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Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello

Kanada Kev

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This world gets crazier by the minute:


Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello: union leader

YouTube video shows union leaders trying to push back masked men

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | 4:06 PM ET

CBC News

Organizers of the protests at the North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Que., say they have video that shows police disguised as masked demonstrators tried to incite violence on Monday.

About 1,200 protesters were in the small resort town near Ottawa as Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at a two-day summit to discuss issues under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America pact.

The video titled Stop SPP Protest — Union Leader stops provocateurs, posted on YouTube Tuesday, was shown at a news conference held Wednesday in Ottawa by protest organizers, including Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, who appears in the video.

In the footage filmed Monday afternoon, three burly men with bandanas and other covers over their faces push through protesters toward a line of riot police. One of the men has a rock in his hand.

As they move forward, Coles and other union leaders dressed in suits order the men to put the rock down and leave, accuse them of being police agents provocateurs, and try unsuccessfully to unmask them.

In the end, they squeeze behind the police line, where they are calmly handcuffed.

"The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union believes that the security force at Montebello were ordered to infiltrate our peaceful assembly and to provoke incidents," Coles told reporters. "I think the evidence that we've shown you today reinforces the view."

Coles showed photographs of the masked men's and police officers' boots taken during the handcuffing, in which they appear to have identical tread patterns on their soles.

He also questioned why other activists have been unable to identify the three men whose images have been broadcast worldwide and demanded to know who the masked men were.

"Do they have any connection to the Quebec police force or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or are they part of some other security force that was at Montebello?" Coles asked, adding that he wants to know how the Prime Minister's Office was involved in security during the protests.

He suggested that the government might want to provoke violence in order justify its security budget for the summit and discredit protesters.

"They want to defuse our questions ... by trying to make it look like some radical group trying to create a confrontation," he said.

The RCMP has refused to comment, while Quebec's provincial force has flatly denied that its officers were involved in the incident.

It said it is not releasing any names as no charges were laid.

Retired police officer believes masked men were cops

Meanwhile, a retired Ottawa police officer who was formerly in charge of overseeing demonstrations for the force said he questions who the masked men really are, after viewing the video.

"Were they legitimate protesters? I don’t think so," said Doug Kirkland.

"Well, if they weren't police, I think they might well have been working in the best interests of police."

He added that if the situation was as it appeared, he did not approve of the tactic. "It's pretty close to baiting," he said.

On Wednesday, the mayor of Montebello thanked police and protesters, praising the fact that there wasn't a single report of damage during the two-day summit.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership pact, signed in 2005, is intended to forge closer trade and security links between the countries.

Opponents say negotiations about the agreement are secretive and undemocratic, and the treaty itself erodes Canada's control over its natural resources, security and defence.

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Quebec Police Admit They Went Undercover at Montebello Protest

Last Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2007 | 6:18 PM ET

CBC News

Quebec provincial police admitted Thursday that their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protests at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que.

The police came under fire Wednesday when protesters accused the force of planting undercover officers in the demonstration to provoke violence. A video surfaced on YouTube that appeared to depict disguised police in the crowd.

The provincial police, in a news release, said its officers went undercover to identify and stop non-peaceful protesters.

"In no time did the police of the Sûreté du Québec act as instigators or commit criminal acts," the news release states in French.

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This has been speculated about the notorious Black Bloc for a lot of years .. even a lot of harder-line protesters have wanted nothing to do with being anywhere in the vicinity of that group because of suspicions that the oddly timed violence-provoking is cover for crackdown on the legitimate visible dissent. Of course, it has always been - unfairly to those demonstrating out of actual conviction - only the Bloc and their decidedly utterly difficult to sympathize with actions that the news cameras are ever interested in filming.

Interesting to see an admission from the Quebec police about their undercover activities - in these seemingly post-Bloc days - even if it all feels a bit benign by comparison.

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no kidding. It's not like they were simply undercover to monitor the activities of the protesters (which I can understand to a degree). However, the fact that they were attempting to ignight violence and a melee is absolutely insane! I don't care if this has happened in the past, it's completely WRONG and heads should roll for this. Whoever is in charge of those undercover agents and gave them their orders should be fired instantly.

