Some Québec Environmentalists and activists reaction to the scenario, Featuring Ellen Gabriel, Greenpeace Canada, and Filmmaker Olivier Asselin.
From February 8th to March 6th this year Canadian Forces conducted exercise Réaction Royal 2016. This exercise involved the entire 2nd Division, all the regular and reserve force units in Québec. The government’s DND website states; “The goal of the exercise is to confirm the abilities of Joint Task Force East to plan and conduct joint, national and inter agency operations during a humanitarian crisis.”The real scenario is somewhat darker. According to Canadian Forces spokesman the exercise scenario began with the sinking of a large cruise ship off the north coast of Québec. As the Canadian Forces start to deploy to help with rescue and recovery it is discovered that the ship was sunk by “terrorists.” In the exercise just as this is being discovered, “cells of the same group start attacking bases in southern Québec (St Jean sur Richelieu and Bagotville),” according to forces spokespeople. The problem here is that these fictional villains were not soldiers of the caliphate fighting for ISIS, according to Canadian Armed Forces spokespeople I interviewed, they were environmentalists.
This fictional battle against environmentalists was not just fought by the Canadian Forces. This was a “whole of government” response exercise involving the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service(CSIS), Communication Security Establishment Canada(CSEC, the NSA north), Royal Canadian Mounted Police,(RCMP), The Sûreté du Quebec(Québec provincial police) and the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal(SPVM).
Part of this fictional battle took place in cyber space with a fictional reservist leaking classified information on Facebook, and the use of social media to track down the cells of these fictional enviro-terrorists. To keep things exciting the cells of “environmental terrorists,” buzzed CF bases with drones and tried to infiltrate them by force. Canadian Forces members dressed in civilian cloths where used as crisis actors. As Quoted in “49 Nord,”
The scenario for Canadian Forces exercise Reaction Royale 2016
A radical ecological group, determined to undermine the credibility of the federal government and of the military by reducing their capability to maintain order, has started to conduct actions in the Arctic. Targeting mainly military installations as well as infrastructures critical to the province of Québec, the group could gather expansion in other provinces. Overwhelmed by a sinking in northern Quebec, the authorities asked the Canadian Armed Forces to intervene to support them and help in the humanitarian aid to the populations. Several cells are active in the south, in Greater Montreal and in the Sagueny
“In the Reserve Force, we all have another job as a civilian. We bring support to law enforcement forces , so this is known territory to me, I don’t just act like I know what I’m doing. In my other job, I am the commander of the tactical intervention Group of the Montréal Police ».
Lieutenant-colonel David Shane, Commander of the 4th Battalion Royal 22e Regiment
Translated from French by Manon Levesque
The premise of the exercise scenario, that an environmental group would sink a large cruise liner is unlikely to say the least. Given that these large ships carry thousands of liters of various fuel oils and other chemicals, and with some of these ships carrying 5000+ passengers and crew the human toll would be unimaginable. There is however some logical basis, albeit twisted, for this aspect of the scenario. The North West Passage will for the first time be a route for cruise ships as the fast disappearing arctic ice, caused by fossil fuel driven climate warming, allows freer passage. The Government has been concerned as we have little capability to intervene in the event of an actual nautical disaster at these latitudes. Ships transiting this route face many dangers from icebergs to unpredictable weather that have nothing to do with bomb happy environmentalists who would inexplicably cause an environmental disaster to avert one.
Canadian environmental groups have no history of violence against persons. The “violent acts” against property they have committed barely rise to the level of simple vandalism. In fact the RCMP have more of a history of violent action against pipelines than environmental groups as seen in “Operation Kabriole”. So while it is an excellent idea for the Canadian Forces to practice deploying to assist with cruise ships in trouble in the Arctic the addition of the enviro-terrorist angle is disturbingly unjustified.
Lets move on to the “attacks by other cells on bases in the south.” The idea that environmental groups would attack Armed Forces bases is absolutely spurious. According to this scenario after creating an environmental disaster of their own by sinking the cruise ship, environmental groups start attacking bases including St Jean and Bagotville. Last I looked the Forces are not in the business of energy extraction. I can find no record of any social action group “attacking” the Army. Without exception environmental groups I spoke to repudiated the idea that they would attack any persons or group violently, and there is no historical example of anything remotely similar.
This is not however the first sign of this trend. It was widely reported that military intelligence was tracking the “Idle no more,” movement through 2013. It is important to remember the Armed Forces is not a law enforcement agency. The government book that
tells members of the forces what their jobs are lists the occupation of the Infantry as “to close with and destroy the enemy,” and apparently the enemy is us. Just this week it was revealed that the Canadian Forces has requested Communications Security Establishment to help it track an individual for a domestic operation
Given the resistance to the energy east pipeline in Québec the timing of the exercise is suspicious to be sure. But again to be clear the most “violent” thing protesters have done is to lock themselves to pipeline pumping stations. Surely, at most a matter for local police not the Canadian Army. Unfortunately, what this does do is habituate the members of the Armed Forces to think of their fellow citizens as potential threats. When soldiers are trained to use a rifle they fire at a figure 11 target. The figure 11 target is in the shape of a human , the brutal logic being that if you get someone used to lining up a human figure and pulling the trigger they wont think about it when ordered to do it for real. One wonders if the same logic is at play here. The CF carry out a wide range of difficult and dangerous functions. Their time would perhaps be better spent practicing some of those rather that training for a scenario that has absolutely no historical basis and is about as likely as an armed revolt in Medicine Hat.
One of the most troubling aspects of the exercise is its whole of government flavor. It has been awhile since the government, notably the RCMP, have swung their gaze to thwarting social\environmental movements
here in Canada. They have even developed their own language to make the threat seem more sinister when talking to their political masters. Anyone supporting any cause they find unpalatable is not an activist they are a “multi-issue extremist”. Any peaceful action be it a banner drop or a peaceful march is a “non-violent attack scenario”. And again military intelligence tracked the quite peaceful Idle No More protests. It is highly troubling that the Forces are being involved. The Forces have a very legitimate and long role of intervening in actual disasters from Red River floods, Québec ice storms, to the recent fires in Alberta. This is a vital and much needed role in our harsh northern wilderness. And perhaps military intelligence would have been better occupied discovering that much of ISIS’s oil was flowing through turkey in long vehicle convoys. A fact they seemed to miss until the Russian Air Force pointed it out. Let them practice these tasks instead of participating in this sweaty secret policeman’s fantasy
Thx to Eric Robertson 99media “emperor of sound”