RCMP McCarthyism

The CBC has a brilliant article on the “Joint Intelligence Group” set up by the RCMP (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s iconic version of the FBI) to spy on activists before (and apparently after) the G8/G20 protests last year. Read it here: G20 case reveals ‘largest ever’ police spy operation.

The article quotes extensively from the JIG’s records. Do read the entire article, there are some very good points made by comrade Kalin Stacey about the character of undercover investigations. But below I’m quoting some especially interesting -and chilling- parts of the article, some of which quote these records:

The JIG’s targets included activists protesting the Olympics, the migrant-justice group No One Is Illegal, Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance and Greenpeace.

I’m a bit offended that RoR was not included in the list, but at any rate, NOII and …Greenpeace were deemed dangerous enough to plant undercovers in? It’s entirely insane. But then again, insanity is the basis of McCarthyism, isn’t it?

“The 2010 G8 summit in Huntsville … will likely be subject to actions taken by criminal extremists motivated by a variety of radical ideologies,” reads a JIG report from June 2009, before the G20 summit was scheduled, that sets out the intelligence group’s mission. “These ideologies may include variants of anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, nihilism, socialism and/or communism.

“The important commonality is that these ideologies … place these individuals and/or organizations at odds with the status quo and the current distribution of power in society.”

There you have it. Good-old, pure Cold War anticommunism. We are talking about such a pure version of anticommunism that the RCMP even classifies socialism as a “radical ideology”. Glenn Beck would be proud. It makes me wander whether the RCMP is also running spying operations on Canada’s official opposition party, the NDP that still refers to socialism in its charter.

The criminalization of dissent is breath-taking. Being “at odds with the status quo and the current distribution of power” is seriously considered as a reason to be spied upon. It’s not “what you do”, it’s “what you think”, it’s about what political opinions you have and express.

(I’m finding the “and/or communism” reference at the end of the first paragraph particularly hilarious. It’s entirely indicative of the old-school anticommunism permeating the RCMP’s thinking. Consider nihilism: it’s bad enough on its own, eh? But combined with communism! ZOMFG, the horror!!)

But other than the McCarthyist ideological slant of the RCMP’s rationale for setting up the spying operation, there are some other interesting points. For example:

The same document indicates that the RCMP-led intelligence team made a series of presentations to private-sector corporations, including one to “energy sector stakeholders” in November 2011.

Yeah, just to be clear who the RCMP serves. It’s not the people, and it’s not the “public safety” they keep pushing in their public statements. Otherwise, they would be also at least mildly concerned with ensuring the public’s right to safe and peaceful protest, to protection from arbitrary arrest, kettling, the defense of habeas corpus and all those other dirty hippy ideas. No sir. It’s the corporations to which they gave series of presentations. No, they didn’t care to inform the public about its rights. The public was lied to and deliberately terrorized with phony laws.

Oh, and when they say “energy sector stakeholders”, I cannot but think of one particular industry, one that supposedly Canadians are “proud of”.

Finally, this little piece demonstrates the ridiculousness of the entire affair:

In all, the RCMP-led joint intelligence group — a conglomeration of federal, provincial and municipal police tasked with G8/G20 reconnaissance — employed more than 500 people at its peak, the records show. The group ran undercover operations, recruited confidential informants and liaised with domestic and foreign governments, law enforcement agencies and even corporations.

And all this intelligence gathering against the “internal enemy”, what did it produce? 6 people pleading guilty to “counselling mischief”. That’s it. “Counselling mischief”. “Mischief”, for crying out loud.

Anyway, here’s the statement from those 6 people and their co-accused. It’s definitely worth a read. Compared with the insanity of the RCMP, it’s an oasis of reason.

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