CSIS 'has been lying to us for years'posted on December 06, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Source: The Montreal Gazaette
Date: December 5, 2011
[PHOTO: Former CSIS director Jim Judd issued a "secret" memo while at the helm of the spy agency April 15, 2000, stating the terrorism threat in Canada had not been exaggerated.}
MONTREAL - Advocates for five men arrested under security certificates said they were stunned to learn from a Gazette report that Canada’s spy agency believed cases against them could fall apart if it could not use information obtained by torture.
On Saturday, The Gazette revealed that in 2008, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned the minister of public security that it could become impossible to use security certificates to arrest and deport suspected terrorists if it was prohibited from using information from regimes known to use torture.
In a letter obtained by The Gazette, former CSIS director Jim Judd warned that a proposed bill then before Parliament “could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings.” A security certificate is a means by which the government may detain and deport non-citizens perceived as a threat to national security.
The letter calls into question CSIS’s assurances that it did not countenance the use of torture.
[ Read the rest ... ]
Looking for change in Harkat’s case after leakposted on December 06, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Supporters of an Ottawa man accused of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent hope a leaked memo about torture will prompt change in his case and the security certificate system.
A Jan. 15, 2008 letter was sent by former CSIS head Jim Judd to the public security minister as the government worked to amend a security-certificate law struck down by the courts, according to the Montreal Gazette, which obtained the letter.
Judd wrote that amending the law to keep courts from using information from countries where there’s “reasonable grounds” to believe torture is used would “significantly hinder” the security-certificate program, according to the Gazette. Making information derived from torture inadmissible would “render (the security-certificate program) unsustainable.”
But the law was amended. Matthew Webber, lawyer for security-certificate detainee Mohamed Harkat, said he wants to know why that hasn’t led to the collapse of any of the security-certificate cases.
“If Judd was saying this to the government back in 2008, one cannot help but conclude that, in at least one, if not more, of the cases, there was reliance on evidence obtained by torture or derivative of torture,” he said.
His client Mohamed Harkat was arrested in 2002 in Ottawa and detained on a security certificate. Harkat was released from detention to strict house arrest in 2006. His security certificate alleges he had ties to “the bin Laden network” and that there “are reasonable grounds to believe (he) has engaged or will engage in terrorism,” according to court documents.
Copyright 2001-2011, Free Daily News Group Inc.
Mohamed Harkat: 9 ans sans justiceposted on December 05, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Des hommes détenus en vertu de certificats de sécurité de l'immigration outrés d'apprendre que le SCRS et des hauts responsables du gouvernement savaient que leurs dossiers étaient basés sur la torture Toronto/Montréal/Ottawa, 5 décembre 2011 – Plusieurs hommes dont les vies ont été chamboulées quand ils ont été étiquetés comme terroristes et arrêtés comme des menaces à la sécurité nationale ont été choqués d'apprendre samedi que le SCRS savait lui-même que les dossiers contre eux tomberaient si le SCRS n'avait pas le droit d'utiliser des preuves obtenues sous la torture. Cette admission ahurissante était contenue dans un mémo secret envoyée par l'ancien chef du SCRS Jim Judd à l'ancien ministre de la Sécurité publique Stockwell Day en janvier 2008. Post media a rendu le contenu de ce mémo public samedi. « C'est incroyable. Le SCRS nous a menti durant des années! Mais je ne sais pas ce qui est pire: la position du SCRS ou le fait que des hauts responsables comme Stockwell Day étaient au courant mais ont continué et signé les nouveaux certificats contre nous quand-même, endossant effectivement l'usage de la torture et nous condamnant à plusieurs années de plus de détention arbitraire, » a déclaré Adil Charkaoui. Charkaoui est un professeur montréalais et père de quatre enfants qui a gagné deux fois en Cour Suprême et a finalement été libéré en 2009. Il tente actuellement d'obtenir des excuses du gouvernement à travers des procédures judiciaires. Malgré sa propre analyse comme quoi les dossiers ne répondaient pas aux normes légales canadiennes, introduites en février 2008, le service a conseillé au ministre Day d'émettre les certificats. Day a accepté. « Ça me rend vraiment malade de penser que pendant que j'étais détenu en isolement pour des allégations secrètes durant près de huit années, le chef du SCRS savait que mon dossier, ainsi que les dossiers des autres hommes détenus en vertu des certificats de sécurité, étaient complètement sans fondement, parce qu'ils étaient probablement basés sur des renseignements obtenus sous la torture, » a dit Hassan Almrei, un homme de Toronto qui a finalement été blanchi des allégations contre lui en 2009. « Une fois de plus, nous voyons que le SCRS utilise le