Why I’m Not Jumping On Board The Google+ Bandwagon

by matttbastard

Jillian C. York on why the current corporate backlash against online pseudonymity is misguided:

There are myriad reasons why an individual may feel safer identifying under a name other than their birth name. Teenagers who identify as members of the LGBT community, for example, are regularly harassed online and may prefer to identify online using a pseudonym. Individuals whose spouses or partners work for the government or are well known often wish to conceal aspects of their own lifestyle and may feel more comfortable operating under a different name online. Survivors of domestic abuse who need not to be found by their abusers may wish to alter their name in whole or in part. And anyone with unpopular or dissenting political opinions may choose not to risk their livelihood by identifying with a pseudonym.

As Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens put forth in deciding McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission,

Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation—and their ideas from suppression—at the hand of an intolerant society. The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. But political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.

Just as using “real” names can have real consequences, mandating the use of “real” names can too, excluding from the conversation anyone who fears retribution for sharing their views. While one added value of requiring real names might be increased “civility” of the conversation, it is most certainly to the detriment of diversity.

This.  I’d also point out that there’s a complete disregard/willful indifference on the part of FB & Google muckety-mucks to the fact that many (cough) have established pseudonymous online personas — or have published/performed under pen/stage names — with a greater public profile than what might officially appear on one’s birth certificate. Any social media service that would prevent Sam Clemons  from IDing as ‘Mark Twain’ can suck my left one.

B’nai Brith Canada Hearts Free Speech (Except When It Doesn’t.)

by matttbastard

Free speech for ye:

B’nai Brith Canada condemns free speech double standard on campus as Coulter talk is cancelled in Ottawa

TORONTO, March 24, 2010 – B’nai Brith Canada has condemned the free speech double standard that exists on university campuses across Canada and has resulted in the cancellation of recent events due to safety concerns emanating from campus radicals.

Not thee:

B’nai Brith Canada calls for removal of anti-Israel propaganda from recommended reading list for school children

TORONTO, March 25, 2010 – B’nai Brith Canada has called for the removal of The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, a vehemently anti-Israel book targeting students in grades seven and eight, from the recommended reading list of Ontario public school libraries. The one-sided work of fiction, which demonizes the Jewish State and was brought to B’nai Brith Canada’s attention by a concerned parent, is currently being recommended by teachers and librarians in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

B’nai Brith Canada: where irony goes to die a slow, painful death.

h/t BigCityLib

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

The Last Post I Will Ever Write About Ann Coulter (Except for Cynical SEO Purposes)

by matttbastard

(Photo: Rockinon2009, Flickr)

Well, well, well (h/t Sabina Becker):

First, contrary to what Coulter seems to suggest in a brief phone interview with Macleans.ca scribe Colby Cosh, it was not the police who “shut it down.” I spoke with Ottawa Police Services media relations officer Alain Boucher this morning, and he told me, in no uncertain terms, that it was her security team that made the decision to call off the event. “We gave her options” — including, he said, to “find a bigger venue” — but “they opted to cancel … It’s not up to the Ottawa police to make that decision.”
Boucher’s statements are seemingly at odds with the account provided via twitter by Ezra Levant, who was supposed to appear on stage alongside Coulter. Several hours after the event had been called off, he tweeted that “Cops advised that proceeding with Coulter event in face of protesters would be dangerous to her and crowd,” and quoted a Sgt. Dan Beauchamp as saying that shutting down the event was “a public safety issue,” as well as an unnamed “police officer” who allegedly said that the OPS “cannot guarantee her safety.” He also corrected an early report from Calgary radio host Rob Breakenridge, who tweeted that the speech was kiboshed because of a fire alarm, claiming that “it was the threat of violence, say cops.”

Finally, an observation from a CBC reporter who was in the Foyer while Coulter was being interviewed by CTV’s Power Play: At approximately 5:15pm, he overheard a member of her security team tell a Conservative MP that her event “may be cancelled,” which would suggest that the decision to do so was already being considered before more than half the crowd had assembled outside the venue — hopeful speech-goers and protesters alike. Coulter herself, meanwhile, told Cosh that she never actually left the Rideau Club — where she was the guest of honour at a $250 per head private reception — for the university. Given the travel times involved, and the 7:30 pm start time, she would likely have had to do so by 7pm at the latest in order to make it in time.

