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Western University says no to sharing food

WSN and FNB Nov 17th 2014

WSN and FNB Nov 17th 2014

On November 17th students from The Western Solidarity Network (WSN) and Food Not Bombs London served free hot vegetarian food to students and hand out information about student debt, campus food banks and the corporatization of university.

Western University police informed students that they can’t share food on campus! (VIDEO BELOW)

Please Tweet @WesternU and let them know this is not ok.

 

Michael Roy

A Personal Message to the London, Ontario Police Regarding Their Million Mask March Investigation

Ever since the Million Mask March took place on November.5th, police officers in London, Ontario have been calling activists in the community as well as showing up at their homes, demanding video footage for their “investigation” into acts of graffiti that they claim cost $1000 in damages. This is false, as not only was the writing done in non-permanent marker but one of the activists arrested saw that the building had already been cleaned while on his walk home, which was at about 9:30pm that night. The following is a personal statement to the police, as an activist and grassroots journalist who attended the march and is concerned with the police’s behaviour.

“Dear London Ontario Police,

Stop harassing local activists for their Million Mask March video footage. Stop calling people and showing up at their homes without prior censent. You have no right. Not only is most video footage online already but your “investigation” into the city hall “vandalism” really has nothing to do with vandalism at all. This is nothing more than an extension of your larger “investigation” into local dissenters and those who choose to express themselves politically through protest demonstrations and street art. As of yet, there is no law saying that we can’t do that. So your probing into people and media with the intention of pressing criminal charges is completely pointless. You will not find what you are looking for and you will not accomplish anything meaningful out of this.

Additionally, more to the point, no property was damaged at the march. You claim that the so-called “damage” cost the city about $1000, and yet you had the writing removed before the end of the night (probably because it was done in non-permanent marker). You are purposely lying to the public and you should stop that immediately.

If you do not stop lying and trying to intimidate people into submission, there will be consequences. Your behaviour as so-called “peace officers” is disgraceful and will not be tolerated by this community. Your status as authority figures does not scare us and we will continue to speak truth to your power. So to put it a little more bluntly: fuck off, leave us alone, and go do something useful with your lives for a change.

Seriously, you people pull this shit and then wonder why we have no respect for the police? Many Lulz all around.”

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While chalk was given out for a reason, a little bit of washable writing on a building is completely victimless…unlike the system we’re currently fighting, where we are all victims of countless forms of violence every single day at the hands of governments, police, corporations and the mainstream media.

Formal statement from Anonymous London Ontario: http://www.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/32132

Sustaining Solidarity with Mike Brown, Ferguson, and All Victims of Police Violence

Ferguson, MO Aug 30th 2014 Photo: Awaasis

Ferguson, MO Aug 30th 2014 Photo: Awaasis

 

Michael Brown was eighteen years old. On August 9th, 2014, days before he was set to be starting college, the unarmed Black teen was shot eight times and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. Thousands of people across Turtle Island have since taken to the streets demanding justice and reparations. The police and National Guard have responded with teargas, live ammunition, road blocks, and the military occupation of the small, Black majority town of Ferguson, Missouri.

Unfortunately, the murder of Michael Brown is not an anomaly or isolated incident; every 28 hours, a Black person is extrajudicially killed by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante, and over the past 7 years, police officers have killed two Black people a week in the United States. The basis of these ongoing crimes is the racist, capitalist system that perpetuates the continued devaluation of Black lives, racist police practices, state repression, ongoing colonization, and the Prison Industrial Complex.

Ferguson, MO Aug 30th 2014 Photo: Awaasis

Ferguson, MO Aug 30th 2014 Photo: Awaasis

From August 30th to September 1st, The Indignants visited Ferguson, Missouri, to pay our respects to Michael Brown, show our solidarity, and honour all people who have been victims of police violence. We attended the National March on Ferguson August 30th and are excited to soon be releasing a short documentary made during our time there.

We will continue to be in solidarity with a diversity of tactics during the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation October 2014, as well as the National Rally and March on the White House November 1-2, 2014.

We hope the photos captured further incite uprisings and revolt against all injustice everywhere it exists. In the words of the Black is Back Coalition “the only certain peace for the peoples of the world is peace through Revolution!”

Ferguson, MO Aug 30th 2014 Photo: Awaasis

Ferguson, MO Aug 30th 2014 Photo: Awaasis

Full Photo Album Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1AbM1GI

 

Ekosi.