secret pour couvrir ce qui est non seulement embarrassant politiquement, mais aussi clairement illégal et immoral, » ajoute M. Almrei. Un autre mémo gouvernemental secret de 2003, rendu public durant l'enquête Arar, montre que les responsables du gouvernement savaient qu'il était impossible d'accuser M. Almrei au criminel faute de preuve contre lui. Parmi les responsables qui ont reçu le mémo de Jim Judd, il y a Richard Fadden, qui a depuis remplacé Judd comme chef du SCRS. Fadden supervise les procédures actuelles des certificats de sécurité. « Nos vies ont été chamboulées au nom de la sécurité nationale. Tout ce que nous voulons est que la vérité sorte et la seule façon d'y arriver c'est de tout rendre public pour que tous les Canadiens puissent le voir. Il n'y a pas de transparence sous le régime des certificats de sécurité et chaque fois que quelque chose comme ça est rendu public, le SCRS ne reçoit qu'une tape sur les doigts. Entretemps, nous payons le prix avec nos vies et notre liberté. C'est très troublant, mais ce n'est pas la première fois qu'ils nous cachent la vérité, » déclare Sophie Lamarche Harkat, qui est mariée à Mohamed Harkat. M. Harkat, accepté au Canada comme réfugié, lutte pour se libérer d'un certificat de sécurité depuis le 10 décembre 2002. Il est détenu à domicile à Ottawa. Deux autres hommes, tous les deux basés à Toronto, continuent aussi à lutter pour leur liberté et pour laver leurs noms des allégations basées sur la torture. Le directeur d'école Mahmoud Jaballah, qui a survécu à la torture en Égypte, a été arrêté une première fois en 1999 et est devenu le premier détenu des certificats de sécurité à être libéré par la Cour fédérale. Mais il a été ré-arrêté en 2001, malgré le fait que le SCRS a reconnu qu'il n'avait pas de nouvelles preuves contre lui, seulement une « nouvelle interprétation » des informations qui avaient déjà été rejetées. Après plusieurs années d'emprisonnement, il est toujours détenu à domicile. Mohammad Mahjoub, un père de deux enfants, a été arrêté en juin 2000. Il comparaîtra en cour à Toronto cette semaine pour argumenter qu'il devrait être libéré des conditions de détention à domicile qui contrôlent tous les détails de sa vie. Lui aussi a survécu à la torture en Égypte. Mahjoub a passé plus de huit années derrière les barreaux sans accusations et trois ans sous des mesures draconiennes de détention à domicile. Ses avocats vont démontrer que la poursuite de sa détention à domicile est illégale. -30- Pour des entrevues: 514 222 0205 (fr ou an) ou 647-668-8445 (an) Plus d'information: www.adilinfo.org www.justiceforharkat.com www.commissionpopulaire.org/fr/mahjoub Source: Coalition Justice pour Adil Charkaoui Campagne pour arrêter les procès secrets au Canada Comité Justice pour Mohamed Harkat
Men arrested under security certificates shocked by CSIS torture allegationsposted on December 05, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: The National Post
Date: December 5, 2011
MONTREAL — Advocates for five men arrested under security certificates said they were stunned to learn that Canada’s spy agency believed cases against them could fall apart if it could not use information obtained by torture.
On Saturday, the Montreal Gazette revealed that in 2008, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned the minister of public security that it could become impossible to use security certificates to arrest and deport suspected terrorists if it was prohibited from using information from foreign regimes known to use torture.
In a letter obtained by the Montreal Gazette, former CSIS director Jim Judd warned that a proposed bill then before Parliament “could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings.” A security certificate is a means by which the government may detain and deport non-citizens perceived as a threat to national security.
The letter calls into question CSIS’s assurances that it did not countenance the use of torture abroad.
[ Read the rest ... ]
CSIS head urged government to fight ban on information obtained through tortureposted on December 04, 2011 | in Category CSIS | PermaLink
Source: The Montreal Gazette
Date: December 3, 2011
MONTREAL — Canada's spy agency was so reliant on information obtained through torture that it suggested the whole security certificate regime, used to control suspected terrorists in the country, would fall apart if they couldn't use it.
That's the essence of a letter written in 2008 by the former director of CSIS, Jim Judd, obtained by the Montreal Gazette.
It suggests a disturbing acceptance by the national security agency of torture as a legitimate strategy to counter terrorism.
The letter, dated Jan. 15, 2008, was sent from Judd to the minister of public security just as the government was finalizing Bill C-3, legislation to replace the security certificates law which was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in February 2007.
The government had been given a year to come up with new legislation that would respect the charter rights of those targeted by the certificates.
In the letter, Judd urges the minister to fight an amendment to C-3 proposed by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh that would prohibit CSIS and the courts from using any information obtained from torture or "derivative information" — information initially obtained from torture but subsequently corroborated through legal means.
