CSIS directed to use info extracted through torture

posted on February 08, 2012 | in Category CSIS | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press Source: CTV News URL: [link] Date: February 7, 2012 Csis Canada 'does not condone torture,' Toews says

OTTAWA — The federal government has directed Canada's spy agency to use information that may have been extracted through torture in cases where public safety is at stake. The order represents a reversal of policy for the Conservative government, which once insisted the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would discard information if there was any inkling it might be tainted. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has quietly told CSIS the government now expects the spy service to "make the protection of life and property its overriding priority." A copy of the two-page December 2010 directive was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. It drew swift condemnation from Amnesty International Canada, which said information obtained under torture "has no place in the justice system, full stop." The directive from Toews expands upon a May 2009 ministerial order that states CSIS must not knowingly rely upon information derived from torture, and have measures in place to identify such tainted information. The latest directive says in "exceptional circumstances" where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to "share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment." In such rare circumstances, it may not always be possible to determine how a foreign agency obtained the information, and that ignoring such information solely because of its source would represent "an unacceptable risk to public safety." "Therefore, in situations where a serious risk to public safety exists, and where lives may be at stake, I expect and thus direct CSIS to make the protection of life and property its overriding priority, and share the necessary information -- properly described and qualified -- with appropriate authorities." The directive says the final decision to investigate and analyze information that may have been obtained by methods condemned by the Canadian government falls to the CSIS director or his deputy director for operations -- a decision to be made "in accordance with Canada's legal obligations." Finally, it says the minister is to be notified "as appropriate" of a decision to use such information. In spring 2009, a senior CSIS official ignited controversy when he told a Commons committee the spy service would overlook the origin of information if it could prevent another Air India jetliner bombing or a terrorist attack along the lines of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings in the United States. The government quickly moved to extinguish the public flareup. Peter Van Loan, then public safety minister, said CSIS had been clear about rejecting information extracted through coercion. "As a practical matter, they get intelligence from all kinds of sources, a myriad of sources. An important part of their process is to try and identify how credible that is," Van Loan said at the time. "If there's any indication, any evidence that torture may have been used, that information is discounted." Neither the Public Safety Department nor the minister would agree to an interview Monday. In an emailed statement, the department said the 2010 directive "provides greater clarity to CSIS" and that "all CSIS activities, including sharing information with foreign agencies, comply with Canada's laws and legal obligations." Added Mike Patton, a spokesman for Toews: "Our government will always take action that protects the lives of Canadians." Canadian law enforcement and security agencies should focus on getting rid of information that bears the taint of torture, not on carving out exceptions for when it can be used, said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada. "The bottom line is that as long as torturers continue to find a market for the fruit of their crimes, torture will continue," he said. "Firmly rebuffing torturers when they offer up information extracted through pain and suffering is a critical plank in the wider campaign to eradicate torture once and for all." CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti had no comment. However, the spy agency has said previously -- including before the 2010 directive was issued -- that it would use torture-tainted material. Canadians would not forgive the intelligence service if it completely ignored information that could have been used to investigate and prevent a terrorist attack because that tip came from a country with a suspect human rights reputation, CSIS said in 2010 briefing notes. In addition to sharing such information with Canadian police, CSIS would pass it to relevant foreign agencies after taking steps to ensure it would be used appropriately, the notes said. A federal inquiry by Justice Dennis O'Connor into the Maher Arar torture affair recommended in 2006 that policies include specific directions "aimed at eliminating any possible Canadian complicity in torture, avoiding the risk of other human rights abuses and ensuring accountability." Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was jailed in Damascus in 2002-03 and tortured into giving false confessions about terrorist links. CSIS maintains it has implemented all of O'Connor's recommendations to prevent a recurrence. Recently it became public that former CSIS director Jim Judd balked in 2008 at a proposed legislative change that would have prevented the spy agency from using information suspected of emerging through torture. Judd said the change could spell the end of the security certificate -- an immigration tool for deporting alleged foreign-born terrorists. "It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the service to confirm whether information is derived from mistreatment or torture," he wrote. © 2012 CTV All rights reserved.



