”Circumstantial evidence” suddenly conclusive
Given everything at stake at the recent Security and Prosperity Partnership summit at Montebello, Quebec (both rhetorically and politically), everyone paying attention to the summit just knew that those opposed to the SPP weren’t going to allow the summit to close without some sort of ensuing scandal.
If they don’t have a genuine one, a person had to realize they were going to invent one.
And they have.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada have released a video which they claims provides conclusive proof that the Quebec police force were using agents provacateurs to provoke riots as a pretext for breaking up the protest.
In the video, three masked men are shown hovering around a protest. One of them has a rock in his hand. CEP President Dave Coles is confronting them, trying to drive them away from their peaceful protest, comprising mostly of grandparents. One of them has a rock in his hand.
In a statement earlier today, Coles announced “We have proof that the three individuals who were 'arrested' after being exposed as 'agents provocateurs' were, in fact, members of the Quebec police force."
In hindsight, however, it’s a good thing that Coles is a union boss, not something a little more powerful like a federal prosecutor.
As proof, Coles and the CEP presented a still image taken from the video, wherein yellow triangles can be identified on the boot soles of not only the protesters, but also the police officers arresting them.
“I think the circumstantial evidence is very powerful,” says Kevin Skerrett, a member of Nowar-Paix, another group protesting at the summit.
Apparently, this “very powerful” “circumstantial evidence” consists of the following photograph:
The presence of the yellow triangles on the boots of the protestors has led some individuals to conclude they were police officers.
Yet, upon any further investigation, these individuals would have discovered that the yellow triangles are certification markings identifying the boots as a “class 2 toe cap with a puncture resistant sole”.
The argument that the yellow triangles on the boots identifies them as "police issue boots" falls pretty flat once one considers that these are very common boots, used by policemen and construction workers as well as miscreants who want to cause a good deal of damage at a political protest and not break their toes.
Unsurprisingly, the extreme lack of conclusiveness of the evidence presented hasn’t stopped the general hysterists of the blogosphere from trying to portray the seeming arrest of a violent protester as oppression by a police state.
Then again, it isn’t as if protesters had never before turned up to a political summit with the goal of turning peaceful protests violent. Take, for example ”Black Bloc” tactics, wherein a group of anarchists dress in black and vandalize local property.
“If a Black Bloc participant throws a brick at a store window and runs into the Bloc, she will easily blend in with everyone else. However, if a person wearing normal street clothes happens to throw a brick and run into the Bloc, chances are that she will have been filmed or photographed and later caught by the police.”
The men shown on the video offer a mediocre example of Black Bloc tactics (for one thing, there are too few of them), but an example nonetheless, one that has been present at summits ever since 1999’s famed Battle of Seattle.
It isn’t at all outside the realm of possibility that the alleged protesters were, in fact, police. If this turns out to be the case, then this is a very serious matter indeed, especially seeing that the protest being targeted consisted mostly of elderly people – “grandmothers and grandfathers” as Cole identifies them in the video.
But this is something that will have to be proven with actual evidence, not a poorly-filmed youtube video revealing base similarities between the boots worn by police and the alleged protestors arrested.
Until that proof is present, however, the ensuing moral panic over “oppression” and “police states” is entirely misplaced, and the scandal merely a political invention.
UPDATE - He's not a lawyer, is he?
Fresh from Canadian Cynic, we get a good idea of what passes for "evidence" in his opinion.
Then, to add to the hilarity, Dennis Moore weighs in:
"Looks to me like Vibram soles, specially designed for fire/police work:"
To which Cynic responds:
"Why, yes ... yes, they do. And what are the odds of that?"
But do they really?
Hmmm. Those ever-conclusive yellow triangles must have fallen off at the factory, or something...
But one supposes it just goes to show you: in Canadian Cynic's mind, it isn't just Canadian soldiers who are considered guilty until proven innocent, it's Canadian police officers, too.
UPDATE - CTV news has corrected the "yellow triangles" claims to note that the markings on the boots (of the officers, at least) look more like yellow octagons, similar to the Vibram boots logo.
This being said, the yellow markings on the bottom of the suspects' boots really do look more like triangles. Also, a closer examination of the photograph makes the treads ont the boots appear very different from that of the police officers, as the suspects' boots don't appear to have the circular treads on the pad of the sole, although this could be due to poor image inhancement on the enlarged portions of the photograph.