Sunday, June 26, 2011

G20 : Caught in the Act

An interview with Andre Marin, Ontario Ombudsman and author of the G20 report "Caught in the Act", sheds a little light on the blackout surrounding who was responsible for ordering kettling at the G20 a year ago.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, as we have previously heard, had not heard of the term kettling before he saw it taking place before his very eyes on TV at the G20. A whole year later he still claims not to know who ordered it.

Paul Jay reads from Marin's report :
"The former RCMP official who was in charge of ISU security at the time advised us that by June 24, which is, what, two days before, the Toronto Police Services representative on the ISU steering committee had left the ISU building, and that by noon on Saturday, June 26, when all hell's breaking loose, communications between the ISU and the Toronto Police had broken down. By 4 p.m., the Toronto Police Services had completely gone off the ISU radar.
These guys had months to prepare, like, an unlimited budget, like, a billion dollar budget, and it seems like what they told you is that the communication had broken so down that the RCMP had no control over the events that were going on in Toronto."
And where was Blair during all this? At the Intercontinental Hotel meeting President Obama.
Now that's what I call an alibi.

According to Marin, the ISU responsibilities were divided up between: "the RCMP responsible for security within the fence; the Toronto Police responsible for the security outside the fence."

On CBC's As It Happens last night, Blair made this statement about his relationship to the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit :

"Quite frankly I was not involved in much of the planning. I was aware of some of the things that were being planned, I was being briefed, but I was not the Operational Commander, I was not on the Unified Command Team or in the steering committee."
Well that's handy, isn't it?
Blair's in charge of the streets but is not inside the ISU command loop.
Then while he's off receiving his thank-you-masked-mans from Obama, someone uses the power vacuum at ISU to suck people at Queen and Spadina up as extras in a police crowd control exercise under martial law.

Blair declined to appear before Marin's investigation and does not support the idea of a public inquiry.
One year later, although the Toronto Police have pledged not to use illegal kettling again, the extraordinary powers of the "Queens breach" and the Public Works Protection Act remain in effect.
Extra reading : When police stick to phony script : the Miami Model from Catherine Porter in the Star
h/t Nadine Lumley in comments


Beijing York said...

The Miami Model is frightening. The successful WTO Seattle protests really took the establishment by surprise and scared the crap out of them. I never realized how extensive and effective their list of intimidation tactics had become.

The first hour of today's "Sunday Edition" on CBC Radio was about the G20 protests. The insights of theatre director Tommy Taylor were powerful. He was detained for 24 hours. The podcast is available here:

Most of the comments to the G20 story are pretty good too.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying this since the day after the mass caging exercise but I'll say it once more: The Toronto G20 fiasco is the Vancouver APEC fiasco all over again. The trails of commands for both police operations end in the PMO.

Luther B.

Steve said...

Our so called opposittion should be all over this. Kettling is a smoking gun, there is no doubt it was a practiced procedure and someone said, Kettle now. Find that guy and fire him as an example. It was not mistake, misunderstanding or miscommunitcation.

Alison said...

Kettling is indeed the smoking gun.
There's a lot of vid out there on the kettling at Queen and Spadina but this particular one is the best I've seen at showing how it worked :

Alison said...

Anon : APEC. Yeah.

Thanks, Beijing, off to go listen now.

Blog Archive