John Baglow

The odour of rotting justice [updated]

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...is emanating once again from Toronto. But it's getting more intense, and the smell should stink in the nostrils of every citizen of Canada.


Alex Hundert, an anarchist arrested for G20 actions before a single demonstrator was even on the street, is back in jail. As many readers will know, he was out on bail when he was re-arrested by seven police officers for speaking on a university panel. Allegedly this was a breach of previous bail conditions that forbade his attendance at political demonstrations. An evidently brain-dead justice of the peace--no legal training is required for these patronage appointees--agreed with the cops, and he was jailed over Thanksgiving.

At a new bail hearing this week, he was told he would be freed, but only upon several new conditions, including (pay close attention here, Canada) no expressing political views in public, including in the media. He said no to that, and as of this writing he's behind bars.

Not that the corporate media give a damn about this obvious breach of what used to be our Charter rights. As of this writing, the news about Hundert has appeared in all of two places: Rabble.ca and the Vancouver Media Co-op.

How does one explain this veritable news blackout? Not being a conspiracy buff, I put it down to corporate groupthink and pure cynicism. But it's very odd: we don't even know the name(s) of the minor functionary (ies) who stripped this Canadian citizen of his constitutional rights without even the formality of a trial.

"The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate," says the Globe & Mail masthead, "will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures." But sitting by silently rather than reporting such measures seems A-OK with the editors of the shiny new magloid, recently purged of its progressive columnists. And it's fine with every other mainstream paper, TV and radio station in the country, including the Toronto Star and the CBC. What gives?

Meanwhile, our intrepid Speech Warriors™, who have stood up stoutly in the past for neo-Nazis and raving homophobes, seem to have suddenly contracted a collective case of laryngitis. Funny, that. Here's a "real court" (well, sort of) explicitly ruling that a citizen is not permitted to state political views publicly, on pain of jail. Not a peep.

And where are the normally garrulous Speechy columnists? You there, Jonathan? What about you, Ezra? Mark? Want a crack at this?

No, didn't think so.

Worse, there hasn't been a word as yet from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. What's up with that, Nathalie?

First they came for the anarchists....Well, I am not an anarchist, but I'm prepared to stand with Alex Hundert against a corrupt justice system that has now torn up the Charter of Rights, and a complaisant media that is turning a blind eye to it. And it is the civic duty of every Canadian citizen to do the same--before the dutiful little robots now running things turn their bleary gaze on the rest of us.


[Big h/t to pogge, and one to Orwell's Bastard]

UPDATE: (October 15) Quite a few developments. The Toronto Star has taken notice, and on the Speech Warrior™ front, Jay Currie and Mark Steyn have lined up against Hundert's bail conditions. Better late than never, given that the initial outrage--being breached for participating in a university panel discussion--attracted no notice when it took place a week ago.

Nathalie Des Rosiers, President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, has now stepped forward as well. The bail conditions are "only aimed at silencing speech," she says, and plans to write a letter to the Attorney General of Ontario in protest. And we now know who the Justice of the Peace is: Inderpaul Chandhoke, whose education is listed here as "other," and who has sat on the bench for more than three decades.

The Star also reports that Hundert has accepted his bail conditions, contrary to the initial reports referenced above.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, the Crown has dropped charges against another hundred or so G20 protesters, including 90 demonstrators from Quebec, due to "lack of evidence."

Stay tuned.


[H/t readers Steve C. and k_z]

UPPERDATE: More on why Hundert is now out on bail after initially refusing the bail conditions. The explanation isn't pretty:

Less than 24 hours after refusing to sign outrageous bail conditions which included not expressing political views in public and non-associations intended to further isolate him, Alex Hundert was forced to consent to his release.

On the night of Wednesday October 14th, Alex was told by the security manager at the Toronto East Detention Centre that he had to sign the bail conditions or face solitary confinement in “the hole”, without access to phone calls or writing paper. He was put in solitary confinement after an initial confrontation with correction staff where he resisted initial attempts to make him sign. He was denied the right to call his lawyer, and told that if he didn’t sign now, they would revoke the bail offer and he would be held in solitary confinement until his eventual release from prison.

Coerced into signing these conditions, Alex was thrown out of Toronto East and left to find his own way home to his sureties’ house. The prison authorities forced him into a position where he could potentially be accused of further breaching his bail. Alex is now back on house arrest with an enforced curfew, with non-associations with co-accused and members of SOAR, AWOL, NOII and other community organizers. He also has the additionally imposed restrictions of no direct or indirect posting to the internet, no assisting, planning, or attending any public meeting or march, and no expressing of views on a political issue. [emphases added]

Do we finally have enough to declare Toronto a human rights-free zone?

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This page contains a single entry by John Baglow published on October 15, 2010 9:22 AM.

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