To: IAHF List
Subject: Newly Developed Police Tactics to Counter Direct Action at Mass Demonstrations
Date: 11 Oct 2003 07:30:05 -0000

IAHF List: The article below my comments is excellent, very solid research on the latest police state tactics used against demonstrators......... we must keep abreast of how the corporate scum are trying to control us in order to keep fighting back.

In '99 I demonstrated against the WTO in Seattle and experienced first hand what it feels like to sit down in the street, and face down an Armored Personnel Carrier flanked by goons who resemble Darth Vader. I experienced tear gas and hard plastic bullets in abundance along with Martial Law....... in time..... so will you......... its INEVITABLE........ will you be READY??

Are you asking what this has to do with maintaining your access to dietary supplements? It is the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO, a new international court that is poised to DESTROY your access to dietary supplements in Amerika, KKKanada and all over this increasingly fascist world.

Every "ruling" this mickey mouse "Court" has made has gone against the environment, against the public health, against human rights, against labor rights, against all the intangibles that go into the shaping of any democratic nation's laws.

Newly Developed Police Tactics to Counter Direct Action at Mass Demonstrations

by Anti A. Gent
Vancouver, Canada, Coast Salish Territories
May 12, 2003

In the February 2003 issue of "The Police Chief", the official publication of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Incorporated, an article entitled "Velvet Gloves and Iron Fists, Taking the Violence out of Major International Protests" described new strategies and tactics developed and implemented by Canadian police and security agencies to counter what they see as the growing use of direct action on the part of anti-globalization and anti-capitalist demonstrators at major protests against international institutions.

The article, written by Scott Allen, Sergeant in the National Security Investigative Service (NSIS) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), describes how police and security agencies have mobilized to counter “violence” at major protests. Allen says that this has become a major concern for law enforcement and security due to the escalating level of violence at protests, beginning with those against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, and continuing with demonstrations in Quebec City, Genoa and Ottawa.

Allen claims that the violence in Genoa resulted in one fatality. In Allen's world, it wasn’t the police officer shooting Carlo Giuliani in the head that caused his death, but instead a more abstract and general climate of "violence", which was initiated by the protestors.

Allen goes on to describe planning operations for the Group of 8 (G8) summit that occurred in Kananaskis June, 2002. Allen says that that law enforcement experts began planning to minimize and prevent direct action and sabotage as early as June 2001. Organizers of the G8 summit put their plans into action by changing the location from Ottawa to the remote and isolated Kananaskis resort, which only has one access road and is surrounded by mountains and forest.

In the months leading up to the summit Canadian military officials publicly announced their massive presence in the area and stated that they would not be able to distinguish between protestors and terrorists in the woods and may shoot to kill. Allen says that because of these actions protestors who favoured "direct action" and "diversity of tactics" decided to go demonstrate in Ottawa instead, and large labour groups headed for Calgary to avoid the potential violence in Ottawa. The "Take The Capital" group which organized the Ottawa protest had the support of "organizations with known violent tendencies" according to the RCMP, and intensive preparations began which also involved the Ottawa Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, Quebec Provincial Police, Gatineau Police, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canadian Citizenship and Immigration and the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency. The Ottawa fire department and paramedics were involved in planning as well.

Allen identifies several key factors, strategies and tactics that he claims were successful in limiting the amount of direct action at the Ottawa G8 protests and may be reused at future events.

The first key factor was information sharing between international agencies, particularly United States agencies. Cooperation at the Canadian, U.S. border was coordinated and worked well says Allen. Agencies in Europe were contacted to track any known European protestors "who might try to destabilize meetings through violence." A special Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) was formed four months prior to the Take The Capital protest and was made up of members from many different police and security agencies.

The JIG used large commercial databases such as Dialog and Newscan to collect historical and current information on persons, tactics and protestor planning. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was used for international intelligence. The information gathered by the JIG allowed police and security to target key meetings and persons. The JIG identified all protestor busses before they left for Ottawa and tracked them en route. All protestors with violent criminal records were identified ahead of time and a book of photos and information on targeted persons was provided to street-level personnel.

Protest "leaders" were identified and tracked, especially those with "policies of violence" or violent records. Cars and vans carrying persons in violation of parole or arrest conditions were tracked. Plain clothes police attended the protest march in Ottawa, and transmitted real-time tactical data to a command centre. Surveillance footage from video cameras mounted on buildings as well as an RCMP helicopter and Ottawa Police Service fixed-wing aircraft was sent to the command centre to track protestors and buses.

