The Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver endorses the Campaign of Non-Cooperation with CSIS launched by the People’s Commission Network in Montreal, and endorsed by over 70 organizations based in Canada. Please see below for media advisory, list of organizational endorsers, and the community advisory, “If CSIS Comes Knocking..”
Organizations Launch Campaign of Non-Cooperation with Canadian Spy Agency: “Don’t Talk, Don’t Listen” to CSIS
Montreal, 29 January 2012 — Almost seventy organizations (see below) have joined a call to end all cooperation with Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). On the initiative of the Montreal-based People’s Commission Network, the campaign of total non-cooperation with CSIS was publicly launched at a press conference today. The organizations advise their members to neither speak nor listen to CSIS agents.
“For far too long we have tolerated the unacceptable activities of CSIS, whether through a false sense of loyalty or fear. We are here today to say that we will no longer voluntarily cooperate with CSIS when its agents come knocking on our doors or show up unannounced at our workplaces. We will not put ourselves, our neighbours, our friends, our families here or overseas, our organizations and our work for justice at risk by speaking with or listening to CSIS agents. We will say no to CSIS and yes to freedom from fear and political control,” said Marie-Eve Lamy, active in the People’s Commission Network.
Over the last decade, CSIS’s budget has increased by 140%, reaching $430 million in 2009. In 2010, the agency maintained almost 3000 employees. It also had information-sharing agreement with 147 countries. CSIS has been heavily involved in several Canadian cases of rendition to torture but has emerged from these and other scandals unscathed, protected by a broad mandate, laws assuring the secrecy of its operations, and lack of any real accountability.
“By questioning Arabs about their political views and about each other, and by implying that pro-Palestinian and anti-colonial perspectives are suspect, CSIS has in the past succeeded in sowing fear and silencing support for justice and freedom in the Middle East,” said Amy Darwish, an organizer with Tadamon! Montreal, which works for justice in the Middle East.
“Intelligence agencies have a tendency to view union activists as subversives; we cannot encourage informing, nor passing on information that could be used against people whose only fault is to want to have their rights recognized,” said Francis Lagacé, second vice-President of the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain de la CSN.
“CSIS tactics create fear and isolation in our communities, particularly immigrant communities. In the face of their intimidation and racial profiling, migrant justice groups are responding with weapons of solidarity and support, aiming to render CSIS ineffective with a campaign of non-collaboration, while also supporting individuals pressured by CSIS during the immigration process,” said Jaggi Singh, a member of Solidarity Across Borders.
“Migrants, refugees, women in crisis are already insecure. CSIS exploits them, preying on their vulnerability. With this campaign of non-collaboration, we convey to them they are not alone; there are many of us working in solidarity to protect our communities; to protect one another,” said Dolores Chew, on behalf of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre.
The People’s Commission and its allies will be carrying out a series of activities over the next months to shine a spotlight on CSIS abuse and break the fear and isolation among those targetted by CSIS.
If CSIS comes knocking…
A COMMUNITY ADVISORY FROM THE PEOPLE’S COMMISSION NETWORK
Since the fall of 2009 there have been ongoing visits by members of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) to various local social justice organizers and activists. These visits are in addition to CSIS’ ongoing harassment of targeted communities. This community advisory is in response to those visits.
Visits by CSIS and the RCMP to activists are nothing new; they have taken place before around specific events or projects. In general, these visits can have different purposes: they are not only about information-gathering but can also be attempts to create or exploit divisions between activists, plant misinformation, intimidate, develop psychological profiles, and recruit informers.
If CSIS comes knocking, we strongly encourage total and complete non-cooperation. A CSIS visit to your home or workplace will be a surprise, but we encourage you to be ready to not cooperate with them in any way, which means not speaking with them or listening to them.
If you are in a precarious position — due to your immigration status, pending criminal charges, probation, parole, or any other reason – we strongly encourage you to NEVER EVER talk to CSIS alone. Instead, tell them to contact a trusted lawyer that you have chosen, and then refuse to say anything else. You can contact the People’s Commission Network for references to lawyers who can act diligently against CSIS intimidation tactics.
If you are comfortable doing so, ask for the names, telephone numbers and cards of the CSIS agents who want to talk to you. Insist they provide their names, and don’t say, or listen to, anything else. You are under no legal obligation, ever, to confirm your identity with CSIS.
Sometimes CSIS agents might begin speaking to you and only later identify themselves. In that case, if you are taken by surprise, we encourage you to refuse to continue speaking with CSIS. You can always default back to being silent. In dealing with security services, silence is the golden rule.
