Mar 032015
 

WORRISOME DEFICITS IN THE DEBATE ON BILL C-51:

1.  (addressed earlier)   2015-02-25   The public debate on Bill C-51 (Secret Police) should include context, the comprehensive SURVEILLANCE that is already in place

2.  Decisions about C-51 need to incorporate the factual information that reveals:

The Government and Police clearly believe that the Laws do not apply to them.   Which means they believe they cannot be held accountable to the Rule of Law.

Bill C-51 needs to be thrown out, for this reason, too.    . . .   Read on.

- – - – - – - – -

Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Law

Canadians know by experience what happens when the Government and its Police Force apply the word “terrorist” to a person.   Instantly, it puts the Government and Police outside the Rule of Law.

The Laws apply to us, but not to them.   Which means that we do not have the Rule of Law.  A basic tenet of democracy hits the dust (the rules apply to everyone, regardless of status).

Canadians know through more than one example:   the Government and Police become an elite not bound by the Laws.

The Laws in a democracy:

  • do not allow holding a person in jail without charges being brought against them.
  • do not allow a person to be held indefinitely without a fair trial – - due process.
  • trials (due process) are open to the public.  It’s an important way of holding the Government, Police and Military to account.
  • the Laws do not allow anyone to be tortured.

(Torture is gratuitous violence. Surely no one believes that I will tell the truth if they torture me.  If they torture me, I will say whatever they want me to say; all I want is for the pain, humiliation, and fear to stop.   Torture is a really dumb, not to mention inhumane and highly illegal strategy.  And yet the Harper Government stood by it:  give me a break.)

Using just one example of what happens in Canada:  the word “terrorist” was applied to 15-year-old Omar Khadr.  (2010-05-11 Omar Khadr, updates from his trial)  Which exempted the Government of Stephen Harper and the RCMP from the Rule of Law:

  • Khadr was held in detention for ten years without charge.
  • Was there a trial open to the public?
  • Not when the military and the Government might be held to account – - the torture and the illegality of it at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram is well-known.

There have been no Charges against those who broke the Laws.

Stephen Harper has not been held to account for the failure to get Khadr out of Guatanamo.  Every other western nation removed their citizens from Gitmo – - the torture being done there was well-known. Books were written about it.

Presumably, the leadership of the countries who removed their citizens, Australia for example, understood that they would be acting outside the law, and would therefore be subject to prosecution, if they knowingly left their ctiizens in Gitmo when they KNEW that torture was part of the game.

The reason Stephen Harper could leave Khadr in Guantanamo to my thinking, is that he believes that the laws do not apply to him. He believes he will never be held to account for his role in illegal activity.

(I believe that members of the Bush Administration will eventually be brought before the International Criminal Court.   See  the CHRONOLOGY OF INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO GET BUSH ARRESTED  Arrest George Bush. Rule of Law essential to democracy.  (The efforts have never stopped.))

Media coverage of Bill C-51 talks about secret police and the further reduction in citizen rights.

I feel there should be more effort to help people understand the impact that C-51 would have (if passed) on the ability of the Government, Police and Corporate elites (torture was “out-sourced” to Lockheed Martin Corporation, for example) to operate outside the Rule of Law.

These elites already hold the view that the Laws of the land do not apply to them. C-51 takes it a step further.  A power grab by the Prime Minister.  Very dangerous, police-state territory we are in.

 

CLOSELY RELATED:    VIDEO, GREENWALD,  I highly recommend.  See

C-51:  Excellent video, Glenn Greenwald. Propagandized population. Terrorism is a word to legitimize the violence we do and de-legitimize the violence of others against us.

You may also be interested in:  2013-10-27  Ego – its role in putting democracy to rest.   (Ego wants to see the self as “good”.  National identity is part of ego.   Ego avoids information that conflicts with the perception that Canadians do good things in the world.)

 Posted by at 5:47 pm
Mar 032015
 

I HIGHLY recommend this video.  I would love if every person in Canada and in the U.S. could see it.

. . . violence engaged in by Muslims against the West.  (Terrorist)  It’s really just a term to legitimize the kind of violence that we do ourselves and de-legitimize the violence that is used against us. …

WATCH:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq2Hi_SD8pQ

(Greenwald has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize:  http://reliablesources.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/20/exclusive-glenn-greenwald-reacts-to-pulitzer-prize-victory/)

 

Alas! I cannot transcribe the whole talk; and I cannot find a transcription on-line.

I transcribed a few excerpts.  Which will be a disservice, if it causes some people not to watch the video which contains much, much more.

 

At about the 12:50 mark:

(In relation to the two incidents (in a Quebec community and the other in Ottawa):

. . . instantaneous injection of the most inflammatory, but also the most meaningless word, in our political lexicon which is terrorism.

Almost instantly, before anybody knew anything about the perpetrators of either event, the media and political class in this country and then in the U.S. and throughout the West all agreed by consensus that both of these attacks were adequately and even necessarily described as being terrorism.  There was no discussion, as usual, of what the word means or what an act has to do in order to qualify. It was simply a label instantly that got applied almost reflexively – - – the word is inflammatory . . .

 

At about the 27:00 mark:

 

That’s another way of saying that the citizenry has been propagandized. That is the definition of that term, that they have been led to believe pleasant things about their Government that actually is disparate to the reality of what the Government does in the world. And this to me is the crux of the entire Post 9-11 era and the events that we saw this week . . .

