The Daily GRRR! - March 27th, 2015 - Waves Through Walls: Prison Radio

Screenshot from a short film about Guantánamo Diary (see http://guantanamodiary.com/)
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the cover image is a screenshot from a short film about Guantánamo Diary (see http://guantanamodiary.com/)

Welcome, I am your host Dan Kellar and you are listening to The Daily GRRR! Waves Through Walls: Prison Radio, on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario. Soundfm.ca on the web, today is Friday March 27th, 2015.

We are broadcasting from the centre of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations).

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective; and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

The intro music for this episode was from the opening buildup from The Rebel Spell's tune The Tsilhqot'in War

The audio clip that kicked off the show is from Mumia Abu-Jamal with his piece entitled Yemen Gone. Check prisonradio.org for more of Mumia’s podcasts.

Today’s feature is a read of Matthew Behrens's review of the book Guantanamo Diary by prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The Book was published by Little, Brown and Company earlier this year and includes daming info about the involvement of canadian state agents in the rendition and torture Slahi experienced. Reviewer Matthew Behrens is coordinator of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture.

Now we will start with today’s headlines:

The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for March 27th, 2015
1. Solitary Confinement Policies to be Re-examined in Ontario
2. Harper Eroding Gladue Principles For Indigenous Defendants
3. The Parole Board of Canada Abandoning Old Pardon Applications
4. Thinking of Safety Beyond the (in)Justice System
5. CSIS Report Says Right Wing White Supremacists Are Canada's Biggest Threat
6. Toronto Police Sharing GeoLocation Surveillance Tactics
7. Canadian Telecoms Operating Snooping Database for the State
8. Omar Khadr Fighting For Bail

1. Solitary Confinement Policies to be Re-examined in Ontario
Amid growing knowledge over the impacts of segregation on the mental health and well being of prisoners, and questions to the effectiveness of the punishment and how it harmonizes with the "stated goals of rehabilitation, reintegration, increased mental health supports, and improved staff and inmate safety," Ontario will be launching a review of its policies which govern the use of complete isolation of prisoners in the provinces jails.

In a statement released by Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services it explains that the segregation policy review will include consultations this summer with mental health experts, civil liberties groups, correctional staff, the office of Ombudsman André Marin and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The ministry admits to isolating roughly 400 people in segregation units in Ontario at any given time which confine prisoners to their cells 23 hours a day, with a short reprieve for a walk to the shower. Segregation is constantly used as extra punishment for political prisoners and those who demand that their basic rights be respected.

In the statement Naqvi claims that ½ of those in segregation are there at their own request, but that statement should be investigated as we know Ontario's jails constantly isolate those in mental distress, those with HIV and other medical conditions, and prisoners who speak out about horrid conditions inside the jails.

2. Harper Eroding Gladue Principles For Indigenous Defendants
As Harper was meeting with band chiefs and other indigenous non-youth leaders during the height of the Idle No More demos in the winter of 2013, he had his office spread the edict that the Gladue Principles, which were established by the Supreme court to account for the impacts of canada's settler colonialism on Indigenous defendants when they are being imprisoned by the state.

The APTN reported that in January 2013, the justice department was ordered to "reword portions of the Criminal Code to “diminish” the effect of Gladue principles".

The diminishment is seen in the soon to be enacted Bill C-32, the so called "Victims’ Bill of Rights Act" where in section 718.2 the language which currently directs judges to use “all available sanctions, other than imprisonment, that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular ‎attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders.” will now demand that judges also consider “the harm done to victims or to the community.”

Telling the APTN that "the changes could lead to the “slow erosion” of Gladue principles", Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Michael Spratt also noted that “Adding a consideration of harm to victims (financial, emotional, physical?) would potentially limit the alternatives to imprisonment and dilute Gladue considerations.”

3. The Parole Board of Canada Abandoning Old Pardon Applications
Telling one man that the government has cut funding for the existing pardoning process, and that he should abandon his original 150$ application and apply under the new "record-suspension" system at a cost of 631$, the Parole board of canada says "it can no longer dedicate its resources to clearing a backlog of old pardon applications".

The 6000 or so remaining applications under the old system will be cleared as time and resources permit, but there is no actual timeline for that to happen - even with funding the process would take more than 2 years. Now resources will be shuffled to the new system which has made it increasingly difficult to be admissible for a pardon and increasing the costs associated in obtaining a pardon.

4.Thinking of Safety Beyond the (in)Justice System
The impacts of last weeks shocking acquittal of the man who killed Cindy Gladue in Edmonton in 2012 are still pushing discussion around the safety of sex-workers and the disposable way settler society views indigenous women.

Naomi, the activist and writer behind kwetoday.com wrote in a recent piece "I have no hope in the criminal (in)justice system. How the criminal (in)justice system treated Cindy Gladue after death demonstrates this hopelessness." Then, referring to the letter writing campaign to pressure Edmonton prosecutors to appeal the jury's findings, Naomi writes: "I want to look for something more long term. What can be done to help protect Indigenous peoples, especially those in the sex trade or street economies, from gender/colonial violence? What are some things that people can start doing today? And start doing in our own communities whether the community be urban or rural? What can we do where we do not rely on the criminal (in)justice system for safety?"

A preliminary list of ideas is then written up including:
Offer a safe place with non-judgmental support. If someone calls you for support, do not impose or ask invasive questions, offer a place for them to just be, whether they be angry, sad, or overwhelmed. Do not judge someone for his or her circumstances.
Extend an invite for a warm meal if someone reaches out to you
Create a community response team that doesn’t rely on the police or the criminal (in)justice system for protection.
If someone asks for help, offer to help on someone’s own terms and not your own

Check here to see the entire article and more of Naomi's work and follow her on twitter @kwetoday for an ongoing stream of real talk.

