Friday, August 31, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Back To The Future



Let's get hypothetical for a minute.....

And let's say you were hypothetically running some sort of 24/7 War Room that specializes in positive messaging, known in some quarters as media manipulation/spin.

And let's say your client had already been nailed for using public money to generate a poll, portions of which were selectively leaked to the media in an effort to push public opinion towards your client's positive message.

So, if you were hypothetically running such a War Room, just what kind of thing would make you very, very, very happy?

Well, how about a new, hypothetically 'released' poll that 'demonstrates' that your client's message is, voila!, suddenly getting through?


Alright, enough with the hypothetical.

This next part is real:

Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun
Published Aug 30, 2007

Public support for Vancouver's striking municipal workers has declined since the first union local walked off the job six weeks ago, a new poll suggests.

Released to The Vancouver Sun today by the Innovative Research Group, the poll was conducted over five weeks and tracks how opinions have been changing during the dispute.

The survey indicates that while the striking Canadian Union of Public Employees locals enjoyed stronger public support than the city at the outset of the strike, people now feel the city is being more "fair and reasonable" than the unions.


Let's see - this is a poll that was 'released' to the Vancouver Sun, but no word in the article about who actually commissioned it.

Well then, let's take a closer look at the polling firm.

Innovative Research Group - not much of interest to be found at the firm's website.

But Mr. Fowlie, the author of the piece in the Sun, does have this to say:

"The union has lost support for its position over the time we surveyed," said Mike McDonald, a senior research associate with the Innovative Research Group.

The poll was conducted July 25 to Aug. 29. The firm polled between 225 and 299 people each week over the Internet. The highest margin of error over that time was within 6.5 percentage points.

McDonald said his group, which did polling for the NPA during the 2005 civic election, but has also done work for CUPE in Ontario, conducted the poll as part of its ongoing tracking of public opinions.

So.......Innovative has worked for the NPA and for CUPE, which is both sides of the issue, right?

Well, maybe.

Then again CUPE in Ontario is a long, long way away from Lotusland.

And, of course, the NPA civic election actually took place here in Vancouver.

In 2005.

Hang on a second.

Wasn't that the election campaign won by Mr. Sam Sullivan the man whose cause just received a boost from Mr. McDonald and Company's poll?

Well, let's just check in with Mr. McDonald's very own website at 'Rosedeer Strategies', just to make sure.

Mike McDonald founded Rosedeer Strategies in 2003, and has built a consulting practice offering strategic counsel, communications services and planning, public opinion research and analysis, and campaign consulting.......


In 2005, Rosedeer Strategies partnered with Innovative Research Group Inc. to market and deliver Innovative's research products in British Columbia. Various Innovative research projects have been profiled in the Vancouver Sun, including research undertaken for the TLA (Truck Loggers Association), the campaign to elect Sam Sullivan and the Vancouver NPA,

Wonder if something like that actually concerns Mr. Fowlie and/or his editors?

And if not, why not?



And here's a litte more on the 'non-partisan' bonafides of another Innovative Research Group principal Mr. Greg Lyle.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Canuckleheads - The Real Thing


A sneak preview of a couple tunes from the long-awaited, soon-to-be-released Weakerthans albabasterpalooza is now available through the Radio3 website.

'Civil Twilight' and 'Night Windows'......both fantastic in that way that only Mr. Sampson et al. can make 'em.


Who Will Reform The Reformist Reformation, v1.1


From those noted purveyors of commie-pinko news, The Bloombergians:

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who can't choose a new central bank chief himself, has done the next-best thing: stacked the panel that nominates David Dodge's successor.

Since taking office in 2006, Harper's government has replaced eight of 12 Bank of Canada board directors, instead of reappointing them when their three-year terms expired. New faces include William Black, a former official in the ruling Conservative Party's Nova Scotia branch, and Douglas Emsley, who worked for a Conservative premier of Saskatchewan.


Don't need elected MPs when you've got appointed liasons.

Don't need impartial boards when you can fill 'em with lackeys.

The courts......wonder when will they will start gaming those too?


Who Will Reform The Reformist Reformation?


With all the cries and indignation swirling around mayor-gate and other anti-democratic unelected 'Liasons', Declan from CAtO (the waterskeeter, not the institute), makes a very interesting point:

I never supported the Reform party, it's true, but at least you could believe they honestly wanted real reform, not whatever this so-called Conservative party is turning out to be.

Then again, Declan often makes interesting points.

Including pointing out that while some are saying that Vancouver is the most liveable city in the world others are saying that it is only the sixth most overpriced.

See what I mean.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Clang, Clang Go The Jail Guitar Doors


It always amazes me when artists, athletes, actors, or even 'gasp', musicians get smacked down for trying to do the right thing.

After all, what could people like that possibly have to add to our civil society when we've got a creme de la creme of used car salesmen, real estate agents, oil oligarchs, spooks, and a guy who was handed a baseball team by his Poppy's friends running the world.

But there is no way the smear merchants, the screamers, or even Rex Murphy, can win when musicians use music to help their fellow man.

Which is exactly what Billy Bragg and Mick Jones are doing with a program Mr. Bragg calls 'Jail Guitar Doors'.

Jail Guitar Doors is an independent initiative set up by Billy Bragg with the aim of providing musical equipment for the use of inmates serving time in Her Majesty's prisons. It takes its name from the b-side of the Clash's 1978 single 'Clash City Rockers'. In an appeal to fellow musicians, Billy writes:

“Aware that this year sees the fifth anniversary of the passing of Joe Strummer, I was hoping to be involved in more than just another tribute gig. Hearing the Clash as a 19 year old had changed my life, so I guess I was looking for a project that underscored the transformative power of music. Inspiration arrived in the shape of a letter from Malcolm Dudley, a drug and alcohol counsellor working at HMP Guy's Marsh near Shaftesbury in Dorset."

So - go give them money, or, if you have the connections, start bugging our own legends of lotuslandia to fire up a local chapter*.


*Assuming, of course, that Mr. Keithley has gotten over that incident at the Gardens in 1981...
Credit-where-credit-is-due: A reverse tip-o-le-chapeau to Elizabeth Renzetti for her pro-j piece in the Globe.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Were We Bushwhacked By Karl Rove's Mini-Me?


