Thursday, April 16, 2015

C-51 Committee Evidence, Cont'd

Greetings thwapanatics! (That's my new term for my readers. "thwap-fanatics" = "thwapanatics"! I'm going to stop using that term as of now.) When last we left my look at the Bill C-51 testimony at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Steven Blaney, the current no-talent loser that harper has dredged-up to fill a cabinet post was just finishing tell everyone that he, and other harpercon scum were "witnesses and victims" of Martin Zehauf-Bibeau's attack. (Nobody from the opposition benches was there apparently.) Piling-on the irrelevance, Blaney mentioned that three other people agree that Martin-Zehauf's act was "terrorist inspired." I agree. And "The Amityville Horror" was also billed as being based on true events. His act was also based on anger over Canadian interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Blaney pointedly ignores this fact.) Having attempted to link this monstrosity of a bill to Zehauf-Bibeau's attack, Blaney continues ...
That is why I am here today with Minister MacKay to present Bill C-51. This bill includes measures to combat terrorism and will provide additional tools to our law enforcement agencies, intelligence services and organizations that follow up on and oversee our intelligence services.
Our anti-terrorism act, Bill C-51, is ensuring a better protection of our rights and freedoms. 
"Better"? Better than what?
This bill brings more tools for law enforcement and security agencies to tackle radicalization and track terrorists,
Does this include giving CSIS and the RCMP resources to call for an end to Canadian military interventions in Muslim countries? More important, does it include provisions for oversight and accountability that will prevent harassing Canadian citizens, telling the intelligence services of torturing countries that they're high-level terrorist operatives, getting them subjected to torture and while they're being tortured, CSIS is feeding questions to the torturers to ask on Canada's behalf? Will it prevent putting innocent immigrants under indefinite detention based on secret evidence and (often) simple incompetence and delusion? Forget about the sufferings of the victims of these stupid policies! Just think about the waste of public security resources pursuing innocent men and the revenue going to compensation claims that could have gone to public security!
and dramatically increases judicial oversight and review mechanisms to protect our rights and freedoms and the privacy of all Canadians.
 Oh! There it is! "Dramatically increased"? Awesome!
    Mr. Chair, the reality is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and most countries around the world. 
What a stupid man Blaney is. It's like I'm reading Spy Stories For Boys.

Canada and Canadians are being targeted by jihadist terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and hate our values. 
Oh my FUCKING God! He went there! I dealt with this bloody bullshit in yesterday's post. That is a fucking deliberate, stupid lie. Everything else you say will be contaminated by it, you stupid, lying fuck!
This is why our government has put forward measures that protect Canadians against jihadist terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live.
Blaney, you miserable, ignorant slut; I do NOT like the ideals and aspirations of Islamic terrorists. I have no doubt that if they conquered this land, I would not like what they'd do to it. But they can't conquer this country with their cars, their hunting-rifles, their pressure cookers or the tonnes of fertilizer the RCMP buys for them. And that fact has NOTHING to do with your insane policies. And the fact of the matter is that the Conservative Party of Canada is seeking to destroy the very principles that make Canada (one of the) best countries in the world in which to live. And you're doing it right now with this police-state bill. Asshole!

    That is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do, and is instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against the evil ISIL, the terrorist organization Islamic State.

Which was fostered by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and encouraged by the CIA and which spread so easily into Western Iraq thanks to the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government's unpopular, sectarian policies, blah, blah, blah-fucking-blah. Canada' joining the international coalition in Iraq is one of the causes of the
We saw it in Saint-Jean and even here in Ottawa. We also saw it in Paris, in Sydney, Australia, and in Copenhagen. The threat is complex and diffuse. 
Yes. And you don't understand it, even while you're perpetuating it.
It is our duty to take action to protect Canadians while protecting our rights and freedoms.
A tall order indeed!

    Violent international extremist groups, like the Islamic state and Al-Qaeda and its branches, represent a serious threat for Canada. That is why we must adapt and strengthen our capacity to protect our country and its people.


    Because there is no liberty without security.


    In order for freedom to flourish, security is crucial.

Well, so far it appears that Blaney is adept at stringing meaningless words and phrases together (in both languages!). Perhaps that talent is why harper plucked him from the obscurity of the back-benches after a series of resignations.
    These principles protecting security while maintaining liberty are at the heart of our Conservative government's approach to national security. 
No they're not.
 Canadians expect that if one branch of government is aware of a threat to their security, then this information would be shared with other branches of government to protect Canadians, not new information, but existing collected information. 
So, if words have meaning, after the passage of C-51, if the RCMP has "new information" about possible terrorists, they won't share it with any other branches of government. Right? What?
The security of Canada information sharing act, the first part of Bill C-51, is a response to the Air India commission and to many other requests. Mr. Chair, we are doing it to better protect Canadians. The legislation has adequate safeguards built in to protect the privacy of Canadians. We are not interested in giving privileges to the rights of terrorists over the rights of Canadians.
Still babbling. Is there ANYONE interested in placing the rights of terrorists over the rights of Canadians? It's people like Blaney who routinely conflate the rights of citizens as being the rights of criminals and terrorists. Whether he's deliberately, or accidentally making this mistake is inconsequential. Either way, he's unfit for his position.

    As we have heard, this piece of legislation will give the legal capacity to all the government departments and agencies to share information on activities that undermine the security of Canada, in a proactive manner or in response to requests from designated federal institutions with a mandate or responsibilities related to national security. The people in my riding are asking me why we have not done this until now.
They obviously haven't heard about the nice way we shared information with the CIA and the Syrians and the Sudanese government! Share and share alike has been the SOP for a while now. In researching for this paragraph, I came across what is a less rambling, more coherent critique of Blaney's whole shtick which I recommend you all read. (The essay also states that moron MacKay's performance was much more impressive than Blaney's. I can't wait to get to it. It would be hard for it to be any worse though.) Here's an important quote from the link:
To cite one example: It was astonishing to see Minister Blaney suggest that C-51’s information-sharing provisions are responsive to Justice John Major’s recommendations in the Air India inquiry. Indisputably, Justice Major favoured security information-sharing to stave off anti-terror risks – something also true of the earlier Arar Commission (which was about abusive information-sharing).
Boiled to its essence, Air India’s solution was mandatory information-sharing by CSIS to RCMP, and a new mechanism above these services that would decide the eternal question of whether information should be prioritized for intelligence or criminal evidence purposes.
Rather than doing any of this, C-51 opens the floodgates to permissive information-sharing on a vast range of issues going well beyond any existing concept of national security — but without compelling CSIS actually to cough up the crown jewels to the RCMP.
Now back to Blaney's testimony ...

    By definition, under the new legislation, an activity that undermines the security of Canada means any activity that undermines the sovereignty, the territorial integrity of Canada, or the lives and the security of the people of Canada. 
Does that include deregulating freight rail traffic? Proposing a "fire-wall" around Alberta? Under-funding public health care? Getting involved in stupid wars that create enemies for Canada? 

Do you have any idea how ridiculous you are Mr. Blaney? (Of course you don't. If you did, you'd be weeping piteously to yourself every morning, afraid to go our and face the world.)
Many observers have commented on this definition. This morning, I would like to point out that it refers strictly to the sharing of already existing information between federal agencies and organizations. Clearly, it does not relate to the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Clearly, activities that undermine Canada's sovereignty and territorial integrity, or which undermine Canadians' lives and security have nothing to to do with the mandate of CSIS. What? And I've already disposed of your use of the words "already existing information" as being incoherent.

    The second measure proposed by the bill has to do with the Secure Air Travel Act. This legislation would provide a legal framework to define the ministerial powers under the passenger protect program and to broaden the mandate of this program in order to identify, enumerate and mitigate threats posed by two categories of individuals.

    The first category, which includes those suspected of posing a threat to transportation security, is already in place. The second category has not been set up yet. Yet our need for it is great. Those who try to go abroad in order to support terrorist activities are not covered by the legislation. Right now, we cannot prevent them from getting on a plane even though we have reasons to believe that their intent in so doing is to commit a terrorist act.
Okay. Apparently the Secure Air Travel Act is Part II of Bill C-51. Right now, we have the Aeronautics Act, (That link is to a good review of Part II by the way.) wherein the minister of public safety can put people on a Specified Persons List and tell the minister of transport not to allow them to fly board airplanes in Canada. So, there's a first category of people not allowed to board a plane in Canada, and that's people who might try to blow-up the plane or something. Bill C-51 wants to create a second category, where people who want to fly a plane to a place where they'll commit a terrorist act can also be prevented from boarding a plane. Given the fact that some people have been prevented from international travel by Citizenship and Immigration revoking their passports, Blaney must be talking about someone trying to get on a domestic flight to blow-up something in Ottawa or Moosonee or something.

