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NEWS: The RCMP-led spying on anti-G20 activists

The Globe and Mail reports on the spying done by the “Joint Intelligence Group, an RCMP-led squad with officers seconded from the Ontario Provincial Police and other forces, whose task was to gather information on threats to the (G20) summit (in Toronto in June 2010).”

“In early 2009, two strangers started mingling with the activist communities of Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph. The first was a man. Those who crossed paths with him say he ingratiated himself by chauffeuring people to protests in his white van and buying them pitchers of beer at the bar after. The second, a woman, told people she had fled an abusive relationship, acquaintances say. Both were undercover police officers infiltrating organizations planning protests against the Toronto G20 summit… Anti-poverty activist Julian Ichim came to regard the male officer as his best friend, and recalls him helping out Mr. Ichim’s cancer-stricken mother, driving her to and from hospital during her dying days. The female officer, meanwhile, went so far as to share a home on a quiet residential street in Guelph with some of the people she was spying on, activists say.”

Last June, the CBC reported, “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.”

This type of activity isn’t limited to Canada. As we noted in a campaign blog during a CETA intervention in Europe last January, the Guardian UK reported that four people have been identified as undercover Metropolitan London police officers who were engaged in the covert surveillance of eco-activists for years in groups such as Reclaim the Streets, UK Action Medics Collective, the Rising Tide Collective, and other anti-globalization and social justice groups. Shockingly, the Guardian highlights, “Three of those spies are accused of having had sexual relationships with the people they were targeting.” The full Guardian UK article – on what was a major scandal in the UK – is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/19/undercover-policeman-married-activist-spy.

In June 2011, the Council of Canadians condemned the surveillance of First Nations by Indian Affairs and the RCMP. In 2007, we spoke against the use of agent provocateurs at the North American Leaders Summit in Montebello, Quebec. 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.”

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.