In all cases, you are encouraged to tell CSIS to leave your home or workplace or cease following you. Tell CSIS clearly to leave, in whatever fashion you feel is appropriate. You can insist they leave, to the point of closing doors in their face.
Remember, although CSIS can act in very ugly ways, it has no arrest or policing powers.
We encourage you to get in touch with the People’s Commission Network to report any CSIS visits or related incidents. These visits can be de-stabilizing and stressful. That’s why it is important to not remain isolated in this situation; and the People’s Commission Network wants to offer concrete support to overcome the feeling of isolation these visits can create. Your correspondence with the People’s Commission Network will be considered confidential. Consider any unannounced CSIS visit to be harassment against you. If possible, we encourage you to write down your experience so that you have the facts clearly noted. The People’s Commission Network can support you in documenting this harassment with the aid of a lawyer.
CSIS’ job is to gather information for the state and to disrupt movements of social justice. Their broad mandate includes monitoring any activities they deem to threaten the current political and economic order. Their intimidation focuses on indigenous peoples, immigrants, racialized communities, radical political organizations, labour unions, as well as the allies of these groups. CSIS’ actions, which show clear evidence of gross incompetence, racism, as well as complicity in torture, are all the more reason why they deserve no cooperation whatsoever by anyone involved in movements for social justice.
Total non-cooperation with CSIS and other security agencies by the entire social justice community – broadly and inclusively defined – is our best way of maintaining unity and solidarity, as well as keeping our focus on our important day-to-day organizing and activism.
To recap: Do not talk to CSIS or share any information with them, no matter how harmless you think it is. Do not listen to CSIS agents. Do consider reporting the visit to the People’s Commission Network.
Please share this community advisory within your networks, and with members of your organizations and groups, so we can encourage collective non-cooperation with CSIS.
We encourage community groups to ENDORSE this advisory, as a way of building collective solidarity against CSIS harassment. An endorsement means your group agrees with the following statement: “We support and endorse the People Commission Network’s Community Advisory concerning the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS).”
We encourage everyone to share this advisory widely, in your networks and within your community. You can download a pamphlet version of this advisory, in pdf format, here.
The People’s Commission Network offers workshops to inform community members about our legal rights when interacting with CSIS. If you would like to organize a workshop for your group or community organization, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The People’s Commission Network (Montreal) E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 514-848-7583
The following groups have endorsed the People Commission Network’s Community Advisory concerning non-collaboration with the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS):
Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Association facultaire étudiante des sciences humaines de l’UQAM (AFESH-UQAM)
Quebec Trans Health Action (ASTT(e)Q)
Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective
Base de Paix de Montréal
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada
Canadian Arab Federation
Centre communautaire des Punjabis du Québec
Centre de ressources éducatives et communautaires pour adultes (CRÉCA)
Centre for Philippine Concerns
Centre Québécois de Formation pour les jeunes en matière de droits humains
Certain Days Political Prisoner Calendar Committee
CKUT Steering Committee
Collective against police brutality (COBP)
Comité des sans-emploi Montréal-Centre
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)
Community Coalition Against Racism (Hamilton, Ontario)
Convergence des luttes anti-capitalistes (CLAC)
Coalition contre la répression et les abus policiers
Conseil central du Montréal Métropolitain – CSN
Canadian Council of Muslim Women – Ottawa Chapter
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
DIRA Bibiothèque Anarchiste
Fédération nationale des enseignantes et enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN)
Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU)
Haiti Action Montreal
Halifax Peace Coalition
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War
Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC)
Independent Jewish Voices
Indigeous Solidarity Committee (Montreal)
l’Union communiste libertaire (UCL)
La Pointe Libertaire
Latin American Canadian Solidarity Association (London, Ontario)
Le Mouvement RebELLEs
Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal
No One Is illegal Montreal
No One Is Illegal Ottawa
No One Is Illegal Toronto
No One Is illegal Vancouver
NOWAR-PAIX (Ottawa, Ontario)
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
Organisation populaire des droits sociaux de la région de Montréal (OPDS-RM)
Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organization (OMWO)
Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)
Parti communiste revolutionnaire (PCR)
People for Peace, London
People’s Commission Network
Projet Accompaniment Solidarité Colombie (PASC)
Queer McGill Political Action Working Group
Société Bolivarienne du Québec/Hands Off Venezuela
Solidarity Across Borders
South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC)
Sudbury Against War and Occupation
Toronto Action for Social Change
Vancouver Media Co-op (Editorial Collective)
8th March Committee of Women of Diverse Origins