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The FBI Vault: Why doesn't this exist in Canada?

Recently, I had the misfortune of having to wake up at 3:30 AM because my daughter didn’t want to go back to sleep. She’s sick, so we decided to let her sleep when she wanted. So, for an hour this morning, I had to sit around while she watched Teletubbies. I then found a tweet relating to the FBI Vault</a>, which is where the FBI opens its files on various different people and movements that they watched throughout the years. They try to highlight Marilyn Monroe and Al Capone as celebrities to try and make the whole thing seem cool.

However, it’s definitely worth reading, since you can see that Albert Einstein was identified as an Anarchist by the FBI, and that there were numerous groups who opposed Einstein being allowed to be in North America. You can also read about the Weather Underground, Malcolm X as well as the Black Panther Party. They have a full text search as well, so you can search for programs such as COINTELPRO</a>.

Canada, on the other hand, does NOT have any such a thing. Part of it is the fact that very few people know about Canadian History. They don’t know about the On-To-Ottawa Trek, the Japanese Internment Camps, PROFUNC, The FLQ Crisis, Quebec Separation or the Squamish Five, let alone the names of various radicals and rabble-rousers that Canada has had in the past century. The average radical in Canada is probably more familiar with COINTELPRO and those tactics than the tactics of the RCMP and CSIS, despite the fact that Anne Hansen has spoken numerous times, and people like Ward Churchill, when they speak in Canada, have talked at length about the RCMP having similar programs to the FBI in the United States.

Like Canadian Foreign Policy which isn’t generally known to the average person in Canada, most people in radical circles don’t know the long history of resistance in Canada. This is partly to do with the fact that there’s no Canadian version of Howard Zinn’s “A people’s history of the United States”, but it’s also to do with the fact that this information is buried. If people want to know about how the RCMP and CSIS criminalize dissent, they don’t have a lot to look at beyond rumours, and it appears that the Canadian Government would like to keep it this way.

If you look at the court battle to open up the records of Tommy Douglas, you will see the mentality that is present with the current powers that be</a>. CSIS currently controls both the personal files associated with current threats that they were watching for their entire existence (everything from 1984 onwards) and the RCMP Security Service (for everything prior to 1984). This is very important, because for every person politically active under the age of 40, they would have been potentially investigated by CSIS while anyone over the age of 40 would be investigated by the RCMP Security Service.

Currently, Tommy Douglas has been dead for twenty-five years now, and CSIS is still making the argument that this will affect the ability of CSIS to work. Now, what would have happened if we tried get files open on the following list of famous and infamous people in Canada? I don’t know, but the fact is that currently we can’t get these files. I’m going to see what we can find out in the future, but I really wish that there were more people that did this work, since it’s very important, and not everyone can be out in the streets. It’s also not as boring or anti-climactic as you’d think.