 

I remember really vividly the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attack … the days and weeks … I was in Manhattan on 9-11 … The prevailing emotion triggered … in the immediate aftermath, not months down the road once the Government began massaging the messaging.

The immediate aftermath was not one of anger or vengeance or sadness. It wasn’t those things. The immediate prevailing emotion was bafflement, shock and surprise. And the question (approx 28:00 mark) that was on almost everybody’s mind is why would somebody possibly want to do this to the United States? Why would somebody have such hatred for Americans that they would be willing to blow themselves up to kill as many people indiscriminately whom they don’t know?

What kind of causes could have led them to that mindset? And this was being asked not rhetorically … most Americans genuinely did not understand the answer.

 

The U.S. Government knew that it had to provide an answer.  Because everyone knows that there was some reason. … (Approx 29:29 mark). The explanation that it ended up providing was one that we now, 12 years later, can scoff at pretty readily, but at the time it was what huge numbers of Americans believed because their Government told them that and the media told them that. … The answer was the reason they hate us isn’t anything we’ve done , perish the thought!, it has nothing to do with anything that we’ve done.  The reason they hate us is because we’re so free that they hate us for our freedoms. That was the genuine answer with a straight face of the U.S. Govt and then the U.S. media delivered to the American population. What was so extraordinary about that … it was not difficult at all to find out the reason.

 

That not only the group that perpetrated the attack but a huge part of the Muslim world had been openly discussing for many, many years. You could have gone and read Muslim newspapers, you could have visited Muslim countries, you could have talked to someone who was Muslim, you could have sought out any of that dialogue. The Grievances were all very clear. They were embedded into the culture for a long time. It wasn’t just things like the U.S. putting troops on … holy soil in Saudi Arabia. It was much more substantial … imposing a sanctions regime on Iraq that killed several hundred thousand Iraqi children or overthrowing their democratically elected leaders and propping up the most heinous despots and tyrants, ones that ruled Egypt and still rule Saudi Arabia or steadfastly supporting militarily, economically and diplomatically the country of Israel as it engages in all sorts of violence against its neighbours in Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere.

 

This list of grievances was fully aired in that part of the world and yet, remarkably, Americans didn’t just reject the validity of those grievances, they didn’t reach the conclusion that it didn’t justify the attacks, they literally were completely unaware of the existence of that dialogue from that part of the world. They had no idea that their Government was even doing these things. And that is stunning …

 

(Greenwald goes on to the situation in Canada.)

At about the 54:00 mark:

(The event in Quebec)

… Whatever terrorism means, and it’s impossible to define, but the one common usage that it typically has, is it requires the deliberate targeting of civilians with violence for political ends.  And yet here is somebody who seems to have deliberately avoided targeting  civilians (waited two hours in his car for a sildier to target)   . . .  clearly illegal and unjustified  … but how and in what sense is that terrorism?  . . .  (Ottawa shooter … mentally unstable…

The word terrorism, as significant as it’s become really has no meaning other than

. . .  violence engaged in by Muslims against the West.  It’s really just a term to legitimize the kind of violence that we do ourselves and de-legitimize the violence that is used against us.  …

 

Alas! It would take far too much time for me to transcribe more from this excellent talk by Glenn Greenwald.

 Posted by at 4:52 pm
Mar 022015
 

 DAY OF ACTION AGAINST BILL C-51  

 Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Across the Country

Local Protests

Or, your MP’s office if none in your city.

 

IS THERE AN EVENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

  • The Facebook page has the updated list.
  • If you are Not on F/B,  see below.   I will try to update once a day.

 

From F/B: https://www.facebook.com/events/1576309639319839/?ref=6&ref_notif_type=plan_user_invited

 

The proposed legislation Bill C-51, should be of concern to all Canadians.

It would clearly

 

  • allow for the violation of Charter Rights,
  • facilitate spying on innocent Canadians, and
  • create a secret police force with little oversight or accountability.

C-51 is reckless, irresponsible and ineffective.

We are calling on the government to withdraw the legislation.

OpenMedia.ca campaign: https://openmedia.org/spyonus

Leadnow.ca – À l’Action campaign:… https://leadnow.netdonor.net/ea-action/action?

ea.client.id=1694&ea.campaign.id=35868

 

News release on impact of Bill C-51 by the BCCLA: https://bccla.org/news/2015/02/release-canadian-rights-groups-decry-limited-parliamentary-committee-hearings-for-bill-c-51-proposed-major-national-security-reforms/

Media Inquiries: BCGEU Communications 4911 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3W3 Tel: (604) 291-9611 Email: communications@bcgeu.ca

Local Day of Action Events:

Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/413139418861169

Vancouver https://www.facebook.com/events/324069934383709

Montreal https://www.facebook.com/events/335605546631580

Victoria https://www.facebook.com/events/807727999299320

Calgary https://www.facebook.com/events/1563813840572084

London https://www.facebook.com/events/1555349008057749

Sarnia https://www.facebook.com/events/332487320275383

*If you have a local event planned post a link below and we’ll add it here.

Groups: Vancouver https://www.facebook.com/groups/1565283170387774/

Calgary https://www.facebook.com/groups/344554809077846/

Edmonton https://www.facebook.com/groups/1559537804300597/

Toronto https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404483709864512/

Halifax https://www.facebook.com/groups/672448252877537/

Victoria https://www.facebook.com/groups/1387813958200415/

 

Reddit discussion thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/ProtestCanada/

HASHTAG:  #c51dayofaction

 

NOTE:  I phoned my MP’s office, even though he is a Conservative and is going to vote in support of C-51.  All I could hope to do was to shake the confidence in Bill C-51 of the young man with whom I spoke.