Why Matt DeHart’s Story Matters: A Tale of Character Assassination, Torture and the Criminalization of Dissent

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Anybody who supports or identifies with Anonymous has most likely become familiar with the case of Matt DeHart, a 30 year-old former soldier and hacktivist from the United States who is currently jailed in Lindsay, Ontario. Matt was tortured by the FBI in August.2010 while being interrogated about his connections to Anonymous, a possible Russian spy ring, and a secret FBI document he found on his hidden server that he believes was destined for Wikileaks. Matt and his parents, Paul and Leann DeHart, travelled to Canada seeking asylum from the United States hoping to start a new life. Instead, Matt was immediately jailed, released, and then jailed again over a petty and unintentional breach of bail conditions.

Matts hearing with Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board was on August 20th, and he is supposed to find out his legal fate by early October which could mean being extradited back to the U.S.. Adrian Humphreys, a journalist with Canada’s National Post was able to sit in on the hearing via video in another area of the courthouse, but was not allowed to report any details about the hearing such as names of people involved, criminal accusations or the identity of the judge. But let’s back up for a second: what exactly is going on in this strange and confusing legal case and why is there so much secrecy around it? Why on Earth is this former digital activist charged with soliciting child pornography and accused of being a spy for the Russians? Why should you even care? This is an attempt to make sense of Matt DeHart’s legal case, as well as place it into the larger context of the police state; and the blatant targeting and repression of hackers, whistleblowers, and the technocultural aspect of today’s revolution.

Matt DeHart claims that he played a small role in the 2008 Anonymous campaign against the Church of Scientology, known as “Project Chanology”, in addition to other cyber shenanigans with his hacker friends who hung out on their secret server called “The Shell”. From a young age, Matt had an interest in computer security, surveillance, internet freedom and hacking…so naturally, in the late 2000s/early 2010s, when Anonymous and Wikileaks blew up as political actors, exposing corruption among world powers and outsmarting private security contractors who targeted the hacktivist community, Matt was nothing less than supportive. Before then, he was goofing around on 4chan and running a hacker group called “Kaos Anti-Security Operations Syndicate”, later renamed
“Anonymous Anti-Security” (not to be confused with Operation AntiSec, the “Op” that Jeremy Hammond was part of when he carried out the Stratfor hack). Matts contribution to Project Chanology–under the aliases K, Kaiser, Koenig and KMFDMK among others, was supposedly registering the Youtube account that would publish the famous “Message to Scientology” video, as well as using his expertise in encryption and other privacy tools to protect Anons from being traced while organizing. Other main organizers and public figures of Project Chanology, including Gregg Housh, have said that Matts claims are accurate and that he knows things that only the core group of them would know. In other words, Matt’s history with Anonymous is quite believable.

Here is where things get messy. Before shutting down The Shell in 2010, due to his friend’s alleged visit by the FBI where they asked about it, Matt discovered a file on the server that he claims was a secret FBI document about an investigation into the CIA’s practices. He deleted the file, but later found an encrypted version on another hidden server. Being a supporter of Wikileaks, Matt believes that that could have been the intended destination for the file, and he was well aware that he was treading into dangerous territory, eventually deciding to take down the server and destroy the hard drives; in his own words, “It’s not because you’re paranoid, it’s because you know what the United States government can do and having any affiliation, any peripheral involvement in Wikileaks in any way, shape, or form, makes you a target.” Matt was not wrong about this, and when the police raided his house of all data-carrying electronics except two thumb drives that he managed to hide, he knew exactly what it was about: his past connections to Anonymous, and the document that the FBI didn’t want him (or Julian Assange) to see.

Matt was not arrested when his house was raided, but the FBI’s claim for why they raided his house is particularly horrifying: he was told that they were searching for child pornography. However,
no charges followed for months and when the case was eventually taken to court it was revealed that there was no child pornography on any of his electronic devices, but only on that of his alleged “victim”, whose mothers testimony made no mention of pornography or any inappropriate contact aside from Matt’s “domineering tone” in World of Warcraft, where he led his own guild consisting of fellow Anons. The official accusation by the police is that Matt pretended to be teenage girls interested in the “victim” and coerced him into sending nude photos, but again…nothing was found on Matt’s electronics. Additionally, the Franklin Police Department doctored chat transcripts to make Matt appear predatory, which was shown in court when Matt and his lawyer presented the real chat log sent by a mutual acquaintance of he and the “victim”, a conversation between what appeared to be Matt and a female friend that briefly mentions Anonymous but consists of nothing sexual. But what makes this even weirder is that according to Matt, on the date and time of the chat transcipt (the afternoon of Sunday, May.18th,2008), he was away training at his military base. Is it surprising that Detective Brett Kniss, who was initially leading this investigation, is no longer with the Franklin Police Department and could not be reached by The National Post, who led an eight-month long investigation
into the case? Or are the police embarassed by their unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate Matt’s online social circle?

