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Canada’s inquiry into China’s election meddling begins with officer saying he dismissed warnings

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Chief Electoral Officer Stephane Perrault

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault was secretly warned by security agents of irregularities in the 2019 election but said because the ‘party’ controls the nomination process he did not do more to look into it.

The public inquiry into alleged meddling in Canada’s two most recent federal elections by agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began last week with testimony public from Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault, who was secretly warned by security agents of irregularities in the 2019 election but said because the “party” controls the nomination process he did not do more to look into it.

“The Party is the only entity that controls the nomination process,” Perrault testified at the Commission last Thursday.

“I would have to inform the Commissioner of Elections and then she would have to make the determination as to what appropriate action would be undertaken, but I don’t have an enforcement role.”

The inquiry is being headed by Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, who had earlier said that she and her lawyers will remain “impartial” and will not be influenced by politics and began on January 29.

In January, Hogue said that she would “uncover the truth whatever it may be.”

“The role of a Commission of Inquiry is to investigate the facts in order to understand what happened in a given situation. Under its mandate, it carries out an objective search of the truth while identifying specific matters, draws conclusions and make recommendations to the government,” she said.

The inquiry last Thursday learned that security agents had secretly warned Perrault of irregularities that took place at a 2019 nomination meeting in a Toronto riding, Don Valley North.

Nando de Luca, Nando Commission counsel for the Conservative Party, asked Perrault to provide more details about the incident, asking him, “Am I correct those concerns related to the Liberal Party nomination contest?”

“I believe I am not authorized to speak beyond what is in this public statement,” Perrault replied.

“You were informed by the CSIS of one fact-specific matter. Is that correct?” Sheppard asked.

“That is correct,” Perrault replied.

  • Counsel Sheppard: “My understanding is you were informed by CSIS of a fact situation that could have involved foreign interference related to voting in the nomination contest in the riding of Don Valley North, Ontario. Is that correct?”
  • Perrault: “That is correct … ”
  • Counsel Sheppard: “You referred a matter to the Officer of the Commissioner of Canada Elections?”
  • Perrault: “Correct … ”
  • Counsel Sheppard: “Is there anything else you are able to say in a public setting about the information you received from CSIS that we just discussed?”
  • Perrault: “No.”

The Foreign Interference Commission, as it is known, “will examine and assess the interference by China, Russia, and other foreign states or non-state actors, including any potential impacts, in order to confirm the integrity of, and any impacts on, the 43rd and 44th general elections (2019 and 2021 elections) at the national and electoral district levels.”

The first set of hearings, or “Stage 1,” will take place from now until April 10 and include a host of witnesses that will include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many others who have not been named.

Also set to testify is former Liberal MP Han Dong and former Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan, both of whom have been victims of alleged CCP interference.

The “Stage 2” part of the public inquiry will take place this fall and will look at the Trudeau government’s ability to both detect and fight foreign interference targeting Canada’s electoral processes.

The hearings are being held at the Library and Archives Canada building in Ottawa.

Chief Electoral Officer claims it was not his job to ‘certify’ integrity of election

During testimony, Perrault claimed that his agency had done a good job, saying, “I believe we have one of the most robust and complete political financing regimes in the world,” noting that this “does not make it perfect.”

He claimed that it was not his job to in effect police elections, saying that as Chief Electoral Officer “I am not called upon to certify the integrity of an election.”

“What I am called upon to do is account for it and provide evidence regarding my administration of the election for others, including participants who may wish to challenge,” he said.

Gib van Ert, counsel for the Conservative MP Michael Chong, who was the target of election interference from agents of the CCP, asked him, “But you’re concerned about the integrity of elections?”

“Of course,” Perrault replied.

“And so when you are considering the integrity, do I have it right that if you felt 330 of the local elections had integrity but eight lacked integrity, you wouldn’t say to yourself, ‘Well, close enough, we’ve come pretty close to 338,’” asked van Ert, adding, “You are having to hold yourself and your agency to a standard of 338?”

