Canadian Intelligence Collaboration with Israeli Occupation

Is the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) trying to intimidate and spy on pro-Palestinian Canadians? Do they share this information with Mossad?

On 7 April, Freda Guttman, a 76-year-old Jewish Montrealer, received a visit from agents of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS). She slammed the door on them so it’s not clear if the visit was related to her role in Tadamon!, a Middle East solidarity collective, or her friendship with Canadian activist (and occasional contributor to The Electronic Intifada) Stefan Christoff.

A tall, mild-mannered 29-year-old, Christoff has been one of Montreal’s most effective grassroots activists for the past decade. Involved with various issues recently he’s devoted himself to Palestinian solidarity work, including the highly successful Artists Against Apartheid (AAA) campaign. Over the past three years AAA has organized a dozen concerts and in February they brought together 500 Quebec artists in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which supporters of Israel view as a major threat.

In the past eight months at least seven of Christoff’s friends have been visited by CSIS agents. These unannounced visits usually take place early in the morning. The agents ask questions about Christoff’s trips to the Middle East or AAA and in some instances, they’ve feigned concern for the Palestinian cause, implying Christoff’s radical activist roots might hurt it.

The CSIS’s interest in Guttman and Christoff represents a departure for the agency in targeting Palestinian solidarity activists. During the 1990s as Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were engaged in negotiations many Palestinian Canadians accused the CSIS of intimidating opponents of the Oslo accords.

The CSIS allegedly offered cash in exchange for information on those opposed to the PLO’s compromise.

A Washington Report on Middle East Affairs article published in 1994 after the initial peace accord was signed, explained that “CSIS is carrying out a political agenda by targeting only those who are aligned with non-Fatah groups of the PLO — those who oppose the accord signed by the PLO. More than 20 PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] supporters have come forward alleging that they have been interrogated by CSIS.”

In contrast, both Guttman and Christoff are white and are not affiliated with a Palestinian political party.

As a national intelligence organization shrouded in secrecy, it is hard to know if CSIS has been mandated to target Palestine solidarity activists. In the current political climate, however, it’s not surprising that CSIS officials view anyone defending Palestinian rights as a threat.

The ardently pro-Israel Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly equated expressions of support for Palestinian rights with extremism.

In March 2009, Ottawa barred British parliamentarian George Galloway from Canada for delivering humanitarian aid to Hamas officials who were the elected administration in the Gaza Strip.

At the start of this year the Conservative government attempted to pass a condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week in Parliament.

Two months ago, Harper accused Libby Davies, Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party (NDP), of making “extremist” statements because she gave halting support to the BDS campaign and said Israel had been occupying Palestinian territories since 1948. Demanding Davies be fired as the NDP’s deputy leader, Harper told the House of Commons, “She made statements that could have been made by Hamas, Hizballah,” which Canada considers terrorist organizations.

The Conservatives have also strengthened Canadian intelligence cooperation with Israel.

In early 2008 Ottawa signed a wide-ranging “border management and security” agreement with Israel, even though the two countries do not share a border.

The agreement is rather vague, but includes sharing information, cooperating on illegal immigration, cooperating on law enforcement, etc. This agreement is an attempt to formalize some aspects of the CSIS’s relationship with the Mossad, Israel’s international intelligence agency.

Canadian-Israeli intelligence relations date to the 1970s if not earlier.

Norman Spector, Canada’s ambassador to Israel, has admitted that there was a CSIS operative working for him at the Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv. He also acknowledged, as quoted in Paul McGeough’s 2009 book Kill Khaled, that there was “very close cooperation” between the Canadian and Israeli spy agencies.

This relationship is also active inside Canada.

In his 1990 book Official Secrets: The story behind the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Richard Cléroux noted that “Mossad agents are located in every major [Canadian] city, working closely with CSIS, to protect El Al aircraft and airline installations and watching PLO political activities, especially those of Arab and Iranian students.

Israelis are CSIS’s prime source of information on a number of suspected terrorists and spies.” The CSIS also passes information to Mossad. Spy Wars describes how CSIS “told him [an unnamed Palestinian] explicitly they were gathering information for the CIA and Mossad.”

According to former Ambassador Spector, the Mossad’s relationship to CSIS “goes beyond information sharing.

There are joint operations.” Although Spector did not elaborate, it is public knowledge that Mossad agents have used Canadian passports to carry out numerous foreign assassinations. “A member of an Israeli hit squad that mistakenly killed a Moroccan waiter in Norway in 1973 had posed as a Canadian,” reported the Canadian Jewish News.

Until 1997, the repeated use of Canadian cover by Israeli agents received little attention.

That changed when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to a Hamas offer for a 30-year truce (relayed by Jordan’s King Hussein) by trying to kill Khalid Meshal, then chairman of Hamas’ political bureau. The Israeli agents, who were captured after dropping poison in Meshal’s ear, entered Jordan on Canadian passports.

Spector claimed CSIS and Mossad agents met days before the attempt to assassinate Meshal.

He said Ottawa wanted to cover up Israel’s use of fake Canadian passports. “Canadian authorities knew, in general, that passports were being used by Mossad,” Spector noted.

“It was known to people at the embassy and they essentially turned a blind eye to it.” According to Spector, CSIS supported Mossad missions in exchange for intelligence. “Israeli operational agents have been given to understand that the use of Canadian passports is the quid pro quo [for information on Arab immigrants].”