While accusations of sexual violence should always be taken seriously, when they come from the state rather than people, it is obviously crucial that we dig deeper. A common tactic by law enforcement when trying to trap someone is to destroy their reputation by slapping outrageous, trumped up charges on them so that they will be forever stigmatized. They will be painted to the public as a monster, undeserving of support or a even a fair trial, because very few people want to involve themselves in debates about whether or not accused sex offenders are really guilty of such things…and understandably so, seeing as how we live in a society that perpetuates this violence every single day through rape culture and the neglect of childrens voices. But wouldn’t one think that using false allegations of such violence as a weapon and as a cover for something else, violence that is very real for countless people, is only a further perpetuation of that violence? It is not only bad for innocents who are accused, but it is insulting to survivors. And yet, the FBI has a history of planting child pornography on the computers of both targets and non-targets, sometimes attached to music, images and other innocent files downloaded from FBI-sanctioned servers. The formal name for the tactic is known as “Operation Flicker”, and a real life example of this happening to an innocent is the case of 17 year old Andrew Rose, an autistic youth who accidentally downloaded an attachment through Limewire and was charged, even though he deleted the file immediately and it was clearly an accident. While these two cases are very different, they show that entrapment by the state is something that could happen to anyone. Some call it “character assassination”. It is the perfect tool for discrediting activists of all type, including whisteblowers and hackers who in this day and age, are on the frontlines of directly challenging the state’s credibility when it comes to issues of terrorism, national security, free information, and what we commonly refer to as “human rights” issues but actually meaning the various forms of exploitation that impact us all under colonial capitalist rule.

After being honourably discharged from the military in 2009 due to his depression, his family’s house getting raided and potentially being framed as a sexual predator, Matt was desperate for both employment and an escape. He no longer felt safe in the U.S., and was more than a little angry at how low his government had sunk just to target him as a member of Anonymous, in what would later be revealed through secret documents, 2 years after his arrest, as a National Security and Espionage investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. He drove to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to ask for employment; he was a former drone operator in the U.S. military, after all. Like the FBI, the Russian he spoke to there, who went by the name Evgeny, was actually more interested in Matt’s connections to Anonymous and Wikileaks. Matt claims that Evgeny offered to pay him for information, but he refused, because he was there to seek employment and get out of the country he no longer felt safe in, not mindlessly sell information for its own sake. But according to the FBI report on Matt’s later arrest, while he was in custody, he allegedly admitted that the plan all long was to sell U.S. military secrets to Russia. Matt denies the accuracy of these claims and points out that being tortured would have made him say anything. Still, Matt says that looking back, he would not have gone to the embassy in the first place: “Was it distasteful? Yeah. Would I do it again? No. I was
just kind of thumbing my nose at the United States because I was pissed off they did what they did to me.” FBI raids happen often to Americans who are even slightly suspected of having connections to hacker groups such as Anonymous, and many victims of FBI targeting can’t help but lash out in some way as a result of psychological distress…for example, journalist Barrett Brown, who became known as the “unofficial spokesperson” for Anonymous has been in prison for the last 2 years, part of the reason being his online “threat” against an FBI officer after he and his mother were both raided. Matt’s desperate reaction to his own situation was talking to the Russions, in whatever form that took.

