The New York Times reported a few days ago that New York City Police officers, disguised as anti-war activists, crossed the border into Canada to spy on protest groups.
For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.
From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.
They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.
From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.
But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.
These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies.
There are obviously a lot of serious issues this report raises that the Canadian people deserve answers on, but little information appears in the article about the legalities of this operation in relation to Canada or other International Spook Destinations.
The article’s only other tidbit of info on the NYPD’s Northern Voyage is this little gem, that raises more questions than it answers:
On Jan. 6, 2004, the intelligence digest noted that an antigentrification group in Montreal claimed responsibility for hoax bombs that had been planted at construction sites of luxury condominiums, stating that the purpose was to draw attention to the homeless. The group was linked to a band of anarchist-communists whose leader had visited New York, according to the report.
And where is the vigilant Canadian press on this hot scoop of front-page quality? My extensive web searches come up empty. Haven’t been able to find mention in a single Canadian publication yet (but my search techniques are far from perfect – please post any links you find below).