however, is something a bit different, a more sophisticated rant for those who might find the mass manipulative shenanigans of hacks like Mark Reid a bit too lowbrow. Clicking on the article will bring you first to my critique, which includes a link to the original Calgary Herald article.
Showcasing Calgary for the G-8 (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Here is a refined version of a similar article written by Mark Reid on March 14 (see the 'earlier articles' archive for analysis of Reid's propaganda and the item itself). Once again, Reid sets up a bogus debate: i.e., fears of summit violence vs. desire for 'economic spinoffs' (the possibility that citizens might be concerned about what the G8 itself represents is completely ignored). Reid then neatly arranges things so that the 'economic spinoff' argument comes out on top, mainly by making every effort to convince us that police repression can be good for business: "The trickle down effect of thousands of police officers receiving huge paycheques for overtime, and money spent on catering and other summit-related services 'can be a huge revenue injection.'.... Sam Kaplan, of the Seattle Trade Alliance, says the WTO violence at first soured the business community on hosting future summits. Time and hindsight, however, have since softened that view. He says the 'Battle of Seattle' vaulted the city onto the world stage. Today, Seattle businesses are parlaying that exposure into new economic opportunity, both at home and abroad." (hey, shouldn't protesters be getting a commission for all this fabulous PR?)
Red carpet rolled out for visitors (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Mark Reid of the Calgary Herald dutifully regurgitates the 'economic spinoff' propaganda that has been fed to him. "Tourism Calgary's Ardith Finnegan says international media will be given lists of ready-made story ideas that will include Calgary connections to their home countries...." Isn't that lovely - the corporate media won't have to lift a finger - their stories will already be written for them....
Activists fear war in the wilderness (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald) (reprint of a Jan. 13 Calgary Herald article) More of Mark Reid's anti-protester propaganda. This is supposed to be an exploration of issues surrounding the environmental sensitivity of the Kananaskis area. But isn't something rather obvious lacking? Wasn't it the G8 organizers - and not protesters - that chose this location? Isn't it clear how the G8 have deliberately chosen to hold the environment hostage in order to shield themselves from protests? Reid carefully steers clear of these questions, preferring to quote Bruce Leeson, the 'wildlife biologist' whom the government is paying to manage the environmental end of its security PR effort. Says Leeson: "How ironic would it be for protesters to damage one of the world's most precious places in order to encourage world leaders to be more careful. The bottom line is: we need to hold this meeting in a safe, civil manner and not hurt the environment." Note how there is nothing in that 'bottom line' about the rights of citizens to voice political dissent.... For more on Bruce Leeson's PR strategy of using superficial environmental-friendliness to deflect attention from the G8's fundamentally exploitative and undemocratic nature, see Accent's on green at three-Rs summit (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald).
WPC policing blueprint sets tone for G-8 plans (May 6, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Is it anywhere suggested that protesters might have legitimate reasons for wanting to oppose the WPC, WTO, and G8? Is there any hint of the real truth: that the real criminals are the ones inside setting agendas designed to erode sovereign powers and to open the door to further exploitation of labor and resources by private corporations? Not in this article! What matters is that the law is laid down, that the meetings proceed, and that the city (i.e. convention center and luxury hotels, mainly) reaps its supposed 'economic spinoffs'. The people be damned!
Calgary planning for G8 biochemical attacks (May 6, 2002 / CP) $700,000 to be spent by the city of Calgary alone. Another example of John Kirton's "new security economy" (NSE) at work.
G-8 security force Canada's largest (May 5, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Here's Mark Reid of the Calgary Herald again, laying on the 'Osama' stuff in order to set the stage for an article about G8 security. "Security experts say al-Qaeda has plotted to attack every G-8 summit since 1996," he writes. Then, he segues briefly into "street violence at recent summits has also been on the rise, culminating in the shooting death of a protester at last year's G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy," before proceeding into a fairly detailed overview of the security operation, the bulk of which is clearly designed with protester repression in mind. But, Reid makes a special effort to portray the cops as fair dealers (in this Brave New World, the police are the mediators of democratic expression for those without 'official' media credentials) : "Deputy chief Rick Hanson says security forces will compromise with activists in order to defuse confrontation... .For example, police recognize that Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary could be an attractive meeting place for protesters, but city bylaws state the plaza can't be used for political purposes. Hanson says it might be best to show discretion rather than sticking to the letter of the law, if the result is maintaining the public peace." See? Hanson is ready to go out on a limb by allowing people with political opinions to gather in a public place. Big of him, eh?
Police honing tactical skills in crowd control, chemicals (May 5, 2002 / Calgary Herald) Listen to this: "1,420 rank and file officers have been undergoing protester awareness training, including use of riot gear, body armour, gas masks and fire retardant clothing." That's "protester awareness training"!! But wait, the best comes later, when Emergency Medical Services officer Mike Plato says: "We're looking at different chemicals and irritants used by protesters, whether it be pepper spray or a wide variety of gases." used by protesters???? This guy can't be serious... but unfortunately I think he is. Because he represents an overbloated and overarmed security force that is aching for a confrontation, and which is ready to twist the truth or turn it completely upside down - whatever it takes - in order to pick a fight.
