Why is CSIS Recruiting at local community centers?

19 Dec

Preamble: for those of you that don’t know CSis is Canada’s Political, Police, after the Mcdonald Commision into the wrong doing of the RCMP, which documented the dirty tricks played by the RCMP to criminalize activists, and demonstrated such things as the fact that the RCMP was burning down activists houses in the sixties(I believe Trudeaus quote was if people are angry that the RCMP is burning down separatists houses illegally we will just have to make it legal), carrying out terrorist attacks on civilians to discredit the FLQ, as well as many other things that are still unpublished, it was decided to create a special body of police that would gather intelligence on security threats and act in a more orderly manner. 20 Something years later we see there is no change as CSIS works with intelligence agencys abroad to gather information through the use of torture, spying on communities and using agent provocateurs to this day. Some info on names and dates has been changed to not implicate friends.

So its 8:00 am on a monday and im suppose to meet a friend for coffee at a local community centre slash workers co op. Since my internet sucks i go across the street to use Facebook, when i see about eight cops tackling a guy and smashing him. I pull out my cellphone to take pictures,and am approached by one of the owners who tells me that man they are attacking is homeless and has mental health issues as a result of the war in Sudan, and as much as he hates it the police are just doing there just. i start arguing that this is a mental health issue, he bring up that since the introduction of the austerity budget, mental health is a policing matter, I make a snide remark about this will look good for there new modeling of community policing that they are trying to implement, but am kinda sympathetic to the worker, whose hands are tied, mines arent so i go outside to take more pictures, but the guy is in the cruiser. A cop comes up and starts trying to intimidate me by talking about how concerned he is for my safety and other such nonsense, i go across the street and buy a coffee and meet my friend from the radio station.

We are suppose to be talking about the new program he wants me to do, one hour a week as Radio BASICS, covering local stuff and one hour covering international stuff, i make some calls and get the local BASicS crew to agree, but cant get ahold of anyone in Anti Colonialist Working Group, to talk about the international hour. Im still pissed at the true of face of the “new” model of policing and am ranting. My friend is like, “yeah, its a pity CSIS posted in the jobs centre here, looking for local informants”. i m like fuck off seriously. Hes like yeah call the anti torture committee they had a fight for over three weeks with the admin of this place to have it removed. Did they remove it I asked, hes like yeah. Im like lets call my lawyer and let him know but first, im gonna call people from the anti torture committee to find out more. My friend is like Julian its eight in the morning, im like you have a point ill call them in 15 minutes.

I go up to a worker and ask about this and invite them out for a smoke, I light my cigarette and am like why the fuck would you guys allow CSIS to recruit here ( this person is a friend of mine and is use to the fact that i lack niceties and social skills), they give me some round about bullshit but it confirms this fact. I look at my cell phone 6 minutes have passed, i wake up my friend (i can by an annoying asshole when im on a mission) and get the story.

A few weeks ago CSIS posted on the online job board asking for recruits to gather intelligence. The anti Torture committee saw this and made quite a few phone calls and had several meetings to have it removed, it was obvious from the post that there aims and goals were to recruit local people for nefarious purposes such as monitoring activists and social justice advocates etc. After a bit of a battle it was finally removed.

I tell my friend we are calling my lawyer to document this, I wake up my friend and they r still kinda sleepy, given that im not much for small talk and they are asking questions like why are you calling me so early and i wish that you would call at a decent hour. I pass off the phone to my friend who explains the situation. They are interested and want to get a copy of this post im like ill see what i can do. I tell my friend that we will take two hours and sort out the programming later after jan 1st.

This centre is one of the main places we organize out of and having csis openly trying to recruit informants is a bunch of shit. I light a smoke and laugh. What is this work that we are doing that is such a threat to national security? The meetings we hold at this community centre fall into two categories, political, social and international. Socially we run several programs, one to deal with the drug problem in our community and find alternatives, two local advocacy for people getting screwed over by slumlords welfare workers and other such things, Fighting for housing better wages etc.three fighting gentrification, four local media like BAsics newspaper, our magazine projects and now two radio shows as well as support for local political prisoners.

Politically we have meetings about the plight of injured workers, opposing austerity, racial profiling and the war on the poor. internationally our work is to support prisoners of corrupt regimes and colonization, in support of the struggles of indigenous people here, raising awareness and support for the gains of the cuban revolution (a country that Canada allegedly has good relations with) and talks about international law and condemning those countries that ignore international law to promote their expansionist war mongering policies.

Why is CSIS so interested in recruiting informers to spy on such activities? How are any of these activities a threat to national security, and since when is it ok to moniter and gather information on people who dont agree with the current way things are done. Other groups use the space to have Spanish classes, speak english cafes and other such things. Community groups feel that this is a safe space to have meetings.

Given the fact that many people who use this place are immigrants and refugees who have first hand experience with the silencing of dissent in there own countries, i wonder how SAFE they would feel when they know the group that has given testimony that lead to the torture of Arar, the arrest and illegal detention of majub on a security ceritifact (you dont get to see or challenge the evidence against you) and has flamed the fire of islamophobia and hate is trying to recruit informers.

The most insidious thing about this is not that activist are being spied on, or that CSis is trying to infiltrate legitimate above ground movements for social justice, but rather that they are trying to recruit in community centres. By targeting community spaces to gather information they are creating a climate where no one can feel safe to talk about anything, no matter how mundane, and create a climate of fear where they can impose their agenda without opposition because people will be too scared to speak. Im not surprised though, we do live in a country built on genocide, exploitation of migrants and workers. in this light i should not be surprised that a nation that has no problem murdering the indigenous poulation or bombing children in Afghanistan would have any problems spying on community centres and social spaces.

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