“I would report if I know of incidents that affect the integrity of an election,” Perrault said in reply, adding, “If I am aware of factual information that affects that, even if it is one electoral district, I would include that in my report to Parliament.”

Perrault had earlier told MPs that he saw no evidence of CCP interference but admitted that he did not look into this.

Perrault was the first to testify, earlier told MPs in 2022, “There may be offences that are committed that we find out after the fact and there may be investigations that are or are not underway that I would know about but with the information I have, I have no reason to believe the election was not a free and fair election.”

Perrault has said that he has “no specific intelligence or evidence in that regard” whether the 2019 and 2021 federal elections were disrupted by foreign actors.

When it comes to the CCP, many Canadians, especially pro-freedom Chinese Canadians, are concerned considering Trudeau’s past praise for China’s “basic dictatorship” and his labeling of the authoritarian nation as his favorite country other than his own.

The potential meddling in Canada’s elections by agents of the CCP has many Canadians worried as well.

The federal government under Trudeau has been slow in responding to allegations of CCP election meddling after announcing on September 7, 2023, that it would be launching a public inquiry led by Hogue.

The public inquiry comes after Trudeau launched a failed investigation into CCP allegations last year after much delay. That inquiry was not done in the public and was headed by “family friend” and former Governor General David Johnston, whom Trudeau appointed as “independent special rapporteur.”

Johnston quit as “special rapporteur” after a public outcry following his conclusion that there should not be a public inquiry into the matter. Conservative MPs demanded Johnston be replaced over his ties to both China and the Trudeau family.

To date, the evidence that parliamentary committees have uncovered shows that Canadian authorities were aware that agents of the CCP were targeting MPs from opposition parties but decided against taking any action.

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Julian Assange released from prison after agreeing to plea deal with US government

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Julian Assange, Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017, in London, England

From LifeSiteNews

By Andreas Wailzer

Following a 5-year solitary incarceration, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was released from a London prison after taking a plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the publication of classified information online.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from prison after agreeing to a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department.

On Monday, the high-profile journalist was released from prison after agreeing to a deal in which he plead guilty for his involvement in publishing classified information received from a whistleblower working inside the U.S. government.

As CNN reported, Assange will receive a 62-month prison sentence according to the terms of the agreements. The sentence equals the time he spent in the high-security prison Belmarsh near London. The time served will be credited toward his sentence, allowing Assange to leave prison immediately and return to his native Australia.

“Julian Assange is free,” WikiLeaks announced in its statement posted on X, formerly Twitter. “He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 days there. He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.”

“This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organizers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations. This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalized. We will provide more information as soon as possible.”

“After more than five years in a 2×3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars,” the statement continued, adding that “WikiLeaks published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding the powerful accountable for their actions. As editor-in-chief, Julian paid severely for these principles, and for the people’s right to know.”

Assange is expected to officially plead guilty in a court in the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday, a U.S. territory located in the Pacific Ocean relatively close to Assange’s native Australia.

Assange faced life in prison in the U.S. for 17 counts of espionage and one charge of computer misuse related to the publication of millions of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

According to sources cited by CNN, officials at the Justice Department and the FBI opposed any deal that did not include a guilty plea to a felony by Assange.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald warned of the danger of Assange pleading guilty to a felony for publishing classified information, which, in the eyes of many, was not a crime but a service to society, namely providing information showing that governments are deceiving their citizens.

“I never believed that the Biden administration actually wanted to bring Julian Assange onto American soil to stand trial,” Greenwald said. “Imagine the spectacle that it would have created as Biden heads into an election.”

It would put on Joe Biden’s record that he would be the first American president in history to preside over the imprisonment, not of a source who leaked information, but of someone who published classified information, which every newspaper in the United States does on a regular basis…

The goal of… keeping him in prison was to crush Julian Assange physically and mentally, and they succeeded in doing that…

They wanted to break Assange and simultaneously send a message to any future Assanges that ‘We will ruin your life if you publish our secrets.’

