Terrorism hoaxer’s charges withdrawn

Charges have been withdrawn against an Ontario man who claimed to have travelled to Syria in 2016 to join ISIS and committed acts of terrorism. Shehroze Chaudhry was charged last year with perpetrating a hoax and his lawyer has explained that the behaviour was due to immaturity, not criminal intent. While the charge has been dropped, Chaudhry has entered into a peace bond and will abide by other conditions for 12 months. [node:read-more:link]

NATO reduces Russian credentials

NATO withdrew the accreditation of eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance today, saying they were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers.” The reduction in the Russian positions to 10 evidently faces retaliation but a NATO official said the alliance’s policy “remains consistent” in that while “we have strengthened our deterrence and defence in response to Russia's aggressive actions . . . we remain open for a meaningful dialogue.” [node:read-more:link]

Court focuses on CIA “black sites”

The U.S. Supreme Court today began hearing a case which could shed light on the CIA’s use of “black sies” in other countries to hold terrorists before they were sent to Guantanamo. The Palestinian who brought the suit is described as an al-Qaeda recruiter who claims to have been tortured at a CIA “black site” until he was transferred to Guantanamo, where he has been held without charge since 2006. [node:read-more:link]

Huawei decision in “coming weeks”

Canada remains under pressure from the U.S. to ban Huawei 5G technology over concerns that it could be used to compromise communications security. Having reviewed the situation for three years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 28 that a decision is forthcoming in the “coming weeks.” [node:read-more:link]

What to do about Huawei 5G

Canada has been silent on the question of banning Shenzhen-based Huawei for security reasons even as China invoked a policy of detaining innocent Canadians for political ends. Now that Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been returned, the federal government will start to feel pressure to make a decision that reflects the serious security concerns that have led many of our allies to ban the company from doing business their countries. [node:read-more:link]

New “enthusiasm” about national security?

Independent analysts are questioning the lack of a national security element in the incumbent Liberal government’s latest federal election campaign despite have committed significant resources to the issue during its previous mandate. While there evidently is new “enthusiasm” for reorganizing policies to address a range of evolving security-related issues, it’s noted that there is no permanent cabinet committee on national security. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau downplays Aussie sub deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a new defence pact between Australia, Britain and the U.S. has no implications for the Five Eyes alliance which also involves Canada and New Zealand despite the pact’s intelligence-sharing element. “We continue to be strong members of the Five Eyes and continue to share information and security approaches,” he said Sept. 16. “This is a deal for nuclear submarines, which Canada is not currently or any time soon in the market for.” [node:read-more:link]

Former spooks agree to financial penalties

Three former U.S. intelligence and military personnel have agreed to pay more than $1.68 million to settle conspiracy charges arising from their work as civilian hackers for the United Arab Emirates. Documents filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia show they were accused of “knowingly and willfully” engaging in illegal activities. The trio must relinquish their security clearances, and they have three years to pay up. [node:read-more:link]

Former U.S. spooks admit to crimes

Three former U.S. intelligence officers employed by the United Arab Emirates have admitted to hacking crimes and violating U.S. laws governing the transfer of military technology to foreign governments. Documents filed in a Washington court Sept. 13 set out a conspiracy to furnish the UAE with advanced technology and to assist Emirati operatives in countering perceived enemies of the U.S. ally. [node:read-more:link]

Canadians and others left behind

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau confirmed today that an estimated 1,250 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and families remain in Afghanistan. “The main thing that we needed to figure out was how many . . . were able to get out on some of our allies’ flights,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

Taliban say “everything is safe”

The Taliban pledged anew today to bring peace and security to Afghanistan but it’s wait-and-see for ordinary Afghans, notably the many who worked with allied forces during the 20-year war. “Afghanistan is finally free,” a senior Taliban official said, urging people to return to work and reiterating a promise of amnesty. “Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe.” [node:read-more:link]

Taliban financing scrutinized

Despite the deaths of thousands of its members since the Taliban was ousted from Afghanistan two decades ago, its territorial control and military strength has clearly rebounded with the U.S. estimating that the group had as many as 100,000 fighters by mid-2021. This evidently has been made possible by its in-country financial activities as well as sundry foreign sources, to the point where the BBC says it could amount to the equivalent of nearly $2 billion a year. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP intelligence culture seriously flawed

The arrest 23 months ago of Cameron Ortis, head of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre, prompted the force to hire a retired Assistant Commissioner Alphonse MacNeil to assess the NICC’s internal security culture. He found, among other things, that a leadership failure “at many levels” underscored a need to reconsider how senior officials are chosen. Otis’ trial on several offences is scheduled to begin in September 2022. [node:read-more:link]

Military and police targeted by extremists

A declassified intelligence report says far-right extremists are “actively recruiting” past and present members of the Canadian military and police. Six of 17 situations reviewed in several countries involved Canadians cases in which “xenophobic and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremist groups openly recruit current and former military and law enforcement personnel.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Justice Department emails hacked

The office email accounts of 27 senior U.S. Justice Department prosecutors were hacked last year through SolarWinds software. In disclosing the attack, the department blamed Russian interests for what it considers the worst cyber-espionage attack on the federal government. [node:read-more:link]


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