Aug 15

June 26, 2013 – Week #28


It was rainy and cool. I protested by myself.

I was thinking about Edward Snowden, the American computer specialist who recently leaked information that revealed the US National Security Agency and the CIA have been spying on private citizens and countries around the world. Snowden is in hiding and finding a safe refuge from the US government.

A few years ago, I read Daniel Ellsberg’s autobiography “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers” about his leak of the 7,000 classified pages in 1971 that revealed the US government was lying to the American people about the Vietnam War.  Ellsberg’s story of personal transformation is amazing – from being a staunch supporter of the US government and its war in Vietnam to becoming an outspoken anti-war activist. When I was in New York at the UN for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review meeting in 2005, I had the opportunity to hear Ellsberg speak and meet him.

Ellsberg has been publicly defending the young American whistleblowers who are now being persecuted: Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.

I thought about how the US Secret Service tried to prevent me from attending a Rotary breakfast that featured the US Consul General Richard Riley last month. I talked my way into the breakfast by giving the assurance that I would not protest while he was speaking. I wondered  how they knew I was going to attend the breakfast – the only way was by tracking my email – I thought of Snowden.

As I was standing and protesting, a runner came up behind me and said, “I bet you don’t get a lot of support standing here.”

I turned to him and said, “Actually, I get much more support than hostility. I have been protesting here for seven months and I didn’t suspect that I would get as much support as I have. It’s about 9 to 1. The majority of people support what I’m doing and respond positively to my signs.”

When I’m protesting, I can see drivers looking over and reading my signs. I know that I am helping to get people to think critically about the warship contract and about real social and environmental priorities.

I loved that a Bromoc truck drove by and the driver gave me an enthusiastic honk. Bromoc is a printing company that is known for caring for the environment and using sustainably harvested paper products.

At 1:00 p.m., I rushed back to the school to help with gardening.

I got 12 honks & waves and 1 head shake.

Dedication: The young, courageous American whistle blower Edward Snowden. Thanks to the people of Hong Kong for supporting him. Watch the Democracy Now! report here.

Mar 13

March 6, 2013 – Week #13

Kelly Heather and Brian

I was not alone for long today. Within a few minutes, four people showed up to stand with me: Kelly, Heather, Brian and Sharon. It was great to have their enthusiastic company.

After sharing what was new in our lives, we talked about the untimely and tragic passing of the President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez. We discussed his incredible legacy of improving the lives of the poor and promoting democratic socialism.

I had just returned the night before from a trip to the United Nations in New York and recalled Chavez’s 2006 speech to the UN’s General Assembly. During his speech, Chavez held up Noam Chomsky’s book Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance and urged everyone to read it. It was just on Monday night, two nights earlier, that I attended a lecture by Chomsky for the first time. He spoke at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and his lecture was entitled The End of the Vietnam War and the Collapse of Empire?


Before the lecture, there was a reception and I got a chance to take a picture with Chomsky. I told him that I had come from Canada to hear him speak and he frowned and said “What a shame about your federal government.” I agreed and told him how our country is spending billions to build a new fleet of warships. “It’s the largest government procurement in our history”, I explained. He asked, “What’s the pretext?”. “Arctic sovereignty”, I replied. He started to talk about the melting ice and the natural resource wealth buried in the Arctic, but then was interrupted by another fan for a picture – this guy had Chomsky’s face tattooed to his arm!

Chomsky’s lecture was packed and a brief overview of the public lecture is here. In his speech, Chomsky reminded us: “War never ends for the victims” and spoke about the lingering effects of chemical warfare in Vietnam. He ended with a reference to Chavez and a message of hope: “Over 10 years ago, Latin America broke away from U.S. control. And look how it was the only region not to participate in the U.S.’s international program of rendition and torture”, he said. Venezuela and the other South American countries did not appear on the map derived from the Open Society Foundation‘s shocking report Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition. Chavez had often spoken out against U.S. foreign policy and its wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

[If you haven’t seen the documentaries “The Revolution will not be televised” and “South of the Border” about the incredible progress in Latin America, please do so. If you are in Halifax, you can rent them from Video Difference on Quinpool Road. Watch as well Democracy Now’s coverage of the life and legacy of Chavez].Viva Chavismo!

At our warship protest today, we had 31 honks and 23 waves – another record! Only 3 fingers and 3 frowns.