Mounties spied on native protest groups [KI’s Donny Morris included] – by Tim Groves and Martin Lukacs (Toronto Star – December 5, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Although the Strategic Intelligence Report’s profile
of KI is heavily redacted, as with all the “communities
of concern,” it states that KI First Nation “remains
committed to ensuring their concerns related to the
impacts of mining and forestry are addressed by the
Ontario government” and “possible future disputes
could result in blockades and demonstrations.”

The spectre of heightened aboriginal protest has
become a source of anxiety for government and industry.

The federal government created a vast surveillance network in early 2007 to monitor protests by First Nations, including those that would attract national attention or target “critical infrastructure” like highways, railways and pipelines, according to RCMP documents.

Formed after the Conservatives came to power, the RCMP unit’s mandate was to collect and distribute intelligence about situations involving First Nations that have “escalated to civil disobedience and unrest in the form of protest actions.”

The documents, obtained through access to information requests, include an RCMP slideshow presentation from the spring of 2009, which says the intelligence unit reported weekly to approximately 450 recipients in law enforcement, government, and unnamed “industry partners” in the energy and private sector.

A RCMP spokesperson told the Toronto Star the unit was never considered “permanent” and that last year it was “dismantled’’ at least at headquarters. But the Mounties can’t say if the work is continuing in the field.

“Since the dismantling of the Aboriginal (joint intelligence group) JIG, the work done by the JIG is no longer performed at RCMP HQ Criminal Intelligence (CI). However, we cannot confirm that RCMP divisions are not performing Aboriginal JIG activities under another name of program.”

An annual Strategic Intelligence Report from June 2009 indicates the surveillance at the time focused on 18 “communities of concern” in five provinces across the country. These included First Nations in Ontario like Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ardoch, Grassy Narrows, Six Nations and Tyendinaga, which have made headlines over the last few years for road and railway blockades or opposition to mining and logging on their territories.

The Joint Intelligence Group billed itself as a “central repository” of information about First Nations protest activities, assisted by an “extensive network of contacts throughout Canada and internationally” and an undisclosed number of field operatives acting as its “eyes and ears.”

Its yearly strategic intelligence report “identifies individuals who are causes of concern to public safety,” but any mentions of individuals were redacted in the copy obtained by the Star.

According to a previously obtained copy of a RCMP presentation to the Aboriginal Affairs Ministry in March 2007, the “vast majority” of the monitored protests and actions are “related to lands and resources,” and “most are incited by development activities on traditional territories” of First Nations.

The spectre of heightened aboriginal protest has become a source of anxiety for government and industry.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Toronto Star website: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1096919–mounties-spied-on-native-protest-groups

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