Sep 152014

“IDENTITY CORRECTION”  – - a fun way to get a point across.   To re-define.

What is it?

Andy Bichlbaum, Yes Men parodist:


Key Principle at work

The real action is your target’s reaction

Often the most revealing moment in a successful identity correction is the reaction of the target. When you identity-correct a major corporation, you force them to react.

They can’t let the lie that tells the truth stand in the media.

GE had to tell the press it was NOT returning its questionable tax refund to stand in solidarity with struggling Americans.

Dow Chemical had to issue a statement indicating it had NOT apologized for the Bhopal disaster and would NOT be compensating the victims.


Identity correction potential, Lockheed Martin?   

Canadians have not been told:

Lockheed Martin has been forced out of Statistics Canada by citizen protest.    (Details are in other postings on this blog)

The Yes Men explain to citizens how to use the tool of identity correction.

Wouldn’t it be fun to develop a plan to apply the win against Lockheed Martin’s role at Statistics Canada for identity correction?!  

A parody could certainly be made of Statistics Canada’s misrepresentation of the level of non-compliance with the Census.  They have claimed 98% compliance, always quoting the percentage.

But in the transcript from the trial of Audrey Tobias  the numbers used by StatsCan (mathematicians?) to arrive at 2% non-compliance are provided:

  • 1.6 million households out of
  • 14.6 million did not comply.
  • That’s non-compliance of roughly 11% , not 2% -  more than 1 in 10 households did not comply.

Further potential for parody:

they ended Lockheed Martin’s career at StatsCan because of protest (and rising non-compliance, I suspect) but then continued to threaten the protesters with prosecution, jail-time and a fine.  Not everyone succumbed to the threats:

  • 89-year-old Audrey Tobias went to Trial, October 2013
  • 79-year-old Janet Churnin, November 2013
  • (younger yoga instructor) Eve Stegenga, July 2014

All of these women protested the involvement of Lockheed Martin.

WHY the prosecutions?   What a colossal waste of everyone’s time and money, when the decision had already been made by the time of the Tobias trial  to end Lockheed Martin’s involvement.

Parody potential?



For statistical purposes, Eve Stegenga lives below the poverty line. She cannot afford the cost of being on Trial, of defending herself against the charges.   Taking the time necessary to preparing for Trial is time robbed from her self-employment, the ability to generate money to pay for basic necessities.   (Eve is not “poor”.   She lives a healthy, vital, connected, rich and productive life.)

Therein lies the parody.   She is stacked up against the legalese and numerous senior lawyers within the Federal Department of Justice, also the resources of Statistics Canada.   You could say, Eve against the whole Federal Government.

Whose interests are being served by the continued prosecutions?   Where are the benefits for tax-payers and citizens?

- – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Note to self:  Lockheed Martin forced out by citizens

  • The International Community will be interested.
  • The news will go to the dozens of Peace Groups on Facebook, including Journalists for Peace.
  • It will go into the large North American networks of people working against corporate dominance, including Occupy and Idle No More.
  • The International Community working to get George Bush and Associates arrested and brought before the Courts in The Hague have a direct interest because of Lockheed Martin’s role in starting the illegal war of aggression on the people or Iraq.
  • People in Muslim communities will want to know of the victory against Lockheed Martin.  Muslim countries have been hit hard by the illegal war and the dropping of bombs from drones.
  • The international Marches Against Monsanto (many of the organizers are Moms) are now informed to the point of understanding that Corporate America is a huge problem. They will view the win against Lockheed Martin as fuel for “We can do it“.
  • The news of the win will spread and travel far, whether or not mainstream media engages with the story.



 Posted by at 11:53 am
Sep 132014

(I marked the 6th last paragraph with >>>.   Remedies put forth by John McMurtry.)


The University Wars:

The Corporate Administration versus the Vocation of Learning


Address to Faculty and Students

Neatby-Timlin Lecture Theatre

University of Saskatchewan

April 7, 2009


by John McMurtry Ph.D, F.R.S.C.


My experience of the university extends over almost half a century. For the first 20-odd years, I was worried the place was disconnected from the real world in self-referential guild specialties. For the next 20-odd years, I have observed the cumulative subordination of the university to corporate-market methods and to rising financial-management appropriation of public educational funds by central administrations – all with no accountability to academic standards.


This invisible occupation of the academy by a corporate agenda forwarded by central administrations within universities has been analysed by University of Saskatchewan’s own Howard Woodhouse in his forthcoming book, Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market.1 Tracking of this corporate invasion of the academy ultimately leads back to what is not examined – the unaccountable right of central administrations to spend public money on their own growth, privileges and salaries instead of the constitutional objectives of the university – advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge. University presidents who once received a faculty member’s salary with a modest stipend now arrange with their business-dominated boards to be paid more than the U.S. President while incurring steeper debts and raising tuition fees for debt-ridden students.


This is why I wrote the president of my own university on March 30 a week ago as follows.

Subject: Verification

Dear Alastair:

I am giving a faculty-invited lecture at the University of Saskatchewan in a few days entitled “Corporate Administration versus the Learning Vocation”. I read in the Guelph Tribune, March 27, 2009, that you “received a $47,000 increase in salary last year, making his salary near $450,000″ and that “were paraphrased as saying students “might have to work more, take on more debt, or not return to the U of G next year so they can earn more money before returning”.

I intend to cite these disclosures as exemplifying the conflict referred to in the title of my public lecture; but I seek verification first that there is nothing substantively inaccurate in this account.

I frankly hope this CEO appropriation of education funds in a time of public outrage at grossly inflated incomes of revenue administrations in times of rising debts and cutbacks elsewhere is not true at the University of Guelph under your presidency. It shames the office and the institution, and undermines the university’s shared learning vocation by a culture of irresponsible pecuniary selfishness at the top.

Critical reason without deference to established opinion or power is the right of academic freedom. Yet which university faculties have stood up for it on their own campuses as the university has been invaded by anti-academic forces for over 20 years?

How did this corporatization of the academy begin? To make a long story short, university presidents planned with corporate executives to defund the universities – I quote from their own records – “to provide a greater incentive in the university community to seek out corporate partners”.2  This early strategy was planned by the Corporate Higher Education Forum (CHEF), originally founded in 1983 to join 25 university presidents to 25 senior executives of major corporations in setting the “new direction” for universities. The acronym C-H-E-F – CHEF – reveals the CEO agenda. Corporations were thereby empowered to redirect university researchers by leverage-funding to only that research from which they could privately profit. Most academics were and are so caught up in their career micro-worlds that they collaborated to get funds.

“Bring your knowledge to market” has been the master slogan throughout. In the words of one professor promoted to deputy minister of education, and then to head of a major national research granting council at the beginning of the corporate market takeover: “I contend that the one global object of education must be for the people of Ontario to develop new services which we can offer in trade in the world market”.3 This position is incoherent in principle, but has increasingly reigned across the educational system.


The Deciding Collaboration

Few faculty penetrate the underlying contradiction in purpose and method between the market’s private exchanges for money and the university’s community of advanced learning – even as low-paid sessional teachers carry more and more of university teaching loads, multiplying fees and debt-loads for students put university out of reach of the poor, and salaries for those in privileged and management positions escalate as cutbacks on courses and programs are imposed. Yet students have been conditioned to the same program of winning pecuniary self-advantage as all that counts. When I have asked my large first-year classes in philosophy, “Who thinks the goal of a university education is to make more money?” about 95% have raised their hands. Once Ronald Reagan became popular as the US president with a credo of “American freedom is the freedom to get rich”, the value rot seemed to set in.

The results are not pretty. University presidents now conceive themselves as corporate CEO’s of hundreds-of-millions of dollars. Research is increasingly only possible with outside money backing it. Campuses are ever more pervasively festooned with corporate ads and brands in every medium. Student market surveys are the administrative measures of quality of teaching as they are made into debt slaves. Sessionals with non-living wages multiply in the university in place of research faculty. Academic spaces morph into sites for big-business commodity sales. Science and humanities buildings are renamed after leaders of the university’s marketization. And multinational corporations control the academic journal and textbook system across borders in accordance with money-first values.

Few seem to observe that this financial marketization has led the rest of the world to ecological, social and economic collapse; nor the coincidence of this profile with the academy as its knowledge servant. Even less do corporate administrations notice the contradiction of values between the academy’s purpose of critical search for truth and the corporate market’s final goal of financial self-maximization which lies behind the university’s stripping down to a commercial venture. In direct value opposition, good reasoning and research require educators and researchers to pursue the truth wherever it leads independently of money payoffs to self. To devote long hours to research and rewriting if it adds time-costs without money payoffs is irrational in the market, but what all in-depth pursuit of the truth demands.

Unfortunately, senior academic administrations now may actually assist wealthy corporate interests in the silencing of truth. In the now famous case of University of Toronto, Dr. Nancy Olivieri was censured for disclosing life-and-death information about an Apotech product’s effects. University attacks on her position occurred just as the President, Robert Pritchard, was in the midst of negotiations to receive a multi-million dollar donation from the very same corporation seeking to silence Dr. Olivieri. Administrators who presided over false attacks were promoted to more lucrative positions, including the current President of University of Toronto.

As the eminent scientist and humanist, Ursula Franklin, has memorably said from her own experience of the 1930′s era of Nazi Germany in Europe and the corporatizing academy today: “They had their collaborators, and we have ours”. On the government plane, the sell-out of research with public dollars for private corporate exploitation is made a national command. “Tripling of the commercialization of university research”, Paul Martin proclaimed as he became Prime Minister in 2004, “is not nearly fast enough”.


