Monthly Archives: June 2010

Mukherjee: Police had ‘communication issues’ with G20

Police had ‘communication issues’ with G20, civilian board chair says

by Anna Mehler Paperny,
Globe and Mail Update Published on Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2010 10:32PM EDT Last updated on Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2010 10:46PM EDT

The head of the civilian board overseeing the Toronto Police says the force may have made a mistake by not telling the public they’d mischaracterized the powers police had during the G20 summit.

“That may be one of the communication issues to be looked at,” police board chair Alok Mukherjee said in an interview Wednesday, “whether the correction was properly notified to the public.”

It was the provincial Ministry of Community Safety that notified police Friday afternoon that the police force and its chief were misinterpreting a controversial amendment the province passed to help police secure the area around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Police had thought the temporary amendment to the Public Works Protection Act meant they could demand identification from, and search or arrest without warrant, anyone within five metres of the fence encircling the security perimeter.

It didn’t: The amendment, which lasted from June 21 through June 28, only governed what they could do within the fenced area.

Police Chief Bill Blair had given a press conference that morning defending the five-metre policy in the face of public consternation: Many civil-liberties advocates argued the amendment had been made in secret and without giving people proper notice that their rights had changed.

“There was an honest misinterpretation by people who were dealing with these matters in the midst of the heat of the moment,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

“It was the government, the minister of community safety, that realized that there was a misinterpretation. And they drew it to the attention of the staff and they then advised the chief right away. … There was no willful misinterpretation. There was no intent to mislead anybody.

“And as far as the police officers were concerned, they were advised right away, as soon as the mistake was detected.”

There have been growing calls for an independent, third-party inquiry into police actions leading up to and during the G20 – from the provincial NDP, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

Between allegations of misconduct, arbitrary mass arrests and confusion over what powers police had – and why they didn’t clarify them to the public – “the whole thing is turning into quite a fiasco,” said NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

An internal police review, she argues, “is not enough: It doesn’t give you that outside perspective. … These questions will only be answered by an independent review.”

Mayor David Miller’s spokesman Stuart Green said Wednesday the Mayor stands by remarks he made in support of the police previously, and sees no need for a third-party investigation.

“The Mayor is aware of allegations and complaints made by members of the public and media to the civilian review bodies that monitor police actions. As he said Monday, it is appropriate for those independent agencies to investigate all complaints and determine appropriate courses of action.”

CCLA counsel Nathalie Des Rosiers and several constitutional lawyers have argued that regardless of the way the amended act was represented or acted upon, the fact that no one in the province or the police force bothered to publicize it until just before the G20 weekend itself is problematic.

But both at a police board meeting Tuesday and in an interview, Mr. Mukherjee said he sees no need – yet – for such an inquiry. Chief Blair has been tasked with spearheading an internal review of the Integrated Security Unit’s own operations. Mr. Mukherjee said it’s still not clear how much of that will remain public: “It depends on what’s in the report. By law, there are certain matters that have to be kept confidential.”

But “we have a number of independent mechanisms if there is any concern that, you know, some of the police behaviour was excessive or excessive use of force was used, or someone was detained unlawfully – there is an independent process available already,” he said.

“I have not seen any other reason why there should be what is being called an independent public inquiry.”

He said he hopes the current public anger over mass arrests and allegations of police misconduct subside, and “we will come up with a proper process to give people an opportunity to share their concerns.”

And, he added, “I hope that we’ll not have another G20 summit.”

All slime, all the time, apparently…

You’d think they’d at least buy us dinner before they stiffed us. Oh, wait, they did – they just sent us some of our own money for beer and popcorn as lubricant for the new tax hike, er, tax “amalgamation” Dalton gave us for Canada Day. Follow this one wherever it takes you. Try not to retch in the aisle, and please clean up after you.

h/t SDA

Canadian Conservatives: Not Rioting Enough!

Now is the time at SDA when we juxtapose!

Toronto Sun, June 25thThe latest disturbing development in McGuinty’s Ontario is the same unit of the Ontario Provincial Police charged with minimizing violence by highway-blockading native protesters and anti-G8/G20 radicals, is now phoning up and showing up at the homes of law-abiding, middle-aged rural folks opposed to wind factories.

Globe&Mail, June 26th“Police maintained tight lines around the summit site, but largely did not intervene as marchers destroyed property.”

