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					        Security Culture:
     a handbook for activists

28                              1
                                                                              5. ANYTHING YOU SAY TO THE POLICE MAY BE
                                                                              USED AGAINST YOU AND OTHER PEOPLE. Once
                                                                              you've been arrested, you can't talk you way out of it.
                                                                              Don't try to engage cops in a dialogue or respond to

                                                                              6. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REVEAL YOUR HIV STA-
                                                                              TUS TO THE POLICE OR JAIL PERSONNEL. If
                                                                              you've been arrested you should refuse to take a blood
                                                                              test until you've been brought before a judge and
                                                                              have a lawyer of your choice.

                                                                              7. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO TELEPHONE A LAWYER
                                                                              OF YOUR CHOICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. This
                                                                              means after you've been arrested, charged and booked
                                                                              into jail. This does not mean however, that you'll be
                                                                              given the right to speak with you family and friends.
                                                                              This is left up to the discretion of the police involved in
                                                                              your case.

                                                                              8. LYING TO THE POLICE IS A CRIME.

                                                                              9. IF YOU ARE NERVOUS ABOUT SIMPLY REFUS-
                                                                              ING TO TALK, YOU MAY FIND IT EASIER TO TELL
                                                                              THEM TO CONTACT YOUR LAWYER. Once a lawyer
                                                                              is involved, people will know more about your state i.e.
This handbook is the third edition of what we has been an evolving and        charges, bail, court date, etc.
growing document dealing with security issues and canadian activism.
We would like to say a big thanks to the Collective Opposing Police
Brutality in Montreal for editing some of the text of the original pamphlet
and adding so many great examples to the Informants and Infiltrators
section. We have replicated many of their changes in this edition.Thanks
also goes out to Eric Drooker whose artwork we used throughout this

For more information or to make contributions to this document - please

Third edition - prepared November 2001.
2                                                                                                                                        27

                        Your                                     Resistance has been on the rise for the past few
                                                                 years, with activists adopting more and more effective
                                                                 tactics for fighting back. Our increased activity and
     1. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE OR                  effectiveness has meant that the RCMP, FBI, and
     INVESTIGATORS. You do not have to talk to them on           local police have continued to escalate their activities
     the street, if you've been arrested, or even if you're in   against us. As well, the events of September 11th and
     jail. Do not talk about illegal actions with fellow “in-
     mates” in holding as they may be plants.                    ensuing state hysteria are no small footnote to the
                                                                 way that our radical and revolutionary movements
     2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO LET CSIS OR THE POLICE                 have and will be targeted by repressive state forces.
     to see the warrant. It must specificallydescribe the        If we want our direct action movement to continue, it
     place to be searched and things to be seized. It must       is imperative we start tightening our security and
     be authorized by a judge and should bear a signature.
                                                                 taking ourselves more seriously. Now is the time to
     3. IF THE POLICE DO PRESENT A WARRANT, YOU                  adopt a security culture. Good security is certainly the
     DO NOT HAVE TO TELL THEM ANYTHING OTHER                     strongest defense we have.
     Carefully observe the officers; you're in your own
     home you're not required to stay in one room. You           This is a handbook for the Canadian activist who is
     should take written notes of what they do, their            interested in creating and maintaining security
     names, badge numbers, and what agency they're               awareness and culture in the radical movements. We
     from. Have friends who are present act as witnesses.
     It's risky to let cops roam around alone in your place.     are always looking for contributions - so please feel
                                                                 free to email with any images or
     4. IF THE POLICE TRY TO QUESTION YOU OR TRY                 text you think belong in a handbook such as this.
     JUST SAY NO. The police are very skilled at getting
     information from people, so attempting to outwit them       This is the third edition of this zine that we have put
     is very risky. You can never tell how a seemingly           out in order to add and improve on the original text
     harmless bit of information can hurt you or someone
     else.                                                       (thanks for the work of the Collective Opposing Police
                                                                 Brutality in Montreal for their help). There will be
                                                                 future editions of this handbook so keep putting
                                                                 forward suggestions to us.

                                                                 We hope that you will put the material contained
                                                                 within to good use. Now more than ever is the time to

26                                                                                                                      3
    of the agent will accomplish an        connection with the agent it is
    effective neutralization. But if the   certainly the group's responsibil-
    agent is no great threat to the        ity to quietly contact leadership
    group's functioning, the agent         in other groups to warn them
    staying inside the group may be        about the agent. Often public
    useful for other purposes.             exposure is done through the
                                           group's newspaper/newsletter/
    The group might decide that            journal; in this case, the news
    they prefer to keep the agent,         article should be sent to a wide
    rather than risk not knowing who       variety of groups. The more
    would replace a known quantity.        pressing problem is the instance
    It the agent is not in a sensitive     where there are only suspicions
    position, can be monitored and         but not decisive evidence.
    isolated from important work, the
    group may want to keep such an         Experience has shown that
    agent at a low organizational          suspicions are taken seriously
    level. Or the agent might be           only when then is a political
    given tasks that seem to be            bond that exists between
    sensitive but are in reality not       persons with long movement
    crucial to the group. Under the        experience. People who have
    cover of doing "sensitive" work,       been in the movement a long
    false and semi-false information       time, and who are known to
    about the group can be relayed         each other and trusted as
    to the intelligence agencies that      dedicated movement people,
    the agent belongs to. Or per-          can convey agent suspicions
    haps certain information that is       that will get a favorable hearing
    in fact true about the group can       or be readily believed. This "old
    be willfully discredited by crea-      hands trust network" is relatively
    tion of pseudo-events and/or           independent of political point of
    false information. Remember            view; veteran leaders of rival
    that when the intelligence             radical organizations can freely
    agencies have a great deal of          and easily exchange information
    contradictory information, it          on matters of security.
    decreases their ability to act
    decisively against the group.