Giving Away University’s Research to Transnational Corporations to Exploit Students

A second level of contradiction between market and academic models is between the methods of dissemination. The control of all knowledge that corporations can copyright or patent is an ultimately regulating principle of the global market. Indeed, this right to market monopoly of ideas is pursued and extended to the utmost by 20-year patents on life-saving remedies, control of seed varieties, and corporate copyrights on journal articles and texts – all typically discovered within universities themselves. I myself have been unsuccessfully blocked from putting relevant article and chapter publications on reserve for students for their copy use although I was the author of them.

This is the extent to which university administrations have gone in enforcing the corporate agenda against students’ learning interests. It is now a general fact that academic journals themselves have become copyright-controlled by private corporations’ buying up the journals, and then multiplying the prices for their purchase and use by university libraries whose own faculties have created the material for no cost to the corporations. Indeed there is a standard copyright form required to be signed by faculty authors whose work is produced and refereed free for corporately owned journals, and these forms demand exclusive copyright in perpetuity to the private corporate proprietor for no returns to the author, the university, or the public who support both. I always add a specific condition removing this exclusive world copyright, but typically risk or am threatened with non-publication. There has been no such resistance to signing these forms, I am told, by other academic authors.

Thus the public, the students and the universities pay for faculties to research and publish and for all the university resources to support them, while private corporations buy the vehicles of publication to sell them back to the university communities who have created them – and at staggering rising prices that beggar libraries themselves. The academy’s freedom of knowledge dissemination is thus reversed, but university administrators and funders increasingly press for still more commercialization of university knowledge creation while they give most of it away to their corporate senior partners. When such hijacking of publicly-funded academic resources for external private profit at the expense of libraries and students is enforced by university administrations themselves, one wonders as to their cognitive competence even at asset trading.

The abandonment of the academy’s vocation seems to have reached into the identity of researchers themselves. Faculty and grad students conceive of their worth in terms of their money and grant revenues, and mould their work to maximize their money returns. Yet development of abilities of critical and autonomous thought is what the academy stands for and is tax supported to provide. In direct opposition, easy consumption of ready-made commodities is what the corporate market provides to those who can pay. We know that if anyone tries to buy their way into or through university, s/he is liable to expulsion as a cheat. But if the academy follows market values, why shouldn’t students buy their papers from sellers of their choice? If all that is involved is an exchange to get what you want for the least price, the free market way, why is this wrong?

Rallying in support of academic freedom and Professor Denis Rancourt of the University of Ottawa who the grading system itself, Professors David Noble and Nancy Olivieri from York and Toronto have explained the purpose of Universities very well. I quote them now:

“Universities stand alone among our social institutions in their professed and acknowledged dedication to the pursuit and dissemination of the truth. They are the public’s only presumed repository of dependably disinterested expertise, drawn upon routinely by courts, government, and the media for the facts, authoritative assessments, and legitimacy. In a universe saturated by advertisers and public relations people with spin, deceit, fraud and fabrication the universities serve as a unique resource for citizens in need of the real story. This is one of the chief reasons why the public has so generously subsidized institutions of higher education and endowed its disciplined truth-seekers and truth-tellers with extraordinary protections from censorship – academic freedom -and job insecurity – tenure. These hallmarks of academia are not perks or privileges but obligations, calling upon academics to attend to their core responsibility of providing the public with the truth.”

Yet human reason and life coherent truth seeking are now incarcerated within a get-rich-quick program which corporate administrations imitate and impose on university communities at every level. In the global market as a whole, the ultimate drive-wheel of value is to turn money into more money for money managers and possessors in which the corporate rich at the top loot the world and the public treasury for ever more in cash, perquisites and command power for themselves.  Self-multiplying corporate university administrations have been an unidentified fifth column of imposing this meta-program on universities where they are at the front line of privatizing the knowledge commons for patent, proprietary and money-bearing accounts, and where their own corporate hierarchy of pay, privileges and servant positions is always growing.

Academically unaccountable to the learning purposes of the university, central administrations perpetually cut back on the teaching, learning and research front lines of the university to pay for this growth. This cancer-like pattern is then, in perhaps the greatest irony of our condition, defended against public critics under the public mask of “academic autonomy”.


Recognizing Corporate Administrations:


There are five properties by which we can recognize corporate administrations:

(1) They have exclusive hierarchical signing control of all financial expenditures, their ultimate lever of control and command which is mystified as their “leadership”;

(2) They do not perform the constitutional goals and primary functions of the academy – to advance learning and disseminate knowledge;

(3) They draw off ever more of the academy’s financial and physical resources to multiply their positions and incomes;

(4) They call themselves “the University” although they perform no function of advancing or disseminating learning;

(5) They selectively gang-attack faculty members for opposite to academic reasons  [as Professor of Sociology, Ken Westhues, superbly describes in his book, The Envy of Excellence : Administrative Mobbing of High-achieving Professors4].


Where administrators do not conform to this pattern, they may become genuine academic leaders – a possibility which has looked dim, but is worth robust support wherever it occurs.

At present, we may most deeply understand the university wars of corporate administrations versus the learning vocation by laying bare their opposite structures of rationality, method and purpose. Corporate administrators and their retinues follow the meta program of

(i) self-maximizing strategies in

(ii) conditions of scarcity or conflict over

(iii) desired payoffs at

(iv) minimum costs for the self to

(v) appropriate ever more for self with no productive contribution.


In direct opposition, those in the learning vocation follow an opposite inner value code:

(i) to maximize learning advancement and dissemination by

(ii) knowledge sharing without limit for

(iii) understanding and truth as ultimate value in itself at

(iv) any cost of difficulty to

(v) develop humanity’s more inclusive comprehension of natural and human phenomena.


We may see corporate administrations warring against the learning vocation by the following practices.

  • University patent hunting and corporate research displace science;
  • knowledge sharing is prohibited by contract and specialty lock-in;
  • research is made dependent on external money received by faculty and graduate students;
  • understanding and truth are not and ends in themselves, but are warped into what products pay more;
  • every decision is increasingly financialized with money gain the supreme value;
  • and those who follow the search for truth where it leads against the ruling value program are besieged by bureaucratic campaigns of anti-educative isolation and destruction of academic freedom – for example, inciting students to formal complaint, closing off academic resources, published personal attacks and – perhaps, as in the case of Professor Denis Rancourt – CEO banning from campus, handcuffing and firing of the heretic.

By these practices, the academy’s shared search for truth is suffocated and euthanized from within – that is, until faculties and students collectively stand for the learning vocation against its despoliation.


Financialization of the Academy: The Totalitarian Drift


To get a sense of the academy’s increasing submergence in corporate-market values, consider the words of the past Harvard President, Larry Summers, now chief economic adviser to the Obama administration. He was interviewed by the Globe and Mail in glowing admiration after a lecture to University of Toronto. (May 24, 2003). “The essential truth”, he declared, is that all “basic value” – including “literacy” – is “linked to market growth”.

We may formalize the equation of the paradigm corporate president as follows: More/less money-value sales = more/less market growth = more/less “basic values” for the world. No substantiation of the given equations is deemed necessary. No explanation of contra-indicative evidence is conceived. Yet mind-staggering implications follow that are not seen. Whatever is without a market price is, therefore, without any value – the world’s biodiversity of species, for example. Life itself is of no value except as it sells for a market price. So too research and knowledge. If they are not marketable, they do not exist. The truth is what sells.

An unseen onto-ethic rules here. As with soaps, so with universities. Sales pitches metamorphize reality into miracles of more value added in the market, and money sequences leave ever more money in the hands of money managers. This magical thinking is, of course, the very opposite of the search for truth. But the mind has become totalitarian. Recently, the New York Times gave much page and blog space to Stanley Fish, an academic servant to money and power as Allan Bloom and Leo Strauss before him. Fish’s tirade against academics following “the inner light” – his words – required, he concluded, the use of coercive force against them. Professors need to be reduced to a master-servant relationship with “their employer” as all other employees: that is, with university CEO’s and designates who hire and fire by unilateral control of purse-strings with no ultimate accountability to academic standards.5 Fish’s prancings for the boss in the New York Times are a sign of things to come.

The seductive kudo which keeps academics feeling on top, however, is that their work is the leading edge of the “global knowledge economy”. Yet who in the academy asks what the criterion of “knowledge” is here”? I have not heard the question raised, or the answer given. The reason is that what “knowledge” means here is symbolic sequences that reduce money costs or increase money revenues for money managers and possessors. That is what “accountability” means to them. Thus teaching comes to mean only what produces graduates to make more money in the global market than without their degree, with ever higher tuition fees as the costs for sale of their skills at a higher price. At the same time, selling campus grounds as marketing sites fits the same money-value program – corporate ads, junk foods and market franchises invading space and sightlines across university schools, buildings, lecture halls, and courses.

Perhaps the deepest level of violation of the higher learning vocation has been in corporate -partner research. At my own university, most of the agricultural and veterinarian research has been channeled into high-cost input products which distort animal bodies and adulterate foods (eg., bovine growth hormones and GMO’s). In general, the mission as elsewhere is to “bring research to market”, increasingly leveraging the academy into service to large private-profit enterprises. What was once unthinkable in the free academy – research and resources for private monied interests – has come to be the norm. Consider an official booklet on the research-market connection actively distributed by V-P- Research offices in the relevant universities. “Increasing competition for research funding”, it warned, “will demand that Canada identifies its research strengths and capabilities to focus on those areas with highest value and return on investment – - Priorities for applied research are set by the marketplace via partnerships eg. industry funds research that fits their priorities. – - Augmented private sector participation in research priority setting will – - ensure scientists have access to the appropriate market signals, are aware of the technology requirements of industry, and can focus their research appropriately”.6

Note how the university researcher is reduced to a reaction formation to market price-signals. Observe that government implicitly commands the conformity of university researchers to this market-servant role. The pattern is all too clear. Senior administrations propagate this imperative to faculty to abdicate research independence to compete for external funds so that administrations can take 25% off the top or off-load graduate education costs onto faculty grants. But who stands against the reversal of the academy’s vocation?  Which university’s faculty association takes up the cause of independent science and research?

