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NEWS: Anti-G8/G20 groups were under police surveillance

Barlow waves at a military helicopter hovering over our Paddle to  the G action one year ago today
Barlow waves at a military helicopter hovering over our ‘Paddle to the G’ action one year ago today

The CBC reports today, “Newly released G8/G20 summit documents reveal the RCMP and various Ontario police forces spent several months infiltrating anti-war, anti-globalization and anarchist groups with the use of undercover officers ahead of last June’s summits in Huntsville and Toronto. The reports by the Joint Intelligence Group formed by the RCMP-led ISU (Integrated Security Unit) show that various police services contributed at least 12 undercover officers to take part in covert surveillance of potential ‘criminal extremists’ in a bid to ‘detect…and disrupt’ any threats. The reports omit details on specific individuals or groups, nor do they offer conclusions about what, if any, crimes or plots of violence were detected.”

“In addition to the advance surveillance, plainclothes officers, in teams of at least four, were stationed throughout the crowds at the G8/G20 demonstrations as ‘event monitors’ who were required to ‘provide real time intelligence of demonstration or large gatherings of protesters where there is pre-existing intelligence and/or evidence of violence,’ according to the ISU documents. These event monitors were also charged with tracking and reporting on the movements of buses, vans and trains carrying protest groups to and from the summits.”

In August 2001, the Ottawa Citizen reported, “Constable Amyot insists the RCMP recognize the right of people to demonstrate peacefully. ‘We have always said that, and we do respect that.’ However, the events leading up to Vancouver’s 1997 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit set the stage for what some believe is now an unprecedented use of surveillance by the Mounties and other agencies against lawful groups advocating dissent. Before and during the APEC meetings, security officials compiled extensive lists that included many legitimate organizations whose primary threat to government appeared to be a potential willingness to exercise their democratic rights to demonstrate. Threat assessments included a multitude of well-known groups such as the National Council of Catholic Women, Catholic Charities U.S.A., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Churches, the Council of Canadians, and the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. Intelligence agencies also infiltrated legitimate political gatherings.”

The Council of Canadians continues to call for a public inquiry into the policing actions and security operations during the G8 summit in Huntsville and the G20 summit in Toronto.

To read an overview of our G8/G20 campaign intervention last June – which included participation in the march that was monitored and a canoe action against the G8 summit in Huntsville – please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=8124.