Does a Canadian-made engine power a Department of Homeland Security surveillance airplane deployed against Black Lives Matter protests in Portland?
The Intercept reports: “While anonymous federal agents have thrown protesters into unmarked vans and fired tear gas at Portland’s mayor in recent days, an Air Force surveillance plane designed to carry state-of-the-art sensors typically reserved for war zones has circled the Oregon city’s outskirts from above.”
Following that report, Anthony Fenton posted on Twitter: “The surveillance plane in question is powered by a @PWCanada-made engine.” This refers to Pratt & Whitney Canada, which is located in Longueuil, near Montreal.
While the Air Force has denied that this surveillance plane gathered information about the demonstrations, The Hill has also reported: “DHS aircraft have been used over protests this year to collect information on the demonstrations.”
NBC affiliate KGW8 further reports: “A small airplane registered to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security flew over protesters in downtown Portland on Wednesday [July 22] night. The Beechcraft Super King Air 350 made wide, counter-clockwise circles over demonstrators for almost three hours.”
According to this website, that engine may also have been made by Pratt & Whitney Canada near Montreal. This website also notes: “Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A or optional factory installed PT6A-67A turboprop engines with Hartzell four blade propellers power the King Air 350CER aircraft.”
Should we be concerned about any of the estimated $2 billion worth of Canadian-made “military goods” exported to the US each year being used in this way?
Last month, the Independent reported: “The Scottish Parliament has called for the immediate suspension of exports of riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets to the United States, in light of the police response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.”
That article also noted: “Back at the UK parliament in Westminster 166 MPs from the Labour party, the Conservatives, SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein, Alliance, and SDLP signed a letter last week calling for a similar suspension.”
Labour MP Emily Thornberry has stated: “The British public deserve to know how arms exported by this country are being used across the world and the American public deserve the right to protest peacefully without the threat of violent repression.”
Will similar expressions of concern be raised by Members of Parliament in Canada?
To read a previous PBI-Canada article about a Canadian-made Stryker armoured vehicle – that is also used to monitor the increasingly militarized US/Mexico border – possibly being deployed in Portland, please click here.