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July 7, 2010

Foreign agents in Canada, China or Israel?

Reuel S. Amdur

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Richard Fadden, Director of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), has stirred up a hornets' nest in saying that foreign influence is being exercised by two premiers and by municipal officials in British Columbia.

His remarks implied that China is one of the countries involved.  These remarks have led to howls of outrage and demands for his head, especially from British Columbia politicians of Chinese ethnic background.  What can one make of this?

In international relations, everyone is “spying” on everyone else.  Friends and allies are objects of scrutiny and efforts to gain influence, just are potential enemies. 

Jonathan Pollard is in prison for passing on American secrets to Israel.  A bunch of Russians have just been nabbed in the United States, having gone underground for decades while using false identities, some purporting to be immigrants from Canada.

Spying is a pejorative term, while information-gathering may be a better description for what mostly takes place.  Embassies, for example, gather all kinds of information that may be useful to the home country.  The media are scanned for tit-bits on who is saying what about the agent’s country.  They also may be on the lookout for technical information that could be useful, industrial espionage as it were. 

While media are important sources, other information is gathered by personal contacts, for example in developing friendly relations with locals who are part of the diaspora and with influentials in the assigned country, both in and out of government.

Out-and-out theft of information or getting information by bribery or honey traps exists but most of the work is much less spectacular, more along the lines of scanning the newspapers and business magazines. 

Some have objected that the idea of municipal officials serving to advance the cause of a foreign agent is ridiculous, as cities are concerned with sewers and pot holes.  However, Ottawa’s Mayor Larry O’Brien proves the naïveté of that view.

O’Brien recently returned from a visit to China with a business delegation.  The delegation was successful in some contract negotiations.  Back in Ottawa, he declined to proclaim Falun Dafa Day, which had been proclaimed in earlier years.  This is an example of soft influence.  Free trips to China can also produce a similar kind of “good will” that can be to Beijing’s advantage.

Israel exercises its influence in large measure by using “official” Jewish organizations in Canada such as the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and B’nai Brith.  Israel’s embassy is in constant contact with such organizations. 

Like embassies, the major organizations refrain from taking independent positions on specific Israeli policies, simply promoting or at least going along with whatever the latest line is.  The analogy would be the relationship of Communist Parties around the world to the old Soviet Union. 

Like China, Israel also promotes visits to entertain notables.  In 2005, the Israel-Canada Chamber of Commerce sponsored a visit to Israel by a delegation of Canadian politicians headed by Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew. 

Ontario cabinet member Monte Kwinter arranged for a visit by chiefs of police, 60% paid for by the Canadian Jewish Congress and the rest by the Ontario government.  Other notables who have been on the foreign gravy train junket to Israel are Brian Tobin and Mike Harris.

We have to acknowledge that the efforts of Zionist Jewish organizations to advance Israel’s cause have been quite successful. 

We now have the most Zionist prime minister ever, and he is surrounded in Cabinet by like-minded MP’s. 

In the past Michael Ignatieff has expressed some views not totally sympathetic to Israeli behavior, but he seems to be following the agenda now.

As for Jack Layton, he has now kowtowed directly before the Israeli ambassador and given a lecture and a faulty history lesson to Libby Davies.

When Davies, Richard Nadeau, and Borys Wrzesnewskyj go the Gaza, their way is not paid by the Canadian Jewish Congress or anyone else.  They do it on their own.  And don’t expect them to receive an all-expenses invitation to Israel either. 

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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