26 August 2007

Agents Provocateurs Used And Exposed At Quebec Summit

Some of you out there may have heard about the summit between US President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Montebello, Quebec, Canada, last week-end.

Some of you may have even heard about an incident in which three Surete du Quebec(Quebec provincial police)undercover officers masquerading as demonstrators allegedly tried to provoke a riot amongst the 200 or so demonstrators protesting the summit, and were exposed as agents provocateurs(police agents inciting people into engaging in criminal behaviour)by some of the demonstrators, thus causing the officers to be "arrested" and taken off by their colleagues.

This incident was captured in a video which was then posted by people involved with the demonstrations on YouTube.

Within the past two days, after denying that its officers had engaged in any such tactics, the Surete du Quebec acknowledged that they had, indeed, engaged in such behaviour, though it continued to deny that the officers had any intention of starting a riot.

Rather, the officers were allegedly trying to prevent a riot, and the one officer holding a rock had had it handed to him by another demonstrator.

Whatever the case, and I personally think the SQ hasn't much of a leg to stand on here, here are some links to articles about the story, as well as to the YouTube video of the incident itself.

We'll start with the video, which you can see for yourselves here:

After that, we have stories from the Toronto Star about the incident at http://www.thestar.com/article/249759, which is about an announcement by the Surete du Quebec on Friday about an impeding investigation by the service into the conduct of their undercover officers, this one, which gives a brief history of the term "agent provocateurs" and their use by various countries, including their use in Czarist Russia and, more recently, the US at http://www.thestar.com/Article/249603, and, finally, an editorial from the Star urging an independent investigation of the incident at http://www.thestar.com/article/249628.

In closing, for my money, I think the use of agents provocateurs by governments everywhere is a supremely bad idea, because it ends up, quite rightly, causing the public wherever they're used to suspect their government's policies and actions, and the motives behind them, and, additionally, can end up masking committing any number of offences and crimes under the colour of law.

When authorities start doing that, it's a sure way to undermine public confidence in any policy or action they make undertake, and creates a climate of suspicion and mis-trust so pervasive throughout the society that it undermines it from within far better than anyone or anything coming from the outside can, in a million years.

Be seeing you.

1 comment:

lasvegan2007 said...

Felipe Calderon won the Mexican presidency most likely by subterfuge, so it's surprising that there didn't seem to be any Mexican protesters there from the Partido Revolucionario Democratico. When Calderon slips off to a summit in Quebec, is it that hard for his opponents to mobilize and send demonstrators to follow him?