The Postmedia article reporting it describes it as part of a shakeup in the ranks, but the announcement that Michel Coulombe has been formally named as director at CSIS looks like more of the same to me.
Five months ago, when Richard Fadden was moved over to the DND, Coulombe became interim director after serving with the agency for over twenty-five years. He got some press a few years back when he appeared before a parliamentary committee investigating the treatment of Afghans detained by Canadian Forces and subsequently transferred to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS). He essentially confirmed what (Read more…)
Is there a precedent in the making here?
A lawyer for the federal government argued before the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday that there is such a thing as “a substantial substitute for full disclosure” and that the security certificate process, as currently constituted, meets that standard. So when someone like Mohamed Harkat is accused of being a terrorist but is denied knowledge of the specific evidence against him or the sources on which that accusation is based, the federal government believes this “satisfies the principles of fundamental justice.” Whatever happened to the right to face your accuser?
If (Read more…)
He is the man most responsible for taking the surveillance state into a new and even more sinister Orwellian age. The General who while working in Iraq decided that instead of just monitoring terrorists and suspects he should monitor EVERYONE. And as the head of the National Security Agency is now doing the same to us.But who knew that Keith Alexander had turned his Information Dominance Center into a Star Trek fantasy? Read more »
The Guardian has done an excellent and vital job digesting the U.S. National Security Agency PRISM data leaked by Edward Snowden. A good deal of it had come out, in part, in dribs and drabs but it was the British newspaper that put it all together in chilling context.
It’s partly a warning about our governments spying on us and why. It’s also a warning of what they might have in mind for us in the future. They foresee unrest and potential upheaval in the future from climate change impacts. Theirs is a world in (Read more…)
We learned recently that the policy framework which allows CSIS to trade in information that might be the result of torture, or might lead to torture, or both, was actually a collaborative effort involving several federal agencies and departments. Now we have confirmation that CSEC is playing by the same rules.
The Harper government has quietly given Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency approval to exchange information with foreign partners even when it may put someone at risk of torture.
Communications Security Establishment Canada is following a federal policy on the risks of ill-treatment when sharing information with other countries, says Ryan (Read more…)
Colin Freeze has a piece in the Globe and Mail reporting on an unprecedented session of the Supreme Court of Canada scheduled to take place on Oct. 11th of this year. The hearing will take place in a secure, undisclosed location and will involve lawyers who have been sworn to secrecy. Most of us will probably never know what happens in that room even if events there become the basis of rulings that affect us. It’s all part of Mohamed Harkat’s challenge of the Security Certificate that has turned his life upside down for eleven years.
Why the secrecy? Why (Read more…)
A year ago last March, I took Vic Toews to task for granting CSIS the authority to trade in information derived from torture. In that post, I described a scenario in which the torture of one, possibily innocent, person of interest could easily lead to the torture of additional, possibly innocent, persons of interest. And all that could happen on the authority of the CSIS Director or a deputy minister and with no accountability.
It turns out that Toews didn’t dream up that policy all on his own.
Canada’s highly secretive electronic eavesdropping agency helped develop a federal directive that (Read more…)
Richard Hughes-Political Blogger
RCMP foiled an attempt to detonate pressure cooker bombs that were about to be set off at the BC Legislature. The attempt could well have resulted in fatal results as it was set to explode while large crowds were attending Canada Day celebrations..
Two Surrey residents, John Stewart Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody had prepared the that were bombs similar to those used at the Boston Marathon bombing attack.
CSIS agents had been tracking the pair for several months feeding the needed intelligence to the RCMP.
The BC Legislature was targeted and could have resulted in fatal results (Read more…)
Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes- Political Blogger
Many of you have heard of how the Americans spy on their own citizens. Certainly you have heard about the 29 year old CIA computer guy Edward Snowden who saw the grave threat to democracy in America as so significant that he blew the whistle.
He could no longer stomach the government’s undemocratic freedom threatening behaviour.
Snowden is now hiding in Hong Kong as the US government freaks out about traitors in their midst.
On the other hand they are making a mockery out of their celebrated freedoms through the chilling realities of the gross invasion into the (Read more…)
So I am sure there is nothing to get alarmed about with this revelation.
* Well, I suppose some would disagree. Recommend this Post
Open Media, with support from Leadnow, has begun a campaign to demand answers from the Harper government about exactly what kind of information our national signals intelligence agency is gathering about us. While it’s certainly worth trying to get answers to Open Media’s questions, let’s not lull ourselves into thinking that will be enough to protect our privacy.
The National Security Agency (NSA), the primary signals intelligence agency in the U.S., has been in the news since a whistle-blower, who has since revealed himself to be Edward Snowden, began leaking information to journalist Glenn Greenwald. Theoretically, the NSA (Read more…)
Positive vetting? Where’s George Smiley when you really need him? Not in Canada, by the sound of it. Below: Dr. Arthur Porter with his former pal Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Globe and Mail photo).
It’s almost bizarre, and almost certainly driven by political expediency, that no one seems to have so much as commented on the serious security implications posed by Arthur Porter’s troubles with the law.
