Are You a Multi-Issue Extremist? How Activism is Becoming Terrorism
by Kevin Logan - The Canadian.orgIf you read this site regularly, and subscribe to the claims and advice of Rafe Mair, you probably are. Because the 81 year-old Mair is British Columbia's most well-known and well-loved Multi-Issue Extremist (MIE).
The now long-established CSIS "Counter Terrorism Strategy" has defined individuals who express dissent toward any number of issues in this way.
In particular, people who are committed to opposing unbridled oil and gas development, defined as "activist groups, indigenous groups, environmentalists and others who are publicly critical of government policy."
Many people who feel the current rush to massively exploit Canadian resources is the wrong path, also feel the same about farmed salmon, GMO's and private river power expansionism. To name but a few of the Multiple Issues people are concerned with today.
In all likelihood, those of you sharing these views are "Multi-Issue Extremists", and you have a working file at CSIS.
Many of you have also probably expressed your concerns about these issues on the Internet or attended protest events such as the "Defend our Coast" event last fall, which included a "pledge" of "civil disobedience."
Since the upset of the May 14th provincial election, many people endeared to "defending our coast" are ready to double down on their efforts.
There have been escalating calls for civil disobedience as a result of the current election, coupled with the realization that the protest options available to British Columbians are now severely limited on a whole array of pressing issues.
Recently, the unwarranted surveillance of average citizens has come into the spotlight. Most activists are aware that this practice has been in place since 9/11 and some are aware that they existed well before. Defense Minister Peter McKay confirmed in the House this past week that he approved secret electronic eavesdropping in 2011.
The laws ushered in by 9/11 had sunset clauses and were targeted toward "terrorism."
However, since the most recent American "terrorist" event, the Boston Bombing, the Harper government has brought back into effect "sunsetted" anti-terrorist legislation.
Those of you who pledged a commitment of civil disobedience during the Defend our Coast event did so at a time when these laws were not in place, so you should pay particularly close attention to the CSIS "counter-terrorism" initiative and its focus on MEIs and what it all means now that they have been reintroduced.
Because, as of today, most of the millions of Canadian citizens "surveiled" without their knowledge have little if anything to be concerned about, besides the outrageous violation of privacy such practices entail.
However, those of us who have committed to the good fight and pledged to massive civil disobedience have much to be concerned about. In fact, as it stands today, you can be arrested right now, and your electronic footprint and pledge to undertake civil disobedience is all that they require.
You can be taken from your home, without charge, for up to three days. Your release will be conditional, and if you do not agree to the conditions - such as no longer participating in petro-insurgency - you will not be released and could be detained for up to a year.
Yes, you! Right now, you can experience "preemptive arrest" and "preventative detention" under the CSIS counter-terrorism classification of MIE, for what you have already done and what they already have on you. All perfectly legal.
But surely this is all hypothetical - powers that exist on paper that our government wouldn't dare implement in reality. Unfortunately, the government's record over the past several years suggests otherwise.
According to The Guardian, in 2011, "a Montreal, Quebec man who wrote letters opposing shale gas fracking was charged under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act. Documents released in January show the RCMP has been monitoring Quebec residents who oppose fracking."
In February, we learned through a report from two Canadian academics, based on documents they obtained through Access to Information, that prominent ENGOs like Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been classified as "Multi-Issue Extremists". The report observed, "Intelligence agencies have blurred the categories of terrorism, extremism and activism into an aggregate threat matrix."
Industry is apparently getting into the act too. According to a Desmog Blog story this past week, "Documents recently obtained by Bold Nebraska show that TransCanada - owner of the hotly-contested Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline - has colluded with an FBI/DHS Fusion Center in Nebraska, labeling non-violent activists as possible candidates for 'terrorism' charges and other serious criminal charges."
Meanwhile, according to this Dominion story, the Canadian government has been orchestrating briefings for energy companies by CSIS, the RCMP and other agencies to share sensitive information involving activist threats to industry. So while we are all fixated on the most recent American whistle blower's "revelations", we should be directing some of that attention to our own government and gaining a better understanding of the terrain we intend to traverse.
Kevin's career has been diverse, ranging from small business to NGOs through finance and government. Early on, he operated the research department for the Vancouver branch of international brokerage Richardson Greenshields. After leaving the finance industry he owned operated small businesses and eventually established a consulting company which contracts with both the private and public sectors. He served as a ministerial assistant to numerous ministers and a premier in the former BC NDP Administration. Kevin is also an independent researcher and writer who has administered many diverse and successful campaigns.