Don't very often do this, but.....

This post is nothing but a shameless, shillophantic rant designed to hype Will McMartin's latest piece in The Tyee.

Essentially, Mr. McMartin introduces us to a very fine fellow by the name of Ed Gillespie, a man once dubbed the 'architect' of Newt Gingrich's 'Contract With America' who is now being touted as Karl Rove's replacement at the top of the Cheney Administration's Top Gun Propagammon Machine.

So, what's Gillespie's connection with Beautiful British Columbia?

Well, to find that out you'll have to go read Mr. McMartin's column.

And when you do just keep repeating that famous Shrubbism from the 2004 debate cycle over and over again:

"Need some wood?"

Go and read Mr. McMartin's column - right now!

Oh ya, and if you don't like the wood chant mantra, possibly because of the scary hallucinations of David Emerson pouring over the Anschluss Manual that it may invoke, you can always mumble something about pipelines if you are so inclined - OK?


Monday, August 27, 2007

Surveillance 'Lite' Doesn't Hurt A Bit


As the co-host of CTV's 'Question Period' and the Globe and Mail's 'senior political reporter' Jane Taber is watched and read by hundreds of thousands of Canadians each and every week.

So when she writes the following about the 'surveillance as freedom' it is difficult not to take note of it:

Summit (ie. government? Surete du Quebec?) organizers hired a cameraman to monitor the protestors so that the live pictures could be beamed back to the leaders at the Chateau Montebello during the two-day event. The TV monitors were set up in the hotel. This is consistent with the protestors' human rights and court assertions that that protestors be seen and heard.
Ottawa Notebook, Aug 25, 2007 (behind subscription wailing wall)

Now I'm sure Sandra Buckler loved that bit of straight-up stenography.

But the next bit is downright unbelievable.

"However, according to a summit (ie government? Surete du Quebec?) officials, protestors turned on the camera operator - who in effect was working for them - roughed him up and broke his camera. So he quit."

Now we are in no way condoning the roughing up of anyone, be it by protestors or black clad 'summit officials' in bandanas and boots (ie. we really have no way of knowing which is which these days now do we).

However, based on this little tidbit that titled 'Protest TV' in her column last Saturday we can't help but wonder if Ms. Taber also thinks that the Laurence Olivier/Dentist character in Marathon Man was actually billing Dustin Hoffman's character when he was ripping his teeth out and asking....

"Is it safe?"


For a grown up look at the surveillance = freedom issue in the NewConOrder, please see Klein, Naomi, who we're pretty sure is read by at least a few, maybe even ten, thousand Canadians every month or so.


Never Mind The Bollocks.....

MaximumStrongmen'RUs, VolII

......Here Come the Allawi Pistols!

Babs Chablabbi as Sid
Judy! Judy! Judy! as Nancy
Wee Philly Z. as the Malcolm-In-The-Middle-Of-It-All.

Number One, with a bullet, for sure.



Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where And When Did The Police Meet the Protestors?



Alison points us towards a second source re: 'where' (see bottom of post)

We finally know the 'who' of the Montebello undercover police deal, but what about the other four 'W's that make up the central tenet of modern journalism?

For example........'what', exactly, were the undercover police doing and 'where' were they going 'when' they were outed by the legitimate protestors?

And 'why' were the illegitimate protestors/police doing what they were doing?

Well, here's the latest in a long string of 'official' versions of the story ('w's bolded, in brackets all mine):

Yesterday, a senior Quebec Provincial Police officer, Inspector Marcel Savard, said the clip shows only a portion of the events.

Earlier (when), the undercover officers had infiltrated (what) a separate group of "extremists" and one of them handed an officer a rock, he said. The officers left the group and ended up in a crowd of peaceful demonstrators.

"He had a choice, a very quick choice to make," Insp. Savard said. He held onto the rock because "he was still hoping that his cover was good (why) ... [but] he never had the intention of using that rock."

Which is fair enough, as far as the story goes so far, except for one little thing.

There was no 'where' there.


There is someone, however, who says he knows 'where' the three illegitimate protestors met the real protestors.

And that person is a citizen, Mr. Paul Malouf, who also says that he was there.

Here is Mr. Malouf's statement, directly from his website:

"As I was walking westward on the 148 through the town of Montebello: These 3 individuals were walking up route 148, going towards the main confrontation at the gates of the Chateau Montebello. They were confronted initially be the rouge/noir in front of the Crevier Gas Station on route 148. The rouge/noir told them to backtrack, to go away, to get lost in french. The 3 individuals seemed perplexed at being outed. The 3 individuals veered off to the right, off of route 148, to the quiet 2nd line of police on route 323."

Now, I have not been able to verify Mr. Malouf's statement with a direct second source (another central tenet of journalism unless, of course, one is planting stories on the front pages of grey ladies to start wars). Thus, at this point, it must be taken with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of caution.

However, Mr. Malouf's statement is not at direct odds with the first part of the statement from the QPP's Inspector Savard quoted above.

But the second part of Monsieur Savard's statement, the part about the 'very quick choice', how about that?

Well, for that we have to return to the 'when' and examine it a little more closely.

And to do that we head back over to Mr. Malouf's place to get a little bit more:

......they (the police) were exposed several minutes before before the video started , almost in front of the quiet train station on route 148.

Hmmmm.... 'several minutes'?

Isn't that plenty of time to make all kinds of very quick and/or even very slow (and deliberate?) choices?

There is something else buried in Mr. Malouf's account that is worth considering quite seriously if it can be verified unequivocally. And that is the following: "These 3 individuals were walking up route 148, going towards the main confrontation at the gates of the Chateau Montebello". Now if they really were heading that way (ie. towards the actual business leaders and heads of states behind the gates), well that would be whole different kettle of fish altogether don't you think?
Update: Alison has a second source that pretty much confirms what Mr. Malouf had to say about the 'where'. And it is none other than Dave Coles, the labour leader from the infamous video who said the following during an interview on CBC Radio's 'As It Happens' earlier in the week: "I didn't know they were police right away but I knew they were agitators because earlier they had been trying to get the young kids down on the road to cause trouble." This statement was essentially confirmed by former police officer and crowd control expert Douglas Kirkland in an interview with's Kady O'Malley posted yesterday: "in speaking with [Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union] yesterday, he really filled in a bit more of what happened before the tape started to roll. The Black Bloc guys had already identified them as probable police, and that's part of the reason why they were on the move back to the police line."