    (d) What are the responsibilities
    to other groups of the group's
    knowledge of an informer? If the
    group makes a decision to sever

4                                                                        25
                                                                              Sec uri t y
                                                                          What it is, why we need it
                                                                          and how to implement it...              C ult ure
the Anti-Repression Resource Team - Jackson, Mississippi)                 A CTIV ISM A ND STATE              ments that are militant and
                                                                          REPRESSION                         movements that are markedly
                                                                                                             pacifist. The government's
Assuming that the security           (b) What will be done if the         This pamphlet has essential        security machinery serves the
people within the group have         information is inconclusive?         information for anyone asso -      elitist political and economic
suspicions about a group             Often there is not enough            ciated with groups advocating      objectives of capitalism. There
member being an informer/            evidence to confirm that some-       or using economic disruption       are over 250 political prison-
provocateur, it is useful for        one is a police agent, but there     or sabotage, theft, arson, self-   ers in Canada and the US that
security/leadership to resolve       IS enough evidence to confirm        defence from police or more        can testify to this from first-
certain questions both before        certain suspicions. A great deal     militant tactics. The advice       hand experience. By adopting
and after the investigation:         will depend upon what is at          that followsalso applies to        a security culture, we can limit
                                     stake with the person under          anyone associated with             or neutralize counter-intell-
(a) How badly do you want to         suspicion. In general, the           groups practising civil dis-       igence operations meant to
know whether the person is in                                             obedience, especially since        disrupt our political organ-
                                     choices come down to
agent or not? Clearly, if the                                             people often work in several       izing, be it mainstream or
                                     1) labelling the person a security
person under suspicion is                                                 groups at the same time and        underground.
                                     risk and acting accordingly;
relatively important to the                                               gossip travels freely between
                                     2) doing nothing outwardly but       them.                              Peasant-rebels; communards;
group's functioning, then leader-    continuing the investigation;
ship must know one way or the                                                                                liberationists; abolitionists;
                                     3) isolating the person from         Even if you've never
other. The more important the                                                                                labour organizers; revolut-
                                     sensitive work but keeping him       expressed your politics by
person under suspicion is to the                                                                             ionaries; from large uprisings
                                     or her in the group;                 doing property damage,
group, the more intensive the                                                                                challenging the entire political
                                     4) moving to a higher stage of       pitching cobblestones, or          structure, to isolated environ-
investigation. We may suggest        investigation.                       getting arrested for civil         mental and social struggles,
methods of investigation which                                            disobedience; even if you          people have constantly worked
are unorthodox and from a            (c) What will be done If the         think you have nothing to          to create a better world. The
certain point of view morally        person does turn out to be an        hide, these guidelines are         response of government has
indefensible. But the question is    agent? While common sense            presented here to enhance          always been repression to
always how badly the group           dictates that the person be          your personal safety as well       preserve the status quo..
needs to know. No group need         exposed and severed from the         as the overall effectiveness of
use all or any of the methods we     group, other actions might be        our movements.                     Historically, government
describe. But under the condi-       initiated. If the presence of the                                       surveillance and harassment
tion that the correct information    agent is a real threat to the        The simple reality is that         has increased relative to the
is a life-and-death matter for the   group, then the agent should be      governments in industrialized      ascendancy of direct action
group, certain drastic measures      neutralized in an effective          countries target groups that       movements. Minimizing the
may be justified.                    manner. Usually wide exposure        advocate economic sabotage         destructiveness of political
                                                                          and groups that don’t, move-       repression requires that we
24                                                                                                                                              5
                                    movements have a lot of work to
implement and promote a
                                    do before we address the bigger      are activist-friendly lawyers who can help us demand retractions and
security culture within our
                                    questions - what’s important         corrections. Speak to the journalists involved, call them on their
                                    here is to recognize how             sloppy, dishonest work, expose their hypocrisy, and complain to the
                                    oppressive behaviours play into      journalists' ethics body. We can not rely on capitalist, private-media
SO WHAT IS A SECURITY               bad security culture overall.        for any kind of fairness.
                                    (IN)SECURE PRACTICES                 It is valuable for us to learn more about the covert actions of the
It’s a culture where the people                                          police. There exists a long and documented history. Factual informa-
know their rights and, more         Activists like to talk, we
                                                                         tion about police covert activities also comes out as evidence pre-
importantly, assert them. Those     generally can spend hours and
                                                                         sented in court. An important, too often neglected part of our strength
who belong to a security culture    hours discussing theory, tactics,
                                                                         is our knowledge of, and our protection from, police action against
also know what behaviour            and strategy. Mostly this is
compromises security and they       useful in building our analysis      us.
are quick to educate those          and our work, but in other cases
people who, out of ignorance,       this can be dangerous.
forgetfulness, or personal
weakness, partake in insecure       WHAT NOT TO SAY
behaviour. This security con-
sciousness becomes a culture        To begin with, there are certain
when the group as a whole           things that are inappropriate to
makes security violations           discuss. These things include:
socially unacceptable in the
group.                              > your involvement or someone
                                    else’s involvement with an
Security culture is about more      undergound group
than just targetting specific
behaviours in individuals such      > someone else’s desire to get
as bragging, gossipping or lying.   involved with such a group
It is also about checking
movement behaviours and             > asking others if they are a
practices as a whole to ensure      member of an underground
that our own oppressive             group
practices don’t feed into
intelligence operations being       > your participation or someone
carried out against our             else’s participating in any action
community.                          that was illegal