In the standard “university-corporation partnerships”, university researchers must find projects which corporations are willing to co-fund for private profit. As a result, independent research in the public interest that is most urgently required is silently selected out – for example in the agricultural and food sciences, integrated pest management, organic farming for productive efficiency, management-intensive grazing, small-scale producer co-operatives, and alternatives to factory-processed livestock and to ecological contamination by genetically-engineered commodities. In fact, all of these domains of constructive research for sustainable agriculture and the public interest have been effectively defunded and attacked by conforming researchers – even as the public need for these researched alternatives becomes a matter of life-and-death significance for farmers and the world. Non-proprietary research for the public benefit does not attract corporate sponsors.

Thus at the general level, the most important scientific and rational innovations are pre-empted form the start – from unpatented low-cost pharmaceuticals to mandatory collective recycling systems, to non-profit alternatives to private-auto transit, to national public-water and energy programs, to any permitted critical reflection on values or depth research into the ruling economic system itself. What corporate or government funding agency will sponsor any in-depth research into any reigning social, political or economic practice and norm? Investigation of the causal mechanism of the ruling value system itself is out of bounds. A built-in gate-keeping against raising deep-structural problems is instituted at the money-management level.

In the humanities in many universities now, professors must bring in money from outside the university to defray the costs of their student’s graduate education, or they cannot have graduate students. Educational costs are thus downloaded onto faculty themselves who are forced to become fund entrepreneurs to stay alive in the game. Those not competing successfully at getting grants have no graduate students, a central demerit within administration’s annual rank and money reward process. Faculty are generally so wound up in getting the grant money they do not analyse what is going on, and even imagine this is what identifies original research. The entire higher learning process is thereby subjugated by financialization at another level.

Yet where is the structure of money rule resisted? Either faculty get money committed from private corporations who are structured to repel any finding against their interests, or they lose their lab space. Either they bring money into administrations’ revenues from a government or private funding body which will not fund system-critical research, or their research and graduate students are shut off. No financial mechanism for external control of postgraduate and faculty research could work better. Consider here what corporations find no profit in. It is not just preventative medicines for third-world malaria which kills over a million people a year, or diet-exercise routines to prevent epidemic diseases in our own society, or critical study of life-blind norms and social causal mechanisms. Nothing that does not pay off in more money to administrations is supported within the corporate university. This is why there may be no graduates or faculty now studying anything of what I have spoken today, or indeed any critical issue or thinker relating to the principles and reign of the total money-sequence order itself. Exceptions indicate the rule.

The ultimate assault on the university’s vocation is at the level of truth-seeking itself. The university is constitutionally committed to critically reasoned inquiry which goes wherever the quest for truth leads it. The truth is not an end state, but an open process in which partialities are continually exposed by thinking through deep assumptions, evidence and connections. This thinking through is the nature of learning and knowledge. Reason’s movement is always by a more inclusive taking into coherent account open to counter-evidence and argument. This inner logic governs all disciplines – from the problem of self and other in philosophy, to the nature of tropes in literature, to the hypotheses of subatomic waves and particles in physics. In one way or another, the critical search for more comprehensively coherent understanding leads the academy in every domain and the human condition itself. Deprived of the freedom to pursue truth independently of external money for administration to rake in, the academy’s learning vocation is blocked at the depths and at the leading edges across domains.

Yet surface images are what now rule as in Plato’s Cave where all are chained by their conditioning to see only projected illusions. In direct contradiction to the search for truth by life-coherent reason, the ruling global corporate order succeeds in all domains by one-sided conditioning of unconscious desires of buyers so as to maximize sales of products for money returns to money managers and possessors. This is today’s psychological law of motion to sell the system and its goods. This is why university managements now spin and lie as much as any other self-maximizing financial operation.  Excellence is what gets more money coming in. If sales increase by imaging and commercials that merely condition unconscious desires, then these are necessary to “grow business”. The corporate university thus joins in public relations reversal of reason as its own mode of thought and communication.


Forms of Faculty and Student Action to Reclaim the Academy


The known standard of research to guard against conflict of interest and cooked results is straighforward. Any research in which the funder has a financial stake in the outcome is a conflict of interest which must be ruled out. Yet this standard of research independence and validity has been usurped by the new order. For example, when a “research integrity” clause was explicitly specified on two occasions by decision of the Medical Research Council of Canada, it was annulled with no justification by the central administration.7 If universities are not to be so subordinated to outer control, such a research integrity condition must be re-instituted on campuses to protect higher research from conflicts of interest and cooked science – with all donations to a general pool of grants funds for independent research.

Just as research biased by conflict of interest must be stopped, so too the making of graduate student supervision dependent on external revenues captured by faculty. Faculty dependency on outside money determines the topics and direction of faculty research. One must usually spend countless hours in bureaucratic lock-steps to tailor research proposals ‘on spec’ to fit gatekeeper preconceptions so as to get funds. Solicitous grantmanship and dominant academic fads of the day thus supplant original and critical inquiry. This further level of financialization is, however, itself taboo to discuss for fear of offending the granting authorities.

Yet one has to wonder, why have the most self-evident defences of the academy’s research integrity been so easily overidden over by corporate administrations? Why have faculty and faculty organizations submitted to these pecuniary inversions of academic freedom and standards of research integrity? Collective academic presence has been lacking.

>>>   This why an independent Faculty Board of Academic Review (or Academic Freedom to fit current categories) – needs to bring active scholars across disciplines into one independent body on every university campus to review all administrative decisions so as to ensure against financially-led distortions and depredations of research and teaching – including by arbitrary administrative cuts of courses to claw back money to central administrations to spend on inflated executive bureacracies, self-display expenditures and corporate-management salaries. Cuts must begin at the top where they do not affect teaching, research and learning. Campus-based faculty associations and unions must in the end be willing to strike for protection of the university’s objectives against system-wide violations by corporate administrations. At the same time, such a faculty academic review body needs to institute formal evaluations of the performance of local central administrations by faculty questionnaires, just as faculty are evaluated by their students, with publication of the findings.

The faculty review committee needs also to press hard specifically for ceilings on academically wasteful balloon-salaries as an item of faculty negotiations – for starter norms, no salary higher than the provincial premier’s in public administration, and no faculty salary more than three times greater than the lowest-paid faculty. Once the facts on the systematic misallocation of public education funds are flushed into the open, corporate administration and overpaid faculty positions are made more accountable for expenditures on non-educative functions. Even right-wing politicians are shocked by the money and prerogatives unproductive administrations have increasingly showered on themselves and favorites with no teaching or research function. In fact, salary ceilings should be generalized across the campus and the saved costs applied to teaching and learning purposes. Those in the university for more money as their ruling goal would then be free to leave the academy where they do not belong.

The whip hand of financial cutback and self-serving in the hands of an unaccountable money management has terrorized long enough.  Bear in mind what has already happened and lies in store. In the last week before this lecture, I have observed a distinguished research professor in the U.S. being fired for questioning Israel state policies (Joel Kovel at Barnard), been informed that a long-term professor of physics is banned and then handcuffed for showing a documentary (Denis Rancourt at the University of Ottawa), and e-mailed by a professor colleague in Britain that the administration of a London University closed down classrooms to stop discussions of the G-20 summit. In the historical background, graduates of business programs have almost doubled, while social sciences and history have almost halved since the 1970′s in the United States. Overall, any research and learning space to stand back and ask ultimate questions of meaning, values and purpose or expose ruling assumptions has been systemically abridged.

Let me conclude. If the invading corporate-money forces are not pro-actively resisted at the level of collective contract – as distinguished from last-ditch defences of a few controversial victims – there will be no end to this usurpation of the academy’s independence and free inquiry. Consider that the courts have already ruled in the U.S. that “the state must have the ability to control the manner in which university employees (ie. Faculty) discharge their duties” and that “academic freedom cannot be invoked in a judicial proceeding” (as Stanley Fish seeks to be normalized).  Unless faculty stand up for accountability to academic standards of research and learning within the university, corporate administrations deploying unilateral financial levers and top-down restructuring will hollow out the academy like almost everything else on the planet – as the record already shows.

If it were not for the collapse of the wider global system of unregulated money-management, perhaps this slow-motion coup d’etat of Canada’s university system would just keep going under the radar. But it cannot go on if faculty and student bodies join in an institutional countervailing force in sustained commitment to the vocation of independent research and learning – where reasoning in the common interest, not unaccountable money control decides. In inherited daily practice, this right to seek and disseminate the truth is still alive, and no calling to account more effectively positions campus suits in their place.

Standing up for the university’s powers of reason, research and learning in everyday life and by independent faculty review is the long suppressed imperative. Collective academic monitoring, public exposing and strike where required can bring corporate financialization to ground in the academy better than elsewhere because the institutional vocation is the advance of learning, not more money control for corporate management. Reclaiming the university for higher learning is the one demand that cannot be publicly lied away.

1. Howard Woodhouse, Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.

2. Howard Buchbinder and Janice Newson, “Social Knowledge and Market Knowledge”, Gannet Centre Journal, 1991, 17-29.

3. Cited by William Graham, “From the President”, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Bulletin, 6:15, 1989.

