Sunday, January 14, 2007

Toronto Events to Mark Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 15

Martin Luther King Day tends to become a very sanitized event that neglects the radical history of the civil rights movement and is used by authorities to tell us that racism was then in the bad old days, and that things are better now. It's crucial to remember that by the end of his life, King was criticizing the very foundation of "western society," built as it is on racism, war, and poverty.

Please consider attending both of the events below as we remind ourselves we still have a long way to go when it comes to the social justice King and so many others fought for and continue to fight for.


Toronto Action for Social Change (TASC)

1. Close Guantanamo North and South, 12 Noon, 6900 Airport Road
2. Book Launch of Poetry by Gary Freeman, fighting extradition to the U.S., 7 pm, Victory Cafe

Details below:

1. Join us on Martin Luther King Day at Toronto's Deportation Factory...

Support Canada's Secret Trial Detainees and Close Guantanamo North Monday, January 15, 12 Noon Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), 6900 Airport Road. Rides leave downtown Toronto at 11 am sharp (call 416-651-5800 to book a seat or if you can drive folks up)!

January 15 marks day 51 of a hunger strike by secret trial detainee Mohammad Mahjoub, currently being denied medical care at Kingston, Ontario's Guantanamo North facility. Fellow detainees Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei will mark 40 days of their hunger strike, protesting their conditions of detention. Stockwell Day, minister responsible for the CBSA (which runs the Guantanamo North facility at Millhaven Penitentiary),
refuses to negotiate with the detainees, whose lives are once again at grave risk as the hunger strikes continues.


The facility at 6900 Airport Road is a factory that produces human misery: it's "enforcement" and "removals" units are responsible for rounding up many of the 12,000+ human beings who are forcibly deported from this country and returned to uncertain fates every year. It is here that agents of the CBSA daily work in defiance of the Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the deportation of ANYONE to face torture. All of Canada's secret trial detainees (and those under draconian bail conditions) face deportation to torture, yet the federal government continues efforts to deport them to Syria, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco.

Our annual Martin Luther King day action is part of a series of national actions calling for an end to indefinite detention and deportation to torture that are taking place January 11-15. Join us in the loving spirit of radical, transformative justice that served as a cornerstone of the nonviolent civil rights movement!

"A time comes when silence is betrayal. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers and sisters." - Martin Luther King, Jr.


January 11, 2007 marks 5 years since the official opening of Guantanamo Bay, a detention and torture centre run by the United States in Cuba that has been a legal black hole for countless people swept up in the terror of war. While many have been released (after spending upwards of four or more years without being charged or given a trial), hundreds of others languish under illegal detention, facing inhumane conditions without access to the outside world.

Canada has its own Guantanamo Bay, located in Millhaven Penitentiary, Kingston. Here, three "security certificate" detainees who have been held upwards of seven years without charge on secret evidence, are fighting deportation to torture. All are currently on hunger strike protesting their conditions of detention, including denial of medical treatment. Two other men, also held between two and four years, are currently "out" on some of the most severe restrictions on human liberty ever imposed in a Canadian bail release. These draconian restrictions also curtail the freedoms of their entire families. They too continue to live under the threat of
deportation to torture.

Human rights groups in the U.S. are calling for international actions on January 11 for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We join in that call, adding our own demand for the closure of Guantanamo Bay North, right here in Canada. Actions in Canada are planned from coast to coast between January 11 and 15.

Join us to demand that the Canadian government:

1. Immediately close Kingston Immigration Holding Centre (Guantanamo Bay North)
2. Immediately release Canada's secret trial "security certificate" detainees or provide them with a fair, transparent, open trial.
3. End all proceedings to deport the Secret Trial Five (Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat, Adil Charkaoui)
4. Abolish security certificates and end deportation to torture.
5. Immediately condemn the illegal Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Contact the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada at or
(416) 651-5800.


2. Martin Luther King Day Book Launch
Monday January 15, 2007, 7pm
Victory Café
581 Markham Street, Toronto
(near intersection of Bloor Street West and Bathurst)

"Blue Cage at Midnight"

A book of poetry by Gary Freeman
[25 year library worker presently fighting extradition to the U.S.A. over an incident during the Civil Rights Era]

Foreword by: Governor General Awardee, George Elliott Clarke
"Mr Freeman's poetry is spiky, tough, explosive...he is a master of the
parable and the aphorism."

Cover Art by: Governor General Awardee, Paul Morin
Published by: LyricalMyrical Press

Gary has been incarcerated without bail since July, 2004, for an incident that took place in 1969 Chicago. All the evidence from that day (during which an officer was injured) has been destroyed; most of the witnesses are dead. The extradition is based on false and contradictory "evidence," the investigation has been led by the officer himself, and Chicago remains a place of deep-seated racism and violence directed at African Americans. Chicago police were recently implicated in torture of detainees over a 20-year period in the Burge Report. However, city officials have declined
to prosecute officers involved in torture, claiming the cases are too old. Yet they are trying to disrupt the life of the Freeman family, who have lived peacefully in Canada for decades, contributing to the community and trying to live out the ideals of social justice.

Co-Sponsors: CIUT "The Taylor Report" with host Phil Taylor
CKLN "Saturday Morning Live" with host Norman Otis Richmond

Proceeds of book sales will be donated to the "Gary Freeman Defence Fund"



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