For example, racism or sexism       > someone else’s advocacy for
in the movement can help to         such actions
spread division, make some
people more open to infiltrators    > your plans or someone else’s
(those who feel marginalized by     plans for a future action
group practices), and create
openings that can be used by        Essentially, it is a bad idea to
state operatives. Obviously, our    speak about an individual's

6                                                                                                                                          23
COVERT ACTION OTHER                   during the July 2001 meeting of      involvement (past, present or         arrested and brought to trial. If
                                      the G8. Several reports reveal       future) with illegal activities.      s/he is found guilty, this activist
                                      that Italian police masked as        These are unacceptable topics         can freely speak of the actions
                                      black bloc members attacked          of discussion regardless of           for which s/he was convicted.
Covert (or "Special") Action
                                      demonstrators and small shops.       whether it is rumor, speculation      However, s/he must never give
from police and secret service is                                          or personal knowledge.
                                      With a lack of public information,                                         information that would help the
also done outside of the group,
                                      the police help manipulate                                                 authorities determine who else
with or without infiltration. These                                        Please note: this is not to say
                                      public discourse along the lines                                           participated in illegal activities.
efforts include: intimidation and                                          that it is incorrect to speak about   The third exception is for anony-
harassment, blackmail and             of "how do legitimate demon-
                                                                           direct action in general terms. It    mous letters and interviews with
manipulation, propaganda,             strators isolate activist thugs?"
                                                                           is perfectly legal, secure and        the media. This must be done
informing employers and                                                    desirable that people speak out       very carefully and without
security checks, as well as           Slanderous propaganda can            in support of mokeywrenching          compromising security. Advice
physical sabotage like theft and      take the form of anonymous           and all forms of resistance. The      on secure communication
arson.                                letters, or rumours aimed at the     danger lies in linking individual     techniques can be found at
                                      activist milieu. There are also      activists to specific actions or
Intimidation and harassment           examples where police will           groups.
can include visits from secret        make uncorroborated, casual                                                These are the only situations
service agents, calling you or        accusations to journalists that,                                           when it is appropriate to speak
your partner by their first name      to use two examples, a person        THREE EXCEPTIONS                      about your own or someone
on the street, thefts where           is a drug dealer, or that at a                                             else's involvement or intent to
obvious clues are left. Police        demonstration, a person aimed        There are only three times that it    commit illegal direct action.
will try to blackmail people if       a handgun at an officer. It is       is acceptable to speak about
                                      often for slanderous reasons         specific actions and activist
they want to recruit or neutralize
                                      that police charge activists with    involvement.                          SECURITY MEASURES
                                      "weapons possession" for
                                      having a penknife, or charges of     The first situation would be if       Veteran activists only allow a
Police uses propaganda in an
                                      violence like "assault."             you were planning an action           select few to know about their
attempt to poison the atmos-                                               with other members of your            involvement with direct action
phere and manipulate media
                                      The growth of the anti-globaliza-    small group (your “cell” or           groups. Those few consist of the
and public opinion. In Decem-                                              “affinity group”). However, these
                                      tion movement has been ac-                                                 cell members who they do the
ber 1971, when the FLQ was                                                 discussions should never take
                                      companied by renewed anar-                                                 actions with AND NO ONE
near its end and heavily infil-                                            place over the Internet (email),      ELSE!
trated, the RCMP issued a false       chist-scare propaganda on the
                                                                           phone line, through the mail, or
FLQ communiqué in the name            part of authorities. Politicians
                                                                           in an activist's home or car, as      The reason for these security
of the "Minerve" cell. The            and police attempt to massage
                                                                           these places and forms of             precautions is obvious: if people
communiqué adopted a hard-            public opinion, preparing            communication are frequently          don't know anything, they can't
line position, denouncing the         people for a crack down, in          monitored. The only people who        talk about it. When activists who
abandonment of terrorist action       order to legitimate the use of       should7dear this discussion           do not share the same serious
by a well-known activist, Pierre      heavier methods of social            would include those who are           consequences know who did an
Vallières, and urging the con-        control, exclusion and               actively participating iXäthe         illegal direct action, they are far
tinuation of armed struggle.          repression.                          action. Anyone who is not             more likely to talk after being
