Tag Archives: CSIS

CSIS collected info on peaceful protests of Indigenous groups, environmentalists: documents


The Canadian Press

CSIS welcomed energy industry info about alleged threats 

Canada’s spy service routinely welcomed reports from the energy industry about perceived threats, and kept such information in its files in case it might prove useful later, newly disclosed documents reveal.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is supposed to retain only information that is “strictly necessary” to do its job, and the spy agency is now facing questions about whether it collected and hung on to material about groups or people who posed no real threat.

Details of the CSIS practices are emerging in a case mounted by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in the Federal Court of Canada.

In a February 2014 complaint to the CSIS watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the association alleged the spy service overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to Enbridge’s now-abandoned Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

It also accused CSIS of sharing information about the opponents with the National Energy Board and petroleum industry companies, effectively deterring people from voicing their opinions and associating with environmental groups.

The review committee dismissed the civil liberties association’s complaint in 2017, prompting the association to ask the Federal Court to revisit the outcome.

In the process, more than 8,000 pages of once-secret material — including heavily redacted transcripts of closed-door hearings — have become public, providing a glimpse into the review committee’s deliberations.

During one hearing, a CSIS official whose identity is confidential told the committee that information volunteered by energy companies was put in a spy service database.

“It is not actionable. It just sits there,” the CSIS official said. “But should something happen, should violence erupt, then we will go back to this and be able to see that we had the information ? it is just information that was given to us, and we need to log it.

“Should something happen after and we hadn’t logged it, then we are at fault for not keeping the information.”

The review committee heard from several witnesses and examined hundreds of documents in weighing the civil liberties association’s complaint.

The watchdog concluded CSIS collected some information about peaceful anti-petroleum groups, but only incidentally in the process of investigating legitimate threats to projects such as oil pipelines.

Advocacy and environmental groups Leadnow, the Dogwood Initiative and the Council of Canadians are mentioned in the thousands of pages of CSIS operational reports scrutinized by the review committee

But the committee’s report said that CSIS’s activities did not stray into surveillance of organizations engaged in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent.

Demonstrators protest Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver, British Columbia June 17, 2014 Reuters

A CSIS witness testified the spy service “is not in the business of investigating environmentalists because they are advocating for an environmental cause, period.”

Still, the review committee urged CSIS to ensure it was keeping only “strictly necessary” information, as spelled out in the law governing the spy service.

The civil liberties association told the committee of a chilling effect for civil society groups from the spy service’s information-gathering as well as comments by then-natural resources minister Joe Oliver denouncing “environmental and other radical groups.”

One CSIS witness told the committee that Oliver’s statement did not flow from information provided by the spy agency. “As a service, we never found out where he was coming from, where he got this information or who had briefed him,” the unnamed CSIS official said. “So we’re not sure where he got it. But it wasn’t from us.”

The review committee found CSIS did not share information about the environmental groups in question with the National Energy Board or the petroleum industry.

The association wants the Federal Court to take a second look, given that CSIS created more than 500 operational reports relevant to the committee’s inquiry.

“The main impression one draws from the (committee) report is ‘nothing to see here, look away,’ when in fact there is a lot to see here,” said Paul Champ, a lawyer for the association.

Dozens of censored CSIS records say the reporting was further to “the Service’s efforts in assessing the threat environment and the potential for threat-related violence stemming from (redacted) protests/demonstrations.”

Some of the documents reveal that CSIS itself is questioning whether it is going too far, noting that the spy service is “pressing on the limitations of our mandate.”

The notion that information on some groups or individuals was gathered incidentally is “cold comfort to people whose names might end up in the databanks of Canada’s intelligence service simply because they expressed a political opinion on Facebook, signed a petition, or attended a protest,” Champ said.

One document refers to the Dogwood Initiative as a “non-profit, Canadian environmental organization that was established in 1999 ‘to help communities and First Nations gain more control of the land and resources around them so they can be managed in a way that does not rob future generations for short-term corporate gain.”’

The passages before and after the description are blacked out.

“This court case will take some time to play out,” Champ said. “Right now, we are focused on getting access to as much information as possible so we can properly make our main arguments about how these CSIS activities violate the law.”

[SOURCE]

CSIS gathered info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: Watchdog

Demonstrators protest Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver. In its February 2014 complaint to the CSIS watchdog, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association alleged the spy service had overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to the now-defunct project. (Reuters)

Demonstrators protest Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver. (Reuters)

Committee concluded fears of CSIS surveillance were unjustified

Canada’s spy service collected some information about peaceful anti-petroleum groups, but only incidentally in the process of investigating legitimate threats to projects such as oil pipelines, says a long-secret federal watchdog report.

The newly disclosed report from the Security Intelligence Review Committee acknowledges concerns about a “chilling effect,” stemming from a belief that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was spying on environmental organizations.

Advocacy and environmental groups Leadnow, the Dogwood Initiative and the Council of Canadians are mentioned in the thousands of pages of CSIS operational reports examined by the review committee.

But after analyzing evidence and testimony, the committee concluded the fears of CSIS surveillance were unjustified.

The heavily censored review committee report, completed last year and kept under wraps, is only now being made public because of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s challenge of the findings in the Federal Court of Canada.