4. Kenneth Westhues, The Envy of Excellence : Administrative Mobbing of High-achieving Professors. Lewiston N.Y.: Mellen Press, 2005.

5. Stanley Fish, “Are Academics Different?”, Stanley Fish Blog, New York Times,

6. The Canadian AgriFood Research Strategy 1997-2002, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa.

7. “On two occasions”, a senior member of the committee reports, “the MRC board moved and passed a motion that Pharma contributions of $60 million per year should be given with no strings attached i.e. added to the general pool of grant funds and not be adjudicated by committees with industry representatives. On both occasions, the motion died even though the standing committee on health also voted the same way.” “As to the assassin”, he adds, “it is not possible to say with certainty because it is done behind closed doors from the centre, likely the PMO .”(Correspondence with Dr. Robert McMurtry, May 10, 2008). It is worth noting that this testimony is given by a former Dean Of Medicine and Chief Medical Adviser to the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (the Romanow Commission).


 Posted by at 10:16 pm
Sep 102014

“Lockheed Martin is a leading provider of cyber security technology and services to the NSA” 

(last paragraph of Lockheed Martin’s webpage below.  A “screen capture” is appended.)

Lockheed Martin Hosts Cyber Defense Exercise Supporting NSA for 11th Year

April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/


Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) will host emerging cyber leaders from U.S. and Canadian military service academies to test their capabilities this week against experts from the National Security Agency in the annual Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX).


(Logo:  – - “Lockheed Martin We never forget who we’re working for”)


“Cyber Security is at the core of all we do, so each year we are inspired by these innovative students as they face challenges from veteran NSA experts,” said Darrell Durst, vice president of cyber solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions. “The students tackle the same types of threats our nation faces daily in cyber security. Whether detecting intruders, or adapting to sophisticated threats, NSA leverages this opportunity to educate the next generation of cyber professionals.”


Lockheed Martin coordinated with NSA to establish a private network for the exercise, which links all the academies with CDX headquarters at the Lockheed Martin facility in Hanover. The company is also providing technical support for CDX preparation and execution. Lockheed Martin is a leading provider of cyber security technology and services to the NSA and a number of defense and intelligence agencies.

 “Screen Capture” of the Lockheed Martin – NSA Relationship

Lockheed NSA Scr Capture Sep 2014Lockheed NSA Scrn Capture (2) Sep 2014

 Posted by at 7:00 pm
Sep 082014

Note:   My request to Board of Governors to end the relationhip with Lockheed Martin will hopefully be heard at one of the following meetings.   It went to the Board on August 20, in advance of:

  • October 9, 2014 (board meeting)
  • December 16 (board meeting)

= = = = = = = =

From: University Secretary Sent: August-20-14 3:01 PM   To: Sandra Finley; University Secretary Subject: RE: Submission to Board of Governors

Hello Sandra,

Thank you for your correspondence.  We have provided your letter to the Board of Governors, as per your request.


Sheena Rowan

University Secretary’s Office

= = = = = = = = = =



August 19, 2014


Sandra Finley

Qualicum Beach, BC


Board of Governors

University of Saskatchewan


Lee Ahenakew

Gordon Barnhart

David Dubé

Blaine Favel

Linda Ferguson

Max FineDay

Kathryn Ford

Grant Isaac

Grit McCreath

Susan Milburn

Greg Smith


Dear Members of the Board of Governors,


It will be prudent for the University to end its relationship with Lockheed Martin Corporation. I request you to consider the proposal.

Individually, you may not know about Lockheed Martin’s funding role at the University of Saskatchewan.

And you may not know about developments related to Lockheed Martin (details are appended):

  • An end to their contracts at Statistics Canada
  • The 20 minute Youtube documentary on SOFEX (the annual arms bazaar in Jordan, Lockheed Martin is visible)
  • The connection to Project Daniel that is using 3-D printer technology to give arms back to kids whose arms have been blown off
  • The strength and determination of the informed international movement to change the path we’re on

The world is rapidly evolving to a place different from the one I grew up in.  There are many good and great initiatives underway.  People from every country talk to each other, and help each other.   Shane Smith (the SOFEX documentary), Mick Ebeling (prosthetic arms from 3D printers) are two among thousands of examples.

Regarding the strength of the movement, citizens of all nations are empowered by the arts – - think of the impact of ONE BOOK and movie, alone – -  Lord of the Rings.  Frodo is every one of us.  We encounter allies amongst many peoples.  Together we exercise moral authority. The empowerment has been on-going for decades; you will know the newer versions of the Frodo story in our theatres.

There are many benefits for the U of S Board of Governors if they adjust University policies in alignment with the changes in the world.   You can project that “collaboration” with Lockheed Martin will have a detrimental effect on the University’s reputation at some point.

The propaganda of “communications consultants” is not a match for the proliferation of respected documentaries.   The role of Universities in the maintenance of an unacceptable status quo has been high-lighted by films like Inside Job, narrated by Matt Damon.

he asks tough questions and elicits squirms from several participants, notably former Treasury secretary David McCormick and Columbia dean Glenn Hubbard, . . .

Their reactions are understandable, since the borders between Wall Street, Washington, and the Ivy League dissolved years ago;

Large numbers of citizens understand that same relationship in different sectors of the economy, besides the financial.   The University of Sask is one example in the military-industrial-governmental-university complex.

The words of former General and President of the U.S., Dwight Eisenhower, are marshalled forth, you probably know them: President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell speech Plus Words of Wisdom from Eisenhower. 

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry . . .

There is sufficient awareness that a holding-to-account of universities will happen. Indeed, it is in the process of happening.

I will be appreciative if you will advise me of the outcome of your deliberations – - will the relationship between the University of Saskatchewan and Lockheed Martin Corporation enhance the reputation of the U of S?   Is it defensible?  If so, on what grounds?

To assist, some of the arguments that need to be refuted if the relationship continues, are contained in the appended.

Thank-you for your consideration.


Best wishes,

Sandra Finley

U of S Senator, Elected



The following  bit of elaboration makes the point of large mobilizations of people and money around moral authority.



Conscientious objection by Canadians to Lockheed Martin’s role at Statistics Canada has been sufficient to cause StatsCan to eliminate Lockheed’s role altogether by 2016.  (Source:  Transcript of the testimony by Yves Beland, Director of Census Operations, under oath.  at the October 2013 trial of Audrey Tobias,  they’re (Lockheed Martin) out of the picture totally.)


  1. The Business of War: SOFEX – YouTube  

Doing good in the world is profitable.  I think that Shane Smith became famous through his work to expose vice in the world.  Vice is now on HBO as a documentary TV-series hosted by Bill Maher, I am told. From the internet: Vice began as a magazine founded by Smith in Montreal in 1994, now a global company operating in 30 countries.  Today in his forties,Smith is worth an estimated $400 million, according to Forbes.

Smith hosted the 20 minute documentary on SOFEX.  Lockheed Martin comes in near the end of it.

Number of views, SOFEX:  

a million-and-a-quarter of the YouTube alone

42,000 more since July 22nd when I first noted the number.  I heard about the videoby word-of-mouth, not through advertising.

Number of views:

1,248,100 as at July 22

1,262,100 views 10 days later (Aug 1 AM)

1,268,197 views by August 5th

1,279,745 by August 12th

1, 290,765 as of Aug 19


I tweeted Smith to thank him, the video contributes to understanding the dynamics at play with the international manufacturers of munitions.

When making a decision about Lockheed Martin, I think the Board of Governors would want to know what is informing the public debate.



Project Daniel: 

Just before Thanksgiving 2013, Mick Ebeling returned home from Sudan’s Nuba Mountains where he set up what is probably the world’s first 3D-printing prosthetic lab and training facility. More tothe point of the journey is that Mick managed to give hope and independence back to a kid who, at age 14, had both his arms blown off and considered his life not worth living.  

By the time the team returned to their homes in the U.S., the local trainees had successfully printed and fitted another two arms, proving the project will have lasting benefit beyond the team’s presence. 

That Project Daniel successfully unfolded in a region where a cease-fire had expired (and where

fighting has now escalated), and that the people taught to utilize the 3D printers were barely familiar with computers, let alone the idea of 3D printers, is a milestone achievement that bears the potential for global impact. “We’re hopeful that other children and adults in other regions of Africa, as well as other continents around the globe, will utilize the power of this new technology for similar beginnings,” said Not Impossible founder Mick Ebeling. “We believe Daniel’s story will ignite a global campaign. The sharing of the prostheses’ specifications, which Not Impossible will provide free and open-source, will enable any person in need, anywhere on the planet, to use technology for its best purpose: restoring humanity.”


- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Or,  Listen in on  Not Impossible  founder Mick Ebeling’s conversation on CBC radio’s program “Q” right here:

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Aug 1st Spoke with and emailed Not Impossible.  Theresa   info >@>     310 667 9223    Venice, CA  to establish connection: 

There you are helping the kids whose arms have been blown off.

Here we are, working to stop Government money from going to Lockheed Martin Corporation, makers of cluster munitions that blow off kids’ limbs.


  1. There is hefty  mobilization around Gaza.  “if this isn’t an argument for the world to act in stopping this madness, I don’t know what is” – The children of Gaza – video (3.5 minutes):    The broadcaster also mentions the foreign aid role. 

(I notified Jon Snow that his video is being used in this communication.