                                                                           involved does not need to know        harassed and intimidated by the
In Genoa, Italy, police played an     Manipulative disinformation          and, therefore, should not know.      authorities, because they are
active covert role in trying to       spread through the media needs       The second exception occures          not the ones who will go to jail.
discredit black bloc anarchists       to be denounced as lies. There       after an activist has been            Even those people who are
                                                                                                                 trustworthy can often be tricked
22                                                                                                                                               7
by the authorities into revealing   do serious damage to our             It is your responsibility to       jail time at this point in your life.
damaging and incriminating          security.                            instruct these people on the       As long as capitalism and all of
information. It is safest for all                                        importance of security culture.    its evils exist, there will be
cell members to keep their          The following are examples of                                           resistance. In other words, there
involvement in the group            security-violating behaviours:       The other type of activist-        will be plenty of great actions for
amongst themselves. The fewer                                            informer is the person who         you to participate in when your
people who know, the less           Lying: To impress others, liars      cracks under pressure and          life circumstances are more
evidence there is in the long       claim to have done illegal           starts talking to save his or      favourable.
run.                                actions. Such lies not only          her own skin. Many activists get
                                    compromise the person's              drawn into situations they are     If others are dependent on you
                                    security -- as cops will not take    not able to handle, and some       for support, you aren't willing to
SECURITY VIOLATING                  what is said as a lie-- but also
                                                                         are so caught up in the "excite-   lose your job, or drop out of
BEHAVIOURS                          hinders solidarity and trust.
                                                                         ment" that they either don't       school or ruin your future career,
                                                                         realize what the consequences      DON'T DO THE ACTION. If you
In an attempt to impress others,    Gossiping: Some people think
activists may behave in ways        they can win friends because         can be, or they just don't think   are addicted to an illicit drug
that compromise security. Some      they are privy to special            they'll ever have to face them.    and/or have a lengthy
people do this frequently - they    information. These gossips will                                         criminal record, the cops will
are habitually gossiping and        tell others about who did what       Keep in mind that the catego-      use this to pressure you for
bragging. Some activists say        action or, if they don't know who    ries of "planted informer" and     information. If you don’t feel
inappropriate things only when      did it, guess at who they think      "activist-turned-informer" can,    capable of detoxing under
they consume alcohol. Many          did what actions or just spread      and have been blurred. In 1970,    interrogation and brutality, or
activists make occasional           rumors about who did it.             during the height of the FLQ's     doing a hell of a lot more time
breeches of security because                                             activities, Carole de Vault - a    than your comrades, DON’T DO
there was a momentary               This sort of talk is very dama-      young Parti Quebecois (PQ)         THE ACTION.
temptation to say something or      ging. People need to remember        activist was drawn to the FLQ,
hint at something that shouldn’t    that rumors are all that are         but then became a paid police      Make certain that you talk with
have been said or implied. In       needed to instigate an               agent. Her "activism" was with     others in your affinity group
most every situation, the desire    investigation or even lay            the PQ; she disagreed with the     about situations that make you
to be accepted is the root          charges.                             heavier FLQ actions since it       uncertain whether you should
cause.                                                                   threatened the "legitimate" work   be involved in particular actions,
                                    Bragging: Some people who            of the PQ. Her involvement         especially those that are at a
Those people who tend to be         partake in illegal direct action     with the FLQ was as a planted      high risk of being criminalized.
the greatest security risks are     might be tempted to brag about       police informer.
those activists who have low        it to their friends. This not only
                                                                                                            Remember - there is no excuse
self-esteem and strongly desire     jeopardizes the bragger's
the approval of their peers.        security, but also that of the       KNOW YOUR OWN LIMITS               for turning in comrades to the
                                                                                                            police - and those activists that
Certainly it is natural to seek     other people involved with the
friendship and recognition for      action (as they may be               We have to know the possible       do effectively excommunicate
our efforts, but it is imperative   suspected by association). As        consequences of every action       themselves from our move-
that we keep these desires in-      well the people who s/he told        we take and be prepared to         ments. We must offer no legal
check so we do not jeopardize       can be charged as accessories        deal with them. There is no        or jail support to those activists
the safety of other activists or    after the fact. An activist who      shame in not being able to do      who turn in others for their
ourselves. People who place         brags also sets a bad example.       an action because of responsi-     impact on our movement is far-
their desire for friendship over    Indirect-Bragging: Indirect-         bilities or circumstances that     reaching and can have devas-
the importance of the cause can     braggers are people who make         make it impossible for you to do   tating effects.

