G20 hacker: cops dig up back yard in space-suits

Denise Balkissoon reports on a new twist in the trial of Byron Sonne, the Toronto security researcher who's been trapped in a kafkaesque nightmare ever since he was arrested on a raft of stupid "terrorism"-charges related to his efforts to point out that the billion-plus-dollar G20 security emperor had no clothes. Denise writes:

Byron Sonne (G20 Hacker) case got reopened for 60 minutes this week, so the Crown could terrify us with the knowledge that he had more potassium chlorate than they thought. It was dug up out of his old backyard during a media circus last week. They said they were going to explode it, but it didn't explode, so instead they made a boring fire.

Crown Attorney petitions to re-open Byron Sonne trial (Thanks, Denise)

(Image: cropped, downsized thumbnail from a larger image by Tyler Anderson/National Post)


      1. I’d love to render Harper.
        In the “boiling it down to make oil out of it” sense of the word ‘render’, that is.

      1. Don’t be silly. In rendition they don’t tell you what it’s for. It might be sensitive (read “embarassing” or “weak”) information. I for one am glad that our government is careful with its information. I feel much safer knowing that the government can disappear me at any time without giving a reason.

  1. Uh, hey, Ottawa? Harper, or the CPC, or whoever’s really at the helm? Maybe the Governor-General?

    I’d like the Canada I remember and love back. This isn’t the Canada I grew up in, with all this voter suppression bullshit, and going through this farce of a trial to save face, and the many other things that I could rant about. I don’t know where you’ve put the real Canada, but I’d like it back, please. No questions asked, just leave it where it’s supposed to be.

    1. Problem is, Harper and pals were like this before the last election. The public knew what they were getting and voted him a majority anyway. Sure, it was due to a quirk in the first past the post system but nevertheless, for an egomanic like Harper it could only be seen as a sign that Canadians liked what he had been doing and wanted even more of it. Bush squeaked out a win in 2004 and declared it a mandate. Why would Harper feel any differently?

      What really frightens me isn’t Harper, it’s that so many Canadians said they voted Tory because they were tired of elections.  Tired of  too much democracy. So they gave Harper five years of more or less unlimited power.  We have met the enemy… and he is

      1.  *cough* So many? I don’t consider less 1/3 of the people who voted (and of course less than 1/3 of the population) to be “so many”.

        And don’t forget to top it off with the various forms of fraud that happened during the election.

          1. Doesn’t matter.   We’ve got voting machines now, so we can all stay home and watch reruns of “Survivor” while technology does the electing for us!  Actually going in and pushing a button on the machine has no effect on the outcome, because that would be backward and inefficient.

        1. The fact that so few even bothered to vote pretty much proves the point. Harper was pulling this garbage for years and much of the population couldn’t be bothered to take an hour out of their day to go vote.  So now they get five years of a Harper majority to think about the value of being able to vote. Or maybe they won’t think at all because it’s too much effort. People were mad about having another election and spoke loudly. Harper is preferred over taking an hour to go vote. Pretty sad day for democracy regardless  of who was on the ballot.

      2. It’s not Harper bashing that I object to, but the ideological blinders people wear get me down. Seriously, ‘assault on democracy’ has lost all meaning. The people that scream about, say, Bush’s assault on democracy, are prepared to rationalize away anything Obama does as totally different, necessary, and actually constitutional if you twist legal arguments into a big enough pretzel.

        Far be it from me to defend the Tories, but some long-term perspective is useful. The ‘scandals’ that are dogging them currently are lightweight compared to real scandals over the past 2 decades. Take the F-35 contract scandal; appalling mismanagement of the tendering process, oh yes. But it just doesn’t pack the same punch as millions of dollars being siphoned off into party coffers. Well, at least not yet. I’ve no doubt they’ll work their way into the heavyweight division in due time, and then they’ll be dutifully voted out by a pissed off electorate, and the cycle will start anew.

        As for fraud during the election, I assume you’re referring to the Robocall prank (and a prank is the only way to describe the amateurishness of it). Investigate it, throw the book at anyone involved, and order by-elections of affected ridings with close results. But stop pretending this is even remotely a stolen election, orchestrated at the highest levels. I’ve literally seen (as an elections official) more competent electoral fraud in university student council elections than this.

        “1/3 of the people delivered Harper a majority”. This cuts both ways; the last time the Liberals had a majority, it was delivered by 1/4 of the people. Yes, first past the post is flawed. Yes, it needs changing. But it’s the long-established rules of the game, like the Electoral College (also not ‘real democracy’), not some kind of cunning scheme invented by Harper to seize power.

        But if the Tories are so keen on destroying democracy, what are we to make of their attempts to have Senators elected instead of appointed? Senate reform is one of the core principles of the Tory’s western populist wing, has been for a very long time. And for just as long, the idea was laughed off by establishment politicians (mostly on the left) as a hick obsession. While still a minority government, Harper’s Tories pushed the issue as far as they could over the sneers of the Opposition and the political class.

        This bears repeating. The Opposition parties and professional pundits in Canada ridiculed and rejected democracy (the NDP gets some points for favoring outright abolishment, but that position may well change since they are now dependent on Quebec voters, who traditionally reject any changes to the Senate…) Rationalize that away for me, will you? Harper, the enemy of democracy, is the one pushing for more democracy?