Eventually he decided to relocate to Montreal, Quebec to take a French Immersion course, and in the summer of 2010 ended up on Prince Edward Island to study welding. He still had no charges at this point, and was trying to focus a little less on being mad at his government, and a little more on being a student and shaping his future. But before he started college he needed his student visa to be processed across the border, and as soon as he handed over his passport to the border patrol officer (his passport which, logically, should not have been given to him if the U.S. government had any issue, but he got it before moving to Montreal), he was placed in handcuffs and then taken to Immigration and Customs in Bangor, Maine. He was put in a cell, told he was being charged with soliciting child porn in 2008, but later questioned over Anonymous, Wikileaks, encryption programs, The Shell, the Russian Embassy, his former military unit, and not at all about child porn. According to Matt, he told the FBI agent (in regards to the child porn accusation) “I didn’t do that”, who in turn responded with “I know”. But before being questioned, Matt says he was put in a chair and given an IV. He fully believes he was drugged, and eventually blacked out and was taken to the hospital. According to jail and hospital records, the doctor who treated Matt made note of “eye discomfort, possible pesticide exposure, and acute mental status change, psychosis”, as well as “tachycardia and tremors most consistent with possible drug-induced psychosis such as secondary to amphetamines, cocaine and other stimulant medication.” This was 17 hours after his arrest. Matt was definitely drugged. The doctor also said that he would need to be monitored while in custody due to his psychosis at the time as well as his history of mental illness. Jail records confirm that Matt experienced suicidal episodes while in jail and made more than one attempt before being forced into a suicide smock while he underwent more brutal, psychologically violent interrogations that he claims included more drugging and physical abuse. He was allegedly strapped naked to a submission chair with a bag over his head, drugged into unconsciousness and would wake up with bruises and burns. He was also only allowed to eat and drink during interrogations, but only if he took the unknown drugs they gave him. He also claims to have had bleach poured on him, claims he was kept in a dry cell with no sink or toilet, and was severely deprived of sleep because officers would purposely bang on things every 15 minutes to make it impossible for prisoners to sleep. He recalls looking forward to interrogations: “I thought I was going to die that week when I was in there, that these people were going to leave me here. I couldn’t call any of my family members, I couldn’t call a lawyer. I was incommunicado. You look forward to talking to the FBI even though you know they are working against you.” To this day, Matt suffers from PTSD and has made several suicide attempts in jail.

When Matt was eventually taken to his first court appearance, the judge stated that she did not see him as a threat to the community and he was allowed out of custody. Two different judges have raised concerns over Matt’s child porn charge, their words implying that not only does the charge look made up, but the FBI didn’t even do a good job at hiding it; as Judge Margaret Kravchuk said, “Doesn’t it
strike you as odd that a year goes by without anything happening in this case, and there’s no apparent danger to the community, and then the search warrant’s executed on Matt’s home six, seven, eight months ago now and nothing dangerous happens to the community?”. She was commenting on the fact that Matt was not arrested nor his computers analyzed for evidence months after being seized despite a supposed 2008 allegation, in addition to the criminal complaint not having been drafted until the day of his arrest in 2010, and that he should have been in court much sooner than he had been considering his arrest date (that not even the courts or police could get right since it was listed 2 days after it happened). Another, Judge Aleta Trauger, said “I have learned several aspects of this case which, in the court’s mind, indicate the weight of the evidence is not as firm as I thought it was.”

After being released, Matt told his parents about his inhumane treatment at the hands of their own government, something especially devastating for a conservative military family who’s allegiances were always to the U.S. These events dramatically changed their outlook, which is when the DeHarts decided to move to Canada and claim asylum as refugees. After crossing the border and explaining their bizarre situation, the DeHarts handed over their supporting documents as well as Matt’s two thumb drives he saved after the raid to the CBSA officers (allegedly containing Anonymous information, server logs from The Shell and documents from his former military unit). Matt was jailed soon after, apparently due to the “porn charge”, but he was also labelled a Foreign National engaging in an act of espionage. From then on, Matts case was dealt with in secret and he was ordered to remain in jail after every hearing. Eventually he was released and put under house arrest, but then jailed again after the DeHarts had to switch apartments and notified the CBSA through Science Corps (the GPS monitoring company) rather than in person.

The FBI will not comment on the torture allegations, nor will they or the U.S. government comment on the UN Convention Against Torture and how they were repeatedly breaking it long before it happened to Matt. If the Canadian government decides to extradite him, they too would be breaking this international law banning torture and other cruel and degrading treatment by the state. Extradition treaty or not, regardless of criminality, sending someone back to a country that tortured them is not justice. It is complacency in abuse at the hands of a world power…Something that human beings are all too familiar with. Matt does have one thing going for him, however: he is a white male from the United States. If he were a person of colour and/or from a country other than the U.S., his situation and treatment could be much, much worse.

But that doesn’t minimalize his torture, the potentially life-ruining cover up charge, the secrecy around his case, or the blatant targeting of him for his online politicism. In fact this is a serious trend that everyone should be paying close attention to…the violent targeting of hacktivists, whistleblowers, journalists and their allies as part of the larger agenda to criminalize dissent. This is a trend unique to our particular time, in the age of advanced information technology, and as the military/prison/surveillance industrial complex further dominates the legal sphere and perpetuates various forms of state violence in the name of “justice”. Hacktivists with Anonymous and organizations like Wikileaks keep up with these mediums and directly challenge unjust manifestations of the law, meant to enclose on previous realms of openness (such as the internet), as well as crush resistance in any form including the fight for free information. Exposing corruption within the system can (and should) accompany other forms of direct action to bring about real, open, participatory democracies. Whistleblowers and hackers bringing government secrets to the light is a legitimate form of protest and a social movement on its own that can create meaningful social change. The digital dissent or digital direct action movement beautifully compliments the belief that to create a free society, we must also demand accountability from the most powerful.

