Gestapo tactics used in probe of letter to Vanoc, writer says
Surrey resident, 73, claims content was non-threatening
Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, April 24, 2009
Peter Scott, 73, was questioned by police
Wednesday about his letter to Vanoc.
Photo: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun
When 73-year-old Peter Scott reads something he doesnt like in a newspaper, he cuts the offending article out, stuffs it into an envelope, scribbles his opinions on the outside in black felt pen and mails it off to the object of his ire.
Recipients have been prime ministers and premiers (all of them, he says), MPs and MLAs and not a few mayors and councillors. His notes on the outside are a way of getting attention.
For the most part, he says, hes simply ignored. Once in a while, someone will write back. But never in all of his many years of writing biting notes has he ever had the reaction he got this week from the police protecting the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
I dont threaten. I just say What is this? Why are these incompetent people doing this? et cetera, et cetera, Scott explained. Most of the time Im ignored.
On Wednesday, he wasnt. Two police officers from the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit showed up at his Surrey home. In their hands was a photocopy of the envelope hed sent to Vanoc recently. Scott knew hed sent it because his name and return address were on it, but doesnt recall which clipping the envelope contained. He thinks it had something to do with Vanoc going after a restaurant for using the word Olympic and wanting it to take down its signs.
He admits hes never been in favour of the Olympics and probably made that clear in his writings. When I have policemen coming into my house because I wrote a letter, a non-threatening letter, I am absolutely disgusted, he said. They probably just wanted to check me out to see if I was, what, a threat to society because Im against the Olympics? I mean, holy cow, I am 73 years old.
Scott said the officers, one of whom identified himself as a Vancouver police officer named Blondeau, badge number 2142, asked him if hed written the notes on the envelope. Of course he had, he said. Thats his name and return address on the envelope, isnt it?
Const. Bert Paquet confirmed that members of the ISUs threat assessment division went to see Scott, including Det.-Const. Nathan Blondeau, a Vancouver police officer seconded to the ISUs Joint Intelligence Group.
We can confirm that members of the Joint Intelligence Group did attend a residence in Surrey to assess information that is being reviewed in context to a potential threat to the Olympic Games, Paquet said. We do this to either confirm or disregard an individual as a potential threat.
He would not discuss the nature of the threat or how ISU got the letter but said the assessment remains active and ongoing.
Vanoc spokesman Chris Brumwell said at this point nobody in the organization recalls the letter, but the administration is looking into whether it has any records of it.
These are Gestapo tactics, said Scott, and nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to stop me from speaking my mind.
Its likely ISU was assessing whether Scott poses a threat to the Olympics, said Dave Harris, director of international and terrorist intelligence programs for Insignis Strategic Research.