Saturday, March 31, 2007

Unreal! army: radical natives, can be viewed as insurgencies

Army manual lumps radical natives with Hezbollah
Mar. 31 2007 News Staff

Radical natives are included on the same list as the Tamil Tigers and Hezbollah in a new counterinsurgency manual being prepared for the Canadian army.

The manual is in the final stages of preparation, but an early draft outlines tactics, including ambush, deception and killing, which the military could use abroad against military opponents -- and at home.

"The rise of radical Native American organizations, such as the Mohawk Warrior Society, can be viewed as insurgencies with specific and limited aims," the manual states.

"Although they do not seek complete control of the federal government, they do seek particular political concessions in their relationship with national governments and control (either overt or covert) of political affairs at a local/reserve ('First Nation') level, through the threat of, or use of, violence."

The 135-page document was put together in September 2005. A cover letter states that although the manual is a draft version, but it should be circulated for immediate use as a training manual until the final version is completed.

"I think it's appalling for all First Nations people to be looked at from any Canadian agency or any international agency, putting us in the same boat as national terrorists," Michael Delisle, a Montreal area Mohawk Chief, told CTV News.

The Defence Department has denied linking aboriginal groups with terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, and said the document was never approved by senior management. Officials also said the final version would not include any mention of present aboriginal groups.

But Ed Bianchi, an aboriginal rights activist, said the draft document hurts the cause of native Canadians.

"It demonstrates that the federal government still has the attitude towards native groups that they are the enemy that needs to be suppressed," Bianchi told CTV News.

The draft refers to the Mohawk Warrior Society, which played a role in Quebec's Oka crisis of 1990 that led to a 78-day standoff with police and left an officer dead.

Another controversy for native affairs

While the draft is stirring controversy for Native activists and supporter, some believe the document, and the tactics outlined in it, is necessary.

"The people who do these things should be treated like anyone else, and that may mean surveillance and military operations where necessary," said David Harris of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies.

The draft manual surfaces at a time when many feel the recent federal budget ignored many of the issues faced by natives, and as a months-old dispute between natives occupying a housing development near Caledonia, Ont. and residents, drags on.

"It does a great disservice to aboriginal Canadians who are just trying to help Canadians understand the underlying issues to their social problems, and this isn't going to help," said Bianchi.

"It's just going to put forward the idea again that native peoples are violent and we need to be afraid of them."

Many natives are at odds with the federal government over the $5 billion Kelowna Accord, a document negotiated by former Prime Minister Paul Martin to address native issues but never tabled by the Conservatives, and the plight of the residents of Kashechewan.

The reserve in northern Ontario has faced water contamination, sickness and flooding, but Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says the government can't afford the $474 million price tag estimated to move the embattled Kashechewan reserve, as requested by the residents.

According to the manual, an insurgency is "the actions of a minority group within a state who are intent on forcing political change by means of a mixture of subversion, propaganda and military pressure, aiming to persuade or intimidate the broad mass of people to accept such a change."

The response to that, the manual states, can go beyond military response to include psychological tactics to defeat the enemy.

The manual seems to focus on the Canadian military serving in places where governments have lost control and factions are fighting for power.

The Canadian Forces has not yet commented on the manual and it is not clear whether native groups have been previously listed as a potential opponent.

With a report from CTV's Roger Smith


Herbinator said...

Canadian Armed Forces should be explicitely forbidden from using force against Canadian citizens. Any justification for using force reveals a failure of society with political change being required as opposed to suppression of citizenry.