In its February 2014 complaint to the CSIS watchdog, the association alleged the spy service had overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to Enbridge’s now-defunct Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

It also accused CSIS of sharing this information with the National Energy Board and petroleum industry companies, deterring people from expressing their opinions and associating with environmental groups.

The review committee’s dismissal of the complaint has been known since September 2017, but a confidentiality order by the committee prevented the civil liberties association from releasing the report. As the association fights to overturn the dismissal, redacted versions of the detailed findings and related documents are being added to the public court record.

Info collected fell within CSIS mandate: review

The association, which became concerned about CSIS activities through media reports, told the committee of a chilling effect for civil society groups from the spy service’s information-gathering as well as comments by then-national resources minister Joe Oliver denouncing “environmental and other radical groups.”

A CSIS witness testified the spy service “is not in the business of investigating environmentalists because they are advocating for an environmental cause, period.”

Still, another CSIS witness spoke of the need for “domain awareness” to identify “potential triggers and flashpoints” — in part to ensure the service is aware of what is happening should a threat arise, the report says.

Ultimately, the review committee concluded CSIS’s information collection fell within its mandate, and that the service did not investigate activities involving lawful advocacy, protest or dissent. The report indicates that any information on peaceful groups was gathered “in an ancillary manner, in the context of other lawful investigations.”

The report also says there was no “direct link” between CSIS and the chilling effect groups mentioned in testimony before the committee.

The civil liberties association considers some of the findings contradictory, pointing to the 441 CSIS operational reports deemed relevant to the committee’s inquiry, totalling over 2,200 pages.

For instance, one of the largely censored CSIS records, now disclosed through the court, says the reporting was further to “the Service’s efforts in assessing the threat environment and the potential for threat-related violence stemming from (redacted) protests/demonstrations.”

Another refers to the Dogwood Initiative as a “non-profit, Canadian environmental organization that was established in 1999 ‘to help communities and First Nations gain more control of the land and resources around them so they can be managed in a way that does not rob future generations for short-term corporate gain.”‘

The passages before and after the description are blacked out.

“It’s our view that these documents demonstrate that CSIS was keeping tabs on these groups, even if they weren’t formal targets,” said Paul Champ, a lawyer for the civil liberties association.

“But we maintain it’s unlawful to keep information on these groups in CSIS databanks when they are only guilty of exercising their democratic rights.”

The committee report says CSIS should review its holdings to ensure it is keeping only information that is strictly necessary, as spelled out in the law governing the spy service.

The report cites “clear evidence” CSIS took part in meetings with Natural Resources Canada and the private sector, including the petroleum industry, at the spy service’s headquarters, but says these briefings involved “national security matters.”

The committee also concludes CSIS did not share information concerning the environmental groups in question with the National Energy Board or non-governmental members of the petroleum business.

Even so, the perception of CSIS discussing security issues with the oil industry can “give rise to legitimate concern,” the committee report adds. “This needs to be addressed.”

The committee urges CSIS to widen the circle of its public security discussions to include environmental and other civil society groups.

By Jim Bronskill · The Canadian Press 

[SOURCE]

Spy Agency says federal Trans Mountain pipeline purchase seen as ‘Betrayal’ by many opponents

An Indigenous man raises his drum above his head as he and others are silhouetted while singing during a protest against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in Vancouver on Tuesday May 29, 2018. (CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada’s spy agency says many members of the environmental and Indigenous communities see the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline as a betrayal, and suggests that could intensify opposition to expanding the project.

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessment highlights a renewed sense of indignation among protesters and clearly indicates the spy service’s ongoing interest in anti-petroleum activism.

The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain a heavily censored copy of the June CSIS brief, originally classified top secret.

Civil liberties and environmental activists questioned the rationale for CSIS’s interest, given that opposition to the pipeline project has been peaceful.

CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti stressed the spy service is committed to following the governing legislation that forbids it to probe lawful protest and dissent.

“While we cannot publicly disclose our investigative interests, we can say that it is important for the service to pose important analytical questions on these types of issues, such as the question of whether developments such as the purchase of a pipeline could give rise to a national-security threat to Canada’s critical infrastructure.”

Earlier this year, Kinder Morgan dropped plans to twin an existing pipeline that carries about 300,000 barrels of bitumen daily from Alberta to British Columbia. The federal government announced in late May it would buy the pipeline and related components for $4.5 billion.

The government intends to finance and manage construction of the second pipeline — which would increase the overall flow of bitumen to 890,000 barrels a day — and ultimately try to find a buyer.

The CSIS brief characterizes resistance to the pipeline project as a “developing intelligence issue.”

“Indigenous and non-Indigenous opponents of the project continue to highlight the increasing threats to the planet as a result of climate change and the incompatibility of new pipeline and oil sands projects with Canada’s 2015 commitment under the Paris Climate Accord,” the brief says. “At the same time, many within the broader Indigenous community view the federal government’s purchase and possible financing, construction and operation of an expanded bitumen pipeline as wholly incompatible with its attempts at Crown-Indigenous reconciliation.”