8                                                                                                                                            21
fessed ideals and how they live?     tice. It was done to the Black      a big production on how they       persons whose behaviour
One of our strengths as activists    Panthers, AIM, the Front de         want to remain anonymous,          breaches security. If someone
is our ideas and values, our         Libération du Québec (FLQ),         avoid protests, and stay           you know is bragging about
counterculture, our attitudes        and the peace/ anti-war/and         "underground." They might not      doing an action or spreading
towards the dominant society.        anti-nuclear movements on a         come out and say that they do      security-compromising gossip, it
Our sincerity in discussing these    large scale. Small groups, such     illegal direct action, but they    is your responsibility to explain
things is also a way of learning     as affinity groups, or working      make sure everyone within ear-     to her or him why that sort of
about each other.                    groups of larger more open          shot knows they are up to          talk violates security and is
                                     organizations, need to be           something.                         inappropriate.
When planning for new actions,       especially careful with new
                                                                         They are no better than            You should strive to share this
care must be taken concerning        members. Direct action organiz-
                                                                         braggers, but they try to be       knowledge in a manner that
who is approached. As little as      ing is ideally done with
                                                                         more sophisticated about it by     encourages the person' s
possible should be said about        longstanding, trusted members       pretending to maintain security.   understanding and changes her/
the actual action plan until a       of the activist community.          However, if they were serious      his behaviour. It should be done
person’s political philosophy,                                           about security, they would just    without damaging the person’s
ideas about strategy, and levels     This doesn't mean that no one       make up a good excuse as to        pride. Show your sincere
of risk they are willing to engage   else should ever be allowed into    why they are not as active, or     interest in helping him/her to
in have been discussed on an         these groups. On the contrary, if   why they can't make it to the      become a more effective
abstract basis. If there is a        our movement is to continue to      protest . Concealing sensitive     activist. Keep your humility and
strong basis for believing this      grow, new people should be          information from even trusted      avoid presenting an attitude of
person might be interested in        welcome and recruited; we just      comrades is far better than        superiority. An insensitive
the action, then the general idea    need to keep security in mind       jeopardising underground work.     approach can raise an
of an action can be run by           and exercise caution at all                                            individual’s defences and
 them. Only when they have           times.                                                                 prevent them from listening to
agreed to participate, do they                                           EDUCATE TO LIBERATE                and using the advice offered.
come to the group to discuss         The Unwitting Informer                                                 The goal of addressing these
action details.                                                          The unfortunate truth is there     issues with others is to reduce
                                     Possibly an even greater threat     are some security-ignorant         insecure behaviour, rather than
During the trials of activists,      to our movements than the           people in the movement and         showing how much more
police often reveal the kinds of                                         others who have possibly been      security-conscious you are.
                                     covert operative is the activist-
information that they have                                               raised in a "scene" that thrives
                                     turned-informer, either unwit-
gathered concerning our groups                                           on bragging and gossiping. It      Share your concerns and
                                     tingly or through coercion.
and activities. Note what revela-                                        doesn't mean these people are      knowledge in private, so that the
                                                                         bad, but it does mean they need    person does not feel as if they
tions come out of these trials.      The unwitting informer is the       to inform themselves and learn     are being publicly humiliated.
What are the possible and likely     activist who can't keep his/her     about personal and group           Addressing the person as soon
sources of the information?          mouth shut. If someone brags to     security. Even seasoned            as possible after the security
Speak to persons that have           you about what they’ve done,        activists make mistakes when       violation increases effective-
been arrested and interrogated       make sure this person never         there is a general lack of         ness.
to see what they may have said       has any knowledge that can          security consciousness in our
to the police, or discussed in       incriminate you, because sooner     groups.                            If each of us remains res-
their jail cell.                     or later, the wrong person will                                        ponsible for discussing security
                                     hear of it. These activists don't   And that's where those of you      information with people who slip
Placing infiltrators in social       mean to do harm, but their          who are reading this can help.     up, we can dramatically improve
justice and revolutionary move-      bragging can be very damaging.      We must ALWAYS act to inform       security in our groups and
ments is an established prac-
20                                                                                                                                          9
activities. When people              stiffer sentences for political      posals. Infiltrators often need to       spent 41 days in preventive
recognise that lying, gossiping,     actions, and with courts             build credibility; they may do this      custody, only to be released
bragging, and inappropriate          handing down long sentences          by claiming to have participated         under draconian bail conditions.
debriefing damages both              for political "crimes", the stakes   in past actions.
themselves and others, these         are too high to allow chronic                                                 The police's covert action was in
behaviours will soon end.            security offenders to work           Also, infiltrators will try to exploit   part about dismantling the
                                     among us.                            activist sensibilities regarding         group, but it was also about
By developing a culture where                                             oppression and diversity. Intelli-       creating a media/propaganda
breaches of security are pointed     By creating a security culture,      gence organizations will send in         campaign to justify the police-
