Quick heads up: last week Amnesty International released a report on sexual violence against Indigenous women in amerika. i have not had a chance to read Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA, but you all can do so as it's online.
From skimming it though, here's some things i noted:
Contemporary scholars on traditional Native American and Alaska Native cultures have found that prior to colonization women often held esteemed positions in society. Available evidence indicates that violence against women was rare and, when it occurred, was often severely punished. Colonization and its aftermath profoundly changed gender roles among Indigenous peoples. For example, settlers and government officials insisted on dealing only with men, while Christian missionaries exerted pressure on Indigenous peoples to assume what their churches considered proper gender roles. Gender-based violence against women by settlers was used in many infamous episodes, including during the Trail of Tears and the Long Walk. Such attacks were not random or individual; they were an integral part of conquest and colonization. Many scholars take the position that these and other historical acts amount to genocide.
Over the past decade, federal government studies have consistently shown that American Indian and Alaska Native women experience much higher levels of sexual violence than other women in the USA. Data gathered by the US Department of Justice indicates that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general. A US Department of Justice study on violence against women concluded that 34.1 per cent of American Indian and Alaska Native women – or more than one in three – will be raped during their lifetime; the comparable figure for the USA as a whole is less than one in five. Shocking though these statistics are, it is widely believed that they do not accurately portray the extent of sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.
According to the US Department of Justice, in at least 86 per cent of reported cases of rape or sexual assault against American Indian and Alaska Native women, survivors report that the perpetrators are non-Native men. The Department’s data on sexual violence against non-Native women, in contrast, shows that for non-Indigenous victims, sexual violence is usually committed within an individual’s own race.
Rape is always an act of violence, but there is evidence to suggest that sexual violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women involves a higher level of additional physical violence. Fifty per cent of American Indian and Alaska Native women reported that they suffered physical injuries in addition to the rape; the comparable figure for women in general in the USA is 30 per cent.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Quick heads up: last week Amnesty International released a report on sexual violence against Indigenous women in amerika. i have not had a chance to read Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA, but you all can do so as it's online.
For the past month or more i have been putting off reviewing this book about racial profiling. i've spent today hammering out some thoughts, but am not there yet - but it did occur to me that it would be useful to have some sketched out description of what the term means before i get going.
So that's what this is.
Racial profiling can be used the same way as "racial discrimination", though normally when people use the term we are talking about racial discrimination by police disguised as a scientific method of policing.
Some observations of my own, which have problems of their own, but which i'll put down as a first step:
Normally racial profiling involves low-level harassment of the kind that, on an incident-by-incident basis, is deniable and may strike middle class white people as trivial. Things like being pulled over while driving, or asked for ID when walking down the street, or singled out by police for doing something that other (white) people are doing without anybody bothering them.
As a white guy living in Montreal i’ve seen this many times.
Being in Dorchester Square having a late-night veggie burger with my partner – the police driving their car through the park, passing us, but stopping at each of the benches where Black people were sitting, and informing them that “the park is closed”.
Being at the local supermarket with a backpack on my shoulders (just like many of the other customers) watching the manager go through a Black man’s bag, telling him afterwards that it was his own fault as the sign said not to bring bags in from outside.
Following some Black kids down an escalator into the food court at the Eaton Centre after it had closed and having metro security guards run past me to tell the kids that it was closed, and that they weren’t allowed to be down there.
Of course those are just a few incidents – when it happens often, but it doesn’t happen to you, they fade from memory.
And then there are the countless times where i have certainly benefited from racial profiling even though there were only white folks around.
Like in high school when the police would catch us drinking in the park – or even smoking up – and simply pour out our booze, or even make jokes (i remember one who tried to ingratiate himself with us saying he didn’t want to be more of a pig than he had to be)... like other forms of racial profiling, this is deniable, not provable... they could have been going light on us because we were white, or because most of us were middle class or bourgeois in a ruling class neighbourhood, or whatever... but logic tells me that of those times a cop acted “nice”, chances are sometimes if i wasn’t so pasty skinned they would have been “mean”.
The point is that “racial profiling” has a few characteristics:
- It is a mass phenomenon. We are talking about something which is likely to effect every single member of targeted communities at one point or another, and to effect some of these people regularly and in a systematic way.
- It is diffuse. By which i mean that it goes on all the time all over the place, is normally not spectacular, and generally leaves no physical trace or paper trail. Indeed, one demand of various groups campaigning against racial profiling is to have police officers required to note the “race” of people they question, ticket, or charge with a crime, and in this way leave some trace of who gets treated how.
- On a case by case basis it remains deniable. If a cop or security guard denies that race was a factor, one can either believe them or disbelieve them, but in most cases one can’t prove it. In the case of low-level harassment, police are often legally said to have discretionary power, meaning that they don’t have to justify their decisions. In more heavy cases, for instance a police beating or murder, there are often alternate explanations other than simple racism, and these are what the entire police establishment insist must be the case.
- White people can benefit from racial profiling without having any reason to suspect it is even a factor. This is a possibility every time you may think “Gee, he was a nice cop”, “He could have been a bastard, we’re lucky he just gave us a warning”, etc.
