Friday, May 15, 2015

C-51 Hearings: More Questions From NDP's Randall Garrison

So, yesterday's post showed us both Steven Blaney and Peter MacKay babbling like the nitwits they are, trying to explain why they previously removed the state's power to take down hate speech from the internet but are now saying the state should have this power to fight "terrorism" because, as Blaney pontificated, "It all starts with words." He would go on to say that the Holocaust and the Rawandan genocide were both products of (at first) words. So, Blaney was not talking about actual terrorist plots being posted on line. The Nazis never announced their "Final Solution" for the Jews. They did not broadcast to the German people to kill all the Jews. Almost up to the end they employed deceit and codewords to mask what they were doing. When Blaney talks about the "words" that were used, he is referring to the murderous, hateful words that Hitler and his gang of bigoted psychopaths used to set the tone for what they planned on doing.

But, the NDP's Randall Garrison insisted, if hateful words cause genocides, why
take away the Human Rights Commission's power and give it to the Department of Public Safety under the guise of fighting only "terrorism"?

Neither Blaney nor MacKay could give a good answer because the truth was hard to dignify. Ordinary right-wing racism is fine and dandy. But anything that targets the system, from actual terrorism to protesters, is fair game for suppression.

Garrison gave up on that line of questioning and turned to Blaney's bullshit about "robust judicial oversight" of CSIS trampling of Canadians' Charter rights to fight terrorism.

    I want to go back to the question of oversight. Again, when I was asking the minister, he said the warrant authorizes this disruptive activity if it involves illegal or unconstitutional activity, but he didn't get a chance to respond to my question, which is how does that ever get oversight from a judge? Once that warrant is issued, how does that ever get back before the courts?

    You talk about judicial oversight. I don't see any way.... In contrast, when the RCMP uses disruptive tactics as part of a criminal investigation, that ends up back in front of the courts and the courts do get to see that, but in this case, they are secret activities not aimed at criminal prosecutions and so they will not appear before the courts.

    As you know, we now have had the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for more than 30 years. In my capacity as Minister for Public Safety, and as Mr. Easter also had the opportunity to do in the past, we already have judicial oversight that relates to collecting information. This goes through a robust oversight mechanism first.
    When CSIS is willing to carry out collection activity that would require a warrant, it has to submit its proposal to the Department of Public Safety. There are more than 1,000 people working at Public Safety with experts who have the experience to validate that, and those people give me a recommendation on whether or not I should accept the warrant to collect information. Those activities—

Blaney always sounds like someone who doesn't have confidence in what he's saying. He has to lard on the complimentary adjectives to the slightest thing to try to sell his ideas because he senses the core of what he has to say is either nonsense or very thin gruel. Like what; do 1,000 people look at a warrant request? Are they all "experts" with "more than 30 years" experience?

     Minister, the question is about afterwards; how does this get back before the courts after the warrant?

    Well, what I want to tell you is that we're conducting those activities. We've already been conducting those activities for 30 years. Afterwards, what happens, where we have oversight, we have a review body. We have the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and I just quoted how the role of SIRC is important, but let me give you another quote this morning.

    Thank you very much.
    We will now go to Mr. Payne.

So, it's SIRC once again. The Committee that stephen harper felt so highly of that he appointed Arthur Porter to the position of its Chair.

By his own telling, there was nothing that justified his appointment to SIRC, beyond the debased coin of patronage. Once installed at SIRC, his attitudes towards the conduct of Canadian intelligence were, at best, superficial and, at worst, at odds with Canadian values. Porter was not a fit guardian, and brought into disrepute the office that Canadians rely on to keep tabs on our spies.

Porter tells us in his memoir that he ticked “all the right boxes” for an appointment to SIRC. What he means by the “right boxes” is clear: He was a known Conservative, had friends in the party, routinely attended fundraisers, did the back-slapping routine and was a doctor with an African background and international experience. In other words, he was a patronage appointment with multicultural benefits. No mention is made of his non-existent knowledge of security and intelligence matters, or his complete lack of political experience.

In a way, it's fortunate that this fraudster wasn't interested in CSIS or his job at SIRC. Imagine if he'd gotten it into his head to see if there was some way he could take advantage of his position?
One of Porter's replacements, former harpercon MP Chuck Strahl, was forced to resign because, as a pipeline lobbyist, he'd be in a blatant conflict-of-interest. (Given that anti-pipeline protesters are a target for CSIS and the oil industry controls the government and therefore CSIS.) "Damned stupid rules!" harper must have fumed.

I've already posted other condemnations of SIRC's inadequacies during this series. I don't think there's any need to further go into the uselessness of Blaney's argument here.

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