2013 - No. 40
Governments Must Uphold Public
Right, Not Monopoly Right!
Harper Government Turning Canada
into Rogue State
Governments Must Uphold Public Right, Not
Harper Government Turning Canada
into Rogue State
The Harper government is transforming Canada into a
rogue state that goes around the world attacking sovereign nations
militarily, economically and politically, overtly and covertly, as part
of a hooligan gang of allies led by the U.S. Its actions are in
defiance of the norms and laws governing international relations,
precisely what it falsely accuses many other countries of doing. At
every opportunity and in every venue at home and abroad the Harperites
seek to divide people on any basis they can and incite conflict among
peoples and nations in order to advance the narrow interests of the
monopolies with which they are aligned, and block any organized
opposition to imperialism and monopoly right.
It is well known that the U.S. has been spying on
government officials worldwide, including the Brazilian President,
international organizations such as the UN within its own facilities,
carrying out industrial espionage and spying on millions of citizens
worldwide. Now Canada has been caught red-handed as part of this global
On October 6, it came to light that the Communications
Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been spying on the Minister
and Ministry of Energy and Mines in Brazil, as well as internal
government communications and diplomatic communications between the
Brazilian government and other governments and international
A program aired by
Brazilian TV network Globo showed CSEC-stamped documents from June
2012, which were handed over to Guardian journalist Glenn
Greenwald by former CIA agent Edward Snowden. The documents are slides
from a presentation by a CSEC spy to his/her counterparts of the
U.S.-led Five Eyes/Echelon global spying network that includes the
United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The
presentation reported on the results of Canadian hacking software known
as "Olympia" used to break through the Brazilian government's
encryption to track the communications metadata from phones and
computers from Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy. The software
mapped the data with the goal of studying contacts "made with other
groups, within and outside of Brazil, aside from [the state-run energy
company] PETROBRAS," the Globo report said.
Olympia was used to spy on former Brazilian Ambassador
to Canada Paulo Cordeiro as well as on calls by the Ministry of Energy
to other countries, including to the Latin American Energy Organization
(OLADE) based in Quito, Ecuador and the Brazilian embassy in Peru.
Communications between the ministry and countries in the Middle East,
as well as South Africa and Canada, also appear in the report.
According to the report, CSEC may have been trying to
hack into an encrypted government server in Brazil that hosts
correspondence between government officials and corporations. The
information gleaned from the Ministry of Energy was then shared with
all of the members of the "Five Eyes." The documents shown by Globo
included instructions on the next steps CSEC should pursue in Brazil,
which included seeking help from a group code-named TAO, said to be an
elite U.S. espionage unit. It also suggests a more detailed analysis of
data, and pursuing tactics that include copying all of a computer's
data without altering it.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff responded to the
reports by rejecting such acts of cyberwar against her country: "The
espionage infringes on the sovereignty of nations and the privacy of
individuals and enterprises. It is unacceptable among countries that
claim to be partners, we reject the cyberwar." Brazilian Energy
Minister Edison Lobao told Globo: "These are state conversations,
government strategies which no one should be able to eavesdrop upon."
He described the development as "serious." "There are many Canadian
businesses interested in doing business in our country. If that is
where the interest in spying comes from, to help certain business
interests, I cannot say," he added.
Following the program in an interview with the Globe
Mail, Greenwald indicated that the revelations were just the
tip of the iceberg: "There is a huge amount of stuff about Canada.
[...] there is nothing really unique about what Canada's doing to
Brazil -- it's not like Brazil is the only target."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) Summit in Malaysia when news of
Canada's spying against Brazil came out. He refused to apologize or
take measures to ensure that such disgraceful actions are not permitted
by agencies of the Canadian government, but claimed that he was very
concerned about the reports and would be "reaching out very
proactively" to his counterparts in Brazil.
A warranted conclusion to be drawn from this criminal
activity carried out by Canada against Brazil is that if the government
carries out such brazen violations of the privacy and territorial
integrity of nations and their governments and citizens, it no doubt
does the same to its own citizens, even though it may be indirectly.
Rob Nicholson, the Canadian Defence Minister who oversees CSEC thus
sought recourse to the hackneyed ploy of "plausible deniability" to
allay Canadians' concerns saying that it does not spy (at least
directly) on its citizens. "This organization cannot and does not
target Canadians under Canadian law," he said. CSEC Chief John Forster
echoed Nicholson, stating: "This organization cannot and does not
target Canadians under Canadian law."
