Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Fast forward to 2014 ..... Is the Harper government spying on you?

Good Day Readers:

When governments, such as the Conservatives, become increasingly unpopular they are more and more paranoid desperate to cling to power. Their enemies are everywhere a communist pinko under every bed a Mountie behind every mail box. Look at Richard Nixon. They are also prone to doing stupid such as establishing enemy lists.

Clare L. Pieuk
Cabinet shuffle 2013: New ministers given "enemy lists"

Ministers in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's newly shuffled cabinet are being armed with "enemy" lists of people and bureaucratic interests to avoid, according to a PMO email obtained by The Star.

By Susan Delacourt/Parliament Hill
Bruce Champion-Smith/Ottawa Bureau
Monday, July 15, 2013 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the rest of his cabinet pose for a group photo after a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA—Ministers in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s newly shuffled cabinet are being armed with “enemy” lists of people and bureaucratic interests to avoid, according to a PMO email obtained by The Star.

The July 4 email, from Erica Furtado in the PMO’s Issues-Management Department, directs government staffers on what to include in the transition booklets that are given to new ministers.

On the “Transition Binder Check List” are 10 items, such as: “What to expect soon” and “Who to appoint,” as well as “Who to engage or avoid: friend and enemy stakeholders” and “What to avoid: pet bureaucratic projects.”

Item No. 6 on the list is “Who to avoid: bureaucrats that can’t take no (or yes) for an answer,” but Furtado said in a later email that day — also obtained by The Star — that this list was “no longer required.”

The specific mention of bureaucrats and bureaucratic projects to avoid appears to confirm the ongoing tension between Harper’s government and the public service in Ottawa, which will now be in the midst of adjusting to a new, shuffled deck of ministers after the large-scale reset of the cabinet on Monday.

Former staff members in Harper’s government, reached on Monday about the email, said it was unusual, if not provocative, for Harper’s office to put such instructions in writing.

In an email sent to undisclosed recipients, Furtado details the expectations for what should be in the transition binders, the thick documents that help incoming ministers get up to speed on the issues in their new portfolio.

According to that list, the transition books will give ministers advice on what to say in question period, the “hot issues, legal actions and complaints” to expect in their departments plus an outline of “long-term issues forecast.”

Furtado is the Executive Assistant of Issues Management in the Prime Minister’s Office, the branch that oversees the handling of sensitive issues. Copied on the email was Nick Koolsbergen, Issue Manager in the same office.

Furtado did not respond to requests for comment about her email. However, Carl Vallée, a Press Secretary to Harper, did not deny the email’s authenticity.

“While we don’t comment on internal communications, we are collaborating with our ministers, especially new ministers, to ensure they are fully briefed so they can continue their work on behalf of Canadian taxpayers,” he said.

And then there was this ..... 'incidentally?' Sounds an awful lot like the military's use of the term "collateral damage" when a bomb misses its target! Then it's ..... oops Canadians sorry about that. 
Communications Security Establishment of Canada admits it 'incidentally' spies on Canadians

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Canada's surveillance agency has admitted that it "incidentally" spies on the communications of citizens.
The Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) makes the admission in a new section on its website titled "Inside CSE." Under the heading "Foreign signals intelligence" the agency states that "In the course of targeting foreign entities outside Canada in an interconnected and highly networked world, it is possible that we may incidentally intercept Canadian communications or information."

The statement seems to confirm a Globe and Mail report from last year that in 2011 then-defence minister Peter MacKay gave the green light to a program to secretly monitor global telephone and internet data, including information from Canadians.

The agency is not supposed to monitor the activity of Canadian citizens, but states on its website that "The National Defence Act acknowledges that [surveillance of Canadians] may happen and provides for the Minister of National Defence to authorize this interception in specific circumstances. If a private communication is incidentally intercepted (e.g. a foreign individual we are targeting overseas is communicating with someone in Canada), CSE takes steps to protect the privacy of that information."

The new section of the website also seeks to clarify CSEC's relationship with other security agencies at home and abroad.

"In our foreign intelligence work, it is against the law for CSE to target Canadians anywhere, or anyone in Canada. We also can’t ask our allies to do anything on our behalf that is not legal for us to do," the website states. "While CSE cannot and does not target Canadians or persons in Canada in its foreign signals intelligence work, CSE’s capabilities may, under the Assistance Mandate, be employed by national security or law enforcement agencies in a variety of circumstances — including intercept operations against a Canadian or individuals in Canada. In those cases, CSE is acting in an assistance role, is operating under the requesting agency’s legal authority (such as a warrant) and is subject to the provisions of their mandate and policies."

CSEC's interactions with foreign intelligence agencies, particularly with its Five Eyes partners in the U S, U K, Australia and New Zealand, have been the subject of intense scrutiny in the wake of revelations that it collaborated with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to spy at the G8 and G20 summits in Ontario in 2010. CSEC also reportedly worked with the U.S. and Britain to spy on participants at the G20 summit in London in 2012. CSEC has also reportedly conducted industrial surveillance on Brazil. All these revelations on CSEC's activities came from documents retrieved by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.


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