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Canadian police using Seattle Riot tactics
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Police use agent provocateurs at Quebec summit protests, try to incite violence and arrests

And this is why Bush and Harper need to get the fuck out of government.

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Seattle happened under Clinton.

And the SQ was fucking things up long before this incident.

It's true that the SQ and the Democrats aren't great. But the security-theatre-at-all-costs mentality of Harper and Bush just encourages this kind of stupidity.

Police have been doing this for as long as there have been protests, in every decade that I've been alive. What's different is that now we have super cheap video cameras, and YouTube.

The invasion of Iraq, extraordinary rendition, and so on -- these are problems caused by Bush's policies. Agents provocateurs is just business as usual for most police forces.

Agents provocateur may be business as usual, and I'm sure they have their appropriate uses. Their use as a purely political tool is abhorrent in a free society, though. This wasn't a matter of exposing a violent group by tipping circumstances over the edge, this was a matter of trying to stifle protesters that had refused to be politically tamed in "designated protest areas".

Also, "security theatre" refers to the showy enforcement of dumb regulations that don't make the public safer.

The use of provocateurs is a highly effective tactic in a democracy, to keep the government safe from criticism. Protesters lose all moral credibility when they are perceived as violent yobs.

I thought about that, but I still think "security theatre" fits. Undermining the right to free association and protest, and generating scapegoats in the process, makes it easier for the government to claim that they're being tough on terrorism. The fear of home-grown terrorists is a strong one that Bush has capitalised on to make the US less safe, but more convenient for him. I smell the same on Harper these days.

This is a failed instance, true. Had it worked and had they taken the opportunity to link protest and terrorism, that would have been security theatre—putting on a show to make us feel more insecure while simultaneously making the government out to be our saviour. It also fits because by diverting police and public attention to non-threats, our ability to detect and stop real threats drops.

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