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Hush Hush

Climate catastrophes, meetings with moguls and murderers, and Canada's electronic spy agency catches online prey

Harper’s “Beluga in the Room”
A chunk of ice the size of Bermuda broke off Ellesmere Island during the Prime Minister’s recent Arctic tour. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to ignore, yet Mr. Harper made no mention of it. University of Alberta earth sciences professor John England didn’t miss the giant sign of global warming. “I think that’s really significant that the most resistant and most tenacious part of the ice shelf is now being dismantled,” he warned.

Canada’s Arctic is melting, and we have a Prime Minister who, while standing on an ice floe, is willfully blind to the fact. What was the point of Harper’s trip to the North? "We're doing it because this is about nation-building,” Harper claimed. “This is the frontier, this is the place that defines our country."

Global warming is real, the Arctic is literally breaking apart, and if Canada’s North really does define our country---X-Ray has some doubts about that?then the Harper government needs to get serious about reducing green house gas emissions. Instead our dear leader ignored the issue entirely. After all, why let reality get in the way of governance?

Meetings with Moguls and Murderers
The Canadian Press has learned that Prime Minister Harper and News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch had a rather hush hush lunch in New York last year. Harper’s former spokesman, Kory Teneycke, was at the table. Teneycke is now “the point man for Quebecor’s Pierre Karl Péladeau in his effort to create a right-wing television network modeled along the lines of Fox News”, according to Globe columnist Lawrence Martin.

The normally media-allergic Prime Minister is having a good look at what Fox has been able to do for the right-wing Tea Party movement. News Corps has also given $1 million to the Republicans. Harper would relish the prospect of a mainstream media mouthpiece in the shape of Fox News North. Mr. Harper seems to think he makes the rules, but he can’t give Fox News a license. That’s the job of the CRTC. And if commission head, Konrad von Finckenstein, sticks to his principals, Harper will have to---and will---force him out before KvF’s end of contract.   

Can Fox's foray into American politics be replicated here? Absolutely! With von Finckenstein out of the way, Harper will choose a more loyal subject to head the CRTC.  Harper and the Conservatives stand to gain handsomely if they can get Fox News established in Canada. It's been reported that News Corps, the parent of Fox News, gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, the largest donation ever given to the right-wing organization. There is sure to be protests as more people hear about the issue, and hopefully Harper will listen to Margaret Atwood this time. (For more on Fox, here is Cenk Uygur, host of the Young Turks and one of the most articulate critics of Fox and all things Evil in America. Young Turks rule!)
 
Meanwhile, another access to information request has uncovered a secret visit to Israel by chief of the Canadian Forces, General Walter Natynczyk. According to Department of National Defence  documents, the October 2009 visit was intended to build “robust and rich” bilateral relationship and gain "insight into broader regional issues, the multitude of threats facing Israel, the lessons learned from IDF [Israeli Defence Force] operations, and Israeli strategic thinking and military equipment.”

Why is the head of our military secretly seeking lessons from Israel's murderous occupation army?

Electronic Big Brother at Work
Lastly, X-Ray is sceptical of the arrests of several terrorism suspects in Ottawa and London, Ontario. Not to say that these guys are Boy Scouts. It's concerning that at least one of them may have been trained to make IEDs. But the method by which the suspects were caught leaves a fishy smell in the air. 

Former CSIS counter-terrorism agent Michel Juneau-Katsuya told the Ottawa Citizen that the suspects were traced by the government's electronic spy agency, Communications Security Establishment. “The way the system is established, we’ve got red flags everywhere and you can trip one of those flags anytime. If you’re traveling to Pakistan, that’s a red flag. If you’re going on certain web sites, that’s another red flag and if you use certain key words in e-mail. When you’ve got enough red flags, then you become a person of interest. My understanding is they were caught from the Internet.” Scary stuff indeed. 

The CSE website proclaims that the agency provides the federal government with two key services:  "foreign signals intelligence in support of defence and foreign policy, and the protection of electronic information and communication." X-Ray wonders if that last part should read protection from electronic information and communication. If Juneau-Katsuya is correct and these hapless terror suspects were "caught from the Internet", we're all in serious trouble.
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