Tuesday, August 27, 2013

China, Canada sign military co-operation initiative

If you aren't in the habit of reading the China People's Daily, you probably missed the news that Canada signed a military co-operation agreement with China this summer - because certainly our own media haven't seen fit to mention it. 

When DefMin Airshow MacKay met his counterpart General Chang Wanquan in Beijing in June, CBC only reported on how MacKay "laid down clear markers" on "cyberattacks originating in China", comparing hacking to terrorism. 

The People's Daily had a slightly different take on the same meeting : 
China, Canada sign initiative on military co-operation.
"China and Canada signed an initiative on military cooperation as defense ministers of the two countries held talks in Beijing on Monday. The two sides held that China and Canada are important countries to the Asia-Pacific region and bear common responsibilities in safeguarding peace, stability and prosperity in the region."
... called the tarsands, they did not add.                Here's the DND version.

Meanwhile, the Canada-China FIPA investment agreement, which had been tabled last September, was still quietly moldering away in some mysterious Con legal netherworld while Steve approved the $15.1-billion takeover of Nexen by the Chinese state-owned oil company CNOOC.  

Five days ago, China DefMin General Chang was in Ottawa signing the "People's Liberation Army military cooperation program and Canadian Initiative" according to Xinhua, and shaking hands with Canada's new DefMin Rob Nicholson, who swapped portfolios with MacKay in July.

Again from The People's Daily : 
China, Canada vow to strengthen military cooperation
"Chang said military relations between China and Canada have maintained a sound momentum of development, as evidenced by frequent contacts between military leaders of the two sides, and their smooth and close coordination on global and regional issues.
Meanwhile, continuous progress has been made in bilateral military cooperation, such as in military training, international peace-keeping, defense education and mutual visits by warships, he said."
Three days previously, Chang signed a similar sounding deal with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Washington ... peace, stability, security, prosperity, yadda yadda yadda.
Chang said China had been invited to participate in next year's RIMPAC in Hawaii, "the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise", along with 22 other countries including the US, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Japan.

The day after Nicholson and Chang signed their symbolic war games agreement in Ottawa, MultiCultMin Jason Kenney and CitImmMin Chris Alexander announced $1.5-million in federal funds to build a memorial in Ottawa to the tens of millions of innocent victims of Communist regimes around the world :
Once completed, this memorial will teach future generations how millions lost their lives and suffered in inhumane conditions at the hands of Communist regimes,” said Minister Kenney. “It will also serve as a reminder to all Canadians that glorifying Communist symbols insults the memory of these victims, and that we must never take for granted our core values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Ooodles of press gravy for the red meat base on this one.
I'm guessing the monument got a nice press kit and the military co-operation agreement did not.

Your second moment of irony - see the man to the left of Nicholson and Chang in the People's Daily photo op above ? That's former CSIS director Richard Fadden, who shocked people three years ago with his remarks about public officials and cabinet ministers in BC/Alberta being under the influence of China, however unwittingly.
This April, CBC reported that Fadden had been shuffled to Defence.

Here's part of that 2010 interview with Mansbridge :


Update : Laila Yuile was on this days ago! and included a fascinating speech from Ambassador Zhang Junsai at a luncheon in Calgary in May :
“Many people have even started to talk about North America’s potential of becoming the new Middle East.”
Thursday night update : Murray Brewster/CP breaks media silence:

 China's defence minister meets with Tory ministers amid undisclosed stop
Notable from his story : 
"Defence expert Rob Huebert said the government’s silence is puzzling and troubling.
Earlier in its tenure, the Harper government took a hard line on China’s human-rights record, Huebert said, and the Conservatives may be reluctant to be seen “cozying up” to Beijing for domestic political reasons, and at a time of heightened international tension. 
Beijing has strong trade ties with the regime of Bashar al Assad

This government does have a history of secrecy regarding contentious trade and military agreements. There was the SPP with the US and the "homeland security" accord with Israel.

