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The long-awaited Keable inquiry report on alleged police wrongdoing...

By HUGO FAY

MONTREAL UPC -- The long-awaited Keable inquiry report on alleged police wrongdoing in Quebec during the early 1970s recommended Friday charges be laid against RCMP, provincial and city police officers involved in six anti-terrorist operations.

In a 440-page report on the four-year inquiry, lawyer Jean Keable said officers of the RCMP, Quebec Police Force and the security branch of the Montreal Urban Community police should be held criminally responsible for clandestine 'disruptive tactics' against the ruling Parti Quebecois as well as left-wing individuals and organizations.

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Keable was mandated by the PQ government in June 1977 to study police activities during and after the 1970 October Crisis triggered by the terrorist abduction of British diplomat James Cross and the kidnap-slaying of provincial labor minister Pierre Laporte.

In his report, he listed six specific incidents in which police officers targeted persons who 'were not engaged in terrorist activities.'

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'In none of these cases did police officers involved in the operations show signs of wanting to evaluate the law,' Keable said.

'As far as the control exercized by competent authorities on the police operations ... the commission notes the absence of any preventive control,' Keable said.

He said this lack of control resulted from the 'ignorance of those who were supposed to be in control and the very lax notion of respect for the laws which prevailed over the security services.'

Keable identified the operations as:

- Distribution by the RCMP of a fake terrorists Front de Libeation du Quebec communique on Dec. 20, 1971.

- A joint RCMP, QPF and city police raid on a left-wing news agency Oct. 6-7, 1972, dubbed 'Operation Bricole.'

- A mountie dynamite theft from Richelieu Explosives Inc., April 6, 1972.

- An RCMP barn-burning May 8, 1972.

- The Oct. 4, 1971 forcible detention of two potential police informers by RCMP officers.

- An RCMP, QPF and MUC police theft of a PQ members' list Jan. 8-9, 1973, dubbed 'Operation HAM.'

'All these operations were accomplished under a veil of secrecy with elaborate measures to prevent their disclosure both inside and outside police circles,' Keable said.

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Keable, eventually barred by the Supreme Court of Canada from probing RCMP activities, described 'HAM' as the most significant 'extra-legal' operation because it was authorized and possibly planned by 'the highest level' of the RCMP's security service in Ottawa.

Under Asst. Insp. C. Vermette, also labeled the planner of 'Bricole,' mounties broke into an office and stole computer tapes of the PQ membership.

The magnetic ribbons were copied and returned to the premises. But print-outs were sent to Ottawa for analysis and destroyed two and a half years later.

Keable said the reasons for the operations, described by RCMP intelligence chief John Starnes as 'highly disappointing,' included learning if terrorists had infiltrated the PQ, whether the party was funded by a foreign power and if members were working for the federal government.

Keable said 'Bricole,' in which 30 tri-force officers raided Agence de Presse Libre and prisoners' rights group, showed police lacked 'complete control on the activities of the security services.'

'Bricole' effectively 'neutralized' the agency, founded in 1968 with a maximum 250 subscribers, and temporarily bankrupted the prisoners rights group led by Robert Lemieux.

The officers, apparently spurred by fears of a resurgence of FLQ violence after the October Crisis, seized a complete list of 800 members of the prisoner rights group and more than a 1,000 research documents from the agency.

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The operation, first aimed at locating a letter addressed to APLQ from Cross kidnappers Jacques and Louise Cossette-Trudel, was planned by the three police forces between September and October 1972.

Keable listed 11 officers as directly or indirectly involved with the planning of the operation during five meetings between September and October 1972, the RCMP's Robert Samson, his immediate superior Sgt. Hughes Fortin and Sgt. Claude Brodeur.

Keable said RCMP distribution of a fake communique ostensibly from an FLQ cell showed police 'paranoia' about further FLQ terrorism after the October Crisis.

Keable said Donald Cobb, head of the RCMP's G section, supervised the draft and delivery of the communique to two newspapers urging FLQ members to further violence.

Keable said Cobb's reasoning for the false communique was that surveillance of terrorists was easier if they did not belong to an official party with elected members in the National Assembly.

Among other recommendations, Keable said the Quebec Police Commission should investigate every member of a provincial security force, that federal legislation be created to control police traps and that a provincial registrar be established for all police acitivities touching on citizens rights.

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