More here” It has been confirmed that Mike Crawley called up the OPP to initiate an investigation into a “possible” protest because he was “alarmed” at mounting opposition. Mike Crawley, the CEO of International Power Canada, also happens to be the recently resigned President of the Federal Liberal Party”

h/t Paul Sepe

Posted by Kate at 10:02 AM| Comments (0)

Related: June 2010 Ontario wind generation report

Doc Zero: Big Government, Bad Journalism

Big Government, Bad Journalism

By Doctor Zero, June 26, 2010

Just the other day, I was discussing the challenge of maintaining cordial relationships in a highly politicized society with a friend of mine.  When politics have infused every aspect of our lives, right down to the menus at fast-food restaurants, our political opinions are often interpreted as judgments of character.  The conservative sees a diehard Obama supporter as an accomplice to tyranny, while the Obama supporter sees the opponents of socialized medicine as accessories to the murder of the uninsured.  No matter which side of the debate you come down on, it’s easy to see that the stakes are high, and participation has become mandatory.  The option to stay out of the argument no longer exists, because regardless of your station in life, this vast and activist government is not going to leave you alone.

I found myself thinking along these lines while watching JournoList, the electronic locker room for liberal reporters, collapse beneath the weight of Dave Weigel’s spleen.

Weigel has spent the last few months working as an observer of the conservative movement for the Washington Post, whose readers must wonder about the identity of the vast Tea Party crowds occasionally blocking their view of the IRS building.  As it turns out, Weigel really hates the people he’s been covering, and sees himself precisely the way conservatives see most dinosaur-media reporters: as a partisan operative of the Democrat Party.  He expressed his hatred, and loyalties, in a series of communications posted to JournoList.  These emails became an embarrassing burst of digital flatulence when they were made public.  Weigel is out of a job at the Washington Post, and JournoList is gone.

Blogger Ace of Spades wonders why the Post couldn’t find a sympathetic correspondent to cover the “conservative beat,” and answers his own question by pointing out the Post has no interest in publishing material that might lead its readers to begin grooving to that conservative beat.  The last thing they want is for their right-wing avatar to come back with a horde of angry natives behind him and lead a successful insurrection.

Here we cross the line between editorial decisions and bias.  Why would an unbiased newspaper be afraid to honestly report news that makes one side of a political debate look appealing, instead assigning a reporter to highlight fringe material to cast them in the most negative light possible?  Of course, they are biased, but it’s even worse than that.  They’re subjective. They pretend to be commentators, but they’re actually players in the game… just like everyone else.  Our fates are all controlled by the immense central government worshipped by the Post. They have a vested interest in ensuring its sustained growth, so they can make their fortune writing epic tales of its heroic deeds.

Big Government makes for bad journalism.  As I like to point out whenever someone like David Frum gushes over “moderates,” there is no meaningful way to be moderate when a carnivorous super-State is chowing down on huge portions of the private sector, while dismissing bedrock Constitutional rights with an irritated wave of its hand.  You either resist the onslaught of the State with all your might, or bear passive witness to its expansion.

At this moment in American history, there is no functional difference between a genuine “centrist” and Dave Weigel’s right-wing “ratf**kers.”  If you think you should be allowed to keep your own medical insurance, and see your own doctor, you’re taking an extreme partisan stance.  If you don’t think the government should be able to revoke the First Amendment or due process rights of private corporations at its convenience, you are a declared enemy of the State.

For the same reason, journalists can only make the thinnest pretense of objectivity when covering the super-State.  Merely reporting honestly on its past and current activities would qualify a journalist for associate membership in the Ratf**ker Pack.  As my Green Room colleague Karl points out, some of Weigel’s most intellectually offensive emails concerned the kind of organized narrative manipulation that appears to have been the true purpose of JournoList all along.  In the immense political struggle now under way, there is no room on the sidelines.

Mainstream media figures want to pose as friendly partners in an intelligent conversation, but the size and power of the government they cover makes it impossible to analyze dispassionately.  In their hearts, journalists really hate the idea of seeing that exciting mega-government torn down, or they believe it’s impossible to do so.  That’s why they see the new breed of aggressive, Tea Party-endorsed Republicans as either enemies or lunatics.  It doesn’t help that they’re well aware of ongoing statist efforts to control or subsidize the media.  Even those reporters who aren’t True Believers are reluctant to earn a spot on the enemies list of an eternally triumphant statist elite.