Sent: August-05-14 12:12 PM To: ‘news >@>’ Subject: Jon Snow re Children of Gaza) 


  1. International Conventions, Cluster Munitions, Land Mines




  1. Re  THE ARGUMENT THAT “LOCKHEED MARTIN USA IS NOT THE SAME AS LOCKHEED MARTIN CANADA”, i.e.,  the subsidiary is independent of the parent:

In the Lockheed Martin – Census trials, the Justice Dept routinely claimed that Lockheed Martin Canada is a different company from Lockheed Martin USA. (Hence, the crimes committed by Lockheed Martin cannot be used at trial.)

In the last of the trials (Stegenga), the Prosecution did not pursue this line of argument after presentation to the Court of a screen capture of Lockheed Martin’s USA webpage that says:

Our Census Business Practice successes include . . . Canada’s 2011 and 2006 Census.

In the case of the University, the next item speaks.


  1. Lockheed Martin’s Collaboration Topics (CT’s), as presented to U of S in April 2012 are posted at Lockheed Martin Visit to Your Institution.    Excerpts:

to turn the sensed environment into information about the target (e.g., target recognition, speed, intent, etc. via Ladar, Radar, EO, and acoustic methods) 

Hardware, software, and architectures to enable uninhabited intelligent deployments of ground, sea, air or space capabilities (These are UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones for military use)


Architectures for detectors and associated hardware and software for personnel identification in a broad range of applications (e.g., authentication, surveillance, tracking)

to include methods to facilitate timely response (e.g., explosive vapor, biological agents)


At two meetings of Senate, Ernie Barber (then Acting Dean of Engineering) defended Lockheed Martin’s role at the University as one of “renewable technologies”.   Yes – Lockheed Martin is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels; supply lines are often targeted during invasions, renewable technologies are attractive – -  you have to spin Lockheed’s role someway.

I encourage Board Members to read the CT’s as presented by Lockheed Martin itself.   How you get to  “renewable technologies” is hard to fathom.


  1. RE the argument,   The University needs the funding from Lockheed Martin.

From your perspective of Citizens Who Pay Taxes:

There are offset agreements in the contracts Lockheed Martin has with the Government, that require them to spend a percentage of the value of the contracts in Canada.   The U of S receives Lockheed Martin money as a consequence.

However,  Lockheed has a history of over-charging on Government contracts.   If the Government money simply went directly to the University, omitting Lockheed Martin as the middle-man, you would get more money AND with no strings attached.    The argument does not stand up to scrutiny.


Robert Kennedy:

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”

” A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.”

WHY the (R)Evolution?

2010-07-16 CHRONOLOGY: the involvement of the American military in the Canadian census set in the larger CONTEXT of American military intrusion into Canadian affairs. (Sandra Finley)


How much influence does Lockheed Martin have in the world? What kind of influence is it?   Those might be good questions to ask.

The original census contracts were awarded to Lockheed Martin at about the same time as the Bush Administration was dropping bombs on Iraq in an illegal war of aggression (2003). Which of course was hugely profitable for Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed was in a position to influence, and did influence the decision that led to the destruction of Iraqi schools, hospitals, museums, water infrastructure – – everything. It is a war that is on-going eight years later with death beyond imagination, and I don’t know how many permanently injured, see the current tally at

Millions of other Iraqis are either refugees or they are homeless:

“Refugees International has observed extreme vulnerabilities among the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees living in Syria, Jordan, and other parts of the region, as well as the millions of internally displaced persons within Iraq. Most refugees have not been granted legal status and thus live in limbo, often without access to basic services and work opportunities. Many persons displaced within the country have no access to assistance, basic levels of protection, or any hope of return to their original homes.”

It has cost the American public more than 733 billion dollars to wage the Iraq War (not counting Afghanistan), money they have needed for their own country. They sink further into debt. The international community is asked to step in to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq after the American military-industrial-congressional complex (#1 player, Lockheed Martin) has dropped the bombs; the devastation inflicted by the war is total.

The hatred and the terrorists that have been created by that illegal war are incalculable. Lockheed Martin’s profits and its share price go up.

. . .   What if those bombs had been dropped on us, from the unmanned aerial vehicles (drones, airplanes) that are Lockheed Martin’s more recent gift to humanity, following after land mines and cluster munitions which are both illegal under Canadian and International Law? Lockheed’s unmanned drone programme is now moving to Saskatoon; we sink deeper into the writhings of hell.

There are a number of issues regarding Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the Canadian census: large legal, rational and moral issues, and as a significant step of the American military into Canada. The chronology below provides the context which makes the growing military intrusion apparent.

You will see serial acts of treason by Canadian officials.

The chronology shows some of

• the military developments in Canada

• the growing “normalization” of military police presence in Canada

• Lockheed Martin’s role

• mixed in with the resistance in Canada.

I make the point in the chronology that with offset agreements in Lockheed Martin contracts, the Government is transitioning to an economy that makes money on war.   Many years ago I read that 45% of the American economy is dependent upon the waging of war.

The Canada First Defence Strategy enacted in June 2008 is very clearly about transforming the Canadian economy into a war economy. Is that what we want? Because that’s what you get with Lockheed Martin.

What is the motivation behind the transformation of Canada into a puppet-state of U.S. corporate interests? We have circulated a lot of information on the situation in the U.S.. They are running out of resources (e.g. water, oil and electricity) and so they appropriate what does not belong to them.

It is like the German Nazis: their war machine ran them out of iron ore, hence the “Quisling” Government in Norway that allowed them a short run from the iron mines in northern Sweden across a narrow corridor that is Norway, to the sea for ocean transport down the Norwegian coast to German weapons factories.

The American Government dropped bombs on Iraq to secure oil. It’s a little hard for them to do that to Canada. The alternative and often-used weapon in the arsenal of the military-industrial-congressional complex in the U.S. is to set up puppet governments (petro-states), take what you want, destroy the local environment, poison the people and leave when you’re finished.

We are the creators of our own misfortunes, or not.   We need to get word to people now so they can start explaining to their friends the need to boycott the May 2011 Census, as another step in the resistance that will force Lockheed Martin Corporation, the war mongers, out of Canada.

UPDATE:   October 2013 trial of Audrey Tobias,  they’re (Lockheed Martin) out of the picture totally  at Statistics Canada, as of the 2016 Census.


 Posted by at 11:50 am
Sep 052014

By Randall Palmer, David Ljunggren and Andrea Shalal

Reuters, 04/09 22:42 CET

OTTAWA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Canada is likely to choose between two major U.S. firms when it buys a new fleet of jet fighters, excluding two European competitors, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Lockheed Martin Corp’s <LMT.N> F-35 stealth fighter and Boeing Co’s <BA.N> F-18 E/F Super Hornet were deemed more suitable for the variety of tasks the military has laid out.

That would mean the exclusion of Dassault Aviation SA’s <AVMD.PA> Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, jointly made by BAE Systems PLC <BAES.L>, Finmeccanica SpA <SIFI.MI> and Airbus Group NV <AIR.PA>.

The fighter selection has proven enormously problematic for Canada’s Conservative government, which in 2012 scrapped a sole-sourced plan to buy 65 F-35s for C$9 billion (5.08 billion pound) after a parliamentary watchdog savaged the decision.

Ottawa then set up a special secretariat to compare the merits of the four contenders. It is deciding whether to hold a competition or go ahead with the initial plan to buy F-35s, which would likely prompt accusations that it was acting in bad faith.

Polls show the Conservatives of Prime Minister Stephen Harper could lose the next federal election, which is set for October 2015.

The source said that while the F-35 had scored well on the various tests laid out by the secretariat, the Super Hornet was almost as capable and had the advantage of being cheaper.

The secretariat was not asked to make a recommendation about which jet to buy.

A spokeswoman for Public Works Minister Diane Finley, who has day-to-day responsibility for military procurement, said ministers were reviewing a number of reports, including information on fighter capabilities, industrial benefits, costs and other factors.

“Until a decision is taken, all options remain on the table,” Alyson Queen said for the minister.

The $400 billion (244.91 billion pound) F-35 programme, the largest in Pentagon history, is already late and well over budget. U.S. officials said on Wednesday they were nearing a fix for the engine that powers the F-35. The failure of Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine grounded the entire F-35 fleet for several weeks this summer. Flights have resumed but with certain restrictions on speed and other manoeuvres.

A potential attraction for Canada is that Lockheed’s bid offers Canadian industry some $11 billion in work building airplane components.

Three other sources familiar with the deliberations said Ottawa had been poised last month to announce it would buy the F-35s. That plan changed when Harper – concerned about the political fallout – suggested that Canada could wait since it did not need to replace its existing CF-18 jets until 2020.

One of the three sources, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Harper could still announce in coming weeks Canada would buy the F-35 and skip a new competition but that “ultimately, it will be a political decision.”

Boeing’s bid would likely include more traditional offset agreements, giving contracts to Canadian firms. Dassault says it is prepared to eventually build the Rafale in Canada.

Analysts and opposition critics suspect the government will delay the decision until after the next election. If Canada puts off buying new planes for too long, it would likely have to upgrade its current fleet of ageing CF-18s, which date back to 1982, at a cost that some analysts estimate could top $1 billion.

Lockheed said on Thursday it was continuing to support the Canadian government and the special secretariat as Ottawa weighed its options. A Boeing spokesman said the company continued to support the Canadian process.

Harper is in Wales for a NATO summit, where he is under pressure to boost Canada’s defence spending in the face of instability in Ukraine and the Middle East.

(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Tom Brown)

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Aug 262014

You will know first part, nothing new there.  But there are worthwhile insights.

Knabe briefly mentions Edward Snowden;  at the end Knabe is asked re relationship to NSA.