Back in Oct 2007, the Jerusalem Post announced : “Israel, Canada sign security accord”, a Canada-Israel agreement on “homeland security matters”.
Stockwell Day’s comm director first denied it, then said it was non-binding : “The minister didn’t sign anything” - but Israel’s Ministry of Public Security website said signing was imminent.
Five months later Day announced it from Tel Aviv : a Canada-Israel Declaration of Intent to cooperate on mutually agreed threats like border security, a Canada-Israel border pact. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stephen Harper and his fluffers

What an extraordinary amount of work it takes to keep Steve afloat.
(Think the flapping bald guy requested a copy he can show to his kids?)

But it obviously is a lot of work - getting election endorsements from 95% of the nation's media owners; prorogation; contempt of parliament; election fraud; polling fraud; muzzling backbenchers, gov. academics, and staff; gutting and dismantling independent gov. departments and research - like the ELA and StatsCan; lying about the costs of things he wants - like the F-35; the EAP ads; creating a climate of fear in the civil service; marginalizing labour and the provinces; cutting funding for NGOs; tabling a budget without numbers and cutting short debate on it; appointing 58 Cons to the Senate; shilling for the tarsands; and of course surrounding himself with grifters and bagmen, and prats like that knitted scarf above, running up and down pumping up 12-year olds in China to cheer for Steve so the footage can be shown to the Canadian public back home. 

But mostly, mostly what it takes to keep Steve afloat is taking the already profoundly apolitical Canadian public and making even more of us too disgusted and disheartened to have anything to do with politics at all. 
This is Steve's legacy to us.

Thwap has a few ideas about how to shift this sorry state of affairs from the ground up - which is the only way any real and lasting change happens - and wants your help mapping out a plan.
Thwap : Part 1 ; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4.

We have to start somewhere.

Friday, August 23, 2013

CSEC spies on Canadians : watchdog report

While whistleblower Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have published reports about the USA's NSA and UK's GCHQ joint electronic surveillance of Brits and Americans, we've been pretty much in the dark in Canada about our own government's surveillance of us.

An annual report tabled two days ago from the independent watchdog commissioner for Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency Communications Security Establishment Canada elicited the following timid headlines repeated throughout yesterday's press coverage.
Post Media : Canadians may be victims of illicit spying 
NaPo : Canada’s spy agency may have illegally targeted Canadians: watchdog 
CBC : Security watchdog says agency may be spying on Canadians  
Star : Eavesdropping agency may have spied on Canadians, watchdog says
Whoa. "May be spying on Canadians"? "may"?   Which report did they read?

Several of the articles quote this reaction from a spokesy for DefMin Rob Nicholson :
 "The privacy of Canadians is of utmost importance. CSEC is prohibited by law from directing its activities at Canadians anywhere in the world or at any person in Canada."
Sure. Part (a) of CSEC's mandate** prohibits spying on "any person in Canada" or Canadians anywhere in the world.
Part (b) is a little looser, permitting CSEC to use information acquired by the Government of Canada system owners to protect their computer systems from mischief.

But Part (c) ... Part (c) specifically directs CSEC on when it may spy on Canadians on behalf of CSIS.

Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, 
Annual Report 2012 - 2013

CSEC assistance to CSIS under part (c) of CSEC’s mandate (Page 21)
In 2009 ... the Honourable Justice Richard Mosley*** ... issued the first warrant permitting CSIS to intercept the communications of Canadians located outside Canada using the interception capabilities of CSEC ... from within Canada.This assistance includes CSEC supporting CSIS with the interception of Canadians’ communications if CSIS has a judicially authorized warrant. 
CSIS is authorized to collect threat-related information about Canadian persons and others and, as discussed above, is not subject to territorial limitation.
...  the collection of the information by CSIS with CSE[C] assistance, as proposed, falls within the legislative scheme approved by Parliament and does not offend the Charter.
CSEC’s assistance to CSIS under the warrants may include use of Canadian identity information and the interception of the communications of Canadians.
So what's with these timid headlines, national press? Are you suggesting that while CSEC was permitted to spy on Canadians for CSIS, they didn't actually do any?

No, obviously not. Page 24 :
During the period under review, CSEC responded appropriately to two related privacy incidents it identified involving the unintentional release of Canadian identity information of some of the subjects of the warrants. 
 ... another incident involv[ed] the interception of communications for CSIS for a small number of days after a particular warrant had expired [due to] unintentional human error 
 Page 27 : the amount and treatment of private communications and Canadian identity information acquired by the activities as well as a sample of those private communications and Canadian identity information used by CSEC
Private Communication: “any oral communication, or any telecommunication, that is made by an originator who is in Canada or is intended by the originator to be received by a person who is in Canada"
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. 
Headlines later on in the day gave us the CSEC response : 
Ottawa Citizen : CSEC Says It Is Not Breaking The Rules About Spying On Canadians  
PostMedia : In wake of spying allegations, Communications Security Establishment Canada insists it didn’t break law
No, CSEC isn't breaking the rules but only because those rules allow it to spy on Canadians while working under the guidelines of CSIS. 
But they don't say that, do they? Instead we get weasel crap like this :
“The commissioner’s statement about a lack of records is a reference to a single review of a small number of records gathered in the early 2000s, in relation to activities directed at a remote foreign location,” the agency said in an emailed response.
Yes, part of the commissioner's complaint is directed at incomplete records in "early years". Doesn't exactly address CSEC spying on Canadians since though, does it?

So how did all you reporters at different media outlets all separately decide to downplay the watchdog commissioner's report on electronic surveillance of Canadians to "may be" spying?

Yes, I realize he wrote a nice positive preamble about how he sees himself as working with CSEC on a "complementarity" not an adversarial basis, "more as CSEC’s conscience than as a sword of Damocles" and how he's been quite pleased with the results.   Further he writes that "where I have no mandate to follow-up, I may refer questions to SIRC that concern CSIS".

We recently learned that since 2009, CSEC - as a Five Eyes intelligence partner with the US, UK, New Zealand, and Australia alongside CSIS, RCMP, and CBSA - has been authorized to exchange intelligence with other nations even if there is “substantial risk” that sending info to or requesting info from a foreign agency would result in torture ... just as long as a deputy minister or agency head gives it the ok. 

What happened to Maher Arar - once so shocking to all of us - has a legal basis here now.

So you reporters in the Canadian media can't be letting us down like this.  
Read the friggin report - it's only 46 pages long.

More from POGGE : On watchdogs with no bite.

**CSEC’s mandate [Page 9 from Commissioner Robert D├ęcary's report ]
When the Anti-terrorism Act came into effect on December 24, 2001, it added Part V.1 to the National Defence Act, and set out CSEC’s three-part mandate:  
• part (a) authorizes CSEC to acquire and use foreign signals intelligence in accordance with the Government of Canada’s intelligence priorities;  
• part (b) authorizes CSEC to help protect electronic information and information infrastructures of importance to the Government of Canada; and 
• part (c) authorizes CSEC to provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies, including helping them obtain and understand communications collected under those agencies’ own lawful authorities.

***The Honourable Justice Richard Mosley was a primary architect in the drafting of the 2001 Anti-Terror Act and more recently the judge in the six-riding election fraud case.
Sunday update : Michael Geist :
"Canadian domestic communications that travel from one Canadian location to another may still transit through the U.S. and thus be captured by U.S. surveillance. Despite these risks, Bell requires other Canadian Internet providers to exchange Internet traffic outside the country at U.S. exchange points, ensuring that the data is potentially subject to U.S. surveillance."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Surveillance theatre

Given the sheer pointlessness of :
1) destroying the Guardian copy of Snowden hard drive data after being informed there were two other copies in existence elsewhere anyway, and 
2) detaining Greenwald's partner Miranda for 9 hours under a terrorism statute when they knew he isn't a terrorist
we are reliably inclined to view this as a clear intent to intimidate the Guardian and Greenwald, as well as any other media with the audacity not to equate journalism with terrorism. 

But there may be another possibility.

In this Guardian article published earlier this month based on Edward Snowden's cache of docs, we learned the USA has supplemented the GCHQ's budget to the tune of 
"£100m over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain's intelligence gathering programmes" 
It contains a number of quotes from GCHQ officials wittering on about whether they were "seen to be pulling their weight" and doing enough to keep the NSA happyThe US is apparently pleased with the GCHQ's "selling point" as a "light oversight regime compared to the US", and also presumably with the UK's laws of prior restraint, not available in the US, to muzzle the British press. However the US had 
"raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA's minimum expectations". It said GCHQ "still remains short of the full NSA ask".
UK's biggest fear is that "US perceptions of the … partnership diminish, leading to loss of access, and/or reduction in investment … to the UK" 
GCHQ said that by 2013 it hoped to have "exploited to the full our unique selling points of geography, partnerships [and] the UK's legal regime" 
So as successful as the seemingly pointless tactics against Greenwald and the Guardian may yet prove to be as intimidation, it's possible the actual intent here was two acts of detain and destroy surveillance theatre designed to display GCHQ loyalty and usefulness to their heavy maintenance NSA investors. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

If everything is under surveillance ...

A powerful two minutes with Jacob Appelbaum of Tor Project and Der Spiegel. 
Mr. Appelbaum has been flagged and detained many times like Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda was at Heathrow three days ago. An American citizen, he no longer travels to the US.

Wall Street Journal, Aug 20 2013 :
"The NSA, in conjunction with telecommunications companies, has built a system that can reach deep into the U.S. Internet backbone and cover 75% of traffic in the country, including not only metadata but the content of online communications."
The Guardian, Aug 1 2013
"The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain's intelligence gathering programmes. The top secret payments are set out in documents which make clear that the Americans expect a return on the investment, and that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands. 
Ministers have denied that GCHQ does the NSA's "dirty work", but in the documents GCHQ describes Britain's surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a "selling point" for the Americans.

Appelbaum transcript:
"I think at its core what is at stake is the ability for a human being to have dignity and for journalists to have integrity with their sources, and from that I believe that it threatens the whole concept of a free democracy.
This is I think in a sense being shown in the last 48 hours to the extreme and I don't mean that as hyperbole but if everything is under surveillance, how is it that you can have a democracy? 
How is it that you can organize a political function or have confidentiality with a constituent or with a source or with a friend or with the lover?
That's fundamentally an erasure of fundamental things that we have had for quite some time.

And planetary surveillance has very serious concerns, not the least of which is economic espionage and not the least of which I think for me personally is about journalistic source protection.
I mean how is it that we will be able to protect our sources if there's no way to securely meet, no way to communicate about having a meeting, no way to actually communicate about basic facts? 
There's no such thing as on or off the record when in fact you don't control the record.

And it's not merely a matter of whether or not we have something to hide because it is not us that will decide whether we have something to hide - it is an analyst somewhere, it is a machine learning algorithm somewhere. And this is the thing that is perhaps the most terrifying : because people are flagged, then other people are dispatched. Each person plays their role and more and more a machine plays that role, a machine that does not understand constitutional protections, does not understand the Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights, does not understand humanity. It's a machine and the humans they behave like machines too - which is a great fear - that humans will start to behave like machines. 

And so what is at stake is in fact democracy where we still have it."

Pink Floyd, 1975
"Welcome, my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been? It's alright we know where you've been."

h/t West End Bob for Democracy Now link.

Monday, August 19, 2013

UK destroys The Guardian's "Snowden" hard drives

Just as we are absorbing yesterday's news that Glenn Greenwald's domestic partner was detained at London's Heathrow Airport for 9 hours under Schedule 7 of the UK's Terrorism Act while they asked him all about Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden ?!?! ... comes this column today from the Guardian's Editor-in-Chief, Alan Rusbridge :
David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face

In it he describes how two months of visits from "senior government officials" demanding he hand over the Edward Snowden material culminated in an ultimatum a month ago :  
"..hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more." 
And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two Government Communications Headquarters security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement ..."
 "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro."
Extraordinary. This is tantamount to the Inquisition taking away Galileo's pencil.
Thumb drives and crowd sourcing be damned! The truth will only revolve around whatever the surveillance state says it is.
Rusbridger : 
"It felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London."
The smashing of the Guardian's hard drives and the detention of Greenwald's partner under UK terrorism laws is not about containment or security or catching members of alQaida, is it?  It's about laying down fear of the state into any reporter or publisher who would embarrass them. 
"One U.S. security official told Reuters that one of the main purposes of the British government's detention and questioning of Miranda was to send a message to recipients of Snowden's materials, including the Guardian, that the British government was serious about trying to shut down the leaks."
So the UK gave the US a heads up on Miranda?
Yeah, well, good luck with your whole confiscating the pencils thing.

Related : Did Canada spy on journos at the Toronto G8/20 summit?

1am Update : Most of the over 1600 comments under the Guardian editor's article are both outraged at the gov's actions and grateful for the editor's courage, but hundreds of them challenge the Guardian on two questions to which Rusbridger occasionally responds :

1) Why didn't the Guardian publish news of this hard drive smashing immediately?
Rusbridger: "we had our reasons. can't go into everything."

and 2)Why didn't the Guardian force the gov to take them to court rather than capitulate, thereby driving the gov's actions into the open?
Rusbridger : "UK would have gone to law (as threatened). From that moment the court would be in charge of the Snowden material. The penalty for destroying it or refusing to hand it over could be extremely punitive. I mean, unlimited fines - not jail ."

As to why Rusbridger buried his lede 9 paragraphs into the article : "sorry, couldn't help that"
the destruction of the data? : "er, well, not quite. We destroyed something... of which we had had least two other copies."

And most interestingly, why didn't the gov confiscate the drives to inspect them instead of destroying them?
Rusbridger : "They never touched the hard drives, so, no they got nothing from them. I don't know what they know..."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

These aren't the drones you're looking for

The RCAF has determined it doesn't require permission from civilian authorities to fly its drones through domestic airspace, according to a 2011 briefing note obtained by David Pugliese. The US, Europe, and Israel require civilian oversight but Canada does not.  

Having leased some Heron drones for use in Afghanistan from Israel, the world's largest drone manufacturer, the Cons want to purchase 18 UAVs for $1.5-billion plus.
Here's a short vid inside the Heron plant in Israel from two weeks ago .

So we already have the tech to build Skynet, we just haven't told it not to bother us with details yet.
An Israeli drone rep in the vid predicts that by the year 2035, drones will comprise 95% of the airborne fighting force, although the narrator explains :
"For all the claims of precision supporters of the use of drones make, a recent study found that strikes carried out by drones are 10 times more deadly to civilians than strikes by manned aircraft."
Well, what's a little collateral damage between military client states, eh?

And what about safety issues when you aren't trying to target anyone? Or as the US Congressional Research Bureau put it in 2010: "UAV accidents are “multiple times higher” than their piloted counterparts." 
The RCAF docs from 2011 do outline a concern with developing the tech not to bash unmanned into civilian things by accident :
"An autonomous ‘sense and avoid’ capability will be pursued to permit ever increasing access to Canadian Airspace"
but an RCAF spokesy advised Pugliese two days ago that :
while aerospace firms are working on a sense and avoid system for UAVs, that is not considered an essential requirement for the Canadian military’s planned purchase of such aircraft.
Three months ago, Israel ditched one of its Heron drones into the Mediterranian due to an engine problem and grounded all the rest pending investigation.

Notable that we don't have enough money to keep the Kitsilano marine rescue station open or fund the ELA or build a school in Attawapiskat or look into missing aboriginal women or house the homeless or make foreign aid independent of corporate interests or begin shifting our petrostate economy into something that permits the continuation of life on earth, but somehow there's always $1.5 billion lying around for the military to buy stuff like unmanned surveillance with the option to make things go boom.
Or, as I like to consider sometimes, if we were starting our society over from scratch, is this how we'd choose to organize it?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

SNC-Lavalinks in a small, small, small Con world.