This is precisely why there is such a crackdown by the state on internet freedom fighters and their associates–Aaron Swartz (deceased), Jeremy Hammond (10 years in prison), Barrett Brown (imprisoned for 2 years, possibly 8 1/2 more), Julian Assange (trapped in an Ecuadorian Embassy for 2 years while the UK ignores asylum, also facing extradition under false cover-up charges), Sarah Harrison (exiled in Berlin), Edward Snowden (exiled in Russia), Chelsea Manning (35 years in prison)–and even Matt DeHart with his small but significant contributions to Project Chanology. Not only are these people and their various initiatives connected, but they connect to the larger fight for collective liberation. On another note, it is no secret that the United States opened a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks in 2010, the same year Matt was tortured, that remains open to this day. While we should not jump to conclusions without evidence that the cases of Matt DeHart and Julian Assange are any more connected than the possible destination of Matt’s secret document, one cannot help but be intrigued by such questions. Is Matt’s criminalization meant to serve a larger purpose?

Free Matt DeHart. Let his family make “Canada” their permanent home so that he doesn’t have to go back to his torturers. All refugees should be welcome to settle here. Who are we to define these borders rather than share the planet equally? More to the point, no human being should ever have to experience torture, let alone be forced to return to where it happened. Matt is going to live with this for the rest of his life. He is going to look back on his torture every single day. Abuse is not something a person ever fully recovers from…at best, they will experience a lifetime of healing but that healing process will never finish. All over loose affiliations with Anonymous, all over stumbling across a classified document, and all over reconsidering the legitimacy of an abusive world power when it proves itself to be disloyal to its own citizens.

The #FreeMattDeHart campaign, put together by several grassroots activists and Anons, is not only a political cause, but also an attempt to help Matt and his family begin that healing process. We are raising awareness through activist networks on social media, as well as locally in Ontario so that his voice can be heard, and so that everyone who pays attention will hear about this case and the severe injustices within it. A small protest was held on August.16th in Toronto, and we encourage everyone to hold solidarity demonstrations in your city to show support for the DeHarts and send a message to the Canadian government to not extradite Matt, as well as call for the FBI and U.S. government to be held accountable for their actions. At this point in time no one is safe from government persecution and it is obvious that the state will do whatever it needs in order to trap targets. We cannot let this happen. While the internet is problematic in many ways, it is necessary that we “occupy” it, not only to mobilize our movements on a grander scale, but to keep it free and open so that it does not become a state-owned tool for manipulation and control. Matt DeHart’s situation, as well as the situations of all political prisoners under the Anonymous/Wikileaks banner, should serve as warning signs. Those who are targeted need as much support as possible. Please join the campaign and support Matt DeHart until he is free.

*All quotes and factual information about the case came from Adrian Humphreys’ 5-part write up: “Hacker, Creeper, Solider, Spy”: http://news.nationalpost.com/matt-dehart-claims-hes-wanted-for-working-with-anonymous/

Get involved with #FreeMattDeHart
-website: freematt.net
-Facebook: Free Matt DeHart
-Twitter: @freemattdehart
-AnonOps IRC channel: #freemattdehart

Sign the petition:https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Immigration_and_Refugee_Board_Canada_Uphold_Matt_Deharts_DeHarts_human_rights_against_extradition_to_the_US/

Special thanks to Canadianon & Stacie Korako for encouragement and constructive feedback.