The New Democracy?


Why this business of surveillance being equated with freedom should most definitely not be trivialized........

Montebello, Year Zero............ Naomi Klein

Also up at the Gaurdian's blog - where you can search/surveille the comments for nuggets if you so which (thanks to Enough Already)
Dana, at the Galloping Beaver, makes a similar point, and makes it well.
Picture at top of the post depicts anti(thetical)-protestors helping protestors excercise their constitutional rights by watching video images of them on computer monitors set-up inside the Chateau Montebello (screenshot from Canadian Press video).


Friday, August 24, 2007

"Put The Rock Down, Man!"



Here is an apparent eye witness report of what the undercover police were up to before they got to the riot police line where the 'incident' took place. There are some heavy implications there if what the poster, Paul Malouf, surmises about their initial destination is correct (thanks to Dr. Dawg - again)

Double Secret Probation Update: Chet has an excellent, eyes wide open from the left-sided POV, analysis up at the Vanity Press.

"Put the rock down, man!" is exactly what police line-protecting protestor Dave Coles began yelling at the Surete du Quebec (provincial police) 'undercover' officer at the 35 second mark of Paul Manly's infamous Montebello Protest Video.

The image above is a still shot from the 39 second mark. It shows Mr. Coles pointing at the rock while he continues to demand that the masked man put it down.

The man refuses and then he lays out a pretty solid, chest high, rock-still-in-hand-shove-shot at Mr. Coles a few seconds later.

All of which could be viewed as somewhat provocative, if not downright 'inciteful'

But, according to the latest from the QPP that is not what was going on at all:

(Quebec Provincial Police) Insp. Savard defended the three agents and said they were not there to provoke demonstrators in Montebello, Que., where Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon met.

"At no time did the officers in question engage in provocation or incite anyone to commit violent acts," Insp. Savard told a news conference.


Insp. Savard acknowledged that one of the officers was given a rock by protesters but did not use it.

"One of the extremists gave the rock to one of our police officers and he had a choice to make," Insp. Savard said.

"He was asked by extremists to throw the rock at the police, but never had any intention of using it."

Alrighty then.

Yesterday, when they finally admitted, after repeatedly denying it, that the members of this band of bandana-clad banditos of bountiful non-belligerence were in fact theirs, the QPP mentioned that they had additional video evidence of their own that helped them make the correction.

So, perhaps they could show us some of that documentary video evidence to prove that 'one of the officers was given the rock by protesters' and was 'asked by extremists to throw the rock at the police'


Because, based on developments so far, it is not as if the authorities have given us any reason to believe anything their spokespeople say.

Especially in the absence of hard evidence (boulders excepted, of course).

Oh, and the next time you hear Stockwell Day et al. dismiss this as nothing more than QPP-specific issue that does not involve anyone else, please refer to the following interesting press release from an even more interesting little outfit that calls itself the 'Unified Police Agencies'.


My Favorite Montebello Website....



I am no journalist.

But I am interested in how the process works, which is why I get involved in protracted (and mostly fun) discussions/arguments with folks like Mr. Ian King (and occasionally with more shy and retiring pro-journos offline).

And one of the things that almost invariably comes up is the point that bloggers/citizen journalists don't break stories but instead just comment on all the stuff that is generated by pros who don't let their personal views get in the way of their reportage.

And I understand that point on a whole lotta levels*.

However, understanding that point is precisly why I find the best citizen journalism so compelling.

Take Jennifer Smith's Montebello stories, for example.

Jennifer, as far as I can tell, has no strong affinity for any one group, but she is politically aware, and for a number of reasons she decided to attend the recent Ottawa and Montebello protests with her teenage son.

This is not something she does all the time as she 'reported'** at the time:

It really has been a while since I've gone to one of these things. I turned up about half an hour early, and there were already tables for the Communist Party, the Marxist-Leninists, CUPE, the Steelworker's Union, the Committee to Free someone whose name I've forgotten (sorry), supporters of U.S. war resistors, and a couple of guys with signs saying "9/11 Was an Inside Job". It was oddly comforting when the Raging Grannies turned up and started singing.

I was a little concerned that I couldn't find the Council of Canadians right away (they turned up later), but I was even more concerned at the number of disparate groups who seemed at least as concerned with pushing their own, often conflicting agendas as they were with fighting the SPP.

I guess this is how it's done now. Maybe it always has and I've just forgotten

All fine and dandy, right, and interesting too, especially for those Canadians of a certain age (like me) who often feel exactly the same way when we show up at one of these things.

And then there is the way we feel when we take our kids with us.

Because I know that when I take my kids I want them to see that they can make their voices heard about things they feel are important.

And then there is that other important idea - which is that I want them to see stuff with their own eyes once in a while - free of the TeeVee's google-eyed goggles.


When we go to these things together there is also the little niggling worry that something untoward might happen.

And sometimes, as Jennifer found, this little worry can blow-up to the size of the Stay-Puff Marsmallow Man very, very quickly:

As the march was wrapping up, a largish group has stopped by the fence, so I went to see what was up. All I could see was a cordon of police officers surrounding someone who was apparently being detained or searched. I spotted the top of the person's head and for about ten seconds I thought it was my son.

It turned out to be a different teenaged boy. The story floating around the crowd, for what it's worth, was that he was arrested for having a can of spray paint in his possession, which he had apparently been using earlier to paint stenciled picket signs. I have no idea if this was true or not, but they put the kid into the back of a police car and took him away with no violence and hardly any shouting.

And it is precisely that insertion of the truly personal into the reportage that I find so fascinating about Citizen Journalism.

And, as noted above, such insertions are antithetical to most professional journalism.

Which is why I like to pay attention to the best of both of them.


