I have read the book in French, so the English quotations I give here are made by me.
CSIS - Canadian Security Intelligence Service;
RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police
LESTER - ENEMY NUMBER ONE OF CSIS
All over this book, Lester tries to portray himself as an honest reporter, a fearless fighter for the truth, doing his best to expose all the wrongdoings of Canadian Secret Services. Here are some quotes.
"Because of my curiosity, I became an object of several investigations of secret service. This is normal. This is part of the risks of the trade."
"I was on several occasions targeted by secret services from 1986. It was a good war! They wanted to know my sources".
Lester just returned from Paris to Canada in 1986. He claims that after exposing Boivin affair in 1988 and several diplomatic expulsions of Soviet spies, secret services decided to assign Canadian James Bond -Frank Pratt to investigate Lester's sources.
"With accumulation of my revelations, the level of exasperation against me increased. I have become the most hated person for the Department of External Affairs and CSIS. It happened at the moment when I did broadcast my second exclusive report in the summer of 1988. This report has launched the top investigator Frank Pratt against me".
But reading of the book itself reveals no evidence of "good war" or hatred towards Lester on the part of CSIS in general or Frank Pratt in particular. He continues meeting numerous active and retired CSIS agents in restaurants and bars. Here are some relevant quotes (page numbers are from the French edition of the book).
Page 29: A secret agent joins Lester in Beaux Jeudis bar.
Page 59: Lester has a lunch in Washington restaurant with a woman, who
is familiar with activities of Defense Intelligence Agency. She tells
him how American intelligence discovered that Toshiba has sold to Soviets
the technology needed to produce silent propellers (helixes) for submarines.
Page 94: Lester speaks to a former officer of CSIS anti--subversive section in a Laval restaurant.
Page 102: Lester speaks to another CSIS agent at the terrace of a restaurant in Outremont.
Page 103: Lester again is having a lunch with a retired CSIS agent in 1993, in a restaurant, of course.
Page 234: Lester is sitting in an Italian restaurant with CSIS agent.
Pages 277-279. Lester describes his meeting with agent Roy in a Brossard restaurant.
Lester is a TV personality, there is no way he could sit in a restaurant without several people recognizing him. 'According to Lester, the war with CSIS was about knowing his sources. Well, if he meets with his sources in restaurants, CSIS knows who his sources are. All they have to do is to follow him. The only case where he meets his source in an underground parking lot is on page 63: meeting about language problems in CSIS. This was the only case where CSIS did not want the public to know; in all other cases Lester was doing exactly as CSIS wanted him to do. Let us take a look.
According to Lester, his first breakthrough was the report on Soviet diplomats expulsions. Here is how it happened. Reporter Picard received an anonymous phone call telling him that several Soviet diplomats were being expelled. Lester called his source - old Service employee, who knew well Soviet counter-intelligence section. The guy was immediately available, and he explained to Lester that the caller was most probably CSIS employee, who considered that his organization achieved great success and that he wanted the public to know about it. He gave Lester the address where Soviet diplomats lived, so if they were expelled, it was very easy to verify. Lester claims that after broadcasting his "scoop", CSIS internal security started investigating him. Why would they? Lester did exactly what they wanted: to let public know, how good they were.
There are two options here. One, Lester is lying about investigating him; two, if CSIS did start an investigation, it was just a spectacle to pretend that they were angry at Lester, while in fact they were quite happy with him. The same goes for Boivin story. CSIS got tired of Boivin's unruly behavior and wanted to end its relationship with him. They deliberately disclosed his status of informant in order to discredit trade unions: Boivin was placed quite high and was very militant. The revelation put shadow of suspicion on every militant member, and this is exactly what CSIS wanted.
Pages 90-93 describe Lester's meetings with Boivin. He allegedly told Lester that someone else has ordered placement of bombs, Boivin was just following orders. Well, who was that someone? Lester complains on several occasions,that the whole thing is one big cover-up, but he is not telling us, who made the orders; he is not even mentioning whether Boivin told him who it was. This is Lester at its best: pretending to be a watchdog, while in fact doing his best to cover-up all bad about CSIS, and CSIS certainly appreciated it. Lester himself writes that Boivin wanted to unload all dirt about CSIS, and one would think, he did. Lester published none of it.