out and discouraged, all sincere     we have an effective defence                                                  state security for the summit.
                                                                          someone who will pose as a
activists will quickly understand.   against informers and agents         person experiencing the com-
                                     who try to infiltrate groups.        mon oppression of the particular
                                     Imagine an informer who, every
DEALING WITH CHRONIC                                                      activist group. For example, in          BACKGROUND CHECKS -
                                     time they ask another activist       the 1960's, the Weather Under-           AN ESSENTIAL TOOL
SECURITY PROBLEMS                    about their activities, receives
                                                                          ground ("Weathermen" - a white
                                     information about security. It
So what do we do with activists                                           anti-imperialist armed struggle          What are some ways of looking
                                     would frustrate the informer's
who repeatedly violate security                                           in the US) was infiltrated by an         into the possibility that someone
                                     work. When other activists
precautions even after being         discovered that she/he               "ordinary Joe" informant with a          is an informer? Firstly, unless
informed several times?              continued to violate security        working class image. Black war           you have concrete reasons or
                                     precautions after being              veterans infiltrated the Black           evidence that someone is an
Unfortunately for them, the best     repeatedly informed, there           Panther Party.                           infiltrator, spreading rumours will
thing to do is to cut them loose.    would be grounds for isolating                                                damage the movement. Ru-
Discuss the issue openly and         the person from our groups. And      A fresh example of police                mours that you do hear of
ask them to leave your meet-         that would be one less informer      infiltration and manipulation            should be questioned and
ings, basecamps and organ-           for us to deal with!                 tactics is that of Germinal, a           traced back.
izations. With law enforcement                                            group targeted for arrest two
budgets on the increase, new                                              days prior to the April 2001 anti-       A person's background can be
anti-terrorist laws that call for                                         FTAA demonstrations in Quebec            looked into, especially activism
                                                                          City. Five months prior, the             they claimed to have partici-
                                                                          police set up a false transport          pated in, in other places. Do
                                                                          company and specifically                 your contacts in those places
                                                                          postered opportunities for               know of the person, their in-
                                                                          employment in the vicinity of a          volvement? Did problems ever
                                                                          Germinal member seeking                  come up? One important
                                                                          employment.                              advantage of having links with
                                                                                                                   far away places is that it makes
                                                                          The trap worked. Tipped off by           it more difficult for informers to
                                                                          an initial informant, two under-         fabricate claims about their
                                                                          cover cops worked for four               activities.
                                                                          months in the group. This
                                                                          operation resulted in the media-           What are a person's means of
                                                                          hyped "dismantlement" of                 living? Who are her or his
                                                                          the group on the eve of the              friends? What sorts of contradic-
                                                                          summit. Seven Germinal mem-              tions exist between their pro-
                                                                          bers were arrested, 5 of whom
10                                                                                                                                              19
**The "novice" type: presents a         should be careful with. At the
somewhat more active role, but          very least, they need to be                   a brief primer on the
confines themselves to less             informed about security issues.
prominent work. They don't take         New activists should understand         canadian state security apparatus
initiatives, but the work they do       that direct action tactics can be
is valued. This helps them build        risky (though some risks are
trust and credibility.                  worth taking!) and that asking a
                                        lot of questions endangers
**The "super activist" type: they       people. If the person persists in
come out of nowhere and all of          asking questions, there is a         Recent incidents of repression        Intelligence Service's (CSIS)
a sudden, they are everywhere.          problem and appropriate meas-        against activists in British          annual reports, activities
Whether it's a meeting, protest,        ures must be taken. Activists        Columbia illuminate the need for      targeted in the late 1990s
or an action, this person will be       who can't understand the need        grassroots people to understand       included: native resistance,
right in the thick of it. Keep in       for security should be shunned       and practice movement security.       environmental & animal rights
mind however that this can              and kept away from the move-         Police monitoring, infiltration and   movements, anti-poverty, anti-
also be the mark of a new               ment.                                agent provocateurs are routinely      globalization, anti police
activist, whose enthusiasm and                                               used by the state to collect          brutality, anti-racist, anarchist
commitment is so strong that            Some types of infiltrators stay in   information about our groups, or      and communist groups.
she/he wants to fight the power         the background and offer             specific individuals in them, and
every minute of the day.                material support, other inform-      to subvert our activities.            With the rise in militant First
                                        ants may have nothing to do                                                Nations' struggles; covert direct
It should be said that with             with the group or action, but        For example, during the APEC          action against corporations; the
