Showing posts from February, 2015

Canada's Communications Security Establishment collecting million of Canadian emails sent to government sites

Canada's Communications Security Establishment(CSE) is collecting millions of emails sent by Canadians to government sites on the Internet. The collected emails are searched for malware that could attack government computer networks. + Add Image A top secret document obtained by the CBC and the US news site The Intercept revealed details about the collection of emails. The document is from 2010. It is among the documents obtained from NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is Canada's cryptologic agency, responsible for foreign signals intelligence (SIGINT) and also for protection of government electronic and communication networks. Recently a new headquarters was built for the agency at a cost of $1.1 billion, making it the most expensive government facility ever built. This no doubt shows the priority of the Canadian Conservative government. Many who support the government constantly complain of government spending but when it come…

Canadian Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy released on bail in Egypt

Mohamed Fahmy, the Al Jazeera journalist jailed in Egypt for a year, has been released on $41,000 bail. Fahmy was born in Egypt but is a Canadian citizen. He gave up his Egyptian citizenship as part of a deal that was supposed to end in his release.

 A retrial was ordered for three Al Jazeera journalists, Fahmy, Baher Mohammed, and Peter Greste, an Australian. Greste was released and returned back to Australia on February 1. In the case of Greste, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott intervened directly calling Egyptian president el-Sissi three times. There have been demands that Stephen Harper also intervene personally beyond sending a letter. Marc Garneau a Liberal MP has been pushing for Harper to phone el-Sissi: ""I don't think there has been a voice conversation, and I think that's particularly significant. I understand that there are efforts now being made to have the prime minister speak to President el-Sisi over the telephone, and that's long overdue..I…

Jailed Canadian-Egyptian Al Jazeera journalist faces new trial

The release of Canadian Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy was expected at any moment after his colleague, Australian Peter Greste. was released last week. However, both he and the third defendant Baher Mohamed are to be retried beginning February 12th. Amal Clooney, the well-known lawyer and rights activist, has written a letter to Egypt's President el-Sissi requesting that she meet with him and designated officials to discuss Fahmy's release. Clooney is one of the lawyers representing Fahmy. She has had her share of famous clients including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former Ukrainian president Yulia Tymoshenko. She requested the meeting a few days before the retrial was scheduled. The text of her letter can be found here.

Fahmy, Greste, and Baher Mohamed were all charged with helping the Muslim Brotherhood, regarded as a terrorist organization in Egypt. Fahmy and Greste were sentenced to seven years and Mohamed to 10. All three claim they are innocent and victim…

Green Party and civil liberties groups criticize Harper's anti-terror bill

While leaders of the two main Canadian opposition parties the New Democratic Party's Thomas Mulcair, and Liberal, Justin Trudeau, have been muted in criticism of Harper's new anti-terrorism legislation, Green Party leader Elizabeth May is quite critical.

Both Trudeau and Mulcair have asked for more oversight of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), given that they are given considerable more powers under the new legislation than they previously had. However, Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau, said that his party would vote for the legislation even if the Conservative government of Stephen Harper did not accept changes suggested by his party. The NDP is building a case against the bill and Mulcair, the leader, is likely to announce his opposition to the bill when parliament meets later in the month. However, while the NDP caucus build its case, Mulcair asks questions about oversight and seems wary of being targeted as soft on terrorism.

 A major Canad…

Harper government to give new powers to CSIS to counter terrorism

On Friday, the federal Canadian Conservative government of Stephen Harper introduced legislation giving new powers to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service along with a number of other measures designed to counter terrorist threats.

The new bill C-51 is only 62 pages long but contains new and extensive powers to detain suspects on less evidence and also to allow CSIS to interfere both with suspects' travel plans and also finances. The entire bill can be read here.The new powers allow law enforcement agencies to arrest a person if they merely think a terrorist act "may be carried out" instead of the requirement now that they think that such an act "will be carried out". The period of preventive detention of an arrested suspect is extended from three days to seven. Reduced evidence is also a factor in changes for retaining suspects on the basis of a terrorism peace bond. Now, the bond can be obtained only if the police think the suspect …