Monday, April 27, 2009

A foul odor on the Polar Breeze

A Con-friendly spokesman makes an eminently reasonable point to justify an Arctic surveillance program:
Prof. Huebert compared it to policing a highway. "How can you give a ticket to somebody [for infractions] in an area you claim if you don't even know they are up there?"
So why haven't we heard about the $130 million program before?
Polar Breeze is a military project so cloaked in secrecy the Department of National Defence at first categorically denied it even existed.

Today - apart from backtracking on their denial - the military is refusing to answer any questions on the project that experts believe has a role to play in protecting Canada's Arctic sovereignty and security.
Despite National Defence's refusal to comment, clues about Polar Breeze can be gleaned from the more than 50 pages of heavily censored files obtained by the NDP. These suggest the project involves the Canadian Forces' secretive directorate of space development, computer networks and geospatial intelligence - data gathered by satellite.

Polar Breeze also appears to be sponsored by the Chief of Defence Intelligence, an organization that's grown into one the largest intelligence-gathering services in the federal government. Unlike the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the CDI is not monitored by independent civilian oversight.
National Defence initially denied any knowledge of Polar Breeze after taking five days to respond to a request for details on the program.

"No such project exists in DND ... called Polar Breeze project or anything close to that," spokeswoman Captain Isabelle Riché told The Globe and Mail April 14.

But last week the military changed its tune after being supplied with evidence from published documents that it is funding Polar Breeze. Still, DND refused to discuss the project beyond acknowledging its existence, saying everything, including its name, is a classified secret.
Which raises an obvious question: would anybody care to ask Professor Huebert how the public should be able to verify that Polar Breeze is properly policed?

No comments:

Post a Comment