Friday, December 19, 2008

Targetting of Anti-Olympics Movement: What To Do When Police & Spies Come Knocking

Since 2007, police & intelligence agencies have targetted anti-2010 Olympics opposition as a 'security threat' to the Games. This has included media articles based on reports from CSIS and police specifically mentioning Indigenous and other social movements in Vancouver. Police have publicly stated their need to increase surveillance of anti-2010 resistance.

Beginning in 2008, CSIS and police also began attempts to recruit informants and gather information through interviews with people organizing anti-2010 resistance, or with people indirectly associated with our movement.

==> Agencies Involved

The following are the main agencies involved in surveillance & attempts to conduct interviews/recruit informants:

1) CSIS- the Canadian Security & Intelligence Service is Canada's main spy agency and is under the authority of the Ministry of Public Safety. It was formed in 1984 to seperate intelligence gathering from law enforcement after it was revealed that the RCMP had carried out violent and illegal campaigns against social movements in the 1970s. Unlike the police, CSIS agents have no powers to arrest; they gather & analyze intelligence and share this with government and police agencies. Like police, however, CSIS may conduct surveillance, recruit informants and infiltrate agents into groups.

2) RCMP VISU- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are a national police force and are the main agency responsible for security during the 2010 Olympics. To carry this out, they have organized the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (VISU), which coordinates the security activities of CSIS, the Canadian Forces, police, border control, coast guard, and other emergency services. The RCMP also has its own intelligence department (National Security Criminal Investigations) and is the lead agency for the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), which includes police, intelligence, and border control. INSET has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.

3) VPD- the Vancouver Police Department works in coordination with the RCMP VISU. The main officers involved in interview attempts have been those with the Aboriginal Liason unit of the VPD. Like other police departments, the VPD also has its own intelligence unit (the Criminal Intelligence Section, which is part of the RCMP's INSET).

==> Method

The agent or officer(s) may approach a person through either telephone or in person (i.e., appearing at a workplace or residence). They identify themselves and ask for an opportunity to meet with the person in order to learn their opinions or concerns about the 2010 Olympics.

==> Who Could Be Contacted:

Security agencies cast a wide net when collecting intelligence. Often times it is because someone is active in the particular movement being targetted, but not always. It includes situations where it is believed that divisions may be exploited (between individuals/groups), to discourage people from becoming more active (intimidation), or when a person has a close relationship with the target of surveillance (including family). Sometimes, agents have no idea how a person might respond to an interview request and take a chance they'll co-operate. They often request that people keep quiet about their intelligence gathering efforts.

For these reasons, it's a good idea to contact others and let them know if you've been approached by either police or intelligence agents.

==> What to Do:

If you are contacted by either CSIS or police for an interview, the best response is to just say “No.”

You are under no legal obligation to talk with either CSIS or the police (this also applies if you happen to be arrested and they want to talk to you then). Nor can CSIS or police enter your residence (unless they have a warrant) or detain you (unless you are under arrest).

It is a good idea to document any contact or harassment by CSIS or police and to let others know as soon as possible.

Write down

  • details of the incident and any comments made by the agent/officer(s).
  • get the agents/officers names and contact information (you can ask for a business card).
  • If possible, get a photo of the agent/officer(s) with a camera or cell phone (or write a description of what they looked like).
  • Send this info to the Olympic Resistance Network so that others can be made aware.

==> What NOT to Do:

Some people think it might be fun or “interesting” to meet with CSIS or police, to play 'Spy Vs. Spy'. This is a bad idea. Intelligence agents are trained in interrogation techniques. They may have years of experience and interrogated hundreds of people. In addition, they may have large amounts of intelligence at their disposal, based on extensive surveillance of our movements and communities. You don't know what they know or don't know. A seemingly minor detail, or even a certain response to a question, could reveal more than you think.

Not only are these agencies seeking info to certain 'criminal acts', they are also gathering psychological profiles of people. When it comes to dealing with state intelligence and police agencies, where information provided could target individuals or groups for repression, this is a dangerous game to play.

That's why the best response is to say No and alert others!

Contact individuals you know that are involved in the anti-olympics movement or contact Olympics Resistance Network ( We are happy to meet in person and your privacy and wishes will be respected.

For more information on anti-Olympics resistance, email or visit

1 comment:

  1. I'm from Minneapolis, near where the Republican Party had its convention.

    Expect arrests a weekend before the events.