There are problems with this concept as i have spelled it out here, but it does identify some important issues, and so it should be pushed further, not thrown out. i’ll touch on some of these limitations (amongst other things) in the following book review.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
There will be a Mayday action this Tuesday in downtown Montreal, organized by the Comité des Sans-Emploi, a radical working class anti-capitalist group in Montreal, one of the few which i would consider describing as "revolutionary". For those who don't know, the Comité was at the forefront of some very important and impressive anti-capitalist struggles in Montreal in the 1990s:
May 1st : Action and Demonstration
When?: Meet at 4pm, Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
Where?: Philips Square, corner of Ste-Catherine and Union, metro McGill
Every year, for the last 100 years, workers, the poor and oppressed across the world demonstrate their hatred of capitalism, the system by which a small minority profits by exploiting the vast majority of men, women, and children.
Humanity has never been as productive as it is now in all of its history. We produce much more than necessary, we have an extraordinary level of knowledge, and almost endless means. But still, there has never been as much misery, poverty, and destruction.
A few hundred thousand capitalists maintain a few million people, mainly in the West, in relative comfort, while the rest of the population lives in poverty. The strong growth of the global economy results in the unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. In Canada, the annual average salary of the 100 most important CEOs is $9 million, while the average salary of workers is $38,000. The richest 20% of the population have raised their fortunes by 19% since 1999, and 64% since 1984. They now hold 75% of the wealth (according to Statistics Canada). In the U$A, 1% of the population keeps 40% of the wealth to itself. They want what’s ours, and they get it! Miserable work, horrible living conditions, the extreme commodification of women’s bodies, exacerbated racial and religious tensions, absurd over-consumption, wars, and the total destruction of nature : what a nice program! And they try to make us believe that sham elections can change anything. No, this isn’t what life is about! Life can, and must be better!
We can organize, we can struggle, and we can win! Let’s take the occasion on May 1st to join our voices to those across the world, to cry out loud and clear that we’ve had enough of this rotten system!
An initiative of the Comité des sans-emploi (“Committee of the unemployed”) Montreal-centre.
*Celebrate MayDay with Upping the Anti! *
Join us to celebrate the release of Issue 4!
on Tuesday May 1
Smiling Buddha Bar
961 College Street (west of Dovercourt)
Admission: $7 with journal ($5 without journal)
- Premier viewing of Shway Shway Video Excerpts from a Trip to Lebanon by Sarolta Camp.
- With DJing from DJ Miss Ruckus and Big Eva Edna
- And Speaker: Robin Isaacs: Robin Issacs is a long-time queer anarchist who has lived in Toronto for the past 30 years. He has been involved with activists projects such as the anarchist publication 'Kick It Over," the 1988 "Survival Gathering" in Toronto, Anti-Racist Action, Queer Nation, AIDS ACTION NOW!, Limp Fist and the Northeastern Federation of Anarchist Communists.
Come and celebrate the launch of the highly anticipated fourth issue of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.
The Contents of Issue 4 include:
- Letters to the Editor
- Editorial: Becoming the Enemy They Deserve - Organizational Questions for a New “New Left”
- Interview with Robin Isaacs: Living my Life
- Interview with John Holloway: Against and Beyond the State
- Interview with Dan Irving: Trans Politics and Anti-Capitalism
- Richard Day: Walking Away from Failure
- Carmelle Wolfson & Lesley Wood: Two Dispatches from the World Social Forum
- Tom Keefer: Six Nations and the Politics of Solidarity
- Prison Abolition Roundtable with Peter Collins, Emily Aspinwall, Filis Iverson, Sonia Marino, Julia Sudbury, Kim Pate, and Patricia Monture
- Vancouver Housing Roundtable with Kat Norris, Jill Chettiar, Anna Hunter, and Cecily Nicholson
- Book Review by Erica Meiners on Angela Davis, Julia Sudbury, and Karlene Faith
- Book Review by Kimiko Inouye on bell hooks and Amelia Mesa-Bains "Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism".
- Book Review by Scott Clarke on Sheila Wilmot's "Taking Responsibility Taking Direction: White Anti-Racism in Canada"
There will be drinks, dancing, speeches, raffles and good fun with local Toronto DJ's spinning some good tunes.
For more information about the journal and the launch, please go to http://auto_sol.tao.ca
To download the poster for this event, just click here!
See you there!
This is a follow-up on yesterday's post, about a Mi'kmaq high school student who refused to stand for Canada's national anthem and was subsequently kicked out of class, and later "roughed up" by other students.
Yesterday i didn't know the student in question was Mi'kmaq, because the media never mentioned this fact. Someone posted the information on my blog yesterday as a comment, and although i haven't found any other mention of this elsewhere, i find it entirely plausible.
Which does and doesn't change matters.
Of course i applaud and favour anyone who refuses to stand for the canadian national anthem. This is a country founded on and persisting through violence, theft and lies. That doesn't change whether the student in question is Indigenous or not.
But where it does make a difference is in throwing light on what then becomes a racist call by his teacher to throw him out of class. Plus a racist gang attack by his fellow students after school. Not to mention the racism of the media, which in covering up the anti-colonial nature of the student's refusal becomes complicit with the racist silencing and suppression of anti-colonial resistance.