To quote my favouritist bookstore eva:

Ann Coulter played y’all, Canada.


BTW y’all wanna get excised over an actual affront to free speech in Canada (as opposed to Ezra & Ann’s asinine [if largely successful] attempt to insult our collective intelligence for filthy lucre)? Say hello to the campaign to silence Israeli Apartheid Week. Don’t know what I’m talking about?


Related: More mythbusting, pith and fitfully delicious pique from BigCityLib and some sweet, sweet snark from my homegrrl pale (mmm, that’s the stuff).

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Ann Coulter in Canada: Of Fire Alarms and Flaming Hyperbole

by matttbastard

(Photo: Jimbo Wales, flickr)

Aw, poopsie:

After protesters at the University of Ottawa prevented Ann Coulter from giving a speech on Tuesday night, the American conservative writer said it proved the point she came to make – free speech in Canada leaves much to be desired.

Then she said what she really thought of the student protesters who surrounded Marion Hall, making it to unsafe, in the view of her bodyguard, for the pundit to attempt entry.

“The University of Ottawa is really easy to get into, isn’t it?” she said in an interview after the cancelled event. “I never get any trouble at the Ivy League schools. It’s always the bush league schools.”

Ms. Coulter said she has been speaking regularly at university campuses for a decade. While she has certainly been heckled, she said this is the first time an engagement has been cancelled because of protesters.

“This has never, ever, ever happened before – even at the stupidest American university,” she said.


In a short speech, [Ezra] Levant said Tuesday was “an embarrassing day for the University of Ottawa and their student body, who could not debate Ann Coulter . . . who chose to silence her through threats and intimidation, just like their vice-president did.”

Bollocks. Far from being ‘silenced’, as Levant boldly (and stupidly) contends, Coulter’s profile and her underlying thesis (such as it is) regarding so-called ‘PC’ tyranny have been greatly amplified by her trip to the Great White North (to the point where yours truly, someone who, long ago, pledged to avoid even mentioning the name ‘Ann Coulter’, much less posting about her, is now dutifully chronicling the nauseating twists and turns of Ann’s Excellent Canadian Adventure).


There was actually no physical threat, only heated, emotional outbursts from a crowd that had been whipped up to a frenzy by the inflamed publicity her entourage had stoked.

Coulter should have thanked the students protesting outside Marion Hall. Their performance has raised Coulter’s profile in the US. Media networks that had stopped inviting her to their talk shows are likely swamping her agent with booking requests.

Butbutbut poor Ms. Coulter was unfairly harrangued by an unruly, censorious mob of low-rent “junior jihadists” (“It’s always the bush league schools”) hell-bent on shouting her down and setting her adrift on an ice flow (buddy).

(Photo: anewsocialcontract, flickr)

Maybe so, but, as Boris @ The Beav contends, perhaps the burning anger purportedly on display Tuesday night was indeed sparked by more than merely Coulter’s trademark deliberate provocation:

There are moments when a bit of incivility is required and acceptable. We’ve seen over the past few years of the Harper government a rise in the policies that support the sort of sentiments that Coulter advocates. The cases Abousfian Abdelrazik, Maher Arar, Omar Khadr, Mohamed Harkat, Suaad Hagi Mohamud, the current fiasco with Rights and Democracy, etc etc, all suggest an insidious bent to the Harper government that Ann Coulter simply voices in plain language.

She becomes a symbolic target for the impotent rage that many of us feel toward the Harper regime and its perverse and fascistic fans. There is a link.

And if there was a mob, and it was unruly enough to shut down her little talk, fire alarms and all, then so be it.

This is what happens when bigots and fascists show themselves in public to spew their bile. This is also what happens when the public cannot find civil means (pay attention here, Opposition) of redressing the temperament and actions of a far-right minority government hell-bent on destroying the open liberal democracy that about 60 to 70% of us seem to support and enjoy. We find targets we can actually hit, and we push back.