5. CSIS Report Says Right Wing White Supremacists Are Canada's Biggest Threat
An October 2014 report prepared by CSIS explains that those with white supremacists and extreme right-wing ideologies are more likely to commit "lone wolf" attacks than those with other political or religious ideologies. Before the senate hearings on national security the report examined politically and religiously motivated attacks committed by a lone actor and found that 17% were committed by white supremacists and extreme-right wingers, 15% by militant islamic extremists, 13% by left-wing extremists and groups labeled as "black power", 8% by anti-abortion crusaders, and 7% by nationalists. The remaining 40% is attributed to unaffiliated murderers.

The toronto star notes that "Prime Minister Stephen Harper has often referred to the threat of Islamic extremism in the House of Commons, and once mentioned the “jihadist monster” whose “tentacles” reached the Parliament buildings". Those comments were in relation to the shootings which took place on Parliament hill last fall which saw an army guard killed, along with a shooter who claimed to be motivated to act by Canada's ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Conversely, when 3 white youth were arrested for a planned mass shooting in Halifax in February, "Justice Minister Peter MacKay called them “murderous misfits” — not terrorists — because their attacks were not “culturally motivated.”

Ziyaad Mia of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, told that toronto star that anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada is a growing concern, particularly in the context of the rhetoric from top government officials. “Some of our political leaders need to tone that rhetoric down and actually calm people down … and tell people this is not the right way to go, instead of stoking the fears of xenophobia by talking about the war on terror and (that) we’re in this sort of apocalyptic conflict with the Islamic State.”

CSIS documents confirm growing anti-muslim sentiment in canada, with fears that a movement will spring up mirroring the racist organising occurring in europe.

6. Toronto Police Sharing GeoLocation Surveillance Tactics
Anonymous has re-surfaced a video from indy journalist Kenneth Lipp which shows Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair boasting about the forces use of geolocation services to track and surveill activists during protests in the city in 2012.

Noting that the targets had not turned off the geo-location services, Blair explained how cops used geofencing to determine where event organisers were having conversations, enabling them to easily monitor and track the protest. The technique has been used to track ISIS militants who are active on social media to spread propaganda. Phones generally require you to turn off this service, as it is on by default.

While anonymous has released a video and warning around the issue, vice news reports that anons want this new info to inspire "Canadians at protests consider becoming a lot more tech savvy. Turn off your geolocation info; it's not hard to do. Learn to use Red Phone (Android) or Signal (for iPhone). Text Secure and Signal give you options for encrypted text messaging."

7. Canadian Telecoms Operating Snooping Database for the State
In an unsurprising revelation, the huffington post reports that telecommunication companies in canada have voluntarily created a massive database of userdata that state agents are seemingly open to query, without the approval of the courts.

Of note is the report that canada's border services agency accessed the database 18,849 times from April 2012 to March 2013, with only 52 queries being accompanied by a court order.

Bill C-13, the conservatives online spying act is making it even easier for user data to be shared with law enforcement agency but as it stands, there seems to be little restriction or oversight into the current system. Of particular note is mention in the article of the "Bell database", which would contain more records than other systems as bell is the largest telecommunications company in the country.

8. Omar Khadr Fighting For Bail
Over the past week, Omar Khadr has been back in Canadian court, arguing for his release during his appeal on trumped up war crimes charges. Khadr has been imprisoned since his arrest in Afghanistan when he was 15 and has spent over a decade in Guantanamo Bay, where he was subjected to torture.

Now imprisoned in canadian solitary in Alberta, Khadr is fighting for bail as he appeals his sentence on charges he agreed to so he could get away from the torture in Guantanamo prison. The American's brought Khadr to court twice, with both efforts failing to find him guilty of killing a marine during a firefight at the compound he lived in.

Even the Globe and Mail released an editorial calling for bail to be granted to Omar, reasonably writing "Mr. Khadr was not tried in anything resembling a normal, First World legal process. He pleaded guilty under duress: He faced indefinite incarceration without trial unless he pled guilty. The crimes themselves were invented retroactively. The court did not follow normal American domestic or military law, and it denied standard legal protections to the accused, who was a child when he was captured. Mr. Khadr has a valid appeal. He also, as a Canadian, has the right to challenge the legality of his convictions and the right to ask for bail during his appeal, no matter how inconvenient that might be to the government."

check http://freeomar.ca/ for more info on Omar's situation.

Thats all for the headlines, now for some
Midway Musichere is some hip-hop from Cale Sampson with the tune The Truth Is

And we are back, you just heard Cale Sampson with the tune The Truth Is

You are listening to Waves Through Walls edition of The Daily GRRR! Today is Friday March 27th, 2015, my name is Dan Kellar and we are now moving into the feature portion of our broadcast.

Today’s feature is a read of Matthew Behrens's review of the book Guantanamo Diary by prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The Book was published by Little, Brown and Company earlier this year and includes daming info about the involvement of canadian state agents in the rendition and torture Slahi experienced. Reviewer Matthew Behrens is coordinator of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture.

That was a read of Matthew Behrens's review of the book Guantanamo Diary by prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The review was posted up on the site for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on March 20th.
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/how-canada-gets-p...

This has been the The Daily GRRR! for March 27th, 2015. We are on weekdays from 9-10am on 100.3fm CKMS in Waterloo region, and http://soundfm.ca on the web. Check out all our past shows and other Grand River Media Collective work on our webpage http://grandrivermc.ca

The Daily GRRR! is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

Stay tuned in for more Grand River Radical Radio after we close the podcast.

Thanks for Listening.

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