First, there's the reasonably compelling evidence of some sleazy shenanigans:
Police accused of using provocateurs at summit
Protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations at the North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Que...
A video, posted on YouTube [view here], shows three young men, their faces masked by bandannas, mingling Monday with protesters in front of a line of police in riot gear. At least one of the masked men is holding a rock in his hand.
Uh oh ... that's not good. And how do protest organizers react?
The three are confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Coles makes it clear the masked men are not welcome among his group of protesters, whom he describes as mainly grandparents. He urges them to leave and find their own protest location.
Coles also demands that they put down their rocks. Other protesters begin to chime in that the three are really police agents. Several try to snatch the bandanas from their faces.
And here's where the fun starts:
Rather than leave, the three actually start edging closer to the police line, where they appear to engage in discussions. They eventually push their way past an officer, whereupon other police shove them to the ground and handcuff them.
Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.
Kevin Skerrett, a protester with the group Nowar-Paix, said the photos and video together present powerful evidence that the men were actually undercover police officers.
"I think the circumstantial evidence is very powerful," he said.
And the best part?
The three do not appear to have been arrested or charged with any offence.
Police confirm that only four protesters were arrested during the summit – two men and two women. All have been charged with obstruction and resisting arrest.
Veteran protester Jaggi Singh, who is helping to circulate the video as widely as possible, said all four of those arrested are known to organizers and are genuine protesters.
"But we see very clearly in that video three (other) men being arrested . . . How do (police) account for these three people being taken in, being arrested? Where did they go?" Singh said.
Ah, yes ... the magically vanishing protestors. How convenient. Not surprisingly, it doesn't take long for the ignorant, dumbass motherfuck to start oozing out of the good ship S.S. Blogging Tory, like here:
So they were hired to intervene in the “peaceful protests”? Canada’s top moonbat Jaggi Singh (sometimes eclipsed by Jack Layton) says that they were hired so that the police could have an excuse to bring out their toys such as teargas, rubber bullets and pepper spray.
How many conspiracies does it take to change a lightbulb?
It warms my heart to see a new conspiracy sprout up hourly over the Montebello summit. Of the 6 protestors who showed up to liberate the the continent from three elected leaders, apparently 4 of them were police infiltrators. Their purpose - to trigger a violent protest and discredit the protest industry. Impossible? I suppose not. But then again, it rests on the massive supposition that the protest industry needs help discrediting itself.
The Blogging Tories. Their new motto: "How come all those conspiracy theorist moonbats keep calling us names? It's just not fair!"
BONUS TRACK: A lesson for all the kids out there: this is what happens when you don't know your dealer.
JUST PLAIN CURIOUS: There are a few things about that video that I find more than a little odd. First, despite the fact that one of the provocateurs clearly has a rock in his hand, and numerous protestors are pointing this out in loud voices, the police that are only a few feet away do nothing about this. A masked (and alleged) protestor is wandering around holding a lethal object, and the police seem blissfully unconcerned. Weird, no? As you can see in the video, the police are clearly prepared for violence, given that they're carrying shields, and one can reasonably assume that they came ready for anything, including violent protestors. And yet, with three textbook examples of potential trouble right in front of them (one of them holding a deadly weapon), they appear utterly indifferent. Doesn't that just beat all?
Shortly thereafter, the provocateurs end up next to the police line, and it's clear from the video that the one is still holding the rock! Even as he's standing immediately next to a police officer, he hasn't been told to drop it. How retarded a law enforcement officer do you have to be to allow an allegedly dangerous (and masked) protestor to walk up to you with a rock in his hand, and not ask him to put it down? But it doesn't end there.
Immediately thereafter, the provocateurs quietly push their way through the police line, and are "arrested." But on what possible charges? Until now, the police have been delightfully indifferent to masked protestors wandering around, carrying rocks. It hasn't seemed to bother them so far. Now they decide to arrest them? For what conceivable reason? On what imaginable charge?