True enough — still, at a certain point one has to carefully pick one’s battles. And, quite frankly, as dBo noted, this latest incident has only served to increase Coulter’s profile to a level of prominence that she hasn’t enjoyed in years. It would seem this thin line that separates righteous anger from useful idiocy is still being delineated (to the great delight of Coulter and Levant, no doubt):

Rita Valeriano was one of several protesters inside the hall who, with chants of “Coulter go home!” shouted down the International Free Press Society of Canada organizer who was addressing the crowd.

Valeriano, a 19-year-old sociology and women’s studies student, said later that she was happy Coulter was unable to speak the “hatred” she had planned to.

“On campus, we promise our students a safe and positive space,” she said. “And that’s not what (Coulter) brings.”

Outside the hall, Sameena Topan, 26, a conflict studies and human rights major at the U of O, spoke to the Citizen on behalf of a group of protesters.

“We have a large group of students that can very clearly outline the difference between discourse and discrimination,” Topan said of the protest. “We wanted to mobilize and make sure that’s clear on campus, that there’s a line between controversy and discrimination, and Ann Coulter has crossed it. Numerous times.”

“We had concerns about (the event) at the beginning, but especially after we saw what happened at the University of Western Ontario, when she called out a Muslim girl there and was saying she needs to take a camel because Muslim people shouldn’t fly. That kind of stuff just reaffirmed everything that we were afraid of and that’s when . . . we really got worried.”

Topan was pleased to hear the students behind her shout, “Hate speech cancelled!” in unison.

“I think that’s great. I think we accomplished what we were here to do, to ensure that we don’t have her discriminatory rhetoric on our campus,” she said.

Rewind my selekta:

Look, it’s bad enough that three Canadian campuses (including one in my hometown) have afforded a vile bigot like Coulter a stage to perform her trademark powersuit-wingnut vaudeville routine. But are they also contractually obligated to serve her up a heaping bloody plate of steak tar tar on a goddamn silver platter? 

Cliff sharpens the main point and lays out the bottom line:

I think people like Coulter absolutely exult at the opportunity to put on the veneer of smoking martyr to free speech. Handing her that opportunity on a plate gives a professional rodeo clown far more credibility than she deserves.

Co-sign. DNFTT, kids. Srsly.

Still, my irony bone can’t help but be tickled by the notion that Ann Coulter of all people (in concert with Levant, Canada’s favourite wanna-be wingnut provocateur) might try to gin up a human rights case (to make a Very Important Point About Free Speech, natch) over “restraint, respect and consideration”:

Speaking to students and academics at the University of Western Ontario Monday, Coulter said the e-mail sent to her Friday by Francois Houle, vice-president academic and provost of the University of Ottawa, targeted her as a member of an identifiable group and as such, she will be filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission alleging hate speech.

“I’m sure the Human Rights Commission will get to the bottom of it,” Coulter said to loud cheers from the 800-strong audience. “I think I’m the victim of a hate crime here. Either what (Mr. Houle) did was a hate crime, or the whole commission is BS.”


Coulter’s targeting of the University of Ottawa administration and Canada’s Human Rights Commissions came at the end of a half-hour speech that attacked political correctness in the United States and the mainstream media, which she said was uncritical of the Obama administration and unfairly biased against conservatives.

“It’s almost like there is one standard for Conservatives and one completely different one for Liberals,” Coulter told the crowd, which alternated from cheering to booing depending on the topic of discussion, which ranged from gay marriage, illegal immigration to Obama’s health-care bill.

A word is either offensive or it’s not. In a world of political correctness, all words are banned unless they’re used against conservatives.”

Yeah,  Ann Coulter, longtime defender of speech rights (h/t Cliff):

“They’re [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let’s do it. Let’s repress them. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the First Amendment.”

Sweet, delicious irony — who needs heroin to give you that rush, eh?

