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Is the department of defence using its bureaucrats to hunt down commercial information — at a time when the world is awash in terror and other genuine security threats? That seems highly unlikely
State Capitalism Update: News today from Malaysia and Brazil, where state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are making headlines and generating fresh evidence that Canada has its hands full with the emerging global business of government business.
First to Rio de Janeiro, where an eight-minute documentary report on Brazil’s Globo TV network painted a mighty bleak picture of dark Canadian government espionage, an image that is now the focus of high-level Brazilian corporate and political agitation. Canada’s ambassador to Brazil has been called to account. Big-name Brazilian corporations — state-owned Petrobras and Electrobas, Aneel, Epe — are said to be the targets.
The eight minutes begin slow, with long shots of a massive office complex of distinctly Brazilian design overlayed with creepy music of the kind that’s now mandatory whenever TV networks need to build a story of sinister doings. In this case, the Canadian government is portrayed as the operator of a telecom network spy operation, tapping into cell phones and communications networks, whose main purpose is to obtain business secrets on the inner workings of Brazil’s mining and energy sectors.
At several points Canada is essentially accused of conspiring to obtain secret commercial information, including possibly plugging into communications with the Brazilian energy department regarding the auctions of electric power. Half a dozen talking heads appear to lament this grave possible threat to Brazil. Paulo Pagluisi, an information security specialist, said he is “shocked by the potential capabilities.”
Improbable as the allegations of Canadian defence officials bobbing for commercial data may seem, the Globo reporting crew makes the most of it, or as much as they can with not much to go on. While big on suggestion that the Canadian government operated a commercial espionage scheme targeting Brazil’s ministry of mining, energy and tourism, the documentary is a little thin on, well, documents. There’s some kind of a power-point presentation that the reporter flashes occasionally and toward the end of the eight minutes, but it is impossible to make out details, let alone make sense of the whizzing and often blurry pages.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/10/08/terence-corcoran-brazils-8-minute-industrial-spy-video-find-the-canadian-spies/