Let's take a look at the words of this song for which kids are trained to stand from sea to shiny sea:
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Does it really take a white rocket scientist to see what Indigenous kids across this continent have no trouble grasping? Does colonial privilege really make people that stupid?
This is a song celebrating the establishment of Canada ("with glowing hearts we see you rise"), and its military defense ("we stand on guard for thee"). What exactly do you think the establishment of Canada meant, every step of the way? Dispossession, rape, exile, and death for Indigenous people is what it meant. That's why one of the main groups against whom military defense was necessary were the land's first inhabitants.
And you can add to this the special sexist allegiance owed to it by young men; "true patriot love in all thy sons command" - just some masculine quid pro quo for getting to rape Indigenous women and children would be my guess.
In line with Canada's "i don't see you, you don't see me" bi-national fantasy culture, the French version of course has different lyrics than the English. Here we have it all spelled out even more clearly:
O Canada! Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.
In one arm the sword, in another the cross!!!
You know who was getting cut down with those swords, and what was being done under the sign of that cross. It was all, as they say, a "brilliant exploit", though perhaps not so brilliant if you were one of the ones being exploited...
Is it any wonder that this song is seen as an affront by many Indigenous people?
(This opposition to the racist song is not an isolated phenomenon; for instance the issue of the national anthem being played at sporting events has been taken up by residents of Kahnawake in the Mohawk Nation in recent years.)
Some idiots have been posting comments to my posting yesterday, implying that the student in question could somehow have avoided this trouble, or was to blame for getting "roughed up", because they had stood for the national anthem for months and only decided to resist now.
This is of course nonsense. Most principled positions, most acts of resistance, like most decisions in life of any sort, occur at a specific point in time. Vacillation - going back and forth on an issue - can sometimes indicate a lack of principle, but certainly past practice alone proves nothing of the sort. If anything, the fact that you do things one way and then change indicates that you are not taking your decision lightly, that it is the result of forethought and reflection, and as such this would tend to indicate greater principle.
The above is obvious to anyone and everyone who is not looking for a cheap-ass argument to slander those they disagree with.
Finally, a word on euphemisms: the media, in the two inches they devoted to this, simply stated that the student was "roughed up", reassuring us that "he wasn't seriously hurt." Suddenly the same newspapers which rant and rave in favour of "zero tolerance" to violence in schools, who whip up waves of panic about "violent youth" and "ethnic gangs", have no problem with a gang of canadians assaulting a Mi'kmaq youth. We are spared the blow-by-blow details which so often accompany stories about school fights, it all being left to the imagination... i mean, are we talking about this kid being kicked, punched, shoved or what?
The same folks who drool over every detail of some school violence are suddenly coy as racist white men when it comes to violence against Indigenous youth...
Perhaps more later...
For a very brief synopsis of the dispossession of Indigenous people in what is called New Brunswick, you can check out this short article on Infoshop.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Miramichi teacher suspended after student sent to office
April 26, 2007 - 5:43 pm
MIRAMICHI, NB - A teacher has been suspended after sending a student to the principal's office for refusing to stand during the Canadian anthem.
Eric Cameron, a Grade 9 teacher at Miramichi Valley High School, was disciplined following the incident last Thursday.
The superintendent of District 16 school board has declined comment, citing privacy issues.
The student who wouldn't stand was roughed up after the incident by others on a school bus.
He wasn't seriously hurt.
Supt. Randall Hansen of Miramichi Regional Police says they've spoken to a number of witnesses but charges haven't been laid.
It can take guts to stand up for your beliefs and not stand up for the national anthem. Especially when you're a high school student disobeying a teacher's orders. Especially when you live in a conservative small town, where not standing for the anthem can mean - as it did in this case - getting "roughed up" by your jingoistic "peers".
Now, subsequent to the above story getting in the news, the school principal issued a statement saying that the teacher was not suspended for kicking the kid out of class, but for some other reason. Right-wing bloggers, for their part, vented their indignation that the teacher might be suspended. For his part, anarchist Duane Rousselle (who had gone to the same high school as a youth) wrote an open letter to the principal calling on them to not rescind the suspension.
Miramichi, from what i understand, is a very white and relatively poor town in New Brunswick. People there have been fucked over by capitalism, but for all that there is not a lot of anti-capitalist sentiment. Rather, people are either blamed for their own difficulties - or else the blame is projected onto a convenient scapegoat, most usually the Mi'kmmaq who recently had some of their national rights to regulate their own lobster trapping in the Miramichi Bay recognized.
Indeed, from what i have heard, the surprise is not that the student got roughed up, but that he dared to take his stand (so to speak) in the first place. Most young radicals leave, going to places like Fredericton or Moncton the first chance they get.