Drawing parallels to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden not being allowed to return to the U.S., Greenwald said, “It is a deterrent message to keep the ability to hide their own crimes through secrecy, immune from the one vulnerability that they have which is that brave people inside the government leak that information to the public or through the media and reveal what it is they are doing.”

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After Suspected Tajik Terrorist Arrests,Little-Known Biden Border Entry Program Demands Hard Focus

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From Todd Bensman as published June 20, 2024 in The Daily Wire

The ‘CBP One’ phone app entry scheme has brought in 888 other Tajiks, plus thousands more, from nations of terrorism concern

A multi-state FBI counterterrorism wiretap sting has rolled up eight Tajikistani nationals in three cities who had entered over the U.S. Southwest Border and were plotting some sort of bombing.

On its own, what little is known about this terrible new consequence of President Joe Biden’s ongoing historic mass migration border crisis – a coordinated, large-cell infiltration attack on the homeland – ranked as startling enough to draw congressional demands for much more basic information than the administration will currently release.

“Unfortunately, the unacceptable security failures that have allowed individuals with terrorist ties to enter the United States through the Southwest Border have become an alarming pattern under the administration,” states a recent U.S. House Homeland Security Committee letter demanding the Biden administration disclose how it failed here.

Not yet demanded, however, is attention to a recent revelation about the Tajik Eight case that should propel what is happening at the border to an even higher and broader level of national security concern. NBC News has reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of all agencies, actually vetted and pre-approved the entry of at least one of the busted Tajikistanis on the administration’s “CBP One” phone app — a humanitarian parole scheme.

The CBP One phone app-based entry program has allowed more than 500,000 foreign nationals from 100 different countries who intended to illegally cross the border to instead schedule a DHS-approved “legal” escort through eight U.S.-Mexico land ports, according to information exclusively obtained and reported by the Center for Immigration Studies through Freedom of Information Act litigation over the past year.

The Biden administration began piloting the program in May 2021 but dramatically expanded it in January 2023, it said, as a means to clear politically damaging illegal entry border congestion.

Almost all 500,000, we are assured, were supposedly well vetted for security, then granted quick release into the United States, sight unseen, on two-year, renewable permits that also come with work authorization eligibility.

But the NBC revelation that one or more of the arrested Tajiks used the CBP One land ports entry scheme warrants new scrutiny about that land port pipeline into the country. It poses a unique national security risk, quite separate from traditional illegal border crossings, especially the vetting that is supposedly done byDHS before passage is granted.

In this case, the vetting obviously didn’t work.. But for how many others did the vetting system not work? The odds do not look promising.

It turns out that DHS personnel have approved not one or two problematic Tajiks of malintent for passage, but hundreds from that Muslim-majority country of U.S. terrorism concern over the past couple of years – and literally thousands from some two dozen other nations of terrorism concern, according to an analysis of the center’s FOIA lawsuit data on this program.

From its May 2021 inception through at least December 2023, DHS approved 888 Tajiks for land port passage and release into the country on the two-year humanitarian parole releases, no doubt many more during the first half of 2024.

And they are the least of a rich diversity of foreign nationals from two dozen nations of terrorism concern that the administration has wittingly allowed through the pipeline.

Thousands More Approved For Entry

The historical context as a homeland security matter for these entries is important to know. To reduce the risk of terrorist border infiltration a few years after 9/11, the U.S. homeland security enterprise began tagging those arriving from some 35-40 nations where Islamic terrorist groups operate as “special interest aliens,” or SIAs, which flagged them for detention and additional security vetting. The Biden administration now uses the term “special interest migrants” internally.

SIAs are not regarded as terrorists but, because they arrive from nations where avowed anti-U.S. terrorist groups are prevalent, homeland security protocols dating back to a 2004 CBP Memorandum required extra security procedures for those coming from the designated list of countries. Tajikistan has been on that list from the beginning.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection. November 1, 2004.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection. November 1, 2004.

In addition to the 888 Tajiks allowed in through the CBP One app program, DHS has authorized thousands more from 24 special interest countries to enter, including from Afghanistan (653), and smatterings from Iran (27), Lebanon (10), Syria (7), Iraq (4), Egypt (6), and Jordan (5). But the largest numbers of SIAs let in are coming from other Muslim-majority former Soviet republics in Central Asia neighboring Tajikistan, such as Kyrgyzstan (4,224 through December), Uzbekistan (2,071), and Kazakhstan (585).

The terrorism section of the CIA’s “World Factbook” notes that U.S.-designated foreign terrorist groups have long operated in the dangerous neighborhood that all three of the most numerous of the SIAs hail from: the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Afghanistan is in the same tough neighborhood.

Among the groups operating in those three countries are the Islamic Jihad Union, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K). But there are many other extremist groups operating in the region too, such as the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan and various ISIS-affiliated groups the government has suppressed, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2021 Country Report on Terrorism for Tajikistan, and who might want to flee to the United States.

The same report notes that terrorist group members move throughout the mostly unguarded borders of these countries, with Tajikistan asserting that “thousands of militants” come and go from neighboring Afghanistan.

As one indication of public sentiment toward Islamic extremist ideology in the Kyrgyz Republic, an estimated 850 of its citizens reportedly joined ISIS between 2013 and 2015, and regional scholars insist the real number is higher, according to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

Uzbekistan also has figured prominently in global counterterrorism efforts, in part because the internationally designated terrorist organization known as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has had regional and global reach and regularly conducts attacks. Extremists from Uzbekistan have been implicated in U.S. attacks and plots too. Hundreds of Uzbeks also fought for ISIS and many have returned.

At issue with the entry of one or more of the Tajik Eight, along with the thousands of other government-authorized entries of SIAs, is whether the Biden administration’s DHS is conducting effective enhanced security screening.

Failing Security Screening 

DHS Secretary Alejandra Mayorkas has repeatedly assured the American public that security vetting for this program is its highlight.

DHS policy documents say all approved CBP One applicants pass “rigorous biometric and biographic national security and public safety screening and vetting.”

CBP agents and U.S. processors, however, mainly run this information through criminal and domestic national security databases looking for matches to U.S. criminal records, warrants, and terrorism watch lists, those who do this work say. A DHS source with direct knowledge of government vetting processes for the CBP One land port parole program, who was not authorized to speak or be identified, told me last fall that all of the SIAs going through the CBP One appointment and parole at the land ports are run through more databases than non-SIA applicants — these ones containing classified intelligence information — as a means to detect terrorism problems.

But this vetting process is deeply flawed, experts say, because of a presumption that only fractional few real terrorists ever make intelligence databases. Database checks can’t detect information that is not in them.

“The only thing we can query is information that we have,” former FBI Director James Comey once said of vetting foreign national refugees. “So, if we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen, they’ve never been a ripple in the pond, there will be no record of them there and so it will be challenging.”

Neither can U.S. intelligence agencies very well check for derogatory information with governments that are diplomatically hostile to the United States and would never cooperate, such as Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

Pertinent Questions

“That’s a really hard target to analyze, and to just shoot from the hip and let them in is absolute insanity in my book,” said James G. Conway, a retired FBI counterterrorism agent who after 9/11 worked in Mexico trying to detect terrorists within the SIA flows. “How would you knowingly and wittingly bring people from terrorist countries into the United States with that level of vetting? Some of these terrorism countries don’t even have an electric grid let alone a computer system, and you can’t scrub them on databases that don’t exist. The whole thing is insane to me.

“What’s the motivation? I mean, why would they do that?” Conway added, referencing the Biden administration’s approval of SIAs for the CBP One entry program.

That’s a pertinent question that lawmakers, media pundits, and reporters might start asking before there’s blood in American streets.

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