The pipeline acquisition and commitment to complete the project is therefore “viewed as a betrayal” by many within both the environmental and Indigenous communities, CSIS says.

“Indigenous opposition at the grassroots level remains strong. In response to the federal purchase, numerous Indigenous and environmental organizations have restated their commitment to prevent construction.”

The brief singles out the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, noting it has signatories from over 50 North American First Nations in its bid to halt the project. It also features a May quote from Canadian environmental organization Stand.earth that the decision “will haunt the Trudeau government.”

The intelligence brief was completed a little more than two months before the Federal Court of Appeal quashed government approval of the pipeline project due to inadequate consultation with Indigenous groups and failure to properly assess the effect of increased tanker traffic in the waters off British Columbia.

In the wake of the court ruling, the federal government ordered the National Energy Board to reassess the tanker issue and asked a former Supreme Court justice to oversee fresh consultations with Indigenous communities.

The CSIS brief notes there had been “no acts of serious violence” stemming from peaceful demonstrations and blockades at Trans Mountain facilities in British Columbia that resulted in the arrest of more than 200 people, or at smaller protests across the country.

However, the document includes a section titled “Violent Confrontations and Resource Development” that mentions past conflicts over shale-gas development in New Brunswick and a high-profile pipeline in North Dakota.

It is unclear, because of the redactions to the document, exactly what CSIS was looking at, said Josh Paterson, executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which has expressed strong concern about the spy service’s monitoring of activists.

In the information that has been released, there is no suggestion of a threat to national security or critical infrastructure, of clandestine activities or of violence in relation to the Trans Mountain project, Paterson said.

“While some opponents of the pipeline were arrested during protest for breaching a court order, that was a matter for police and the courts, and was done out in the open — it should not be a matter for our spy agency.”

Given past interest on the part of security and police officials, the CSIS brief is not surprising, said Tegan Hansen, a spokeswoman for Protect the Inlet, an Indigenous-led effort against the pipeline and tanker project.

But she is curious as to why the spy service document makes reference to sabotage and violent physical confrontations.

“I’m not sure why they’re trying to draw that connection with violence,” Hansen said. “I’d be interested to know. But it’s certainly not our intention to ever pursue violence.”

The Canadian Press, Nov 6. 2018

[SOURCE]

RCMP Intelligence Centre Compiled List Of 89 Indigenous Rights Activists Considered “Threats”

(A line of Mi’kmaq demonstrators and their supporters confront a line of RCMP officers on Hwy 11 on Nov 18, 2013, near Elsipogtog First Nation. APTN/File)

(A line of Mi’kmaq demonstrators and their supporters confront a line of RCMP officers on Hwy 11 on Nov 18, 2013, near Elsipogtog First Nation. APTN/File)

Rattled by Idle No More and Mi’kmaq-led anti-shale gas demonstrations, the RCMP compiled a list of 89 individuals considered “threats” as part of an operation aimed at improving the federal police force’s intelligence capacity when facing Indigenous rights demonstrations, according to an internal intelligence report.

The operation, dubbed Project SITKA, was launched in early 2014 to identify key individuals “willing and capable of utilizing unlawful tactics” during Indigenous rights demonstrations, according to the RCMP report, obtained under the Access to Information Act by two researchers working on a book about state surveillance of Indigenous peoples. The intelligence report was to provide a “snapshot of individual threats associated to Aboriginal public order events” for that year.

The report, completed in 2015 by the Mounties’ National Intelligence Coordination Centre, recommended the RCMP remove Indigenous rights activism from the terrorism-extremism umbrella and instead create a new category for intelligence gathering on the issue. The report also recommended the RCMP maintain updated profiles on identified Indigenous rights activists in police databases.

“I think that this is coming out of the fallout in 2013 with the Idle No More uprising and what happened at the end of the year with Elsipogtog,” said Andy Crosby, the Ottawa-based researcher who obtained the document along with Jeffrey Monaghan, an assistant criminology professor at Carleton University. “This really had an impact on the psyche of the settler state.”

The researchers obtained the RCMP report in an Access to Information request package from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

The RCMP did not provide comment on the report as of this article’s posting.

CSIS did not respond to a request for comment.

RCMP template for Indigenous rights demonstrator profiles

_rcmpthreats

Download (PDF, 96KB)

The RCMP intelligence report concluded there was no central organizing individual or group directing Indigenous demonstrations, but found instead a “loose network of protestors with affiliated organizations” that often reacted to local grassroots grievances.

The report noted there were “several influential individuals within the network, a core group that demonstrated a level of stability in their networks, attendance and organization of events.”

The intelligence officers who compiled the report found no “intentional criminal nexus” or “indication of organized crime exploiting the loose network associated to Aboriginal protests to pursue a criminal agenda.”

The RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre was designated to lead Project SITKA in conjunction with Community and Aboriginal Policing, according to the report which was finalized in March 2015.

SITKA was launched “as part of the response to reducing the threat, incidence and prevalence of serious criminality associated to Aboriginal public order, events as well as to protect and facilitate the right to lawful advocacy, protest and dissent,” said the report.

