MPs cautioned about foreign influence

Members of the House of Commons and Senate are being warned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about attempts by China and other “adversarial” states to influence how they participate in parliamentary debates and decision-making. [node:read-more:link]

Noted U.S. scientist lied about China ties

Charles M. Lieber, a Harvard University professor and government-funded nanotechnology researcher, has been found guilty by a U.S. federal court of lying to the Department of Defense and other authorities about his ties to China. The jury finding is seen as a victory for the Justice Department amidst a crackdown on academic espionage. Lieber was arrested in January 2020 and evidence against him included a contract paying him $50,000 a month for work with the Wuhan Institute of Technology. [node:read-more:link]

“Not something that I enjoyed”

Anthony Rota was the first House of Commons Speaker in more than a century to publicly rebuke a veteran civil servant when he hauled Public Health Agency of Canada President Iain Stewart before the bar for refusing to provide documents pertaining to the PHAC’s secrecy-shrouded dismissal of two Chinese scientists. “That is not something I enjoyed, let’s put it that way,” he says, explaining that he was obliged to do so by parliamentary procedure. [node:read-more:link]

Opposition rejects offer of special committee

A government offer to set up a committee which would have access to documents pertaining to the firing of two scientists last January by the Public Health Agency of Canada has been rejected by the Conservatives. House leader Gerard Deltell said Dec. 8 that the proposal is “months late” and he faulted PHAC leadership for ignoring demands to produce unredacted documents. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese influence increasingly pervasive

Canadian Security Intelligence Service has told the government that China's efforts to distort and influence the news in Canada “have become normalized.” The warning by CSIS Director David Vigneault is included in briefing notes prepared for a meeting with the Prime Minister earlier this year. “Chinese-language media outlets operating in Canada and members of the Chinese-Canadian community are primary targets of PRC-directed foreign influenced activities.” [node:read-more:link]

Sinophobia in North America?

In a development possibly evocative of the abrupt and still mystery-shrouded dismissal of two Chinese researchers at Canada’s highest-security laboratory last January, U.S. authorities evidently fear that Chinese scientists at U.S. universities pose a security risk. Some institutions say the concern has slowed research and contributed to an exodus of talent which could benefit China. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. blacklists more foreign companies

Citing national security and foreign policy concerns, the U.S. has added a dozen more Chinese companies to its restricted trade list as well as Japanese, Pakistani and Singaporean companies and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Eight of the Chinese companies allegedly assisted the military's quantum computing efforts and acquired or tried “to acquire U.S. origin-items in support of military applications.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada counselled to block Huawei

Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, whose government banned Huawei Technologies from providing equipment for his country’s 5G wireless networks, is urging Canada to follow suit on grounds of national security. “You’re not dealing with a government . . . that pays too much attention to the rule of law,” he said Nov. 21 during a visit to Halifax. The question his government faced was whether it wanted to put its interests “in the hands of a company that absolutely would have to act at the direction of the Chinese government?” [node:read-more:link]

CSIS-RCMP relationship problematic

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency says flaws in the way the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP share information are stalling investigations, including into extremists’ activities. It says there is “a mutual reluctance to pursue the formal disclosure of information from CSIS, even in cases where the alleged threats were serious or imminent and even though the alternative investigative path was slower and involved different challenges.” [node:read-more:link]

Israeli company blacklisted by U.S.

NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli company known primarily for it Pegasus spyware, has been added to a U.S. trade blacklist after it was reported that it had been used by some countries to target human rights advocates and journalists. “Dismayed” by the decision, the company insists that its software helps to prevent “terrorism and crime” and is sold only to countries with good human rights records [node:read-more:link]

U.S. renews Wikileaks pursuit

A British court was told by U.S. lawyers today that a judge who blocked Julian Assange’s extradition in January was misled by the Wikileaks founder’s psychiatrist who said Assange’s mental health was at risk. The U.S. wants to try the Australian for leaking thousands of classified documents a decade ago. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19 intel was inadequate

Department of National Defence documents made public through an access-to-information request indicate that while DND played a critical role in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, its efforts likely were undermined by inadequate intelligence. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan repeatedly said the government’s response to the escalating problem was based “on sound intelligence,” which proved not to be the case. [node:read-more:link]

Russia shuts down NATO exchange

After eight “undeclared Russian intelligence officers” were expelled from NATO’s military mission in Brussels Oct. 6, Russia said today that it was shutting down its involvement in the mission. It also has cancelled the accreditation of alliance staff at the NATO mission in Moscow [node:read-more:link]

Chrystia Freeland clearly not to be messed with!

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, widely regarded as a potential Liberal Party leader, is well known to the Russian intelligence apparatus for her Cold War campaign in support of Ukraine while she was a Harvard University exchange student. The KGB actually lauded her efforts against its political masters and even tagged her with a personal code name. [node:read-more:link]

A look inside North Korea

A former senior North Korean military and intelligence official says his agencies were the “eyes and ears and brains” of his country’s leaders. He says his activities during a 30-year career before he fled to the South in 2014 included coordinating assassinations and building a drugs laboratory to raise “revolutionary” funds. [node:read-more:link]


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