‘A shocking violation of free expression’: Civil liberties groups release ‘Protest Papers,’ call on CSIS for more transparency. Pfffft! As if oily politicians, RCMP & courts will let that happen!

Secret Spy Hearings by BCCLA, July 8, 2019

In 2014 the BCCLA fought back against illegal spying by filing complaints against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Those complaints alleged that the Canadian government’s security agencies had been illegally spying on Indigenous and community groups opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), the body responsible for CSIS oversight, held secret hearings to find out what really happened. SIRC ordered the witnesses involved in the complaint to keep silent about what happened in the proceedings.

This gag order prevented us from revealing what was exposed during the hearing. This is largely unprecedented and is contrary to the principles of accountability and transparency that oversight bodies are meant to serve.

We fought that sealing order, and now we can finally reveal the Protest Papers – the staggering amount of CSIS records that show why we maintain that CSIS was illegally spying on activists and environmentalists.

While SIRC ruled that there was no wrongdoing on CSIS’ part, we believe that the report itself strongly suggests that illegal spying and information has taken place.

As the heavily redacted documents show, SIRC found that CSIS was investigating specific targets who were opposed to pipelines including those named in our complaint, but information on other people may have also been collected “incidentally” and for “domain awareness.” Along with the sheer size of the documents, this suggests that Canada’s spy agencies view environmental movements as an inherent threat that should be monitored.

In addition, the report stated that CSIS had shared information related to the activities of groups concerned about the Northern Gateway Project with the National Energy Board (NEB) and petroleum companies.

These findings show that the issue at hand is bigger than this one case. This is about government accountability, and about our right to question those in power.

Spying on people who are exercising their right to protest is an attack on freedom of expression. It creates a climate of fear that chills free expression and stifles public participation.

Together with the organizations involved in the complaint, the Sierra Club of BC, the Dogwood Initiative, Leadnow.ca, and STAND (formerly ForestEthics Advocacy), we are seeking accountability and an end to unconstitutional spying on Canadians.

The BCCLA is going to challenge the redactions in the documents we’ve obtained and fight the ongoing gag order that continues to restrict witnesses involved in the complained from speaking about what happened in the proceedings.

More importantly, we are going to continue to challenge the SIRC ruling that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Canada’s spy agencies.

Snap above from: https://bccla.org/secret-spy-hearings/

Snap above from Alberta Surface Rights Group FB page

‘A shocking violation of free expression’: Civil liberties groups release ‘Protest Papers,’ call on CSIS for more transparency by Melanie Green and Ainslie Cruikshank, Star Vancouver, July 8, 2019, With files from Jim Bronskill, the Canadian Press

VANCOUVER—A host of groups are demanding more transparency from Canada’s spy agency in the face of newly released documents that they say show anti-pipeline protesters were illegally monitored and that information was shared with oil-and-gas companies.

VANCOUVER—A host of groups are demanding more transparency from Canada’s spy agency in the face of newly released documents that they say show anti-pipeline protesters were illegally monitored and that information was shared with oil-and-gas companies.

Details of Canada’s spy agency practices are emerging because of a case filed by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in the Federal Court of Canada. On Monday, the association released more than 8,000 pages of highly redacted and once-secret documents publicly for the first time.

It can be found on a searchable website called the “Protest Papers.”

“If CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) claims it wasn’t tracking conservation groups in B.C., then why did they collect thousands of pages of files on groups who engaged in peaceful advocacy and protest?” said Meghan McDermott, BCCLA staff counsel at a news conference Monday.

“We encourage people to look at these documents and to decide for themselves what our spy agency was up to.”

The original complaint was launched in February 2014 to the CSIS watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and it alleged the agency overstepped its legal grounds to monitor environmental organizations and the Indigenous #IdleNoMore movement as they opposed the now-defunct Northern Gateway pipeline project.

That’s where the association also accused CSIS of sharing information about the opponents with the National Energy Board as well as oil and gas companies. The BCCLA alleged CSIS monitored the activities of the environmental organizations ForestEthics, now known as Stand.earth, Sierra Club BC, Dogwood Initiative and Leadnow.ca.

The CSIS Act governs the spy agency’s mandate and allows it to investigate threats to Canada. But that power does not extend to “lawful advocacy, protest, or dissent.”

CSIS has maintained that it has not acted outside of its mandate and its actions were “reasonable and necessary.”

The review committee held hearings on the matter in 2015 and dismissed the allegations, concluding the spy service did collect some information on the protest groups but only through investigations into threats to resource projects. In response, the BCCLA appealed to the Federal Court.