(By the way; note the cooperation and sharing between Public Safety, Transport and Citizenship and Immigration, contrary to Blaney's impression that CSIS agents are being traumatized by having all this information vital to Canadians' safety that they're unable to share with anyone.)

The question is what constitutes "reasonable grounds to suspect someone might be facilitating terrorism" when the government has such elastic definitions of "terrorism" and "facilitate." Do we want a country where a lame-brain like Steven Blaney can say: "I think that person might be going to give a speech to a BDS rally. I'll put that person on a no-fly list because BDS is terrorism and speaking in its support is facilitating terrorism"?

    Once again, Mr. Chair, it is quite clear.

This would put an additional tool in the tool box for our national security agencies when they are combatting the threat of individuals travelling abroad to engage in criminal activities. The act would authorize the Canada Border Services Agency to collect information related to air travellers coming to or living in Canada and to screen them against the list. Having Government of Canada law enforcement officials rather than airline workers screen passengers against the list would better protect the security and privacy of Canadians.

Tell that to Maher Arar. Seriously.
     The bill will also enable individuals on the list who have been prevented from travelling under the program to make a request to be withdrawn from the list. The bill provides for an appeal mechanism. In fact, any person on the list could appeal to the Federal Court. 
That is in the bill. I expect the committee will ask him about it.

    The third measure we are proposing will provide the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) with a new mandate to reduce threats to the security of Canada. It's about time.

I'll say! Wait! What have they been doing all this time?
    Currently CSIS can detect security threats but is unable to take action unlike most allies are doing. With the new threat disruption mandate, CSIS would be authorized to take direct action to disrupt threats to the security of Canada at home and abroad like most of our allies, such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, France, United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. It's about time, Mr. Chair. For instance, CSIS could interfere with terrorists' travel plans or financial transactions, and even intercept weapons to prevent terrorist use. 
This link deals with some of Blaney's assertions here. 
Minister Blaney also continued to imply that, in not permitting our covert security intelligence agency to do disruption, we are laggards among the allies. The list of countries we have failed to emulate appears to be somewhat shorter than that provided by the minister during Commons testimony. This is wise, since no one has yet been able to confirm that the countries on that original roster actually have domestic security intelligence services empowered to violate their country’s law and constitutional rules (at least to the extent proposed by C-51).
This too casts doubt on the minister’s assertion that we are better than other countries, because we will require warrants prior to law-breaking. Again, this is only meaningful if other countries actually allow law breaking. And in fact, some do — for foreign operations. And so one is left with the distinct impression that the minister is advocating a system for CSIS foreign and domestic operations inspired by the lawlessness some allied states permit only for international operations.
CSIS did not have these powers to disrupt because CSIS was formed by the Mulroney government after the McDonald Commission Report that said that the RCMP, when it had both domestic surveillance and police powers, abused those powers for political reasons. CSIS was created by removing the RCMP's spying apparatus and creating a new agency. I've understood that there's long been jealousy and animosity between the two institutions. Also, that the refusal/inability to share information contributed to the failure to prevent the Air India bombing.  Here's hoping there will be detailed investigation of Blaney later in the evidence.

    It is important to note that this mandate is tied to the existing definition of “threats to the security of Canada” that can be found in section 2 of the CSIS Act. This definition has been in place for 30 years and has formed the basis for CSIS' primary intelligence collection mandate since its inception and would be applied the same to the threat disruption mandate.


    With this new mandate, Bill C-51 sets rigorous limits and establishes a warrant mechanism for threat disruption. To my knowledge, we are the only country in the world to add this judicial oversight to the threat reduction mechanism. If the measures proposed might contravene a right guaranteed by the charter or another Canadian law, a Federal Court judge would have to authorize them in advance.
Again, let's remember the inconvenient facts of CSIS's serial fuck-ups and their tragic consequences while Blaney is jerking himself off here. Also remember Saudi and CIA support for terrorist extremists. Also remember that aside from actual murders by people who appear to have genuine mental problems, the rather non-existent extent of the terrorist threat in Canada.

