Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vancouver Olympics Gets in Touch with Its Fascist Past

not exactly caravanista newz, but important nonetheless (though of course it's all related), and my friend chris' incredible site has been hacked - again - so he's feeling left out .... art by currently victoria based artist greg wilcox.

by C. L. Cook

As the countdown to Vancouver's suspension of democracy ticks closer to the Big Day the traveling five rings circus comes to town, even journalists tied to the corporate friends of the games are voicing concern.

It seems the sacrifices liberal democracies such as Canada must make in return for the somewhat dubious honour of hosting the Olympics are adding up to a decidedly undemocratic few weeks.

Already, Vancouver's unhoused are being unceremoniously shuffled along out of the city, while social activists opposed to the illegal behaviour of both the city and its various police forces are being visited in their homes and when they're out and about by representatives of federal and local police.

None dare call it the birth of the Police State

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Olympics Committee (VANOC), already used to acting as a power unto itself, (undoubtedly buoyed by their impunity in the face of the burgeoning fiscal fiasco behind the coming games) is taking to issuing press releases announcing the "legal" areas Vancouverites and the expected national and transnational objectors to the effects the quadrennial show has on civil society will be permitted to protest.

A puzzled police spokesperson reacted to questions about the questionable edict issued by VANOC by saying, "Protest is legal anywhere in Canada, so I don't understand what they mean by "legal" protest areas.

Well of course, the permissible protest zone is nothing new to anyone conscious during the eight year-long anti-democratic Bush stomp on freedoms guaranteed in the American Constitution. Though it's admittedly a new and unwelcome notion for Canadians.

What's Canada Got to Do with It?

Daphne Bramham, writing for Canwest Global organ, The Vancouver Sun relates the case of Canadian university professor, Chris Shaw. Shaw is the author of the book, 'Five Ring Circus,' an unflattering look at the history of the modern games. Branham relates an incident where the professor was assailed in a Vancouver cafe by police. Days later, she writes, Shaw was intercepted and detained by police at London's Heathrow airport. Shaw was in London to speak on the topic of the games at a conference convened in Coventry. London will be the next fortunate host after Vancouver of the Summer games in 2012.

According to Bramham, Vancouver city councillor, Ellen Woodsworth says she knows of more than a dozen citizens identified as "anti-Olympics activists" tracked down and "contacted" by police last month.

These casual visits paid by police on those having committed no crime began earlier in the year when undercover police questioned citizens expressing concerns about the negative effects on the city's poor to city council. It seems a tactic better suited to last Olympics host, China than Canada. But then, when the Olympics blow into town, local laws go out the window.

Says councillor Woodsworth, "I was appalled. That was intimidation and a real breach of the promised protection under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Freedom Schmeedom

The modern Olympics may have once had pure motives, but since Hitler's co-opting of the games in 1936, making of it a torchlit paean to Naziism and preview of his global designs, the games represent nothing more than the overriding of nearly three centuries of democratic traditions by a gathering of international elite.

The athletes seem little more than a trifle, like the bull in the ring, for the greater goal of the spectacle. If Canadians must be herded into pre-approved protest pens, then so be it.

If the fun and games mean spending more than a billion dollars on "security" and the making of the city an armed camp run by the military and police, then so be it.

A City is Not Enough

But, it's not just the city that will enjoy the fallen fruits of past presenter Herr Hitler. Writing for the staid Globe and Mail of Toronto, Caroline Alphonso reveals VANOC's attempts to make its own of Canada's Border Service. According to Alphonso, the protectors of world sport would have the guardians of the 49th parallel inform to them any athletes found to be carrying banned performance enhancing chemicals in the carry-on luggage.

Alphonso quotes a statement released by VANOC's doping Czar Jeremy Luke. Luke puts his organization's demands on Canadian law enforcement this way;

"VANOC is unequivocally opposed to doping in sport and is working collaboratively with many partners to help insure doping-free Games in 2010. As a key partner, the Government of Canada's leadership and commitment to the issue of doping are critical to helping VANOC meet this goal."

Well, that's okay then. Perhaps the Canadian government can provide a colour guard to serve as referees too? Clearly, there aren't any more pressing problems in need of police intercession in the country.

Besides driving the poor from the city limits, and making many working poor give up there suddenly too expensive renovated rentals, and putting the city of Vancouver in the poor house, these Olympics, as with its at least twenty predecessor extravaganzas, promises to leave Vancouver with nothing more than the sweeping up duties, while Canada's judiciary buries the nation's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Canadians Shouldn't Accept Repressive Olympic Security

VANCO Seeks Access to BorderSearches

Olympic Security Force of 16,500 Prepares