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NEWS: Police spying on community organizations and activists

CBC reports this evening, “Police organizations across the country co-operated to spy on community organizations and activists in what the RCMP called one of the largest domestic intelligence operations in Canadian history, documents reveal. Information about the extensive police surveillance in advance of last year’s G8 and G20 meetings in southern Ontario comes from evidence presented in the case of 17 people accused of orchestrating street turmoil during the summits.”

Incidents include:
– “Two undercover police officers — Ontario Provincial Police members Bindo Showan and Brenda Carey — spent 18 months infiltrating southern Ontario community groups ahead of the June 26-27, 2010, gathering of world leaders.”
– “(But) the two undercover officers…were just a small part of a Canada-wide operation to spy on activist groups (including) in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver…”
– “RCMP records suggest that the reconnaissance continues. Report logs indicate at least 29 incidents of police surveillance between the end of the G20 summit and April 2011 — more than nine months after world leaders departed Toronto.”
– “The same document indicates that the RCMP-led intelligence team made a series of presentations to private-sector corporations, including one to ‘energy sector stakeholders’ in November 2011. Other corporations that received intelligence from police included Canada’s major banks, telecom firms, airlines, downtown property companies and other businesses seen to be vulnerable to the effects of summit protests.”

Scope of the operations:
– “RCMP records obtained under freedom of information legislation reveal that at least 12 undercover officers infiltrated groups.”
– “In all, the RCMP-led joint intelligence group — a conglomeration of federal, provincial and municipal police tasked with G8/G20 reconnaissance — employed more than 500 people at its peak, the records show.”
– “The group ran undercover operations, recruited confidential informants and liaised with domestic and foreign governments, law enforcement agencies and even corporations.”

Who was targeted?
– “Organizations in Vancouver, the southern Ontario cities of Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Montreal were scrutinized. …The JIG’s targets included activists protesting the Olympics, the migrant-justice group No One Is Illegal, Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance and Greenpeace.”
– A JIG report from June 2009 states, “The 2010 G8 summit in Huntsville…will likely be subject to actions taken by criminal extremists motivated by a variety of radical ideologies. These ideologies may include variants of anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, nihilism, socialism and/or communism. The important commonality is that these ideologies…place these individuals and/or organizations at odds with the status quo and the current distribution of power in society.”

The Council of Canadians
We strongly condemn the spying, infiltration and surveillance by police of activist groups – and the police providing intelligence briefings to energy corporations, banks and other private-sector corporations ‘seen to be vulnerable to the effects of summit protests’.

In June 2010, we called for a public inquiry into the policing actions and security operations during the G20 summit in Toronto.

In 2011, we condemned the surveillance of First Nations groups by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (and seemingly the RCMP). Among those monitored included some the Council of Canadians works with directly or has supported, including the Tsilhqot’in (defending Fish Lake from Schedule 2); the Wet’suwet’en (opposing the Enbridge pipeline); Grassy Narrows (who had their waters polluted with mercury); the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (defending themselves against resource extraction); and the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake (opposing Bruce Power’s plans for radioactive shipments on the Great Lakes).

In August 2001, the Ottawa Citizen reported, “Officers from various police forces and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have infiltrated, spied on or closely monitored organizations that are simply exercising their legal right to assembly and free speech. Before and during the (1997) 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 Council of Canadians.”

More soon.