“Why are the witnesses in the hearing, staff and volunteers from different non-profit groups still under a court order, forever forbidden from repeating what they heard in those hearings? This all amounts to a shocking violation of free expression,” McDermott said.

“We won the right to disclose these documents today after a fight, and we’re going to continue to challenge the findings and the gag order in Federal Court.”

Melanie Green is a Vancouver-based reporter covering politics. Follow her on Twitter: @mdgmedia

Ainslie Cruickshank is a Vancouver-based reporter covering the environment. Follow her on Twitter: @ainscruickshank

‘This isn’t about national security’: Civil liberties group publishes CSIS reports related to alleged spying, Documents had been held under a confidentiality order by the security review body by Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, With files from Joel Ballard, Jul 08, 2019, CBC News

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has released thousands of heavily redacted documents by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in regards to allegations the agency had spied on peaceful protesters of the now-defunct Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

The BCCLA has uploaded all the documents to a searchable website.

The CSIS-disclosed documents had been held under a confidentiality order by the Security Intelligence Review Committee [SIRC], Canada’s spy agency watchdog, which recently expired.

“What we’ve now received is a huge volume of secret evidence that we didn’t get to see at all before,” said Paul Champ, a lawyer with Champ and Associates representing the BCCLA. [Will Ernst ever get to see the documents she is entitled to under Alberta’s Rules of Court that Encana has been refusing to release to her for 5 years now?]

Champ told CBC’s Early Edition host Stephen Quinn the documents show over 500 CSIS reports about individuals or groups who had been protesting the pipeline proposal.

“[It] raises concerns that this isn’t about national security, but it’s about protecting the economic interests of Canada’s energy sector and, in our view, that’s completely beyond CSIS’ mandate,” he said.

The civil liberties association first challenged CSIS’ actions in 2014 with a complaint to SIRC alleging the agency was spying on pipeline opponents. The association further claimed the information was being shared with the National Energy Board and the petroleum industry.

During private hearings with SIRC, CSIS disclosed the now-available documents.

The complaint was dismissed, however, when the review committee concluded information had only been gathered on peaceful protesters as a by-product of investigations into legitimate threats, not as the goal. [Who believes that? ]

The BCCLA has been working to overturn the watchdog’s dismissal in Federal Court.

Retaining information on protesters
The newly disclosed documents reveal Canada’s spy service routinely welcomed reports from the energy industry about perceived threats and kept such information in its files in case it might prove useful later.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is supposed to retain only information that is “strictly necessary” to do its job, and the spy agency is now facing questions about whether it collected and hung on to material about groups or people who posed no real threat.

CSIS says it won’t provide comment as SIRC’s decision on the complaint is before the courts, but it did provide a short statement that “CSIS investigates activities that fall within the definition of threats to the security of Canada and reports them to the government of Canada.” [Pffft! CSIS have zip credibility and are completely untrustworthy. Who would believe a word they say, even in court?]

It also noted SIRC’s 2017 decision, which found it had not acted out of its mandate.

A statement from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale contained similar sentiments, adding he won’t comment while the case is before the courts. [He’s just as untrustworthy as CSIS]

During one hearing, a CSIS official whose identity is confidential told the committee that information volunteered by energy companies was put in a spy service database.

“It is not actionable. It just sits there,” [Ha! Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft! What a colourful lie! Is this secret guy Encana’s Ex CEO Gwyn Morgan, leader of aquifer frac’ing in Alberta?] the CSIS official said. “But should something happen, should violence erupt, then we will go back to this and be able to see that we had the information … it is just information that was given to us, and we need to log it.”

‘Something we don’t expect to experience’
The review committee heard from several witnesses and examined hundreds of documents in weighing the civil liberties association’s complaint.

Advocacy and environmental groups Leadnow, the Dogwood Initiative and the Council of Canadians are mentioned in the thousands of pages of CSIS operational reports scrutinized by the review committee.

“This is something we don’t expect to experience here in Canada,” says Alexandra Woodsworth with Dogwood BC. [What? It’s been happening for years in Canada!]

Especially concerning, she says, is how the document suggest CSIS shared their information with fossil fuel companies.

“Our tax dollars are being used to spy on Canadians to benefit the fossil fuel industry,” [What other reason is there for CSIS or ASSIST etc, than to benefit private, mostly foreign profit? Oh ya, Israel!] said Woodsworth. “A government that appears to be working more to safeguard the interests of big oil than to safeguard the interests of its citizens.”

But the committee’s report said CSIS’s activities did not stray into surveillance of organizations engaged in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent. [That doesn’t sound believable, not one bit]

A CSIS witness testified the spy service “is not in the business of investigating environmentalists because they are advocating for an environmental cause, period.” [pFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFt!]

