Far right…

Oct 4, 2020

 CBC News – Mark Gollom
 Trump’s Proud Boys remark boosts far-right group’s profile, including in Canada, experts say

Canada has had repeated warnings about the growth of far-right and militarized groups to date.  It may surprise some to learn that there is a Canadian co-founder for the US Proud Boys and that the growth in Canada includes links between the smaller groups across Canada.  Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said of Trump’s comments:  “They have a proud history here in Canada of defiance…Some would argue that they’re actually more white nationalist here than they are in the States.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/proud-boys-trump-debate-1.5744467   Related article: CBC News – Murray Brewster, Elizabeth Thompson  (Aug 2020)   Military intelligence probes far-right activity in Canadian Ranger unit – https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/rangers-far-right-investigation-1.5697977   Related article:  Toronto Star Alex Boutilier, Douglas Quan  Will Donald Trump’s shout-out to the Proud Boys be a ‘call to action’ in Canada?   https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2020/09/30/will-donald-trumps-shout-out-to-the-proud-boys-be-a-call-to-arms-in-canada.html    Related article: CTV News – Rachel Gilmore  PM Trudeau, other leaders condemn white supremacy in wake of Trump’s refusal to do so  https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/pm-trudeau-other-leaders-condemn-white-supremacy-in-wake-of-trump-s-refusal-to-do-so-1.5127372   Related article: CBC News – Anti-racism event in central Alberta discusses injustice, while being disrupted by far-right protesters   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/anti-racism-event-in-central-alberta-discusses-injustice-while-being-disrupted-by-far-right-protesters-1.5749802

 The Atlantic – Mike Giglio
A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans – An Atlantic investigation reveals who they are and what they might do on Election Day.

The recent references to white supremacy groups in presidential debate has prompted the Atlantic to release an article intended for November on the basis of imminent threat.  The author has been tracking for some the ultra-right winged groups who have been making their presence felt at BLM protests across the US.  The exposure of the composition of these groups comes back to the defunding police issue: many of the 25,000 in this one group – the Oath Keepers – are ex-military or serving police officers.  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias-civil-war/616473/   Related article: CNN – Christina Carrega and Evan Perez   Judge rules Barr violated law in selecting law enforcement panel members  https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/01/politics/attorney-general-barr-ruling-law-enforcement-commission/index.html

CBC News – Dan Zakreski
Lack of staff, resources among factors in inmate’s death at Saskatoon psychiatric centre, inquest hears

Otto Hansen, aged 46, died of an overdose in Saskatoon’s Regional Psychiatric Center in 2017.  Chad Hedin, one of the three nurses assigned to the care of 190 prisoners, says it was a very bad night.  “Coroner’s counsel Robin Ritter called the last of 14 witnesses on Wednesday. Over three days, jurors heard from nurses, guards, police, medical specialists and managers at the psychiatric centre… They all described, with varying degrees of bluntness and detail, how things broke down at the time of Hansen’s death.”  Says Hedin:  “That night, there were not enough [nursing staff]. Even one more would have made a difference.”   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/otto-hansen-death-inquest-1.5745599?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar

CNN – Catherine E. Shoichet
The death toll in ICE custody is the highest it’s been in 15 years

“In the 2020 fiscal year, which ends today, 21 people died in ICE custody, according to a CNN tally of data released by the agency. That’s more than double the number of deaths in fiscal year 2019 — and the highest annual death toll since 2005.”  This stat seems to defy all reason if the first obligation of those exercising custody of someone’s loved ones are not safe and cared for.  The increase, say the advocates, is due to poor medical care and response to the Covid-19 virus.  Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network says “…also the conditions of detention, and what it does both to your mental health and the really poor medical care that exists inside.” What applies to immigrant and refugee detention all the more applies to overcrowded prisons where the deaths and illness is harder to track in both Canada and the US. https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/30/us/ice-deaths-detention-2020/index.html

Guardian Long Read (UK) – Mark Olden
How one man spent 34 years in prison after setting fire to a pair of curtains

David Blagdon is one prisoner whose case represents the intractable element against fairness within the legal system.  The author is Blagdon’s defense lawyer who offers his testimony about the origin and the history of Blagdon’s offense.  Olden says Blagdon “had an unerring ability to sabotage his case, usually by absconding just when freedom was edging into view. Still, as bad as many of his decisions may have been, the justice system undoubtedly failed him time and time again.”   The narrative is compelling reading especially about how the system treats the mentally ill and there is no reason to think that Canada’s prisons would be any different.  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/oct/01/one-man-34-years-prison-setting-fire-curtains-david-blagdon?utm_term=c77727337672dcf9a93f52d6344b1688&utm_campaign=TheLongRead&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=longread_email   Related article: Toronto Star – Curt Anderson And Tamara Lush, The Associated Press  Innocent Florida inmate released after 37 years   https://www.thestar.com/news/world/us/2020/08/27/innocent-florida-inmate-released-after-37-years.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thestar_world

Fox 17 News (MI) – Lauren Edwards
Juvenile lifers ‘deserve a second look’

The US Supreme Court ordered a review of Life without Parole sentences (LWOP) for youth in 2012.  In Michigan there were 363 such cases and after 8 years 160 remain.  The delay seems mostly in the way the prosecutor in the various counties approach the issue, some expediting the re-sentencing, some dragging their heels.  “It was especially important in Michigan who did this punishment very hard, who did it against majority kids of color despite the fact that they’re not the majority who committed these crimes,” (civil rights attorney Deborah) LaBelle said. “In the world this is a sentence that has been declared inhumane and violative of basic human rights of children.”  The perspective makes the 8 year plus delay even more objectionable.  https://www.fox17online.com/news/local-news/michigan/juvenile-lifers-deserve-a-second-look

Twitter – Jacob Kaplan

Kaplan offers a surprising stat on the total number of arrests for drugs and the number of arrests for marijuana included in these FBI stats, all in an era when most will concede a need to confront the mass incarceration in the US and to be more realistic about arrests for marijuana, now legal in an increasing number of states.  Ten million total drug arrests – almost five million for marijuana.  https://twitter.com/JacobKaplan19/status/1312428416646483970 (Twitter endorsed by Rachel Barkow of NYU Law School.)