And, finally, I find it curious that, as they're being arrested, the police aren't removing their bandannas. You can see clearly in the video that the tallest of the three, as he's leaning against the wall and is then being taken down for the arrest, is allowed to remain masked. It's hard to see what happens after that, and it's annoying that the cameraman didn't follow the procession out to the van to see if the bandannas came off anytime during the march. But one might reasonably ask whether it's standard police procedure to not expose the people you're in the process of arresting, given that it would have been such a trivial thing to do.
So many questions, don't you think? One wonders which enterprising "journalist" will have the courage to ask them.
OOOOOOH ... MORE BONUS: Via the Gazetteer, we find this collection of flickr photos, which clearly show one of the provocateurs being led away, still completely concealed behind his bandanna, headpiece and dark glasses. How convenient, I'm sure.
YOUR "AGENT PROVOCATEUR" BLOGGING TORY CHALLENGE: Not surprisingly, the suggestion that local police infiltrated the Montebello protestors to make them look bad was met with derisive hoots from the worthless douchebags known as the Blogging Tories, but it's not clear why that should be.
Why shouldn't the BTs be concerned about this kind of behaviour? You know as well as I do that, if the same thing had happened at, say, a right-wing, anti-same-sex marriage rally, the outraged screams from the BTs would have been heard on Mars. More generally, why shouldn't Canada's wingnuts be livid about this sort of behaviour, no matter who the target?
But you already know that that's not the way these folks work. They have the most malleable principles in history -- it's good if it works in their benefit, and it's bad if it doesn't. However, I'm willing to be proven wrong.
So who will be the first BT to come out swinging against this rather obvious underhanded police strategy? Which Blogging Tory will take a deep breath and decide that there's actually a principle here that's worth standing up for? Really, who's going to break ranks with his or her fellow right-wing howler monkeys and defend the notion of peaceful and free speech in a democratic society?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, I was just kidding. But you knew that.
THERE'S JUST SO MUCH MORE. The more I watch the behaviour of the three "protestors" in that video, the weirder it gets. If you watch closely, you'll notice that, as the regular crowd of protestors gets increasingly irked by the three, they (the three) start to take cover by inching closer and closer to the police line (as if for protection or something). Eventually, one of them even shoulders aside Dave Coles to get to the safety of the police (watch the video and verify that for yourself). Is this the normal behaviour of someone who came looking for trouble?
Seriously, someone has to demand an explanation for this. A feeble "no comment" just isn't good enough here.
THE INFAMOUS YELLOW LABELS: While I originally cautioned folks against reading too much into the allegedly identical yellow "labels" on the bottom of the footwear, take a closer look at them here (click to enlarge):
Note, if you will, that the footwear worn by the two "protestors" on the ground whose feet you can see is absolutely identical -- not just based on the yellow label, but on the bottom tread. There's little doubt that those are the same boots which, amazingly enough, are identical to those worn by the officer right next to one of them. [UPDATE: Here is a much more detailed photo of the footwear, leaving no doubt whatsoever that they're all exactly the same make and model of boot.]
Regardless of what I said before, that's just too much of a coincidence. Way too much. Somebody has some serious 'splainin' to do.
And as they are led away the three are clearly wearing those plastic "Cinch-Em, Danno" wrist restraints.
That together with the non-denial, denial form the RCMP spokesman about whether or not the men were arrested or whether or not the police use provocateurs (it's at the very end of the Joan Bryden wirestory used by the Star and many other outlets) really makes you wonder
(details of the Booking at my place for anybody interested)
When we were in Montreal to protest the WTO, a bunch of "anarchists" started throwing rocks and this apparently gave the police just cause to arrest everyone in a one-mile radius.
One of the "anarchists" was a tall, bare-chested, skinny guy, with a huge spikey mohawk. Boots and spiked hair, he was 6'6" at least.