TEDSalon Berlin 2014·19:34·  Filmed Jun 2014

470,619  Total views as at August 26, 2014
0:11  This year, Germany is celebratingthe 25th anniversary of the peaceful revolutionin East Germany.In 1989, the Communist regime was moved away,the Berlin Wall came down, and one year later,the German Democratic Republic, the GDR,in the East was unifiedwith the Federal Republic of Germany in the Westto found today’s Germany.Among many other things, Germany inheritedthe archives of the East German secret police,known as the Stasi.Only two years after its dissolution,its documents were opened to the public,and historians such as me startedto study these documentsto learn more about how the GDR surveillance statefunctioned.

1:06  Perhaps you have watched the movie“The Lives of Others.”This movie made the Stasi known worldwide,and as we live in an age where wordssuch as “surveillance” or “wiretapping”are on the front pages of newspapers,I would like to speak about how the Stasireally worked.

1:30  At the beginning, let’s have a short lookat the history of the Stasi,because it’s really important for understandingits self-conception.Its origins are located in Russia.In 1917, the Russian Communists foundedthe Emergency Commission for CombatingCounter-Revolution and Sabotage,shortly Cheka.It was led by Felix Dzerzhinsky.The Cheka was an instrument of the Communiststo establish their regime by terrorizing the populationand executing their enemies.It evolved later into the well-known KGB.The Cheka was the idol of the Stasi officers.They called themselves Chekists,and even the emblem was very similar,as you can see here.In fact, the secret police of Russiawas the creator and instructor of the Stasi.When the Red Army occupied East Germany in 1945,it immediately expanded there,and soon it started to train the German Communiststo build up their own secret police.By the way, in this hall where we are now,the ruling party of the GDR was founded in 1946.

2:52  Five years later, the Stasi was established,and step by step, the dirty job of oppressionwas handed over to it.For instance, the central jailfor political prisoners,which was established by the Russians,was taken over by the Stasiand used until the end of Communism.You see it here.At the beginning, every important steptook place under the attendance of the Russians.But the Germans are known to be very effective,so the Stasi grew very quickly,and already in 1953, it had more employeesthan the Gestapo had,the secret police of Nazi Germany.The number doubled in each decade.In 1989, more than 90,000 employeesworked for the Stasi.This meant that one employeewas responsible for 180 inhabitants,which was really unique in the world.

3:53  At the top of this tremendous apparatus,there was one man, Erich Mielke.He ruled the Ministry of State Securityfor more than 30 years.He was a scrupulous functionary —in his past, he killed two policemennot far away from here —who in fact personalized the Stasi.

4:16  But what was so exceptional about the Stasi?Foremost, it was its enormous power,because it united different functionsin one organization.First of all, the Stasiwas an intelligence service.It used all the imaginable instrumentsfor getting information secretly,such as informers, or tapping phones,as you can see it on the picture here.And it was not only active in East Germany,but all over the world.Secondly, the Stasi was a secret police.It could stop people on the streetand arrest them in its own prisons.Thirdly, the Stasi workedas a kind of public prosecutor.It had the right to open preliminary investigationsand to interrogate people officially.Last but not least,the Stasi had its own armed forces.More than 11,000 soldiers were servingin its so-called Guards Regiment.It was founded to crash down protests and uprisings.Due to this concentration of power,the Stasi was called a state in the state.

5:36  But let’s look in more and more detailat the tools of the Stasi.Please keep in mind that at that timethe web and smartphones were not yet invented.Of course, the Stasi used all kindsof technical instruments to survey people.Telephones were wiretapped,including the phone of the German chancellor in the West,and often also the apartments.Every day, 90,000 letters were being openedby these machines.The Stasi also shadowed tens of thousands of peopleusing specially trained agents and secret camerasto document every step one took.In this picture, you can see meas a young man just in front of this buildingwhere we are now, photographed by a Stasi agent.The Stasi even collected the smell of people.It stored samples of it in closed jarswhich were found after the peaceful revolution.For all these tasks, highly specialized departmentswere responsible.The one which was tapping phone callswas completely separatedfrom the one which controlled the letters,for good reasons,because if one agent quit the Stasi,his knowledge was very small.Contrast that with Snowden, for example.But the vertical specialization was also importantto prevent all kinds of empathywith the object of observation.The agent who shadowed medidn’t know who I wasor why I was surveyed.In fact, I smuggled forbidden booksfrom West to East Germany.

7:26  But what was even more typical for the Stasiwas the use of human intelligence,people who reported secretly to the Stasi.For the Minister of State Security,these so-called unofficial employeeswere the most important tools.From 1975 on, nearly 200,000 peoplecollaborated constantly with the Stasi,more than one percent of the population.And in a way, the minister was right,because technical instrumentscan only register what people are doing,but agents and spies can also reportwhat people are planning to doand what they are thinking.Therefore, the Stasi recruited so many informants.The system of how to get themand how to educate them, as it was called,was very sophisticated.The Stasi had its own university,not far away from here,where the methods were exploredand taught to the officers.This guideline gave a detailed descriptionof every step you have to takeif you want to convince human beingsto betray their fellow citizens.Sometimes it’s said that informants were pressured to becoming one,but that’s mostly not true,because a forced informant is a bad informant.Only someone who wants to give you the information you needis an effective whistleblower.The main reasons why people cooperated with the Stasiwere political conviction and material benefits.The officers also tried to create a personal bondbetween themselves and the informant,and to be honest, the example of the Stasi showsthat it’s not so difficult to win someonein order to betray others.Even some of the top dissidents in East Germanycollaborated with the Stasi,as for instance Ibrahim Böhme.  In 1989, he was the leader of the peaceful revolutionand he nearly became the first freely elected Prime Minister of the GDRuntil it came out that he was an informant.

9:55  The net of spies was really broad.In nearly every institution,even in the churches or in West Germany,there were many of them.I remember telling a leading Stasi officer,“If you had sent an informant to me,I would surely have recognized him.”His answer was,“We didn’t send anyone.We took those who were around you.”And in fact, two of my best friendsreported about me to the Stasi.Not only in my case, informers were very close.For example, Vera Lengsfeld, another leading dissident,in her case it was her husband who spied on her.A famous writer was betrayed by his brother.This reminds me of the novel “1984″ by George Orwell,where the only apparently trustable personwas an informer.

10:53  But why did the Stasi collect all this informationin its archives?The main purpose was to control the society.In nearly every speech, the Stasi ministergave the order to find out who is who,which meant who thinks what.He didn’t want to wait until somebodytried to act against the regime.He wanted to know in advancewhat people were thinking and planning.The East Germans knew, of course,that they were surrounded by informers,in a totalitarian regime that created mistrustand a state of widespread fear,the most important tools to oppress peoplein any dictatorship.

11:38  That’s why not many East Germans triedto fight against the Communist regime.If yes, the Stasi often used a methodwhich was really diabolic.It was called Zersetzung,and it’s described in another guideline.The word is difficult to translate because it meansoriginally “biodegradation.”But actually, it’s a quite accurate description.The goal was to destroy secretlythe self-confidence of people,for example by damaging their reputation,by organizing failures in their work,and by destroying their personal relationships.Considering this, East Germany was a very modern dictatorship.The Stasi didn’t try to arrest every dissident.It preferred to paralyze them,and it could do so becauseit had access to so much personal informationand to so many institutions.Detaining someone was used onlyas a last resort.For this, the Stasi owned 17 remand prisons,one in every district.Here, the Stasi also developedquite modern methods of detention.Normally, the interrogation officerdidn’t torture the prisoner.Instead, he used a sophisticated systemof psychological pressurein which strict isolation was central.Nearly no prisoner resistedwithout giving a testimony.If you have the occasion,do visit the former Stasi prison in Berlinand attend a guided tour with a former political prisonerwho will explain to you how this worked.

13:38  One more question needs to be answered:If the Stasi were so well organized,why did the Communist regime collapse?First, in 1989, the leadership in East Germanywas uncertain what to do againstthe growing protest of people.It was especially confusedbecause in the mother country of socialism,the Soviet Union,a more liberal policy took place.In addition, the regime was dependenton the loans from the West.Therefore, no order to crash down the uprisingwas given to the Stasi.Secondly, in the Communist ideology,there’s no place for criticism.Instead, the leadership stuck to the beliefthat socialism is a perfect system,and the Stasi had to confirm that, of course.The consequence wasthat despite all the information,the regime couldn’t analyze its real problems,and therefore it couldn’t solve them.In the end, the Stasi diedbecause of the structuresthat it was charged with protecting.

14:54  The ending of the Stasiwas something tragic,because these officerswere kept busy during the peaceful revolutionwith only one thing:to destroy the documentsthey had produced during decades.Fortunately,they had been stopped by human rights activists.That’s why today we can use the filesto get a better understandingof how a surveillance state functions.

15:25  Thank you.

15:27  (Applause)

15:35  Bruno Giussani: Thank you. Thank you very much.So Hubertus, I want to ask you a couple of questionsbecause I have here Der Spiegel from last week.“Mein Nachbar NSA.” My neighbor, the NSA.And you just told us about my neighbor,the spies and the informant from East Germany.So there is a direct link between these two storiesor there isn’t?What’s your reaction as a historian when you see this?

16:04  Hubertus Knabe: I think there areseveral aspects to mention.At first, I think there’s a differenceof why you are collecting this data.Are you doing that for protecting your peopleagainst terrorist attacks,or are you doing that for oppressing your people?So that makes a fundamental difference.But on the other hand,also in a democracy, these instruments can be abused,and that is something where we really haveto be aware to stop that,and that also the intelligence servicesare respecting the rules we have.The third point, probably,we really can be happy that we live in a democracy,because you can be sure that Russia and Chinaare doing the same,but nobody speaks about thatbecause nobody could do that.