*But one level I do not understand is the one that prevents professional columnists, who have the freedom of voicing their opinion, from telling us what they actually know.
**It has to be noted that Jennifer does do some freelancing, which may explain her ways with the wizardy of wordmithing, but I don't count that as being involved in day-to-day pro-stuff.
Update: Certainly didn't want to suggest that Paul Willcocks is either shy or retiring - although judging by appearances (and performances - Go Rafe!) he appears to be a slightly different breed of pro-media cat. Regardless, Mr. Willcocks most definitely does have a few interesting comments to make about this topic in the, where else, comments.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Provocateurs Unmasked?!



At first glance it looks like a half-a-mama-mia-culpa attempt at damage control at best - especially the official release (see below).

Double-Secret Probation Update: So, how long before this guy announces that everything is fine and that this just has to be standard operating procedure when you're dealing with the evil intentions of unarmed-anarchist-labour-warrior -petition-bearers with digicams who are clearly pre-occupied with preventing provocations pre-meditatively?

TriplesHitWithoutBeingBornOnThird Update: Frank Frink, working at DKos and A Creative Revolution has really worked over the Quebec Provincial Police's Official Statement that we have below and in doing so has cleaned up the translation.

Well, here it is from the CBC (shamelessly stenoing here to make sure it's all recorded for posterity):

Quebec provincial police admitted Thursday that their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que.

The YouTube video shows Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, ordering three masked men back from a line of riot police.The YouTube video shows Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, ordering three masked men back from a line of riot police.

However, the police force denied allegations its undercover officers were there on Monday to provoke the crowd and instigate violence.

"At no time did the police of the Sûreté du Québec act as instigators or commit criminal acts," the police force said in French in a news release. "It is not in the police force's policies, nor in its strategies, to act in that manner."

"At all times, they responded within their mandate to keep order and security."

Police said the undercover officers were only at the protest to locate and identify non-peaceful protesters in order to prevent any incidents.

Police came under fire Tuesday, when a video surfaced on YouTube that appeared to show three plain-clothed police officers at the protest with bandanas and masks across their faces. One of the men was carrying a rock.

In the video, protest organizers in suits order the men to put the rock down, call them police instigators and try unsuccessfully to unmask them.

Protest organizers on Wednesday played the video for the media at a news conference in Ottawa. One of the organizers, union leader Dave Coles, explained that one reason protesters knew the men's true identities was because they were wearing the same boots as other police officers.

Coles on Wednesday said the only thing he didn't know was whether the men were Quebec police, RCMP or hired security officers.

"[Our union] believes that the security force at Montebello were ordered to infiltrate our peaceful assembly and provoke incidents," Coles, who is president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, said at the time.

The protest at Montebello occurred outside the Fairmont Le Château Montebello hotel, near Ottawa, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. The summit about border security, free trade and other issues began Monday and finished Tuesday.

Protesters said they gathered to voice their concern about Canada losing control of its energy, water resources and borders. Others decried what they said was a high level of secrecy at the summit.

And here it is, directly from the Surete du Quebec (Quebec Provincial Police), first en francaise:

La Sûreté du Québec précise certains faits concernant le Sommet de Montebello

23 août 2007

À la suite de la diffusion d’un extrait vidéo sur le site Internet, impliquant possiblement des membres de la Sûreté du Québec lors du Sommet de Montebello, cette dernière aimerait apporter certaines précisions. Après avoir analysé son contenu, en plus de prendre connaissance des vidéos enregistrées par les corps policiers, elle est maintenant en mesure de confirmer que ces individus sont des policiers de la Sûreté du Québec. Ces derniers avaient le mandat de repérer et d’identifier les manifestants non pacifiques pour ainsi éviter les débordements. Les policiers ont été repérés par les manifestants au moment où ils ont refusé de lancer des projectiles.

En aucun temps, les policiers de la Sûreté du Québec ont agi comme agents provocateurs ou commis des actes criminels. De plus, ce n’est pas dans les politiques du service de police ni dans ses stratégies d’agir de cette manière. À tout moment, ils ont répondu à leur mandat de maintenir l’ordre et la sécurité.

And here it is in English, from the Google Translator, courtesy of the Great Aunty Bertha (with a little help from the BoingBoing):

Following the diffusion of a video extract on Internet site, possibly implying members of the Safety of Quebec at the time of the Summit of Montebello, the latter would like to bring certain precise details. After having analyzed its contents, in addition to taking note of the vidéos recorded by the police bodies, it is able now to confirm that these individuals are police officers of the Safety of Quebec. The latter had the mandate to locate and identify the nonpeaceful demonstrators for thus avoiding the overflows. The police officers were located by the demonstrators at the time when they refused to launch projectiles.

As any time, the police officers of the Safety of Quebec acted like provocative or made agents criminal acts. Moreover, it is not in the policies of the service of police force nor in its strategies to act in this manner. Constantly, they answered their mandate to maintain the order and safety.

Me - I like the part about using their 'videos recorded by the police bodies', to aid in the identification - Ha! (see previous post).

And, of course, the part about their identification/outing when they refused to 'launch their projectiles' - Double Lord Ha! Ha!. (that'd be the 'half-a-mama-mia-culpa' part).


The Montebello Video We Have NOT Seen



.....wee updates at bottom of post.....

So, when, I wonder, will we first hear one of those myriad RCMP/Surete du Quebec/Public Safety/PMO spokesmodels say something like the following:

"We condemn any attempts to cover-up this case, no matter who is involved"

Which, of course, is exactly what Richard Milhouse Nixon, said publicly in 1973 just before the axe fell.

Of course, what really laid Mr. Nixon low were those pesky Watergate tapes that put him on the record saying stuff like this:

"I don’t give a sh*t what happens. I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else, if it’ll save it—save this plan. That’s the whole point. We’re going to protect our people if we can."

Of course, we are no longer limited to secret audiotapes to find out what really happened.

Because, these days, everybody has a digicam.

And at places like the Montebello/Anti-SPP demonstrations it wasn't just the protestors that had them.

So, in an effort to help clear up this thing about the identities of the bandana-clad belligerints definitively, perhaps reporters could ask the Quebec Provincial Police to release the video that was collected by the camera within the circle in the image at the top of the post (which is a screen-shot from the original YouTube video).

