The greening of terrorism?

Why the sustained use of violence by environmental groups is just a matter of time.

The sustained use of violence by environmental groups is just a matter of time.

Over the past few years people like me have been accused of tunnel vision when it comes to terrorism. We are said to see everything as jihadi-this and jihadi-that and have even been charged with Islamophobia on occasion. Some think we are chasing the wrong threat and guilty of missing the forest for the trees.

As those who follow me know I am quite able to articulate why I, and the organisations I worked for (CSIS) and with (RCMP), have been and still are on the ball and pursuing the right threat, so I won’t repeat the arguments I have made on countless occasions here. But I will, for today, go in a different direction.

I am sitting in the Air Canada lounge at Vancouver Airport, heading home after speaking at and attending an excellent two-day conference organised by the Vancouver branch of the Canadian Association for Security Intelligence Studies (CASIS). The array of presenters was impressive and I learned a lot. One group that was mentioned briefly was the Deep Green Resistance (DGR).

The most pressing problem facing the world is the iron heel of civilization on the neck of human and non-human communities.

Max Wilbert DGR Seattle

Decisive Ecological Warfare

I had never heard of this organisation. Just who is the DGR? Well, I went to their website. Here is what I found (excerpts):

  • Industrial civilization is killing all life on our planet;
  • Most consumption is based on violence against people;
  • The goal of DGR is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet;
  • The different branches of a resistance movement must work in tandem: the “aboveground” and the “belowground”, the militants and the nonviolent; and
  • DGR has a realistic plan to stop the insanity,  Decisive Ecological Warfare (DEW).

You read that right: Decisive Ecological WARFARE. So, what is DEW?

DEW is the strategy of a movement that has too long been on the defensive. It is the war cry of a people who refuse to lose any more battles, the last resort of a movement isolated, co-opted, and weary from never-ending legal battles and blockades. The information in the DEW strategy is derived from military strategy and tactics manuals, analysis of historic resistances, insurgencies, and national liberation movements. The principles laid out within these pages are accepted around the world as sound principles of asymmetric warfare, where one party is more powerful than the other. If any fight was ever asymmetric, this one is.

Wait. There’s more!

DEW has four stages, described as: networking and mobilisation; sabotage and asymmetric action; systems disruption; and the decisive dismantling of infrastructure.

Is it just me or is this a call for violence? What kind of violence? Here is what the Canadian Criminal Code says about terrorist activity (extracts):

an act that is committed… in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, and in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public… including its economic security… that intentionally causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence, endangers a person’s life, causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public, causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property… causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system

Photo: Deep Green Resistance

Does it sound like what DGR is advocating constitutes acts of terrorism? Coz it sure does to me. I really hope this group is on someone’s radar – now! What DGR is doing is no different than what Islamic State (ISIS) or Al Qaeda (AQ) or other Islamist extremist groups do: encourage followers to sign up and rise up.

As climate change and environmental activists grow in number and feel frustrated at a lack of response, a violent fringe will emerge. Maybe DGR is already that fringe.

There! I have expanded my horizons a tad. Yes, there are other forms of terrorism we need to deal with. Now I’ll get back to examining the largest threat. Time to return to having ‘jihad’ on the brain.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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