Feds Visit Canadian Activist
from No Compromise Issue 5
 

Below is a specific example of a recent encounter that an activist had with the authorities. We reprint it here to help show you the police in action. This is a rather tame encounter, but still good for educational purposes. Note how the activist asks the strangers to identify themselves -- this is always a good idea when confronted by someone unfamiliar to you. Furthermore, note how one agent tries to act like an A.L.F. supporter and appeals to the activist's better nature while argues that helping them would help the cause of animal liberation. Also note that the activist never gives the police any information. Finally, he tells them to talk to his lawyer -- by law, when you ask to speak with a lawyer, they can no longer ask you questions. So read on and learn from other people's experiences.

On October 24th, at roughly 2:30pm, I returned home after walking the dog, and as I opened the front door two men appeared basically out of nowhere (meaning I didn't see them or, at any rate, they came up completely by surprise), and asked "Is (my full name here) home?" I looked them over and thought they were local reporters, one had the standard notebook and pen out, and I said "yeah, who are you?"

They identified themselves as RCMP officers from the National Security Investigation Section (NSIS) and each gave me their card (The RCMP is Canada's version of the police and Feds). The younger officer was from Vancouver, while the second one worked locally, from Toronto. The young guy asked if they could come in and ask some questions. I gave them the standard reply, "No, you can't come in and I won't answer any questions."

I put the dog inside and came back out, and asked what they wanted with me. The young guy claimed to be investigating a series of "mail-devices" sent out from Vancouver last year. Someone in Vancouver received one as well as a Toronto Neo-Nazi named Ernst Zundel who produces massive amounts of hate literature that is distributed in Europe and also the right-wing think-tank organization named the Mackenzie Institute (similar to the Rand Corp. in the US) .

I was told my name was on a list of 1,000 or so "left-wing" types who may be involved in anti-racist activities and that they had my name because I was arrested at a local animal rights demo (the odd thing was that both of my house mates were also arrested there, but he made no mention of either of them). They asked if I was going to the big anti-nazi rally at Zundel's house this coming weekend and also what I thought of pipe-bombs. They said things like, "someone as left-wing as you could have been hurt, or even someone's mom."

The young guy saw an "animal liberation or else..." sticker from the UK A.L.F. Supporters Group on our door and said it was "cool" and wanted to know if I sold them. He said if I sent one to his address, he promised to send me the money. Bizarre! The same guy said, "You know, there are all these great people and organizations out there, trying to do good work and make changes, like Anti-racist Action and the A.L.F., and then you get extremists who give them a bad name" -- again, I kid you not -- those were his exact words. I told them again I was not answering any questions and that if they wanted to continue this discussion, they should set it up through my lawyer.

As soon as they left, I called my lawyer and informed him of what had happened. It turns out the same two cops had visited anti-racist activists in Toronto.

It is my belief that the police were looking for people with links between animal liberation and anti-racist politics. Anti-Racist Action is a young, militant anti-nazi group that is not afraid of using tactics that include direct confrontation with nazis, civil disobedience and in some cases property damage involving nazi-owned property. They have also been the target of police harassment and are very closely monitored by the cops. Given my own involvement in anti-nazi activities locally and since I'm well known as an animal rights activist, it doesn't surprise me that my name has appeared on a police "list." Any activist working publicly on issues perceived to be "left wing" by the State can expect to be on a similar list kept by your local police or even Federal investigators.

Interestingly, (and potentially connected to all of this) we just had a very peaceful, non-disruptive fur protest tonight. In the past, the authorities usually send a local cop by to explain not to block the sidewalk, etc. and that's it. Tonight they had two unmarked vans parked across the street filming everything, two plainclothes detectives -- one of which was photographing us and the other inside the fur shop with the owner -- and a cop cruiser driving by once every 5-10 minutes for the entire demo. This is DEFINITELY not usual for our area, and it makes me think that the local cops have been contacted by the RCMP and that potentially anyone involved in CD and pro-A.L.F. activities are being watched and targeted. They took one of every leaflet being handed out "to make sure it was OK and didn't break any of the hate-laws."

In the end, there could be any number of reasons for why the RCMP decided to pay me a visit. My politics and views are well enough known within my community that it only makes sense that the police are also aware of them. Perhaps they suspect me of being involved in more militant activity, perhaps not. Either way, it probably doesn't matter to them. At least I knew enough of my rights to be able to keep control of the situation.

As of print, nothing more has happened from this encounter. However, the authorities look for easy targets and since this activist gave them nothing and was willing to maintain his rights, they most likely moved on in search of more fertile ground. It is those activists who talk who find out they get more police harassment. Because once you talk, they expect you to continue to talk, and when you stop, they will put on the pressure because they know you have talked in the past and will talk in the future once they find your breaking point. So the moral is DON'T COOPERATE with the authorities.