The section on pages 66-70 has the title: "Enemy of CSIS number one". One of his sources calls him and in a coded way invites him to a meeting at a predetermined place in Lester's car., This individual tells Lester that he should expect RCMP with a search warrant in his office and probably at his house. Frank Pratt is in charge at CSIS and Sergeant Laflamme is in charge at RCMP.
On August 2, 1988. RCMP comes to his office with a search warrant. The warrant has nothing to do with his revelations on Boivin or Soviet diplomats expulsions, but rather with "the documents related to the complaints made by Francophone agents against CSIS". Being warned in advance, he did not suffer in any shape or form from the search, but this search has certainly boosted his credibility: since RCMP was after him, he must be doing something right, and this is what the whole spectacle was about. I see similar spectacles in jail quite often: a public confrontation between an inmate (who I know is an informant) and guards. The inmate gets his credibility boosted, and this was the goal.
This is how Lester describes RCMP being after Agnaieff: "they had microphones installed in his office, his car, his residence; they had an informant inside CEQ, who watched every Agnaieff's displacement, etc. " Well, if we believe that Lester was CSIS enemy number one, they must have had microphones in his car, and he could not meet his source in his car. No source would be so insane as to reveal to Lester about upcoming search, unless this source was authorized by his superiors to do so. Such a revelation, unless explicitly authorized, is a crime, and nobody would risk his freedom for actually nothing: Lester was not in any danger anyway.
Here is a short description of how Lester tried to malign Agnaieff.
Pages 93-104: Agnaieff story. Auger was the first to publish it. The source of his story - CSIS agents. All the story says: CSIS was spying on Agnaieff since his arrival in Quebec.
Page 97. Agnaieff made a complaint against CSIS. Prior to publication of the Overview Committee annual report, someone calls Lester by phone and tells him that the Committee found that CSIS did nothing wrong. And Lester gives a full quote from the Committee decision. Ask yourself a simple question: why would anyone risk his position (or even freedom) to call a reporter (and not just any reporter, but "enemy number one") and to tell him a strictly confidential information, favorable to CSIS? Because that person knew that he could rely on Lester's loyalty towards CSIS.
Agnaieff was born in 1939 in Cairo. His father was an officer in tsarist army, who emigrated in 1918 to Egypt. Agnaieff learned English, French, Russian, Italian and Arabic. He came to Canada in 1966, studied French and linguistics at Universite de Montreal. He became CEQ secretary in 1971, and grown to Director General in 1976. His main crime: making May 1 the day of workers' solidarity, rather than the Labor Day in September.
"From the beginning of 70's Agnaieff is the President of Quebec Peace Council of which he was one of the founders. This was part of the peace movement affiliated to the World Congress for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, organization facade controlled by the international section of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee".
Yet another crime: fighting for peace. Lester seems to be unable to imagine, that Soviet Union's participation in the World Congress for Peace was sincere: neither Stalin, nor his successors, as brutal as they were, wanted a war and did their best to secure peace. Had they wanted to start a war, they could have done it any day.
One of CSIS agents tells Lester that during 15 years, there was nobody in Canada under such intense surveillance as Agnaieff: they had microphones installed in his office, his car, his residence; they had an informant inside CEQ, who watched every Agnaieff's displacement, etc. They had boxes and boxes of documents, transcripts of conversations, reports of his trips abroad, pictures of people he met, etc. In 1978, RCMP prepared a 70 pages report to-the government identifying Agnaieff as "Soviet agent of influence" and requesting his expulsion from Canada. Lester claims that Solicitor General did not want a quarrel with CEQ, so he ignored the report. Come on, get real: Solicitor General would be happy to embarrass CEQ, he just did not have the "goodies". Instead of telling the truth, Lester does his best to embellish CSIS.
Page 103: Lester again is having a lunch with a retired CSIS agent in 1993, in a restaurant, of course. The man tells Lester that Agnaieff most probably was not a Soviet agent, but rather a CIA agent. Well, Agnaieff could not possibly be just an honest man. Lester does not want reader to think that CSIS squandered millions for nothing.
