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Archive for the ‘Surveillance’ Category

Solidarity Without Borders! Vancouver Action

[Posted by Break this Prison Society to friendsofgrassynarrows.com on June 18, 2008]

In Vancouver, Canada, on the night of June 16th, 2008 two surveillance cameras on Commercial Drive were visibly obscured by paint and the roof top and front doors of the “Ministry of Public Safety” (probation) building, also on Commercial Drive, were tagged with “Fuck Probation,” “Break the Prisons Now!” and “Solidarity Across Borders – Freedom is Our Crime!” In Vancouver, Canada, on the night of June 16th, 2008 two surveillance cameras on Commercial Drive were visibly obscured by paint and the roof top and front doors of the “Ministry of Public Safety” (probation) building, also on Commercial Drive, were tagged with “Fuck Probation,” “Break the Prisons Now!” and “Solidarity Across Borders – Freedom is Our Crime!”

This act was done as part of a week of “Solidarity Without Borders,” called for because of the arrest and imprisonment of 5 people in France on charges ranging from conspiracy to attack a juvenile detention centre, trying to sabotage a police vehicle, and possession of explosives. Of the four who were imprisoned for four months, now one, Isa, still remains in prison under “preventative detention” under anti-terror measures.

It was reported in the news, that when a bus was burned and tagged “Riot Now” on Commercial Drive last Halloween, investigators said the footage from the surveillance cameras across the street did not reach far enough to capture the perpetrators. The cameras targeted with paint must be these very cameras.

The “Ministry of Public Safety” is where people report for probation, the monitoring and restriction of life outside of prison walls. This same office was graffitied and it’s locks glued on the night that indigenous warrior John Graham was deported to South Dakota, in December 2007. He remains in prison awaiting trail, framed-up for the 1970’s murder of his friend and comrade Anna Mae Aquash.

This act is a negation and an embrace. Denying the control of the camera and the law over our possibilities, this act embraces solidarity with all the others who fight for freedom in the destruction of prisons and this prison society.

– We can break this prison society. Solidarity is our Weapon!

For information on other actions during the week of solidarity, or to read an English translation of the inspiring words of Bruno and Ivan, 2 of the arrested in France for carrying smoke bombs (what the police are calling, explosives) on the way to a demonstration at an immigrant detention centre…
go to:
http://geocities.com/insurrectionary_anarchists/solidarityacrossborders.html
http://325collective.com/prisons_letter-ivan-bruno.html

French: http://cettesemaine.free.fr/spip/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=68

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BCTC continues surveillance even as privacy probe launched

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY
The Globe and Mail
June 13, 2008

VANCOUVER — The B.C. Transmission Corporation is still recording Delta residents’ opposition to a controversial power-line project even as the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner investigates whether the Crown corporation has already violated people’s privacy.

Residents say that affidavits, e-mails, photo and video describing them and their actions opposing the project violate their privacy and are being used by the BCTC to intimidate them. The corporation says it was just gathering evidence for a request for an injunction that would guarantee them access to the properties, and is still gathering evidence in case it needs another injunction.

A thick package was dropped off at Tina Ryan’s door last Friday. In addition to a summons to appear in court, it contained hundreds of pages of affidavits describing the actions of protesting residents, e-mails from people opposed to the power-line project and two DVDs with photographs and video footage of Delta residents protesting against construction. All of these were filed as evidence in the transmission corporation’s injunction request, which the B.C. Supreme Court granted Wednesday.

“I think it’s a form of intimidation. I think they’re trying to say, ‘We’re watching you, we’re tracking you, people who are protesting and speaking out are being watched and their pictures are going to be taken,’ ” Ms. Ryan said.

On June 2, the BCTC started construction on the project, erecting 20 steel poles holding up 230-kilovolt power lines in the Tsawwassen area.

The people who will be living under the power lines say they pose health and safety risks.

BCTC president and CEO Jane Peverett said the company started collecting information on opponents on the instruction of their legal counsel. She said people were refusing them access to their right-of-way and they needed evidence to seek an injunction against them.

“Whenever there was a resident who said to us, ‘We will refuse you or we are refusing you access to our right-of-way,’ that’s when we had to document that they were actively refusing us access,” she said.

BCTC’s legal counsel hired Vancouver-based company Oh Boy Productions to videotape resident resistance on June 2.

Ms. Peverett said her legal counsel paid Oh Boy’s videographers, but she doesn’t know how much. Neither Oh Boy Productions nor the corporation’s legal firm, Fasken Martineau, could be reached for comment.

Ms. Peverett says the corporation did nothing wrong.