several of these modus oper-            initially heard certain plans and    hearings, it was revealed that        renewed militancy and strength
andi, the behaviour is hard to          tipped off the police. Among the     over seventy groups and               of popular struggles; and the
distinguish from a sincere new          more active types of infiltrators    individuals were monitored            mass-media's increasing focus
person’s involvement. How do            can be a gregarious person that      before and during the APEC            on anarchists and anti-
we tell them apart? Well, a             quickly wins group trust. Some       meetings in 1997. A paid              globalization protests, there is
planted infiltrator will ask a lot of   infiltrators will attempt to gain    industry informant/disruptor was      also a growing level of police
questions about the direct action       key forms of control, such as of     identified at a wilderness action     surveillance and repression.
groups, individuals and illegal         communications/ secretarial, or      camp in 1999. Provocateurs
activities. She/he may suggest          finances. Other informants can       also targeted some Vancouver          The need for security in our
targets and volunteer to do             use charm and sex to get             activists, trying to convince them    movements is obvious -
reconnaissance as well as take          intimate with activists, to better   to disclose information and as        however, it is incredibly
part in the action. Infiltrators        spy or potentially destabilize       well, to break the law.               important that we don't fall into
also try to build profiles on           group dynamics.                                                            the trap of using our awareness
individuals, their beliefs, habits,                                          The Canadian security                 of security issues to shut other
friends, and weaknesses. At the         Active infiltrators can also be      apparatus identifies a number of      people out of our growing
same time, infiltrators will shield     provocateurs specializing in         our groups and activities as a        movements.
their true selves from other            disruptive tactics such as           threat to "national security".
activists.                              sowing disorder and demoraliz-       People and organizations are          One of the key aims of the FBI's
                                        ing meetings or demos, height-       widely targeted; even avowed          Counter-Intelligence Program
 Anyone who asks a lot of               ening conflicts whether they are     pacifists have been included in       ("COINTELPRO") operations
questions about direct actions          interpersonal or about action or     surveillance and repressive           against the Black Panthers and
isn’t necessarily an infiltrator,       theory, or pushing things further    measures. According to the            American Indian Movement
but they ARE someone you                with bravado and violent pro-        Canadian Security and                 (AIM) was to spread distrust and
18                                                                                                                                               11
paranoia so that these activists
would be reluctant to integrate
                                     operations level, the new
                                     agency was granted more lee-
                                                                         everything you ever wanted to know
new people into their struggles.     way in terms of public account-             about informers and
                                     ability than the Mounties had
A security culture can exist in a    ever had.                                       infiltrators
large movement; indeed, it is
one indication of a movement's       CSIS carries out a wide range of
strength. Arming ourselves with      surveillance activities. Since
knowledge about how the              they are not a law-enforcement      Infiltrators seek information on most radical groups. The return of
system works and works against       agency and since their evidence     mass mobilizations and radical actions in anti-globalization, anti-
activists is essential in building   is not used in court, nothing       poverty, anti-racism and anti-police brutality demonstrations, as well
security culture. The aim of this    stops them from contravening        as declarations to continue struggling in the streets and underground
section is to give a brief run       the few regulations that do         has drawn attention from the state's secret police. More infiltrators will
down of the working of domestic      exist regarding privacy rights.     be sent into our ranks to try to bribe, entice or manipulate individuals.
intelligence in Canada. In this      For example, CSIS is not            The extent to which
way, we can better understand        required to inform people, as is    they are able to infiltrate our groups depends on our seriousness and
how to avoid its traps.              RCMP, ninety days after a           responsibility in learning about, promoting, and working within a
                                     wiretap (or bugging) is over.       security culture.
DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE                Agents working for CSIS are         Radical movements can learn to better identify covert enemies in our
ORGANIZATIONS                        allowed, with "authorization", to   projects. Once identified, appropriate action is needed to undo,
                                     enter people's homes to plant       contain, or remove the danger.
The Canadian Security and            bugs, wiretap phones, open mail
Intelligence Service (CSIS) is       and look into health,               This section is intended to arm you with information on how to spot
probably the best known of the       employment and government           and deal with informers, infiltrators, and provocateurs in our ranks.
"security" agencies that deal        records without ever having to
with activist "threats". Its         tell a targeted individual what
predecessor was the Security         they are doing. The information                                            ible methods or operation, or
Service division of the Royal        that they gather is used to build   WHO IS AN INFORMER?                    “modus operandi”. These are:
Canadian Mounted Police,             profiles and dossiers (files) on
(RCMP-SS). In 1984, following        individuals, organizations,         There are actually two kinds of        **The "hang around" type: they
the MacDonald Commission on          networks, etc. This information     informers. The deliberate              are persons who regularly show
the illegal activities of the        is also passed on to other wings    informer is an undercover agent        at meetings and actions but
RCMP, the civilian spy agency        of the federal security system      on the payroll of government or        generally don't get involved.
CSIS took over RCMP spy              who are responsible for "law-       industry. The second type is the       They collect documents, listen
work. That said, the RCMP did        enforcement", and will then         activist-turned-informer. Both         to conversations and note who's
not abandon its intelligence         obtain whatever warrants are        kinds try to infiltrate our ranks      who. This observation role is
gathering, it’s just that CSIS       necessary for legal surveillance    and are equally dangerous to           relatively inactive.
specifically gathers political       (to be brought into court as        our movements.
intelligence.                        evidence).                                                                 **The "sleeper" type: is similar