The beginning of 2013 saw the tail-end of the Idle No More movement’s most spectacular demonstrations and ended with a major flare-up near the Mi’kmaq First Nation of Elsipogtog in New Brunswick over shale gas exploration in the region. The anti-shale gas demonstrations culminated in a heavily armed RCMP raid on Oct. 17, 2013, of a protest camp near Rexton, NB. The demonstrations, which lasted several months, saw dozens of arrests and a highway blocked with burning tires.

The main motive behind the anti-shale gas demonstrations—fears hydraulic fracturing threatened the region’s water—is essentially the same as those of the current ongoing demonstrations in North Dakota. There, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fears an oil pipeline threatens its water supply because it will run beneath the Missouri River.

Idle No More march on Dec. 21, 2012 in Ottawa.

Idle No More march on Dec. 21, 2012 in Ottawa.

In January 2014 the RCMP designated Indigenous rights demonstrations as a National Tactical Intelligence Priority.

Using internal files from its divisions across the country, information from other law enforcement agencies and publicly available data, the National Intelligence Coordination Centre created a list of 313 individuals who posed a potential “criminal threat to Aboriginal public order events.” The list was reduced to 89 individuals, both non-Indigenous and Indigenous, who met the RCMP’s criteria. The criteria was based on background, motivation and rhetoric “to have committed or commit criminal activities” in connection with Indigenous rights demonstrations.

It’s apparent the events of Elsipogtog weighed on the minds of the intelligence officers compiling the report. Thirty-five of the 89 individuals on the list were from New Brunswick. British Columbia was next with 16 people on the list, followed by Ontario with 15, Manitoba with 11, Nova Scotia with 10, one from Saskatchewan and one from Prince Edward Island.

The report also linked the majority of the individuals on the list with the Unist’ot’en camp in British Columbia, which is anchored by the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. The camp has dug in over the past six years in an area along the routes of two proposed natural gas pipelines and a proposed oil pipeline. The camp sits about 66 km south of Houston, B.C., and about 1,000 km north of Vancouver.

The other groups linked by the RCMP to the 89 include the Defenders of the Land, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, Idle No More, No One is Illegal, the Manitoba Warriors gang and the Council of Canadians, among others.

The RCMP intelligence officers spent six months, from April to September 2014, creating “protestor profiles” for each of the individuals on the final list. The profiles included each individual’s name, photograph, alias, date of birth, age, height, weight, phone number, email address, affiliations, vehicles, history of demonstrations, ability to move across the country and “category of protestor.”

The RCMP has three categories for demonstrators: passive, meaning law abiding; disruptive, meaning willing to employ non-violent tactics; and volatile, meaning willing to provoke police reaction.

The profiles were filed into two databases—the Automated Intelligence Information System and the Police Reporting and Occurrence System—accessible to front-line RCMP police officers, analysts and other law enforcement agencies.

The intelligence report also analyzed the last five years of protest history for those on the list and found they were involved in 69 events, including demonstrations against the G8 and G20 and oil pipelines along with involvement in campaigns calling for a national inquiry into the disproportionate number of murdered and missing Indigenous women.

The intelligence report recommended the RCMP stop employing the language of terrorism and extremism to describe tactics used in Indigenous rights demonstrations that are “specifically criminal in nature.” The report recommended the RCMP develop a specific category for these types of demonstrations and targeted individuals to ensure “that peaceful and law-abiding individuals engaged in acts of legitimate dissent will not be investigated or analyzed for the purpose of identifying serious criminality.”

The report also recommended law enforcement brush up on the systemic issues that often trigger Indigenous rights demonstrations.

“Currently assumptions can be made for the causal root of protests; however, without a clear holistic analysis of root causes within a community, this will remain unknown,” said the report. “(It) is recommended that a holistic community analysis methodology be implemented in Aboriginal communities where the RCMP has a policing presence. This community analysis will not only provide information on where the next potential protest would occur….It also enables communities to actively engage, communicate and cooperate with police on a spectrum of topics and issues that have the potential to lead to grievances or miscommunication.”

Crosby and Monaghan’s book will be published by Fernwood Publishing.

By Jorge Barrera, APTN National News

[SOURCE]

Hearing Into Allegations That CSIS Spied On Pipeline Opponents Set To Begin

People gather during a demonstration against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver, B.C., on Nov. 16, 2013. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

People gather during a demonstration against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver, B.C., on Nov. 16, 2013. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Globe and Mail

A hearing into allegations the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spied on people opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline project will begin Wednesday in downtown Vancouver – and two of the people who will testify say the allegations have had a chilling effect on environmental advocates.

The BC Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which oversees CSIS, in February of last year. The civil liberties association alleged that CSIS spied on community groups and First Nations opposed to the pipeline, and that CSIS then shared at least some of that information with the National Energy Board and the oil industry.

Josh Paterson, the civil liberties association’s executive director, in an interview Tuesday said it is illegal for CSIS to gather intelligence on law-abiding groups. He said documents released through Freedom of Information indicate CSIS was spying on people who were acting in an entirely peaceful manner – such as those who met in a church basement to paint signs and even a First Nations basketball tournament.