Gwyn Morgan, chairman of SNC-Lavalin for six years til this past May, portrayed the beleaguered company in his recent July G&M article as "the victim of embezzlement by two trusted, long-time executives."
There are several long-time execs to choose from here so I'm not sure exactly which two he is referring to.  Morgan, you will recall, was Harper's pick to head up his 2006 ethics and accountability commission. 

Helping SNC-L out during this period of victimhood is the Harper Government, who just extended them a defence contract worth $400 million over up to ten years to provide Canadian troops overseas with military logistical support. An SNC-L exec VP said they were proud to support the Canadian Forces.
The World Bank might have banned SNC-L and its affiliates from bidding on their aid projects for 10 years due to allegations of engaging in corrupt or fraudulent practices across four continents - and CIDA has followed suit - but the Public Works Dept. has its own criteria.

Likewise the crown corporation, Canadian Commercial Corporation, best known for its primary job of  selling $1.4-billion of Canadian military technology to the US Department of Defense, will soon decide whether to award SNC-L the contract to build a children's hospital in Trinidad Tobago. SNC-L has already finished designing it as part of a joint Canada/Trinidad Tobago venture and like the SNC-L MUHC hospital deal in Canada, it's a public-private partnership.
People in T&T are understandably concerned about dealing with a company caught up in the largest corporate corruption case in Canadian history, with fraud and bribery charges pending in Libya, Algeria, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Montreal, but as T&T High Commissioner to Canada and former SNC-L exec Philip Buxo explained
 "The T&T Government is not involved in the decision-making process to hire any Canadian company to construct the hospital. The full responsibility for the selection of any company is the exclusive responsibility of the Canadian government’s designated co-ordinator, the CCC.”

It's a small, small, small world ...

In December 2003, Philippe Couillard, then-Quebec Health Minister and now newly-crowned Quebec Lib leader, appointed Brian Mulroney to head up the feasibility study for MUHC superhospitals. A decade earlier Mulroney had appointed David Angus, director of Conservative Fund Canada, to the Senate.

Senator Angus was a director-at-large of the MUHC board that approved the recommendation of the search committee and hired Dr. Arthur Porter as CEO in Jan 2004. Angus became MUHC chair in 2007.

In Sept 2008 Harper appointed both Porter and Couillard to SIRC. 

The MUHC board ratified the choice of SNC-L to build the $1.3 billion mega-hospital in a public-private partnership in April 2010. Three weeks later, SNC-L payments of $22.5-million in consulting fees to Porter's Sierra Asset Management began rolling in, continuing six months after Porter left MUHC. 

Senator Angus continued to stand by Porter publicly, no matter how damning the news about himIn Nov 2011 Arthur Porter stepped down as MUHC director general, followed by Senator Angus' exit as chair of MUHC a month later. 

Fun fact : When SNC-L decided to conduct an internal audit into all this in 2012, it hired Senator Angus' law firm Stikeman Elliott LLP, from which he retired in 2009 as a senior partner after four and a half decades.
Update : Excellent piece on the SNC-L/T&T deal from economists Patricia Adams and Brady Yauch :
"The injudicious decision by one Canadian federal government agency to arrange an untendered, closed-door deal for SNC-Lavalin while another, the federal police force, investigates the company for wrongdoing seems lost on government officials. Canadian taxpayers would be right to charge, as are Trinidadian and Tobagonians in their own country, that our government is failing to maintain proper standards in the handling of public projects. 
More fundamentally, untendered, closed-door deals arranged by the Canadian government for any company can’t help but create the very environment in which bribery, corruption, and conspiracy to defraud taxpayers and ratepayers thrives.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rob Ford, Sopranos Edition - A timeline

2005.  Scott MacIntyre , convicted drug trafficker and boyfriend of Rob Ford's sister Kathy, is charged along with another guest with shooting Kathy in the face and stealing the family Jag at one of the famous Ford Family BBQs . Charges against MacIntyre are dropped.

2008 A reunited MacIntyre and Kathy are busted for stealing licence plates and possession of B&E equipment. Kathy is convicted but charges against MacIntyre are again dropped.