#Palestine Solidarity Activists Occupy Conservative MP’s Office

MP sit in and arrest July 31st 2014 10Click to enlarge

On Thursday in London, Ontario a small group of activists held a sit-in at the office of conservative MP Susan Truppe. This was the second sit-in at her office in the last week or so, and both times she was absent. At the last sit-in, activists decided to cooperate with the police when told to leave and no one was arrested…but this time everyone insisted on staying until we were arrested, escorted out of the building, or our demands were met: we wanted to speak with Truppe about her stance on Gaza and discuss the possibility of her making a statement in support of the people of Palestine (or at least denouncing the murder of innocents). Within an hour of being there, Truppe’s staff called the police. The police stood around trying to convince us that what we were doing was pointless. The ever-so insightful officers informed us that our action would not stop the violence in Gaza (and therefore we shouldn’t be that concerned), that we should make an appointment only to meet with Truppe weeks or months from now, and just go home. Meanwhile, our request was to speak with her on the phone for 5 or 10 minutes at the most to share our concerns and hopefully get some kind of statement…instead we talked on the phone with her manager in Ottawa, a man named “Nick”, who made this about “Occupy London” and said very clearly and grumpily that he didn’t care what any of us thought about the Gaza situation.

As the Israeli government’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank continues with a death toll now in the thousands, protests and civil disobedience actions are escalating around the world in support of the Palestinian struggle. “Canada” is no different. The Canadian government has repeatedly stated its unwavering support for Israel, but it is clear that peoples living in Canada do not stand behind the government’s view that Israel is the victim and their colonial violence is justified. We demand that our government stop cheering on Israel’s genocidal operations, hold Israeli leaders accountable for their war crimes, and support Palestinians in their fight for self-determination. As an elected public servant, Susan Truppe has a responsibility to her constituents; to represent us, our values, and to address our concerns when we have them. Not that that means anything.

Folks were arrested and released within ten minutes. No charges were laid. Let’s hope that at some point Truppe stops hiding behind the bureaucratic process and pretends to care that she and the conservative party are complicit in genocidal war crimes against a brutally oppressed population.

MP sit in and arrest July 31st 2014 kevin jones photoclick to enlarge

MP sit in and arrest July 31st 2014 8click to enlarge

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July 31 sit in mp office Conservative Party of Canada's view point 11click to enlarge

Susan Truppe’s earlier statement on Gaza that we were given copies of. Thoughts?

Queers Against Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade 2014

 

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Local activist did a banner drop along the parade route during London’s 20th annual pride parade. “Pinkwashing is a strategy used by the Brand Israel campaign to garner the support of queers in other parts of the world. It is simply an attempt to make the Zionist project more appealing to queer people.” Source: http://electronicintifada.net/content/eight-questions-palestinian-queers-are-tired-hearing/12951

 Activist setting up the banner.

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Banner Drop London Pride Parade July 28th 2014

Video: QuAIA at world pride Toronto

 

Why use the term ‘apartheid’? Find the answer here —> Apartheid 101

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) Info:

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid formed to work in solidarity with queers in Palestine and Palestine solidarity movements around the world. Today, in response to increasing criticism of its occupation of Palestine, Israel is cultivating an image of itself as an oasis of gay tolerance in the Middle East, a practice that is called pinkwashing. As queers, we recognize that homophobia exists in Israel, Palestine, and across all borders. However, the struggle for sexual rights cannot come at the price of other rights.

Queer Palestinians continue to face the challenge of living under occupation and apartheid, subject to Israeli state violence and control, regardless of liberal laws within Israel that allow gays to serve in the military, or recognize same sex marriage and adoption for Israeli citizens. QuAIA works to fight homophobia, transphobia and gender oppression wherever they exist.

QuAIA Web Site: http://queersagainstapartheid.org/

London Pride Web Site: http://pridelondon.ca/

Activists hold #GazaSolidarity Sit-In At MP Susan Truppe’s Office, July 25th 2014

 

Video statement from activists after being escorted out.

There isn’t much out there more disturbing than the situation in occupied Palestine/Israel; the siege on Gaza, the air strikes, ground invasions, destruction of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, in addition to the everyday aggressions against Palestinians by the police. What’s particularly horrifying, is not only the parallels between Palestinians’ as a violently colonized population and the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, also a violently colonized population, but the fact that many world leaders still believe that this violence is justified and necessary. In fact, it is no surprise that the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, as well as most Canadian leaders and all three major political parties have publicly stated their support for Israel…ethnic cleansing and all. Canada did it, so why can’t Israel? Amiright? (No.)

July 25th 2014 Gaza Sit in London 1

Seriously, what the fuck is with the conservative party? We all keep asking ourselves that. That’s why 5 wonderful people from a chunk of stolen land called “London, Ontario, Canada” decided to confront one of their conservative members of parliament, Susan Truppe, about this whole supporting genocide thing. They occupied her office and were refusing to leave until Stephen Harper and the conservative party stop defending Israel’s war crimes. Truppe happened to be away so they were unable to talk to her directly, but stayed in the office for a couple of hours until they were escorted out by police. No one was arrested. This was their official media statement from the action:

“URGENT MEDIA ADVISORY:
FRIDAY July 25, 2014. 1 pm EDT.