It is a necessary part of our building a movement that we link up with people in places like Miramichi, help them break through their isolation, supporting them to the degree that we can. How to do that may not be obvious, but it should be on our agenda.
i'm kind of annoyed that i only just learned about this - i'm not sure if i can make it at such late notice - but tomorrow there seems to be a promising event at the South Asian Women’s Community Centre about developments in Nepal:
“The Dreams and Realities of New NEPAL”
A year ago the people of Nepal successfully forced the monarchy to accept their desire for a democratic government. Since 2006, when the king acceded to many of the demands of the Nepali people about democratization, revolutionary groups have entered the Nepali parliament. This is a time of exciting change but also of hot debate about the direction in which the revolution is going.
Shahrzad Arshadi, Montreal filmmaker and photo journalist who recently returned from a trip to Nepal at the invitation of All-Nepal Women’s Association
Pramod Dhakal, Executive Director, Canada Forum for Nepal; former faculty member Tribhuvan University NepalSunday 29 April 2 – 4 pm [please note time change—it is 2pm and NOT 3pm]
Venue: South Asian Women’s Community Centre
1035 Rachel est (between Boyer and Christophe-Colomb)
Metro Mt-Royal and bus # 11
The event, it would seem, is one of a monthly series of educational get togethers organized by CERAS (centre sur l’asie du sud/south asia centre).
Friday, April 27, 2007
The young guy above is a refugee from Liberia. The photo, i recently learned, is in the latest issue of Adbusters magazine, the artsy self-styled "journal of the mental environment". And the t-shirt he's wearing, if you didn't know it, is one of mine.
The Nation of Sheep t-shirt has always had a broad appeal, i just never sent many of them outside of North America.
Funny how things get around!
(i checked and it was shot by photojournalist Natalie Behring - you can view it on her Flickr thingie here - i'm not sure where, but it is in her "Chinapix" section).
If you'd like to order one of these shirts - it seems lots of people do now - you can use the Paypal system below, or else email me:
(You will notice that my graphic is not as nice as Adbusters' photo!)
Available on white and black, sizes Small to XXL.
Also on grey in sizes Small to XL.
This shirt costs $25 US, postage included (air mail in North America, surface mail elsewhere).
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Another notice i'm passing along. The pamphlet in question, a very accessible look at antisemitism and the radical left, is going to be one of the new titles in the upcoming Kersplebedeb catalog, so if you'd like a hardcopy you can get in touch.
As some of you might know, i think the antisemitism question is of strategic importance for revolutionaries, and is also more complicated than some might think, and also suffers from normally being thought about in the most stupidly simplistic way OR in the most stupidly academic way. While not perfect, Rosenblum's pamphlet does us the service of identifying the issues we will need to grapple with... i'll hopefully be writing a lengthier critique/appraisal of this pamphlet some time over the next few weeks.
But in the meantime... check it out!
THE PAST DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE
Making Resistance to Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements
A 32-page pamphlet for progressives and radicals, to support our social justice movements in combating anti-Jewish oppression from a perspective of liberation for all people.
Free downloads at www.thepast.info
"In order to build powerful movements we must take on antisemitism as what it is: a divide-and-rule strategy that has served to maintain ruling classes, conceal who actually has power, and confuse us about the real systems of oppression that pit us against one another. ...Rosenblum's pamphlet needs to be studied and the lessons applied."
- Chris Crass, organizer, The Catalyst Project: a center for political education and movement building
*You are invited to use and share this resource: Permission is given to copy freely.*
About the author:
April Rosenblum, 27, was born and raised in activist movements in Philadelphia. She became politicized herself by government attempts in 1995 to execute U.S. political prisoner and Philadelphia journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. Over time she has also worked on issues including police brutality, political prisoners and prisoners' rights, womens' reproductive freedom, immigrants' rights, poverty, anti-racist education and Palestinian self-determination. She graduated with a B.A. in History from Temple University.
She writes, "My work to create 'The Past' was inspired by noticing how afraid I was to speak up when I noticed instances of anti-Jewish oppression in the movements I called home. I realized that my activist friends were, like me, staying silent not out of antisemitism, but because they needed basic tools to confront it. I hope it will be a resource for Jewish and non-Jewish organizers, activists, and other people passionate about building movements that can win."
She can be reached at email@example.com.
Just thought i'd pass this on:
AN ALL QUEER BLACK PUNK LINE-UP!
THE NEW BLOODS
PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE
STE EMILIE SKILLSHARE 3942 STE.EMILIE (Metro St. Henri)
Friday May 4th doors at 8pm
SUGGESTED DONATION 5$
For every of colour punk kid who couldn't connect with riot grrrl.
For every of colour punk kid who got caught being queer in bathroom stalls.
For every punk kid who got made fun of for rockin' neon pink mini skirts, hoop earrings and hairwraps.
For every punk kid who is brown, black, mixed race, yellow, red, desi, African, Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Caribbean, Latin American, Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Aboriginal, non-white, non-European, (e)raced, (in)visible minority.
For every of colour punk kid who got told that they were doin' some white shit…cuz we know that tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, mohalks and hardcore belong to people of colour.
For every of colour X-punk kid who can't fkkn deal with going to punk shows anymore cuz of racism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, Adbuster style classim/sexism.