Still, the review committee urged CSIS to ensure it was keeping only “strictly necessary” information, as spelled out in the law governing the spy service. [An urging or two is going to have some positive impact?]

But Caitlyn Vernon with the Sierra Club of B.C. said in a statement she has witnessed the public’s growing wariness of expressing dissent for fear of being added to a list.

“Spying on people who are participating in public processes — and then giving that information to the oil industry — is an illegal attack on democracy,” said Vernon.

The civil liberties association told the committee of a chilling effect for civil society groups from the spy service’s information-gathering as well as comments by then-natural resources minister Joe Oliver denouncing “environmental and other radical groups.”

One CSIS witness told the committee that Oliver’s statement did not flow from information provided by the spy agency.

“As a service, we never found out where he was coming from, where he got this information or who had briefed him,” [TOO FUNNY!] the unnamed CSIS official said. “So we’re not sure where he got it. But it wasn’t from us.”

CSIS questioned if it was going too far
The review committee found CSIS did not share information about the environmental groups in question with the NEB or the petroleum industry. [looks like the review committee needs to be fired, ASAP]

The association wants the Federal Court to take a second look, given CSIS created more than 500 operational reports relevant to the committee’s inquiry.

“The main impression one draws from the [committee] report is ‘nothing to see here, look away,’ when in fact there is a lot to see here,” said Champ.

Dozens of censored CSIS records say the reporting was further to “the service’s efforts in assessing the threat environment and the potential for threat-related violence stemming from [redacted] protests/demonstrations.”

Some of the documents reveal CSIS itself is questioning whether it is going too far, noting that the spy service is “pressing on the limitations of our mandate.”

The notion that information on some groups or individuals was gathered incidentally is “cold comfort to people whose names might end up in the databanks of Canada’s intelligence service simply because they expressed a political opinion on Facebook, signed a petition or attended a protest,” Champ said.

One document refers to the Dogwood Initiative as a “non-profit, Canadian environmental organization that was established in 1999 ‘to help communities and First Nations gain more control of the land and resources around them so they can be managed in a way that does not rob future generations for short-term corporate gain.”‘

The passages before and after the description are blacked out.

“This court case will take some time to play out,” Champ said. “Right now, we are focused on getting access to as much information as possible so we can properly make our main arguments about how these CSIS activities violate the law.”

Refer also to:

2007 06 21: EUB (now AER) credibility on the line, Alberta Premier defends EUB (now AER) spying on landowners

David Eggen, the NDP energy critic, said the impartiality of the regulator has been tainted by the investigators….

Ordinary people bringing their objections and concerns to the AEUB shouldn’t be treated like terrorists.”

2007 06 22: Landowners intend to bring legal action against the EUB (now AER) for spying on them and intruding on solicitor client privilege

2007 06 24: Private Investigator posing as landowner was the worst, Spying on citizens casts a smothering pall of bias on any EUB (now AER) decision

2007 06 25: Stalinesque spies

2007 06 26: EUB (now AER) spies

2007 06 27: Defending spies

2007 07 03: EUB (now AER) must be investigated now

2007 08 18: EUB (now AER) coverup shocking, Prove to be inept at spying and lying

‘2007 08 21: ‘Heads must roll’

2007 09 16: EUB (now AER) purge, Security unit scrapped, members fired for EUB spying scandal

2007 09 22: Disgracefully undemocratic Oil industry controlled (including courts) Canada hasn’t been a democracy for decades.

2007 09 24: Taxpayers Pick up Portion of $22,000 EUB (now AER) Spy Bill without Explanation

2009 02 12: The Intimidation of Ernst: Members of Harper Government’s Anti-terrorist Squad Intimidate and Harass Ernst after her Legal Papers were Served on Encana, the EUB (now AER) and Alberta Environment

2012 10 09: Spying activities on Anti-Fracking Groups in Poland Impede Open Debate about the Risks of Shale Gas

2013 01 14: Shale gas: the RCMP and CSIS on high alert; Les fractivistes rendent la GRC nerveuse, RCMP and CSIS watching citizens concerned about hydraulic fracturing very closely

2013 02 07: Canada’s former spy watchdog is now a wanted man in Quebec

2013 02 25: Petro-state politics prompts CSIS to spy on citizens at alarming rate, FOIs reveal

2013 05 25: Hey CSIS, farmers are not terrorists, Anti-fracking activists have been labelled a security threat

2013 05 30: We’re Being Watched, How corporations and law enforcement are spying on environmentalists

2013 09 MUST WATCH! Canadian Legal Advice for the frac’d by AER’s outside counsel Glenn Solomon (released to the public December 1, 2014):

2013 10 09: Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal, Government agency that allegedly spied on Brazil had secret meetings with energy companies

2013: Sickened” by Harper government spying

2013 12 29: Canada’s spy agencies chastised for duping courts; CSIS deliberately breached its “duty of candour” to the courts

AER’s outside counsel, lying Glenn Solomon, duped the courts too, slithering all the way up to Supreme Court of Canada, with judges only punishing Ernst!

