Fuck the G-20.

Yeah, F*** that thing

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Over the past seven days I’ve seen the city where I’ve spent most of my life transform into a police state, to the point where I am honestly scared of the roving gangs of riot cops wandering around downtown, looking for trouble. Think I’m overreacting? Police yesterday were given sweeping powers of arrest for the duration of the G-20 Toronto Summit — with no public debate, no prior notice.

One of the early arrests was a computer security professional and member of the hacklab.to community. His crime? Penetration-testing the “security theatre” around the event.

Having purchased a hacker-related book or two myself over the weekend  I’m expecting my door to be knocked down and my cat and I to be dragged off any minute now.

Even if I’m lucky enough to escape such a fate, G-20 panic has still made it all the way north to my sleepy condo, where additional security has been hired (I haven’t verified their powers of arrest or if they’re armed) and the following memo distributed:

A recommendation was made to have residents of townhouses on the street sides remove any items that my be used as potential weapons from the patios. This may include seasonal furniture, barbeques, propane tanks, gardening tools or ornaments, bicycles, etc.

Who knew that airborne garden gnomes were public enemy number one?

As for the benefits to be reaped by our fair city I certainly can’t see any, at least beyond the overtime for police and the financial windfall for chain link fence moguls. I’ve heard the theory that our government deliberately chose the downtown core as the G-20 site to show off our robust financial sector — too bad the hard-working folks who have actually made our economy so robust have been relocated or otherwise inconvenienced by the summit.

But what do I know? You can watch this televised debate and hear people who are smarter than me weigh in on the subject.

As a potential terror threat ordinary citizen the message to me has been made quite clear: Keep your head down, do what you’re told and stay away from the security perimeter.

Culture of Fear, anyone?

16 comments:

  1. AC:

    I work in North York, but most of my downtown colleagues at my financial sector employer were shipped up here for the week. Because we’re all armed, er, equipped with laptops, most opted to work from home today so the office is really quiet.

    My employer’s spent a ton of money to move entire teams to outlying offices so as to not disrupt June 30th deadlines or ongoing work, colleagues have had to carry everything they need home each night in case they get sent to another location, etc. It’s cost my employer a lot of money as it has for any other businesses downtown. I feel for the small companies, like the food court operators, who have seen their client base stay away this week.

    This should be a time to celebrate Toronto and show it off to the world, but sadly it’s not.

    I live near Allen Gardens now, which is where some of the protests have staged and set off, so I’ve dressed down and will take the long way home tonight in case my ‘hood runs a bit hot. One building, closer to the park than mine, erected blue fences around itself, but I doubt the single sandbag on each base will stop anyone but the dogwalkers.

    BTW, based on the Pittsburgh experience, the protests, which have been both admirably self-policed and gnome-free so far, could get ugly not this weekend but on Monday after the barriers start to come down. Security will be relaxed but the cameras will still be around. Best to keep your gnomes indoors until later next week…

    Ed

  2. AC:

    I work in North York, but most of my downtown colleagues at my financial sector employer were shipped up here for the week. Because we’re all armed, er, equipped with laptops, most opted to work from home today so the office is really quiet.

    My employer’s spent a ton of money to move entire teams to outlying offices so as to not disrupt June 30th deadlines or ongoing work, colleagues have had to carry everything they need home each night in case they get sent to another location, etc. It’s cost my employer a lot of money as it has for any other businesses downtown. I feel for the small companies, like the food court operators, who have seen their client base stay away this week.

    This should be a time to celebrate Toronto and show it off to the world, but sadly it’s not.

    I live near Allen Gardens now, which is where some of the protests have staged and set off, so I’ve dressed down and will take the long way home tonight in case my ‘hood runs a bit hot. One building, closer to the park than mine, erected blue fences around itself, but I doubt the single sandbag on each base will stop anyone but the dogwalkers.

    BTW, based on the Pittsburgh experience, the protests, which have been both admirably self-policed and gnome-free so far, could get ugly not this weekend but on Monday after the barriers start to come down. Security will be relaxed but the cameras will still be around. Best to keep your gnomes indoors until later next week…

    Ed

  3. Good advice, re: the gnomes.

    I actually happened upon a protest yesterday — at King West & Church Streets of all places. I’m pretty sure it was the World Vision one, and it looked more like a Nuit Blanche installation to be honest.

    Too bad it was tucked away where nobody could see it.

  4. Good advice, re: the gnomes.

    I actually happened upon a protest yesterday — at King West & Church Streets of all places. I’m pretty sure it was the World Vision one, and it looked more like a Nuit Blanche installation to be honest.