“All the evidence that we collected was submitted to the court and is a matter of public record and has been shared with the residents,” she said. “BCTC is a Crown corporation. We’re subject to all the laws of British Columbia, so we have been very careful to act legally and to do only what was required in order to get the injunction. … It certainly wasn’t an intimidation tactic; it was an attempt to get the evidence we needed. But if people felt intimidated, I’m sorry we upset them. That was never our intention.”

Ms. Peverett said they’re still documenting opposition.

“As we’ve continued on with our construction, if there have been any more refusals of access we may also have been taping at that point,” she said. “Oh Boy is still available should we need them. … If somebody is at the moment refusing us access, and I am not aware that they are, we would be required to file an injunction and in that event we would need the same evidence.”

Mary Carlson, executive director of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, said the commissioner launched a preliminary investigation yesterday after media reports about BCTC’s information-gathering.

“We need to have a look at the bigger picture and then at that point we will decide whether or not there’s merit in doing a more formal investigation.”

Ms. Carlson said there could be similarities between this case and a power-line dispute last summer in Alberta. The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board hired private investigators to spy on landowners who opposed construction of a power line between Edmonton and Calgary. A report released by Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner in September found the board wasn’t authorized to collect the information and “failed to meet its obligation to protect personal information.”

Guy Gentner, NDP MLA for Delta North, said the government should stop construction on the power-line project while the investigation is going on.

“This type of intimidation and surveillance is completely unacceptable,” he said. “This is the end result of an arrogant government that denied from the beginning [of the project] proper due diligence. … It’s spy versus spy.”

Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld was not available for comment.

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Angry protestors confront video team

June 05, 2008
South Delta Leader [British Columbia]

A group of protesters chased away two men with a video camera Thursday afternoon who claimed to work for the B.C. Transmission Corp.

The group had gathered outside a home on the 1300-block of 53 A Street when they noticed a blue Volkswagen Golf parked several metres away. The man in the passenger seat was discretely filming the gathering.

Protesters approached the vehicle, demanded the man stop recording them and asked for the film. The men in the car said they were filming construction of the overhead powerline upgrade. They refused to give identification and told protesters if they wanted the tape, they should contact BCTC.

Neighbourhood resident Rocio Gonzales noticed people video taping her on Tuesday. “They were filming me, like, every single step,” she said. When she approached the cameramen, they said they were contracted by BCTC.

BCTC representatives, including project manager Tim Jennings, were also on site today. They denied the cameramen worked for them.

The representatives were on site to ask permission on to a the property of a 53 A Street homeowner. When she denied them entry, they left promptly.

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Extremist Activity Associated with the 2010 Olympics, the G8, and the SPP

11.04.2008

By Tom Quiggin – natsecintel@hotmail.com
International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)
P.O.Box 167 Herzliya 46150, Israel

In 2010, Canada will host at least three major events with a significant international profile, including the Winter Olympics, the G8 meetings and the Security and Prosperity Partnership meetings. Numerous groups have already begun violent activities and further organization that may occur against the background of a troubled global picture that will have further radicalizing effects in Canada.

[…]

A convergence among a number of groups has occurred which are looking at a variety of actions related to the 2010 Olympics, the SPP, the 2010 G8, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

[…]

The convergence includes anarchists, aboriginal “warrior” groups, poverty activists, housing activists, anti-capitalists, anti-globalization activists, student activists, and others who are just interested in anti-social behavior.

[Read the full article at Friends of Grassy Narrows]

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Taxi drivers angered by mayor’s remarks

Jake Rupert , The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Anger verging on violence erupted at city hall Wednesday after taxi drivers interpreted remarks from Mayor Larry O’Brien as disrespectful.

Just before council voted to maintain its requirement for all taxis to have security cameras installed by July 1, Mr. O’Brien said for him, the matter is primarily a question of public safety – and driver safety second.

This prompted outrage and shouts of “f— you” as about 60 drivers filed out of council chambers before the vote was taken.

Union leader Yusef Al Mezel immediately called the remarks demeaning and insensitive and accused the mayor of treating cab drivers as “second-class citizens” during a heated moment outside council chambers, while several police officers looked on.

“This is too much,” Mr. Al Mezel said. “We are hard-working taxpayers, and they are treating us like criminals.”

Mr. Al Mezel and other union leaders said the camera decision, which will cost each car owner $1,500, will contribute to an expected strike in the spring. They say contract talks with Blue Line, the city’s largest cab company, are going poorly, and the drivers are fed up with the company and the city’s management of the industry.

After the vote, Mr. O’Brien said he didn’t mean any disrespect. He said his meaning was that the cameras would protect the public and drivers equally and apologized for “any confusion” his comments may have caused.

