Wednesday, July 07, 2010
The G20 Summit and the Black Sunday War Game
Well I'm glad to see that Premier Five Metres McGuinty has finally acknowledged that the people of Toronto were traumatized by the G20 Gorilla Show.
"I think it was very intrusive on life in Toronto. It did result in some fairly serious property damage."
"I also think that there was some tremendous psychological scarring because of what people saw on TV. Burning police cars is not something that anyone will forget for some time."
But he's wrong if he thinks it's just about property damage and three burning police cars. Because 16 police cars and far more stores were damaged during the Stanley Cup riot in Montreal.
And what traumatized me and so many others was going downtown and finding an army of police officers playing what seemed to me like some strange kind of Black Sunday war game.
Where ordinary, peaceful, Canadians were The Enemy.
Squads of police were running around in the humid heat like toy soldiers being moved by some invisible hand.
Rushed here, there, and back again for no apparent reason.
Take this bizarre incident. A group of peaceful protesters and onlookers is being held back easily by a few police officers on bicycles.
Then suddenly allowed to move two blocks closer to the summit site, only to be blocked by these riot cops.
And then pinned up against the giant plate glass window of a Bank of Montreal.
It was like they were inviting trouble. Looking for an excuse to start cracking heads and arresting people.
So I wasn't surprised when about two hours later this happened.
And police began arresting hundreds of innocent people and locking them in cages like animals.
Now I just want to know why. I don't want revenge. I just want the TRUTH.
I want to know who in the ISU war room 200 kilometres north of the city gave the order for the crackdown to begin.
How could they know what was really happening at ground level in the city, when they were watching it on television monitors?
Who gave police the crazy idea that Toronto wasn't Canada?
And did the fateful order to arrest all those people really come from them...or the Harper Cons in Ottawa?
The only way I'm going to get those questions answered is if we get a public inquiry. Because even an independent police investigation isn't enough.
Collectively, they turned our city into an armed camp with empty streets, secretly invoked special police powers, allowed a few hooligans to run amok burning police cruisers and smashing store windows, and then arrested and incarcerated more than a thousand people, the vast majority of them guilty of no crime. Businesses in the downtown area suffered a big drop in sales. Instead of showcasing the city, the event produced damaging images, broadcast around the world. What is needed is a full public inquiry, called by either the province or Ottawa.
And until I get those answers this little story by Margaret Atwood will also continue to haunt me.
Why – knowing of the dangers of holding the G20 in a fenced-off, emptied-out downtown Toronto – did Prime Minister Stephen Harper not respond to Toronto’s pleas and change the venue?
Was the treatment of those arrested some sort of dry run – a testing of the waters to see how far those in authority can move toward Tinpot Dictatorship North, without a vote-losing backlash?
Because others have more powerful stories, others really suffered. Others really lived the nightmare.
But all I can say is that when I saw that Black Sunday war game I felt like I was staring at the face of fascism. Or living in the dark foulness of a Harper majority. And it was HORRIBLE.
Yup. I definitely need those answers. We need a public inquiry.
And the sooner the better...