In the Media

Undercover operation exposed | Rob Evans

PUBLISHED November 30, 2011

Two police spies exposed after infiltrating Canadian protest groups to gather intelligence on summit demonstrations

It's worth catching up with a story which has broken across the Atlantic. It has a familar ring to it.

A court case in Canada has revealed how two undercover police officers infiltrated activist groups in that country.

The pair were named last week as Bindo Showan and Brenda Carey. They posed as activists for 18 months, but were exposed during a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to prosecute activists.

Accounts of the affair can be found here and here.

It is interesting to see the aim of the undercover operation. The two police spies were sent to gather information about protests which were being planned against the G20 summit in Toronto last year.

Meetings of world leaders at G20 and G8 summits have long been a target of protests by the global justice movement, environmentalists, anti-capitalists, and other progressive activists. Therefore intelligence about these protests beforehand is at a premium for police forces.

It is noticeable that Mark Kennedy, who spent seven years undercover in the environmental movement, devoted much effort to collecting intelligence on the protests against the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005. Kennedy says that the intelligence was so "invaluable" that he got a commendation for it. "I was told information I provided was passed straight to Tony Blair's desk," he told the Mail on Sunday earlier this year.

There are of course similarities in the undercover operations here in Britain and in Canada. For instance, one of the Canadian undercover officers reportedly had a white van and drove activists around. He is also reported to have played up divisions between activists.

But he proved to be a bit incompetent - activists became suspicious about him because he kept his receipts. Mmm, wonder why he was doing that ? © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds