nobody expects the spanish inquisition

Well, um, I do.

I can’t help it. Given how the SQ has treated people here for decades, I expect the Spanish Inquisition whenever they’re involved.

News today is full of reports about the latest drug raids across Quebec but including Kahnawake. The police called it “Operation Machine.” The police are bragging how they smashed a major crack, cocaine and ecstasy operation based in a warehouse on Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, supplying Montreal, and financing the Hell’s Angels.

Maybe. I hope so. But I’m going to suspend belief based on the SQ’s past record of claims of victory in its war on drugs and gangs.

Steve Bonspille, editor of Kahnawake’s weekly community newspaper, The Eastern Door, told a CBC Radio interviewer that people there don’t want heavy drugs in their community nor support drug trafficking. He’s right.

Most people at Kahnawake – and Kanehsatake too – don’t condone substance abuse, including smoking or booze but especially hard drugs. The editor, however, knows a deep-rooted stereotype when he smells one, which explains why he felt he had to explain.

There are a few people in the communities that folks might want the police to look at – just like any community, anywhere in Canada. But people here aren’t rats.

They may not like these hoods. They may believe that if you do the crime, be ready to do the time. But they won’t turn them in because they like the SQ and Quebec’s justice system less. They have a long history of good reasons to feel that way.

I’m not going to bore you with that history. That’s a job for a justice inquiry that Quebec doesn’t want. So l’ll just throw a few numbers out.

First yesterday’s raids across Quebec, including that warehouse at Kahnawake:

Operation Machine:

  • more than 600 police officers (SQ, RCMP & Kahnawake Mohawk Peacekeepers)
  • 50 warrants
  • 36 locations mostly in the Montreal area,
  • 46 people arrested
  • Duration: 1 day (June 3)

Results:

According to Montreal police, contraband tobacco and such drugs as crack cocaine flowed out past the three-metre-high fence surrounding the warehouse while money flowed in. Police found 11 safes when they raided the facility before dawn yesterday. By noon, they had opened three and found cash in all of them.

Now the numbers from the Kanehsatake raids a couple of weeks ago.

Operation Cerro:

  • more than 300 police officers (SQ, RCMP. and an unspecified number of native cops drafted from reserve police around Quebec – non-Mohawks)
  • 1 helicopter, 1 patrol boat, 1 armoured personnel carrier
  • 16 warrants (but other homes raided in following days “based on anonymous tips”)
  • one community sealed with roadblocks barring news media
  • 13 people arrested (but one escaped)
  • more than 1000 marijuana plants seized
  • 20 tomato plants also seized
  • Duration: 5 days (May 19-23 when SQ removes APC, helicopter, snipers and and heavy presence)

Results:

…roughly 1,200 pot plants in Kanesatake yesterday also picked up ammunition magazines for AK-47 automatic assault rifles, known as Kalashnikovs, police said. […] Insp. Lino Maurizio of the Sûreté du Québec pegged the estimated street value of the hydroponic pot picked up during the crackdown at more than $1 million.”

“The Kanesatake bust, in the planning for almost a year and code-named Cerro, involved “seven or eight” First Nations investigators as part of the Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, (Kitigan Zibi Algonquin Police Chief, Gordon) McGregor said.

Those investigators “are very, very happy and satisfied about the outcome of the operation today,” McGregor told reporters.

The crackdown “should be a warning” to criminals operating in “other First Nations communities in the province of Quebec, and right across the country,” the chief added: “You will be dealt with.”

Reality Check:

Last month, sixteen people were arrested on the Kanesatake First Nation after Quebec police dismantled a significant organized criminal network of marijuana distribution.

1200 marijuana plants is hardly “significant.” Did this huge operation using twice as many people as Operation Machine, costing huge amounts of salaried time and overtime, costs of moving equipment and running this operation, really dismantle anything resembling a vast criminal network of “marijuana distribution.”

OK. Even if it did – in what universe, using what currency converter – does 1200 pot plants translate into “$1-million” on the street?

Better question: Who’s really toking up here?

Some reporter, at some point, should really stop swallowing every bit of BS the SQ utters. Instead, they should begin to ask serious questions, such as:

  1. How much do these operations cost?
  2. Do the ends (mass violation of civil rights) justify the means (1200 pot plants)?
  3. Can the SQ justify the cost and the massive use of force used at Kanehsatake?
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Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Canadian politics, human rights, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism, racism

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