Friday, November 29, 2013

Canadian MSM scrambles to defend NSA spying

The National Post and Toronto Sun have both put out pieces trying to justify the NSA's presence as "just doing their jobs". The only problem? The jobs they assume they were doing are completely different, arriving at two completely separate conclusions for their purpose of being here.

The Toronto Sun claims:
For some sensitive souls — oh, all right, the CBC — that is enough to start hyperventilating when it’s revealed the Harper government allowed the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to do covert work in Canada during the 2010 G20 summit.

Something they do all the time on a global scale as part of the Five Eyes multi-national intelligence network.

The Five Eyes is a club that consists of the Unites States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Each member has its own internal and external agencies that for almost 70 years have shared everything they gather. Sometimes within their own borders, sometimes outside.

Not only that, the respective members of this elite club mirror political systems and inherited versions of British law that makes this possible with limited judicial oversight.

They are far from alone.

Spying is an international trade that knows no borders. The advent of the digital age has made it easier than ever to see what people look at online or discuss during telephone conversations.

The argument that just because everyone does it somehow makes it right is of course spurious, but the greater good is served if a potential terror attack is thwarted.

Think of the first question that is always asked after terrorists do their work: “Why didn’t somebody see this coming?” is universally uttered by those most affected.

Andrew Parker, director of the U.K.’s peak security service MI5, made it clear in a speech in London last month that spies exist for a reason.

They are there to watch us. We might not like it, but they do it all the same.

“Being on our radar does not necessarily mean being under our microscope. The reality of intelligence work in practice is that we only focus the most intense intrusive attention on a small number of cases at any one time,” Parker said.

The NSA was in Canada because it saw a threat to U.S. interests in general and its human capital in particular. Simple as that.

They didn’t watch everyone, read every e-mail or listen to every conversation. As Parker points out, security agencies do their work in a targeted manner because they don’t have the ability to be everywhere at once.
So, according to the Toronto Sun they were there because they "saw a threat to U.S. interests". Which is interesting isn't it? They couldn't trust our $1billion summit's super-security lockdown even though CSIS had declared prior to the summit there were "low terrorism risks"?
The upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Huntsville, Ont., and Toronto do not appear to be the subject of terrorist chatter, the head of Canada's spy agency said Monday.
"I think [there is] surprisingly little on the terrorism front," Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge in an exclusive interview.

"We don't think there is anyone who is really interested in doing any harm from that perspective."

"Anarchist groups" and "multi-issue extremists" are a different matter, however, Fadden suggested.

"Nothing attracts the world media like the G8 and G20, so anyone who is interested in getting their issues in front of the public, I think, are interested in being in Toronto," Fadden said at his Ottawa office. He predicted turnouts of "a substantial amount of people."
So there wasn't a threat terrorism wise, right out of the mouth of CSIS, yet there was a threat "anarchist and multi-issue extremist" wise. Going back then to the author's point of asking "why didn't somebody see this coming?", one has to ask how 10000 police, the NSA, CSIS, and CSEC all couldn't see the "black bloc" riot coming, even though they were expecting it to happen, even though it was triggered by a flare, even though mainstream media said prior "we're expecting some trouble", even though the entire Toronto downtown core was covered by CCTV.

The author also goes on to say these 5-eyes share information, both "inside and outside their borders", then assures you all you weren't the target.

Let's see what the National Post has to say.
The allegations contained in the CBC report are interesting, no doubt. The NSA reportedly set up a command post in the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, and worked closely with a “Canadian partner” to gather intelligence on foreign delegations, to provide “support to policymakers.” In other words, listening into what the foreign delegates were saying to each other, and then quietly passing that information onto the U.S. and Canadian leadership.

We do not have confirmation that Canada spied directly, but it almost certainly did, or at least facilitated U.S. efforts.

Both the chief of CSEC, John Forster, and Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday that CSEC cannot eavesdrop on Canadians or visitors here, nor can it ask a foreign friend to do so on its behalf. However neither would say what would happen if the NSA offered to do so.

Even when dealing with allies, every country in the world does its best to analyze what a partner’s negotiating position is going to be. How far will they bend to get a trade deal? Just how concerned about a border dispute are they? A lot of the information that governments seek is available to them through conventional means — news media, public statements, regular diplomatic channels. Some of it has to be obtained clandestinely.
First of all, CBC's release explicitly states that:
The NSA and its Canadian "partner," the Communications Security Establishment Canada, gather foreign intelligence for their respective governments by covertly intercepting phone calls and hacking into computer systems around the world.

The secret documents do not reveal the precise targets of so much espionage by the NSA — and possibly its Canadian partner — during the Toronto summit.
There is no mention of "foreign delegates". The national post is taking previous reports of spying on delegates at other G20s and assuming the case is the same here. And why? Oh, for the "trade" aspect. Getting that insider info, you know?

So, two posts claiming that you have no reason to be concerned and the reasons are clear why they were here even though the "obvious" reasons are on completely different ends of the map and neither post really even bothers to investigate the legality of it which really should be the focus here, shouldn't it? Plus the NSA show no regard for laws anyway.

Canadian Trends: The G20 is the nexus of everything Canadians really need to know


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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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