Could you imagine if they had been successful and started a violent exchange and somebody you know got seriously hurt and/or arrested because of it? That's entrapment to the nth degree. Since when do the agencies that are supposed to protect civilians and maintain peace get involved in inciting violence in order to make arrests and "look good"?

I'll be a good little worker and take my Soma now and shut up :P

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Now ain't it just funny

And don't it make you feel safe

When sheep are wounded

Let the wolf guard the gate.

-Bob Wiseman

Quebec police defend undercover officers

Public safety minister rejects call for public inquiry

Quebec provincial police are standing behind three officers who went undercover during protests at the recent Montebello summit, saying the men weren't there to provoke demonstrators.

"At no time did the officers in question engage in provocation or incite anyone to commit violent acts," Insp. Marcel Savard told a news conference in Montreal on Friday.

The police admitted Thursday afternoon that three masked men caught on video Monday afternoon pushing toward a line of riot police, despite protesters' efforts to stop them, were the force's officers.

The protesters were demonstrating against an agreement called the Security and Prosperity Partnership that was being discussed by U.S. President George Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Montebello Monday and Tuesday.

Savard acknowledged that one of the officers was given a rock by protesters but did not use it.

"One of the extremists gave the rock to one of our police officers and he had a choice to make," Savard said. "He was asked by extremists to throw the rock at the police, but never had any intention of using it."

Continue Article

Protester Dave Coles on Friday refuted Savard's allegations.

"I would testify in a court of law that these guys were lying. They were pushing me around. They had rocks," said Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

"They were trying to incite violence. They were trying to get others to throw rocks at the store. It’s just a fabrication."

Day brushes off calls for inquiry

The police admission came after several days of accusations from the protesters and denials from police that the three men were agents trying to provoke a confrontation between protesters and police.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day continued to dismiss calls for a public inquiry on Friday, saying the RCMP has a formal complaints process.

"The thing that was interesting in this particular incident, three people in question were spotted by protesters because were not engaging in violence," Day said.

"They were being encouraged to throw rocks and they were not throwing rocks, it was the protesters who were throwing the rocks. That's the irony of this."

On Friday, politicians and protesters alike were still demanding answers about the incident.

Quebec Opposition public security critic Sylvie Roy, ADQ MNA for Lotbinière, said in an interview that the province's Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis has to answer for the police actions.

Protester considers pressing charges

Coles, who tried to hold the masked men back, said he is considering pressing charges against the undercover officer who pushed him.

"Criminal acts were committed. They were shoving me and others," he said Friday. "We want an arm's-length independent inquiry of what's going on here."

A video posted on YouTube Tuesday showed three burly men dressed in black with bandanas over their faces pushing past Coles and other protesters in a designated protest area. One man was carrying a rock.

In the video, the protesters told the men to leave and put down the rock, and accused them of being agents provocateurs. The men broke through the police line and were handcuffed by police.

The video has been viewed 190,000 times since it was posted online on Tuesday.

The police later admitted the men were its officers, but said they were there to maintain order and were not trying to incite violence.

Edited by Guest
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the fact that they were attempting to ignight violence and a melee is absolutely insane!

where was this proven? i was away for the weekend and haven't heard any news yet.

Apparently shoving and carrying rocks is acceptable.

... and can be creatively interpreted as 'attempting to ignite a melee.'

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I don't appreciate this kind of deceit from our government. The world is complicated enough as it is... play by the fuggin rules you've established... and quit changing them to favour 'your' position over the far more important 'our' position, and our right to protest as an essential vehicle to the growth and health of democracy.

I'm joining the Newfoundland Liberation Army, and getting the hell outta here.


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I don't appreciate this kind of deceit from our government. The world is complicated enough as it is... play by the fuggin rules you've established...

Well put. Enough mind games - at least, if governments are going to keep playing at being "transparent" or "democratic", or pretend to trust the people they're supposed to represent (especially when political protesters demonstrate the kind of civility and sensibility that this action did).

I wonder if one of the effect of having such a dolt as GWB in power has been to compel people in opposition to start acting more mature than him, if only to accentuate their differences.