    Bill C-51 also sets out new review requirements for the Security Intelligence Review Committee. We are giving this review committee the legal mandate to oversee CSIS' activities in order to increase responsibility, transparency and respect for the rights of Canadians.
Well, we'll see about that.

    Finally, the fourth proposed measure seeks to amend division 9 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This would allow the government to use and protect classified information as part of immigration procedures, including security certificate cases before the Federal Court and applications for non-disclosure before the Immigration and Refugee Board. Those amendments would ensure the rigorous protection of classified information and would ensure that the proceedings are fair. That would also enable us to ensure that the discretion of the judge is retained in this case and that the special advocate or amicus curiae role is retained in order to protect the interests of non-citizens at in camera meetings.

Given that the whole security certificates thing has been a sick farce, none of that gives me the slightest bit of encouragement. Here's Dr. Dawg on the subject:
The issue here, at least for me, is process. Are we as Canadians satisfied with a judicial hearing that denies the right of an accused to face his accusers in court, or even know what the case against him is? Where CSIS has destroyed evidence and withheld other, exculpatory, evidence? Not to mention the over-reliance on a now-discredited source (Abu Zubaydah)? This might make a good plotline for a latter-day Kafka, but it has no place in a Canadian court.
Keep that in mind as you reflect upon Blaney's self-serving blathering.
Before I conclude my remarks today and hand the microphone to my honourable colleague, I would like to address three key misconceptions that have been put forward by members of the opposition, as well as so-called experts.

    The leader of the NDP has alleged that the legislation before us today means that legitimate dissent and protests would now be considered threats to Canadian security. These allegations are completely false, and frankly, ridiculous. Section 2 of the CSIS Act, which outlines exactly what is considered a threat to the security of Canada, is not being amended in any way by the new anti-terrorism legislation...again, sharing of information, threat disruption.
I'd ask Blaney to sit down and have a chat with Alison at Creekside, but I don't want to subject that fine lady to such an experience.

    Mr. Chair, we reject the argument that every time we talk about security our freedoms are threatened. 
Idiot. That's not the argument. The argument is that you fucking authoritarian "conservatives" use security to threaten our freedoms. That it's a deliberate plan of yours to criminalize dissent and perpetuate an Orwellian state of constant hostility and fear.
Indeed, we believe the opposite. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand.
Whereas anyone who criticizes your proposed legislation believes that terrorists should be ignored by our security apparatus, and travel freely. Also, convicted child molesters should be free to sit on benches near playgrounds as long as they're minding their own business. And criminal gangs should be free to conduct their slayings and shootings in peace. Strawman much Blaney?
 The fundamental fact is that our police and national security agencies are working to protect our rights and our freedoms and it is the jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and who would take away our freedoms.
Except for the fucking fundamental fucking fact that Canadian citizens have already suffered imprisonment and torture because of the incompetence and racism of our police and our national security agencies. And the fucking fact that you don't understand the causes of terrorism. And the fucking fact that you blow-up the threat of terrorism (which your policies help to cause) into a danger greater than it is (and greater than your own policies in other areas are).

    Further, the leader of the NDP made allegations that I feel as Minister of Public Safety are unacceptable, because he said that CSIS, the security intelligence, has broken the law. This is an insult to the men and women who are protecting Canadians on a daily basis, who are risking their lives in unsafe places, 
Gawd! What a whining asshole! If they were spying on peaceful citizens' groups then they broke the law. Suck it up buttercup!
Mr. Chairman. For 30 years there has been the report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which has always provided the certificate demonstrating that they complied with our Canadian law.
Ahem. From the link:
Recall that in her final report as IG in 2012, Plunkett informed the federal government that CSIS often flouts its own policies and makes “numerous” errors in reporting on intelligence matters which undermine the spy service’s credibility and reputation.

She also noted that, despite the IG’s small staff (eight people) and budget (a paltry $1 million) “it is the only independent, impartial resource available to the (Public Safety) Minister to support his responsibility and accountability for an organization which works in secret but has been given highly intrusive powers.”


