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Police Approach Me About Olympics Security

Two men in civilian clothes were beside me before I knew it. One was shortish, muscular, 40ish and had a sort of a mini goatee thing going on under his lower lip. The other, tall, dark receding hair, older, flanked him. "Dr. Shaw", the short one said and introduced himself as Jeff Francis. His partner was Doug Fell and both were from the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU). Could we "chat" about their concerns for 2010 security?

This all happened today at around noon as I came out of my usual coffee shop at Broadway and Willow carrying my morning coffee. I never saw them coming, just suddenly they were walking beside me.

I asked for business cards and found out that Francis, a corporal with the RCMP, was with the ISU as an "intelligence investigator" for a subunit I hadn't heard about, the "Joint Intelligence Group" (JIG). Fell is with the Vancouver Police Department and is listed as "Team Leader" with JIG. JIG appears to operate out of the RCMP headquarters in South Vancouver on Heather Street.

We stopped in front of the new spinal cord research centre on 10th and Willow, near to my work. Both nice as pie, this was definitely the "good cop, better cop" routine. It seems that some things in my book, Five Ring Circus, concerned them. How about going for coffee and having a chat? After all, they only wanted to ensure that 2010 was safe for everyone, even protesters. How about it? I told them that if they wanted dialogue with activists they should call a public forum and invite the press. And, moreover, if they wanted to ensure that the Games were safe and calm they should ensure that Charter Rights were not violated as in Quebec City in 2000. What message did I want to send to their boss, Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer and VPD Chief Jim Chu? Just this, I said: Observe Charter rights, accept that protest is part of democracy, and don't overreact.

A few hours later, another anti-Olympic activist was approached outside his work by two different JIG investigators.

If this is what almost $1 billion in security costs buys you, then maybe we aren't really getting our money's worth?



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