Monday, September 13, 2010

RCMP coup d'etat ; CSIS soup de jour

Yesterday my co-blogger Bob at the Beav posted the first part of this Postmedia story about the RCMP's intent to return to an emphasis on "national security" :
RCMP warn against threat of coup d’etat

He titled his post Canadian Coup de RCMP because the second part of that news story was about an alleged attempted coup against Lester Pearson perpetrated by the combined efforts of the RCMP and the CIA.
Shortly thereafter the Postmedia story disappeared off the web but has since reappeared this morning almost word for word at the Montreal Gazette : RCMP identify coup d'etat as threat.

I'll pick up the second part of that story where Bob left off in case it disappears again :
Over the past year, the Mounties have signalled a renewed emphasis on national security issues that have been pushed aside by law enforcement's preoccupation with global terrorism since 9/11.

In a major speech last fall, for example, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said while transnational terrorism and "homegrown" radicalization remain big threats, so too are economic espionage by foreign states, transnational organized crime, proliferation issues, illegal migration and other border-security issues.

While hyperbolic, the mention of a coup threat appears to reflect the force's return to a broader operational approach to guarding national security.

It's also not the first talk of a government overthrow.

The 1999 book Agent of Influence alleged the U.S. CIA plotted a de facto coup of Lester B. Pearson's government in the early 1960s.
Canadian author Ian Adams claimed that after the 1963 assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy, CIA counter-intelligence branch head James Jesus Angleton became convinced Pearson was an agent for Russian intelligence and supposedly had information from a Soviet defector backing him up.

"The CIA took great personal offence at Pearson's independent stands in foreign policy, his grain trades with the Soviet Union, his antiwar positions on Vietnam, and especially his friendly stance on Cuba," wrote Adams.

To get at Pearson, the CIA set its sights first on Canadian diplomat James Watkins, Canada's ambassador to Russia in the mid-1950s and a friend of the prime minister.
After 27 days of interrogation by the Mounties, the 62-year-old Watkins's troubled heart gave out and he died, apparently without supplying the confession the spymasters hoped could bring down the government.
Chilling if a Canadian ambassador died under RCMP "questioning" at the behest of the CIA. A defacto attempt at a Canadian coup de RCMP.
Although the story references "James Watkins", Holly Stick correctly noted the mistake at Bread and Roses - reporter Ian Macleod actually meant "John Watkins"

While RCMP Commish Elliott seems to be signalling that the RCMP wants a budget to return to handling national security intelligence issues, CSIS was created in 1984 precisely to separate domestic policing from spying.

Yesterday CSIS policy on torture-based evidence was muddied up again.

Much was made back in March 2009 of CSIS testimony before the public safety committee in which CSIS lawyer Geoffrey O’Brian admitted there is no absolute ban on using intelligence that may have been obtained from countries with questionable human rights records on torture.
Not possible to tell whether a particular piece of evidence was obtained through torture, he explained, allowing that Canada continues to share intelligence info with Egypt and Syria.

The following day CSIS Director Jim Judd explained that O'Brian was "confused" and Van Loan issued a statement to the effect that CSIS does not knowingly use any information obtained by torture, which is in effect pretty much what O'Brian originally said anyway.

Not noted in the media at the time was that 24 minutes into that committee meeting, when the same question was put to him, RCMP spokesman Gilles Michaud, then only eight months in the job, backed up O'Brian's comments on torture-derived info :
"I want to be clear here - there is no absolute ban on the use of any information by the RCMP."
which should come in pretty handy should the RCMP expand its scope back into the "national security" business .
The G20 police state shenanigans are looking more like a practice run all the time, aren't they?


West End Bob said...

Thanks, Dear (Almost a) Lady Alison! All links updated thanks to you ! ! ! !

Anonymous said...

Four years ago Zacardelli threw the elction to the Cons and now the RCMP under the Cons are worried about future coups?


Anonymous said...

It's down again!
All the postmedia carried it last night, now some have first couple of paras only. No CIA or Pearson.

Calgary Herald now has blank page but related topics on sidebar are Lester Pearson RCMP and CIA. lol

Anonymous said...

pmoharper :
Had the RCMP coup d'├ętat article pulled - RCMP needs more focus on selling fake fertilizer and dummy detonators. #cdnpoli

Boris said...

At first misread the line as "...continues to share intelligent life with Egypt and Syria..." Either would do me thinks.

Yes on the Toronto practice run. I had started a post on that somewhere back there that I might reconstitute as soon as I finish this bloody paper.

You and Dave are on fire today. Good work.

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