Now, imagine for the sake of an argument, that Agnaieff was a Soviet spy. What could he possibly do to harm Canada in any shape or form? He worked for a trade union, he did not have access to any sensitive information related to military, defense, etc. What was the point to spy on him in the first place? Even if he met Soviet diplomats on a regular basis and told them whatever he knew, it was perfectly legal under Canadian law. Remember, freedom of association and freedom of speech?
COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY ESTABLISHMENT
The whole chapter 5 is devoted to the Communications Security Establishment. There is practically nothing critical, praise and admiration of how important and effective they are. Subtitle on page 120: "Listening to the whole planet!" Wow, Lester is excited. Pay attention to the choice of words. A more precise would be "Spying on the whole planet!" Not for Lester.
He did not though write anything new. He is effectively retelling us
the information collected by Bill Robinson at his web site
Chapter 6: Morin affair. Lester says that there was no connection between him doing his scoop about Morin in 1992 and the desire to discredit PQ during the coming referendum. According to him, it was just pure and honest journalistic work. He writes that he had great difficulty make his sources talk, etc. All this is a lie.
On page 152 he describes the work of another reporter Laurin, who in 1981 had 2 confirmations from RCMP sources plus one confirmation from a lawyer that Morin was an informant. Laurin allegedly did not proceed with this information, because he did not have sufficient proof. Besides, direction of Telejournal thought that RCMP just wanted to tarnish PQ at the time of constitutional crisis. Hello, this was exactly the case in 1981 and this was exactly the case in 1992. Laurin just had more decency than Lester.
On page 153 we read that at one reception, a RCMP agent approached Laurin and said: "Do you want a scoop? I can give you one. Claude Morin is working for us". This agent went as far as introducing Laurin to yet another one who confirmed everything, then a third agent confirmed the information yet again. All three would be committing a crime, unless their orders came from the top of RCMP. Clearly, RCMP wanted this information out in 1981. The purpose was obvious: to destroy Levesque and his party.
Page 159: Federal government was so desperate to reveal that Morin was an informant, that when Lagace asked for a copy of MacDonald Report, they underlined in the report the paragraphs about RCMP infiltration of PQ government at the top level. Hello, is the message clear? Lester just did the dirty job CSIS wanted to be done since 1981.
Is Morin's claim that he agreed to be informant only to play a double
game credible? I think, it is. There are 2 reasons for this.
First, RCMP made a video-recording of Morin accepting money. The
purpose of such a film is obvious: to blackmail. You do not blackmail
a good informant, you blackmail a bad one, so Morin was a bad informant
for RCMP. Second, RCMP (CSIS) extreme desire to expose Morin.
Again, you do not expose a good informant, you expose an informant which
does not inform.
Page 234: Lester is sitting in an Italian restaurant with CSIS agent, and this agent is telling him that Frank Pratt is investigating Brunet for being a Soviet mole within Canadian secret service. Brunet and his friend McCleery were fired in 1973 for friendship with Mitch Bronfman, who in turn was friend of Obront, money man of Cotroni.
Page 245: Lester mentions Prideaux* as RCMP superintendent who used the safe-house for sexual relations with various women. The name is fictitious. Lester at his best: God forbid to really damage any CSIS agent.
Page 247: in January 1974, all personnel of Montreal RCMP was told to avoid all communications with Brunet and McCleery. After such a blank prohibition, is it realistic to presume that anyone in RCMP would tell Brunet anything s6nsitive? Lester nevertheless alleges that Brunet in 1975 have managed to inform Soviets of whereabouts of double agent Shadrin, who was killed in Vienna by KGB. Nonsense.
Page 248: Brunet and McCleery have provided information to Parliament about criminal activity of RCMP, which led to closure of RCMP secret service and creation of CSIS. The embarrassing information was provided in 1981, and in 1982 secret service started investigating Brunet for being a Soviet mole. An eye for an eye: Brunet embarrassed RCMP, so they want to malign him, and Lester is here to help.
In 1985, KGB agent Yurchenko allegedly demanded political asylum in USA and informed CIA that Brunet was Soviet mole. Several days later the same Yurchenko declared that he was kidnapped, drugged and brought to US against his will. He returned back to Moscow. Soviets had zero tolerance for traitors. Had Yurchenko been a real defector, he would have been killed upon his return to Moscow, one way or the other. Instead, he was decorated. One should not believe a single word he said.
