SOME DAYS ARE LIKE STONE
I woke up this morning with a stone in my chest. Madam Justice Brown read her decision in court yesterday morning. Another disappointing decision for me. For all of us. For democracy. This was the decision concerning the court's use of injunctions as a means to terrorize citizens into submission. With injunctions in hand, BC courts are making awesome decisions about the brutal environmental destruction of our province. The courts are not trying to stop it, of course. And they are actively helping those who do it. BC judges continually find that the corporations doing the destruction have more rights than the citizens who must live with the aftermath. And who must also pay for the aftermath.
Again, the courts are not impressed with citizen's rights. And they have a closed system going concerning injunctions. They give them out and make it against the law in court to base a defense on the unfairness of said injunctions. You just can't criticize the injunctions in court. Madam Justice Brown ruled that my criticisms of injunctions were irrelevant. That's what she said. A process that is protecting the deforestation of our entire province, including our watersheds, is not to be attacked she said. Got that? Oh, yes, it seems that a court process protecting the disappearance of entire species of plants and animals can't be questioned in court. The stunning irrationally of this rule by court injunction, this government by court injunction, causes me from time to time to consider the entire BC court system as corrupt.
However, hope springs enternal in the human breast. I keep hoping I will eventually draw a judge who understands that the use of injunctions as a terrorist weapon against the people is wrong. But not yet. Maybe next time.
There is another reason I woke up with a heavy heart this morning. Today is my oldest son's birthday. He died two years agao from a brain tumor. A healthy young man, just entering his prime when he died; an electrical engineer, an artist and writer, a husband. And I know my son isn't the only one to go prematurely. It's happening to many young and middle aged people,this disease of cancer, this epidemic now underway and so prevalent people don't even want to talk about it.
But we have to talk about it. Cancer is being described as a disease of the immune system or the failure of the immune system to ward off the destruction of healthy cells in the human body. Why are so many young and middle aged people being stricken with cancer, this disease that used to be confined only to the elderly? Some researchers are saying it's because of the degradation of the earth's life support systems coupled with the chemicalization of industry. So as the government gives precedent to the privatizing and chemicalization of everything, and our lives are increasingly governed by corporate values, as our eco systems weaken and threaten in some spheres to collapse completely, as disease spreads alarmingly, our courts were, and still are, in spite of my disappointment in Madam Justice Brown's decisions, I think our courts remain our only hope. By the Constitution judges are oblidged to consider every case before them under the prism of public interest. I think our judges have just gotten confused about the definition of "public".
Our courts need help. They need to feel a ground swell of disapproval when they insist on arresting protesters by injunctions which deprive citizens of their rights. Yes, a veritable groundswell of opposition to Gordon Campbell's "Greenish Games Ever" plan which is the "Blackest Lie Ever".
Yet I remain hopeful. I have the utmost faith in the goodness and good sense of the people who live in British Columbia. And just as I know that some day I will see my son again, I kow the day will come when the court's use of injunctions to cower people into accepting the inevitability of the continuous destruction of our woods, waters and skies will stop. This destruction, these diseases, are not inevitable. We can stop them. And start afresh. I will find out when my trial resumes on Oct. 5 My love, Betty K
Thursday, September 28, 2006
BC JUDGES A PRIESTLY CAST?
Well, BC judges certainly bear a striking resemblance to the Catholic Church in their resistance to change as far as the evolution of their church/law is concerned. And parishioners or citizens who question the dogma of either are uniformly severely punished and cast out. Or in case of opposition to a bad law, jailed.
In Catholicism, what was written down by God and his prophets thousands of years ago can’t be abridged or reinterpreted. Substitute the Supreme Court of Canada for God with Chief Justice of Canada Madam Justice Beverly McLaughlin as head prophet and Madam Justice Brown a dedicated disciple then you have the absolute triad necessary to throw dissenters into the fiery furnace.
Within the church one can become a Protestant if one still desires a Christian church of some kind, and the very word Protestant means those who protest. But there are no avenues to change within our legal system. One can’t say well, I want more evolution in my law so I’ll just join another legal system. The one we’ve got is the only one we’ve got. So we have to change this one.