 

Please help spread the word!     Thanks!

 

 

 Posted by at 3:25 pm
Feb 272015
 

Please forward this to anyone you know who is an RCMP or police officer, or who works in security forces. Thanks!

- – - – - – -

It is not difficult to put forward a likely reason why some young Canadians are going to Syria to join the “terrorists”.

In 2010 I was contacted through social media by a young sister of Omar Khadr’s who had read a posting of mine. She was desperate, using facebook to raise awareness, getting help to bring her brother home.

My posting contained reports from the pre-trial hearing in 2010 of the depraved and highly illegal torture of 15-year-old Omar Khadr at offshore American prisons. (If my son had been treated the same I would hate the perpetrators.)

So figure it out. Lots of young Canadians KNOW what happened to Omar Khadr at the hands of we ourselves – - “Westerners”.  It was truly gross, unimaginable that humans can do these things to any living creature, let alone a 15-year-old boy.

I don’t know the number of young people who are “in the know”;  a large number  joined the support groups for Omar Khadr.   People became well-informed through the sharing of information.   There is lots in the public domain about the failure of the Canadian Government to get Khadr out of Guatanamo, a known place of torture – - all of the Western nations except Canada,  arranged for their citizens to be removed.   We joined the evil-doers.

Injustice is not forgotten.

I can see young people, altruistic and idealistic, going off to help fight “the demons” (depraved Westerners).

. . . Something else, let’s see how much media coverage this gets: it is now known that the leader of ISIS was imprisoned by the Americans in 2004 and later released.  See 2015-02-19 One year in US custody as ‘civilian detainee’: Declassified files shed light on mysterious ISIS leader

Who knows what he was subjected to? He was not in Bagram or Abu Ghraib.   Even IF (best case scenario) he did not receive the torture inflicted on others, he would have known about the torture being done to his countrymen.

If you, a young man, had done to your manhood what was done to prisoners, my understanding of human behaviour leads me to believe that you would be so full of hatred, you would be out for revenge, big time.   What goes around comes around.

As Pogo said, “I have seen the enemy and he is us.” Sad but true.

Kids going off to Syria are as likely to be idealists as they are to be “terrorists”.

 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Feb 262015
 

Journalistic coverage of Bill C-51 (SECRET POLICE)

should include what is known about SURVEILLANCE of citizens in Canada.  It is critical context for understanding the scope of the threat we face.

 

Extensive machinery for mass surveillance is ALREADY IN PLACE.

Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald (in other interviews) explain things very well.

This interview of Snowden is informative.  He describes that once “backdoor access” to a data base is established, it is there and available to more than the NSA (if it is an NSA backdoor, for example).

When time permits I will relate this to the extensive data base on Canadians at Statistics Canada. The Government awarded contracts for census work to Lockheed Martin; Lockheed Martin works for the NSA, one of its specialties is surveillance.

You have to be gullible to believe that the FBI / NSA does not have back-door access to the StatsCan data base on Canadians – - even if StatsCan discontinues the Lockheed contracts.

Canadians do not have a clue about the degree of collaboration, access to data files on Canadians that has been simply given to the U.S. Military. Read the little insert, “12 Things Harper Doesn’t Want You To Know”, at the bottom of the article.   A quick way to get a sniff of what’s going on.

Bill C-51 is about the addition of secret police to surveillance. And removing more of the democratic rights of citizens.

 

The best overall article I’ve found:  2015-02-24  Harper’s anti-terror law will turn Canada into a police state, by Elizabeth May.

 

A LEGAL ANALYSIS:

2015-02-18 Bill C-51 (Secret Police): A Legal Primer by Clayton Ruby, C.M., and Nader R. Hasan  

leads me to conclude that workshops I have attended, and probably statements I’ve made, place me in the category of “terrorist” under the broad net cast by Bill C-51.  If me, then a large number of my friends, too.

 

ACTUAL TEXT  of C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Bill is at (look on the righthand side for the “download” button: http://www.scribd.com/doc/254215014/Bill-C-51-Tories-Anti-Terrorism-Bill

SHORT TITLE – ‘Anti-Terrorism Act’

LONG TITLE  –

‘An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.’   (i.e. the Canada Evidence Act, Aeronautics Act, Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act)

 

The ATTITUDE OF THE RCMP, as explained in this article, was a shocker that woke up many Canadians:

2015-02-17 “Anti-petroleum movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say.” The Globe and Mail.

 

Fortunately, there is mass mobilization, information-sharing about C-51:

We cannot be lazy about C-51.   Time is short, Harper is pushing it through as fast as he can.

There is wonderful news out of the USA,  a  victory on net neutrality that Canadians helped achieve.   We must muster the same determination to stop C-51.   If our colleagues in the USA can achieve a win of this magnitude, we can beat C-51.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2015-02-11 Timing of Terror Arrests, by Matthew Behrens     (Reference the Nader letter; Harper turns whatever he can into a “terrorist” event, trying to create fear in the population so that we will accept the imposition of  what is effectively a police state.  People with mental health problems perform terrorist acts, as do environmentalists.)

 

 

I promised every week at Girl Guide meetings when I was a kid:   “I promise on my honour to do my best, to do my duty to God, the Queen and my Country, to help other people at all times and to obey the Guide Laws.”   (today’s wording is not as onerous!) If C-51 gets passed, my duty to my Country will become terrorist activity.   How times have changed!

