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article imageOp-Ed: RCMP report warns environmentalists more of a risk than jihadists

By Ken Hanly     Oct 25, 2014 in Politics
Ottawa - RCMP's critical intelligence team in a 22 page report obtained by Carleton University criminologist Jeff Monaghan under the Freedom of Information act claimed that radical environmentalists are a clear and present threat to the Canadian energy sector.
The report even suggests that extremist environmentalists are more likely "to strike at critical infrastructure than religiously inspired terrorists".
Recently there has not only been an attack on military personnel but also an attack on parliament that appear to be partly religiously inspired, although other factors such as mental health issues may be involved. The report speaks of a "growing criminal phenomenon" linked to environmentalists who intend to interfere with regulatory reviews and force companies to forego development. The Harper government on the other hand has managed through legislation passed in April 2012, to streamline and, according to environmentalists, gut the review process which may encourage them to adopt illegal and even terrorist tactics since the existing political process is stacked against them. In many cases, projects such as pipelines pass through land claimed by aboriginal groups. While neither environmental groups nor First Nations have recommended violence, some leaders of the latter have said that they will do whatever is necessary to block construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline that would run from Alberta through BC to the Pacific Ocean.
The report, written back in March of 2011, uses strong language in describing the threat: “Environmental ideologically motivated individuals including some who are aligned with a radical, criminal extremist ideology pose a clear and present criminal threat to Canada’s energy sector."
The RCMP itself has a history itself of using terrorist tactics on occasion: In the late 1970s, revelations surfaced that the RCMP Security Service force had in the course of their intelligence duties engaged in crimes such as burning a barn and stealing documents from the separatist Parti Québécois, and other abuses Of course being carried out by the RCMP these do not count as terrorist activities, since it is linguistically incorrect to call a spade a spade in these cases. A Commission investigating these abuses suggested the intelligence function of the RCMP be assigned to a new agency. This was the beginning of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) which now has headquarters in Ottawa in the most expensive Canadian government building ever constructed: The Commission recommended that the force's intelligences duties be removed in favour of the creation of a separate intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
The RCMP or mounties have not stopped using their dirty tricks. In 1999 at a bail hearing for two farmers who were accused of vandalism it was revealed that the RCMP bombed a well-site and bombed it with the consent of the energy company that owned it. The Crown admits the farmers' lawyers allegations were true. So not being content with finding the culprits who committed the existing vandalism, the RCMP created some of their own for good measure to ensure that they receive more funding and support to fight vandalism-- and then blamed it on the accused.
The CSIS not only monitors extremist organizations, it also infiltrates them. In one case their informant actually was one of the founders of the movement and helped get CSIS funds for it:
From 1988 to 1994, CSIS mole Grant Bristow infiltrated the Canadian white-supremacist movement. When the story became public knowledge, the press aired concerns that he had not only been one of the founders of the Heritage Front group, but that he had also channelled CSIS funding to the group The CSIS can then report on the growth of extremist organizations that need to be countered by increased funding.
Jeff Monaghan who obtained the RCMP report claims that the RCMP had constructed a trend from isolated incidents. He worries that the police will use anti-terrorism legislation to investigate and monitor other environmental organizations who oppose certain projects. There have been formal complaints lodged by the BC Civil Liberties' Association that allege there have been improper monitoring of law-abiding citizens who are opposed to the Gateway Project: Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ filed the complaints with the RCMP’s Commission for Public Complaints and the Security Intelligence Review Committee, backed by numerous documents obtained under Access to Information, which, he said, show the two agencies were actively monitoring and even infiltrating environmental and aboriginal groups involved in Gateway hearings before the federal review panel, which wrapped up last year.
One can expect more monitoring of not just environmentalists but of any group protesting against the government or its policies. Move over jihadists, make room for the Sierra Club, PETA, and a little old lady who was taking photos of old storage tanks in Burnaby BC. Trending now is the practice of governments to tar any opposition with the tag "terrorists".
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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