And if the QPP says 'Non!' now, perhaps some sharp-eyed, hard-headed young staffer working for the public inquiry that follows(?) will stumble upon this post after using 'teh google' 10 or 12 or 34 months from now and ask them again.....


And if we can't use video for identification purposes, we can always use Alison's milk cartons. They are really quite something.
Speaking of sharp-eyed and hard-headed, the link to the Maclean's Forum inquiry post comes from the always sharp and often hard Mr. King whom, I'm quite certain, will note that I did not instead link to this one.
Update: Folks, both in the comments and via the E-mailchain, have made the point that, if they are not willing to release the names, the Police are very likely going to be unwilling to release a video in their possession. And of course they are correct. However, the thing to remember is that, if a bit of a ruckus is made about it now, someone will be able to ask for it later if (when?) enquiry-assisted pressure is brought to bear. OK?
Not-So Secret Double Probation Update: There is no video involved, but this piece from Mat Mernagh of Toronto's NOW is the best chunk of 'inside the protest' reportage that I have read so far (and that includes both the pro- and notsopro-media)


Stageleft Calls It........BootGate!


And Stageleft asks some very good, important questions about the alleged 'provocateurs/trouble makers' with the masks and rocks who slipped through a doubled line of riot-clad police officers during the SPP demonstrations, as well:

[1] Why were at least 2 out of he three trouble makers wearing boots identical to those worn by riot police? What are the odds of this being a coincidence?

[2] Why did the three trouble makers receive markedly different treatment from other protesters?

[3] Why were the three troublemakers unknown to others at the demo?

[4] Why were they so very adamant that their faces not be shown?

[5] Where are they now? Are they still in custody? Where?

Now, let's hope that those questions get asked, repeatedly (as in over-and-over-and-over again) by the pro-media, until the stonewall of the RCMP and the Surete du Quebec begins to crumble?

And as I've said a number of times already (during those moments of above water lucidity when I'm not reaching for my snorkel), Joan Bryden of the Canadian Press has done a great job so far of trying to get answers to most of Stageleft's questions.

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy, Unplugged

LikeStinkyTrashVille returning to our regularly scheduled civic/lotuslandia programming......
(all the Montebello SPP Protest stuff is below)

I mentioned earlier in the week that the garbage had begun to pile up in the median of KingEdward in the Creme de la Creme belt (between Granville and Arbutus).

And then, yesterday, on my way home, I noticed that it was all gone again.

Strike over?

Are you kidding?

As for the folks who live around Fraser and KingEd?

Not so much.

(in the 'get out there and pick up that unsightly trash that is in full public view' department I mean)


So, The Economist, has named Vancouver the world's most livable city.

Now given when the folks in the Econoline Van would have been doing their surveys it does make one wonder..... Should the credit go to Larry Campbell and his COPE council or Sam Sullivan and his NPA council?

Regardless, the true answer, or even the shades of grey, you can bet that Smilin' Sammy's Spam machine is already starting to crank up in an effort to paint it all black, or white, or sky blue, or whatever heck colour coding they've decided to push this week.

Can't wait for Rod Mickelburgh's next Spammylot report - they usually come out Saturdays in the Globe if I'm remembering correctly.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No Definitive Proof or Concrete Denials


(Last post of the day......promise.....)

Earlier today Dave Coles (the man who shamed the bandana wearing rock carriers in the infamous video at the Montebello Protests) and labour groups held a press conference, ostensibly to present evidence that they said would prove that the apparent provocateurs were police.

Unfortunately, there have been no detailed reports from that press conference.

However, Mr. Coles was on CBC Radio's 'As It Happens' this evening and during the interview he did not offer up any definitive proof of a link between the belligerents and the authorities.

Admittedly, Coles did make a persuasive argument based on strong circumstantial evidence.

And, as Dana at the Galloping Beaver likes to say:

"Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk."

Still it is not definitive positive proof.


And how about the other side?

Well, we've gotta hand it to Joan Bryden, who really helped to break this thing wide open with her CanPress story yesterday at a time when the other wire service pablum was positively fawning for the police and craptacular for the protestors. And today Ms. Bryden went right back at the RCMP and the Surete du Quebec and kept on asking the right questions.

But still she got nothing definitive as the denials continued get more plausible in their non-deniability:

The Mounties and the SQ, the two police forces involved in summit security, continued to refuse specific comment on three alleged undercover officers caught on camera in an apparent bid to incite a confrontation.

But they denied using agents to provoke violence.

"I confirm (to) you that there are no agents provocateurs in the Surete du Quebec. . . It doesn't exist in the Surete du Quebec," said Const. Melanie Larouche.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Luc Bessette said the Mounties do "not use tactics that would encourage confrontation or incite violence.

And then, out of the blue, the Mounties rolled out the really big propaganda catapault for the first time.

(RCMP spokesman) Bessette (also) said the RCMP cannot discuss details of security measures for major events such as the summit because "to do so could jeopardize the integrity of our operations for future events."


Sure wouldn't want to demonstrate any integrity at this late date because to do so would jeopardize that teensy-tiny amount of the stuff that you have left.



Blackclad Boulder-Bearing Belligerent Round-Up


Welcome Kossacks, Shakesvillians and ye' old over the MoonO'Bam refugees from the Whiskey Bar!

Yes, there does appear to be something rotten, or at least a wee bit stinky, in Canuckistan these days.

And at least a few of us Cheeseheads aren't willing to just hold our noses while we carry on with our otherwise reasonably safe and sedate UHealthcare-assisted lives.


Essentially what we have so far i is the following....... A group of bandana wearing, rock-touting belligerents that tried to provoke a protester/police clash at the ThreeAmigos/anti-SPP demonstration in Montebello Quebec on Monday.

When confronted (shamed is more accurate actually) by an unarmoured and unarmed labour leader named David Coles the belligerents made a break for it.

Except that they did not dissapear into the crowd

Instead they broke through the police cordon and were immediately 'taken' into custody.

And it was all caught on video.

Now, nobody yet knows for sure if the belligerents were themselves police or if they were afilliated with the police, but there is some reasonably strong trout-in-your-milk-type circumstantial evidence that seems to implicate them as such.

