Agent provocateur tactics at the G20 Protests? A forum for evidence and Discussion

EDIT: While it has been incontrovertibly proved that the police dressed undercover cops in black-block outfit (watch 2:35),  there is only suggestive evidence that police provocateurs actually engaged in violence has appeared. The most important pieces of suggestive evidence are the many examples of brand new clothing worn by black blockers (seen above linked video or this blog post). Even a new video that has been posted only seeks to prove (and does not prove, at least on its own) that an under cover agent was marching with the black block, and later participated in a snatch squad arrest. If anyone else is aware of footage which could force the police to admit they had a direct role in the destruction of property, please let me know!

After the incidents at Montebello and Pittsburg, Sid Ryan claimed it was not beyond the police to use agent provocateur tactics to try to provoke violence at the G20 riots in Toronto. Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association, demanded he step down over the remarks – claiming it was “a totally irresponsible, inflammatory and idiotic thing to say for someone in his position.” For the Toronto Police Association’s demand to have any moral force, it must not, therefore, be proven that the Police in fact used any agent provocateur tactics during the G20 protests. Therefore, I am here trying to catalogue all the pieces of evidence I can potentially find which suggest, or ideally prove, that they in fact did. I will not claim any pieces of evidence are certain proof – and I will leave the thread open to discussion of the evidence but not irrelevant remarks.

1. “G20 Police Provocateur Wrecks Cruiser”

This video is suggestive for two reasons. The man dressed in black with an awkwardly big backpack “looks like a cop” – he has the appropriate haircut, and it is note able that he does not yell anything or interact with anyone. Plainclothes police officers can usually be recognized by their inability to act like normal people in a crowd – they walk funny, they look at you funny, and they hang out with each other but don’t acknowledge one another’s presence (see this video for non provocateur plainclothes examples).

The strangest thing about the video, however, is not the man jumping on top of the car, smashing the rear window of the police car and the sirens. Rather, it is the man at 1:30 who reaches into the car and changes the wail of the siren – as if he’s done it a thousand times before. Are these controls so easy to use as someone with no prior knowledge could easy operate them? Or, might he just have moved something and it happened to change the siren wail? If anyone has experience with Toronto police cruiser siren controls, this would be useful to know.

2. “Cruiser 766 Queen and Spadina. Police Provocateur.”

This video starts as pretty much the same as video 1, but goes on for another minute and a half. You see the two suspicious men from the 1st video and another who is also dressed in a suspicious manner trying to encourage people to flip over a second police cruiser. When there is obviously no support, they walk away. This is not conclusive evidence that these three guys are cops, but after seeing many videos of non-agent provocateur plainclothes police officers, they really do appear so to me.

3. “G20 Police Inciting Violence” EDIT: This video does not appear to be from this protest. Ignore!

This video doesn’t show anything clearly, but many people in the crowd become convinced that some people were throwing empty bottles at the police lines. You’ll need to judge this one for yourself. EDIT: Wrong protest this video’s from London!

4. CBC’s Carol MacNeil speaks with David McNally about “Black block tactics”, Anarchism and the role of police officers in street violence.

This is an excerpt from CBC TV, and gives a good analysis of what the “black block” is to people not already familiar with protests, or people who have seen such events only on TV.

5. Global Research has an interesting blog post using video and picture analysis to try to expose police agent-provocateur tactics in Toronto. If the post is down you can read the google cache here.

Francis has posted a video below which shows plain clothes cops in black-block dress being allowed to pass through a police line.

6. A photojournalist named Joe Wenkoff has made a video account of the movements of the black block. In my opinion it shows that it does not so much matter whether agent provocateur tactics were used – the police purposely did not confront the black block until they had dispersed back into the crowd, despite numerous opportunities.

7. A video posted yesterday makes a big deal about matching boots, black block characters with brand-new clothes, black block characters exhibiting police tactics, and has a clear and notated version of the video which clearly reveals plainclothes officers dressed in black block dress.


9 thoughts on “Agent provocateur tactics at the G20 Protests? A forum for evidence and Discussion

  1. Just a question, but if police can dress in plain-clothes to try and provoke violence, couldn’t protesters dress in police uniforms to enter people’s houses to incite further rebellion from protesters?

    I like the fact that you’re analyzing all sides of G20, and your question for #1 regarding knowing how to change a siren in a Toronto police car … See Moremakes me question why you would assume that the person operating the switch either had to be an officers or they would be someone with no prior knowledge of their operation. Why one or the other?
    Could the person who changed the siren not be someone who had been previously arrested, or been on a ride along in the past, or could there have even been a label on the dash as there are in some RCMP cars?

  2. It seems highly unlikely that protestors would dress in police uniforms and enter peoples houses.

    It’s possible the switch is common to all cruisers. What is suggestive to me is that his body displays the characteristics of someone acting deliberately rather than exploratively. But, if he had previous experience with the switch, then he could have been a protestor acting deliberately.

    They appear to be cops because they don’t fit in with any protestors around them, and because they don’t say very much, and especially because when they fail at encouraging people to flip over the car they do not continue to try to do it themselves – it looks like they were more interested in getting help to flip the car, than actually flipping the car.

  3. people have been posting this video and stating: “Someone dressed in the most widely publicized ‘black bloc’ outfit can be seen freely going behind police lines with other plain clothed / undercover officers.”

    All others behind the line seem to be beaten out.

    Also useful to notice not all plainsclothed cops looked like cops.

  4. Concerning the use of sirens, I’ve not seen how they work in an operational police cruiser, but I have seen how they work in police cruisers that have been converted to Fire Department vehicles. They aren’t super complicated, but the unit has several buttons that all look the same. In my opinion, to just reach in and switch it as quickly as that guy did, you would definitely have to know exactly which button to press.

  5. Third video is from London, I think. I noticed when I thought, “Wait, where does Toronto have such nice old buildings” and the accents at the end also indicate that.

  6. This is not solid proof of use of agent provocateurs but it does show a huge group of riot geared police standing a block away from the Starbucks/Tim Hortons smashups and doing nothing. It also shows them retreating into an alleyway, still doing nothing, possibly to get out of sight of cameras.

    Watch all three vids.

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