Direct Action after the Squamish Five

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One of the first ATIP requests I filed with the RCMP was literally “Anarchism in BC from 1973 to 2011”. In February 2011, I received a call from Sgt. Kent Swim saying that this was too large. This happened to be the day after I moved from my mold-infested apartment to my current place, so I was tired, sleeping on the floor due to the fact that I had to toss my bed, and I gave them some things to look up. One of which was Spartacus Books, which we only got the V2010ISU’s information on. Another of which was the Squamish Five.

I was interested to see what I could find out about the Squamish Five from the perspective of the RCMP. There’s been numerous publications, including one by Ann Hansen, about the Squamish Five</a>, but they’ve come from the Anarchist side of the story. The coles notes version is about five anarchists who decide to become militant like the Red Army Faction in West Germany. After a string of bombings, including one at a BC Hydro substation and one at Litton Industries, the Squamish Five are eventually taken down on Highway 99. There are numerous versions of the story, but it seems that after looking again, that I don’t have any information on the Squamish Five themselves, except for newspaper clippings of Julie Belmas getting parole.

What I do get is a set of briefing reports about terrorist activity in Canada referring to the group Direct Action and information on numerous groups calling themselves “Direct Action” or “Action Directe”, depending on which province the action took place. Apparently there were numerous bomb threats and poisoning threats that took place far after the arrest of the Squamish Five in 1983 that went all throughout the 1980s. This also shows the RCMP keeping tabs on activist groups who dare utter the word “Direct Action”.

The documents and the hysteria chronicles earlier themes which stick with current activities today, such as “Infiltration of Legitimate Groups”, which talks about people who support Direct Action joining other groups, namely within the 1980s peace movement. In fact, the RCMP themselves considered all the peace movement to be in league with the “Direct Action” conspiracy, which may explain why CSIS was caught in the late 80s spying on the peace movement.

The most interesting caper of the Squamish Five-less Direct Action group was that of some unknown Anarchists sent two letters to a Victoria TV station saying that they have managed to poison bottles of South African wine on September 11, 1986. It’s important to remember that apartheid was still out in the open in South Africa at that time. Another interesting case is of Terrance Ram in Ontario, who was found copying software in 1985. When the RCMP raided Mr. Ram’s residence, they found three guns, one of which was an AK-47. I can’t find any other information on Terrance Ram’s case, but it is quoted in this PDF by the Intellectual Property Group of Canada</a>.

As usual, the files are available for download, and while they are much harder to read than documents from the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, the themes and the language used by the RCMP is very much the same as it is today. I was reluctant to release the documents until I realized that they have almost nothing to do with the actual Squamish Five beyond what is already public knowledge. This document does give me a good starting point for numerous ATIPs for years to come, and I’m wondering more and more about the National Criminal Intelligence Branch of the RCMP.