“What we’re going to see through the evidence in the next few days is that the effect of finding out that you’re being spied on, and that others are being spied on, is to turn people off from being engaged,” he said. “There are literally people who decided not to get involved, not to volunteer, not to come out to a meeting because they were concerned about being watched. That is a huge problem. We think it’s a violation of people’s freedom.”

The hearing is expected to run for three days and is not open to the public. Mr. Paterson will testify, as will Caitlyn Vernon, Sierra Club BC’s campaigns director.

Sierra Club BC was one of the organizations alleged in media reports to have been spied on during meetings and other events. Dogwood Initiative and ForestEthics Advocacy were among the others.

Ms. Vernon, in an interview, asked how speaking out for the environment could brand a person an enemy of the state.

She said the spying allegations were a serious concern and Sierra Club BC secured its online server as best it could. Ms. Vernon said fear they were being monitored also caused staff, at times, to lose their focus.

“The question being asked organizationally changed from ‘What’s the best thing for the environment?’ to ‘Will this make us vulnerable in the eyes of the federal government?’” she said.

Ms. Vernon said staff would at times grow paranoid, such as when a new volunteer came through.

She, like Mr. Paterson, said the allegations turned some people off from participating altogether.

“Some people, not everybody, are perhaps more reluctant to sign a petition or to go to a rally or to get involved in something, for fear of being put on some unknown list and being monitored,” she said. “There’s definitely a lot of talk out there. That seems like it’s potentially making it harder for us to do our work of raising awareness of these important environmental issues.”

The Security Intelligence Review Committee did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

CSIS also did not respond. When the complaint was first filed, a CSIS spokesperson said the agency does not comment on specific complaints. However, the spokesperson added that “CSIS investigates – and advises government on – threats to national security, and that does not include peaceful protest and dissent.”

The BC Civil Liberties Association has also filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP and alleged it, too, was involved in spying on environmental advocates.

Source: http://fw.to/YwyHzXC

Anonymous Leaks Documents, Says Stephen Harper Tried To Spy On Barack Obama

Leaked documents from the hacker group Anonymous appeared to reveal the breadth and scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) surveillance network. In this photo, a vehicle passes a sign outside the CSIS headquarters in Ottawa November 5, 2014. Reuters/Chris Wattie

Leaked documents from the hacker group Anonymous appeared to reveal the breadth and scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) surveillance network. In this photo, a vehicle passes a sign outside the CSIS headquarters in Ottawa November 5, 2014. Reuters/Chris Wattie

IBT Media

Hackers affiliated with the Anonymous group leaked confidential Canadian intelligence documents Tuesday, revealing the country’s spying activities abroad. The documents exposed the widespread reach of the surveillance network operated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Officially, CSIS only operates three foreign stations — in Washington DC, London and Paris — but the leaked document marked as “secret,” purportedly from the country’s Treasury Board, lists a total of 25 foreign stations, “many of which are located in developing countries and/or unstable environments.”

The stations handle about 22,500 messages a year, though that does not include “the high volume of extremely sensitive traffic from the Washington station,” the February 2014 document stated.

The classified document also includes a plan to expand CSIS’ intelligence network at a cost of approximately 3 million Canadian dollars ($2.3 million). The document criticizes the “inefficient and labor intensive data-processing and analysis systems [used] to process and report intelligence information obtained at it foreign stations. … These outdated processes result in delays that impact the Service’s operational effectiveness and jeopardizes the security of its personnel.”

The hacker group also posted a video alleging that the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE) attempted to spy on U.S. President Barack Obama under the orders of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and, when caught, endangered the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta in Canada through Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma. There was no proof posted for this claim.

The documents and the video were put up after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police failed to comply with a previous deadline issued by the group, calling for the arrest of one of its members purportedly involved in the shooting last week of a British Columbia man who was allegedly an Anonymous affiliate.

In the video, an Anonymous member said that the latest leaks were the first of many to come in the near future.

https://vimeo.com/134671981

“There is info … that’s explosive, we think, but we are not providing source documentation on that now or ever. If we did, someone would be in a police party van within 15 minutes,” the unnamed member says in the video.

“Canadian security forces and their Five Eyes partners in New Zealand, the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. have been extremely pro-active in developing and purchasing offensive hacking capabilities,” he adds.

“Fortunately for us, Canada has been far more lax in defending its own systems.”

http://www.ibtimes.com/anonymous-leaks-canadian-spy-documents-says-stephen-harper-tried-spy-barack-obama-2027022

Canada’s Police-State Bill Passes Final Parliamentary Hurdle

the Senate is seen in this file photo from Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

the Senate is seen in this file photo from Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones

With yesterday’s ratification of Bill C-51 by the Senate, the Conservative government’s police-state legislation requires only royal assent in the form of the Governor-General’s signature to become law.

Framed by Stephen Harper and his Conservative government as an anti-terrorist measure, Bill C-51 dramatically expands the powers of the national security apparatus to spy on and suppress opposition to the ruling elite’s agenda of austerity and imperialist aggression.

Bill C-51 will empower Canada’s Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) to break the law and violate the Canadian constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms in “disrupting” what it deems to be threats to Canada’s economic and national security, territorial integrity or constitutional order.