I have wondered, if I had lived in Germany in the build-up to World War Two, would I have been one of the ones who saw the writing on the wall and left? Or would I have been one of the ones who stayed to ‘fight the good fight’ and as a consequence experienced the horrors?

Support for Bill C-51 means there has been a successful fear campaign about terrorism and there is insufficient information in the public sphere.   So let’s get at ‘er!!  Sign the petitions, spread the word,  phone your MP!   …  Rest easy, have fun, do a small part - – there are SO MANY of us, we can beat this thing!

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Coincidentally, just prior to the announcement of, and rush by Harper to pass Bill C-51, I read two excellent books:

  1. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, 2011 by Erik Larson.     [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Garden_of_Beasts

Summary

Larson recounts the career of the American Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, particularly the years 1933 to 1937 when he and his family, including his daughter Martha, lived in Berlin. The Ambassador, who earned his Ph.D. in Leipzig 40 years earlier, was initially hopeful that Germany’s new Nazi government would grow more moderate, including in its persecution of the Jews.[2] Martha, separated from her husband and in the process of divorce, became caught up in the glamor and excitement of Berlin’s social scene and had a series of liaisons including among them Gestapo head Rudolf Diels and Soviet attaché and secret agent Boris Vinogradov. . . .

  1. Savage Continent

http://us.macmillan.com/savagecontinent/keithlowe

Winner of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize

“A superb and immensely important book.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten years…The end of World War II in Europe is remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, but the reality was quite different.

Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed, and more than thirty million people had been killed in the war. The institutions that we now take for granted—such as police, media, transport, and local and national government—were either entirely absent or compromised. Crime rates soared, economies collapsed, and whole populations hovered on the brink of starvation..

In Savage Continent, Keith Lowe describes a continent where individual Germans and collaborators were rounded up and summarily executed, where concentration camps were reopened, and violent anti-Semitism was reborn. In some of the monstrous acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands.

Savage Continent is the story of post–war Europe, from the close of the war right to the establishment of an uneasy stability at the end of the 1940s. Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is the chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post–World War II Europe for years to come.

 

NOTE:   I sent information on Savage Continent earlier: 2015-01-02 (U.S. Torture) Collaborators and Vengeance. Savage Continent, Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe.

A key take-away for me is the untold story of the vengeance that rocked Europe in the years following World War Two.

At what point do we become collaborators?

And what are the consequences of collaboration?

 Posted by at 10:58 pm
Feb 262015
 

The leader of ISIS was held in American prisons for a year, in 2004.  Maybe there wasn’t torture at the particular prisons in which he was held, who knows?   He certainly would have known about what was being done to his fellow countrymen in American prisons like Bagram and Abu Ghraib.   That knowledge would make a terrorist out of anyone, if you weren’t one before.

RECOMMEND:  click on the link, there are visuals.   The text only is copied below for back-up purposes.

http://rt.com/news/233583-isis-leader-baghdadi-files/

 

The leader of ISIS jihadist group and self-proclaimed “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent nearly a year in US custody in Iraq in 2004 as a “civilian detainee,” declassified military documents have revealed.

The files were obtained by Business Insider through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealing new details about the mysterious jihadist leader. The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL ) chief was identified by his birth name, Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, in the detainee information records, viewed by the website.

The documents helped determine the time, spent by Baghdadi in US custody, more precisely as there had previously been conflicting reports on the issue.

According to the records, his “capture date” was February 4, 2004, with the detention taking place in Fallujah in central Iraq. Baghdadi was then held in several prison facilities in the country, including Camp Bucca and Camp Adder, with the date of his “release in place” being December 8, the same year.

The papers list him as a “civilian detainee,” meaning that he was not considered a member of any militant group at that time, but was still held for security reasons.

The declassified records identified Baghdadi’s “civilian occupation” as “administrative work (secretary).”

The book called “ISIS: Inside The Army of Terror” by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan claims that Baghdadi was arrested together with Nessayif Numan Nessayif, who was the real target of the US military.

The date of his birth was redacted in the files received by Business Insider, but the website said that the current IS leader was listed as having been 43 years old in 2014. The paper also included details on Baghdadi’s family, revealing that he was married and next of kin was an uncle. However, the names of his family members were also redacted.

The Islamic State has declared a caliphate, with Baghdadi as its ruler, after capturing large parts of Iraqi and Syrian territory last summer. The jihadist group is notorious for its brutality, ethnic cleansings of minorities and executions of Western hostages.

A US-led coalition has been conducting regular airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, with several unconfirmed reports stating that Baghdadi might have been injured in one of the raids.

 

 Posted by at 9:39 pm
Feb 262015
 

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/elizabeth-may/2015/02/harpers-anti-terror-law-will-turn-canada-police-state

By Elizabeth May    | February 24, 2015

I remember the events of October 22. While I was in lock-down on Parliament Hill, I remember who hid in a closet and who ran toward gun fire. The guy in the closet is now planning to concentrate the powers of the state in his own hands while converting the Canadian spy agency into a secret police with virtually unlimited powers. And, at the same time, he has decided to demote the security team that performed its role heroically, the House of Commons Security, led by former Sargeant at Arms Kevin Vickers , and put the RCMP in charge of Parliament Hill. Of the two moves, clearly creating a secret police is the most dangerous, but upending the Constitutional principle that the government reports to Parliament is no small matter (and, as a Member of Parliament, I would prefer security to be in the hands of the people who paid attention that day and not the RCMP who somehow missed an armed man running past their multiple idling vehicles.)