With such claims Canadians are supposed to 1) trust that
Canadian law will defend their rights, something which is not at all
consistent with their experience and 2) conclude that it is acceptable
for the Canadian state to violate the privacy of other countries'
governments and people on behalf of certain private interests, just not
"Canadians," something which Canadians also categorically reject.
Canadians should consider that if the Harperites are
carrying out such activities against what they consider rivals
internationally, what are they doing in Canada towards those they
considers rivals and opposition at home? More and more scandal and
intrigue are used as a means to sort out differences amongst political
factions and no doubt the Harperites use every means at their disposal
to attack their enemies at home as well as abroad.
The whole attempt to make the issue whether or not such
agencies spy or do not spy on Canadians is a diversion to cover up that
the Harperites are operating as part of a global gang of rogue states
-- the imperialist system of states -- which more and more follow no
laws or principles consistent with international diplomacy. The
Harperites must not be permitted to continue to use their positions of
power for such corruption and criminal activity.
Energy Monopolies Made Part of
Canadian Security Apparatus
As part of the growing revelations about the role of the
Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) internationally,
the Guardian reports the extent to which various monopolies
have been made a part of the Canadian state's national security
arrangements, including giving their representatives security clearance
and briefings. In an October 9 article, "Canadian Spies Met with Energy
Firms, Document Reveals" the Guardian reports:
"According to freedom of information documents obtained
by the Guardian, the meetings -- conducted twice a year since
2005 -- involved federal ministries, spy and police agencies, and
representatives from scores of companies who obtained high-level
"Meetings were officially
billed to discuss 'threats' to energy infrastructure but also covered
'challenges to energy projects from environmental groups', 'cyber
security initiatives' and 'economic and corporate espionage'.
"The documents -- heavily redacted agendas -- do not
indicate that any international espionage was shared by CSEC officials,
but the meetings were an opportunity for government agencies and
companies to develop 'ongoing trusting relations' that would help them
exchange information 'off the record', wrote an official from the
Natural Resources ministry in 2010.
"At the most recent meeting in May 2013, which focused
on 'security of energy resources development', meals were sponsored by
Enbridge, a Canadian oil company trying to win approval for
controversial tar sands pipelines."
The article continues: "Harper has transformed Canada's
foreign policy to offer full diplomatic backing to foreign mining and
oil projects, tying aid pledges to their advancement and jointly
funding ventures with companies throughout Africa, South America and
In the article, Keith Stewart, an energy policy analyst
with Greenpeace Canada is quoted as saying: "There seems to be no limit
to what the Harper government will do to help their friends in the oil
and mining industries. They've muzzled scientists, gutted environmental
laws, reneged on our international climate commitments, labelled
environmental critics as criminals and traitors, and have now been
caught engaging in economic espionage in a friendly country. Canadians,
and our allies, have a right to ask who exactly is receiving the
gathered intelligence and whose interests are being served."
The Guardian goes on to state that: "Observers
have suggested that Canadian spying on Brazil is related to the
country's auctioning of massive offshore oil finds, potential
competition to Canada's tar sands, and Canada's desire to gain
competitive advantage for more than 40 Canadian companies involved in
Brazil's mining sector."
Concern over Pipeline Reversal Met with
Overwhelming Show of State Force
On October 10, protests took place in Montreal against
the planned reversal of an Enbridge pipeline to ship oil from the
Alberta tar sands. The protests took place outside the Palais des
Congrès in Montreal, where hearings of the National Energy Board were
being held into Enbridge's plan to reverse the flow of its 9B line to
ship crude oil from Alberta to Montreal, via Sarnia, Ontario. Concern
by the public and indigenous peoples over the safety of transporting
oil by train or pipeline, particularly over or through sensitive
ecological regions and inhabited areas, has been heightened after the
Lac-Mégantic disaster and other incidents, especially given the lack of
regulations to hold the monopolies to account.
Shortly after the protest of approximately 50 people
began, the event was declared illegal by the Montreal Police. Dozens of
police on horseback, bicycle and foot, the riot squad, a large number
of police cars and two helicopters, were mobilized. As far as anyone
could see, this response was totally disproportionate and unwarranted,
as the only threat to public security was the disruption to traffic,
public transit and workers trying to get to work caused by the police
themselves. Two groups of the protesters who were mainly youth were
surrounded by police and arrested. According to media reports, nearly
30 people were fined $637 and two others were arrested. Many passers-by
took pictures of the police actions in order to document abuses while
others denounced such a deployment of force where young people were
Organizing to oppose the Line 9 reversal is also taking
place in Hamilton and Waterloo region in Ontario.