Jan 11 2012 MacIntyre enters Ford's home and yells : "You owe me money, your sister owes me money. If I don’t get it, they will kill me," and "You and your family are going to get it. You are going to pay for it.” 
Picked up hours later from a hotel room and charged with uttering threats and possession of heroin and cocaine.
Two weeks later, MacIntyre writes Kathy a letter from where he is being held in Toronto West Detention Centre asking her to get the charges against him dropped :
"You and your family have one chance to leave me the f--- alone and stop this s---, or I am going to start a s--- storm. You and your family think I should play nice, f--- you."
MacIntyre writes a second letter to the Star "indicating that a reporter should come and speak to Mr. MacIntyre for information that he could divulge to the papers."

March 22 2012 MacIntyre has his leg broken by another inmate while in custody at Toronto West Detention Centre. 

June 2012 MacIntyre arrives in court in wheelchair and pleads guilty, ensuring no further related evidence will be released. Sentenced to 5 months in addition to time served and since released.

March 25 2013 7pm, Rob Ford shows up after hours at Toronto West Detention Centre and asks for a tour of the place. Refused, he asks to see one particular inmate, Bruno Bellissimo, an old family friend, and is again refused. Neighbours report Ford seen at Bellissimo residence.

Three days later ...
March 28 2013 3am. Anthony Smith, far left, and Muhammad Khattak, far right, are shot in the street by Nazir Hashimi. Smith dies of gunshot to the head.

US site Gawker reports on a cell phone video of Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack and mouthing slurs and obscenities. A photo is released of Ford with Anthony Smith, Khattak, and Monir Kassim outside an Etobicoke bungalow occupied by Ford's longtime friend Fabio Basso

May 3 2013  After watching the Alleged Ford crack video in the back seat of a car with video hawker Mohamed Siad, two Toronto Star reporters confirm Ford identity.
May 16 2013 They publish their story. Ford denies existence of video but then the same day blurts out the location of the video at two 320 Dixon Road apartment numbers located a few hundred meters from the Etobicoke bungalow to his staff members. Ford's Chief of Staff Mark Towhey reports it to police.

May 21 2013 Shooting at Dixon Road complex; Etobicoke bungalow scene of violent home invasion and iron pipe beatings.

May 23 2013 Ford fires Towhey, followed by the resignations of five other staff.

May 25 2013 : G&M details The Ford family’s history with drug dealing

June 13 2013 Khattak and Kassim and Mohamed Siad are all picked up during Toronto Police drugs and guns dragnet Project Traveller targeting area around crack house where alleged Ford crack video was taken. 56 arrested. Defence lawyer unable to say if Ford crack video was found during arrests while Toronto Police Chief Blair refuses to link raids to search for Ford crack video. A few days later Siad is stabbed multiple times in the Don Jail.

June 27 2013 Nazir Hashimi pleads guilty to manslaughter death of Anthony Smith, "virtually ensuring that any related evidence will never be aired in court."

July 9 Khattak released on bail. July 30 Kassim released on bail. July 13 Hanad Mohamed, a second man charged with three counts of accessory after the fact in the shooting of Anthony Smith, released on bail. A publication ban is imposed on evidence given in court.

Perhaps someone more familiar with the nuances of Toronto society could help me out here if I'm missing any pertinent points.

Update : Aug 16 Star timeline from Donovan and Poisson
(warning : includes annoying instant-start sound vid interview at bottom)
Update : Nov 1 NattyPost graphic of the players

Thursday, August 08, 2013

REAL Women supports Russian "family values"

Harper campaigns to his cheering anti-gay base in Ottawa, April 2005 :
"Your beliefs, your values, our values, are the real Canadian values. And you know my position. You know the position of the Conservative Party of Canada. When elected Prime Minister at the next election, whenever that may be, we'll bring in legislation that will define marriage as the union of one man and one woman."
Well that was then, huh, Gwen?
Problem for you is Steve really really likes being PM. So he's cool with you helping him get elected and in return you got to help give out some medals and make the occasional ham and bigot sandwiches for the base