Cuz WE WANT OUR MUSIC BACK!!! PLAY THAT PUNK RAGGAE
(this show is open to people of colour only please)
Monday, April 23, 2007
Montreal Exhibition from Photojournalist Stefan Christoff at Sablo Kafé
Announcement for Exhibition Opening Event!
FRIDAY, APRIL 27th, 7pm
50 St. Zotique East
[metro St. Laurent & Bus 55 North]
Include performances & presentations from:
- Kaie Kellough: Author & dub-poet
From the streets of Beirut to the open skies of south Lebanon, Christoff's photos outline sketches realities of life in Lebanon. The photographs convey the human realities of a nation facing major political upheaval in recent years, marked by massive street demonstrations, international political intervention & a devastating Israeli military attack in 2006.
Christoff's images also document the social and political conditions of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.
From the Palestinian refugee camps of Ain el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon, to Burj el-Barajneh in the southern suburbs of Beirut, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees live in exile as a result of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
for more information concerning the exhibition contact:
tel: 514 690 8499
View Stefan Christoff's photographs at the following links:
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Azim Ibragimov, left, and Omar Bulphred face nine charges for carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in Montreal over the past six months
i missed this news item when i was out of town last week: two men have been arrested for carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in Snowdon/Cote-des-Neiges area in Montreal.
Here is the article:
Pair denied bail
Men charged with crimes targeting city's Jewish community
Friday, April 13, 2007
and Paul Cherry
Two Montreal men have been accused of a raft of attacks against the city’s Jewish community, including the firebombing of a Snowdon community centre that police are treating as a hate-related crime.
Omar Bulphred, 21, and Azim Ibragimov, 23, appeared briefly in Quebec Court on Friday to be arraigned on charges stemming from incidents that began last fall. Both were denied bail.
The case is due back in court on Monday, at which time a date could be set for a bail hearing.
In addition to their alleged roles in a rash of firebombings, the two are accused of conspiring to commit kidnapping and armed robbery. But it’s not known who or what their potential victims were.
The pair were arrested Thursday morning and questioned. The investigation did not turn up links to any terrorist or hate groups, said Constable Christian Emond, of the Montreal police fraud and arson squad.
“What we can say is that the crimes are hate-related, however,” he said.
“The evidence we’ve accumulated will be brought out in a trial and it will be up to a judge to use this to impose a stiffer sentence” if there is a conviction.
“We deem it to be hate-related because the proof we have indicates the motivation was there.”
Each man is charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to forcibly confine someone. Those crimes are alleged to have taken place between March 30 and April 8.
They also face charges of possession of an explosive in connection with the Sept. 2 firebombing of Skver-Toldos Orthodox Jewish Boys School in Outremont.
Each faces one count of damage to property by fire or explosion after a car parked on de l’Authion Ave. in the city’s Mercier district was firebombed Sept. 12.
As well, the two are alleged to have uttered death threats against a member of the Jewish community, and to have threatened to burn, destroy or damage property belonging to the Jewish community.
The most recent attack occurred on April 3, the first day of Passover, when a firebomb exploded at the YM-YWHA Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre, also known as the Snowdon Y. Employees called police at 11:15 p.m. after they heard an explosion at the facility’s main entrance on Westbury Ave. No one was injured and there was no damage to the building.
In the case of the Sept. 2 school firebombing, video surveillance cameras showed a masked man throwing a Molotov cocktail through the front door. The resulting fire was brought under control quickly. Damage to the building was minimal.
During their probe of the firebombings, investigators uncovered a conspiracy to commit armed robbery and to kidnap someone, Emond said.
“Of course, the investigators did everything they could to abort that plan as soon as possible,” he said.
The investigation began after the firebombing at the school. Seven days later, Montreal police came across a letter linked to that attack.
“The person who wrote the letter had intimate details of the firebombing,” Emond said. “Obviously, the person who wrote it was tied to the crime.
“We can’t say exactly how the letter was discovered. What we can say is that the information was not made public at that time because was it was deemed important that we keep it to ourselves. In the long run, it proved to be the right decision. It helped us a lot in determining who the suspects were.”
At the Sept. 12 car bombing, police found another letter at the scene that helped investigators link that incident to the attack at the school.
While probing this month’s firebombing at the Snowdon Y, investigators pieced everything together.
“The evidence and clues investigators were able to gather pointed to all three incidents were caused by the same individuals,” Emond said.
He said he could not divulge how long the men were considered suspects.
Crown prosecutor Gianni Cuffaro wouldn’t say much about the case Friday, except that the investigation continues.
Alexandre Bergevin, the lawyer for the two accused, said police used wiretaps to close in on his clients.
“Other than that, I have very little information about the evidence,” Bergevin said in an interview. “I wasn’t even allowed to meet with them at the courthouse, so won’t see them until sometime over the weekend.”
Jeffrey Boro, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said police told him the two suspects are Canadian-born Muslims of Russian descent.
“That makes it very disconcerting for those who live here,” he said. “We’re raising people here with such hatred in their hearts for people they’ve never met or had anything to do with.”
He said police had informed the CJC they’d found material during the investigation that suggested the crimes were motivated by hate toward Jewish people.
Sarah Elgazzar, of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, expressed dismay the accused are Muslims and hoped that fact wouldn’t increase the animosity between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Montreal.