[video] Secret Canada

posted on January 24, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Here is a 2009 documentary by filmmakers Lillian Boctor and Ryan Mulligan. It is about the injustice of the security certificate process.



Lawyers for Harkat argue revised security certificate law still leaves defendants in the dark

posted on January 21, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link]
Date: January 20, 2012

OTTAWA — Lawyers for Ottawa’s Mohamed Harkat have asked the Federal Court of Appeal to strike down the country’s security certificate law for a second time.

The Harkat case will be the first to test whether the government’s revised security certificate law can withstand a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The previous version of the law, used to deport foreign-born terror suspects, was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in February 2007.

In that ruling, Canada’s high court said the security certificate process was so secretive that it denied defendants the fundamental right to meet the case against them.

The government subsequently introduced a new law, which gave terror suspects the right to be represented in secret hearings by “special advocates” — defence lawyers with security clearance. Special advocates are allowed only limited contact with the accused.

Harkat’s legal team contends the new law still leaves defendants too much in the dark.

“The only evidence that truly matters is unknown to him (Harkat),” wrote lawyers Matthew Webber and Norm Boxall in a court brief.

“It is apparent that public proceedings are little more than a façade, with little to no direct evidence shown to Harkat.”

For example, they said, the federal government publicly alleged that Harkat spent time in Afghanistan. But the Algerian-born Harkat was told nothing about the timing, duration, purpose or destination of the alleged sojourn, which made it next to impossible to refute.

It is not enough, the lawyers argued, for the government to offer the “veneer of public disclosure” when it is only through detail that Harkat can attack the validity of such allegations.

[ Read the rest ... ]

More photos from December 10th Rally in Ottawa

posted on December 29, 2011 | in Category Website-Related | PermaLink

Here are a few more photos from our recent rally at the Human Rights monument in Ottawa. Thank you Terry Stanvyck for sharing your pics. Rally in Ottawa, Dec 10
Sophie and Mohamed Harkat listen to one of the speakers at the Rally CAIR-CAN's Ihsaan Gardee. Photo by Terry Stanvyck.

Rally in Ottawa, Dec 10
Mohamed Harkat was the last speaker. In a symbolic gesture of solidarity his supporters joined him on stage and stood behind him. Photo by Terry Stanvyck.

Click here to see all of Terry's photos from the Rally.



Taking Liberties: Canada's secret trial cases built on torture

posted on December 22, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Matthew Behrens
Source: Rabble.ca
URL: N/A
Date: December 21, 2011


Four years after the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously found them unconstitutional, secret hearing "security certificates" are still in use, with a number of Muslim men fighting unseen allegations while under threat of deportation to torture.

Security certificates have long been used by Canada's scandal-plagued spy agency CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) to tar refugees and permanent residents as national security threats without having to explain the allegations against them. Those detained under the process are never charged, and subjected to lower standards than those applying to any citizen facing similar accusations. Indeed, the law governing the procedure allows for the introduction of any piece of information "even if it is inadmissible in a court of law."

For the past decade, five Muslim men -- dubbed the Secret Trial Five -- have endured this Kafkaesque process both behind bars and under humiliating house arrest. Last month, the release of two formerly classified documents indicates that the national security secrecy claims that form the bedrock of these cases have in fact served as a cover for illegal and unethical acts by CSIS.

[ Read the rest ... ]

VIDEO of Saturday's Rally

posted on December 12, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Thank you, Tyrone (OttawaFRO), for filming and uploading to YouTube this video footage from Saturday's Rally in Ottawa on International Human rights day.. Mo himself was at the event and made an emotional speech which you can watch in Part 7. Thanks to all who attended.Keep fighting! Keep agitating! Part 1
Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.



Security certificate injustice for Mohamed Harkat: Nine years on

posted on December 12, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Justice For Mohamed Harkat Committee
Source: Rabble.ca
URL: [link]
Date: December 9, 2011

Think back to December 10, 2002 -- nine years ago this weekend, International Human Rights Day.