But as the Inquisition tested infidels by binding heir hands and feet and throwing them into a river with the supposition that if they ere not infidels God would save them, our courts put protesters into the double bind of arresting under court injunction and then forbidding an argument against the injunction.
How sweet it is! At least for a huge rapacious American corporation like Kiewit and Sons who got the Greenest Games Ever contract to blast Eagleridge Bluffs to bits, tell the West Van police when to arrest by injunction and then make BC taxpayers pay for their court costs. Oh yes, how sweet it is! And how tenaciously the church and the courts cling to their dogmas. No breaths of fresh air allowed in here! Only precedent. Only what the gods portray as truth.
So you may have guessed by now that Madam Justice Brown ruled against my application to defend myself against Contempt of Court by using the inappropriateness of the courts, the police, and the Attorney General using injunctions instead of the Criminal Code for arrest of protesters. But we certainly haven’t thrown in the towel. Or thrown in anything. Except more energy into the fray.
The Crown has rested their case. I’ll be back in court on Oct. 5 to find out when court will convene for my defense. And truly, how can I loose? With such wonderful friends and supporters and a very savvy lawyer. It’s all good. My love, Betty Krawczyk And I’ll keep you all posted.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE GRIND SLOWLY
When they grind at all. I've been in court an entire week now and the Crown Hasn't yet finished their case against me. They have lots of police officers to get through on the stand (arresting officers who have to be examined and cross examined) lots of newspaper clippings, lots of video to be shown. But I think next Tuesday (Sept.26th may be the last day of the Crown's case (there in no court on Monday for me) and then Cameron Ward, my lawyer, will start to present my defense, perhaps by Tuesday afternoon.
Not that I have a defense. Not really. Not according to signals from Madam Justice Brown. She will only consider if I broke the injunction at Eagleridge Bluffs (she knows I did, everybody knows I did, my God, how could anybody in the court room have missed it?)and will not consider my motives, whatever they may be. Furthermore, she will not listen to legal argument (in any substantive way) why I, as were the others, arrested under a ruling where there is no defense (a ruling made especially for citizens who actually think there is such a thing as participatory democracy) instead of under the criminal code where we would have a defense as she would then have to take motive into consideration. Just think, people, under the criminal code would could actually talk about Eagleridge Bluffs! And why we were there! And Madam Justice Brown would have to take our motives into consideration!
Because even though the Crown is taking up all of the court's time this is not a fair trial. Madam Justice Brown will say that it is, should she be asked, as would Crown Council Michael Brundrett. And so would Wally Oppal say of course this is a fair trial (indidentally if you are in court you may get to hear him say it himself as we have subpoenaed him to come to court on Tues. or Wed.)and if one doubts it just look at the mountains of paper and plastic disks generated. In truth, if one just looks at all the stuff surrounding this trial, it certainly looks like something of note might be happening here, some serious question of justice taking place.
But don't be fooled. It's a sham. A farce. It's all so the Crown can say, well, just look at those mounds and mounds of evidence against the old woman, look at all the vidos, it has taken a week to show them all and we're still not finished, we believe this is proff of her continued lawlessness, so goodbye, Granny, you're going to the country for a mighty long spell, a little prison farm will do you good, and never mind that the leave taking to Alouette Prison will be without benefit of due process or a jury trial.
And while on Tuesday Cameron will argue that the issue of why injunctions should not be used againt citizens trying to protect the life support systems of this province it will fall on judicial deaf ears, at least at this stage.
But we will be appealing this trial in the hopes that a higher court may not be so deaf as well as blind to justice. I will be taking the witness stand myself, probably on Wednesday. But as court is only scheduled this next week for Tuesday and Wednesday do try to come support us on those days becasue in some crazy way I don't quite understand we may be making history. And I may be a foolish old woman but I do believe that by embracing our bluffs and waters and woods and refusing to let go that we will further the cause of the right of citizens to protect these very environments. My love, Betty Krawczyk
Friday, September 08, 2006
Yes, there really is a “THE SYSTEM”. When I wrote about Alouette Correctional Centre for Women you remarked in your public letter that you found my letter describing conditions at Alouette totally alarming “despite the writer’s (reference to me) past extravagant condemnations of “THE SYSTEM”). This suggests that either you don’t believe there is a system of corporate and governmental oppression, or that you think I exaggerate in my writings.