Am sure Coulter’s basking in her own pseudo-narcotic haze from all the attention she’s receiving (yeah, yeah — I know. Shaddap.)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Red Meat Straight Outta Ann Coulter’s Rider

by matttbastard

No, just…no:

Even before she opened her mouth for the first of three speeches this week on Canadian soil, American right-wing antagonist Ann Coulter had already scored a victory of sorts.

Coulter, who spoke to an audience of about 800 at the University of Western Ontario on Monday night, received a pre-emptive and private caution about the limits of free speech in Canada from the provost of the University of Ottawa, where she appears Tuesday.

The letter was immediately leaked to select conservative news organizations, with Coulter telling one that the university was “threatening to criminally prosecute me for my speech.”

For a strident provocateur who’s speaking on “Political Correctness, Media Bias and Freedom of Speech,” the University of Ottawa warning — however tepid — was pure oxygen for the fire.

Coulter seizes the obvious talking point (gleefully solicited by the groupies at NewsMax):

“The provost of the u. of Ottawa is threatening to criminally prosecute me for my speech there on Monday — before I’ve even set foot in the country!”

Look, it’s bad enough that three Canadian campuses (including one in my hometown) have afforded a vile bigot like Coulter a stage to perform her trademark powersuit-wingnut vaudeville routine. But are they also contractually obligated to serve her up a heaping bloody plate of steak tar tar on a goddamn silver platter?

Seriously, way to feed the fucking troll, kids.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Supreme Court of Canada Unanimously Defrosts Libel Chill

by matttbastard

The Globe & Mail:

The media should not live in constant fear of facing a libel suit every time a provocative commentary is published or broadcast, the Supreme Court of Canada said yesterday in a major ruling won by controversial Vancouver radio broadcaster Rafe Mair.

In a 9-0 decision that modernizes the defence of fair comment, the court found that Mr. Mair did not defame Christian-values advocate Kari Simpson when he denounced her stand on a book-banning controversy.

“An individual’s reputation is not to be treated as regrettable but unavoidable roadkill on the highway of public controversy, but nor should an overly solicitous regard for personal reputation be permitted to ‘chill’ freewheeling debate on matters of public interest,” Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said.

Judge Binnie said that the key to a defence of honest belief – particularly in an era when extravagant overstatement is common – should lie in whether an honest person could have held the same opinion.

“We live in a free country, where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones,” Judge Binnie said. “In much modern media, personalities such as Rafe Mair are as much entertainers as journalists.”

Score one for the chronically hyperbolic Canadian media personalities who live and die on the alter of outrageous and ridiculous opinions (ahem).

H/t The Robert Bond Papers

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: CanWest SLAPPs Free Speech

by matttbastard

Via Canadian Dimension Blog:

Don’t Let Canwest SLAPP* Briemberg and YOU !
Imagine you go to a public meeting on the Middle East; you see a humorous parody of the local daily, pick up a few copies and hand them out. Six months later you are served with a writ of summons that charges you with producing the parody, that threatens to cost you tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, that takes up hundreds of hours of your time and aims to prevent you from expressing your opinions in future. Impossible? A Kafkaesque fantasy? This is what is happening to Mordecai Briemberg in Vancouver today and we need your help to stop it.

In early June, 2007, a parody of The Vancouver Sun newspaper was produced and copies distributed. The parody, a slim four-page edition, coincided with the 40th year of the continuous Israeli occupation of territories it conquered in the 1967 war. The parody focused on the biased media coverage of Israel/Palestine in The Vancouver Sun.

What happened?

Mordecai Briemberg attended a meeting at the Vancouver Public Library to commemorate the event and to oppose the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. At the end of the meeting, on a table, was a pile of tabloid sheets- one sheet, four sides, which parodied The Vancouver Sun — Vancouver’s leading daily and a Canwest publication. We cannot show you the parody without risking being sued ourselves, although we can send you the text of what was in it. So the chill begins.

