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Old 02-16-2012, 09:24 AM   #1 (permalink)

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Thumbs down more surveillance from the government

Federal security services have identified Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as the kind of “multi-issue extremist” groups that pose a threat to Canadians, documents obtained under Access to Information show.

In a series of documents from 2005 to 2009, the RCMP and CSIS assess “threats from terrorism and extremism” and report growing concerns about environmental and animal-rights groups, as well as militants from first nations.

“Multi-issue extremists and aboriginal extremists may pursue common causes, and both groups have demonstrated the intent and the capability to carry out attacks against critical infrastructure in Canada,” says a November, 2008, assessment prepared by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Critics say the Harper government is blurring the lines of counterterrorism to target legitimate opponents of resource developments such as the Northern Gateway project, which will bring bitumen pipelines and massive oil tankers to British Columbia’s rugged coast. And they worry that new legislation designed to give police access to individual Canadians’ personal Internet information will increase surveillance of environmental groups that support acts of civil disobedience.

“With a lot of the government’s rhetoric around Gateway and the government’s frequent use of ‘radicalism’ and ‘extremism’ to characterize opposition, these kinds of [counterterrorist] categories are used to justify a surveillance campaign,” said Jeff Monaghan, a Queen’s University sociologist who co-authored a paper on the threat assessment after receiving the documents under the Access to Information Act.

“Certainly from what we’ve seen, a lot of political opponents – and vocal political opponents like eco groups – have been classified this way, and it did legitimize surveillance campaigns against them.”
They cite an effort by Greenpeace Canada to block the gate at Ontario’s Pickering nuclear power plant, and its trespassing at the Muskeg River bitumen mine owned by Royal Dutch Shell to protest oil sands development.

CSIS analysts also highlight PETA’s opposition to the Canadian seal hunt and report the organization’s plan to launch a website that portrays the mascot of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as “bloodthirsty seal killers.” And they note PETA’s threat to boycott Canadian maple syrup.
Security services deem environmental, animal-rights groups 'extremist' threats - The Globe and Mail
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