We saw him walking down the street the next day. Apparently the police, who were watching the whole thing from the rooftops and with cameras, etc., could catch him.
I notice that the BT's basic "argumen" [if one wants to call it such] is that the story is possible, but the left is silly, so it isn't true.
I say that the left should take power, put it's own people in charge of the police, and do to right-wingers what they do to us.
I think it's down to that.
argh. "couldN'T catch him."
Any pcitures of the shoes? Triangles on the sole sounds to me like Saucony's (they are wearing runners, right? That's what it looks like in the vid.) They're a nice shoe, and it wouldn't surprise me if the riot police didn't like them as well, just by coincidence.
I read about the alleged yellow triangles on the soles, but I've seen no evidence of them, and nothing to suggest that they would mean anything, even if they were there.
And I would caution anyone about raising that issue, since it's just an easy way for the right-wing whackjobs to discredit the whole thing.
There's enough legit evidence here to work with. No sense jeopardizing it by inventing bogus proof.
So, who is sending all this info to members of parliament, to newspaper editors, to ANYONE who would have enough clout to raise a huge fuss about it? Is anyone who could really influence things and start a furor paying any attention? You know how easy it is for them to ignore the blogosphere unless somehow it can really snowball.
Found a shot of them. They're a TM for Vibram, which makes outersoles for many diff boot companies. I've got a link and pic at my place. But they don't prove anything.
It appeared to me that the three (or at least a couple of them) were looking to the police for direction. "Uh, what should we do now?..."
And absolutely CC, they appeared to be inching as close as possible to the police for protection.
I have to say, the only reason for their constant edging toward the police line that I can think of is to avoid a possible physical conflict with the other protesters - who were shouting quite angrily.
Now, if they had come to the protest looking to start trouble, would they be afraid of a little scuffle with people who were trying to avoid trouble? It seems unlikely. However, if their biggest fear was being photographed with their masks ripped off...
It's circumstantial, but it's good enough for me...
I looked at that video also, and I have to say it looks very bad for the RCMP here, especially when they arrest these three yet no record of said arrest exists, when they do not take the masks off these fellows once they "handcuff" them, and especially when they approach the cops with one of them holding that rock in his hand and there is no sign of any nervousness/concern from the cops. Taken together I have to agree this is a very strong circumstantial evidence based case that the RCMP sent these three in to be provocateurs. I also noted the look of the men seemed in terms of physical body type is consistent with military/police and not with the average protestors I have seen in my life, both as a member of protests and as an observer of protests.
The RCMP needs to be held accountable here; this is not something that should be seen as acceptable, period. It is not the place for the police to trigger riots, it is to not trigger riots and prevent riots from happening through legal and normal law enforcement protocols. This is very serious and needs to be kept track of IMHO. I am very grateful to the Canadian blogosphere for bringing it to my attention.
In that picture from behind where you can see the plastic zip thingies, look how loose the tie is on the fellow's right hand.
You know how police, when they're facing physical threat and have to subdue someone, are always really gentle with handcuffs and all that stuff, right?
I don't see what the problem is here.
If the police wants to dispel any doubt that those involved were legitimate protesters rather than police agents all they have to do is release their identities! Under other circumstances the police routinely release the names of those charged.
If the police won't release the names -well, that pretty much speaks for itself.
I love the way the but they're the good guys, why would they do such a thing crowd are playing this -- everything from absolute denial to "even if they did (which we don't believe for a minute) so what, who gives a rats".
None of them appear willing to address what would have happened had the rock toting "anarchists" started something - what's a few grandmothers getting gassed or pepper sprayed if it's for the good cause of suppressing dissent 'eh?
-- besides, if they were real innocent grandparents[tm] they'd be home knitting scarves or whittling whistles wouldn't they?
PS, there's a larger cutout of the boots at stageleft - nice and big and clear so that comparisons are easy.
I've already posted a seriously blown-up shot of the infamous boots here.
They were cops, they just fessed up.
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