Title: Kelly Pflug-Back Sentenced — Issue 388
Subtitle: The two accounts below of the sentencing of Kelly Pflug-Back, illustrate the gulf between alternative and mainstream journalism. The writing in the latter comes from Canada’s Toronto-based, right-wing, The National Post.
Notes: Fifth Estate #388, Winter, 2013

Kelly Pflug-Back sentenced to 15 months for attacks in Toronto

by Fifth Estate

Fifth Estate writer and editor, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back, was sentenced by a Canadian court July 19 to 15 months in prison for militant actions carried out by a Black Bloc contingent during protests at the 2010 Toronto G20 meeting.

Kelly accepted a non-cooperation plea agreement, pleading guilty to six counts of mischief and one of wearing a disguise with criminal intent. Her sentence was reduced by four months to a total of 11 months in prison because of time served which included house arrest. Following her prison term she will be on probation for three years.

Kelly is a long time community organizer, activist, published writer, poet, artist and musician. A collection of Kelly’s poetry, These Burning Streets, published by Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness to support her is available from tangledwilderness.org.

Kelly is a long time activist with groups such as Food Not Bombs, Camas Books in Victoria, B.C., harm reduction work in Toronto, and indigenous solidarity work, as well as hosting workshops and outreach for queer youth.

At the time of her sentencing Kelly was a full time student working towards a degree. She maintains a vegan diet which is very difficult to do in Canadian prisons.

Most mainstream media depicts Kelly as a violent vandal [see article below] who has no remorse for terrorizing “innocent shoppers,” as well as calling her cowardly for wearing a mask while taking on heavily armed and armored riot police in the midst of one of the largest surveillance cultures in the world. [See Kelly’s article, “G20 Gender Violence: Toronto Targeted Women,” in Summer 2012 FE.]

The media routinely refers to breaking windows by Black Blocs as violent, occasionally declaring it as terrorism. Meanwhile, predictably downplaying police violence and misconduct by ignoring numerous cases of police sexually assaulting or threatening to rape women during the 1,100 arrests, the largest number in Canadian history, made during the G20 demonstrations.

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G20 protester Kelly Pflug-Back gets 15 months in prison

National Post

One of the most destructive Black Bloc vandals convicted in relation to the Toronto G20 summit received a 15-month prison sentence July 19.

Kelly Pflug-Back, a 23-year-old student who attended court in a tight red sweater and black skirt, grinned at dozens of cheering supporters before being led away in handcuffs. Even after she left the room, many remained standing with their fists in the air.

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Kelly Pflug-Back captured on video at the 2010 G20 demonstrations in Toronto

The air of quasi-celebrity surrounding Pflug-Back terrorized local businesses and smashed police cars during a masked rampage through the streets of Toronto two years ago.

Judge John McMahon noted Pflug-Back did more than $160,000 in damage to police cars and businesses. She also guided other black-clad protesters to target larger businesses, displaying a “callous disregard” for the employees within.

Throughout the G20 rampage, Pflug-Back and her fellow rioters “cowardly” covered their faces with masks and effectively damaged the cause of legitimate protesters, Judge McMahon said.

Pflug-Back showed “zero remorse” for the harm she caused, acting disinterested throughout several court appearances.