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Yeah... the tough part about Transparacy is that no one's going to be transparent about being not transparent. I suppose that's where turst, contracts, and lawyers come into the equation. With this incident, we just took two healthy steps backs from trusting our Government officials and officers.

I've lost count. Just exactly where do we stand after 7 years of Bush?

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I think it was their posturing. When I see/think of a police officer, I don't see them as bandana wearing, rock toting protagonists in a protest situation.... This whole situation stinks of Canadians adopting 'Patriot Act' style techniques on monitoring the masses. And the rock thing is relevant. When you're in a protest... you DON'T carry anything that can be used as a weapon, because if the tide turns and the cops to break the line, they will come after stick wavers, and rock throwers first for arrests. There is no rational reason that individual should of been carrying that rock that close to a police line in a peaceful protest situation... and the fact it turned out to be a police officer makes it that much worse.

I'm aware there are undercover cops, but this idea just doesn't gel for me in this situation, especially since there are dozens, if not hundereds of properly clothed police officers a few feet away. If they must have officers in the crowd to protect them from themselves... then why dress them up as arguably the most protagonistisc groups that attend these rallies i.e. the Anarchists and company... why not tone it down a little... being that you're their to promote the peace right? And if there is some sane reason why this dress was considered reasonable... then in what manner of happening did that 65 year old union leader get so riled up with them that he DID eventually discover their true nature with this cover up. Just makes that feeling that we are losing our freedoms stronger for myself. Maybe it's because I'm a pot smoker, and because of that fact I no longer feel comfortable traveling to the United States, but I really do feel this way, and and closer integration with that nation at this point doesn't make me feel comfortable.

At least have the common curtousy to tell me you are spying on me.

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Hee hee :) . Naw, people with power can't be expected to act in ways that can be called respectful. It goes against the very definition of power (for which I've always turned to Max Weber - i.e., the ability to achieve the aims of your own will despite resistance from others).

What irks me about this this scenario is that it's not quite unlike someone showing up from the WCTU at an AA meeting and passing around a bottle of booze in a brown paper bag to highlight the evils of liquor.

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The thought that keeps bouncing around my head regarding power is just how finite and measurable the Power scale can be: Even down to how efficient we are with it.

We can see it, when we look at how we choose to fizzle away gasoline and its cost, both in labour, migration, conflict, social status. I would say that our total efficency regarding the power output surounding our current consumption of oil is not very good (or at least not at its full potential). But I digress.

It seems to me that it's fair to say that one person has the equivalent of one lifetimes worth of work in them (potency varies by specimens)... so when someone gets an inclination of power, and into the comptitive sphere of the economy, it's a natural progression to require labor to accelerate an idea into a competitive environment. Therefore it's fair to see how an idea, which one realizes can barely be accomplished in just one life times worth of labour, looks outward for others to donate, er, um sorry, pay for their lifetimes (or vast significant chunks of it) to fulfill this need.

The reason why I say this, is that I fear there is a limit as to the amount which is safe for one man to weild... and now, and throughout history we have seen the folly of individuals who drive a labour force to a self inflicted disaster.

In relation to this thread... I think we get a wiff of the exaust of this brutal vehicle anytime George Bush comes to town.

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I think I see what you mean by that - the idea that any given person has a finite potential - but as soon as you start combining people and the willpowers, power starts to take off geometrically, and at that point becomes incalculably unpredictable. Who, say, before the last century, could have predicted that we'd now have weapons like atomic bombs? There's a good example of a concerted effort.

The problem I have with power is still at ground level, though, and has everything to do with coercion. I don't think it's any stretch to say that most human beings don't, most of time, have much sensitivity towards anything in their environment - animal, vegetable, or mineral - to use power to the utmost responsibility (or, rather, prevent themselves from doing much harm). Imagine, e.g., what the world would look like if every significant decision had to operate by the seven-generations principle. Or, imagine if there were no such thing as co-dependant relationships. Or, imagine if little kids didn't fry ants with magnifying glasses.

I think I'm in line with people like Michel Foucault - it's not that people use power, but rather that power uses people, unless they wise up.

People are too trapped inside their own heads. Maybe that's where the problem of power starts. To reach out to the other, to try to learn - maybe that's where it stops.