Perhaps on that day you were aware of the human rights significance, and perhaps not. But more importantly, what were you doing with your life back then? Were you in a different job? A different city? Perhaps in the interim you earned a post-secondary degree or diploma, or possibly more than one. How many job interviews did you attend in those nine years? How much money have you earned? Did you have children? Did you visit relatives in another province? Perhaps take a honeymoon? Travel abroad?

None of these things have been possible for Mohamed Harkat. This weekend -- International Human Rights Day -- marks the ninth anniversary of the detention of Mohamed Harkat under a security certificate -- a draconian detention under the so-called Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act for which no charge is laid, and the information on which the allegation is based is kept secret from the detainee and their lawyers.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Photos of Saturday's Rally

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Click on the photo to see all the photos from our December 10th rally marking Moe's 9th anniversary of his security certificate: Mohamed Harkat
Mohamed Harkat speaking to supporters in Ottawa, December 10, 2011. Photo by Gabrielle Brunette Poirier.



Harkat anniversary rally draws dozens

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Danielle Bell Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2011 See also this VIDEO report of the Rally. By Danielle Bell. Even though courts recently ruled Mohamed Harkat does have ties to terrorism, his supporters are protesting his treatment on the 9th anniversary of his charges. Dozens of people gathered at the human rights monument in downtown Ottawa on Saturday to support Harket. Harkat, an accused al-Qaida sleeper agent who has been fighting to stay in Canada since he was arrested on a federal security certificate, declared his innocence to a throng of supporters and media. Flanked by wife Sophie, Harkat said the conditions he is forced to live with have taken a toll on himself and family. “It’s my life destroyed completely,” said Harkat on Saturday. “I’ve never chatted to a criminal, I’ve never had a criminal record, I’ve never been involved with terrorism, I’ve never seen the evidence against me.” Among his conditions, Harkat cannot use the Internet, is monitored by GPS and cannot leave Ottawa without permission. An online petition in his support has gathered about 5,000 signatures. “It’s simply impossible for people like Mohamed Harkat to have a fair trial when secret evidence is involved,” said supporter Evert Hoogers, a retired postal worker. “None of that is acceptable to me.” Several speakers, including human rights activists, spoke at the rally, which included chants and banners in support Harkat. An unidentified man stood next to the Harkats, with his mouth duct-taped, hands bound and blindfolded. “This war on terrorism has been a direct attack on each and every human citizen’s human rights,” said Larry Rousseau, regional vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “If we sit back and do nothing, we will lose what we have acquired.” In December 2009, Harkat’s security certificate was upheld by a Federal Court Judge, who ruled the government had reasonable grounds to suspect Harkat of being a threat to Canadian public safety. Kevin Skerrett, with the Justice for Mohamed Harket committee, hopes awareness will further the cause. “I think as more people learn of the details of this, the more outraged they are,” said Skerrett. Harkat is appealing his case and looking forward to a court date in February. He said Saturday he is willing to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court. “Justice is delayed. That’s all I’m hoping for,” said Harket. “I’m innocent. That’s all I want, just an open trial like anybody else.” danielle.bell AT sunmedia.ca @DBellReporting Copyright © 2011 Sunmedia. All rights reserved.



Dozens rally to clear Mohamed Harkat's name

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: CTV Ottawa URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2011 An Ottawa man is still trying to clear his name after terror-related allegations surfaced nine years ago. Mohamed Harkat continued to deny allegations that he is an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent at a rally in Ottawa Saturday afternoon. Dozens of supporters gathered at the Human Rights Monument at the corner of Elgin and Lisgar to help draw attention to Harkat's goal. "I'm going to fight until my last breath to clear my name and to have an open and fair trial," said Harkat. Harkat says he is a refugee who fled Algeria and that he would be tortured if forced to return to his homeland. The arrest took place on Dec. 10, 2002 under a Security Certificate which allows for detention without charge. A notice sent to CTV Ottawa says Harkat has never been "afforded the opportunity to counter the allegations ... because the vast majority of the crown's case remains a secret." Due to the allegations, Harkat faces deportation and continues his fight to stay in Canada. His case will be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal in February. © 2011 CTV All rights reserved.



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