The Mounties' anti-terror unit and Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada's top spook agency, have a file dedicated to a harmless punk band called "The Suicide Pilots." Apparently, a grasp of irony is not a prerequisite for intelligence work in Canada -- on the other hand, that's pretty serious punk cred: the Mounties think we're terrorists. Woo!
Following the arrest of the band’s drummer, bones (aka Jeffrey Monaghan), the RCMP’s anti-terror unit opened a file on the band, alleging their logo “depicts an airplane flying into the Peace Tower on Parliament
Hill.” A copy of the frightened-looking airplane caricature was included in the 184 page file.
“If you want an example of bloated police powers, this is it,” says Ottawa-based lawyer Yavar Hameed. Hameed notes that the investigation seems to be completely unrelated to the arrest of Mr. Monaghan. Monaghan was alleged to have leaked the Tory Green Plan last spring. The anti-terror investigation appears to have surfaced after media coverage of Mr. Monaghan denouncing the Harper regime’s actions of climate change. Monaghan has never been charged. The investigation is organized through the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), and the documents reveal an explicit coordination with Canada’s spy agency, CSIS.
Hameed notes that this case illustrates the unaccountability of police agencies in their efforts to catalog and criminalize activists. The Suicide Pilots have commented that the intelligence effort is another example of state-lawlessness in the so-called “War on Terror.” “The explosion of security culture over the past few years has cost countless innocent people very dearly, in ways we can’t even begin to fully appreciate - but this just straddles the line between disturbing and silly. What’s next? A tag-and-release program for
social activists? We already have a make-work program for creepy, paranoid voyeurs,” says the band’s vocalist NaCl.
(Thanks, Fat Cramer!
The CBC asked me to write an editorial for their package about Canadian identity and politics, timed with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the settler state on indigenous lands. They’ve assigned several writers to expand on themes in the Canadian national anthem, and my line was “We stand on guard for thee.”
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