16:53      (Applause)

17:00  BG: When the story came out first,last July, last year,you filed a criminal complaintwith a German tribunal. Why?HK: Yeah, I did so because of the second point I mentioned,that I think especially in a democracy,the rules are for everybody.They are made for everybody, so it’s not allowedthat any institution doesn’t respect the rules.In the criminal code of Germany, it’s writtenthat it’s not allowed to tap somebodywithout the permission of the judge.Fortunately, it’s written in the criminal code of Germany,so if it’s not respected, then I thinkan investigation is necessary,and it took a very long time thatthe public prosecutor of Germany started this,and he started it only in the case of Angela Merkel,and not in the case of all the other people living in Germany.

17:52  BG: That doesn’t surprise me because —(Applause) —because of the story you told.Seen from the outside, I live outside of Germany,and I expected the Germans to reactmuch more strongly, immediately.And instead, the reaction really came onlywhen Chancellor Merkel was revealedas being wiretapped. Why so?

18:16  HK: I take it as a good sign,because people feel secure in this democracy.They aren’t afraid that they will be arrested,and if you leave this hall after the conference,nobody has to be afraid that the secret policeis standing out and is arresting you.So that’s a good sign, I think.People are not really scared, as they could be.But of course, I think, the institutionsare responsible to stop illegal actionsin Germany or wherever they happen.

18:47  BG: A personal question, and this is the last one.There has been a debate in Germany aboutgranting asylum to Edward Snowden.Would you be in favor or against?

18:57   HK: Oh, that’s a difficult question,but if you ask me,and if I answer honestly,I would give him the asylum,because I think it was really brave what he did,and he destroyed his whole lifeand his family and everything.So I think, for these people, we should do something,and especially if you see the German history,where so many people had to escapeand they asked for asylum in other countriesand they didn’t get it,so it would be a good sign to give him asylum.

19:26   (Applause)

19:28   BG: Hubertus, thank you very much.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Aug 192014

The covering letter from AVAAZ is very good – it’s at the bottom.  Actions in support!

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.

A child next to a picture of Nelson Mandela at a pro-Palestinian rally in Cape TownA child next to a picture of Nelson Mandela at a pro-Palestinian rally in Cape Town. August 9, 2014 / Photo by AP


By Desmond Tutu

Published 21:56 14.08.14
The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine – in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities – this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.

A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens … as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation.

I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”

Earlier in the week, I called for the suspension of Israel from the International Union of Architects, which was meeting in South Africa.

Subscribe to Haaretz for the latest on Israel, the Mideast and the Jewish World

I appealed to Israeli sisters and brothers present at the conference to actively disassociate themselves and their profession from the design and construction of infrastructure related to perpetuating injustice, including the separation barrier, the security terminals and checkpoints, and the settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

“I implore you to take this message home: Please turn the tide against violence and hatred by joining the nonviolent movement for justice for all people of the region,” I said.

Over the past few weeks, more than 1.6 million people across the world have signed onto this movement by joining an Avaaz campaign calling on corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation and/or implicated in the abuse and repression of Palestinians to pull out. The campaign specifically targets Dutch pension fund ABP; Barclays Bank; security systems supplier G4S; French transport company Veolia; computer company Hewlett-Packard; and bulldozer supplier Caterpillar.

Last month, 17 EU governments urged their citizens to avoid doing business in or investing in illegal Israeli settlements.

We have also recently witnessed the withdrawal by Dutch pension fund PGGM of tens of millions of euros from Israeli banks; the divestment from G4S by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the U.S. Presbyterian Church divested an estimated $21 million from HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.

It is a movement that is gathering pace.

Violence begets violence and hatred, that only begets more violence and hatred.

We South Africans know about violence and hatred. We understand the pain of being the polecat of the world; when it seems nobody understands or is even willing to listen to our perspective. It is where we come from.

We also know the benefits that dialogue between our leaders eventually brought us; when organizations labeled “terrorist” were unbanned and their leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were released from imprisonment, banishment and exile.

We know that when our leaders began to speak to each other, the rationale for the violence that had wracked our society dissipated and disappeared. Acts of terrorism perpetrated after the talks began – such as attacks on a church and a pub – were almost universally condemned, and the party held responsible snubbed at the ballot box.

The exhilaration that followed our voting together for the first time was not the preserve of black South Africans alone. The real triumph of our peaceful settlement was that all felt included. And later, when we unveiled a constitution so tolerant, compassionate and inclusive that it would make God proud, we all felt liberated.

Of course, it helped that we had a cadre of extraordinary leaders.

But what ultimately forced these leaders together around the negotiating table was the cocktail of persuasive, nonviolent tools that had been developed to isolate South Africa, economically, academically, culturally and psychologically.

At a certain point – the tipping point – the then-government realized that the cost of attempting to preserve apartheid outweighed the benefits.

The withdrawal of trade with South Africa by multinational corporations with a conscience in the 1980s was ultimately one of the key levers that brought the apartheid state – bloodlessly – to its knees. Those corporations understood that by contributing to South Africa’s economy, they were contributing to the retention of an unjust status quo.

Those who continue to do business with Israel, who contribute to a sense of “normalcy” in Israeli society, are doing the people of Israel and Palestine a disservice. They are contributing to the perpetuation of a profoundly unjust status quo.

Those who contribute to Israel’s temporary isolation are saying that Israelis and Palestinians are equally entitled to dignity and peace.

Ultimately, events in Gaza over the past month or so are going to test who believes in the worth of human beings.

It is becoming more and more clear that politicians and diplomats are failing to come up with answers, and that responsibility for brokering a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land rests with civil society and the people of Israel and Palestine themselves.

Besides the recent devastation of Gaza, decent human beings everywhere – including many in Israel – are profoundly disturbed by the daily violations of human dignity and freedom of movement Palestinians are subjected to at checkpoints and roadblocks. And Israel’s policies of illegal occupation and the construction of buffer-zone settlements on occupied land compound the difficulty of achieving an agreementsettlement in the future that is acceptable for all.

The State of Israel is behaving as if there is no tomorrow. Its people will not live the peaceful and secure lives they crave – and are entitled to – as long as their leaders perpetuate conditions that sustain the conflict.

I have condemned those in Palestine responsible for firing missiles and rockets at Israel. They are fanning the flames of hatred. I am opposed to all manifestations of violence.

But we must be very clear that the people of Palestine have every right to struggle for their dignity and freedom. It is a struggle that has the support of many around the world.

No human-made problems are intractable when humans put their heads together with the earnest desire to overcome them. No peace is impossible when people are determined to achieve it.

Peace requires the people of Israel and Palestine to recognize the human being in themselves and each other; to understand their interdependence.

Missiles, bombs and crude invective are not part of the solution. There is no military solution.

The solution is more likely to come from that nonviolent toolbox we developed in South Africa in the 1980s, to persuade the government of the necessity of altering its policies.

The reason these tools – boycott, sanctions and divestment – ultimately proved effective was because they had a critical mass of support, both inside and outside the country. The kind of support we have witnessed across the world in recent weeks, in respect of Palestine.

My plea to the people of Israel is to see beyond the moment, to see beyond the anger at feeling perpetually under siege, to see a world in which Israel and Palestine can coexist – a world in which mutual dignity and respect reign.

It requires a mind-set shift. A mind-set shift that recognizes that attempting to perpetuate the current status quo is to damn future generations to violence and insecurity. A mind-set shift that stops regarding legitimate criticism of a state’s policies as an attack on Judaism. A mind-set shift that begins at home and ripples out across communities and nations and regions – to the Diaspora scattered across the world we share. The only world we share.

People united in pursuit of a righteous cause are unstoppable. God does not interfere in the affairs of people, hoping we will grow and learn through resolving our difficulties and differences ourselves. But God is not asleep. The Jewish scriptures tell us that God is biased on the side of the weak, the dispossessed, the widow, the orphan, the alien who set slaves free on an exodus to a Promised Land. It was the prophet Amos who said we should let righteousness flow like a river.

Goodness prevails in the end. The pursuit of freedom for the people of Palestine from humiliation and persecution by the policies of Israel is a righteous cause. It is a cause that the people of Israel should support.

Nelson Mandela famously said that South Africans would not feel free until Palestinians were free.

He might have added that the liberation of Palestine will liberate Israel, too.


= = = = = =  = = =

AVAAZ writes:

Dear friends,

This is the first time an opinion piece has gone out to our community, but this one’s historic.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has just published a powerful call to conscience in an Israeli newspaper. In it, the Nobel Laureate and anti-apartheid legend stands with 1.7 million of us in calling on companies to boycott and divest from the Israeli occupation and repression of Palestine. His love shines through, as he urges Israelis (87% of whom supported the Gaza bombing) to liberate *themselves* from this terrible status quo.  It’s a must-read:

His Op-Ed is here (free registration may be needed, or try this other link).

The piece is exclusively published in an Israeli newspaper, but it’s a powerful legitimizer of what some governments still see as a controversial position, and the rest of the world needs to see it. The only way that will happen is through people sharing it.  Let’s share it with everyone!

This campaign is gathering real pace. Russell Brand has recorded this video backing our campaign, and the companies we’re targeting are starting to reach out to the Avaaz team and ask for meetings. Avaazers in the UK are campaigning to end arms sales to Israel as the government there initiates a review. And shockingly, even the US government cancelled a shipment of hellfire missiles to Israel!

