Police Targetting and Infiltrating Activist Groups

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To start off your morning with a healthy dose of disturbing (full article here):

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.

“This is part of a long history of Canadian security police [involved in] major forms of surveillance including infiltration of various different social movements, including the union movement, the gay movement at times, ” Kinsman says.

Kinsman acknowledges police may have targeted people who they suspected were actively plotting violence or criminal activity. What surprises him, though, is that according to the ISU documents, undercover officers had an expressed mandate to do more than simply watch and wait for crimes to be committed.

He says their intelligence gathering was used as a basis for pre-emptive arrests of some 50 protest organizers on charges of conspiracy (many of which have been dropped, while 17 remain before the courts.)

“A large number of the people charged with conspiracy were arrested prior to anything happening on that Saturday demonstration,” Kinsman told CBC News, saying he himself was among the peaceful demonstrators at last year’s Toronto summit.

“So the evidence collected from the people who infiltrated the activist groups was basically used to criminalize the organizers, prior to anything actually taking place.”

He questions whether all the undercover work served any purpose, given the agitators who still managed to smash windows, loot stores and set police cars on fire with virtually no police intervention.

News of the police surveillance has only served to send a chill through the activist community, he says, making many of its members more distrusting of police, and perhaps hardening their anti-state views.

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