Intimidation Wins Again: Chapters Crumbles Before Terrorists & Cancels David Icke Book Signing
"Another establishment giant has proven itself no match to those who use intimidation and threats to gag free speech," Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, said today.

"Sadly, in politically correct Canada, intimidation works," Fromm argues.

Book retailing giant Chapters has cancelled a planned book signing event with British author David Icke, a New Age writer who offers a number of conspiracy theories, scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at its Robson Street store in Vancouver.

The book signing came under severe attack from a number of groups opposed to Icke and free speech, including the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith and its Victoria, B.C. operative Harry Abrams.

"Chapters was blindsided by a textbook campaign of intimidation," says Fromm. "At first, 'establishment' groups like B'nai Brith protested and promised demonstrations during the signing. Then others, apparently anonymous, made phone calls to the Robson Street store threatening to cause 'trouble.' Finally, rumours circulated, confirmed by the Vancouver police, that there'd been bomb threats against another bookstore in a similar protest."

"Once again, we see the signal failure of the Vancouver Police to firmly announce that they will protect free speech and stand firmly against threats and terrorism," says Fromm. "They are experts at harassing motorists with endless revenue-generating speed traps, but seem unwilling to stand up to those who threaten institutions which host views these professional censors don't like."

Lisa Blais, Toronto-based Communications Co-ordinator for Chapters, explained the campaign to CAFE. "On Monday afternoon the store received calls from a variety of groups saying they'd picket and be causing trouble." Among those phoning to protest was B'nai Brith, although it did not make specific threats of 'trouble.'" Blais indicates that she'd received about 30 e-mails of protest and that the Vancouver Chapters bookstore had received about 100 phone protests.

"The general manager of Chapters felt it was a security issue. He feared that we'd be unable to run a safe book signing event. There were rumours that there'd been bomb threats elsewhere," Blais said in an interview with Fromm.

"The Green Party alerted interested groups," said Blais. "Obviously, we're supportive of freedom of speech, but the security of our staff and customers has to come first."

"The Vancouver police said they knew of the bomb threat in another incident. They said some of these things aren't nice. They said, 'If you feel there's a threat ...' but didn't tell us what to do," Blais explained.

Green Party of Canada spokesman Richard Warman issued a statement boasting of his party's success in damaging Icke's tour of Ontario last autumn as he protested Icke's current tour. "The Ontario and Canadian Greens were at the heart of the efforts that were so successful in shutting down Icke's attempted tour of Ontario last October, and we're proud to be working together with so many different groups to demonstrate that intolerance isn't welcome in Vancouver, or anywhere else.