It’s striking how much venom Dave Weigel directed at people who never insulted him personally.  In the pressure cooker of an overwhelming, and collapsing, centralized government, the personal and political are fused into a single identity.  Asking uncomfortable questions is an act of rebellion, and effective resistance to the will of the elite is a declaration of war.  Media operatives, who eat and drink politics with every meal, are just a little further down the spiral of bitterness and desperation that awaits us all.

***
Related:

Ripping Michael Cooke a new one…

G-20: Steyn: Spectators in Body Armor

Spectators in Body Armor

Observations on the first day of the Toronto G20

By Mark Steyn, June 26, 2010

I may have to revise my old line about the British police being “the most monumentally useless in the developed world”. For the G20 summit, the Toronto coppers ordered up a ton of new body armor, weaponry, gas masks, etc – and then stood around in their state-of-the-art riot gear watching as a bunch of middle-class “anarchists” trashed the city. Streetcars were left abandoned, and even police cruisers were seized, vandalized and burned. But hey, it’s the taxpayers who pay for ‘em, right? And I’m sure they’ll have replacements ready when Constable Plod needs to drive over to Tim Hortons for his mid-morning Boston Creme.

As it happens, I wrote about the increasing indifference of the northern constabulary to the Queen’s peace at the time of the Ann Coulter riot a few weeks ago:

As for Ottawa’s coppers, they certainly demonstrated that famously Canadian “restraint.” Faced with a law-abiding group engaging in legal activity and a bunch of thugs trying to prevent it, the police declined to maintain order. As George Jonas wrote, “Ottawa’s finest exemplified Canada’s definition of moral leadership by observing neutrality between lawful and lawless…”

There’s a lot of that about. I referenced the bizarre incident in which the Finance Minister of Ontario was attacked during a public television taping:

As in Ottawa, law enforcement declined to enforce the law, the OPP remaining in the wings as thugs rushed the stage. “The police, I’m told, were urged not to intervene,” Paikin explained, “lest pictures of demonstrators being hauled off by the cops show up all over YouTube.”

True. You might haul off a Muslim or a lesbian and find yourself in “human rights” hell. Better just to linger nonchalantly by the side until it’s all over: O Canada, we stand around for thee. Her Majesty’s Constabulary seem to be sending the message that violence pays—at least for approved identity groups. That doesn’t seem a prudent strategy.

As we see. The Toronto PD are your go-to guys if you want a fetching police escort for the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid float in the Pride Parade, but they don’t otherwise seem to perform any useful function. David Miller, the city’s brain-dead mayor, can usually be relied upon for a fatuous soundbite. In this case, he offered:

This isn’t our Toronto.

Er, actually, it is. Try looking out the window. This wasn’t quite as hilarious as his response to NPR’s Renee Montagne after 18 Toronto Muslims were arrested for plotting to behead the Prime Minister and blow up Parliament:

“More than half of the people who live in Toronto, including myself, were not born in Canada. And I think that’s why Canada works.”

“Although it didn’t work in this case,” Ms. Montagne pointed out, somewhat maliciously.

And now it hasn’t worked again. This comment seems more relevant than any of Hizzoner’s:

Any city that stands aside to photograph itself burning – deserves to.

***

Assorted video:

June 27, 2010

Over 400 arrests in Toronto melee (Ed. note: melee, CBC? Really? Try “riot”)

June 26, 2010

G20 protests turn violent, more than 100 arrested Video of police car being torched
Protestors clash with police at G-20
Police cars ablaze at G-20
G-20 Protestors hit Toronto streets
Protestors, police clash at G-20
Raw: Protests smash glass – June 26
Protests in downtown Toronto

Stills:

Mike Segar, Reuters
CTV galleries
National Post galleries

Ripping Michael Cooke a new one…

You might not know who Michael Cooke is, which is, in and of itself, a telling feature of this story. Michael Cooke is the editor of that bastion of Liberal nonsense and house organ of all that is wrong with Toronto, the Toronto Star.
Michael recently participated in one of the incestuous newspaper industry’s love-ins as the recipient of the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism award (you could reasonably insert a smirk here, but wait, it gets better), at their recent awards gala.

Quoth Michael:

“Is journalism 100 unpaid bloggers all talking and yattering at once, or a city filled with amateur citizen journalists uncoordinated in all their efforts? Those bloggers and citizen reporters are as close to real reporters as karaoke is to Frank Sinatra live and in person.”