While Ottawa officially protested the Meshal incident, it apparently didn’t affect the Mossad-CSIS relationship.

A Canadian working for Mossad, Jonathan Ross explained in his 2008 book The Volunteer: A Canadian’s Secret Life in the Mossad that the CSIS “was sympathetic, and it was business as usual with them despite the diplomatic flap. During a liaison exchange by our [Mossad] counterterrorism officers to Canada soon after the affair broke, many CSIS members mentioned that their only regret in the whole affair was that we didn’t succeed [in assassinating Meshal].”

The close ties between Canadian and Israeli intelligence agencies — strengthened with the recent border security agreement — means that some of the information CSIS collects on pro-Palestinian Canadians is probably passed on to their Israeli counterparts. In 2003, Stefan Christoff was barred by Israel’s interior ministry from entering the occupied Palestinian territories.

Was that decision based upon information from CSIS?

As Palestinian solidarity activism further challenges Canada’s pro-Israeli establishment, CSIS harassment will likely increase. The way to deal with these threats is to expose them and to build a broad movement that makes them ineffective.

Yves Engler is the author of 12 books. His latest book is Stand on Guard for Whom?: A People's History of the Canadian Military . Read other articles by Yves.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. hayate said on August 24th, 2010 at 8:42am #

    Well, Canada is as much a colony of israel as the usa is, of course elements of the Canadian guv will be used by their zionist masters to israel’s benefit.

    Israel needs to be dissolved and replaced by a democratic, all inclusive Palestine, and zionism sent the way of its mentor, nazism. Then, we can dismantle the corporate/oligarchic economic structure.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 24th, 2010 at 11:22am #

    The real implications of Zionist control of the West is that the attitudes of Zionism, rooted in Judaic religious delusions of innate superiority to non-Jews, of extreme race hatred and boundless cruelty towards humans regarded as mere animals,are being imposed on those Western states. Starting with the corrupted political elites,now completely in the control of Zionist money power (and fertile grounds for any sort of supremacist ideology)and the thugs of the intelligence agencies,Zionist race hatred and xenophobia is being steadily drummed into the population.
    Any day you can peruse the Western media and see article after article traducing Islam,Moslems and other enemies of the Zionist Reich, such as Russia and China. The depravity of some of these hatemongering exercises is truly depraved and unapologetic, and invariably peddled by Zionist Jews or Sabbat Goy collaborators and stooges. Canada seems no longer to be a sovereign country, so extreme is Zionist control there, and,in Australia, we recently had our Prime Minister, Rudd, removed by an internal coup of notorious apologists for Israel, apparently after the local Zionist Lobby promised retribution after Rudd expelled a Mossad agent after another (and repeated) example of Israeli passport theft. The extirpation of an elected PM by treacherous colleagues acting at the behest of an alien power,one whose state ideology sees non-Jewish Australians as innately inferior to Jews, has gone not just unquestioned, but unmentioned, despite indiscreet crowing by Zionist hacks like Greg Sheridan of Rupert Moloch’s ‘The Australian’.
    Leaving aside the question of sovereignty in the West, where it is clear that Jewish influence now dominates to an extent that renders these countries quasi-colonies of a distant terror state, it is clear that Israeli apartheid is seen as a model for the world. Israel is the gated community par excellence, where the despised untermenschen are kept in vast concentration camps,periodically culled in exemplary massacres if they grow restive.Israeli expertise in murder,mass torture and the intimidation of imprisoned populations has been lent to the US in Iraq, Abu Ghraib the most notorious example, and to India in Kashmir. Various other fascist despotisms, such as Georgia, are inextricably linked to Israeli fascism. Clearly there is no limit to the repression that Western elites will visit on the opponents of Israeli bestiality.These harassments are merely a sign of things to come,if only because the Zionists, regarding their stooges, as they do,as mere ‘two-legged animals’ like the rest of us, are absolutely merciless in their demands and utterly unforgiving of anything but absolute, unquestioning,obedience.

  3. teafoe2 said on August 24th, 2010 at 12:14pm #

    Mulga, Mulga — you are SO eloquent. BTW, there’s an excellent review by Steve Sniegowski on PulseMedia today, many details about the Neocon phenomenon.

  4. mary said on August 24th, 2010 at 3:01pm #

    Well done to these people of Vancouver. We are rising up together.

    Press release – for immediate release

    August 24, 2010

    Opponents of Israeli occupation greet truckers at port of Vancouver

    Vancouver – Port truck traffic slowed to a crawl along the Deltaport causeway as a group of about 50 protesters approached drivers with leaflets containing information about the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. They also offered the drivers coffee and muffins in a gesture of solidarity. The protesters were there to draw attention to the fact that the Israeli container ship Zim Djibouti had landed in Vancouver to unload its containers.

    Zim is an Israeli shipping company, one of the largest in the world.

    “This action was part of the growing international campaign to pressure Israel to comply with international law and stop killing innocent civilians,” said Gordon Murray, spokesperson for the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Coalition (BIAC).

    “Workers in South Africa, Scandinavia, the United States, Turkey and India have already responded to the Palestinian call for action to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and the suffering it is causing,” said Mike Krebs, BIAC’s other spokesperson. “The international solidarity movement has decided that the best way to change Israel’s behaviour is to take actions against Israeli companies and institutions in order to put pressure on the government there.”

    For further information:
    Gordon Murray (604) 727-3542 (cell)
    Mike Krebs (604) 779-7430 (cell)