 

Here is what Stephen Harper wants Canadians to think:

We are at war. We face a massive terrorist threat. We must be very, very afraid and we must not question any law brought in allegedly to fight terrorism. Anyone who raises finicky, lily-livered concerns about civil liberties is a fellow-traveller of ISIS.

Here’s the truth:

Naomi Klein’s book

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”

We are not at war. We are at peace. (Would Harper’s most trusted lieutenant and Minister of Foreign Affairs quit if we were really at war?)

Acts of terrorism are a threat. They are criminal acts of horrific cruelty and sadism. Luring of disenfranchised, disenchanted, alienated Canadians into their barbaric crusade must be addressed, but the new law, C-51, is not primarily an anti-terrorism law. And legal experts are already pointing out it “undermines more promising avenues of addressing terrorism.” (Bill C-51 backgrounder, Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese)

In terms of Canada’s future, the climate crisis is a much larger threat.

We must not be afraid. We must be smart. It’s really hard to think when paralyzed by fear. Any thinking person will stand up and oppose C-51 with every ounce of their strength.

Harper claims to believe Canada is a freedom-loving country. If he’s right, he miscalculated in hoping we could be scared out of our wits.

We already have anti-terror laws. Terrorism, treason, sedition, espionage, proliferating of nuclear and biological weapons and other offences repeated in C-51 are already illegal. The police already have expanded powers in relation to terrorism. RCMP have powers to disrupt terrorist plots. That’s how they broke the Toronto 18, the VIA rail plot and ISIS sympathizers in Ottawa before they could move their plots into action. Full marks to the RCMP for these proactive successes. Those suspected of terrorism already have a second set of Kafa-esque laws to allow their detention through security certificates. Oversight of the operations of CSIS was reduced in the 2012 omnibus bill C38. Put simply, Canada has already significantly intruded on Charter rights to give the RCMP, CSIS and Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) broader powers and less over-sight. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that CSEC has been gathering millions of internet communications every day from Canadians — even though CSEC’s mandate was supposed to apply only to foreign activities. Under project “Levitation,” CSEC collects as many as 15 million records of uploads and downloads every day.

No one from the security establishment has made a case for requiring expanded powers.

C-51, the so-called Anti-Terrorism Act, creates new powers for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS. CSIS was created to keep the RCMP policing functions separate from intelligence work after the fiasco of burning down the barn in an FLQ sting operation. This bill gives CSIS the power to do anything. (Okay, not anything. It specifically says CSIS cannot directly kill or harm people or “violate the sexual integrity of an individual,” but otherwise, CSIS will have a vague set of sweeping powers).

CSIS will be able to conduct any operation it thinks is in the interests of protecting the security of Canada. The definition of “undermining the security of Canada” is more a list of suggestions than a definition, using the word “including” before listing nine types of threats. Using “including” as the heading for its list leaves open the possibility that CSIS may think something else should have been on that list.

Most listed activities are already illegal, such as treason , espionage, causing serious harm, etc. To this is added “interference with critical infrastructure,” raising legitimate concerns that the bill is targeted at First Nations and environmental groups opposing pipelines. There is a caveat in the Act: “For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.”

I have now twice asked the public safety and justice ministers in Question Period to clarify if the act will apply to non-lawful, non-violent civil disobedience, such as blockading along a pipeline route. Neither Stephen Blaney nor Peter MacKay would provide that assurance.

This act could apply to Rosa Parks sitting in the “Whites Only” section of the bus. It could apply to anyone who talked with her about it ahead of time. It could apply to journalists who wrote she should be commended for breaking the law.

The vaguest of those things that undermine the security of Canada reads as follows:

“Interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations or the economic or financial stability of Canada.”

That list of vague activities has the same status as terrorism in launching CSIS operatives into a murky world with powers to “take measures, within or outside Canada, to reduce the threat.”

So, Saudi Arabia pumping out enough oil to cause the dropping price? Global currency speculators? Judges’ decisions the PM doesn’t like? Calling this section vague is an understatement. And CSIS only needs to go before a judge for a warrant in cases where it decided for itself that its actions will violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Then it goes to a judge for a secret warrant process. The warrant can allow break and enter to take anything and to install anything.

Here’s what I could do with this section as Prime Minister. Climate change is surely a threat to public safety and the economic stability of Canada. So let’s launch CSIS at messing with the heads of all those in the fossil fuel business. Install malware. Implicate them in bogus child porno charges. Break and enter and see if they have been hiding the patents for photovoltaic, electric vehicles, better batteries. A secret police at the PM’s beck and call. Of course, if I ever were Prime Minister, one of the first things I would do is to repeal this act.

It’s not enough to call for better citizen oversight as one opposition party urges. And it is certainly an act of egregious cowardice for the other opposition party to support this bill.

It is trite to say that when we surrender our freedoms, the terrorists win. Even to level that charge at this bill is to fall into the Harper trap of making this bill about terrorism. It’s not. It’s about creating a secret police. It’s the death of freedom.

 

 Posted by at 2:21 pm
Feb 262015
 

The Verge article is followed by a

Call for Celebrations by OpenMedia  (Once again we’ve seen that when people speak out together, we can win against entrenched interests.)

After which is the New York Times article on the subject.  Quite good.