Canada in Asia
Government Pushes Interests of Energy and
Infrastructure Monopolies and
Control Over Human Trafficking
Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently visited Asia. He
made an official two-day state visit to Malaysia October 5 and 6,
before proceeding to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders'
Summit (APEC) which took place in Bali, Indonesia October 7 and 8.
Agreements with Malaysia
During Harper's visit, the government of Malaysia
announced an investment of $36 billion over 30 years in liquified
natural gas (LNG) to be exported from British Columbia by its
government-owned energy monopoly Petronas. According to the Globe
and Mail, this figure is comprised of nearly $11 billion for a
proposed LNG export plant, $5 billion for a provincial pipeline to be
built by TransCanada Corp., more than $5 billion already spent on
Petronas' December takeover of Calgary-based Progress Energy Canada
Corp., and the remainder to be spent annually on natural gas wells in
northeastern British Columbia and at gas processing facilities.
Neither the Globe nor Harper said how much
public funding by the Canadian government would go to the various
energy monopolies via these promised projects. Also not discussed is
how this deal relates to the changes to Canada's laws and regulations
made by the Harper and various provincial governments to eliminate
environmental assessments and science-based decision-making when it
comes to approving such projects. Neither was the right of First
Nations to veto such developments on their lands discussed.
Notably, the LNG issue and the promise of big scores for
BC was dangled over the heads of the electorate by the Liberals in the
recent provincial elections. In the Westside-Kelowna by-election in
particular this blackmail was used to secure Christy Clark's election
after she lost her own riding. No doubt Petronas' promised investment
will be used to bolster these claims without any discussion about what
kind of development is being imposed and in whose interests.
While in Malaysia, Harper also signed a Memorandum of
Understanding on "security cooperation" that will "establish a
framework to guide and facilitate future security capacity-building
programming between the two countries."
Given recent revelations about Canada's role in spying
on the Brazilian government and its Ministry of Mines and Energy,
it is reasonable to ask how such "security cooperation" with Malaysia
may be linked to Canada placing its security and intelligence agencies
in Asia in various ways to operate there on behalf of the monopolies it
Harper also announced that Canada would provide more
than $2 million in support for four projects which he claimed will
"help develop Malaysia's capacity to combat the threats of human
smuggling and counter terrorism in Malaysia and across the region."
What exactly are the Harper government's credentials
when it comes to human smuggling/trafficking? Namely the temporary
foreign worker program. Through this program, the federal government
not only provides a veneer of legality for human trafficking, but has
centralized operations through its own agencies. This is done to ensure
the monopolies in Canada get the temporary foreign workers with the
skills they require in a just-in-time manner. This is done while
permitting the monopolies to violate the rights of the workers and
neglect their well-being. Given the Harper government's fraudulent
credentials on this question, one wonders what is this agreement really
One project costing $1 million will be implemented by
the RCMP and Canadian Commercial Corporation and involve "enhancing the
capacity of Malaysian law enforcement to counter human smuggling
operations through the provision of training and related equipment."
Another involves the RCMP training Malaysia's police to
"prevent human smuggling" -- Phase II.
With this project RCMP agents will run training courses
for 128 Malaysian law enforcement officers on topics including
"investigative and interview techniques." According to the Canadian
government this project is intended to enhance the capacity of the
Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and
the Malaysian Immigration Department to conduct more successful
investigations and operations aimed at targeting persons and groups
involved in human smuggling.
Harper in Indonesia
On October 8, while in Bali Indonesia for the APEC
Summit, Prime Minister Harper announced that the Government of Canada
will provide $5 million over five years for a pilot Public-Private
Partnership (P3) Centre in Indonesia.
According to a government news release, the centre will:
"provide technical expertise to the Indonesian Government for any stage
of the project cycle, covering technical, economic and financial
questions; ensure coordination by developing and reviewing project
structures, removing bottlenecks, filling gaps and identifying problems
in the delivery of particular infrastructure projects; and assist in
raising the capacity of relevant entities in the economy to develop
The Harperites hope such pilot projects will lead to a
flourishing of prospects of Canadian infrastructure monopolies hoping
to make big scores from the value produced by Asian workers. The
government expects that the new initiative will "help lead to the
creation of a network of regionally based PPP centres, building on
existing institutions such as the Public-Private Partnership Centre of
the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Infrastructure Centre of Excellence. Both of these are already
supported by Canada and the Asian Development Bank."
Explaining how the project will serve certain monopolies
interested in getting their hands on such infrastructure projects,
Harper stated: "Together with Australia, Indonesia, the Asian
Development Bank and other partners, Canada's support will help the
Government of Indonesia identify a conduit of investment ready
infrastructure projects within the country, and help them overcome the
challenges with domestic coordination on a project-by-project basis."