Under this “disruption power,” CSIS could break into properties, seize documents and other materials, tamper with bank accounts, press employers to fire “national security” suspects, forcibly detain them, or subject them to psychological torture. The only “dirty tricks” CSIS is expressly banned from mounting are those that would cause someone bodily harm, kill them, or impugn their “sexual integrity.”

In response to a public outcry, the government passed a minor amendment to this part of the law during parliamentary hearings, stipulating that all protests, not just “lawful” protests, would be exempt from CSIS disruption. This is no more than a fig leaf. CSIS can and will justify its use of “dirty tricks” against strikes in defiance of anti-worker laws and other mass social protests by claiming they are threatening economic or national security. Already, CSIS and the RCMP carry out blanket surveillance of protest movements on the grounds that some of their participants might engage in vandalism or otherwise break the law.

The requirement that CSIS obtain the permission of a judge, in a secret court hearing, before breaking the law represents no significant impediment to its targeting government opponents en masse. Those targeted will have no knowledge of the proceedings, let alone the opportunity to challenge CSIS’s designation of them as threats to Canada’s security. Moreover, the proceedings will remain secret, giving rise to a secret jurisprudence, where the security agencies working in concert with a handful of carefully vetted judges will decide which groups and individuals Canada’s premier spy agency can use criminal means to “disrupt.”

Bill C-51 also guts Canadians’ privacy rights. It eliminates virtually any restrictions on the sharing of information between government agencies and departments in “national security” investigations.

The legislation also creates a “speech crime” of promoting terrorism “in general,” not tied to the incitement of any specific terrorist act. Persons will be liable to a five-year prison term for anything they say or write, in public or private, that the state deems promotes terrorism. Combined with new powers permitting the courts to remove websites and ban other publications judged to contain terrorist “propaganda,” this will be used to target critics of government policy, such as Canada’s staunch support for Israel.

Under Bill C-51, the state is arrogating new powers to restrict the movements and activities of alleged terrorist suspects—persons who have not been charged, let alone convicted of any crime.

It is also significantly expanding its powers of preventive detention. Instead of the upper limit of 72 hours, police will now be able detain terrorism suspects for seven days and on a lower evidentiary basis.

In keeping with the bill’s antidemocratic character, the Conservative government steamrolled it through parliament. Debate was kept to a minimum at all stages, with many prominent critics of the bill denied the right to appear before the House of Commons committee tasked with studying it. Even the Conservative government-appointed Privacy Commissioner was excluded.

At the same time, the government stepped up its campaign of lies and disinformation, portraying Canada as under terrorist siege. Harper seized on the twin attacks by disoriented individuals last October to portray Canada as a country under threat from Islamic extremists so as to justify both the strengthening of the national security apparatus and the expansion of Canada’s role in the new US-led war in the Middle East. It was thus no coincidence that as Bill C-51 was being rushed through the House of Commons, the government pushed through a parliamentary motion extending the Canadian military intervention till April 2016 and expanded it to include Syria.

If the Conservatives have proceeded so ruthlessly, it is because the assault on democratic rights has the support of ruling circles around the globe and domestically.

In recent months, Britain and France have passed or announced new legislation that in the name of combating terrorism and extremism gives vast new powers to their national security apparatuses. US President Barack Obama, who presides over far and away the world’s largest spy network and who has baldly asserted the right to order the summary execution of US citizens considered terrorists, explicitly called for Washington’s allies to strengthen their coercive powers at an “anti-terrorism” conference in February.

This is only the latest stage in a systematic drive, initiated over a decade ago under George W. Bush, to gut basic democratic rights and erect the scaffolding of a police state under conditions of deepening social inequality and growing popular alienation in every major capitalist country.

Canada’s ruling elite is also fully on board with the project of expanding the already existing authoritarian state structures. The opposition Liberals joined with the government in voting Bill C-51 into law. While they claimed to oppose certain aspects of the bill, Justin Trudeau and his Liberals said its passage was necessary to protect Canadians from terrorism.

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s “newspaper of record,” emerged as a prominent opponent of the bill. But its criticisms said nothing about the comprehensive spying network already in place in Canada, nor the fact that the Globe has stood firmly behind Harper over the past nine years, including backing his antidemocratic constitutional coup in 2008 and his campaign for a parliamentary majority in 2011. The Harper government has used this majority not only to attack democratic rights and expand Canada’s participation in imperialist wars, but also to effectively outlaw strikes in the federal-regulated sector, slash unemployment insurance, raise the retirement age, and cut tens of billions in social spending.

The Globe was subsequently joined in its opposition to Bill C-51 by four former Prime Ministers and various retried Supreme Court Justices and Solicitors-General. This opposition, as exemplified by the focus on the Conservatives’ refusal to provide for greater “oversight” of the national-security apparatus—was motivated by the fear that under conditions of mounting class tensions and social anger, such an outright break with traditional bourgeois-democratic norms would discredit parliament and the other key institutions of bourgeois rule.

The official opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) delayed taking a clear stance on Bill C-51 for almost a month. When it became clear that a section of the ruling elite felt that Harper was going too far, the NDP belatedly declared that it would oppose the bill in parliament. However, its opposition was purely on tactical grounds, as shown by the fact that it focused the majority of its attacks on the lack of “oversight,” whether by a vetted parliamentary committee or some third-party body of trusted ruling-class representatives, like the existing Security and Intelligence Review Committee.