The pressure is working – so let’s keep it up! If you haven’t yet, sign the petition here. Or click here to keep sending messages to our target companies. Let’s make sure they don’t think they can ride this out. And if you have a local campaign you could start to ensure that your town, or university, or community divests from the repression of Palestinians, start your own campaign here.

It’s a tremendous thing for us to once again stand alongside Archbishop Tutu – one of our truly great non-violent leaders. Because in a world torn apart by extremists who successfully demonise the ‘other’, non-violent strength is transformative – the strength to be firm, even tough, in standing up for justice, but out of a love for all people that refuses to fall victim to the fear and ignorance that is our universal enemy. A love that recognises that all our fates, and freedom, are intertwined. That’s the precious spirit that our greatest leaders, from Gandhi to Tutu, have taught us, and that our community strives to live up to with each and every campaign.

With hope, Ricken, Alex, Fadi, Jeremy, Ana Sofia, Ari and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS – This campaign is about creating the conditions for a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, and safe homes for Jews and Palestinians alike. Both anti-semitism and racism against Palestinians, like all hatred, are grotesque and should be fought. At the end of day, it is extremists on both sides that work together to threaten a peaceful future, and our work is to bring reasonable people together from all sides to take the action needed to save both Israel and Palestine.


If anyone feels this campaign is one-sided, please check the Avaaz team’s response and explanation here. is a 38-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Aug 152014

NOTE:  I will get in touch with people named in this article to let them know that we got Lockheed Martin Corp OUT of  Statistics Canada, and of related initiatives.  In spirit with them.  /Sandra

By Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon

Anti-war activists stormed a factory in Port Melbourne this morning to protest against the Australian government’s support for Israeli’s war in Gaza. They raided the manufacturing compound which, they said, supplies arms and drones for Israel.

Named the Melbourne Palestine Action Coalition (MPAC), it consists of activists from Whistleblowers Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) and renegade activists. The protesters occupied the roof of Elbit Systems and blockaded the front gate.

WAKA’s Spokesperson Sam Castro said, “We are here today to call on the Australian Government to end military trade deals with Israel and cancel all domestic contracts with Elbit Systems.”

Anti-war activists occupy the rooftop of Elbit Systems (Photo: WACA)

The activists blasted Elbit Systems as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned aerial drones used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in their ongoing offensive in Gaza. It accused the company to have “profited over the month-long attack with their share prices rising by 6.1% in July.”

Elbit is Israel’s largest military company which sells its drones around the world as ‘field tested’. According to the group, they have been tested on the Palestinian population under Israel’s illegal military occupation. Elbit provides services and technology to the Israeli army including surveillance equipment and drones.

There is evidence documented by various human rights groups, that drones are used to kill innocent civilians in Gaza. Al Mezan Centre, a Palestinian human rights organization, attributes the killing of more than 1,000 Palestinian in Gaza between 2000-2010 by drones, the group claims.

MPAC also accused the Australian Federal Police of spending $145 million for a computer policing system supplied by Elbit Australia after being tried and tested in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in 2010.

With front gate locked up, the activists scaled the wall of the company, then dropped a nine meter banner, reading ‘Elbit Drones Kill Kids In Gaza #BDS’ – a replication of the Israeli Government’s apartheid wall.

They said Israel’s ability to launch devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

The group said it is shocking to know the fact that Melbourne is one of the most livable cities in the world, yet there is a company making drones near the city. Drones that kill women and children are manufactured in the leafy suburb of Port Melbourne, they said.

 By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

The WAKA Spokesperson Sam Castro further said, “This is just the beginning of a global campaign to stop the war profiteering of private corporations off the people of Palestine and others around the world.”


Smart Tactical Advanced Racket is one of the featured products of Elbit Systems

Israel’s military technology is marketed as “field-tested” and exported across the world. Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

Ms Castro concluded, “We, like many other groups around the world, call on the UN and all governments to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.”

 Posted by at 1:44 pm
Jul 292014

The Powell River Peak

PRINCIPLED PROTEST: Eve Stegenga’s almost year-long wait has ended after a judge ruled that despite her moral objections to the 2011 Canadian census being handled by a US weapons maker she did not have any lawful excuse for not completing the federal form.
Yoga teacher found guilty by not completing census
by Chris Bolster |
Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 8:51 AM PDT
A 37-year-old yoga instructor from Lund who refused to complete the 2011 Canadian census because of its link to an American military contractor was found guilty of violating the Statistics Act, a BC provincial court judge has decided.Karen (Eve) Stegenga was handed a conditional discharge for her crime of not following government regulations, meaning she will not have a permanent criminal record after completing her sentence of 25 hours of community service within the next six months and an additional three months of probation.

Stegenga will remain on probation until her community service is complete.

Outside the Powell River provincial court house after the ruling Thursday, July 17, Stegenga hugged her supporters. “It’s taking me a little bit of time to feel the relief because this has been building up and holding on for 10 months,” said Stegenga. As a person dedicated to her community, she does not believe her community service will be a burden to complete. She plans to lead Hasya yoga classes, a practice involving prolonged self-induced laughter, yogic breathing and relaxation techniques.

The yoga instructor faced the possibility of a $500 fine and/or three months in jail.

Stegenga represented herself at trial and found both the Crown prosecutor and judge helpful in answering to her questions about how the proceedings should go. She expressed her gratitude for the support of Sandra Finley, a community activist and former leader of the Saskatchewan Green Party who was prosecuted for not filling in the 2006 census. Finley has since moved to BC and helped Stegenga build her defence.

Stegenga argued that she did not file her 2011 census because it was being processed using software from Lockheed Martin. She did not want to support or be associated with the munitions manufacturer in any way and she objected to the Canadian government handing the corporation, which she characterized as “corrupt and immoral,” a lucrative contract.Stegenga, a self-described conscientious Canadian, became increasingly alarmed after reading, in 2011, a newspaper article about the relationship and then researching further Lockheed Martin’s role in the development of software and handling of the census data for the 2006 Canadian census of population.

Stegenga worried that it might be possible information on Canadians could be accessed by the American arms manufacturer, or even the American government if the corporation was forced to turn over data under the US Patriot Act.

Stegenga argued at trial that her Charter rights were violated by being required to answer the short-form census and that Statistics Canada had not done enough to address concerns over the involvement of Lockheed Martin in the processing of the data.

Judge A. E. Rounthwaite, who presided over the case, disagreed with Stegenga’s arguments and found that Stegenga had no lawful reason for not participating in the census.

The judge wrote in her decision that while there is no question of Stegenga’s commitment to peace and democracy, Section 31 of the Statistics Act, which compels all citizens to complete the census with accurate information, does not infringe her freedom of conscience or interfere with her beliefs. In her decision the judge noted, from another case involving census non-compliance, that freedom of conscience does not give citizens “broad licence to disregard or disobey valid statutes on the basis of moral disapproval.” She also ruled that being compelled to participate in the census did not violate Stegenga’s freedom of expression.

“Filling out the form cannot rationally be viewed as an expression of support for Lockheed Martin or the federal government,” she wrote.

The judge also dismissed Stegenga’s abuse of process argument saying that the government’s conduct is not offensive to fair play and decency, elements used in a test to determine if abuse has occurred. Stegenga argued that it was unjust to prosecute citizens, like herself, after the federal government had responded to concerns similar to hers from both members of parliament and the general public, reducing and finally extinguishing the role of Lockheed Martin in the census.

In deciding on a sentence, Rounthwaite said she tried to balance Stegenga’s moral stand with the court’s obligation to deter others from breaking the law.

“I’ve been impressed with the way you’ve presented your case and how you’ve conducted yourself,” the judge said in closing. “What you did in refusing to complete the census was wrong, but we’ve dealt with that now. I think your community is fortunate to have you. It’s nice to see someone who has strong beliefs.”

 Posted by at 4:48 pm
Jul 292014

Powell River Peak

Editorial: Public pressure

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Canadians concerned that personal information could be breached by an American munitions manufacturer can breathe a little easier.Eve Stegenga, a yoga teacher and massage therapist from Lund, had her trial last week for not completing her 2011 mandatory Canadian census form. While she was found guilty of violating the Statistics Act, she was able to bring more attention to two important developments: that the number of Canadian households which were non-compliant in completing is much higher than initially reported and Lockheed Martin will no longer be involved with the Canadian census.

Stegenga is one of 54 non-compliant Canadians whose cases were referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada for not completing the form in 2011. When contacted last fall about the levels of non-compliance, a spokesperson for Statistics Canada said that only a small number refused to comply with the mandatory census.

One of the cases, heard in October 2013, concerned an 89-year-old war veteran and peace activist Audrey Tobias. In that trial, which ultimately found Tobias not guilty, the Crown prosecutor brought Yves Beland, director of census operations division at Statistics Canada, to testify. Stegenga was given Beland’s testimony to help her prepare her case.

Beland under oath said that out of approximately 14 million households, 1.6 million did not return completed forms, which, at 11 per cent, is much higher than the previously reported two per cent.

He also testified that in 2004 after Lockheed Martin was granted the contract to develop software to process the paper forms and merge them with completed forms collected online, public pressure began to mount.

Statistics Canada reacted by substantially scaling back Lockheed’s contract for the 2006 census, reduced it further for 2011 and removed the corporation’s involvement completely for 2016.Imagine the trouble and expense that could have been averted if this fact was brought to light a little sooner.

Stegenga does not object to the usefulness of the government collecting information about its citizenry. What she and others, including 20 members of parliament in 2004, were concerned about was the possibility that the US government through the use of the Patriot Act might be able to access confidential information provided by Canadians.

Beland responded that Statistics Canada took the matter seriously and descoped Lockheed’s mandate right away.

 Posted by at 4:40 pm