October 12, 2013 - No. 40

Governments Must Uphold Public Right, Not Monopoly Right!

Harper Government Turning Canada
into Rogue State

Governments Must Uphold Public Right, Not Monopoly Right!

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 spy network.

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 organizations.

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 and 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.

(With files from Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, RT, The Guardian)

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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 security clearance.

"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 Asia.

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."

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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 victimized.

Organizing to oppose the Line 9 reversal is also taking place in Hamilton and Waterloo region in Ontario.

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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 serves.

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 about?

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 PPPs."

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 unacceptable.

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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 Harper stated:

"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 fair vote.

"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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