Dr. Porter, as is by now well known, is the former head of what’s constantly referred to in journalistic shorthand as “Canada’s spy agency watchdog,” the federal Security Intelligence Review Committee.
But (Read more…)
Abousfian Abdelrazik has decided that if the Canadian government refuses to disclose information about its actions, he’ll have to ask someone else. Like Sudan.
A Montreal man who believes Canada’s spy agency had a hand in keeping him behind bars in Khartoum is pressing the Sudanese government for documentation about his case.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, flanked by about a dozen supporters, hand-delivered a letter Monday to the Embassy of Sudan in Ottawa seeking records that might reveal the full role Canada played in his ordeal.
He hasn’t been left with many other options. Much of the documentation the government has produced (Read more…)
Back in November I noted my surprise at how low Chuck Strahl’s profile had been since he’d been named to chair the Security Intelligence Review Committee the previous June. I would have thought the person appointed to direct oversight of our national intelligence agency might get a little more press, and particularly when the CSIS inspector general’s office was shut down by the Harper government two months after Strahl’s appointment. When it comes to keeping tabs on CSIS, SIRC is really all there is.
But Strahl’s profile remained pretty low until last week and when his name did pop up, (Read more…)
By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 22, 2013: In January, 2012, outspoken labour and anti-racism activist, Ken Stone argued that “Harper is Wrong in Demonizing Iran” in an editorial piece published by the Hamilton Spectator. On January 15, 2013, two Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents showed up on his door and questioned him about the piece READ MORE
RCMP and CSIS treat peaceful protest actions and questioning the Harper Government as ‘forms of attack’, label activists involved “national security threats”, documents reveal. By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 22, 2013: The Harper Government is intensifying its attacks on environmental and other activist movements in Canada, according to documents released under freedom of information laws, the Guardian READ MORE
Richard Hughes-Political Blogger
Much money has been made and a great deal of environmental damage has been done through the practice of ‘Fracking’ or Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing.
Canadians have had a heads up following horror stories in the US but never mind there is money to be made. The politicians of all stripes are as weak as water when it comes to regulating, reporting and permitting of these fracking operations.
BC and Alberta’s energy resources used to make the provinces hum, but today the difficulties are becoming harder to sweep under the carpet.
Check out this report from Fracking Canada and then question
. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Liberals and NDP Must Declare a ‘MORATORIUM’ On Fracking In BC!
Assorted content to end your week.- Rick Salutin offers an important take on the U.S. election by pointing out that the Occupy movement and its focus on inequality laid the groundwork for Barack Obama’s re-election:The aftermath to the bailouts was the… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
Chuck Strahl’s name finally popped up! Five months ago he was named as the new head of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the agency that’s supposed to hold CSIS to account. At the time I set up a Google news alert on his name and waited for the hits to roll in. Yesterday I was finally rewarded: courtesy of Peter MacKay, Strahl has been named as the new honorary lieutenant-colonel of The Royal Westminster Regiment. That’s all very nice but perhaps someone could ask him how that other gig is going. Things seem to be a little quiet at SIRC. The most recent item in their newsroom is over a year old. I’d be particularly interested to know how that inquiry into CSIS involvement in the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik is going. That would be the one that was announced three and a half years ago. Or was Paul Champ, Abdelrazik’s lawyer, correct when he said a year ago that the review had been abandoned?… . . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: Is Chair of SIRC an honorary position too?
Green Party leader Elizabeth May is spot on again! She’s demanding that CSIS should weigh in on the Canada-China treaty, due to be ratified by cabinet this week. The Harper Government wants Canadians to believe that the treaty will “address Canada’s trade imbalance with the Asian economic powerhouse.” The truth, as May argued on CTV’s Question Period earlier [...]
I wonder if the Harper government has really thought this one through.
A security certificate issued against Hassan Almrei was thrown out by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley in December of 2009. Almrei filed a civil suit against the government and asked for a summary judgement on the basis that Mosley’s ruling was sufficient to make his case. Lawyers for the federal government argued that Mosley’s ruling had nothing to do with any claim for damages and that the matter should be subject to a full trial. An Ontario Superior Court ruled with the feds and the matter is now
. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: Oh look. Security certificates are in the news again.
As I wrote about last night, former Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day testified before a Federal Court on Thursday to explain why, in 2008, he renewed five security certificates, including one against Mohamed Mahjoub which was the subject of the proceeding. Predictably, Day was asked about the possibility that some of the evidence against the men in question was the product of torture. His response was reported this way by the Globe and Mail:
Mr. Day said he considered whether evidence used to make the assessment might have come from torture. Records show the CSIS director of the
. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: Understatement
In February of 2008, then Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day renewed the security certificates on five men that CSIS deemed to be threats to national security. A Supreme Court decision in 2007 had forced the Harper government to revise the relevant legislation and reissue the certificates within a year. With the deadline approaching, it fell to Day to sign off on them.
Since then, two of the certificates have been quashed by the courts. A challenge against a third, issued against Mohamed Mahjoub, was the occasion this past week for Day to appear in Federal Court in a Toronto courtroom
. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: It seemed like a good idea at the time