Threat to National Security?: Man Visited at Home by RCMP for Phone Call to Justice Minister

CANNABIS CULTURE – An Ontario man was visited at his home by RCMP officers from Canada’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) after making a phone call to Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to voice his concern over the extradition of marijuana activist Marc Emery.

Cst. Andrew Schneppenheim and another officer showed up at the door of 22-year-old Steve Shakeshaft, a Stoney Creek (Hamilton), Ontario resident, on June 7, two weeks after he made a telephone call to a number he found online that turned out to be Nicholson’s home number.

The officers showed up at Shakeshaft’s house at about 1pm, and were greeted at the door by his father.

“My father came to tell me there were a couple RCMP officers at the door,” Shakeshaft told Cannabis Culture. “They said it was concerning phone calls made to the home of the Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson from my phone. My father still wasn’t sure what they were talking about until they mentioned it was related to Marc Emery, at which point he understood that they were here to speak to me.”

Shakeshaft said the officers were not in uniform, but presented a card with RCMP and INSETs information on it.

“They told me that the ministers house has been receiving hundreds if not thousands of calls from Vancouver to Halifax and everywhere in between, and apparently some of them were threatening,” he said. “I told them I had nothing to do with any threats, as the only communication I ever had with the minister was the one time he answered my call, asked my name, then claimed I had the wrong number. They agreed that I had not made any threats or taken part in any illegal activity, told me I was pointed at because of the sheer number of calls I had made, and ‘warned’ me that any phone calls made, now that I had been asked to stop, could be considered harassment.”

Shakeshaft had called Nicholson to voice his support for ‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery, the cannabis activist and former publisher of Cannabis Culture who was recently extradited to the United States by the Justice Minister to face charges for selling marijuana seeds on the Internet. [Click here to find out how to HELP MARC EMERY]

“It seems these guys are traveling around talking to ‘persons of interest’ and basically trying to intimidate people while supposedly trying to find those who were placing ‘threatening calls’,” Shakeshaft said.

Supporters of Marc Emery have been (quite literally) under attack in recent weeks by police after stepping up the campaign to Free Marc by holding MP office occupations. Three activists have been arrested, and campaign organizer Jacob Hunter was assaulted by a police officer while attempting to gain entrance to Nicholson’s Niagara Falls constituency office. Further inflaming the anger of activists, Marc Emery was put in solitary confinement in a US prison for recording a podcast intended for supporters, and has been there for two weeks.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Julie Gagnon told Cannabis Culture the department refuses to comment on activities of INSETs.

“I would not confirm or deny whether INSETs is checking on anything because INSETs is our Integrated National Security unit,” Gagnon said. “If it concerns someone’s security, we would not confirm or deny.”

According to the RCMP’s website:

The RCMP has refocused its National Security Investigations Sections (NSIS) to become Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in major centres throughout the country. The purpose for this is to increase the capacity for the collection, sharing and analysis of intelligence among partners with respect to individuals and entities that are a threat to national security and; create an enhanced investigative capacity to bring such individuals and entities to justice; and enhance partner agencies collective ability to combat national security threats and meet all specific mandate responsibilities, consistent with the laws of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

INSETs is the department who takes care of incidents of so-called ‘Canadian terrorism’, including the recent embarrassing screw-up over an Ontario man who bought a bunch of fertilizer and was under suspicion of being a terrorist bomber. He tuned out to be a gardener.

Shakeshaft said the visit came weeks after he made his original call. The officers were polite, but took his information.

“I told them I hadn’t made a single call to his home for at least two weeks and had no plans on any in the future,” he said. “They advised me to direct my opinions into the appropriate channels, which of course I have been doing, and took my name, date of birth, and address into their ‘report’ and told me I wouldn’t be charged.”

The visit to Shakeshaft’s residence is the latest in a series of government actions against perceived dissenters in the Free Marc campaign and others groups. In May, five activists involved with planning upcoming G20 protests were visited at home or work by CSIS agents in Toronto.