The Establishment gets nastier:

A few years later, January 2017, Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella made shit up in her ruling in Ernst vs AER, writing that the regulator found Ernst to be a “vexatious litigant.”

Ernst didn’t file her lawsuit until two years after AER (then EUB, later ERCB) violated her Charter rights. The regulator never found Ernst to be a vextatious litigant, they judged her to be a criminal (in writing). Seven years later, in AER’s court filing, they changed that to Ernst being a terrorist, all with no evidence, no charges, no arrests, no hearing, no trial, no due process.

How the hell can a top judge turn the AER finding Ernst a “terrorist” into a “vexatious litigant” in a ruling and get away with it? (Abella was the swing judge.)

Four Supreme Court justices pointed out Abella’s shit in their ruling; the four others were silent, enabling Abella’s smear of Ernst. But, all nine judges knowingly published the lie anyways, sending it to the media without advising that four justices called Abella out on her lie. The media of course, published the lie.

2019 07 09: Three Leaves to Appeal the Claimed Jurisdiction of Court of Queen’s Bench Over Vexatious Litigants by Jonnette Watson Hamilton:

… For one thing, the litigant has been characterized as a “vexatious litigant” by a person in authority. Their reputation and credibility have been, or can be perceived by the litigant or others to have been, damaged. A vexatious litigant starts out with at least one strike against them….

 2014 01 07: Canada’s spy agency admits it spies on Canadians ‘incidentally’

2014 01 10: Ex-MP Chuck Strahl shouldn’t mix spy committee and pipeline lobbying; Canada’s chief spy watchdog, Harper Govt Appointee Chuck Strahl, working for Enbridge since 2011

2014 01 26: Chuck Strahl, CSIS Watchdog Chair, Federal Former Reform-Conservative MP, Registers As Northern Gateway Lobbyist

2014 01 31: Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) illegally spied on Canadians; Harper government insisted CSEC never spied on Canadians; Spy agency’s work with CSIS, RCMP fuels fears of privacy breaches

2014 02 26: Complaint filed over alleged illegal searches of private information on Northern Gateway pipeline opponents by RCMP, CSIS and handing the information over to oil companies and Canada’s national energy regulator

2014 03 31: Devastation Day for Alberta’s Water: The Oil and Gas Industry takes over total control of Alberta’s Fresh Water as “No Duty of Care” Spying AER now a single regulator, 100% funded by industry, takes over Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and Water Act

2014 08 08: Meet ASSIST: Alberta’s very own Spy Agency, “Alberta Security and Strategic Intelligence Support Team;” Did ASSIST break into Carmen Langer’s home and steal his files? Did they break into Ernst’s home?

2015 01 30: Citizen Frac Awareness Group vs State of Pennsylvania Terror Listing “Without Evidence” Lawsuit Settles while Steve Harper’s Expanded Terror Listing Powers are “almost certainly unnecessary”

2015 03 25: Did Harper and the oil and gas industry order RCMP/CSIS/Snipers to attack innocent mothers and grandmothers, and set aflame stripped police cars in New Brunswick to discredit all Canadians concerned about frac harms and lay a red carpet for Harper’s Bill C-51?

2015 08 29: England: Kent Police slammed for snooping after asking for list of people attending frac debate at Canterbury Christ Church University

2015 12 27: RCMP pushes for new law to get Canadians’ private information without a warrant. Who’s pushing the RCMP?

2016 02 28: Who are CSEC, CSIS Working for? Oil Companies & the fraudulent, lying, Charter violating, “No Duty of Care,” legally immune, ex-Encana VP led AER? Harper’s Communist China?

2017 08 20: Welcome to Canadian “justice” in Hell: CSIS officials and Federal Justice Dept lawyers being taught to tell the truth and share information with courts!


2017 10 26: Attorney General of Canada “Breaks rules in Court. All. The. Time.” Fails to File Statement of Defence within 30 days. In Ernst vs Encana, Encana filed Statement of Defence more than 2 years late; Alberta Environment more than 3 years late; AER never filed, with their lawyer Glenn Solomon bragging about it.

Slides above from Ernst speaking events

Ernst presenting in Dublin, Republic of Ireland



Vexatious Litigant?

Or Frac’d Canadian Scientist?

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