Five London peace and human rights advocates are now occupying the office of the Conservative MP for London North Centre. They refuse to leave until Susan Truppe (Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women) and her party call publicly for the application of International Law to halt the murder of Palestinian children and other civilians in Gaza.

Social worker Wendy Goldsmith says “This situation is an emergency. The blood of the children dying in this assault on Gaza is on the hands of our Canadian government. Harper’s Conservatives are complicit in war crimes through their support for Israeli aggression.”

#GazaUnderAttack #LdnOnt #IsupportGaza”

While the action may have been short and sweet, it definitely reminded us of something: while we can’t change what’s happening around the world and we can’t always directly involve ourselves in global struggles for liberation, we do have our solidarity. While keeping the people of Palestine in our hearts and minds, we can turn our collective distress into collective inspiration. Protests, direct action, insurrection, art, street theatre, call-ins, die-ins, sit-ins, occupations, Twitter storms, resistance journalism/independant media, leaks, website defacement and destruction, DDOS attacks, and even just plain old pranking to piss off the powerful figures responsible for injustice, are all legitimate ways to fight back. Even if it’s small, doesn’t last long, or feels ineffective, it still means something. Do not be told otherwise.

More to the point, watching this whole thing play out from the other side of the world can be really frustrating and heartbreaking, just like seeing the government shit all over the Earth and their agreements with Indigenous Peoples and First Nations who have always protected it. So sometimes the most you can do is hold your own government accountable for their shit, and hope that calling them out on it will make them think twice in the future about openly supporting the murder of innocent people.

From Turtle Island to Palestine, solidarity.

July 25th 2014 Gaza Sit in London 3
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July 25th 2014 Gaza Sit in London 2
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South Western Ontario Sex Workers Reject the Department of Justice’s Consultation into Canada’s Anti-Prostitution Laws

SWOSWers | South.Western.Ontario.Sex.Workers.
swoswers@gmail.com

We are sex workers of South Western Ontario and we are a group of individuals that either have lived experiences of working within the trade or working with individuals who are currently in the trade.

We do not support the criminalization of the trade, including clients, sex workers, and/or third parities.

We approach sex work from a rights based approach.

We acknowledge the diversity within the trade across race, gender, class, ability, etc.

We view sex workers as persons with agency and capable of making decisions for themselves and by themselves.

We support all types of sex work including indoor and outdoor sex work.

We are of the opinion that it is because of the criminalization that sex workers experience inequitable access to non-judgmental and non-discriminatory services in other areas of their lives.

We reject the results from the month-long online consultation conducted by the Department of Justice based on the following:

-       The consultation’s discussion paper and survey questions presented a biased perspective on the topic of sex work legislation. Specifically, the discussion paper conflated decriminalization models with legalization models and it assumed that the Nordic model delineates who and what is the problem with prostitution. When in reality, the Nordic model produces negative outcomes for people in prostitution as opposed to allegedly helping people in prostitution, as noted in the discussion paper itself.[1] Research also shows that the Nordic model does not provide adequate safety measures for sex workers and will produce the same issues and problems as the previous legal regime created.[2]

-       The consultation was done through primarily electronic means and did not include adequate or meaningful consultation with individuals who will be most affected by the laws including impoverished and marginalized groups, such as Indigenous peoples in the trade.

-       The consultation also highlights that the responses to the survey questions are biased against sex work and ignore the realities of sex work in Canada. First, the top reason for limiting the selling of sexual services between consenting adults included health reasons (specifically the requirement for testing of STI/STDs among sex workers). Yet, it is the criminalization of sex work that creates barriers to AIDs and STI testing, and also prevents sex workers from accessing non-discriminatory and non-judgmental health care.[3] Second, the responses assumed that regulation, taxation and licensing of sex work do not occur within Canada. However, there exists an industry code set by Canada Revenue Agency for sex workers to file taxes and various regulation or licensing schemes are in place throughout Canada. Third and final, the responses showing concern over “brothels,” “bawdy houses,” and “red light” districts as well as “streets,” “schools,” “residential,” and “neighbourhood” should not be read outside the context of the Bedford v. Canada ruling.[4]

As a group of individuals either as sex workers or allies to sex workers who support the rights of sex workers to work safely, securely, and autonomously, and based on the above, we reject the Department of Justice’s consultation on prostitution including its implementation, process, and results.