The NDP proposed a series of amendments to the bill in parliament. But it made no appeal to the growing popular opposition, which has found limited expression in a series of demonstrations nationwide. Nor did the NDP use the debate over Bill C-51 to draw attention to the systematic spying on Canadians’ electronic communications being carried out by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

With public hostility to the Harper government’s sweeping attack on democratic rights mounting and the Liberals increasingly under fire for their support for Bill C-51, the NDP has cynically shifted its position in the expectation it will bring electoral dividends. Initially, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said an NDP government would not repeal Bill C-51, only amend it. But last month he changed his tune and vowed the NDP would scrap Bill C-51.

Such rhetoric is being employed even as the NDP persists in making overtures to the Liberals to form a coalition government after October’s federal election. Not only did the Liberals vote for Bill C-51, they implemented Canada’s first post-9/11 anti-terrorist legislation and subsequently authorized the CSE to collect and sift through the metadata of Canadians’ electronic communications.

The lesson to be drawn from the passage of Bill C-51 is that the defence of basic democratic rights falls to the working class. It is the only social force which has no interest in the maintenance of the vast national security apparatus built up to spy on the entire population, or the use of authoritarian state powers to suppress opposition to militarism and war. Only through the emergence of a mass working-class political party committed to a socialist and internationalist program can the unending destruction of social and democratic rights by the ruling elite be halted.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/06/10/cana-j10.html

CSIS Warns Of ‘Extremist’ Opposition To Oil And Gas Sector

A burned police vehicle blocks a road in Rexton, N.B., as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick in October 2013.

A burned police vehicle blocks a road in Rexton, N.B., as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick in October 2013.

By: Alex Boutilier | Toronto Star, Published on May 14 2015

OTTAWA—Canada’s spies are warning the federal government about an “extremist” threat to natural resource development, internal documents show.

“Extremists” have united both in person and online in their opposition to Canadian natural resource projects, according to a September 2014 “threat overview” prepared by CSIS for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney.

The heavily censored document does not outline specific threats or projects, nor does it single out particular groups. But it lists the threat between sections on terrorist travellers and a growing anti-Muslim movement advocating violence in Canada.

The CSIS report, obtained under Access to Information law, mirrors strong language in a January 2014 report from the RCMP warning of an “anti-Canadian petroleum movement.” The report, obtained by Greenpeace, said that movement is well financed and organized, and includes “peaceful activists, militants, and violent extremists.”

The RCMP specifically referred to 2013 shale gas protests in New Brunswick, where protesters from the Elsipogtog First Nation clashed with police.

Canada’s spies and police have monitored all manner of protests — including environmental activism — even if those demonstrations remained peaceful.

The Conservative government has defended the practice of monitoring that dissent, saying even peaceful protests can turn ugly and public safety must be maintained in the event of violence.

Activists have expressed concerns that expanded powers for CSIS, contained within the government’s anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51, will mean increased monitoring and “disruption” of environmental and First Nations protests.

Craig Forcese, who specializes in national security law and has been a vocal critic of Bill C-51, says violent protests may fall under CSIS’s purview. The question for Forcese, however, is how many people fall under CSIS’s definition of extremist.

“It’s not improper, it seems to me, to be concerned about someone who might be preparing a pipe bomb, or might be involved in the sabotage of a pipeline,” Forcese said in an interview Thursday.

“The question is how broad the brush stroke is, and that’s really difficult to answer.”

The Star requested an interview with Blaney’s office, and included specific questions about how the government defines “extremist” activity and what natural resource projects have been threatened by extremists.

“The safety and security of Canadians is of the utmost importance to our government, and we take any threat to the security of Canadians and their livelihood seriously,” said Blaney’s spokesperson, Jeremy Laurin, in a written statement.

“Our police officers have a mandate and responsibility to investigate threats as they arise.

“Our government respects and protects the right of Canadians to participate in lawful protest activities.‎”

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie said there are valid reasons to monitor people suspected of plotting attacks or violence. But Leslie worries that the “extremist” label could be applied too broadly.

“Because of the way (the government is) so carelessly using language, or purposefully using language to be very broad and apply to everyone, that’s where the danger lays,” Leslie said Wednesday.

“Either they’re tossing around words like ‘extremist’ willy-nilly, which is pretty terrible, or they’re doing it intentionally, which is just as terrible. People are going to get scooped up in this who are not threats to national security.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/05/14/csis-warns-of-extremist-opposition-to-oil-and-gas-sector.html

House Of Commons To Hold Final Vote On Anti-Terror Bill Tuesday

Canada's spy agency is getting new powers. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada’s spy agency is getting new powers. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

By Ian MacLeod | Ottawa Citizen

The federal government’s controversial anti-terror legislation is set to pass in the House of Commons Tuesday on a whirlwind journey into the law books by the time Parliament recesses in June.

Since Bill C-51 was tabled Jan. 30, it has been fought over like few other government bills.

