Extracting Intelligence and (In)security: Corporate-state Information-sharing Practices and the Construction of Narratives of Indigenous Dissent
Surveillance , Colonialism , Canada , National Security , Dissent , Extractivism , Critical Infrastructure , Policing , Intelligence
This thesis aims to examine how narratives of Indigenous land defense movements are constituted by investigating natural resource extraction corporations and Canadian intelligence and national security agencies joint participation in information-sharing practices. I consider a specific set of “information-sharing practices” otherwise understood as acts or activities set out as part of state national security strategies. I argue that in these practices, state and corporate interests converge due to their shared investment in upholding settler colonial authority. While points of divergence remain, these practices legitimize the classification of dissent as a national security concern and further surveillance of Indigenous land defense movements in the “national interest.” I conducted a thematic discourse analysis on a mixed dataset of institutional records, primarily retrieved from Access To Information (ATI) requests, to map the narratives advanced within them. Additionally, I conducted a comparative content analysis to identify the prevalence of threats across three different national security involved actors. I show that corporate-state information-sharing practices advance a narrative that emphasizes economic harm as the primary risk of dissent against natural resource extraction projects. Further I argue that another narrative advanced suggests an ever-present suspicion of dissent, with Indigenous dissent discursively constructed as eminently at risk of escalating. I conclude that these narratives have spilled over into legal and political discourse, resulting in the criminalization and polarization of Indigenous dissent.