Working for change at home just as effective as trekking to Kananaskis: Barlow (May 5, 2002 / CP) This is a corporate media interpretation of Maude Barlow - so let's not take this stuff too seriously. Regarding the police negotiation stuff, we should note that it was tried recently, and according to most reports, it failed dismally. The police were simply not able to acknowledge the true context of their behaviour - i.e. their chronic pattern of employing brutality and abuse, whether it was in Vancouver for APEC, in Quebec City with their plastic bullets and teargas, or in Ottawa where they encouraged their dogs to bite protesters without reason.
Shelters await G-8 lot (May 5, 2002 / Calgary Sun) I'm including this item just as a reminder that the Calgary Sun continues to pursue its sometimes slick, and sometimes not-so-slick campaign to tar G8 protesters as a bunch of alien and potentially violent undesireables. In this article, a charitable-sounding veneer conceals the underlying implication that the "G8 lot" generally fall into the category of 'homeless vagrants'. Note that Sun Media just shut down its online newspaper archive service, making it impossible, for the moment, to do comprehensive searches of their material. What will be interesting is to see if this service returns after the Kananaskis summit in June is over.
Canada, EU plan military co-operation (May 4, 2002 / Globe&Mail) In spite of massive defence budget increases in the U.S., George W. Bush wants U.S. troops out of traditional peacekeeping operations... presumeably so that they can all be used to go out and stomp on countries like Iraq. So Canada, which has also undertaken major military budget increases and is planning more in the near future, will take up the slack under European command. The upshot - a considerable net increase in global militarization.
Soaring costs, security test validity of summits (May 4, 2002 / Calgary Herald) This article poses as an anti-G8 item... but in reality it is anything but. The bulk of the article is devoted to the disinformation efforts of Michael Walker (of the right wing think tank Fraser Institute) and Clifford Orwin, a left-basher hired by the University of Toronto (see: Anti-globalization is so yesterday for an example of Orwin's anti-socialist virulence) who is also a dirctor of the dubious organization, Environment Probe (responsible for the preWalkerton study entitled Making privatization work for the environment and the more recent Property Rights in the Defence of Nature - and that's not a joke!). Both of these conservative propagandists are pretending to be anti-G8, but both subscribe to precisely the sort of freewheeling neoliberal capitalism which the G8 are trying to foist on the world. Their position, though seemingly contradictory, is probably a good sign; if some of the right-wingers are trying to position themselves as anti-G8, they must figure it is safer to go into damage-control mode.
Unions plan G-8 protests (May 3, 2002 / Calgary Herald) - more of Mark Reid's shifty manipulations. In this one, Reid organizes his article so that unions are mainly portrayed as a bunch of sulky ingrates whose participation in G8 protests is just an underhanded and clumsy way of getting back at Ralph Klein. Superficial objectivity is maintained by a brief mention of the bona fide motivation behind union participation: unions "hope to use the summit to make connections between Klein's 'right wing' policies -- such as reducing funding for health care and deregulating public utilities -- and the harmful decisions made by G-8 nations." Note how Reid requires quotation marks around right wing in order to distance himself from this criticism. Or maybe there is a general CanWest directive against the use of the expression "right wing" unless it appears within a quotation. Wouldn't surprise me.
Expensive Alberta conference makes mockery of African aid: critics (May 3, 2002 / Ottawa Citizen)
Alta threatened to 'ban' feds from summit (May 3, 2002 / National Post) Notice the timing of this article. Just as Robert Fowler is coming under increasingly heavy fire about the escalating costs of the G8, this memo arrives to redirect the blame to a provincial-federal spat. How convenient. More on same issue: Alta considered banning federal officials from G8 over funding dispute:memo (May 2, 2002 / CP); and Alberta prepared to bar Ottawa (May 3, 2002 / Calgary Herald).
RCMP to call G-8 security shots (May 3, 2002 / Calgary Herald) The title of the article is misleading. The article shows Eggleton admitting that the military will indeed be involved in Kananaskis in a "support role" (like Canadian forces in Afghanistan).
Despite Liberal unease over revamped anti-terror bill, PM promises fast-track (May 2, 2002 / CP) As opposition mounts to C-55, Chrétien has now declared that the bill will be rammed through Parliament, offering scant opportunity for opponents of the bill to rally forces. Meanwhile further ways in which the bill actually "expands on" the previous bill are explored. Federal privacy commissioner George Radwanski says that citizens "should be alarmed", and that certain provisions of the bill may result in a situation "similar to those that exist in totalitarian societies where police routinely board trains or establish roadblocks to check identification papers in search of anyone of interest to the state."
Anti-terror bill won't be used at G8: Eggleton (May 1, 2002 / Ottawa Citizen) The Alliance opposition to the bill appears to have been simply for appearances. The fundamental problems with C42 remain, and yet the 'official opposition' is ready to sacrifice basic civil liberties on the strength of Art Eggleton's personal reassurances. "It must be ok - Art said so..."
We must teach all the children (May 1, 2002 / Globe&Mail) Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel urge that much more be done to realize univeral primary education.
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