Kalugin in his book mentions a Soviet mole in Canada, but this mole was still active well after Brunet was fired in 1973.
Brunet had lived well above his salary, that is all what was ever against him. He was involved with Mafia, and this can very well explain his extra money. It is typical for a member of one organized crime (RCMP or CSIS) to move to another organized crime (Mafia). On page 243, Lester quotes a report of Inspector Belanger:
"Bronfman is a target of such caliber that it is extremely difficult to attack for the following reasons: A) his key people are former employees of RCMP and other police forces..."
On page 233 Lester claims that former KGB is now called SVR. False again: former KGB is now FSB.
Chapter 10: a bizarre story about Litvinov*. Almost all names are fictitious, including Litvinov*.
Page 265: Zaitsev had a note-book, where in Russian it was written "Center KGB". No one in his right mind would have with him a note-book with such an open writing. Either Zaitsev did not have that note-book, or if he had it, this means that he was NOT a Soviet spy.
Page 286: Archdeacon is being quoted that new inquiry of Litvinov took too long because Litvinov was either in no position to respond to certain questions or did not want to respond. What does it mean to be in no position to respond? Was he in a coma? CSIS certainly knows how to question people. We read on pages 277-279 how Lester describes his meeting with Pierre Roy in a Brossard restaurant. Suddenly they see CSIS boss coming in. Roy jumps to his feet and disappears. One Pierre Leduc next day is relieved from his duties and brought to Ottawa for questioning. He is suspecting of being a source for Lester. He is questioned for 24 hours until they finally realized their mistake.
Litvinov* might have been a double agent working for CSIS, this would explain why CSIS defended him.
Chapter 12. Murder of Bashand: Lester asks questions whether RCMP knew in advance of coming assassination or not. He does not discuss the possibility that it was RCMP informant who was the assassin. It would be too disloyal for Lester even to presume such a thing.
Pages 343-345 belong to subtitle "Fabrikant, was he an informant?". I translate the whole text below and give my comments.
"I have heard this story in the fall of 1994, with 2 years of delay. I have been told that certain feverishness reigned in the Soviet counter-intelligence section in Montreal in the weeks following the quadruple murder at Concordia University. In the corridors of CSIS they whispered that the author, Valery Fabrikant, was acting as an informant for the Russian counter-intelligence section. They feared that the media might discover the usage of such an energumen for our secret services."
Why would there be 2 years of delay? Because the whole thing is a lie. In 1992, Lester was very active in his communications with CSIS, and if there was "certain feverishness" there, he would have known, especially taking into consideration that shooting at Concordia was a very loud story at that time.
There are 2 kinds of most hated people in jail: informants and rapists. In 1994, L'Actualite published an-drticle about me where the author falsely accused me of raping a student. I guess, CSIS after reading this article decided to make its contribution to the character assassination: to make me an informant, and this is why the story appeared in 1994.
When this article appeared, jailers made hundreds of copies of the part calling me rapist and placed these sheets in every inmate mail-box in Donnacona jail. Rapists are being killed in maximum security jails, so jailers hoped someone would kill me. I was lucky, inmates did not believe this lie. I do not know, whether jailers tried to use Lester's lie to have me killed.
"I undertake efforts with Donnacona jail authorities to enter in contact with Fabrikant. I am told that I can write to him and that he would be able to call me back collect. I sent him a letter to which he did not respond. But I learned from the media that he was to come to Palais de Justice of Montreal on February 13, 1995, to argue his appeal against life sentence. I am going to the audience in hope to talk to him."
Lester lies that I did not respond to his letter. I did respond, but in my usual manner: I requested a proof that he was an honest journalist, failing which I was not going to talk to him, period. He never responded to this letter, because he had no evidence to present; he is as dishonest, as any reporter can be.
"Former professor of engineering, who killed four of his colleagues and tried to kill a secretary at Concordia on August 26, 1992, demands that Court of Appeal either acquit him or order a new trial. The appeal is heard by judges Jean-Louis Baudouin, Marc Beauregard and Michel Proulx."
