Compare the operations of the (temporary) JIG and (permanent) INSET headquarters to the proliferation of federalized Fusion Centers springing up across the US. Fusion Centers blend the operations of the military, intelligence, and local police – previously firewalled off for reasons of jurisdiction and to necessarily protect the civil liberties of Americans by making a distinction between operational theaters. Clearly, the military is designed to kill and break stuff, while the police are traditionally tasked with upholding the law. The US drive to integration through cross training and shared resources generates justifiable concern, and the US Fusion Centres have come under increasing criticism both for their surveillance capabilities and for singling out political leaders and minority groups outside of the mainstream as threats.
We see an echo of this US federalization under Homeland Security being carried out north of the border with INSET, JIG, and the ISU coordinating. We even have our own Department of Homeland Security, of course, the kinder, more gently named Department of Public Safety. Created in the wake of 9/11 and presently headed by Vic Toews. The Department of Public Safety recently announced a plan to create a new body to increase state oversight and control over ‘critical infrastructure’. The common thread here is centralization of power, and the question Canadians need to ask themselves is, where does the greater risk lie – in the bogeyman of terrorism (you’re more likely to be struck by lightning), or the creation of massive new bureaucracies of control? Even though the officers working away at the old Bemis toilet seat factory up in Barrie may today be the most well intentioned people in the world, history indicates the systemic risk being introduced into the Canadian enforcement system is far more dangerous than any individual ISI patsy, woundup and pointed in our direction from half a world away.
Related: Infrastructure security plan unveiled | Public Safety Canada announces national plan to centralize operations in state of emergency | US Police to get access to classified military intelligence | Ground broken on $3.4 billion Homeland Security complex | Military challenge: Make spy data more accessible | For more, see the G20 Coverage page feature
Michelle Shephard, Tanya Talaga, The Toronto Star
June 22, 2010
If something goes wrong at this weekend’s summit, the call will go to Barrie
If something goes wrong, the Barrie nerve centre will buzz.
The JIG is up, is how the phalanx of Canadian police and security forces converging for the G20 and G8 summits refers to it.
As in, the Joint Intelligence Group for the Integrated Security Unit is up in Barrie, where everyone will turn should any major attack happen during the summits.
Unless the threat is terrorism. And then the unfortunately named acronym of the DIC is in the SOC, as in the Domestic Incident Command is in the Special Operations Centre, applies.
Which means command control goes to Toronto’s RCMP-led terrorism unit that was created after the 9/11 attacks and is known as INSET, or Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.
Their headquarters just north of the city, is supposed to be covert but became a rather poorly kept secret when the ribbon-cutting for the facility included a large contingent of Mounties in red serge posing on the lawn outside.