The banner at the top of the front page dates the issue as “Occupation Day, June 2007”. In place of the usual “Seriously Westcoast since 1912” appears “Seriously Zionist since 2001”, the first full year of Canwest ownership. The parody has a lead article by “P. Rupa Ghanda” titled “Celebrating 40 Years of Civilizing The West Bank” Another article by “Cyn Sorsheep is titled “Study Shows Truth Biased Against Israel”. In these and other articles, including mock ads, there are criticisms of Israeli policies in occupied Palestine and a critique of the Canwest media’s pro Israel policies. On the inside page there is a box with the headline- “Who Produced This Vancouver Sun Parody and Why?” It attributes the authorship of the tabloid to the “Palestine Media Collective, a group of direct action media critics concerned about mainstream media coverage of the situation in the Middle East”. It includes a list of “Some Alternative Media Sources on the Middle East”. It is cleverly done, although it is not a very challenging exercise in media analysis to realize this is not the ‘real’ Vancouver Sun, any more than the “Jean Chrétien” or “Stephen Harper” heard on CBC’s Air Farce were or are the Prime Minister.

There is a long and honourable history of satire and parody as a tool of political criticism and comment from Hogarth and Daumier in the 19th century to Rick Mercer and Stephen Colbert.

Mordecai was amused by the parody, picked up a handful of copies from a table and distributed them at a bus stop near his home. That was the sole extent of his involvement.

Legal Suit

The Canwest suit lists a print shop and Mordecai as named defendants, and then pads the list out with six unnamed defendants: John Doe #1, John Doe #2, John Doe #3, and Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, Jane Doe #3. While ostensibly centering on a commercial violation of trade mark, the charges read like a political attack. They assert that Mordecai and the six John/Jane Doe defendants have been involved in “anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian media activities”, and have written or spoken “harshly critical of the State of Israel and of the plaintiff and anyone who publishes articles or views which the defendants perceive to be contrary to their own views”. In Canwest’s Writ of Summons Mordecai’s name is repeatedly linked to Canada Palestine Support Network, a group that is not even alleged to have anything to do with the parody. They demand a sweeping variety of remedies including an injunction restraining the defendants from “publishing injurious falsehoods by way of newspapers or other publications, on the internet or otherwise”.

Is Canwest to be the arbiter of “falsehood”? Imagine the implications of that for the Charter right to free speech. Galileo had a similar problem with the Pope on the question of whether the sun revolved around the earth or vice versa.

Answering the accusation of being involved with the creation of the parody, Mordecai responds- “I have always been proud to publish anything I have to say under my own name, and to hold myself accountable for my words, ideas and actions. But, I had nothing to do with the conception, creation, production and financing of this satire and have no idea who did”. The lawyer for Canwest has confirmed in writing that they have no documents whatsoever showing Mordecai Briemberg’s involvement in any of the allegations made against him. Yet Canwest still refuses to drop their suit! So… for the act of picking up and distributing a handful of parodied copies of the Vancouver Sun, lying on a table at a public meeting, Mordecai has been taken to court by a media giant with unlimited financial resources and a big time grudge against any criticism of Israel.

Why Mordecai Briemberg?

Mordecai Briemberg is a long time activist in peace and social justice causes. His activism goes back to the early sixties when he joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament as a student in the UK on a Rhodes scholarship. Continuing this anti-nuclear work, he was a public part of the international campaign to free the Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu and contributed to the creation of a professional theatrical production about him. He has a long involvement with anti-racism work: in Canada combating racism against first nations peoples and immigrants, internationally against apartheid in South Africa. And this includes combating the racism of Israeli state policies and practices against Palestinians.

Mordecai has written for magazines and papers, published research, spoken at union conventions, churches, peace forums, universities and colleges, been interviewed on television and radio, interviewed others on radio, organized demonstrations, organized public meetings for, among many others, internationally renowned Palestinians like the poet Mahmoud Darwish and the intellectual activist Dr. Naseer Aruri, Jewish-Israelis like the late Professor Israel Shahak, chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights and Michel Warshawsky founder of the Alternative Information Center. In short, Mordecai has been a prominent, vocal and effective voice in the intense debate about how to achieve peace and justice for Palestinians and Jews in historic Palestine. That is why they are going after him!