But by that point, the drivers said, they were beyond apologies. They said they will not install the cameras, and if the city wants to try to punish them or take their licences, the city will have a fight on its hands.

Taxi drivers and company owners say the cost of the cameras is too much. They also say the city has left the door open for invading drivers’ privacy by not guaranteeing any information collected by the cameras would only be used in criminal investigations.

———————————————————-

Cabbies threaten no fair, no fare

Drivers vow to strike unless city reverses decision on security cameras

By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, CITY HALL BUREAU
Ottawa Sun [Ontario]
Thu, February 14, 2008

Ottawa’s cab drivers stormed out of a city council meeting yesterday angry, disgusted and threatening to strike.

Seconds before council voted to force taxi drivers to have security cameras installed in all city-licensed cabs by July 2, about 100 drivers stood up and walked out.

They were offended by a comment made by Mayor Larry O’Brien.

“The key issue in terms of my decision-making related to public safety, of secondary issue was the safety of the drivers,” said O’Brien.

It was after that comment the drivers left the meeting.

Yousef Al Mezel, president of Canadian Auto Workers Union Local 1688, led the charge out of council chambers, yelling he didn’t appreciate being called a second-class citizen.

“We are taxpayers and we should be respected,” said Al Mezel. “We should be respected in that chamber.”

On scene all day, members of the police tactical unit and patrol officers stood close by as taxi drivers began to protest loudly through the corridors of city hall.

“He’s a racist,” yelled one driver.

POLICE PRESENCE

“He’s calling us second-class citizens. We are not. We are taxpayers,” yelled another.

Al Mezel also questioned why so many police were stationed at City Hall.

“They think we are criminals,” he said.

As taxi drivers left City Hall, they said they wouldn’t respect any bylaw that forced them to install cameras in their vehicles and repeatedly threatened to go on strike.

“The whole city will be shut down,” said Al Mezel. “We will not accept this and we will take action. We will not install the cameras.”

O’Brien attempted to clarify his comments after the drivers left and said he’s concerned with the public safety of all citizens, including drivers.

“I don’t know how they could have taken my comments otherwise,” he said. “There are benefits for passengers and drivers.”

DRIVER ASSAULTED

O’Brien was also quick to point out that the night before the vote, a cab driver was assaulted and robbed by two men who then stole his vehicle and that if a security camera was installed the crime might have been prevented.

Mohamed Alsadi, national representative for CAW Local 462, said the mayor’s remark was regrettable and a strike is a possibility.

“It’s very real,” he said, and added there is $70 million in the union’s strike fund. “If I tell you it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” he said.

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No security camera? No licence, mayor tells taxi drivers

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
CBC News

Ottawa taxi drivers are taking a big risk if they refuse to install security cameras inside their taxis, said Mayor Larry O’Brien.

“They risk having their licences lifted,” he said Tuesday after a meeting between the city and the taxi union. “That’s a big investment, and I don’t think the owners of the licences will take that risk.”

The meeting at city hall followed a demonstration against bylaw requiring the cameras to be installed in all city taxis by July 2.

Hundreds of Blueline, Capital and DJ’s taxis honked their horns and clogged the streets of Ottawa during the protest beginning at 10 a.m. and wound slowly from Coventry and Belfast roads toward city hall. The protest was organized by Canadian Auto Workers Local 1688, which represents the taxi drivers.

Before the protest, Yusuf Al Mezel, president of taxi drivers union, said the drivers will not allow the cameras to be installed in their cars this July.

“These cameras will not be installed in our cars without our consent and without our consultation,” he said, adding that drivers were not asked to weigh in on the bylaw or even the type of security camera that would be installed.

The drivers have voiced concerns about their privacy and that of their passengers as well as the price of cameras, which are $1,500 each and are being obtained by the city through a single-source contract with Toronto-based VerifEye Technologies.

Al Mezel said the drivers did their own investigation and found they could get security cameras for half that price.

The taxi drivers plan to demonstrate again Wednesday between 9 and 11 a.m., leading up to a city council meeting. Ottawa police issued a warning to drivers Tuesday afternoon, telling them to expect traffic delays.

At the council meeting, councillors are to discuss whether to extend the deadline by which taxi drivers must comply with the bylaw. The city also said it will look into further changes to taxi fares to help drivers pay for the cameras.

O’Brien said the city will also consult with Ontario’s privacy commissioner to address the cabbies’ concerns.

Council approved the bylaw requiring the cameras in September 2005. Since then, the city has allowed drivers to collect a five cent surcharge on each fare and the difference between seven per cent and the reduced GST to cover the cost of the cameras, said city spokesman Barre Campbell.

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