Canadians are being targeted by ongoing foreign information warfare, and these efforts are going to intensify over the coming months
Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) has released an update to its 2017 report on cyber threats to Canada’s democratic process, warning about the likelihood that “Canadian voters will encounter some form of foreign cyber interference ahead of, and during, the 2019 federal election.”
The report goes on to state that “since the 2015 federal election, Canadian political leaders and the Canadian public have been targeted by foreign cyber interference activities.” Canada’s Magnitsky human rights sanctions are problematic for Russia’s corrupt oligarchs who support the Putin regime — and the handful of Canadian companies they do business with — and desperately seek the repeal of them. The threat of foreign disinformation targeting Canada’s democracy is therefore not just a theoretical possibility, it is happening now.
A moment of high drama involving the KGB and the CIA in Finland is the defection of KGB major Anatoli Golitsyn in 1961. Golitsyn was widely recognized by Western observers as one of the most important Soviet defectors even though his public understanding of political developments engendered heated debates and controversy. The defection influenced Finnish President Urho Kekknonen’s relationships in both the east and west direction. It also helped Supo’s counterintelligence section to learn more of the KGB’s tradecraft and goals.
In Helsinki Golitsyn was known as Anatoli Klimov, since in 1954, in Vienna he had been made by the KGB’s adversaries and had to change identity as he moved on. As a Soviet vice-consul he had diplomatic cover and immunity in Finland, while attached to the counter intelligence section of foreign intelligence (1st Chief Directorate) targeting the intelligence personnel of larger countries. Golitsyn had been on the CIA's sights for a while.
Finland, seen as painstakingly avoiding any unpleasantness with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, was able to play the innocent, non-threatening neighbour for the KGB. But now it’s accepted that the image of Finland willingly accommodating Moscow’s economic and political ambitious had been a historical distortion and the covert stance that its intelligence and security services held shows its definite Western-leaning posture during a cautious period of its independence.
Supo (The Finnish Security Intelligence Service – Suojelupoliisi), established in 1948 had to appear for Moscow as a non-adversarial agency while maintaining a trustworthy relationship with its Western counterparts. Supo was established to replace its forerunner, Valpo (State police – Valtiollinen poliisi). Valpo was disbanded by the Finnish parliament in 1948, after a government investigation determined that communists who occupied it's leadership positions were involved in serious illegalities, including the disappearance of individuals after WWII.
The recently released Estonian Security Service (KAPO) annual report highlights challenges, successes and future targets assisting the government in making the right decisions in maintaining national security.
It's ironical that the report's release coincided with KAPO's detention of retired KAPO veteran officer Vladimir Kulikov for 'cooperating' with Russian intelligence. While withholding most details of his arrest, it’s possible that Kulikov will be charged with high treason. Kulikov was known to have visited Russia where most recruitment approaches are made and is suspected of working with the Russian intelligence since. Retired in 2012, Kulikov was the recipient of the presidential Medal of the Eagle's Cross in 1998.
The following is offered in rebuttal to a Feb. 25 blog from Citizen writer David Pugliese entitled “Nazi whitewash gathers momentum as memory of the Holocaust fades”:
The crimes of all totalitarian regimes that engage in genocide, repression, corruption and the abuse of human rights should be condemned in the strongest terms possible – none more so, of course, than the Holocaust.
Grounded in the importance of this memory and message, we must be aware of and reject any attempts to cynically take advantage of historical issues by those who seek to divide our communities within Canada and to influence Canada’s foreign policy towards NATO and nations in Central and Eastern Europe. Marcus Kolga’s recent work for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has shone light on Kremlin attempts to do just that. Yet in his recent blog on the topic for the Citizen, David Pugliese attempts to characterize this as a kind of Holocaust denial.
Distortion of historical narratives and the use of “fascist” labels were cynically employed as an instrument of Soviet propaganda throughout the Cold War. Anyone who resisted or criticized the Soviet regime or its policies in the West was at risk of being branded a “fascist” in efforts to discredit them. Such tactics weren’t only limited to human rights and political activists; many Canadian ethnic groups who fled the Soviet Union were so labelled, in efforts to marginalize their voices and their impact on national debates.
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