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The problem I have with power is still at ground level, though, and has everything to do with coercion.

Lots of good points... but just to focus on this... I can agree.

Can I coerce you into playing guitar in a band? Or coerce you into say helping me move?

My point is that some coercion is good, and manageable... it's just when you get the collective pull of hundreds, thousands, and millions of people pulling in the same direction, you get some harsh risiduals which 'pool' in certain places.

You may be correct about people living in their heads... I think that true for the vast majority... but when an idea is born, and the pursuit of power begins, it becomes real, and the will becomes manifest. That's the agreement... I'll work for you, I'll tune my intellegence to you needs, but I won't worry about the ends of my effort... it's too complicated. Just as long as the cheques come through... but no doubt there's an idea person at the top of that organization... someone who isn't trapped in their head, but certainly trapped against reality, and willing to amass and army in order to fight it.

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Can I coerce you into playing guitar in a band? Or coerce you into say helping me move?

If I didn't want to do either of those things, yet was forced to in spite of that preference, then it would be coercion (if a gun were being held to my head, if my family were being held hostage, if you had the resources of the state to fine or imprison me, etc.); otherwise, I'd be doing it willingly out of the strength of an argument better than any I could mount myself (that music is good to play, that a friend needed help moving), the logic behind which, if I'm to be an honest player in the Social Game, I'd have to recognise (these aren't great examples, mind you, because in real life I can't imagine turning either proposal down).

That's where I see an important line: the difference between compulsion - coercion, force, or power, as I'm reading it - and good argumentation, which appeals to people's innate reason (and which requires that people subdue their own egos in order to recognise others).

Put another way: it's one thing to use coercion on a child, to get them to move out of the way of an oncoming car, to get them to brush their teeth, not to eat dessert before dinner, or whatever, but quite another thing to be using it on other adults, "for their own good." Police are charged, though, to apply their powers largely towards the latter case. They (and lawmakers generally) need, I'd say, to be accountable to principles of reasonability (which is what the courts are all about), as members of the adult community; otherwise, they're just being paternalistic - in other words, coercive and manipulative.

I guess, to put it all still another way, that if they're going to throw that kind of power around, then they should be starting from a place where they're more mature and responsible than any other given citizen. The kind of games they were playing at Montebello show otherwise, particularly given the relative degree of maturity shown by the protesters themselves.

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I think starting kids off with heaps of debt in order to secure jobs that will pay you enough to pay off those debts is a subtle form of coersion which is used by the 'power mongers'. That and feeding an addiction to materialism vs. socialism (not the communist kind).

These subtle coersions are very effective when they are manipulated with the 'ridual pools' of negativity... eg. the cumulative effect of herding through subsidies and consumption has lead to and obese population, other health risks, the cutting down of the rain forsest, and treat the animals like shit while they are alive... among other things... yet we still have a market for fast foods, pharmasuticals (to fight the high blood pressures, and other things that come from eating too much meat), global warming/climate change issues, and we all subtaly contribte to the sometimes cruel and harsh environment these animals grow up in.

It takes something which is natural... like eating, and existing in a ecosystem, into something which seems to want to devour us from the inside out. Which is scary, cause as you said, most of us seem to live in our heads!

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yet we still have a market for fast foods, pharmasuticals (to fight the high blood pressures, and other things that come from eating too much meat), global warming/climate change issues, and we all subtaly contribte to the sometimes cruel and harsh environment these animals grow up in.

It takes something which is natural... like eating, and existing in a ecosystem, into something which seems to want to devour us from the inside out. Which is scary, cause as you said, most of us seem to live in our heads!

Wait now .. I was under the impression that you were an unapologetic market capitalist?

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Well... it's a tipping point kind of thing. Free markets for sure. But this idea of coersion, and power tripping by the elite of the world does not fit my idea of a free market.

But lets just say we actually take the subsidies off the table (atleast the nations which afford them). There would be such a dramatic shift in the economy, I wouldn't even know where to begin. So many things would happen, but it's my raw belief, that the final outcome would be far more egalitarian, and far more sustainable for us humans, and more harmonious with the planet.

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