Wednesday, May 20, 2015

C-51 Hearings: Oversight of CSIS?

Yesterday we left off with Blaney and MacKay explaining to a fellow harpercon that lowering the threshold for putting a peace bond on someone or a recognizance on them will make it easier for the government to control the entire population, thereby helping to save us all from the dreadful fate of terrorism.

Which was a useless stating of the obvious blended with an equal part of creamy bullshit.

The questioning now moves to the NDP again:

     Thank you very much.


    Ms. Doré Lefebvre, you have five minutes.

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    If I may, I would like to continue to talk about the civilian oversight of CSIS, because a number of questions have been left unanswered.
    Right now, the civilian oversight body of CSIS provides a report after the fact. Bill C-51 gives new powers to CSIS, but this is what I am wondering. Who will provide the oversight in real time? Who will ensure that CSIS complies with the warrants?

    Bill C-51 is providing several new powers to CSIS. Right now, the civilian oversight body provides a report once a year after the fact. Will we find out what happened after the fact as is the case right now, or will we know in real time what is happening exactly?   

    The answer is very simple. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is subject to all Canadian laws, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and privacy laws.
    It is important to specify it this morning. The threat reduction activities set out in the legislation cannot undermine the physical integrity or health of an individual in any way whatsoever.

In other words, Blaney is saying that CSIS promises not to do something illegal, and, according to C-51, it is specifically stated that CSIS is not allowed to physically injure you or kill you.

I guess now would be a good time to remind Blaney that CSIS sent questions to Syrian torturers, to ask of Canadian citizens who CSIS told the Syrians were high level terrorist suspects. This very definitely undermined the physical integrity and health of these individuals.
    Mr. Minister, I would still like to know where we are at on that. It is an extremely important aspect and several experts have pointed it out over the last few weeks. What is the situation with the civilian oversight? Will it stay the same, meaning it will take place after the fact, or will there be an oversight mechanism? Do you think it would be a good idea to have a mechanism providing oversight in real time so that we know exactly what is happening?
Ms. Doré Lefebvre is asking about something like the Office of the Inspector General:

On June 18, 2012, the Harper government passed a 431-page omnibus budget bill. Buried in the text was a plan to scrap the Office of the Inspector General, one of two oversight bodies that scrutinizes Canada’s most prominent spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).  

Although the office will no longer exist, and its role of entering CSIS facilities to review records and monitor the agency’s compliance with law and policy will no longer be performed, a separate oversight body, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), will continue to deal with public complaints and conduct reviews of selected elements of the service’s activities. 
However, Paul Kennedy, chief legal counsel for CSIS between 1988 and 1994 and the former head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (the Mounties’ oversight body) from 2005 to 2009, spoke out publicly against cutting the inspector general before the budget bill was passed. 

In a May 2012 op-ed on the website iPolitics, he wrote that the move was akin to the minister cutting off his “eyes and ears,” a term sometime used to describe the Office of the Inspector General.

Kennedy challenged the idea that last summer’s rewriting of the oversight laws was simply a matter of eliminating redundancy. He told Briarpatch: “Rather than being a combining of functions, there was a reduction, overall, of oversight of the intelligence agency. The powers that were transferred do not mirror the powers which were [previously] performed by the inspector general.”

Kennedy pointed out that the inspector general used to visit CSIS facilities and review records.

“SIRC doesn’t do that monitoring. It will do complaints and it will do strategic reviews but it isn’t monitoring the files the same way that the inspector general did,” explained Kennedy. “These things were complementary. They were designed as complementary tools.”
While the Security Intelligence Review Committee deals with public complaints against CSIS and conducts reviews of its activities on behalf of Parliament, the inspector general’s role had been to monitor CSIS to make sure it was acting in compliance with policy and the law.

Yeah, apparently they saved $750,000 [!] shutting that office down in 2012. Dirty fuckers.
    That is what I am telling you. We have both: the belt and the suspenders. We have an oversight mechanism at all times.
Well, no. Here, you're LYING Steven Blaney. You're a fucking LIAR.

Let me remind you that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service must respect the law; its inherent responsibility is to respect the law.
    I also mentioned other mechanisms, such as the authorizations granted through ministerial directives or through a judge, in some cases.
I presume that you, as a minister, are also sworn to uphold the law, right? So everything's kosher? And your ramblings about a judge have been at the centre of these questions. If a judge uses secret evidence, offered by the self-interested spies, to approve an action, the NDP wants to know how we will ever find out if CSIS abused its warranted authority. Actions that don't lead to court proceedings have no further judicial oversight. Blaney's been asked this again and again. And, obviously, having helped in creating this bill, he's thought about this fact again and again. The fact that he's spouting such bullshit shows that he's aware there are limited safeguards against abuses.
    Over the past 30 years, the roadmap of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been listed in the annual reports of the review committee that has the power to intervene in various sectors.
    This morning, you are giving me the opportunity to remind you that Bill C-51 gives more powers to the review committee, specifically enabling it to review the threat reduction activities. 
Which, we've already seen, is complete garbage.
    Yes, but that takes place after the fact. Do the provisions in Bill C-51 make it possible to provide more powers to the Security Intelligence Review Committee?
Okay people. I cheated. I read on ahead a little bit. If you thought Blaney's performance has been revolting up to now, ... well, you ain't heard nothin' yet!!
    Yes, there are the legal warrants for threat reduction cases. As we have seen, that does not affect the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
Did you see that? Blaney decided to answer a specific question with an answer that he feels compelled to admit is completely irrelevant. (Only to avoid the embarrassment of having been called on it.) It would be funny if it wasn't so terrifying.

It has to do more with preventive arrests related to warrants. There are additional tools for both cases. 
More irrelevancies. Remember people, Blaney might sound like a cretin who has been called out in class to summarize a chapter he's barely read. But what he really is, is a con-man of limited mental abilities trying to lie and pretend that there will be sufficient oversight for the newly empowered state spying agency when there will actually be less oversight than before.
In addition, let me remind you that, to my knowledge, we are the only country that does not have those tools. We checked what tools many of our allied countries have. We must realize that we are lagging behind. Right now, all the intelligence services of our allies can reduce the threat. They are able to take action.
The proper response to that drivel would have been: "Mr. Blaney, if France jumped off a cliff, should Canada do so too?" Blaney is being asked about judcial/civilian oversight of greatly expanded domestic spying powers. He is being asked to describe Canada's safeguards. He is failing to do so and trying to distract the people with useless generalizations and assertions about what other countries are supposedly doing.

    Remember that your first question was about whether we had anti-radicalization prevention measures. Right now, the intelligence services that are in the line of fire, where radicalization takes place, are not able to intervene to reduce the threat. To be consistent in taking a stand to reduce radicalization, we must be in favour of threat reduction measures. Let me say this again: we are the only country to include judicial oversight and a warrant issued by a judge.
First of all, the question he's supposed to be answering is about the watchdog that will ensure that CSIS does not abuse its greatly increased powers. NOT about supposed limitations on CSIS's ability to intervene when "radicalization takes place." I'll wait for testimony from more credible witnesses before I believe that. In fact, I think I recall Craig Forcese saying that he's lying. Might as well try to find it ...
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.

At any rate, warrants won’t usually be required for CSIS international operations. C-51 only requires a warrant where the conduct would violate Canadian law or the Charter. These instruments rarely extend to overseas government conduct. And so the trigger requiring the warrant will rarely be pulled.
Right. So, he's lying again.

    As part of this warrant, the service must describe all the activities to the judge. The judge can deny or issue the warrant or bring in a third party to obtain a critical opinion. That is the system in place and we are strengthening it through Bill C-51.
Again and again and AGAIN Blaney has been asked about what happens AFTER the warrant has been issued. THAT is the goddamned question and he's been avoiding it. And he's simply LYING when he says they're strengthening what was previously in place. They have WEAKENED what was previously in place.
    Right now, there are positions available on the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Will you be appointing people quickly to fill those positions?

    There are already 15 to 20 full-time employees. There are four commissioners and a fifth position needs to be filled. Clearly, we must have experts. For instance, the last person to be appointed is Mr. Holloway, the dean of a law faculty.
    As Minister MacKay said, it is important to entrust this mandate to people who have the necessary skills. That is what the staff of the Security Intelligence Review Committee does.

    Thank you very much, Mr. Blaney.
What a disgraceful spectacle. Lying, obfuscating, power-mad psychotic imbecile.

There should be no hint of collegiality between the opposition parties and this scum.

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