The second important factor was the decision to use the controversial "soft hat" approach. No special barriers were erected and protestors were not blocked from using parks. Tactical and riot police squads were kept close to the action but out of sight from demonstrators. Allen says the idea was to remove the typical elements of police mobilization which are seen as being "provocative" to protestors.

At the same time police opted to use intimidation tactics in an effort to deter protesters from using direct action methods. Police announced the opening of a large temporary holding facility for use during possible mass arrests. Allen claims that protest leaders were intimidated and "leadership" evaporated during the march. He says that the intelligence gathered by the JIG was a key factor in implementing intimidation tactics which limited the amount of violence in Ottawa.

Ottawa police and RCMP also formed a Major Events Liaison Team (MELT) for Take The Capital and held public meetings with protest groups and concerned citizens. The MELT attempted to contact all known protest groups and was required to monitor all arriving buses. MELT members used intelligence gathered by the JIG to meet the busses, dressed in civilian clothes with a "police liaison" marking, and openly photograph all persons getting off. Allen describes the MELT group as an example of integrated policing.

The last tactic that was used by police and security agencies at the Ottawa protest is known as "saturation." The Take The Capital protest march was saturated with uniformed and plain-clothes police officers. Uniformed police also lined the march route and openly displayed surveillance equipment. Protestors wearing masks were identified and observed carrying weapons and projectiles and Allen says that police sources could smell gasoline on protestors at certain points of the march. Some demonstrators who attempted to break away from the main march were followed and prevented from carrying out planned acts of sabotage against corporate property.

Allen illustrates these new tactical approaches in point form.

Allen’s article also demonstrates several important points to be considered by the international anti-capitalist movement.

Governments, security agencies and police increasingly view direct action and disruptive protest as an effective social force which necessitates complex coordination among agencies and the use of massive resources. This clearly indicates that small acts of sabotage, the attacks on corporate property which occur regularly at international protests, are not seen as "pointless" or "insignificant" by those in power, despite the claims to the contrary made by many social activists.

Police and other authorities are well aware of the possibility for the use of sabotage to spread across social movements, and this is seen as a primary concern over the actual amount of monetary damage that specific acts of sabotage cause. Governments are willing to expend resources in an attempt to control and suppress active resistance , the will to rebel against the capitalist system, and the potential for a confrontational attitude to spread socially. Those in power are not unaware of the dynamics that occur berween militant anti-capitalists and the larger mass of people who attend large-scale protests.

The context of mass demonstrations allows for direct action to take place within a mass setting, when otherwise groups of rebels could be easily isolated and arrested. The capitalists are likely very disturbed by the growing support for direct action at large demonstrations, and particularly the instances, such as in Seattle, Quebec City and Genoa, where local residents directly assisted anti-capitalist militants and often joined in the street battles against occupying police forces.

Despite their efforts, the authorities are still unable to prevent direct action, as was seen at the G8 protest in Ottawa as militants attacked a police vehicle and several corporate targets, and at many protests internationally since then. The capitalist project of total social control is impossible for them to complete, and becomes more difficult as more people directly oppose it.

In the context of international summits, governments find direct action on the streets to be embarrassing and often acknowledge that rebellious street demonstrations overshadow and tarnish the image of international institutions. When the streets of cities hosting international summits erupt in open revolt, the ruling class has lost an opportunity at making propaganda for its system. By isolating themselves they reveal both the power of the direct action movement and their own weakness and vulnerability.

Allen also admits in his article that it is often the police who "provoke" militant direct action through their heavy-handed tactics and their physical obstruction of protestors in attempting to block them from reaching their objectives. Although social activists are quick to undermine and denounce any acts of sabotage against corporate property as being "provocative" or even the work of "police agent provocateurs", it should be clear to any serious revolutionaries that it is the oppression of the ruling class and their servants that provokes a response in the form of direct action.

Revolutionary anti-capitalists must not allow police intimidation to diffuse rebellious social movements or police repression to become an excuse for not taking action. All the various acts of sabotage carried out every day by oppressed individuals and groups show that resistance is both possible and necessary.

Anti A. Gent
Vancouver, Canada, Coast Salish Territories
May 12, 2003

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