With the IG gone, that left SIRC as the only agency that occasionally takes a glance over the shoulders of our spies. But, as Plunkett rightly points out, SIRC’s mandate does not include oversight of CSIS — nor is it much of a review agency.
SIRC is a limp, ineffectual body that, from time to time, administers complaints about CSIS it receives from the public. Its five-member part-time executive committee — the current committee has been short one member for ages — meets a few times every other month, and tends to be comprised of ex-politicians looking for something to do with their spare time.

SIRC’s acting chair is Deborah Grey, the former Reform Party MP who — ironically — once agreed with her ex-boss, Preston Manning, when he denounced SIRC in the House of Commons as a useless dumping ground for surplus government hacks.
Now back to the lies of Steven Blaney ...
I ask the member to bring coherent arguments, but not insult those who are protecting us. I ask him to apologize and to keep the debate among politicians focused on facts, truth, and reality. 
That's rich. 
    Furthermore, some commentators have said that the scope of the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada” is too broad, and that the language used is too vague for security legislation. Well, this definition should not be read in isolation. Proposed section 5 of the security of Canada information sharing act further restricts what information can be shared by requiring that information be shared only if it is relevant to the national security jurisdiction or responsibility of the recipient. The definition was intended to cover any information that is relevant to the security of Canada. 
It's already been determined that Blaney misinterprets and mischaracterizes rulings, regulations and legislation. All this will hopefully be taken up by the Committee.
    I'm glad we have here the leader of the Green Party, who has said that the provisions to protect lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent do not go far enough. I would invite the member to further read the legislation carefully. The act clearly states that the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada” does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent, or artistic expression. 
We'll see ...
    It should be noted that the carve-out is for greater certainty, and is intended to reflect the fact that these activities are not intended to be captured by this legislation. Once again, Mr. Chair, the information that is to be captured by this legislation, solely for sharing purposes, with no new information, has to undermine the security of Canada. “Lawful” is intended to be read narrowly and to exclude legitimate forms of protest that are not contrary to the Criminal Code. In other words, not having a municipal permit for a protest would not lead to an otherwise lawful protest being captured by this legislation.
Again; you're an incompetent and a liar. We'll see.
    Similarly, some have said that allowing CSIS to disrupt threats to national security would trample on the rights of legitimate protestors. Once again this is untrue, inaccurate and false. Under the legislation before us today, the threshold for CSIS to engage in disruption is reached if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a particular activity constitutes a threat to the security of Canada. This is the same definition that has been used for the last 30 years. Previously, CSIS did not have disruption powers, allowing them only to collect and retain information to the extent that is strictly necessary. 
But you've already sent innocent people to be tortured! Our police forces are already spying on peaceful environmentalists! You're already spying on our cellphone conversations and internet activities! And just now, you dim-wit, you said that the legislation encompasses threats to Canadians lives and security. A reasonable suspicion of a possible threat to Canadians' security is a pretty flimsy premise to incarcerate someone.

    Security is essential to maintaining our democratic rights and freedoms, and the anti-terrorism act seeks to do exactly that. I hope that all members will support this legislation, with the trust and confidence that we are taking the appropriate measures to protect Canadians and our freedoms and rights.

     Personally, Mr. Chair, I believe that if we were to stand still and not do anything to face this evolving threat, it would be morally irresponsible and immoral.
Ugh. Sickening. I'm glad his opening remarks are almost over.
It is our duty to avoid losing human lives because of bureaucratic silos. We can fix this. Canadians would be unforgiving should we fail to fix this dysfunctional information sharing system. We are probably one of the few countries that is not doing so. Better protecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians while tackling the threat of terrorism is exactly what Bill C-51 is accomplishing. To do so, we have worked in close conjunction with the Minister of Justice and his department, and I am pleased to let him make his remarks.

    Thank you.
I suppose we should be grateful that Maher Arar and Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmed Al Mahti and Abousfian Abdelrazik were not tortured to death because of "information sharing" between CSIS and the CIA. Because that would have made you last stupid outburst really awkward.

You know people, I'm not dissing on Blaney for his inability to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I wouldn't have put myself into his position in the first place. I'm not so deluded and stupid as to have spewed that drivel that he did. I wouldn't have anything to do with Conservative Party scum because I'm not an anti-democratic, thieving moron.

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