Project SITKA, Canada’s Spying Program Against Indigenous Communities

Speaking of the challenges faced by the native peoples of North America, this short report from Motherboard, the tech section of Vice, examines the latest revelations from Canada where state surveillance of aboriginal activists is once again making the headlines. Since at least 2014 the federally-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been culling information from law enforcement files and social media platforms to identify and track indigenous protesters across the country. Known as Project SITKA the spying program was outlined in a 2015 document compiled by the RCMP and obtained by Carleton University professor Jeffrey Monaghan and researcher Andy Crosby:

“In March of 2014, according to the document, the RCMP put a call out to its divisions across Canada and local police departments to hand over any information in their databases that might help the RCMP identify and track aboriginal protesters.

…with this data from police and social media, the RCMP identified 313 activists across the country who attended protests “opposing natural resource development, particularly pipeline and shale gas expansion.” Those who attended anti-capitalist protests, and protests regarding missing and murdered indigenous women, were also targeted.

The RCMP then picked out 89 individuals who were found to “meet the criteria for criminality,” the document states, and created what are described as “protester profiles” for each of them.

The RCMP has previously kept tabs on indigenous activists online, but Project SITKA was not known to the public until now. The profiles the RCMP prepared included photos of the individuals, information on which groups and individuals they were affiliated with, what kind of vehicle they drove, and more.

Notably, none of the individuals identified in Project SITKA had actually committed a crime when they became the subject of scrutiny by the RCMP. The RCMP further conclude that “there is no known evidence that these individuals pose a direct threat to critical infrastructure.””

More details on the story can be found at APTN, while the document link comes from Warrior Publications.

 

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5 comments

  1. Not sure whether to “like” this! What am I liking – the fact that the Canadian government is doing this, or your bold chronicling of it? Oh, the moral quandary.

    A lot of blue-state Americans of a liberal persuasion, people like me, view Canada as an absolute progressive utopia where Bernie Sanders could be elected Prime Minister with a 90% landslide. When I was an adolescent just getting into politics, I used to idolize Canada as well, but having spent a significant amount of time in Québec, I have learned that much of what (many) Americans think about Canada is really applicable to Québec. The Ottawa government, on the other hand…well, let’s just start with the suppression of Scottish Gaelic on Cape Breton Island during World War II, move to the attempted cultural genocide of Francophones, point out that they still allow polar bear hunting, and go on from there.

    (Side note: Vive le Québec libre! End side note.)

    In fact, especially on environmental issues, Canada is nowhere near what her southerly admirers think. Keystone XL started up there and was only stopped thanks to Obama. (And that might now be in jeopardy…)

    And now this. It sounds like COINTELPRO, the U.S. FBI’s program to take down leftist activists in the 1960s.

    1. Might be wrong but i think this may have been started by that evangelical neo imperialist loon Stephen Harper. When he was pm he even refused to have an inquiry into missing murdered native women. A first class cnut.

  2. The answer to all is in the name of the gang collecting the information and it has nothing to do with police or horses.

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