Canwest is the largest media conglomerate in Canada. What they don’t own is a shorter list than what they do. They describe themselves as “Canada’s largest publisher of paid English-language paid English-language daily newspapers with an estimated weekly readership of 4.8 million people. Our papers include the National Post, ten major-market dailies and several community newspapers.” They own the Global television network, the History, Food and Showcase channels and through various shareholdings are involved with many more outlets in every medium. If you read or watch the news, chances are just about certain, you read or watch Canwest news. In Vancouver, where this case is based, they own about seventy percent of the news outlets- from dailies to weeklies to television.

The company is owned by the Asper family of Winnipeg. Founder Israel (Izzy) Asper died a few years ago and the company is now in the hands of his son Leonard. Father and son were/are passionate Zionists and make sure that what they own echoes what they think. In an interview in the Jerusalem Post in August of 2003, Izzy Asper stated: “In all our newspapers…we have a very pro-Israel position…we are the strongest supporter of Israel in Canada”. For more about these folks and their political views you can look for The Asper Nation- a book by Marc Edge, published by New Star Books or The Tyee on line issue of Nov, 23, 2007- “The Asper Slam on News Media,” one of three Tyee excerpts from Marc Edge’s book.

Why should I care?

If you believe in freedom of expression on any topic and have ever expressed a view contrary to the status quo you should care a whole bunch. This is what has been called a *SLAPP suit- Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. The concept and acronym were coined in the eighties to describe a tactic used by the rich and powerful, governments or corporations, to bully critics and shut down public discussion by threatening dissidents with legal costs and broad prohibitions against speaking out.

If they can bully Mordecai, they can bully you! Whatever the subject, whatever you say, Canwest’s actions set a dangerous precedent for any and all who express an opinion someone with money disagrees with. Canadian troops in Afghanistan? Environmental issues? Aboriginal rights? Tasers in the hands of the police? You name it; they can sue you. They may not win but it will cost you plenty in time, money and the stress of wondering if that article or speech will land you in a whole mess of trouble. Its intent is to bully those who don’t own media conglomerates and have legions of lawyers on retainer, i.e. YOU!

What can I do?

• Don’t let Canwest intimidate you into silence. Get this document, electronically and in hardcopy, out to as many people as you can, in all walks of life, so that those who share a commitment to defend, maintain, and use the democratic right of free speech know of this case.
Sign our statement demanding Canwest drop its legal suit against Mordecai Briemberg and stop its harassment. Circulate the petition far and wide, amongst friends and coworkers. Encourage others to do likewise. You can sign-up on line at info@seriouslyfreespeech.ca .
• Write letters to Canwest and mail them c/o their lawyer: David Church, Church & Company, 900-1040 West Georgia Street, Vancouver British Columbia, V6C 3H4, Canada. Please copy Seriously Free Speech Committee with your letters.
• Join the Seriously Free Speech Committee if you live in greater Vancouver.
Contact us at:
Seriously Free Speech Committee,
PO Box 57112,
RPO East Hastings Street,
Vancouver, B.C.,
V5K 5G6
Email: info@seriouslyfreespeech.ca
Website: www.seriouslyfreespeech.ca
• Contribute financially to help defray the unavoidable legal costs. Make donations payable to: “Seriously Free Speech Committee” and mail them to the address noted above.

Where can I find out more?
We have a dossier on the case which includes the text of the parody, the writ, background materials on Canwest and the Aspers, etc. We will be happy to send it to you in either electronic or hard copy. This and more information will be posted on our web site noted above.

In solidarity,

Brian Campbell and Jef Keighley
Co-Chairs, Seriously Free Speech Committee


Who is the Seriously Free Speech Committee?

The Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) has been formed specifically to counter a politically motivated campaign by the Canwest media group to punish and silence Mordecai Briemberg because of his long-time public advocacy for what he believes to be the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The founding core of the SFCC are individuals within Greater Vancouver involved in progressive political work both domestically and internationally The SFSC does not advocate for any particular analysis of the contentious issues concerning Israeli and Palestinian rights and practices; nor are we proposing some single, specific resolution of this humanly costly conflict. Rather the committee unites around a commitment to advocate for open and public discussion of these issues. When a broad spectrum of perspectives and information are made available for consideration — free of harassment, intimidation or censorship — people at large can reflect on these and draw their own conclusions. The SFSC recognizes that monopolization of media ownership in our society is antithetical to the expression and sharing of diverse opinions. The Seriously Free Speech Committee welcomes all who broadly agree with our aims and perspective to support and join this work to achieve success.

h/t Toedancer @ Bread and Roses

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Alison Bodine Update: Barred From Canada For Two Years

by matttbastard

@$%#@!!11 pale @ A Creative Revolution brings the bad news:

The Immigration and Refugee board says [Alison Bodine] “lied” or misrepresented herself when entering Canada, way back on September 10.

The Canadian Press has more details on the ruling:

Marc Tessler said the Immigration Act stipulated that her lack of full disclosure at the border crossing south of Vancouver amounted to “misrepresentation” as defined in the legislation.


He said Bodine arrived at the Peace Arch crossing south of Vancouver about 2 a.m. Sept. 10 with a vehicle loaded with personal belongings. The border officer said the amount of belongings and her limited funds made it unlikely she only planned to stay for the two months she indicated.


She was refused entry and headed south to the small community of Blaine, Wash., where a friend loaded much of her belongings and the anti-war literature into his car.

She returned to the border crossing, said Tessler, and was admitted into Canada but didn’t tell the border agent of her earlier attempt to cross. The bulk of her belongings and the anti-war literature were seized when the friend attempted to cross the border.

The adjudicator conceded he was “bewildered” by the earlier opinion of the border agent that she might not leave after two months. He said she had been at UBC for four years and had crossed the border many times.

He also said the anti-war literature and her belief that they were what led to her problems had nothing to do with his decision.

The adjudicator said that when she went to the border the second time she told the official her car contained only her possessions; she didn’t tell the agent that some of her belongings had been transferred to her friend’s vehicle.

She also said she planned to stay in Canada for two to three days and did not mention her earlier entry refusal, said Tessler.

While the initial refusal was “unjustified,” the “elements of the allegations of misrepresentation are established,” he said in ordering her removal.

So, Tessler’s decision has nothing to with the anti-war literature found in Bodine’s car. Right, but the adjudicator did admit to being “bewildered” by the first border guard’s “unjustified” initial refusal. Any way you look at it, the optics aren’t good – especially when coupled with the repeated refusal by Canadian border officials to allow Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright entry into Canada.

Keep watch for more updates @ ACR & Alison Bodine Speaks Out!

[edited to reflect additional information and for style, format and clarity]

Update: What Prole said.

Update 11.01:

The Province quotes Bodine:

“There is no reason to exclude me,” said Bodine, originally from Denver but who studied at the University of B.C. for four years. “I was just an easy target. We’ll continue organizing.”


She said her ordeal is meant to intimidate others who oppose Canada’s role in the war in Afghanistan.

“This is political targeting. They did this to intimidate people in the anti-war effort,” Bodine said.

more from The Globe:

“They shouldn’t have arrested me at all,” she said outside. “What the Immigration adjudicator ruled on upstairs was completely a technicality that they’ve chosen to pursue based on the fact I’m a political organizer. … I will not be allowed back in Canada for two years, for political organizing, for raising my voice, speaking out against war and occupation.”

Asked if her numerous bags, her pending job interview and the presence of a boyfriend in Vancouver signalled a desire to move here, she replied, “Eventually yes, I do want to live here in Canada.”


Alison Bodine Defence Committee Meeting

THUR NOV 1 6:30pm

in the Large North Hall of Joe’s Cafe

(on Commercial Drive at Napier St)

Join us to meet, discuss and analyze the legal outcome of the Admissibility Hearing Process. The Alison Bodine Defence Committee will meet, and invites all who are interested, to assess the campaign and discuss what’s next after this legal stage of this battle!

I’m several thousand kilometres away from spitting distance–anyone closer to the ‘hood going to attend the meeting?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers