So, it seems to this resident of deepest Georgia that my friends in Canada and especially Alberta are about to get a taste of the old American-style
police security state. According to press reports, the Federal government in Ottawa has decided to fund an “integrated national security enforcement team” with local, provincial and federal police and intelligence resources. This sort of thing is more or less to be expected in a post-911 world, but the emphasis on protecting Alberta’s booming energy infrastructure gives one pause. As one official described the unit’s function:
“We are basically looking at any individuals or groups that pose a threat to critical infrastructure, to our economy, to our safety that is based on either religious, political or ideological goals.”
Hmm, sort of broad, eh? No reference to what a “threat” may be except for some years old sabotage attempts in British Columbia. And what “religious, political or ideological goals” might be considered subversive. Can you say “environmentalism”? The over-reaction to various tiny environmentalist “monkey-wrenching” groups like ELF is fairly well documented south of the border. Of course, over time the surveillance of “subversive” groups has experienced “mission creep” as fully protected political activity with no hint of criminality has been included in the bailiwick of “domestic terrorism.” In fact, FBI training manuals make clear that police surveillance of, and COINTELPRO-type provocations against, non-violent environmentalists groups is now standard operating procedure. Quite clearly, entrapment and the creation of a “domestic threat” are part-and-parcel of the FBI’s mandate (although this case involved “anarchists” there is evidence for such manufacturing of crimes for “eco-terrorists” as well). Of course, the UK is also using such tactics as the undercover provocateur. Clearly, it’s a trend so why not Canada, too?
That the various components of the American state have considered “terrorism” prosecutions for environmentalists’ undercover investigations of various corporate practices hints at the real point of these sorts of police tactics–to keep the public safely in thrall to corporate propaganda PR on how the commodities they buy actually reach the market. As eco-journalists like Will Potter have noted, “green is the new red.”
‘Leaking’ pipeline near Sundre, Alberta
Of course, that reference to “religious” beliefs is pretty clear as well–translated into Americanese it spells out “M-U-S-L-I-M-S.” Indeed, police officials have referenced the Sayfildin Tahir Sharif case, whose proposed extradition is sketchy as hell. So, I’m quite sure that mosques and immigrant-oriented daycare (excuse me, madrassas) will soon have their narcs as well (although, as one would expect, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has not been behind the curve on this issue given the eagerness they show in assisting “extreme rendition” and torture).
Perhaps “political goals” is just meant to denote anarchists, but in the weird bizarro world of “threat assessment” in which police-state agents live, somehow “black separatism” is a problem. The evidence for this would appear to be that there are more African-Americans living in Atlanta and some of them don’t like police brutality. I’m not kidding. We’re also supposed to be scared of the miniscule and clownish New Black Panther Party. So, Fox News is now establishing US terrorism threat assessment guidance. Sigh. Maybe Albertans should expect minority harassment as well from their new intelligence task force. Perhaps “coming attractions” for Alberta can be found in this report of a similar “anti-terrorist” operation from Seattle’s The Stranger. The enormous resources spent on (and increasing desperation to justify) criminalizing people’s political beliefs and lifestyle choices led to the targeting of a hipster’s after-hours club. You can’t make this stuff up.
If the Canadian government would like to target the real malefactors, they might want to investigate the perpetrators of this. Seems to me a few undercover investigations in the corporate suites might unveil more criminality than all the surveillance of Greenpeace that money can buy.
Bottom line (given the Americanization of Canadian policing) remember Albertans, whoever suggests you do some sort of violence, that guy or gal is working for the Mounties. Whoever tells you they know a guy who can get you explosives or arms, that guy or girl is working for CSIS. Whoever starts spreading money around while sporting a new beard and a sketchy story, that guy wants to put you in a cage for decades of your life–he ain’t your friend. I’m sure COINTELPRO long ago came to Alberta, but this little press release means it is now being imported in its full corporatized, American variant.