By: Dave Seglins
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.
“There’s a lot of stuff that isn’t in there, that’s been redacted, or isn’t spelled out. But it says these undercover operations were going on, that there were 12 officers,” says Tim Groves, who requested and obtained the reports through an access to information request. “The problem is that, looking at these documents, police expected criminal extremism everywhere.”
Groves, an investigative journalist and active participant in the alternative media centre during last summer’s G20 summit in Toronto, agreed to share the police documents with CBC News.
CBC’s independent analysis of the police records reveals:
The RCMP set up a Joint Intelligence Group in January 2009, which in turn assigned a dozen officers to a covert PIIT (Primary Intelligence Investigative Team) expressly for monitoring and infiltrating suspected extremist networks.
The joint-forces PIIT had a mandate to use undercover officers and informants from within the ranks of protest networks, not just to monitor potential criminal activity by organizers, but also to “deter, prevent, investigate and/or disrupt” threats to the summit.
The investigative team created and shared files on a long list of individuals, colour coding them according to perceived risk level as red (suspect), orange (person of interest) and yellow (associate).
Police identified “criminal extremists” as a significant threat to the Canadian summits, targeting anti-capitalist groups with grievances tied to the environment, animal rights and First Nations resource-based issues. They noted, however, that “in Canada the criminal extremist activity has never reached the level experienced in some European countries.”