I did not kill four colleagues, I killed four members of a gang which threatened my life. I did not try to kill the secretary, because if I really wanted to kill her, she would be dead then and there. The shooting took place not on August 26, but on August 24, 1992. The rest is correct.
"Escorted by two guards, little man is brought to the lawyer's table in the courtroom on 17-th floor of Palais de justice. He is pleading his case during five hours with arrogance and with a tone of a preacher, which made him so hated during his unending process in front of the jury in 1993."
Had my presentation taken 5 hours, we would have had more than one break. Anyone interested can take a look at my presentation at the Court of Appeal in the file PLAN.TXT. It contains about 45 pages, even presuming 3 minutes per page, it does not come even to 2.5 hours. I spoke for about 2 hours, and had I talked nonsense, these judges hated me more than enough to stop me. They did not.
"When during the morning the hearing is suspended for several minutes, I approach and introduce myself. He received my letter. I know that I have little time, so I ask point blank:
- What were your relations with CSIS?
And he responds to me both spiteful and ironic:
- What do you know about my relationship with secret police? You, journalists, you do not know much. You are in general ignorant and pretentious, especially the TV journalists ... The way that CBC has treated me, I have no reason to tell you anything.
Fabrikant has launched. I try from time to time to interrupt his diatribe and to make him respond to my question, to no avail. Audience restarts. Alas!"
Lester is lying as usual. I did not use the words either ignorant or pretentious. I told him what I wrote in my letter, that unless and until I see any evidence of his honesty, I was not going to talk to him. I did not "launch", I said it and for me the conversation was finished. Lester continued to harass me with his questions. I ignored him.
"Several months later, my receptionist gives me a message to my office: Fabrikant called me. Has he decided to tell me about his relations with CSIS? That day and several days after that, I try without success to get in contact with him by phone or FAX. Later I found out that Donnacona jail has forbidden him all communications with journalists."
Lying again. It was not several months later, but 3 months prior to the hearing, back in December of 1994; it was not a receptionist, but he himself was on the phone; I did not call him: I asked the guard to dial a lawyer's number and the guard, who was probably bribed by Lester dialed Lester's number. I heard unfamiliar voice and I asked who that was. Lester presented himself. I asked him, how it happened that I was asking to call a lawyer, and guard instead dialed his number. He pretended not to know. At this point I told him that unless and until he presents an evidence of honesty, I was not going to talk with him, and I hanged up.
I was never forbidden to communicate with anyone, though in was printed so in the newspapers. The purpose of this was to print my name next to people like Olson, so that in public's mind some connection may be established. There is in principle no way jailers can forbid me to communicate with anyone, as long as I am allowed to communicate with my family: that person can come to our apartment, and I can talk with him.
"Here is the information, which I could never have confirmed or denied by the main person of interest. Valery Fabrikant was recruited as informant of RCMP secret service in 1979, at the time of his arrival to Canada. He came from Russia. And as every newcomer from a communist country, he was interrogated by federal police. It is at that moment that he offered himself to RCMP to spy on the Russian-Jewish community of Montreal."
I was brave enough to refuse to be an informant to KGB, so don't you think I would not hesitate to refuse Canadian KGB had they proposed? And there is no way I would offer myself as an informant to anyone. was indeed interviewed by RCMP somewhere in January of 1980. Two agents came to my apartment, presented themselves and asked me a number of questions about myself and the life in the U.S.S.R., which I answered. I certainly did not offer myself to them, and they were smart enough not to make me any offer. I called them during the interview "Canadian KGB", and they understood how I felt about them.
They re-visited me about a year later, again uninvited. I started talking to them and noticed that they were asking me exactly the same questions as during the first interview. It has become clear to me that they were trying to catch-me. I got so angry, that I opened the door and told them to get out and to never come again, which they did. That was the end of my relations with these people. As far as spying on Russian-Jewish community, I have an alibi: I knew in the whole of Montreal just 2 families, and we met about once a year. Not much to spy on, is it?
"I have been told that Fabrikant's was supervised by Ronny Serge*, an agent of East-European origin, and Don Bourdon*, an Anglophone from Acadia, both from the counter-intelligence section of CSIS. At the beginning of the 80's, under supervision of Serge*, Fabrikant had participated in an operation touching Russian-Jewish community of Paris. Both agents related to Fabrikant were supervised by Barton Shield*, a high-ranking officer in Soviet counter-intelligence section. Shield* in person met Fabrikant at least several times per year, as requires by CSIS regulation, in order to insure that his subordinates follow well the procedures."