And those circumstances are more than just the yellow triangles on the bottom of identically treaded boots that everybody involved appears to have been wearing.

Anyway, if you would like the nitty-gritty and blow-by-blows of the story so far, you can just follow the following half-a-dozen posts below.

What we're waiting on at the moment is a report form Mr. Stageleft who was at a press conference earlier in the day where the man who stared down the belligerents was supposed to have presented evidence demonstrating that the belligerents were in fact policemen.

Oh, and case you were wondering, the MSM dam, which our current PrimeMinister and his flack-hacks are usually very adept at shoring up has shown distinct signs of cracking on this one with reports in the Canadian Press, the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail (our Grey Lady) and, even, finally, the Iranian Badge Zombie makers themselves, CanWest Global.

*The trout-milk reference is courtesy of Dana at the Galloping Beaver who currently have a very good round-up up themselves, courtesy of Dave, cut-to-the-chase chaser extraordinare.


Montebello's Revenge


CanWest, who have been having their gong banged on this story by the Canadian Press for the last 24 hours straight*, finally weighs in on the bandana wearing, rock touting, belligerents who pushed their way through a police line at the SPP Demonstrations on Monday.

And while it's pretty weak, way after the fact, round-up type stuff reporter Andrew Thompson does make a couple of interesting points.

Point #1 - The peacemaker in the original YouTube video, Dave Coles, is claiming, but not offering definitive proof, according to reporter Thomson, that the rock-touters were police:

“People have the right to peacefully protest something they don’t like,” said Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada. “They think that they have the right to infiltrate us as they’ve done before. But to be packing large boulders, they were going to do something with those rocks and it wasn’t peaceful.”

A video shot by the Council of Canadians’ Stuart Trew and posted to YouTube shows Mr. Coles angrily confronting the trio and demanding they remove their bandannas and identify themselves

Point #2 - That, unlike what the CBC is reporting, the Quebec Prov. Police are still being cagey.

Police would not respond to the allegations Wednesday, only re-confirming that two men and two women were arrested during Monday’s protest.

“We don’t get into strategic details of what we do,” said Const. Jayson Gauthier of the Surt du Quebec."

Please take note: None of the 'two men and two women' who were arrested most definitely were were not any of the bandana-wearing rock-touters who crashed through the police cordon.

Funny how CanWest was way, way, way faster pulling the chute on this one though, eh?


A Real Denial


Regarding the apparent provocateurs at the Montebello demonstration that many have alleged might have been police.

Last night, according to Joan Bryden's CP Report, both the RCMP and the Quebec Provincial Police, issued non-denial denials.

"Neither the RCMP nor the Surete du Quebec would comment on the video or even discuss generally whether they ever use the tactic of employing agents provocateurs."

Today, the authoritarian herd seems to have split, at least according to CBC Montreal:

"The RCMP has refused to comment, while Quebec provincial police have flatly denied that its officers were involved in the incident."

Although, of course, there are still a few bumps, if you think about it for a bit, in the QPP's 'flat denial'.

Regardless, in the CBC story (not-bylined) also talked to a former police officer who apparently knows a thing or two about overseeing demonstrations:

Meanwhile, a retired Ottawa police officer formerly in charge of overseeing demonstrations for the force said after viewing the video, he questions who the masked men really are.

"Were they legitimate protesters? I don’t think so,” said Doug Kirkland.

"Well, if they weren't police, I think they might well have been working in the best interests of police."

He added that if the situation was as it appeared, he did not approve of the tactic. "It's pretty close to baiting," he said.

Pretty close?

I'd say the hook was pretty much set until Dave Coles (the fellow who shamed the bandana-wearing, rock touting, belligerent masked men into scurrying through the police line in the original video) forced them to spit it out.

DrDawg is following developments (and blog links closely) as well.
IsTheStainSpreading to MSM????? Globe&Mail (via CP) reports on CEP/CLC presser, but gives few details (still waiting for Stageleft!); David Akin of CTV posts up the original video (but no comment on his blog yet).


Pressing the Provocateurs(?)

Whither CanuckiStanMikitaVille?

Labour groups held a press conference today to present evidence that they say demonstrates that the alleged provocateurs that apparently tried to incite a potentially violent confrontation between police and protestors at the SPP demonstration in Montebello on Monday were themselves, wait for it......... police.

No published details of the presser yet.

However, Stageleft was there - and he says....

"Short comment, for now, the press conference was good. There is a separate post coming this evening on what was covered and the questions that were asked." (see comment #14).

The press conference was held at the offices of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. Interestingly, the head of that union is Dave Coles, the man who stared/shouted down the alleged provocateurs during the incident. Curioser again.


When Triangles Met Kerning?

Double secret-probation update: here they are.....
Triple-Not-So-Secret-Cat's-Outta-The-Bag? Update: The CEP says it has proof coming....



Update - Margaret, from the comment threads comes through - see bottom of post

Thanks very much to everybody with the tips on the much discussed 'little yellow triangles' on the bottom of the boots of the police and the alleged 'agent' provocateurs who appeared to be trying to disrupt a peaceful part of the demonstrations at Montebello Quebec.

But, as I said last night, and as BigCityLib and Bene D make clear this morning - it is important not to go off the deep end on something like this, as it could be all sorts of things, form vibram logos to CSA approvals, or even some sort of bizarre kooky-koolaid-koloured-kandy test double-secret-probation calling card.

Or something ridiculous like that.

Regardless, what is more important now is for the media to push the RCMP to explain what actually happened to these poor, helpless 'disappeared' men with the rocks, the masks and a belligerent attitude who pushed their way through a police line, were pushed to the ground oh so very gently, and then taken away in plastic hand-cuffs.


Also, while katerkate's photos, which are fantastic and to which we linked last night, have some evidence of the k00ky-koolaid-kandy logo, these do not appear to be the photos described in the original CP Wire story by Joan Bryden because she, Bryden, described the alleged provocateur as being lying down, not being led away in the picture.
Update:'s the photo that, I would give pretty good odds, is the one that Ms. Bryden saw before she filed her original story (and before her editors let it pass through the filter). Thanks Margaret!
Doube-secret probation update: Photo turns out to originate from CUPE website - interesting.