This statement was originally posted at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8JOndciJbZSSXc1OC1xN2V4clk/preview?pli=1

 

Call Out for Anti-Racist/Anti-Fascist Mobilization!

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A white pride group is coming together this weekend in Dorchester, ON, a town just outside of London. The gathering is at the home of White Pride Worldwide organizer Jared Gilkes, who claims that the event is a birthday party for himself and his 3 year old daughter, and that “It’s not white power, it’s white pride. All I am about is being proud of our own race. It’s not hatred. It’s about pride in your heritage, not hate.”

There is also talk about the formation of a new white pride group, consisting of members from both White Pride Worldwide and Southern Ontario Skinheads (SOS). Within both of these organizations are some of the most extreme neo-nazis in the country, some of whom have connections with Blood and Honour, another white supremacist group that is well-known for physical violence and even murder of non-whites and anti-racist activists. They have chapers all over the country, including London, Kitchener and surrounding areas.

Regardless of what probably is a birthday celebration, white supremacist gatherings are not something to take lightly. As Anti-Racist Canada has noted on several occasions, these groups are known for being extremely violent. Neo-nazis feed on the intention to grow stronger and because they are overall very weak right now, it is no surprise that someone like Jared Gilkes would make an effort to appease the public by saying things like “It’s about pride in your heritage, not hate”. Hardly anyone supports these people and they are essentially a joke, which is precisely why they have the potential to be so dangerous. If no one takes them seriously or pays attention to their activities, it gives them the freedom to recruit more openly, as well as mobilize while they continue to prey on the weak-minded and vulnerable, gradually growing in size and militancy, and making them harder and harder to squash. Whether or not this “birthday” gathering is meant to be a cover up for planning future neo-nazi activities, it is painfully obvious that that is at least part of what will go on.

So what do we do? Confronting them on private property, as tempting as it is, is probably not the best idea and we would be more likely to get ourselves in trouble for harassment and trespassing than successfully put them in their place. Any confrontation also puts us at risk for being targeted by them personally, so those who do choose that course of action at any point should be aware that no one is safe from their violent tendencies…especially people of colour, so white folks in particular should remember that. If they decide to attack, it probably won’t be you they go after.

Since there is currently no plan (that I am aware of) to confront them directly this weekend, there is an anti-racist/anti-fascist rally planned in London’s Victoria Park on Saturday, May.17th at 1pm. The purpose of this rally is to gather and make a statement: Racism will not be tolerated in our community and we are prepared to retaliate when necessary. Remember that we are more powerful than these nazi scumbags. We can be just as, if not more militant. And we will be ready if and when the time comes.

I don’t need to go on about how fucked up the idea of “white pride” is, regardless of what these nazis say to justify their hatred. There is a difference between being proud of your cultural heritage, let’s say…Irish, or German or Norwegian, and being proud to be part of the dominant race with a history of colonialism, genocide and countless crimes against humanity. White pride is a racist concept because whiteness lives everywhere–in our history, in our institutions, in our upbringing, in our violent tendencies and our shameful political climate that continues to oppress and marginalize people in every part of the world. Being white is not something to be proud of. It is something to take responsibility for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tlwf9A1ivc

Just what exactly are the great historical accomplishments
Of your race that make you proud to be white?
Capitalism? Slavery? Genocide? Sitcoms?
This is your fucking white history, my friend.
So why don’t we start making a history worth being proud of
And start fighting the real fucking enemy
?”
–Propagandhi, “The Only Good Fascist is a Very Dead Fascist”

Further reading:

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2014/05/11/21664561.html

http://www.antifa.ca/antifa-news/southern-ontario-skinheads-outed

http://anti-racistcanada.blogspot.ca/2014/05/southern-ontario-skinheads-outed.html

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/05/20140509-213549.html?fb_action_ids=10152414524986217&fb_action_types=og.comments&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Defend Our Climate, Defend our Communities

People gathered in Victoria Park today, People gathered in Victoria Park today, to raise awareness about the current climate crisis, that is facing everyone on the planet. A walk around the park, and down Richmond St, chanting “Defend Our Climate, Defend our Communities” and signs, brought a lot of support the forefront, with people joining the march spontaneously, and support being shouted from across the street.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.712718295436673.1073741906.257145594327281&type=1

http://www.defendourclimate.ca/
http://www.facebook.com/events/265959046916432/

http://aamjiwnaangsolidarity.com/
http://www.facebook.com/AamjiwnaangSarniaAgainstPipelines?ref=hl