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http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/26/8114265/fcc-ruling-net-neutrality-victory-internet-title-ii

From  The Verge

Net neutrality has won at the FCC. In a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission today established a new Open Internet Order that implements strict net neutrality rules, including prohibitions on site and app blocking, speed throttling, and paid fast lanes.

Critically, the order also reclassifies internet providers’ offerings as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act. Though this is likely to provoke a challenge in court, Title II gives the commission the tools it needs to enforce these strict rules.

A huge win for

net neutrality

This is also the first time that net neutrality rules will apply, in full, to mobile internet service. Additionally, the commission uses the new order to assert its ability to investigate and address complaints about “interconnect” agreements — deals made between internet providers like Comcast and content companies like Netflix, which has regularly complained that these deals are unfair.

The FCC’s new order establishes a standard that requires internet providers to take no actions that unreasonably interfere with or disadvantage consumers or the companies whose sites and apps they’re trying to access. At most, internet providers may slow down service only for the purpose of “reasonable network management” — not a business purpose.

Title II is the FCC’s strongest tool

for enforcing open internet rules

This is a huge win for net neutrality advocates. Since the commission’s original net neutrality rules were struck down in court last year, advocates have been pushing for the FCC to use utility-style Title II reclassification when implementing a new order.

For a while, it didn’t look like that was going to happen. Commission chairman Tom Wheeler initially proposed rules that seemingly undermined the entire concept of net neutrality by allowing paid fast lanes. But earlier this month, following support from President Obama and millions of public comments spurred on by a popular John Oliver segment and advocacy from major websites like Netflix, Kickstarter, and Tumblr, Wheeler announced the dramatically overhauled new plan that was pushed through today.

“The action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the internet,” Wheeler said.

“We cannot have a two-tiered internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind,” commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said at today’s meeting. “We cannot have gatekeepers who tell us what we can and cannot do and where we can and cannot go online. And we do not need blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization schemes that undermine the internet as we know it.”

“We have to add net neutrality to a list of

basic market conditions that we protect.”

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn also spoke strongly in favor of the order. “We are here because we want to give those with deep pockets and those with empty pockets the same opportunities to succeed,” she said. Clyburn notes that, while she voted in favor of the 2010 rules, today’s order is far closer to what she originally supported. Clyburn also says that a minor classification change has been made to the proposal to address one of her concerns with it — an issue that Google and Free Press both agreed with her on. That said, Clyburn says that she would have liked to see the “unreasonable discrimination rule” from the 2010 order used here instead of the unreasonably interference rule, and that isn’t being changed.

As the vote makes clear, the entire commission isn’t on board with the new rules. Both Republican commissioners, Michael O’Rielly and Ajit Pai, have expressed their disagreement with the order. Prior to the vote today, O’Rielly issued a statement arguing that the commission’s decision-making power had been usurped by the administration for political purposes. He also argues that net neutrality is unnecessary, that Title II imposes overbearing regulation, and that Title II doesn’t actually stand on solid legal footing. For comparison, he has previously drawn a line between 4K TV and interplanetary teleportation.

Pai put forward a strong dissent as well, arguing that the commission was unable to act independently. “We are flip-flopping for one reason and one reason only,” Pai said. “President Obama told us to do so.” Pai believes that implementing this order will lead to “higher broadband prices, slower broadband speeds, less broadband deployment, less innovation, and fewer options for consumers.” He also questioned the commission’s legal authority to implement the order.

Advocates say net neutrality protects

economic opportunities and diversity

The commission also brought out a number of notable advocates to speak before the vote. That included Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Veena Sud, an executive producer for The Killing who appeared to be speaking on behalf of Netflix, and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. Dickerson applauded the commission for protecting the internet “as an engine for economic opportunity, the likes of which we have never seen.” Sud pointed to multiple Netflix series and cited the greater diversity you find online. Berners-Lee put his feelings quite simply: “We have to add net neutrality to a list of basic market conditions that we protect.”

The new rules should go into effect around two to three months from now, though the time will vary depending on how long it takes the commission to release the order to the Federal Register. The commissioners may still need to fix technical points in the order, which can be changed with unanimous agreement.

Though this is an important victory for net neutrality advocates, their fight is not yet over. It is almost certain that one internet provider or another will challenge the rules in court, and those proceedings could take years, leaving the future of this order uncertain. The commission’s chances in court look good, but there are a number of complications that it will likely have to address. This time, at least, the FCC is using the strongest tools that it has to implement these protections.

Check out our FCC net neutrality meeting liveblog for more!

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OPEN MEDIA CALLS FOR CELEBRATION:

Sandra,

After over a year of campaigning, we’re thrilled to let you know that decision-makers at the U.S. FCC just made an historic ruling to ban Internet slow lanes.1

We’re still poring over the details with experts, but we can tell you that the FCC has heard our call and ensured Big Telecom cannot slow down your favorite websites!

Please join with us, celebrate, and share our historic victory image now.

A victory this sweet doesn’t come around very often – so let’s celebrate what we’ve done together.

This is huge news for Internet users around the world. The stakes couldn’t have been higher: with so many websites based in the U.S., the future of the global Internet hung in the balance.

But you joined with millions and spoke out when we needed you.

You signed the largest international petition against slow lanes; you helped over 60 letters get published in major newspapers; you submitted creative comments to the FCC; you got us to the White House for a crucial meeting; and many of you donated to make this all possible.

Once again we’ve seen that when people speak out together, we can win against entrenched interests.

