We spent our May Day morning watching a brilliant depiction of the police state in action, focusing on the control and ever-more-constrictive containment of public space as seen from the perspective of the contained, us.
From Press For Truth:
Press For Truth Presents Into The Fire World leaders and activists from around the world gathered for the G20 Summit. With over 19,000 police officers and security personnel on hand, the results lead to over 1100 arrests, martial law in downtown Toronto, and the most massive violation of civil liberties in Canadian history.
Directed by Dan Dicks
Produced by Steven Davies, Bryan Law and Dan Dicks
Music by Dan Dicks
Our takeaway: Through the focus on one particular event, the 26-27 June 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, the film provides a critical filter for screening many of the events domination the headlines these days.
While the focus is particular, the elements are general, and in widespread use across the globe.
Justification and enablement
In the wake of 9/11 legislation passed in the U.S., Britain, and other nations have given police unprecedented powers to invade and control physical, social, and personal space. In Canada, they chose to do it a different way: Through the unannounced revival of a dormant piece of state security law passed in 1939 when Canada went to war against the Nazis.
While the focus is on Toronto, the same conditions exist in the post-9/11 United States and many other countries. Through massive expansion of police surveillance powers, ranging from the video surveillance technology so thoroughly documented in the film to unprecedented access to our passions and pursuits through monitoring of the electronic ways we communicate both with others and ourselves, our public lives have be come the private viewing and listen of countless anonymous eyes and ears in drab government cubicles housed in windowless rooms.
The omnipresent voyeur
In one sequence, a member of the team is arrested, and thanks to the omnipresent police surveillance video, we are able to follow him into the makeshift prison, see him from above in his cage-like cell, and watch as he interrogated. Fittingly, this all happens in the Toronto Film Studio — converted into a temporary prison in advance of the G20 meeting
The strangely absent enforcers
Note in the section that begins at about 30 minutes the strange passivity of police when the Black Bloc folks began attacking stores and even police cars, in a spree that lasted well over an hour with no interference by police. At one point, the video captures a police commander yelling “Disengage” at his troops, ordering them to stop interfering with the folks who’re doing all the damage. Very, very odd, no? It’s as though police wanted the violence. As one protester yells, “This is just a photo op.”
And at about 46 minutes, there’s a fascinating sequence of men and women in street clothes — and some clad in the garb of the Black Bloc — and armed with the same collapsible batons as the uniformed officers, and occasionally using them to strike out at bystanders equipped with cameras]. They’re allowed through police lines, and even given back pats for uniformed folk. The only logical conclusion: They’re police provocateurs and spies.
Send in the cavalry
Only then comes the violence, complete with cavalry charge and the brutal treatment of a government tax officer in mufti, who is beaten, stripped on his artificial leg, and dragged prone over concrete, gashing his elbows — only to Continue reading