    Too bad it was tucked away where nobody could see it.

  5. And you didn’t even mention the fake lake that cost $2 million (Canadian, I assume, although the number could have been translated for my benefit by the American media). Can you remember the 1988 G20 in Toronto? Any comparisons?

    If you haven’t yet, go read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother right now. It (hopefully) won’t feel as applicable as right now. But… maybe go get Tor and use that to download it. Just so they don’t come down banging on your door for accessing another subversive book.

  6. And you didn’t even mention the fake lake that cost $2 million (Canadian, I assume, although the number could have been translated for my benefit by the American media). Can you remember the 1988 G20 in Toronto? Any comparisons?

    If you haven’t yet, go read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother right now. It (hopefully) won’t feel as applicable as right now. But… maybe go get Tor and use that to download it. Just so they don’t come down banging on your door for accessing another subversive book.

  7. I haven’t read the Art of Intrusion yet, but I have The Art of Deception on my shelf behind me at work. http://www.librarything.com/work/58840/book/61519006

    Currently reading “inside Cyber Warfare” and it’s quite good.

    Little Brother is basically kids fighting against a police state (in San Francisco) using Linux. It’s a great, easy read, and apropos for your summit.

    I think the G8 is being held outside Toronto, but the G20 is just too big, so they had to take over your fair city.

  8. I haven’t read the Art of Intrusion yet, but I have The Art of Deception on my shelf behind me at work. http://www.librarything.com/work/58840/book/61519006

    Currently reading “inside Cyber Warfare” and it’s quite good.

    Little Brother is basically kids fighting against a police state (in San Francisco) using Linux. It’s a great, easy read, and apropos for your summit.

    I think the G8 is being held outside Toronto, but the G20 is just too big, so they had to take over your fair city.

  9. The City of Toronto offered Exhibition Place, a large but self-contained fairground, but the Prime Minister wanted the convention centre instead. The Ex would have been far less disruptive because it’s not surrounded by Canada’s primary financial and business district, but the hotels where thousands of G20 staffers are staying are closer to the convention centre.

    I’m sitting about 15 km (9 miles) away from the security zone, and it’s really quiet for a Friday up here–no traffic, nobody in the office. I wonder if the World Cup TV and ‘net traffic is way up in Toronto and surrounding areas?

    Ed

  10. The City of Toronto offered Exhibition Place, a large but self-contained fairground, but the Prime Minister wanted the convention centre instead. The Ex would have been far less disruptive because it’s not surrounded by Canada’s primary financial and business district, but the hotels where thousands of G20 staffers are staying are closer to the convention centre.

    I’m sitting about 15 km (9 miles) away from the security zone, and it’s really quiet for a Friday up here–no traffic, nobody in the office. I wonder if the World Cup TV and ‘net traffic is way up in Toronto and surrounding areas?

    Ed

  11. AC:

    Hope you weathered all the trouble on Queen West Saturday and Sunday.

    For a city that is great to live, to work, to play in, this past weekend was painful for me to witness. I was happy that 10,000 people marched in protest peacefully, but a few hundred morons and thousands of police overshadowed that accomplishment with what can only be called immaturity, idiocy, and willful ignorance of what democracy is and should be.

    The sad thing is that all of this crap is left in the hands of city officials to explain, not the fucktards in Ottawa who decided to hold it here. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits, local merchants are out money because of uninsurable damages, and the people who actually live here must start to clean it all up.

    I was glad, for once, to hear the truck tipping the dumpsters below my bedroom window at 7 this morning–a sign that our great city is getting back to its feet.

    Let’s hope the next time Canada hosts this thing they hold it in Ottawa so the feds have to see what they’ve done.

    Ed

  12. AC:

    Hope you weathered all the trouble on Queen West Saturday and Sunday.

    For a city that is great to live, to work, to play in, this past weekend was painful for me to witness. I was happy that 10,000 people marched in protest peacefully, but a few hundred morons and thousands of police overshadowed that accomplishment with what can only be called immaturity, idiocy, and willful ignorance of what democracy is and should be.

    The sad thing is that all of this crap is left in the hands of city officials to explain, not the fucktards in Ottawa who decided to hold it here. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits, local merchants are out money because of uninsurable damages, and the people who actually live here must start to clean it all up.

    I was glad, for once, to hear the truck tipping the dumpsters below my bedroom window at 7 this morning–a sign that our great city is getting back to its feet.

    Let’s hope the next time Canada hosts this thing they hold it in Ottawa so the feds have to see what they’ve done.

    Ed

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