Wednesday, October 09, 2013

CSEC data mining Brazil's mining data

Amusing to see both NaPo and the G&M are hosting remarks from former CSIS deputy director Ray Boisvert dismissing the recent Snowden/Greenwald docs which revealed CSEC spied on Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry
Snowden was present at the Five Eyes conference where the CSEC presentation on their Olympia spying program on Brazil took place.
Boisvert in both papers:
“We were all too busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people. The idea that we spend a lot of time, or any time at all, on a country like Brazil is pretty low margin stuff, not likely to happen.”
The docs probably only represent "a war gaming exercise", says Boisvert, just “paper exercises” :
 'OK, let’s say our target in counter-terrorism lives in Mali and we have to go up against the Malian telecommunications system.’ They’ll go look at another country and say, ‘OK, well they have a similar network so let’s do a paper exercise and say ‘what do we need?’” he said. “I think that’s all this was.'
Because when you're "busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people" and stuff, naturally your anti-terrorism war games will entail a cyber-espionage program searching for corporate secrets in a country where 40 of your own country's mining corporations are operating. 

Wouldn't have anything to do with looking for info on Brazil wanting to block a Canadian mining company from opening the largest open pit gold mine in Brazil, would it? Brazilian prosecutors say the company has failed to study the impact on local Indian communities and has advertized on its own website "plans to build a mine twice the size of the project first described in an environmental assessment it gave state officials."

Ok, foreign media. The Guardian, today : 
Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal
The Canadian government agency that allegedly hacked into the Brazilian mining and energy ministry has participated in secret meetings in Ottawa where Canadian security agencies briefed energy corporations.
According to freedom of information documents obtained by the Guardian, the meetings – conducted twice a year since 2005 – involved federal ministries, spy and police agencies, and representatives from scores of companies who obtained high-level security clearance. 
Meetings were officially billed to discuss "threats" to energy infrastructure but also covered "challenges to energy projects from environmental groups", "cyber security initiatives" and "economic and corporate espionage".
The documents – heavily redacted agendas – do not indicate that any international espionage was shared by CSEC officials, but the meetings were an opportunity for government agencies and companies to develop "ongoing trusting relations" that would help them exchange information "off the record", wrote an official from the Natural Resources ministry in 2010.
Thank you, Enbridge, for providing the snacks for the one in May 2013.  
Keith Stewart, an energy policy analyst with Greenpeace Canada, said:
"There seems to be no limit to what the Harper government will do to help their friends in the oil and mining industries. They've muzzled scientists, gutted environmental laws, reneged on our international climate commitments, labelled environmental critics as criminals and traitors, and have now been caught engaging in economic espionage in a friendly country. Canadians, and our allies, have a right to ask who exactly is receiving the gathered intelligence and whose interests are being served."
Good question. And did no Canadian media request these same FOIs?
You know, I think I blogged about government security briefings to energy companies a few years ago - I'll see if I can find it.

Meanwhile, would be interesting to hear Boisvert's explanation as to why the CSEC logo appeared on another NSA doc about intercepting phone calls and emails of ministers and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit in London
More "paper exercises"? Filling in an empty spot on the page while chasing bad guys? 

And re the recent NSA spying on Brazil PM Dilma Rousseff and the state oil company Petrobras. Did CSEC help out its Five Eyes partner there too?
Back in 1983, CSEC spied on two of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet ministers on behalf of Thatcher and Britain's spy agency GCHQ, so this wouldn't exactly be new territory for CSEC.

Fun fact : The annual report on CSEC produced by its independent watchdog commissioner must first be vetted by CSEC "for national security reasons" before it can be released. [head/desk]
P.S. I pillaged the CSEC slide at top from Lux ex Umbra, where you can view the rest of them.

Friday update : Don't shrug at spying.


dz.alexander said...

Thanks for bringing these articles together

West End Bob said...

I loved a quote by a Canadian "expert" regarding CSEC spying on Canadian citizens. "That would be illegal and not done" or something to that effect.

Greenwald in response said "There is nothing illegal about Five Eyes members spying on Canadian citizens and as Canada is a Five Eyes member, the information would be available to them."

So much for that argument, eh ? ? ? ?

Alison said...

Ok, Bob, you just quoted that to make me nuts, didn't you? Spying on Canadians is part of CSEC's legal mandate :

Communications Security Establishment Commissioner,
Annual Report 2012 - 2013

CSEC assistance to CSIS under part (c) of CSEC’s mandate (Page 21)

"CSIS is authorized to collect threat-related information about Canadian persons and others and, as discussed above, is not subject to territorial limitation.
CSEC’s assistance to CSIS under the warrants may include use of Canadian identity information and the interception of the communications of Canadians."

and they do use it :

Page 33 : "In 2012, CSEC started using a new on-line secure system to process requests for and disclosures of Canadian identity information. CSEC provided my employees with a demonstration of the system, which is currently used with CSEC’s principal clients. CSEC intends to extend its use to other partners starting in the coming fiscal year."

CSEC spies on Canadians : watchdog report

Anonymous said...

Alright. So why does CSE keep repeating that it doesn't spy on Canadians because that would be illegal and why does Canadian media keep going along with it and repeating it?

Alison said...

I have no fucking idea. Presumably because they haven't read the fucking watchdog report.

Dana said...

And now for something completely different.

West End Bob said...

I'm fucking luvin' your fucking replies today, M'Lady!

Giving me a few chuckles for sure!

XXXOOO . . . .

the salamander said...

.. one begins to understand the so called 'legacy' Stephen Harper craves is anchored (mired) in resource extraction, both domestic and offshore.

Thus we begin to perceive and understand the behavior pattern of a reclusive mole.. Shunning the public and electorate, toiling obscurely, tunneling, digging, wriggling back and forth.. controlling a network of what can only be described as dwarts.. dull witted fellows & women desiring to be led somewhere.

More and more this explains a politician, a clerk .. in way over his head, as he is operating underground. Twisting law and legislation, denying anything that benefits from denial, operating vast propaganda schemes, making lawyers and litigators wealthy. rewarding fraud and incompetence, working steadily to poison the political well, & torch the landscape and natural environment..

Come up to the surface Stephen Harper .. you've been operating sub surface for far too long.. and you're getting very dirty ..

We need you to answer publicly regarding what you and your dull government has been up to on your behalf.. and corporatists behalf.. when you were supposed to be working on our behalf..

Anonymous said...

Alison, re your frustration on the media mantra of CSEC doesn't spy on Canadians, I think you're forgetting how the news cycle naturally moves on these stories.
1. Ignore it
2. Deny it
3. Brand it a conspiracy theory
4. "Yeah, we've been saying that all along."

Anonymous said...

It's already off the pages of the news. Why do they bother? Clapper already said : "It is not a secret that the Intelligence Community collects information about economic and financial matters, and terrorist financing. We collect this information for many important reasons: for one, it could provide the United States and our allies early warning of international financial crises which could negatively impact the global economy. It also could provide insight into other countries’ economic policy or behavior which could affect global..."

Boisvert protecting core supporters sensibilities, LOL.

Binney in Toronto the other day had a warning to Canadians: "That is what fascist states do. That is what totalitarian states do ... prompt our governments to think they need information about everybody."

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