By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Canada’s spy agency is using national security provisions contained in access to information laws to withhold its files on the emergence of an American Indian Movement chapter in Winnipeg.
The new AIM chapter was unveiled in late January at the Marlborough Hotel by former Roseau River First Nation chief Terrance Nelson along with a group of seven people. The group pledged that the time for round dances had passed, in reference to the primary protest vehicle used by Idle No More during the winter.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, however, says it won’t reveal whether the fledgling movement has landed on its radar.
In a letter to APTN National News responding to an Access to Information Act request, the agency says it can neither confirm nor deny whether it has any files on AIM, but if it did, they wouldn’t be released under national security provisions of the Act.
APTN requested briefing notes from the agency’s Intelligence Assessments Branch and its Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre or its academic outreach program.
“We neither confirm nor deny that the records you request exist,” said the May 15 letter from Nicole Jalbert, the CSIS access to information coordinator. “We are however advising you….that such records, if they existed, could reasonably be expected to be exempted under or more sections…as it relates to the efforts of Canada towards detecting, preventing or suppressing subversive or hostile activities.”
One of the members of the AIM Winnipeg chapter says CSIS has nothing to worry about.
“The only thing we will be armed with is a feather from an eagle, a drum and a peace pipe,” said AIM member Indian Ozzy. “Regaining our culture back is our goal.”