First, I am a professional writer. As such, I strive to make my writing as vivid and compelling as I can. But exaggerate? My dear fellow, one could paint paper pages blue and electronic mails purple and all the billboards leading into Vancouver blazing scarlet with expletives and come nowhere near accurately describing the wretched, black bottomed truth of what is happening to our earth and all the creatures on it. And this wretchedness isn’t something that is going to happen tomorrow. Or is not going to happen unless we do this or that. It has already happened. And is happening.
For instance, I surmise you are a young man. As such, are you aware that your sperm count is roughly half of what your grandfather’s was? And that not only your sperm count and those of the other males of your generation are falling approximately 2 per cent a year and that nobody knows how to stop the sperm count fall? And that along with this fall in sperm count there is the added phenomenon of the actual chromosomes of the sperm changing?
Historically, there are more males than females born but because more males die in infancy and adolescence the numbers even out in adulthood. At least they have in the past. But no more. The estrogen compounds that are sloshing around the globe due to the chemicalization of industry are feminizing human sperm by causing more XX chromosomes to be produced than XY’s. Males are now losing their numerical advantage at birth which means that in the future there will be fewer adult men than adult women.
These same compounds that mimic estrogen are now also being directly linked to prostate and testicular cancer in young males, along with breast cancer in young women. There is an epidemic of cancer on this continent that is now being directly related by some researchers to the problem of artificial estrogen compounds and this includes the herbicides and pesticides that are planted and/or sprayed in public and private forests after clear cutting when the young trees are planted. These chemicals seep into the topsoil and groundwater and some even become air borne. But these compounds are also found in plastics, industrial effluent, and lots of cosmetic and household items. This plethora of artificial estrogens in our environment is affecting other animals besides humans.
In a Sept 6 ABC News report there is an article about the new “Intersex” Fish found in the Potomac River in Washington and I quote: “Last month’s testing at three tributaries emptying into the Potomac revealed that more than 80 percent of all male smallmouth fish found were growing eggs, according to Vickie Blazer, a fish pathologist with U.S. Geological Survey. The article goes on to say “That although scientist have not identified the source or sources of the problem, the result appear to suggest that the Potomac River and it’s tributaries have a problem with so called “endocrine disrupters” which can tamper with natural chemical signals.” And when Thomas Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct, which filters river water for resident to drink in the District of Columbia was asked about the possible effect on humans who drank the water replied “I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that question right now.” End quote.
But we do know. At least enough. Because there are numerous other accounts of fish and birds and frogs and other species where the males are growing eggs and/or the females are growing male appendages. Animal and Human bodies are being radically transformed right now, not only by industrial effluent and pesticides but the chemicilzion of our food, water, medicines, utensils and household products. Combine this with the deforestation of the globe, disappearance of species, diseases that are wiping out entire populations, crazy fratricidal wars, and the explosion of heroin, crack, and other chemical street drugs, not to even mention the pharmaceutical drugging of depressed and dispirited populations by doctors who are invested in pharmaceutical companies, the growing hordes of poor, hungry people and the growing hordes of money and resources harnessed by a few and I ask… does this not indicate that there is a THE SYSTEM at work here?
I think so. And THE SYSTEM is one composed of corporate profits and corporate values, one in which all of the world’s governments either concur in this value system, like our own, or others who have deep reservations about THF SYSTEM but who feel they must make some accommodation such as a growing number of Latin American countries are being forced to do. THE SYSTEM operates to not only keep the corporate class in power, but to grow their holdings. Is there deliberate collusion between say, the chemical and pharmaceutical companies, the logging companies, constructions companies, the governments, the judges, the police forces, the war lords, drug lords and the militias?
Sometimes, yes. But not all the time. In fact, deliberate collusion isn’t even necessary. In our own country there are no war lords per se but we know there are drug lords operating behind the scenes because we see the fruits of their commerce on the East Side of Vancouver. And less visibly perhaps, but also in more affluent neighbourhoods of young and not so young people whose drugging is making for increasing unbalanced, bizarre and violent human behavior. And the beat goes on. To the tune of THE SYSTEM.