CLICK HERE TO CELEBRATE WITH THE REST OF THE INTERNET

OpenMedia joined forces with an inspiring coalition of open Internet groups, civil rights organizations and web companies.

But what mattered most was people like you stepping up to make your voice heard.

President Obama 2 and the FCC 3 only agreed to meet with us last fall because people like you spoke up. Then, your support gave our campaign the staying power to bring them over to our side.

Let’s face it: You made this decision—the FCC is just implementing it. Celebrate now by sharing the news.

Going forward, you can count on us to keep fighting for the possibilities of the open Internet.

Whether it’s protecting your right to privacy, sticking up for free expression online, or ensuring all of us enjoy open and affordable access to the Internet—we’ll be there to take it on together with effective online tools to amplify your voice.

Thank you for inspiring us and so many others.

Until next time,

–Josh Tabish, on behalf of your OpenMedia team

P.S. The New York Times called the fight against the Internet slow lane “the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history.”4 None of it would have been possible without you. If you believe in our work to amplify your voice , chip in to keep us going here— grassroots support is the backbone of our work.

Footnotes

[1] FCC votes to protect the Internet with Title II regulation. Source: Verge

[2] Here’s what happened when I went to the White House. Source: OpenMedia

[3] We’re taking your voice straight to an FCC Commissioner who could stop the Internet slow lane. Source: OpenMedia

[4] F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama. Source: New York Times

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THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/technology/path-clears-for-net-neutrality-ahead-of-fcc-vote.html?_r=0

 

Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said that Democrats were lining up with President Obama in favor of the F.C.C. position on net neutrality.Credit Jabin Botsford/The New York Times

 

WASHINGTON — Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

“We’re not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democrats’ support,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “This is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”

(Go to the URL to see  video, How Net Neutrality Works,  2.53  minutes)

The new F.C.C. rules are still likely to be tied up in a protracted court fight with the cable companies and Internet service providers that oppose it, and they could be overturned in the future by a Republican-leaning commission. But for now, Congress’s hands appear to be tied.

The F.C.C. plan would let the agency regulate Internet access as if it is a public good. It would follow the concept known as net neutrality or an open Internet, banning so-called paid prioritization — or fast lanes — for willing Internet content providers.

In addition, it would ban the intentional slowing of the Internet for companies that refuse to pay broadband providers. The plan would also give the F.C.C. the power to step in if unforeseen impediments are thrown up by the handful of giant companies that run many of the country’s broadband and wireless networks.

Republicans hoped to pre-empt the F.C.C. vote with legislation, but Senate Democrats insisted on waiting until after Thursday’s F.C.C. vote before even beginning to talk about legislation for an open Internet. Even Mr. Thune, the architect of draft legislation to override the F.C.C., said Democrats had stalled what momentum he could muster.

“We’ve been outspent, outlobbied. We were going up against the second-biggest corporate lobby in D.C., and it looks like we’ve won,” said Dave Steer, director of advocacy for the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit technology foundation that runs Firefox, a popular Web browser, referring to the cable companies. “A year ago today, we did not think we would be in this spot.”

The net neutrality movement pitted new media against old and may well have revolutionized notions of corporate social responsibility and activism. Top-down decisions by executives investing in or divesting themselves of resources, paying lobbyists and buying advertisements were upended by the mobilization of Internet customers and users.

Internet service providers say heavy-handed regulation of the Internet will diminish their profitability and crush investment to expand and speed up Internet access. It could even open the web to taxation to pay for new regulators.

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said the pro-net-neutrality advocates turned a complex and technical debate over how best to keep the Internet operating most efficiently into a matter of religion. The forces for stronger regulation, he said, became viewed as for the Internet. Those opposed to the regulation were viewed as against the Internet.

The Internet companies, he said, sometimes mislead their customers, and in some cases, are misled on the intricacies of the policy.

“Many of the things they have said just belie reality and common sense,” he said.

In April, a dozen New York-based Internet companies gathered at Tumblr’s headquarters in the Flatiron district to hear dire warnings that broadband providers were about to obtain the right to charge for the fastest speeds on the web.

The implication: If they did not pony up, they would be stuck in the slow lane.

What followed was the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history. A swarm of small players, like Tumblr, Etsy, BoingBoing and Reddit, overwhelmed the giants of the broadband world, Comcast, Verizon Communications and Time Warner Cable. Two of the biggest players on the Internet, Amazon and Google, largely stayed in the background, while smaller participants — some household names like Twitter and Netflix, others far more obscure, like Chess.com and Urban Dictionary — mobilized a grass-roots crusade.

“Our community is the source of our power,” said Althea Erickson, director of public policy at Etsy, an online craft market, where users embroidered pillows and engraved spoons promoting net neutrality.

In mid-October, the tech activist group Fight for the Future acquired the direct telephone numbers of about 30 F.C.C. officials, circumventing the agency’s switchboard to send calls directly to policy makers. That set off a torrent of more than 55,000 phone calls until the group turned off the spigot on Dec. 3.

In November, President Obama cited “almost four million public comments” when he publicly pressured the F.C.C. to turn away from its paid “fast lane” proposal and embrace a new regulatory regime.

Since then, the lobbying has grown only more intense. Last week, 102 Internet companies wrote to the F.C.C. to say the threat of Internet service providers “abusing their gatekeeper power to impose tolls and discriminate against competitive companies is the real threat to our future,” not “heavy-handed regulation” and possible taxation, as conservatives in Washington say.

Republicans have grown much quieter under the barrage.

