Monday, April 30, 2012

Hactivist Byron Sonne: Comment by a friend

Kevin Brown, posted the following response to my previous blog, Hactivist Byron Sonne: Justice Delayed, on the Facebook page set up by friends of Byron Sonne: Free Byron Sonne

It was so good that I asked and received permission to copy and publish it to my blog. 

Thanks Kevin for your very insightful comments.

Kevin Brown:

"Regarding the incredible issue of bail being denied for 330 days, I would add, as an example of just how unprecedented this is, the case of Vakhtang Makhniashvili (Mariam's father).

Vakhtang stabbed his neighbor with a kitchen knife (came very close to killing him) on a Friday and was released on bail the following Monday! Bail amount for the attempted murderer was $50,000 (compare that to the $250,000 Bail Byron had to post ! for his crime of uploading video's of the convention centre to YouTube!)

There can be absolutely no justification or basis in law for a judge to deny Byron bail within day's of his arrest. The judge who denied bail request was corrupt - plain and simple! She was just doing favors for the police and crown without any regard for the rule of law. The judge has no integrity and she should not be sitting on the bench but she doesn't have to worry, judges are never held to account in Canada. Unlike the U.S. where the media are not afraid to criticize judges, in Canada the media consider judges to be above reproach.

In the attempted murder case above where the suspect received bail within days - his Lawyer was the former top crown prosecutor - Calvin Berry. Berry has many friends on the police force, the crown and the bench and you can see how his cozy connections ensured that his client was given as smooth a ride as possible! (he would go on to stab two more people while out on bail awaiting trial!).

If the judges involved were doing their jobs why wasn't the entire case thrown out after the preliminary hearing? Most of the charges were thrown out but the judge left in a few bogus charges , again doing a favor to the police and prosecutors, a face-saving measure so that they are not left with egg in on their face.

As for the latest charade, where the police made a huge spectacle out of recovering a harmless chemical buried in a back yard - if the judge was doing her job she would have cited the participants for contempt of court. This was not only a harmless chemical (used in high school chemistry labs) we have PROOF that the Police KNEW it was harmless because we can see (in videos) that the officers that lowered the canister into their special "hopper" wore NO protective equipment whatsoever (save for Oakley sunglasses).

Despite the FACT that police KNEW this material was completely harmless they went to great lengths to stage this elaborate theater in an effort to influence the decision of a judge.

If this happened in the U.S. , where they take the law more seriously, I have no doubt that senior police officials (Tam Bui?) would be facing contempt of court charges!

Cases like this remind me why we need to get camera's in our courtrooms. Somehow I think that if the actions of the players inside our courtrooms were to be held up to scrutiny we would see far less corrupt conduct.

Hopefully in making her decision this judge will follow the rule of the law and will not be swayed to find some wrongdoing (however minor) just so the police and crown are not left with egg on their face."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hactivist, Byron Sonne: Justice Delayed

Will it also be Justice Denied? We won't know until sometime in May. The trial ended in March.

The entire case of Byron Sonne has been an injustice from start to finish.

However, that’s not what I find shocking. We know injustices like this occur. What shocks me is that there is very little moral outrage that it occurred.

Have we become so desensitized to corruption, abuse of process and abuse of power that we either no longer recognize it or simply don’t care? Is it really okay with our government, the media and the public at large to have our Justice system undermined in this way?

Let’s look at the facts:

1. Byron Sonne was the only person arrested during the G8/G20 Summit who was held without bail for over 300 days despite the fact that he committed no violent crime.

This includes people who actually committed violent acts like the fire-bombings of the Royal Bank of Canada and the vandalism in downtown Toronto.

Clement, one of the firebombers, and the only one of the three arrested who was held without bail, went to trial in December, 2010, less than 6 months after his June arrest. Pflug-Back was alleged to have committed thousands of dollars worth of vandalism and was released on bail.

Why was Byron treated in this discriminatory manner? What exactly did he do to deserve this “special” treatment?

a. “guilt by association” claims based on his reading material and email lists he was following;
b. speculation about legal chemicals and other materials he had on his property, some of which were for geek experiments that he was able to demonstrate he was working on;
c. his open and public admission of blackbox testing G8/G20 security.

None of which are criminal acts as far as I know.

In contrast. The cases against Clement, Pflug-Back and some others included video evidence of what appeared to be them actually committing the crimes. 

And yet they weren't held without bail for over 300 days.

Where is the actual evidence against Sonne to support the charges? If there was none, why were the charges not dropped in their entirety? What is the standard required to legitimately arrest and charge someone? Was this standard actually met here or was it ignored by both the Detective Tam Bui, the lead investigator, and the Crown?

3. An appearance of extreme bias on the part of Detective Tam Bui occurred both in the interview tapes and with the dramatic street theatre associated with the potassium chlorate recently dug up in Byron's yard. The dig occurred based on information that wasn't a secret and the police presumably should have known long before this. Although they claim that they found out from the Defense Closing remarks. Whether that is true or not doesn't really matter. 

What matters is that the drama was quite unnecessary.

Perhaps I'm wrong but it seems patently obvious to me that the police and the HazMat team knew the compound wasn’t explosive otherwise why would they have burned it in an open fire? They did this immediately after they created a huge drama by stopping traffic all over the city as the truck took the compound to the dump to be disposed of. 

In other words, publicly treating it as though it was an explosive even though they had determined that it wasn't and didn't treat it as an explosive when they disposed of it.

The Judge was initially writing her decision based on the fact that Sonne didn’t make a bomb. Now, with what appear to be deceptive tactics, the Judge has presumably been left with the false impression that he did. An impression which could have an impact on the outcome of the case if the Judge doesn’t research this new issue carefully or register the nuances.

Whether Mr. Sonne is declared Guilty or not when this Judgement is handed in, I certainly hope that not just for his sake but for the sake of all Torontonians he will sue everyone involved in meting out this injustice.

There is no Justice without Accountability and those who engage in corruption, abuse of process or abuse of power to further agendas of personal bias must be held accountable. Especially those in positions of special trust like civil servants.

If they're not held accountable, they'll do it over and over again and every citizen will be placed at risk of becoming vulnerable to this abuse.

And I'm not assuming that this kind of abuse hasn't already occurred to others.

It has.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Book Review: Pilgrim Process by Matthew Spencer

How do I describe this book? Dystopian? Revealing? Insightful? A wake-up call?

All of those descriptions would fit it quite well.

Reading Pilgrim Process was like sitting by the side of a bubbling stream on a warm, sunny spring day; tossing a fishing line into the foaming current; feeling a tug on the line; reeling it slowly in; and then suddenly have the fish leap out of the water into your waiting hands.

Could it be describing our world 5, 10, 20 years into our future?

Everything that Mr. Spencer portrays in revealing detail is easily within the realm of possibility given the current technologies combined with the high level corruption, abuse of power, and power plays by today’s corporocrats.

He offers an intense, if not detailed insight into the potentially dangerous and stormy waters that could develop if we, the people, do not pay attention and do not assert ourselves and he does it through the eyes of people with faith, belief, and religion.

It’s a timely and relevant story we should pay attention to.

All in all, a great read and I look forward to reading more of his work.