What exactly these "challenges to domestic coordination" are was not
elaborated. Presumably these are administrative and regulatory
roadblocks which impede the monopolies from making as many big scores
as possible, as fast as possible.
"Quality infrastructure is critical to promoting
enhanced economic growth and development in Indonesia and across the
entire APEC region. The private sector can play an important role in
supplementing government spending on such initiatives, but the right
investment conditions must be in place," said Prime Minister Harper.
"The support being announced today for a pilot PPP Centre in Indonesia
will help the country identify priority infrastructure projects that
require private investment, and will help to address economic and
coordination impediments to their completion," he added.
Canada should have positive relations of mutual benefit
with as many countries as possible. However, this spirit of equality
and mutual respect does not guide the Harper government's conduct in
international relations and Canadians should be very wary of its
activities abroad. Working people in Canada reject the Harperites
neo-liberal, anti-social and anti-national wrecking carried out at home
in the name of what are called "Canadian values." The promotion of
so-called Canadian values abroad is to dress up what are really schemes
to undermine national sovereignty and promote monopoly right at the
expense of the workers and people of other countries, and is equally
Baird's Derogatory Remarks at
Commonwealth Meeting Opposed
In the midst of a situation in the Maldives where the
government is re-running a presidential election, the Harper government
tried to provoke conflict and instability through its Foreign Minister
John Baird at a recent meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers that
was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Showing the gravity of the Harper government's uncouth
actions, the President of the Maldives, Mohamed Waheed wrote to Prime
Minister Stephen Harper to complain about Baird's conduct.
Waheed drew the Prime Minister's attention to the
"inappropriate and derogatory remarks" made by the Canadian Foreign
Minister to the Maldives Acting Foreign Minister, which the President
described has having "put unnecessary pressure on an otherwise
excellent relationship" between the Maldives and Canada.
The President's letter noted that during the
Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group meetings held in New York last September,
Baird posed several harshly-worded questions as well as derogatory and
inappropriate remarks to the Acting Foreign Minister concerning
domestic politics in the Maldives.
The President also stated in his letter that the
Maldives and Canada have similar interests and concern on a wide range
of issues in international politics and that the Maldives would "always
be ready to work with Canada on those issues and expand [the]
relationship" between the two countries.
Instead of stopping its interference in the internal
affairs of a UN member state, something clearly unacceptable in
international affairs, the Harper government upped the ante in an
attempt to create more conflict, insulting the government of the
Maldives even further.
A statement issued by Baird in response to the letter to
"Canada is incredibly disappointed, however not
surprised, by the decision of the Maldives' Supreme Court to annul the
results of the first round of the presidential elections.
"International election observers, including from the
Commonwealth, agreed that the September 7, 2013, election was free and
fair. This delay is completely unacceptable, and flies in the face of
the democratic values of the Commonwealth.
"The people of the Maldives deserve to have their voices
heard, and they demonstrated this clearly on September 7, only to have
their voices dismissed by mysterious means.
"On the margins of the United Nations General Assembly
in New York City on September 26, 2013, I again relayed to my
Commonwealth partners the urgent need to address the issue of democracy
in the Maldives. In front of my ministerial colleagues, I directly told
the acting foreign minister of the Maldives that the latest delays were
unacceptable and directly contradicted the values for which the
Commonwealth is supposed to stand. I also told the acting minister that
Canada has spoken out for the last 19 months on this issue, and will
continue to speak out in favour of democracy and human rights until the
will of the Maldivian people has been recognized through a free and
"Fresh elections must be organized without delay and the
Elections Commission must be permitted to complete its constitutional
mandate of managing and conducting these elections without
interference. Anything less should be met with harsh criticism, and a
firm reaction from Commonwealth nations.
"Canada has said clearly that this current instability
will only fuel continued unrest and violence. We condemn these acts of
violence, and we call on all parties in the Maldives to remain calm and
permit the Maldivian people to exercise their democratic will."
It is precisely instability and an atmosphere of anarchy
and chaos that the Harper government is fomenting by interfering in a
most hooligan manner in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.
Even more egregious is that officials of the Harper government itself
have been found to have violated all kinds of basic democratic
principles in the conduct of elections in Canada for which the Canadian
people have been yet unable to hold the government to account; still it
goes around the world lecturing others about how to conduct elections.
This at a time when the government has once again shut down the
Parliament as it has on numerous occasions when it suits its
self-serving aims. That it is now interfering in the Maldives, invoking
"values of the Commonwealth" -- a body with a queen at its head -- in
the name of democracy, is too much indeed.
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