“Religiously speaking, Jews and Muslims should be so close,” she said. “Sure, there are differences, and there are problems in other parts of the world, but that doesn’t justify these kinds of attacks.
“Most Muslims would never even think of doing something like that; it’s horrible.”
It is unclear if the two are also being charged with the neo-nazi graffiti that has gone up in the area over the past year or so. In January 2007 swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were spraypainted in Russian on the Snowdon Y and the Jewish Community Centre. A year earlier - in January 2006 - similar Russian-language graffiti had gone up in the area, pointing people towards the Russian National Socialist Organization. Cote-des-Neiges and Snowdon is home to many people from the former Soviet Union - both Jewish and non-Jewish - who immigrated over the past sixteen years.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Just a quick note to let you all know that i am back from NYC, where i was tabling at that city's first anarchist bookfair.
i met lots of nice people, stayed with some great comrades and their kids... i'd like to regale you all with tales of how well the tabling went, as Judson Memorial Church was full-up with people for most of the day (over 1,000 i would say), but unfortunately our car got broken into and most of the Kersplebedeb stock i had brought got stolen the night before! (Yes, dumb-ass that i am, i left it all in the car...)
So that was a bit of a downer.
i haven't been blogging much as of late; been too busy with a lot of different things. That's hopefully going to change now, and writing about several things is actually close to the top of my "to-do list".
So more soon...
at 6:13 PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The following from the Justice For Anas Coalition, the Montreal group organizing around the police murder of Mohamed Anas Bennis a year and a half ago.
Reminder: the picket is happening tomorrow from 10am til 1pm, at 10 St Antoine East (in front of the Palais de l'Injustice).
If you can't make it, they are asking people to phone Jacques Dupuis, Minister of "Public Security". This guy is a fucker, the turd who refused to even release the police or coroner's reports to the victim's family, but people seem to think it'll be more effective if we are "polite" when calling... so i guess that's what we should do.
CALL, FAX, OR EMAIL JACQUES P. DUPUIS, QUEBEC MINISTER OF PUBLIC SECURITY,
AND DEMAND JUSTICE FOR THE POLICE KILLING OF MOHAMMED ANAS BENNIS!
On Wednesday, April 11th, the Justice For Anas Coalition and their supporters will be holding a demonstration outside the Montreal offices of Jacques P. Dupuis, the Quebec Minister of Public Security. They will be demanding that Minister Dupuis intervene to release all the evidence and reports surrounding the police killing of Mohamed Anas Bennis on December 1st, 2005, and that a public inquiry be launched into the matter.
We are encouraging you to come out to the demo between 10am-1pm at 10 St-Antoine east (metro Place d’Armes) and lend your support for one hour or more.
HOWEVER, if you can’t make it to the demo, we are asking that you take 5 minutes out of your day on Wednesday to call, fax, or email Minister Dupuis’ office to support the demands of the Justice For Anas Coalition (contact info and a model letter are included below).
Our demands are:
- the immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;
- full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;
- an end to police brutality and impunity.
We feel that Minister Dupuis’ duty and responsibility to meet the first 2 demands.
Some basic questions to ask on the phone:
- If Mohamed Anas Bennis really did attack officer Bernier of Station 25 with a kitchen knife as the Montreal Police say he did, why has the evidence of this knife not been shown to the Bennis family or to the public? If Bernier really did sustain injuries, why was this evidence not revealed?
- Why was the video captured of the event by the security cameras on the Bell building not released to the public?
- Why has there not been an independent and public inquiry into this incident?
(Further background info can be found at www.justicepouranas.ca)
Please cc’ all your email correspondence with Dupuis’ office to firstname.lastname@example.org.*******
You can reach Jacques P. Dupuis office in Montreal by
Phone: 514 873-3500
Fax : 514 873-6597
Email : email@example.com*******
On the phone, be polite and patient, but also persistent. Make sure that you get your message across in a clear and effective way.
M. Jacques P. Dupuis
Ministre de la Securité publique
10, rue Saint-Antoine Est
I am writing to you to bring to your attention the case of Mohammed Anas Bennis. On December 1st, 2005 -- more than 16 months ago -- police officer Bernier from Montreal Police Station 25 shot and killed Anas Bennis, a 25-year old Canadian of Moroccan heritage. Anas was killed outside a neighborhood mosque at the corner of Côte-des-Neiges and Kent, just minutes from his home.
The police claim that Anas inexplicably attacked them with a kitchen knife. However, Anas' family and friends find this hard to believe. They are frustrated by the attitude of the authorities who refuse to make the evidence available, including a videotape that captured the incident.
There has never been any public inquiry, but Quebec City police undertook a closed investigation. On November 4th, 2006, the crown prosecutor decided that no criminal charges would be laid against the police officers, yet he has refused to provide a written copy of his report to the Bennis family. Likewise, the police report remains secret, because you intervened to make sure it would be suppressed.