Another Montebello Video



Aaron Eckman of the Pacific Tribune has low resolution images of the much sought after 'yellow triangles'. It's a nice catch by Aaron - but I am not convinced as these things could just be CSA approval labels or some such thing. Personally, I would still like to hear what the RCMP spokesmodel has to say regaring why there were no arrests given that these people were armed and threatening, broke through a police line, and were led off in hand-cuffs.

Ostensibly, this post is not about the alleged provocateurs at the Montebello protests that have become the talk of the Bloggodome, a story which has even slipped over the top of the dam and splashed down onto the mainstream media via the Canadian Press.

After all, I've already gone on at some length about that story here and here.

Before I move on, however, it's important to point out that, whatever the ultimate answer turns out to be re: "police/not police" regarding the provocateurs there most certainly was a hero to that piece, regardless.

And that person was the union guy Dave Coles who defused a potentially explosive situation in which someone could have been seriously hurt.

And he did it all without a full helmet and face shield, without body armour, without a gas mask, without a truncheon and without a tear gas cannister-firing rifle.

So, having said all that, this post is actually about a video made by the same guy that made the provocateur piece, Paul Manly, from Nanaimo.

This video also speaks for itself and in so doing demonstrates the lengths to which the fine folks that currently control our country will go to suppress the voices of anyone, even when they are 10,000 voices strong, from being heard if the message is different from the one(s) they are pushing:

And as an aside, it's interesting to note that Ms. Barlow shows up in both videos.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where Are The Little Yellow Triangles?


Update at bottom of post with link to photos of ' wrist restraints'

The google-bombing has begun in earnest on the story of "were the black clad, bandana wearing, rock holding belligerents at the Montebello protests who disappeared into a police line never to be arrested and/or heard from again actually agent provocateurs who were trying to incite a police response in the face of otherwise peaceful protestors?"

And the heaviest phrase that is hitting us is embedded in this paragraph, which we quoted from Joan Bryden's Canadian Press report that hit all the wires a few hours ago:

Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.

Now, we too have been unable to find that image of those apparently matching triangles*.

However, YaYaCanada, who has a fantastic photoessay up from the protests, did have this to say about the apparent location of the scuffle:

Back in the "green zone", people are dancing in the street, still monitored by the cemetery ghouls. All hadn't gone so peacefully there, I found out later. See the video (YouTube) and read the report (Harper Index) of the police provocateurs that caused a ruckus in the place where we were given to believe was the most unexpected place for altercations.

Did you get that?

If YaYa is right this apparent attempt at blatant provocation actually took place in one of the 'safe zones' where there was actually nothing of significance for the police to even 'protect'.

This does not smell right.

And it most definitely does not sound like Canada.

Of course, much was made of images in the not so distant past of a yellow geometric image for which there was no evidence whatsoever. Funny how our current PM got involved in making immediate comments about that incident as well. Although those comments weren't about the 'sadness' of it all. Quite the contrary.
Cliff, who also has a wealth of knowledge about the labour movement, is on the story as well.
Update: 9:00pm - The Ottawa Sun has now updated the Bryden CP story with the sub-head of: " Had rocks and police boots". Also includes the non-denial denial at the end of the piece from the RCMP and the Surete that reads: Neither the RCMP nor the Surete du Quebec would comment on the video or even discuss generally whether they ever use the tactic of employing agents provocateurs. "I cannot answer your question because I don't have the information" said Const. Kane Kramer, a spokesman for the RCMP at the summit.
LinkToPhotos: Here are 17 still images from the flickr account of 'KaterKate' . They match the three alleged provocateurs from the YouTube video. No yellow triangles, but the men were clearly restrained with plastic hand-cuffs prior to being 'led-away'. So, why then do the police have 'no information'?


There's something happening here....

.....What it is ain't exactly clear


Update: The CP is now on this story as well - my comment on that at bottom of post

This is very, very strange indeed. At a protest in Montebello Quebec a labour leader standing with a group of citizens who were in front of riot police attempting to prevent any provocation by other protestors confronts three masked men with rocks. After much shouting and some jostling the crowd begins to wonder if, perhaps the masked men are actually police themselves. Instead of leaving the scene the men then disappear into the police line where they are 'arrested' and taken away.

Were they agent provocateurs?

It's impossible to tell for sure, but this video, taken at the scene makes it hard to think that there was not something fishy going on.

Regardless the true intentions of all concerned, this most certainly does not look, or sound, like Canada to me.

Instead, it appears that we are now living in a time and place where, once again, it just might be prudent for us to heed the advice of the Neil-assisted Buffalo Springfield when they say:

Stop, children....
What's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down


First stumbled upon this, bizarrely enough, at Radio 3.
A couple of things stand out from Joan Bryden's Canadian Press Report: "
Rather than leave, the three actually start edging closer to the police line, where they appear to engage in discussions." and "Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot." This entire thing is getting curiouser and curiouser. Oh, and yes, the other side of the bloggodome has noticed this as well.


Citizen J. at the SPP


Jennifer Smith (b/w our own Alison).

What more could you ask for in your (real) up close coverage of the protests in Montebello from somebody who was actually there, in the thick of things.

A couple of excerpts......

First, Ms. Smith's statement to Mr. Harper written immediately after she drove home, with her son, from the protests:

"I'm still processing everything I've seen today (yesterday, I guess), so I'll be saving most of my more coherent thoughts for tomorrow (today), after I've recovered from the six hours I just spent on the road.

For now, I have something to say to Stephen Harper:

Sir, you are an ass.

There were far more than "a couple of hundred" of us at Montebello today. I'm sorry if you found it "sad", but we just wanted to talk to our Prime Minister. You will not meet with us face to face. You will not allow our elected representatives into your meetings with foreign leaders and corporate executives. You won't even allow us to voice our concerns through the parliamentary committee set up to provide some semblance of oversight into the supposedly insignificant machinations of the SPP.

This is all we have left to us."

And here's one that was a caption to a photo of six police officers straight outta Dystopia (go see it!).

