The C-IRG: the resource extraction industrys

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by Molly Murphy and Research for the Front Lines Jan 5, 2022 24 min read
https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/the-c-irg-the-resource-extraction-industrys-best-ally

To protect the Earth and climate that we all depend on, we must defund the police. We should start by defunding and dismantling the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) – a secretive arm of the RCMP that works directly in service of extractive industries in British Columbia, including oil and gas, logging, and fish farming.

The C-IRG is brought in to enforce injunctions, take down blockades, and arrest land defenders. Since its inception in 2017, the C-IRG has been paid through the public purse to protect corporate interests.... In doing this, it is accelerating the climate crisis and violating Indigenous Rights.

This is what I and my co-authors from Research for the Front Lines argued in our previous article about the C-IRG, which was published online by Briarpatch on November 3, 2021. In that first article, we described the horrifying violence the C-IRG uses to remove forest defenders like me from places like Fairy Creek. We interviewed C-IRG commander John Brewer, confirming that he ordered officers to remove their name tags and police badges – making them nearly impossible to identify and hold accountable for their actions. Using documents obtained by Wet’suwet’en land defenders through an access-to-information request, we also highlighted that over $18 million in public money has been spent between 2018 and 2021 to enforce Coastal GasLink’s injunction against the land defenders on Wet’suwet’en territory.

I wanted to know what the C-IRG’s mandate is, how officers are trained, and to whom they are accountable. I wanted to find out what we – land defenders trying to mitigate and repair the damage done to the planet – are up against.

I have spent most of the last year on the front lines at Fairy Creek and on Wet’suwet’en land, where the C-IRG is a constant presence. But when I went looking for details on the police force, I was shocked to learn that there was almost no publicly available information. I wanted to know what the C-IRG’s mandate is, how officers are trained, and to whom they are accountable. I wanted to find out what we – land defenders trying to mitigate and repair the damage done to the planet – are up against.

To try to find some answers, I joined forces with Research for the Front Lines, making phone calls, conducting interviews, and filing access-to-information requests.

In this article, we draw on interviews with C-IRG commander John Brewer, an anonymous source close to the C-IRG, and forest defenders at Fairy Creek to lay bare some of the historical context and present workings of the C-IRG. Here’s what we have found so far.

READ MORE AT
https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/the-c-irg-the-resource-extraction-industrys-best-ally