        A lot of people talk a good game about ‘democracy’, but for many it’s empty piety. Democracy is only to be respected so long as it delivers the results we want. If people don’t vote the way we think they should, then we’ll just have to overturn the results. It’s for their own good, of course. So long as it’s our candidate in power, we’re prepared to overlook any abuse. Because the other guy is worse than two Hitlers, right?

        “That person disagrees with me, therefore they are a threat to democracy” That is what ‘democracy’ has come mean in popular usage. I’m right, you’re wrong, facts and figures are irrelevant, God is on my side, because I said so. It doesn’t matter if Harper (or Bush, or Obama) wins an election with 80+% of the popular vote. They’re wrong, people that voted for them are stupid, their votes don’t count. Democracy only applies to people who think like me.

        1. Actually, plenty people are pissed off at how disappointing Obama has been.

          “The people that scream about, say, Bush’s assault on democracy, are prepared to rationalize away anything Obama does as totally different, necessary, and actually constitutional if you twist legal arguments intoa big enough pretzel.”

          That’s a pretty tired meme now.  People who care about democracy are no longer cutting Obama any slack.

        2. You talk about “blinders” but it goes both ways, and from at least my perspective the conservative blinders seem to be much more prevalent and effective.

          You mention the F35 scandal, which WAS more less the WHOLE reason we had the last election. The Conservatives stood up and said “F35’s cost X amount”… Pretty much everyone else in the world (including all of Parliament) said “BS, show us the proof!”, to which the answer was “NO!” To which the reply was “Parliament has a legal right to know, if you don’t tell us we will have a vote of no confidence and force an election!”, to which “Fine, have an election.” was the response.

          Now, after all the dust has settled, the Conservatives win a Majority, we find out now, that indeed the Conservatives were full of it, and lied over and over again the whole time (or were mislead, or are incredibly stupid, and regardless have no accountability).

          What do I hear from people I know are conservative? “Whatever. “

  2. Potassium chlorate by itself is not an explosive, so they’re really being deliberately overdramatic there. You can mix it with other things to make explosives of varying sensitivity … add phosphorus to make the rather dangerous http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armstrong’s_mixture, or vaseline to make the quite insensitive cheddite. 
    Chlorate forms over time in any bleach that sits on a shelf, too. Leave a five liter bottle of 6% bleach on a shelf for a year and you’ll have tens of grams of chlorate in solution.

    1. OMG, someone attempting to put together a federal terrorism charge is making a federal case out of something?

  3. Translation: If we shout TERRORIST long and loud enough people will stop seeing all the horrible things we’ve done with their rights.

  4. I’d love to have an off-the-record chat with the explosives disposal team that had the pleasure of digging up some geek’s lawn while wearing the bulky suits, all to find something that ranks well below a nontrivial percentage of a decent hardware store’s stock in terms of scariness…

    It just wouldn’t surprise me much if people who quite possibly have dealt with real explosives, and who need a decent head for calm risk assessment if they want to retire without being nicknamed ‘stumpy’, would find it difficult to maintain an attitude of politically correct panic when asked to do such a trivial; but tedious, task.

    1. Well, if it had been of dubious purity, as cooked up by an inexpert home chemist, it might actually have blown up.  I’m just going on a perusal of the wikipedia entry on the stuff…

      Incidentally, I’d guess that if they were chucking KClO3 on the fire, it would probably not have been a “boring fire” – it would have been a freaking awesome fire.

      (edit – “it” might have blown up. “I” would very likely not explode, as annoying as I might find poorly executed chemistry.)

  5. The timing of this find, incidentally, is suggestive – it was on the last day of the trial, at which point even the mainstream media were running articles that made the prosecution and police look like a bunch of yutzes.

  6. Watch it! We are thinking about using rendition on Canada… Which means we put all of you on bargain air carriers fly you Egypt while CIA agent sings Celine Dion songs to you… You have to cover return fare.

  7. I happened to be at my parents’ place about 5:00 PM when this was all happening. As usual they were watching the televisual fishwrap that is CITY-TV/CP24 — for those who don’t live in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s a populist news mini-network in Southern Ontario not a million miles in attitude from Fox News.

    During their breathless coverage of the police closing major highways during rush hour and driving this down to the Leslie Spit, they referred repeatedly to what had been found as a bomb. This article, a week later, is the first I’ve heard that it wasn’t and I pay attention for articles about Byron Sonne.

    It’s been pretty clear for months that the whole case was a stitch up, but Jesus Christ, this….

  8. The suits are the costumes used in a 1950’s movie of aliens landing in New Jersey.  They were excessed by the movie studio last year and sold to the Toronto Police Department for use in public when the police engaged in unexplainable activities.

  9. At lest they got to use the new toys intended for G20. Would be a shame to leave them in the original wrappers and never touch them. Usage equals appropriate budgeting. 

  10. You’d think after  what happened to Richard Jewell back in 1996 people would learn to stop trying to “help” The security state doesn’t want the competition and the emperor wants to execute anyone telling him he has no clothes.

  11. Cp24 and City-tv are not the same company… one is owned by bellmedia and the other rogers cable systems… google is your friend…

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