No satisfactory explanation for Anas' death by police has been offered to the Bennis family. The mystery and secrecy surrounding this case reinforces the belief that Anas Bennis was killed by police in a case of racial and religious profiling. As the Quebec Minister of Public Security, we feel that it is your responsibility to bring to light many details surrounding Anas' death. 16 months is far too long to wait for justice in this matter.
Finally, I am writing to you to in support the 3 demands of the Justice For Anas Coalition, which are;
1. the immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;
2. a full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;
3. an end to police brutality and impunity.
As Minister of Public Security, I feel that it is your duty to take action into the first two demands.
I thank you for your attention into this matter, and I expect a swift response and prompt action to be taken to bring long-overdue justice and closure to the Bennis family.
(your name, address)
cc. Justice For Anas Coalition
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The following is a statement by Jalil Muntaqim, a man who has withstood decades of brutal repression from the united states government. Arrested at the age of 19 and framed for the BLA assassination of two police officers in New York City, Jalil Muntaqim has spent over thirty years behind bars. (Along with Herman Bell and the late Albert Nuh Washington, he is one of the New York Three.)
Today, the State - whose arrogance we must use against it - is once again trying to frame this man!
Along with his co-defendant, prisoner of war Herman Bell, and six other men who participated in the Black Liberation movement in the 1960s and 70s, Jalil is being accused of having been involved in the assassination of a San Francisco police officer in 1972. This is the infamous case of the San Francisco Eight, men in their fifties, sixties and seventies who are being set up as an example to any and all who would resist colonialism from within the borders of amerika.
Read the following statement, and read the words of a man who has paid an incredible price - his entire adult life behind bars - in the struggle for freedom, and yet remains unbroken:
March 23, 2007Dear Comrades, Friends and Supporters:
As many of you have learned, the [Incorporated] State of CALIFORNIA initiated the persecution of former members of the Black Panther Party and those who were accused as being members of the Black Liberation Army. This persecution is subject to an August 29, 1971, incident when alleged members of the BLA are reported to have retaliated for the August 21, 1971, assassination of Black Panther Field Marshal George L. Jackson.
On March 22, 2007, I was seized by prison officials and taken to the Cayuga County Court in AUBURN, for the conducting of an extradition hearing. I had to defend a writ of habeas corpus petition challenging the Governor’s Warrant granting the CALIFORNIA Governor’s request for me to be brought to that State for trial. Throughout the course of the hearing, I was handcuffed and shackled, making an argument with documented proof that the Governor’s Warrant was defective on its face, and therefore should be held invalid.
However, the judge, despite reviewing documented proof that the warrant was based on false and misleading information, decided the warrant was valid and signed it. Therefore, I am presently waiting for the S.F. authorities to come and bring me to CALIFORNIA, to make an appearance at the scheduled April 27, 2007 hearing in S.F.
Despite it all, after 35 years of imprisonment, I remain strong and will resist every step of the way the efforts of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act initiatives to stifle dissent. I am confident that, with strong support from progressive peoples across the country and overseas, the S.F. 8 will be successful, and the State will suffer defeat. We will have a true People’s Victory.
It will be a victory against fear and State terrorism; it will be a defeat against State torture tactics, threats and coercion. This case will teach today’s activists what to expect from the State in its efforts to prevent dissent and protest of government repression. It will forward a broader understanding of what happened in the Movement of the 60’s & 70’s, and how Cointelpro disrupted and destroyed the most viable Black political party that emerged out of the civil rights Movements. Ultimately, this case will tell of a militant youth movement and how the government sought to destroy it, and today seeks to retaliate because those youths did in fact rebel against oppression and repression not only in their communities, and in an
international determination in support of all oppressed peoples’ fighting against colonialism and imperialism at that time.
So, to organize and fight back against this nefarious persecution of the S.F. 8, I. urge all to organize and sponsor educational programs in your community and invite Jericho representatives and the Committee in Defense of Human Rights to speak about the Case of the S.F. 8 and other U.S. political prisoners. Furthermore, I ask that progressive folks seek to organize a Jericho chapter on college campuses and in your communities. I urge that letter writing/phone/fax campaigns be initiated directed to Congressman John Conyers, demanding that he conduct the reopening of Cointelpro Hearings. There are many Cointelpro victims languishing in prison, and while the Senate Church Committee in fact decided the FBI’s Cointelpro activities was unconstitutional, the Senate Church Committee never established remedies for Cointelpro victims.
They are trying to rewrite history and deny the legacy of the BPP/BLA, and essentially with a board paint brush label all those involved in those struggles as “terrorists,” “criminals,” and “wanton killers.” They will never say those youths were revolutionaries, freedom fighters and progressive organizers. They will never say they sought to relieve the community of all forms of State sponsored terrorism that is too often found in Black and Hispanic communities today. They will never talk about the over 30 Panthers that were killed by police across the country and no one being prosecuted for these murders. They will never admit to the
unconstitutional practices of the FBI Cointelopro activities.
The task for all of us is to raise consciousness about U.S. political prisoners, and build a durable and determine Jericho Amnesty Movement to ensure all of our victory against State tyranny and terrorism.
Remember: WE ARE OUR OWN LIBERATORS!
For more information about the San Francisco Eight, check out the Committee in Defense of Human Rights and also the Jericho movement in support of political prisoners and prisoners of war.