                                                                         Let's discuss the deliberate           to the "hang around" modus
The split from the RCMP              The National Security Invest-       informers first. They are often        operandi, except that their
allowed the new spy agency to        igation Service (NSIS) is the       difficult to identify. Informers can   absorption of information is
do legally what the Mounties         primary law-enforcement wing in     be of any age and any profile,         used to activate their role at a
had been doing illegally. At the     Canada. The NSIS is a section       but they do have a few discern-        later date.
12                                                                                                                                           17
     of the Royal Canadian Mounted       of surveillance were used
     Police (RCMP). Most major           against several Vancouver
     cities across the country have      activists. During the Vancouver
     an NSIS office including Van-       investigation, house and vehicle
     couver, Edmonton, Montreal,         bugs were located by some
     Ottawa, and Toronto. The NSIS       targeted individuals. The bugs
     maintains a computer database       had large battery packs
     on activists, immigrants and so     attached to facilitate less
     called "terrorists" which is        frequent battery changes. The
     housed in Ottawa.                   NSIS also visited several
                                         activists across Canada in an
     It is believed that the Vancouver   attempt to question them
     NSIS employs between 12 and         regarding the individuals under
     18 members. Within NSIS there       investigation.
     are several sub-groups called
     Team 1, Team 2, Team 3 - etc.       THE GOLDEN RULE OF
     that have different investigative   SILENCE
                                         It needs to be stressed
     They employ informants,             throughout our movements that
     infiltrators, personal physical     no one is under any legal
     surveillance, electronic            obligation to provide to the
     surveillance including phone        police anymore information than
     and room "bugs" and other           one's own name, address and
     means of investigation and          birth date, and this only if one is
     research.                           under arrest. That is it! Saying
                                         anything more jeopardizes
                                         security. Even answering seem-
     The RCMP/NSIS also have
                                         ingly insignificant questions can
     other resources at their disposal
                                         assist the police in developing
     during counter-insurgency
                                         personality profiles on a range of
     operations. "Special O" is a        activists. It may not be
     team of surveillance specialists    "evidence" but it is used to give
     that may be called upon.            police "leads" on other suspects
     "Special I" is a penetration team   and construct intent during legal
     whose specialty is to break into    proceedings. The only principled
     homes, vehicles and other           response to police questioning
     properties for investigative        when under arrest is to say
     purposes. They are the team,        nothing more than your name,
     which among other things,           birth date and address. If
     installs listening devices,         questioned further you can
     photographs building interiors,     simply say "I have nothing to say
     etc.                                (except in the presence of my
     In a long-running case based in
     Vancouver, all of these methods
16                                                                    13
The Communications Security          Most activists will be initimately
Establishment (CSE) is an            familiar with their local police     Kitson advises that the primary work of the intelligence agency should
agency of the National Defence       forces. Be aware that cops do        occur during the preparatory phase. At this time the movements are
/ War department, which has          not only show up in blue             most vulnerable. They have not experienced a high degree of
been long clouded in secrecy.        uniforms - but routinely practice    repression. They consider talk of security as mere paranoia. As they
                                     crowd infiltration and carry out     are not breaking laws they believe that it is safe to organize completely
They collect and process             surveillance and investigative       openly. The intelligence agency is therefore able to exploit these
telephone, fax and computer          activities either alone or jointly   conditions and develop detailed dossiers on a wide range of people.
communications of foreign            with the RCMP depending on           The information will be extremely valuable to them later on.
states, corporations and             the type of case. Watch for them
individuals. The federal             on demonstrations - as they like     Important historical revolutionary activities and groups began as small,
government uses the                  to come along and take photo-        serious-minded projects that grew in spite of surveillance and
intelligence gleaned from the        graphs and video for the record -    repression. It is therefore important to practice security at all points in
data to support troops abroad,       and they often appear in crowds      the movement's development. State agents gather more than just
catch "terrorists" and "further      as “fellow demonstrators”.           "hard evidence;" they are interested in knowing about radicals' beliefs
Canada's economic goals"                                                  as well.
(what that means is up to them).
                                     THE COUNTER-                         Police try to control with fear; don't be intimidated. Remember - If an
Although the CSE is not              INSURGENCY MODEL                     agent comes knockin', do no talkin'.
technically allowed to collect the
communications of Canadian           Most Western nation-states
citizens, it is known to be a        follow a model of counter-
partner in the Echelon project -     insurgency developed by a
a multinational monitoring           British intelligence expert named
operation which sees CSE and         Kitson who wrote, Low Intensity
counterpart agencies in the          Operations, after much field
United States, Britain, Australia    work in the colonies. He broke
and New Zealand share                down movement development
intercepted communications of        into three stages:
interest with one another,
effectively creating a global        The Preparatory Phase: is
surveillance web.                    when the movement is small,
                                     tends to focus on education,
The Terrorist Extremist Section      publishing and groundwork.
(TES Unit) is British Columbia's
anti-terrorist unit. A joint         The Non-Violent Phase: is
Vancouver/Victoria Police            when the movement takes on
Department/RCMP unit called          more of a mass character. Large
the Organized Crime Agency           demonstrations are the norm.
(formerly the Coordinated Law
Enforcement Unit - CLEU), it is      In the Insurgency Phase: the
believed that the this unit          movement has taken on a
employs two or three members         popular character. Perhaps a
only.                                more assertive, guerrilla
                                     component has emerged.
14                                                                                                                                              15

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