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Book Review: Nest of Spies: The Startling Truth About Foreign Agents at Work within Canada’s Borders by Fabrice de Pierrebourg and Michel Juneau-Katsuya

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Nest of Spies is a thoroughly damning document of Canada’s overall security, including military, economic, industrial, government and technical security and their internal associated services. It’s especially damning of industrial, technical and economic, and reserves special criticism, even scorn, for Canada’s political leaders, saying, “… Canadian laws are flabbily written and poorly enforced (arguably they are not enforced at all), and the unfortunate truth that our police officers are not trained to investigate in our domain.” They go on to say that Canada is “…a country where successive governments of all political stripes have ignored the problem. Canada has lacked the courage, or the resolve, or perhaps the simple ability to grasp the size of the challenge.”

Nest of Spies, written by a Montreal journalist (de Pierrebourg) and a former bureau chief for CSIS (Juneau-Katsuya), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, outlines overall and goes into some specifics on the comparison by United States intelligence of “… Canada’s military security to a kitchen strainer.” Virtually no organization within the Canadian government, military or civilian, responsible for protecting the integrity of Canada’s economy, military or government gets a pass in this scathing review of the inefficacy of the entire Canadian security establishment.

CSIS “… is the information agency responsible for investigating threats to national security both inside and outside Canada … including espionage, terrorism and sabotage …” Bear in mind, these words came, either directly or indirectly, from one of the former bureau chiefs responsible for Canada’s national security and one immediately grasps the depth and breadth of the security problems Canada is facing.

On the international side of the matter, few of Canada’s closest friends get a pass, either. Listed in 1994 are “… the (countries) most actively involved in economic and political spying” are, in order, China, India, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Ukraine. (The USA was on the 1984 list.)

I realize I’ve quoted extensively above; however, the words lifted directly from the book serve much better than substitution with my own. Nest of Spies also includes a multitude of facts which thoroughly support and reinforce the arguments of the authors, including how honest immigrants are forced to spy on their new homeland by their former country’s use of family relatives as hostages to insure the immigrants’ continued subservience. They point out how industrial espionage has cost Canada thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, and how the Canadian government’s continued inaction have aggravated this dilemma.

I’m truly surprised the Canadian government didn’t halt the publication of this exposé, especially considering Juneau-Katsuya’s background with CSIS. I’d also be very surprised if the majority of industrially and technologically advanced nations across the globe don’t suffer the same problems. You could easily substitute the US, England, Germany, and probably another dozen or more country names in place of “Canada,” and have a very similar story of theft, espionage and lost jobs and income. It’s not just Canada’s problem.

Nest of Spies is laid out in a tight, efficient, easy-to-follow (but hard to swallow without a great deal of heartburn) style and format that all contribute to an overall excellent study of what might be Canada’s, and the free world’s, biggest threat today.

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About Lou Novacheck

  • jac

    I’ve worked with To Tran (page 132 of the book).

    This guy went to go work for AT&T labs down south…

    here is his resume: To Tran resume now take a look where he went after Nortel!!!!

    He was one of the real dumb ones. Really dumb. The dumb ones get caught. Fearless they are. Dumb. Those smart ones always have fear and hide nicely…

    I betcha some of the debt we incur after the booms is due to espionage (and scandal – white collar crime, and just pure inefficiencies in our system).

    these spies take advantage of our boom and bust economy. Go wild money making times… they sneak in during these times and take take take…

    naive we are. Ignorance is bliss. But, it makes someone easy money… so why change.