Below is an interesting piece published this evening about VANOC’s mentality leading into the Olympic Games. It’s not healthy or grounded.
Upon first reading, the perspective is shocking. If the journalists are being sensational and loose with the truth, then that might explain it all. If not, here’s how it reads.
The first comment about protesters not being that organized because they were easy to infiltrate implies that despite the organization required to rent a bus, VANOC expected them to be more organized to avoid being tracked so easily, as if they had something to hide. The protesters are either really bad evil-doers or they are not interested in being under the radar. We are all free speech zones, after all, so why hide.
The idea that protesters were probably going to be violent definitely makes them look poorly organized if they rode a bus. The alternative explanation is that the presumption of violence is wrong. But that alternative makes it hard to justify a $1b security budget. Assume the Raging Grannies have biological weapons so we can send the HazMat folks in to confront them with the riot police. Reality, be damned!
The observation of a peaceful demonstration suggests that the presumption of violence was incorrect. Rational thinkers should then question the presumption of violent protests. But no, this security model was then exported across the country for others to follow. The mistaken presumption spreads like a cancer.
Claiming that the infiltrating security personnel are to be credited for defusing violence is also explained by…take a breath here…there being no plans for violence in the first place. Or, it was the police doing it, just like how my existence happened to keep the sun from exploding last Wednesday.
How is it worth it for the price tag to be beyond the community’s ability to pay? Peace of mind? Perhaps, but only if we disregard the possibility that protests are not by definition carrying risks of violence. Then we should be resenting the heinous waste of money
Carrying that possibility makes the entire $1b security budget overblown, without even a legacy venue to show for it…beyond the temporary CCTV cameras that may end up being permanent if promises to remove them evaporate.
Undercover cop infiltrated torch protesters’ ranks
By Bob Mackin, 24 hours December 1, 2009 05:20 pm
An undercover cop watched Lower Mainland anti-Olympic torch relay protesters in the rear-view mirror on Oct. 30, according to Victoria Police chief Jamie Graham.
“You knew that the protesters weren’t that organized when on the ferry on the way over they all rented a bus, they all came over on a bus, and there was a cop driving the bus!” Graham told the 12th Vancouver International Security Conference on Monday.
Graham said protesters were “probably going to be violent,” so uniformed police infiltrated the crowd. A group of 300 people, many in Hallowe’en costumes, peacefully blocked traffic, diverted the torch relay and delayed its arrival at the Parliament Buildings.
“The relationships individual field officers have with protesters and so on just kills these kinds of disturbances and it worked extremely well,” he said.
Graham described the $220,000 policing bill as “well beyond our ability to pay,” but worth it.
“Police departments from all over the country have taken our game plan, our operational plan and adopted it as their own,” he said.
The day was not without incident. Graham said two ferry passengers were arrested for dumping water on an undercover security person, while two motorcycle cops wiped out on slippery pavement. “One of them was hurt quite badly, but has since recovered,” he said.
Meanwhile, a secondary security vehicle “got T-boned by an old guy who ran a red light.”
Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 hours.