"Could they guys look any more like Storm Troopers? Maybe if we painted them white. I cannot tell you how disturbing it is seeing dozens and dozens of these guys lined up along the street in a small Canadian town. They even had then stationed around the cemetery."

Is this Canada?

Our Canada?



Monday, August 20, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy, Act III


Let's say you were running a PR campaign out of, I dunno, some kind of combat rock-type boiler room that was designed to help a cabal of civic politicians break a union during a strike.

What would your main strategy, aside from selectively releasing public poll results, be?

Hypothetically speaking, of course?

Would it be to get the public all riled up so that they would start demanding that the Pols actually do something?

Of course not.

Instead, you would very likely do your best to have the media run stories about how everything is actually going remarkably well and that the city managers (who you would also make clear are being run off their feet working 144 hours a week) are doing a fantastic job of keeping things ship-shape.

And you would also probably want to stroke the public a little and thank them for doing their part as well.

Of course, on the flip side, it would be very important to throw a story or two at the Newscycle Monster that made it very, very clear that there would be dire consequences for any member of the public who started taking things into their own hands by actually getting some of their huge, and increasingly stinky, piles of garbage out of their houses and into public places where the managers would have to deal with it.

And even worse, where the press might see it.


So, having said all that, here is something that is not hypothetical......

I couldn't help but notice, while riding to work along King Edward this morning, that, when I hit the Creme de la Creme belt (ie. between Granville and Arbutus), all manner of refuse suddenly started appearing on the wide, grassy, very public, median.


I certainly hope that a few bad apples living in that decidedly financially unchallenged part of town aren't ignoring what the City and the media are telling them to do.

After all, a thing like that could cause all the Spin to crash to the ground with a screeching halt.

And we sure wouldn't want to see something like that happen.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy, Part Deux


Update: Sunday Night, Aug 19/07: In the comments, Ian King took exception to my using the term 'push' for the polling that was done by Ipsos-Reid. In terms of the actual poll itself, I have to agree that he is correct, and I thank him for bringing this to my attention. However, what I was really trying to say (badly) is that the City is 'pushing' only what they choose to have the public know about 'the Poll' while hiding the rest from view. Thus, I have editted the text to make this point of view/opinion more clear in the updated version.

So, apparently, Sam Sullivan et al. decided to do a little polling while they weren't negotiating.....

Christina Montgomery, The Vancouver Province
Published Sunday Aug 19, 2007

The City of Vancouver spent $9,000 to poll 300 people about what they think of issues surrounding the ongoing civic strike -- including whether an offer the city had already made to workers was "fair."

Spokesman Jerry Dobrovolny, who had refused earlier to say what the Ipsos Reid poll cost, told The Province Friday: "I wasn't releasing that number [yesterday], but now that it's generated such a buzz, we are releasing the amount."

Sure glad Mr. Dobrovolny cleared that up.

Because while $30 bucks a pop for a call from a telemarketer/pollperson is bad enough, how outraged would we, the people of Vancouver, be if the cost had actually been $400 a pop?

Laura Drake, The Globe and Mail
Published Aug 18, 2007

The city spokesman also took the union to task for publishing on its website that the cost of the poll was $120,000.

"It is inflammatory and really damaging to the process when they say on their website that the City of Vancouver poll costs $120,000 with an exclamation point after it," Mr. Dobrovolny said.


I'll tell you what is inflammatory - the suggestion by Mr. Dobrovolny that a ridiculous poll that has the whiff of the push from his side about it was in and of itself not inflammatory.

One woman who took the poll, but did not want to be named, said one question directly asked who you supported, the union or the city.

Mr. Dobrovolny, who would not confirm whether that question was asked, said the entire poll will be released eventually, but could not say when.

Why won't Mr. Dobrovolny's paymasters and/or spinmeisters let him tell us what the other questions are and what answer's they received? Is it because they are currently negotiating (as has been suggested now and has been suggested before, when they have not been) or is it because they want to push a message at us that wouldn't be supported by the other questions and answers?



I don't give a hoot in heckfire what the thing actually cost.

Because, clearly, even $1.49 on a Woodwards' Tuesday morning in 1971 would have been way, way too much.

Especially when the currently available evidence suggests that it was likely designed to be little more than a public relations sop* for Mr. Sullivan's folly b/w alleged continuing assistance from the Wilcox Group.

Monte Paulsen, The Tyee
Published Aug 16, 2007

Yvonne Yuen of the Wilcox Group confirmed that the communications consultants were working for the (Greater Vancouver Labour Relations) bureau during the early days of the strike. She referred additional questions to owner Mat Wilcox, who did not return The Tyee's call.

CUPE submitted a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) seeking additional information on Wilcox involvement in this strike, and received 48 pages of correspondence between Wilcox and the bureau in June 2007. CUPE claims that correspondence includes evidence that Vancouver's General Manager of Human Resources Mike Zora was involved in discussions involving the bureau's mandate for this strike.


*Unless and until the entire poll, which we bought and paid for, is released to us in full it is, we would humbly suggest, very difficult for any reasonable person who has been paying attention (with anti-war room spin deflector shield fully activated, of course) to come to any other conclusion.
More on the actual questions from Mr. Tieleman.


Heading Down That Rovian Road.....

.....In The Country Formerly Known As Canuckistan

Remember when people said the sky wouldn't fall when we gave the HarperCons a toe hold on the neck of everything we hold dear?


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 00:12am (Mla time) 08/18/2007

OTTAWA(SH) -- Protesters will be "seen and heard" when North American leaders meet next week in Montebello, near Ottawa, but only virtually -- via an audio-video feed set up by organizers.

And the heads of the United States, Canada and Mexico may opt to change the channel.

The arrangement is "in compliance with (a Canadian) court's decision that protesters have a right to be 'seen and heard,'" said Sandra Buckler, a spokeswoman for host Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada.

So, did we miss something?

For example, while they were misdirecting the media, did Sandy B. and Mr. Harper manage to make Alberto Gonzales our super-secret, SPP-assisted Justice Minister during that last cabinet shuffle?


And btw, if you're not reading Alison these days, either at her place or at the Galloping Beaver
(which increasingly is becoming the go-to place for analysis 'round here), you are not getting the straight goods on the Anschluss.