The Opposition NDP, supported by the Green Party, have attacked it at every opportunity, proposing dozen of unsuccessful amendments. The Liberals have vowed to vote for the bill, despite largely failing to win any significant amendments as hoped.

The Commons’ debate and voting on four mostly minor amendments to the bill were to conclude Monday. A final vote is to be held Tuesday.

The proposed set of laws would dramatically change the mandate and powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from its current intelligence-collection-only role to one of actively reducing and disrupting threats to national security whether in Canada or globally.

The legislation criminalizes the promotion of terrorism, makes it easier for police to arrest and detain individuals without charge as suspected as national security threats, and much more. It also would allow more than 100 federal departments, agencies and other entities to share information about Canadians with 17 departments and agencies that have national security responsibilities. The information would only have to be “relevant” to a suspected national security threat. The 17 agencies also could share and collate information among themselves.

The government clearly wants to project an image of being capable and serious about protecting national security against the evolving scourge of terrorism and ever-sophisticated cyber attacks.

The Tories are rushing to enact it before Parliament’s scheduled June 23 summer recess. A Senate committee is now fast-tracking the legislation through the upper house.

Police, security agencies, prosecutors, Conservative MPs and several terrorism and security experts have strongly endorsed its sweeping reform of Canada’s national security laws, the biggest such overhaul since its progenitor, the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001, was rushed into law after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

The bill’s supporters, however, have been outnumbered by its critics. They include former prime ministers, former Supreme Court justices, business leaders and the Canadian Bar Association, civil liberty and privacy advocates, national security law scholars, aboriginals, environmentalists and many others. Their criticism has been backed by a series of cross-Canada demonstrations.

Critics accuse the government of launching an unprecedented attack Canadians’ personal freedoms and the nation’s legal traditions.

imacleod@ottawacitizen.com

Twitter.com/macleod_ian

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/house-of-commons-to-hold-final-vote-on-anti-terror-bill-tuesday

Why Bill C-51 Is A Threat To Aboriginal Rights

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By Matthew Coon Come | The Globe and Mail

In January, the federal government tabled Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. The bill has generated widespread uncertainty and concern. It fails to safeguard the dignity, human rights and security of indigenous peoples and individuals. It is inconsistent with good governance.

The bill would allow federal judges to grant Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, the right to violate any law of Canada, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Such permission would be granted in a secret hearing with no appeal. Only the government side would be represented.

The bill contemplates the global sharing of information obtained by CSIS, which may or may not be accurate. International human rights law is not considered. This directly contradicts Canada’s international commitments. Last December, the UN General Assembly affirmed by consensus that states must ensure that “any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with all their obligations under international law … in particular … human rights”.

Disputes relating to indigenous peoples should not be criminalized, especially through anti-terrorism legislation. Indigenous peoples are human rights defenders and our issues often include environmental, natural resource development and other essential concerns. For example, in Quebec, the James Bay Crees continue to oppose uranium mining, but such democratic protest is fully accepted by the provincial government. We are not being criminalized or spied upon. Bill C-51 could change this.

Important lessons on “security” can be learned from Canada’s history. The security and human rights of indigenous peoples have been, and continue to be, severely impacted by non-indigenous governments and other third parties. A non-discriminatory approach would require that the “security of Canada” be inclusive of all peoples, including indigenous peoples.

Security is a human right. This right of indigenous peoples includes: environmental security; food security; economic security; social security; cultural security; human security; and territorial security. The 2003 Declaration on Security in the Americas affirms: “the traditional concept and approach must be expanded to encompass new and non-traditional threats, which include political, economic, social, health, and environmental aspects.”

Environmental, cultural and other dimensions of security are reflected in the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. The Court emphasized the fiduciary duty of the Crown and added: “… incursions on Aboriginal title cannot be justified if they would substantially deprive future generations of the benefit of the land.” This has far-reaching implications for the security of indigenous peoples, particularly in the contexts of resource development and climate change.

In the past nine months, the federal government has not publicly acknowledged the indigenous victory in Tsilhqot’in Nation. Bill C-51 fails to consider “security” from the perspectives and inherent human rights of indigenous peoples. The rights, security and well-being of present and future generations of indigenous peoples must be ensured.

Since its election in 2006, the federal government has refused to acknowledge within Canada that indigenous peoples’ collective rights are human rights. In November, 2010, Canada endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The federal government concluded: “We are now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the Declaration in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework.”

The Declaration is a consensus, universal international instrument. No country in the world formally objects to it. The Declaration applies to all indigenous peoples globally. It promotes harmonious and co-operative relations between states and Indigenous peoples. It affirms our right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and our right to our lands, territories and resources.

At the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, an Outcome Document was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly. The centerpiece of the document is the Declaration. However, Canada indicated that it could not support the commitment by states to “uphold the principles of the Declaration”.

Such a position has no credibility. It fails to uphold the honour of the Crown and constitutes bad faith. The government of Canada has a legal obligation to uphold indigenous peoples’ human rights, including those affirmed in the Declaration. Bill C-51 undermines this duty and threatens our security and well-being.

Matthew Coon Come is the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Chair of the Cree Nation Government.

Matthew Coon Come

                          Matthew Coon Come