As far as Paris is concerned, I have an even better alibi there: I do not know a single person in Paris, who would be of Russian-Jewish background. In my whole life, I was there for several days only, and strictly on scientific business. It is not a coincidence that Lester is using names with asterisks - they are fictitious names. Lester knew he was lying, so he could not put any real name.
In several places in the book, Lester uses a false excuse to justify his use of fictitious names (page 10)
"A simple fact of identification of a CSIS officer is an infraction of the Law respecting CSIS."
Yet another example: false claim on page 68 that Sec. 18 of CSIS Law states that everyone, who identifies a CSIS employee or describes any secret CSIS activity is liable to imprisonment for 5 years. In reality, See. 18 is not applicable to ordinary citizens, it is applicable to CSIS employees only: they and only they can not reveal information obtained in the course of their employment.
On page 164 Lester speaks about his high standards in his quest for the truth: everything should be correct, not a slightest error is allowed. Really? On page 35, Lester speaks about so many things that could be discovered from garbage analysis. For example, it was discovered that Soviet consulate was using "cages of Faraday". Lester explains (page 354) that any conversation which takes place inside those cages is free from any electronic surveillance. Nonsense at its best. Any metal box is impermeable to electromagnetic waves. When two people are talking in person, they produce sound which travels very well out of a metal box.
Lester in the book has shown himself not just a liar, but a rather stupid liar, because he himself was stupid enough to expose himself in his own words. The best example of his stupidity is claim to be an enemy number one of CSIS and then on numerous occasions to mention meetings with his sources in public places.
Yet another example of Lester's stupidity on page 21: Lester tells the story of CSIS officer Gingras, who gave an interview, where he denounced language discrimination within CSIS. He was fired, and Lester admits that Gingras "became extremely suspicious" towards Lester. Why? One explanation: Gingras is paranoid. Another explanation: Lester betrayed him by telling CSIS something that Gingras told Lester in confidence. Which explanation looks more credible?
Lester tells us that Canadian James Bond (Frank Pratt)
has met one of Lester's friends and made him
an offer: CSIS would give him several scoops and in exchange, he would
spy on Lester and tell CSIS, who Lester
sources were. Lester's friend did not agree and told Lester about the meeting. They made the whole story public.
Lester tells us that Canadian James Bond has made a great blunder: he did not bother even to check what was the relationship between Lester and the other journalist. Ask yourself, how realistic is this? One does not have to be James Bond to understand that certain homework needs to be done prior to offering a journalist to be a spy in exchange for scoops. This is never done out of blue. CSIS has to communicate with a journalist for a while to see what his morals are, whether he is prepared to sell his conscience in exchange for several scoops, etc. I do not buy for a second that Canadian James Bond was really so stupid, especially taking into consideration, that Lester met almost all his sources in restaurants.
Here is another scenario. Lester came from Europe in 1986 and
was given several scoops by CSIS. He communicated with
several CSIS agents, who certainly had the opportunity to test
his morals. CSIS also liked the manner he portrayed them.
At certain point in time, Lester was offered a deal to spy on his
fellow journalists in exchange for some scoops and Lester accepted
the offer. Now it was nevessary to boost
Lester's credibility. Nothing boosts informant's
credibility as a public quarrel with the organization he spies for.
And this is exactly what CSIS did. They arranged a police
search of his office, publicly tried and failed to recruit his fellow journalist
to spy on him, etc. CSIS employees are scoundrels, but they are not
O. Kalugin, "The First Directorate", St.-Martin's Press, N.Y., 1994
J. Sawatsky, "Men in the Shadows", Doubleday, Toronto, 1980
J. Sawatsky, "For Services Rendered", Penguin Books, Marham, 1982
R. Cleroux, "Pleins feux sur les Services secrets canadiens", Les editions
de l'Homme, Montreal, 1993.
T. Mangold, "Cold Warrior James Jesus Angleton", Simon & Shuster, N.Y. 1991