“Tech companies would be better served to work with Congress on clear rules for the road. The thing that they’re buying into right now is a lot of legal uncertainty,” said Mr. Thune. “I’m not sure exactly what their thinking is.”

Mr. Thune said he was still willing to work with Democrats on legislation that he said would do what the F.C.C. is trying to accomplish, without a heavy regulatory hand: Ban paid “fast lanes” and stop intentional slowdowns — or “throttling” — by broadband companies seeking payment from Internet content providers.

But even he said Democrats were ready to let the F.C.C. do the job.

Correction: February 24, 2015
An earlier version of this article, using information from a Tumblr executive, misstated the location of the Tumblr boardroom. It is in the Flatiron district, not in the Flatiron Building.
 Posted by at 1:08 pm
Feb 252015
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Sr96TFQQE

Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explain things very well. This interview of Snowden is informative.

Snowden describes that once “backdoor access” is established, it is there and available to more than the NSA (if it is an NSA backdoor, for example).

When time permits I will relate this to the extensive data base on Canadians at Statistics Canada.  The Government awarded contracts for census work to Lockheed Martin; Lockheed Martin works for the NSA,  one of its specialties is surveillance.

You have to be pretty gullible to believe that the FBI/NSA does not have back-coor access to the StatsCan data base on Canadians.  Even if StatsCan discontinues the Lockheed contracts.

 Posted by at 9:35 pm
Feb 252015
 

At the bottom of this article on the Huffington Post website are

“12 Things Harper Doesn’t Want You to Know”.  

I recommend you read them, along with the article, of course! 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/03/edward-snowden-ucc-canada-surveillance_n_6601812.html 

 

Back-up copy of “Edward Snowden Warns Canadians…”:   

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden addressed students at a Toronto private school via video link on Monday to warn about the perils of being complacent as the government makes sweeping changes to Canada’s anti-terrorism laws.

“I would say we should always be extraordinarily cautious when we see governments trying to set up a new secret police within their own countries,” Snowden said in a livestream feed from Russia. He made reference to Bill C-51, legislation tabled by the Conservative government days earlier.

More than 900 students attended the talk titled, “Privacy vs. Security: A Discussion of Personal Privacy in the Digital Age” hosted at Upper Canada College. Nearly 1,400 watched the live broadcast online.

Snowden urged the audience to be adept at lining up facts versus rhetoric with emergency legislations born from times of “fear and panic.” He added though Canada is not unique in its anti-terrorism laws and surveillance programs, it’s important to be critical toward political arguments championing their necessity.

“Once we let these power get rolling it’s very difficult to stop that pull through,” Snowden said. “So I would say that we need to use extraordinary scrutiny in every society, in every country, in every state to make sure that the laws we live under are the ones we truly want and truly need.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was also on hand for the keynote via conference call.

Using ‘fearmongering’ as vehicle for legislation

Despite the sharp uptick in terrorism rhetoric after two Canadian soldiers were killed within days of each other last year by “radicalized” attackers, the former Guardian journalist says a Canadian’s real-world chance of being killed in a terrorist attack is “infinitesimal.”

“If you are a Canadian citizen, you have a greater chance of dying by being struck by lightning; or by going to a restaurant and eating a meal that will give you an intestinal disease; or by slipping in your bathtub, hitting your head on the ceramic tile than you do dying in a terrorist attack,” said Greenwald.

He criticized what he sees as the Conservative government’s tactic of using fear to untether the weight of public scrutiny to push the anti-terrorism measures into law. “Your government continuously hypes the threat and tells you that unless you give it more and more power it will be incapable of saving you from this threat,” he said.

“And this fearmongering is a very dangerous, yet very effective form of persuading people to submit to things you otherwise wouldn’t submit to.”

New anti-terrorism measures ‘more about politics’

On Friday, the Harper government tabled its much-anticipated anti-terrorism legislation designed to give Canadian security and intelligence services more powers and more flex from the RCMP.

If passed into law, changes would see the standard of evidence needed to obtain warrants lowered. Police would also be given authority to extend the amount of time they can detain someone without charge if that person is suspected to be involved in terrorist activity.

“Jihadist terrorism is not a future possibility, it is a present reality,” Harper said at the announcement. “It seeks to harm us here in Canada, in our cities and in our neighbourhoods through horrific acts.”

The measures are intended to curb nine interpretations of “activities that undermine the security of Canada” — including a broadly-worded clause criminalizing any “interference with the capability of the government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada.”

But the omnibus legislation isn’t bringing peace of mind to one prominent Ottawa-based human rights and civil liberties lawyer.

Paul Champ told The Hill Times the election-year timing of the bill utilizes it as a “political wedge issue of sorts” that has already tempered NDP and Liberals reaction to be “in kind” than “taking a principled stand on civil liberties.”

“I think it’s clear both from the manner of the prime minister’s announcement, and unfortunately the response of the opposition parties, that this bill is far more about politics than public safety,” Champ said.

Reporters were supplied information about the anti-terror bill in a controlled media briefing a day before the legislation was announced by the prime minister at a Toronto-area community centre.

Harper was joined by Justice Minister Peter MaKay, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, and associate National Defence Minister Julian Fantino at the Jan. 30 event.

“They’ve been creeping over that line from surveillance to operational for some time,” Champ said. “Now we see it confirmed in legislation.”

With files from The Canadian Press

Read a copy of Bill C-51 here:

Bill C-51: Tories’ Anti-Terrorism Bill

 Posted by at 9:24 pm