Right here in British Columbia the Attorney General will deny he instructs the police how to arrest protesters so that they will be divested of a fair trial when they get to court, but he does. And the judges who receive citizens trying to protect a bit of the planet also know to which class they belong and will act accordingly when such citizens are brought before them. It has been the judiciary of British Columbia who has protected the logging companies and allowed them to deforest this province so egregiously. And it is within this moneyed class that through working together, however closely or loosely, in an interlocking system creates, domestically and globally, a system of power that comprises corporate culture.
THE SYSTEN is at war with the earth. It is only by recognizing this war that we know where we, as fully cognizant human beings can stand. And it is only when we know where we stand that we know how to fight. Of course in the end, Mother Nature may defend herself in such a way as to repudiate the human race altogether but until then we need recognize that humans have made this society, this system, and if we don’t like it we can dam well upmake it and make another one more agreeable to ourselves and to the earth. But we won’t do it simply by conversing ever so knowledgably with each other through computers. Write, yes. Reason, yes. Research, yes. But in the final analysis, it is of necessity that we must act. Action liberates us from the dark feelings of helplessness and despair. Action floods our hearts with energy and hope. Action is the very mother of hope. Betty Krawczyk
Monday, September 04, 2006
PRISON, PRESS, AND PISSED!
Okay, so maybe pissed isn't a nice word for a great grandmother to be using but I find I don't care, nice is not what is happening. To any of us. Not to prisoners, the press, and/or the public at large. Prisoners are being mistreated at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women and the press is not allowed in to report it. Are the women being beaten?
Yes and no. Not with whips, but with privatization. Women are required to work at Alouette as do I when I'm there. Prisoners pay? Two dollars and fifty cents a day. That's a day, not an hour. Before privatization, women prisoners were paid four dollars and fifty cents a day. Cut it in half, was Campbell's solution. And privatize everything. Including the food. Especially the food. Eggs? Well, we won't have to worry about cholesterol. Two eggs a week. Fruit? Four pieces a week. Milk? A little powdered milk poured out of a pitcher by an attendant on a half a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a cup (that's a cup, not a glass) of powdered milk for supper. Meat, when there is any, has been frozen for awhile (a long while, I know freezer burn when I see it) and sometimes can't even be cut with the plastic knives. And the paucity of fresh vegetables is a crime. There were ten pregnant women in that prison when I left August 2 and the diet fed to them (the regular with only slight modification) is outrageous. But this is a private food service and they have to make a profit out of the prisoners. Prisons have becme a business and the canteen is also privatized.
All of the items on the canteen list cost more than they would outside and they are of the cheapest, poorest quality available. And the beauty of this arrangement for the private company is that the ruling of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General is that they won't allow anything to be brought into the prison for the inmates, anything at all. Everything the women need has to be bought from the canteen. Isn't this a lovely set up for the canteen company? A captive group of women who are forced to buy the crappiest brands of everything for inflated prices. And that's not all.
Due to a sweetheart deal with Telus, we at Alouette (and I'll be back there soon as my trial begins on September 18 and Madam Justice Brown wants to teach me a lesson) must pay ninety cents for a local phone call. That's a local phone call, one that would cost a quarter on the outside. But women who make two dollars and fifty cents a day must pay ninety cents for a local phone call. There's more. But I want to get to how Campbell handles members of the press who request prison interviews.
Just before I was released from Alouette a reporter from the Georgia Straight came and took some photos of me sitting in front of a blank wall. He was told by prison authorities in no uncertain terms to delete the photos and after he left I was advised that in the future there would be no more private interviews which meant that any reporter who wanted an interview would have to come in during regular visiting hours. The hitch is that there are no private visits. It is communal visiting at Alouette. One crowded room, lots of noise, no privacy. And no visitor can bring in anything for the visit, not even a pencil or a writing pad. And that means reporters, too.
So freedom of the press seems about like my own freedom, just swallow the lies and don't do anything to upset Gordon Campbell and his offices and the courts. However, in the final analysis freedom of the press is up to the press,both main stream and alternate. To honestly have freedom of the press, the press has to demand access to wherever they want to go, to investigate whatever they want to investigate, to film whatever they want to film. It's enshrined in our constitution, for Pete's sake. Betty Krawczyk