From the REAL Women newsletter, October/November 2011
Homosexuals Demand Changes to Criminal Code 
Members of the homosexual community have also long been agitating for unrestricted sexual access to minors. This requires an amendment to the Criminal Code, which now prohibits pedophilia.
REAL Women press release , Aug 7 2013 :
Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, has abused his position as a cabinet minister to impose his own special interests in the foreign countries of Uganda, Kenya and Russia.
He awarded $200,000 of Canadian taxpayers’ money by way of the Department of Foreign Affairs to special interest groups in Uganda and Kenya to further his own perspective on homosexuality.
Last week, Baird admitted working extensively behind the scenes to prevent Russia from passing legislation designated to protect Russian minors from homosexual propaganda.
Gwendolyn Landolt, National Vice-President, stated, “Just who does John Baird think he is, using taxpayers’ money to promote his own personal agenda and endeavouring to set standards of the laws of foreign countries?  He argues that homosexual rights are a ‘Canadian value’, but this applies only to himself and his fellow activists and the left-wing elitists.  These are not conservative values and that of grass roots Canadians, who after all, pay the bulk of the taxes”.
Mr. Baird’s actions are highly offensive to conservative taxpayers.  He cannot and must not undermine other countries’ sovereignty and dignity, rooted in stable family structures and religious faith, in order to impose his own value system on them.
Is that stable family structures and religious faith enough for you? 
Update : Apparently, Baird's office "has offered to meet with REAL Women representatives to clarify the government’s “principled position … against the suppression of fundamental freedoms around the world".
Oh please, please, let it be Baird who meets with them.

Monday, August 05, 2013

News from Homelandia

There was a bit of a stink in the media a few days ago after US Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein tabled this map "produced by the NSA" purporting to show "the disruption of potential terrorist events at home and abroad" due to its vacuuming up of phone call logs.

At issue is the designation "Homeland" which includes Canada, Mexico, Central America, Cuba and Greenland. 
Commenters were quick to point out that the NSA was in fact using a pretty standard map of the seven continents here, but I notice that Europe, Africa, and Asia got to keep their continental designations while the NSA stuck the descriptor "Homeland" on North America. 

"Homelands" was the way the US described the 2008 Canada-US deal to allow each other's militaries to send troops across each other's borders during an emergency :
"USNorthCom : Defending Our Homelands"
USNORTHCOM’s AOR [area of responsibility] includes air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles.
Meanwhile, in Beyond the Border : A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness news, a Next-Generation pilot project would permit teams of cross-designated officers to operate on both sides of the border, but there's a glitch...
The Star, July 30 :
"The United States wants its police officers to be exempt from Canadian law if they agree to take part in a highly touted cross-border policing initiative, an internal RCMP memo says.
The debate over whose laws would apply to U.S. officers working in Canada raises important questions of sovereignty and police accountability, says the briefing note prepared for RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. "
... a highly censored memo, btw, that's from October 2012 and only came to light under an Access to Information request.

Back in 2004, the FBI announced in an internal audit that it was giving :
agents in its Buffalo field office clearance to conduct "routine investigations" up to 50 miles into Canadian territory. 
and that 30% of those agents didn't get approval from Canada first

In 2006, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day proudly added that hey sometimes its even more than 50 miles and it's all legal.
Canadian officials say they have made no protest to the U.S. government about FBI agents operating without permission on Canadian soil.
Anyone still unclear how we got from FBI agents operating freelance in Canada as far back as 2004 to being asked to give FBI agents accredited as police officers in Canada immunity from Canadian law in 2012?

Bonus : On May 16 this year Harper gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, that US bastion of Manifest Destiny, and took a follow-up question from former US Ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin. Giffin said he wasn't suggesting outright "political or currency integration", but given it's been 10 years since NAFTA,
"Is there a chance at doing a bigger deal going forward?
Harper runs through the Beyond the Border achievements and blames the US for further lack of progress :
"Could they lead to something systemically more integrated? Look, I think on our side, they could. I think on our side, they could.  [...snip...]
I think the real barrier to making some of these arrangements broader and more systemic in terms of the integration are actually on this side of the border."

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