A critical examination of the role of the CCLAby Denis G. Rancourt
Police violence at G20-Toronto, like the economic violence engineered by G20 itself, are windows into Canada’s loss of sovereignty as it continues to integrate the US military economy and military culture at breakneck speed. Loss of economic and security sovereignty and the associated planned plundering (so-called austerity) must be attended by loss of democracy and civil rights.
What is clear to any observer who reads the victim testimonies, watches the many videos, reads the civil society association statements, reports and petitions and follows the corporate and independent media broadcasts is that the cops and their bosses profiled activists and demonstrators and targeted them for surveillance, intimidation, interrogations, and assaults as though they were enemies of the state in a war.
What is clear is that the police and its bosses function under a police state paradigm in which lawful democratic participation in the form of organizing and protesting is considered domestic terrorism.
This paradigm is well known in the Latin American (and other) client states of the USA where the dissident members of civil society (teachers, union organizers, independent journalists, community organizers, priests, etc.) are systematically rooted out and murdered by US-trained government-sponsored commandos.
In addition, it has become routine in Canada’s geopolitical war of aggression in Afghanistan to disregard the Geneva Conventions and accept civilian “collateral damage” as a “fact of war” in pursuing suspected militants; not to mention turning them over to allied factions for torture.
Within the same logic the G20-Toronto paramilitary force was ordered to indiscriminately actuate mass intimidations and roundups of target groups (based on profiling), knowing that mostly authentic protesters and many bystanders would be subjected to the same illegal violence, for the double purpose of gathering personal information and intimidating citizens away from participation.
This included turning over select targets to non-uniformed thugs in unmarked vans for what can only be described as torture and it included extensive use of embedded agents and hyper surveillance; all the most repulsive tactics that Canadians have always denounced in totalitarian states.
Either the G20-Toronto paramilitary force was trained and ordered to enact its anti-democracy commando strategy witnessed by all or we live in a fucking fairy tale where less broken windows and smashed cars than after a hockey game in Montreal can justify an ad hoc billion-dollar military budget and where the best road to national security is a US-insanity-led murderous war against a nation on the other side of the planet.
The point is that the 10,000 police officers who participated in G20-Toronto and did not prevent their colleagues from performing massive, sustained and indiscriminate verbal and physical attacks against citizens and citizens’ rights disregarded their professional oaths of service and acted in line with received and accepted police training and instructions which are those of a police state – where citizens who speak out are the enemy.
What is the CCLA (and other recognized human and civil rights groups) doing about it?
What has been revealed by G20-Toronto cannot be covered up by a broad-in-name-only federal inquiry operating under the false premise that “mistakes” may have been made that may lead to the formulation of recommendations for new procedures and protocols.
These were not mistakes.
What happened at G20-Toronto was planned and runs deep in Canada’s newfound militaristic and police culture. Canadian civil rights icon Ursula Franklin recently explained in the national media that Canada is advancing towards fascism.
This is not business as usual for the CCLA (C for Canadian; Canadian Civil Liberties Association). The CCLA must not play its establishment role of aiding the cover up. It must distinguish itself.
As maybe Canada’s leading civil liberties lawyer group, the CCLA has been working overtime to show leadership in responding to the G20-Torornto mass police aggression.
Anything else would have been anomalous since the CCLA was founded in response to a similarly large mass violation of civil liberties: The Quebec War Measures Act mass arrests of the 1970s. In addition the CCLA office is in Toronto.
The CCLA had many observers on the ground at G20-Toronto, has vigilantly collected individual complaints and available data about the arrests, has coordinated tentative legal actions, and has sent several letters to key officials pressuring for inquiries. It has also made several media communications to further pressure responsible bodies to enact measures of accountability.
Its most significant political success to date is that Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) announced that “systemic issues” arising from police behaviour at G20-Toronto would be “investigated thoroughly and in a way that is accountable, transparent, efficient and fair to both the public and the police.” LINK
This came in response to a CCLA letter to the OIPRD calling for such an investigation and detailing mass “systemic” violations; that is, incorrectly using the word “systemic” to mean incidents involving large groups of victims. LINK
Why does the OIPRD feel the need to express that it will be “fair to both the public and the police”? Is it not fair to a criminal to be punished for his/her crime? The OIPRD statement appears to be intended to announce that its report will be a compromise between justice and police immunity, between civil rights and police state advancement.
The National Post’s celebration of the OIPRD review as an “unprecedented investigation by a powerful provincial agency … [with] the power to conduct searches and seizures, summon documents and summon witnesses, including officers and police chiefs” suggests that the establishment will use the OIPRD review to avoid a federal inquiry.
The OIPRD investigation does not have the mandate to examine the role of political leaders or to examine federal police. The OIPRD investigation is not enough for the CCLA. Its chief, Nathalie Des Rosiers, has called for a federal inquiry because the RCMP and CSIS were involved and because such issues as “national intelligence gathering”, police “baiting”, and high level “orders” are involved. LINK
The CCLA has put much of its efforts in attempting to secure an official and “sufficiently broad” federal inquiry. The CCLA should now further and directly publicly pressure the Harper government and Parliament for the needed federal inquiry, which will in-principle only benefit from the OIPRD review.
The CCLA must also learn the proper definition of the word “systemic” and focus attention on the training and culture of the police and its bosses. It must sound the alarm: The canary in the coal mine is dead.
And what’s with the use of the word “efficient” used by both the CCLA and OIPRD? –Sounds like “no replication of analysis” and “not too deep”. On the contrary, no expense should be spared and plenty of divergent and complementary reports would be fine. (Is it too late to hold off that order for another sound canon? What is the cost of lost sovereignty?)
What will be the CCLA’s next push? Will it be placated by the OIPRD review?
It is also of concern that the CCLA appeared to be threatening the federal government with more lawsuits if a federal inquiry is not ordered – in the words of Des Rosiers: “if the federal government does not do anything, individuals who have been wronged should use the possibilities that exist. Many avenues of redress will rightly be undertaken to get answers and relief…” LINK
This horse trading attitude indicates that the CCLA might not as vigorously pursue support for individual and group lawsuits if a “sufficiently broad” federal inquiry is called. The CCLA needs to provide support for as much redress as possible for individuals within the limits of the law, irrespective of inquiries.
In addition, the investigations, inquiries and lawsuits must lead to police and their bosses being rightly disciplined with formal reprimands, fines, suspensions, demotions, and firings, in proportion to their violations and lapses of duty. The police who witnessed their colleagues acting unprofessionally and illegally and who did nothing to stop their colleagues must also be disciplined. And political orders must lead to resignations.
A shakedown is needed to avert this next consolidation step towards fascism.
What role will the CCLA play in the continued destruction of Canada?
We don’t need a G20-driven-US-integration-establishment-preserving inquiry. We need organizations like the CCLA to read the writing on the wall and to stand for more than just business as usual. This is about Canada’s integration into the US military economy. It is about desperately needed sovereignty, the opposite of US-led G8 and G20.Denis G. Rancourt was a tenured and full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He practiced several areas of science which were funded by a national agency and ran an internationally recognized laboratory. He published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals. He developed popular activism courses and was an outspoken critic of the university administration and a defender of student and Palestinian rights. He was fired for his dissidence in 2009 by an executive that included Nathalie Des Rosiers who enforced his banning from campus and forceful police arrest while he participated in a campus event as a full professor [see http://rancourt.academicfreedom.ca/].