Are You a Multi-Issue Extremist? How Activism is Becoming Terrorism

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Defend Our Coast rally - Oct 22, 2012, Victoria, BC (image: Utopia Photo Blog).
Defend Our Coast rally – Oct 22, 2012, Victoria, BC (image: Utopia Photo Blog).

Are You a Multi-Issue Extremist?

If 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.”

And this is where the rubber hits the road.

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 Guardianin 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.

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About Kevin Logan

Kevin Logan'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.

4 thoughts on “Are You a Multi-Issue Extremist? How Activism is Becoming Terrorism

  1. Tuesday, 18 June 2013 12:14 posted by jscopelleti

    Hmmmm, like we didn’t see this coming.. I’ll get 20 years in the clink for responding.. 🙁

    Monday, 17 June 2013 20:39 posted by Ronaldus Evers

    There are two types of people in Canada. Criminals , and soon to be criminals. In other words, those who fear their government , and those who should.

    Monday, 17 June 2013 20:38 posted by Ronaldus Evers

    There are two types of people in Canada. Criminals , and soon to be criminals. In other words, those who fear their government , and those who should.

    Monday, 17 June 2013 06:05 posted by Lloyd Vivola

    Great article. Brutally forthright. And note:

    “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.”

    You may have also missed, as most American citizens and journalists did, that President Obama, in the course of turning Constitutional cartwheels while parsing the logic behind drone and snoop policies, slipped it in ever casually that US policy was shifting away from foreign terror threats to home-grown terror. Yes, like those extremists who stand up for healthy air and water, food security, a living planet, and respecting the rights of our fellow citizens. Ugh. Such extreme and dangerous human sentiments!

    Forget about those films and novels that instruct us on the way our neighbors turn into the monstrous tools and fools of oppression among us. Wake up and open your eyes, good people. Take a big whiff. It sure doesn’t smell like democracy. It stinks of something gone very bad.

    Sunday, 16 June 2013 15:48 posted by Elmo Prankster

    I have spent my whole life in the struggle for liberty and justice, and there is no place that I would support if it trampled on those freedoms given to us by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. look it up…

    Sunday, 16 June 2013 15:03 posted by Nahanni Southern

    We all need to take peaceful ,non- violent, humane action right now before it’s too late and we have a big foot, the foot of the small elite crushing down on us so hard we can’t move….

    Sunday, 16 June 2013 03:45 posted by Kenneth T. Tellis

    I have spent my who;e life in the struggle for liberty and justice, and there is no place that I would support if it trampled on those freedoms given to ud by the Magna Carta of June 15, 1215.

    My mentor is Thomas Paine, followed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. To stand up against tyranny is our sacred duty, and to sit adly by when all around us tyrants rule without opposition is a crime of stupidity.

    Saturday, 15 June 2013 21:47 posted by Q

    I’d like to comment, but I’m afraid.
    http://arts.nationalpost.com/2013/06/12/sales-of-george-orwells-nineteen-eighty-four-spike-7000-hike-on-amazon-in-wake-of-prism-scandal/

    Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:54 posted by ron wilton, mie

    Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you really need him?

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