Friday, April 06, 2007
If you're in Montreal next Wednesday, drop by this picket being organized by the Justice For Anas Coalition in front of the palais de justice. It looks like it's best to come by as close t the beginning as possible, as there is a press conference at 10:30.
Mohamed Anas Bennis was the young Muslim man who was murdered by police on December 1st 2005. The ridiculous police story - that Anas had jumped out of some bushes and tried to attack them with a knife - is contradicted by many facts (i.e. they never produced a knife; there are no bushes where the incident occurred, the autopsy showed bullets entering Anas' body from the top down which implies he was kneeling, sitting or crouching when he was killed; and must damningly of all: security videos shot from across the street were confiscated but never released to the public.)
According to initial news reports, the police were in the area on a multi-agency raid on an "Algerian fraud ring" which "had possible ties to terrorism". This has lead many observers to suggest that Mohamed Anas Bennis - who "looked Muslim" and was shot outside of a prayer room (completely unconnected to the police raid) - might, like Jean Charles de Menezes and Rigoberto Alpizar, have been killed by a trigger happy cop whose head had been filled with stories of suicide bombers and scary immigrants.
There is a PDF flier for this event online here (print on legal paper, double-sided, short edge binding, if you want it in French and English).
Solidarity Picket : JUSTICE FOR ANAS!
FOR ACCESS TO ALL INFORMATION REGARDING MOHAMED ANAS BENNIS' DEATH, A PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO THE EVENTS OF DECEMBER 1ST 2005, AND AN END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND IMPUNITY.
OVER A YEAR OF SILENCE AND SECRECY, THAT'S ENOUGH!********************************************************
Wednesday April 11th, 10 am - 1pm
Quebec Ministry of Public Security,
10, Saint-Antoine East, Montreal
**Press Conference at 10:30 am : Be there to show your solidarity!**
Come support the Bennis family in their struggle for justice in Anas' death.
Speak out against the secrecy and contempt surrounding this case and protest police impunity!
On December 1st 2005, on the corner of Kent and Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal police officer Bernier from Station 25 shot and killed Mohamed Anas Bennis, a 25-year old Canadian of Moroccan heritage, while in the presence of three other police officers from the same Station. More than one year later, the events of that morning remain shrouded in mystery.
For over a year, the Bennis family has been trying to understand what happened to Anas that morning. But instead of answers, they are met with secrecy, documents that are devoid of content, incomprehensible delays and explicit contempt.The police and the Crown prosecutor continue to deny the family access to the evidence and information related to Anas' death. "We feel like we are being lied to, that they are hiding things from us," says Khadija Bennis, Anas' twin sister and a member of the Justice For Anas Coalition.
The minister of Public Security Jacques Dupuis has endorsed the contemptuous attitude of the police by intervening to suppress both the police and the crown reports.
Join us to remind him that despite the black outs and cover ups, we continue to demand JUSTICE!
- the immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;
- a full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;
- an end to police brutality and impunity.
Demands endorsed by:
- Action Anti-Raciste/Anti-Racist Action Montréal
- Association Bélagir
- Action des chrétiens pour l'abolition de la torture et la peine de mort (ACAT)
- Action et solidarite pour la Colombie
- Association facultaire des étudiants en sciences humaines de l'UQÀM
- Association Vwa Zanset (Voice of the ancestors)
- Bloquez l'Empire Montréal
- le Centre de services de justice réparatrice
- le Centre des travailleurs et travailleurs immigrants/Immigrant Workers Center
- CKUT radio
- le Collectif opposé à la brutalité policière (COBP)
- le Conseil des églises pour la justice et la criminologie
- Haiti Action Montreal
- Head & Hands/À deux mains
- Kabataang Montreal
- La Ligue des Noirs du Québec/The Black Coalition of Quebec
- Mères Unies contre le Racisme/Mothers United against Racism
- l'Observatoire canadien pour les droits humains (OCDH)
- No One Is Illegal/Personne n'est illégal-Montréal
- NPD Section Québec
- Philippine Women Centre of Quebec/Centre des femmes Philippines du Québec
- Projet Genèse/Project Genesis
- Quebec Public Interest Research Group-McGill
- Quebec Public Interest Research Group-Concordia
- Québec Solidaire
- SIKLAB-Quebec Filipino Migrant Workers Organization
- Solidarité sans frontières/Solidarity Across Borders
- South Asian Women's Community Center
- Tadamon! Montréal
- 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy
- United Muslim Students' Association of Montréal (UMSA)
Thursday, April 05, 2007
As many of you know, besides blogging i also publish and distribute a variety of revolutionary left-wing pamphlets and books, and also enjoy making buttons of all sorts.
i'm happy to say that at long last much of my literature and a selection of my buttons and t-shirts are available in Montreal.
As of now, the Concordia Community Solidairty Co-Op Bookstore is carrying Kersplebedeb pamphlets and books and buttons and shirts!
The Co-Op Bookstore is a non-profit, student run store, on the same block at the Sir George Williams building,at 2150 Bishop (Guy-Concordia metro), between de Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke.