The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Canada facilitated NSA spying on 2010 G8 and G20 summits

The Harper Conservative government made the Toronto G20 summit the occasion for a vast state provocation, with police taking over much of the downtown of Canada’s largest city, and using violence and mass arrests to suppress protests. Last week we learned that in addition CSEC and NSA were jointly conducting a highly sensitive spying operation, thereby furthering a reactionary partnership that has placed the world’s communications under systematic surveillance of the type that the police states of the 20th century could only dream of.

NSA’s Canadian counterpart runs massive domestic spying program | World Socialist Web Site

On Monday, the Globe and Mail reported that in November 2011, Defence Minister Peter MacKay signed a secret directive authorizing the CSEC to continue its “mining” of the metadata of Canadians’ telephone and internet communications. The Globe said the program had been first authorized by Bill Graham, Defence Minister in Paul Martin’s Liberal government, in 2005, that is six years earlier.

MacKay, like U.S. President Barack Obama, responded to this revelation of massive state spying by flatly denying that CSEC is “targeting” Canadians or violating constitutional prohibitions on warrantless surveillance of their communications. This lie is predicated on the drawing of a spurious distinction between the metadata created by any electronic communication and the rest of the communication and on the transparently false claim that such information is innocuous.

Obama signs executive order imposing harsher sanctions against Iran | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

The United States on Monday ratcheted up its efforts to isolate Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program, targeting Tehran with currency and auto-sector sanctions.

U.S. President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on foreign financial institutions that conduct or facilitate significant transactions in the Iranian rial currency.

In an executive order, the president also approved sanctions against people who do business with Iran’s auto sector, which the White House said was a major source of revenue for Tehran.

The United States and Western powers have imposed a series of economic sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran into halting what they say is a drive to build a nuclear weapon. Tehran says its nuclear program is purely for generating power and for medical devices.

Last week, the United States blacklisted eight companies in Iran’s petrochemical industry.

“We hold the door open to a diplomatic solution that allows Iran to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their obligations,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “However, Iran must understand that time is not unlimited. If the Iranian government continues down its current path, there should be no doubt that the United States and our partners will continue to impose increasing consequences.”

The sanctions imposed on the rial on Monday included a ban on maintaining significant accounts outside Iran denominated in that currency. It is the first time that trade in the rial has been targeted directly for sanctions, the White House said.

Canada follows suit:
Canada bans all imports, exports with latest Iran sanctions

More on the sanctions:
Congress Moves Toward Full Trade Embargo on Iran by Jim Lobe

Canadian Government Under Harper Reclaims Authoritarian Counterterrorism Powers | The Dissenter

Security forces in Canada arrested two people on Monday afternoon and announced a terrorist plot backed by al Qaeda had been disrupted. The Federal Bureau Investigation had been working for the past year with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which tracked suspects who were allegedly planning to attack a passenger train headed from the United States to Toronto.

In the wake of the arrests, it was reported by Embassy in Canada that Canadian and US police agencies were “locked in private talks over how to effectively launch pilot projects that would allow American agents from organizations like the FBI and the US Drug Enforcement Administration to be accredited as police officers in Canada, with the power to arrest individuals on the street like any Canadian cop.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and conservatives also used the shock of the moment to pass restore authoritarian counterterrorism powers that had been part of anti-terrorism legislation, which had passed after the September 11th attacks. Yet, there has been essentially no coverage of these developments in US media. (In fact, because the men were tracked for a year, it was suspected the arrests may have been made on Monday to increase support for the bill.)

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was asked during a press brief about Canada working with the US to thwart a terror plot on April 23. She would not answer the question. “Sorry to disappoint, but I really refer you to the Department of Justice and the FBI in terms of law enforcement cooperation.” (The FBI and Justice Department put out no press releases on the arrests by the RCMP.)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation put up an article that clearly outline the powers the anti-terrorism bill had restored:

1. Investigative hearings are reinstated

An individual can be forced to appear at a secret hearing without any charges being laid if authorities believe he or she has knowledge of a terrorist activity. The individual must appear and answer questions or risk being jailed for up to 12 months.

2. Preventive detentions are reinstated

An individual can be held for up to three days on suspicion of being involved with terrorism. Upon release, he or she can be ordered to uphold probation-like conditions, such as not contacting certain people, for up to 12 months, without ever being charged with any offence.

Both measures passed with sunset provisions, as they did in 2001. That is how they went off the books in 2007; they were not renewed.

When the measures were last on the books, according to The Globe and Mail, neither of these measures were used. There was an investigation into the bombing of an Air India plane. A court order had granted authorization for an investigative hearing. The order was challenged. The Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that investigative hearings were not unconstitutional, however, the hearing never was held.

Harper invoked the Boston bombing and the two arrests in order to justify expanding the government’s power. He also said, “This is not a time to commit sociology.” [++]

Omar Khadr deserves parole, now that he’s home | thestar.com

To the bitter end, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government seems determined to compound Canada’s shame in the Omar Khadr affair. The Americans were prepared to ship him home from Guantanamo Bay on April 13. He could have been back a month later. But Ottawa chose to take its sweet time, grudgingly repatriating him only on Saturday in one final shrug of indifference.

Most Canadians are repelled by the jihadist extremism that Khadr and his family embraced, and feel betrayed by them.

Even so, he is a Canadian citizen who was effectively abandoned by his own government in the near-hysteria that followed the 9/11 attacks. He was held and abused by American captors for a decade, most of it without trial. He was judged by a discredited military tribunal of vengeful enemies in what President Barack Obama once called a “legal black hole” that compromised core American values. And he was denied his rightful status as a child soldier under international law.

This case is an indictment not only of the Conservative government, but of its Liberal predecessors. Unlike other U.S. allies with detainees at Gitmo, Canada never forcefully objected to the abuse Khadr endured, lobbied for his return, criticized his lopsided prosecution or asked for leniency. No Canadian citizen should ever again be cut adrift as he was.

By now Khadr has spent 10 years behind bars for his wrongdoing. That’s years longer than he would have spent in prison here, had he been convicted in a credible Canadian court of first-degree murder as a young offender. Now that he is finally back on Canadian soil, the corrections service and parole board should work toward freeing him at the earliest safe opportunity, subject to a rehabilitation program that includes psychiatric care, monitoring and schooling. He has already done excessive time for his misdeeds.

Omar Khadr repatriated to Canada | thestar.com

Khadr was detained when he was 15 years old:

Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr, the Toronto-born detainee whose decade-long case has bitterly divided Canadians, is on his way home to serve the remainder of his sentence.

The Toronto Star has learned that the 26-year-old prisoner was flown off the U.S. Naval base on Cuba’s southeast shore and expected to arrive in Canada early Saturday morning.

Guantanamo officials notified Khadr of his transfer Wednesday, assuring him he would be repatriated by the end of the weekend, a Pentagon source said.

Just where Khadr will be incarcerated – or where the U.S. military flight will land – continues to be a closely guarded secret.

But a Canadian government source told the Star in an interview earlier this year that the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines’ maximum-security facility, near Montreal, was a strong possibility. The prison’s Special Handling Unit, nicknamed “the SHU,” houses the majority of Canada’s prisoners convicted of terrorism offences.

[…]

Under Canada law, Khadr will now be eligible to apply for parole by next summer. In 2008, Khadr’s lawyers proposed a rehabilitation plan that included psychiatric treatment at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, religious counselling by a local imam and a tiered integration program that would see Khadr closely monitored for as long as four years.

However the government has given no indication that there is any formal plan in place for Khadr during his incarceration and has refused to answer questions on the case.

Whichever side of the debate you were on, there was no denying the significance of the moment. Marois, who was criticized by the Liberals for wearing a symbolic red square in solidarity with students for much of the conflict, made a promise to cancel the tuition increase — and she moved quickly to fulfill that commitment. Students, who organized countless marches and clanged pots and never wavered from their goal of keeping education accessible with a tuition freeze, seemed at last to have triumphed definitively.

In Quebec It’s Official: Mass Movement Leads to Victory for Students

[Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John] Baird said, at some length, that Canada simply does not like Iran. The Islamic Republic supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in his brutal crackdown against rebels. It continues to be dishonest with the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear programs. It backs dangerous organizations, including terrorist groups, in Lebanon and Afghanistan. Its loudmouth president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, often rails against Israel and Jews and doesn’t treat leaders and diplomats with respect. Mr. Baird even went so far as to claim that the current government of Iran is ‘the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.’ Even if that were true, it would not be a reason to sever diplomatic ties – in fact, it would be a very good reason to maintain them.

By cutting ties with Iran, we just shot ourself in the foot | The Globe and Mail

I shouldn’t have to add that Baird’s laundry list is pretty much just rank Western propaganda.

Canada Severs All Ties With Iran, Expels Diplomats

Much to the delight of Israeli hawks, the Canadian government announced today that it is severing all diplomatic ties with Iran, closing its Tehran embassy and expelling every Iranian diplomat from Canada.

Foreign Minister John Baird, detailing the move, condemned Iran as a “threat to global security” and insisted the move was a response to Iran’s hostility toward Israel. Israel has regularly been threatening to attack Iran, though in recent days it is suggested that they are climbing down off that threat.

The move was loudly praised by Israeli officials as well as the ADL, which urged the world to “follow Canada’s lead” in severing ties in the lead up to a potential war, saying the nation’s civilian nuclear program and “anti-Semitic rhetoric” can no longer be tolerated.

It was immediately questioned by former Canadian diplomat John Mundy, who noted that it was a “grave step and it can’t easily be reversed.” He also lamented the precedent it set, as the first time Canada has proactively taken a step to reduce its ability to facilitate peace negotiations.

(Source: jayaprada, via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

nationalpost:

‘Act of gratuitous violence’: Two shot, one killed at Pauline Marois’ PQ victory party

MONTREAL — Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois was abruptly dragged off stage by bodyguards midway through her victory speech Tuesday after a 62-year-old man allegedly opened fire into the theatre where she was speaking.

The shooting left one victim dead and a second in critical condition. Because of the possibility that Marois herself may have been the target of the shooting, the Quebec Provincial Police have taken control of the investigation.

There appeared to be some linguistic link to the attack. When police took the suspected shooter away, the ranting man declared, “The English are waking up.” (The Canadian Press/Reuters)

Related:
Quebec picks PQ: Separatists’ win leaves big questions unresolved
Victory behind her, Marois must face the non-yahoo majority
Where do the Quebec election results leave us?

(via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

Quebec appeals court upholds law limiting protests

sinidentidades:

MONTREAL — A court of appeals in Quebec on Monday upheld a lower court’s rejection of a request to scrap parts of a controversial law enacted to quell student protests against tuition hikes.

Special Law 78 was passed on May 18 after clashes between police and students opposed to an 82 percent tuition hike at universities in the French-speaking province of eight million people.

By law, protest organizers must now give police at least eight hours advance notice of any demonstration, and face hefty fines if they fail to do so.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s centrist government says the measure protects the peace by simply outlining where and when protests may occur.

Opponents, however, say it breaches their rights of assembly and free expression.

In its ruling, the lower court rejected a petition submitted by students to suspend two provisions of the law while waiting for consideration of another petition which challenges the constitutionality of the law.

Judge Francois Rolland, in explaining the lower court ruling, wrote that the sections in question “do not prevent protests, even if certain limitations are imposed.”

They target organizers, not protest participants, he added.

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)