Of course Michael doesn’t get it; doesn’t get why there are hundreds of unpaid bloggers, exchanging news and opinion, rather than buying his increasingly irrelevant newspaper. The events of recent months especially, have demonstrated that journalism in the MSM no longer exists, if indeed, it ever did.

Witness the utter failure of the MSM to competently cover the US presidential election campaign, Climategate, Afghanistan and on and on. Why pay for poorly researched opinions from someone whose business is selling agendas, not news? One of the Metroland papers (a Torstar subsidiary) comes to me at home in a bundle of adprint courtesy the presses at the Hamilton Spectator (another Torstar subsidiary). It goes straight from my front porch to the recycle box, a process I’m still looking for a way to bill the Star to have to do. How’s that for market reach?

SDA (Small Dead Animals, for those who live in the blogospheric equivalent of the backside of the moon) picked up the story and had this to say:

What Cooke and many of his colleagues in the MSM fail to recognize or accept is that their “city filled with amateur citizen journalists” is actually a city filled with subject matter experts. In other words, unlike the generalist reporter, the citizen journalist has often spent a lifetime developing expertise in whatever subject he or she is writing about.

I don’t know about you, but when I want to know what’s wrong with my car, I go to a mechanic, not a reporter who happens to be writing about auto repair today.

It might be appropriate to note here that SDA is approaching 18 million hits. Amateurs, indeed.

Cooke went on to say that when it comes to journalism, nothing can replace the real thing, but the reality is, the real thing is the citzen journalist. MSM journalists don’t wake up every morning with a fresh new journalistic epiphany and voila, a column or story magically appears on their computer, plumped and primed for the editor’s desk. The ones who actually care to tell you the facts of the story will go out and interview the citizens and participants, you know, the ones who will go home and blog about their experiences, and in a good many cases, expert opinion. There no longer is a need, nor a desire, to have facts filtered by the corporate interest of the publisher, or by the personal opinion of a frequently lazy media hack who is more interested in controversy, or, say, lunch.
Cooke went on further say:

I’d like to say mostly at the Toronto Star, but also at The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, and the Sun papers, it’s the journalism of pursuit, the journalism of energy. We’re blessed to be working with this kind of competition. It keeps us fit, and keeps us honest.

That “honesty” is the principal reason why so many bloggers and citizen journalists exist (that’d be the same honesty that Reuters was recently caught again at, doctoring photos to change the actuality of the news being reported. In the most recent case it was imagery associated with the Israelis boarding the blockade-busting ships).

Here’s what some of SDA’s commenters have to say about modern MSM journalism:

Personally, I would consider it the ultimate insult to be called a “journalist”. For what is a journalist? They appear to be parasites, with short attention spans,and prone to sensationalism. They seem to find joy in the pain and suffering of others, and even more joy is gossiping about it. They say they know everything and master in nothing, ignorant to a fault and unrepentant when proven wrong. They except[sic] no responsibility for their actions. What sort of person would want to be a journalist? They are the dregs of a functioning society as they contribute nothing real.

Bloggers are the people that journalists once used to interview to “get the facts”, and after getting the facts, proceeded to distort and cherry pick. Now we can reach the same audience without the interlopers. Their noses are out of joint and they’re pouting.

“Those bloggers and citizen reporters are as close to real reporters as karaoke is to Frank Sinatra”
The arrogance of pomposity in free-fall.
Someone should inform this “news hawk” that Sinatra is dead.

What a snivelling, trumped up, little shit… In one contemptable sentence, Cooke manages to show his arrogant elitist nature, along with a profound insecurity, all at the same time. He refer’s to himself as a “real reporter”, this coming from the guy who gave us the journalistic brilliance of “busty hookers and cocaine”… I can see the smug cloud Cooke’s acceptance speech created now…”Winning an award for being a “journalist” in Canada is the equivalent of winning an award for being the biggest douche-bag at an all douche-bag party.

Cooke should spend his energies trying to understand why his staff are viewed with such contempt. This is the real story of the CJF gala, the industry he represents, and the market Michael Cooke no longer does.

BP Gulf Leak Wellhead Cameras – Link.

BP wellhead activity, live feeds from multiple underwater cameras, courtesy WKRG-TV.