[ Read the rest ... ]
Mohamed Harkat: 9 Years and Countingposted on November 17, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Also, since my last email asking you to forward our petition far and wide, only 400 new supporters have endorsed our statement. That is not enough considering the great number of individuals who oppose Secret Trials in Canada. I hope we can reach at least 5000 signatures by Moe's 9th anniversary. With your help, I know we can do it. Public pressure is essential to our fight. Please ask everyone you know to sign. Pass on this email to all of your online contacts - email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you have a blog or a web site please consider writing about our campaign and spreading the word. Ask your family, friends, co-workers, local, group, committee, others to endorse. Don't stop it here, please forward to others! Thank you for your continued support and time. May justice prevail!
Leak of defamatory information: A recurring nightmareposted on August 10, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Montreal, 10 August 2011 -- The Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui is outraged by the leak of a secret document containing completely false allegations against Montrealer Adil Charkaoui, whose security certificate case was struck down in 2009. Noting that an almost identical leak happened in 2007, the Coalition is calling for a public inquiry and asking other Canadians to join it in challenging Minister Jason Kenney's unacceptable comments.
"These allegations are false and constitute a wholly unmerited attack on my reputation and my security," said Mr. Charkaoui. "I spent six years of my life proving my innocence in a secret court process when I didn't even know what I was accused of. After the federal court revoked the security certificate against me, I expressed the hope that I wouldn't spend the rest of my life as an 'ex-suspected'. Now, almost two years after the court cleared my name, I find myself again in the court of public opinion. This must stop."
"It's like a recurring nightmare. La Presse published the same story in 2007 following the leak of another secret document which contained the same unfounded allegations. That document was later submitted to court and, in a January 2008 decision, Justice Noel of the Federal Court of Canada found the allegations to be unsubstantiated; Justice Tremblay-Lamer arrived at the same conclusion in 2009. How many times do I have to clear myself of the same allegations?" asked the Montreal high school teacher and father of four.
"'We want a public inquiry into who is responsible for this leak and what the motivations were behind it," said Anna Malla, of the Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui. "We want to know what interests lie behind it; who is trying to manipulate the media and the public. The timing of this leak is highly suggestive, seeing that Mr. Charkaoui launched a lawsuit in 2009 to hold the government accountable for the abuse of his rights in the security certificate case. There are certain other indications that lead us to believe that high ranking officials may have been directly involved in this leak."
"In 2007, the RCMP announced they were launching a criminal inquiry into the leak of the secret document, and CSIS announced they were launching an internal inquiry. The results of those inquiries were never made public and no one was ever held accountable. Why not? This time we insist on a public inquiry," continued Mary Foster, another member of the Coalition.
"We also want Jason Kenney to explain his comments. Instead of condemning the leak, which was a criminal act, a violation - in his terms - of national security, and an attack on the security and reputation of two individuals, he used the leak to score political points and attempt to justify government abuses in the cases of these two men. If the courts have examined these allegations and been satisfied that they have no foundation, or if they are so hollow that they didn't even make it to court in the first place, what business is it of a cabinet minister's to announce that they constitute 'robust evidence'?" asked Foster.
"In any case, we have now seen the secret document the sensationalist La Presse piece was based on, and if this is what Mr. Kenney calls 'very robust evidence', he should consider sitting down with a Department of Justice lawyer to get straight on a few of the finer points of the legal system in this country. Frankly, it is dangerous to have someone like that in public office."
"His comments about 'political support groups' appear to be intended to silence public criticism of the government; to silence us. Well, they won't," added Foster. "We call on everyone in Canada to join us in sending a clear message to Mr. Kenney - through public statements, letters, press releases, public actions - that we will not be frightened into silence but will continue to fight for the rights of all."
Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui
Supreme court was right to ban use of secret evidence by intelligence servicesposted on July 14, 2011 | in Category International | PermaLink
[PHOTO: Supreme court judges dismissed an attempt by the security forces to keep intelligence secret from those it was being used against.]
Some very fine words were expressed by the supreme court judges as by majority they dismissed claims by MI5 and MI6 that any intelligence they have gathered must remain secret, withheld not only from the public but from their opponents in court.
"The open justice principle is not a mere procedural rule," said Lord Dyson. "It is a fundamental common law principle." Parties have a right to know the case against them, and the right to confront their accusers, he said.
"Any weakening in the face of advances in the methods and use of secret intelligence in a case such as this would be bound to lead to attempts to widen the scope for an exception to be made to the principle of open justice," warned Lord Hope.
[ Read the rest ... ]
Supreme court bans use of secret evidence to hide torture claimsposted on July 14, 2011 | in Category International | PermaLink
[PHOTO: Binyam Mohamed and Jamil el-Banna, two of the former Guantánamo Bay detainees at the centre of the secret evidence case.]
The supreme court has outlawed the use of secret evidence in court by the intelligence services to conceal allegations that detainees were tortured.
The decision will be seen as a significant victory for open justice, but the panel of nine judges pointed out that parliament could change the law to permit such "closed material procedures" in future.
The appeal was brought by lawyers for MI5 seeking to overturn an earlier appeal court ruling that prevented the service from suppressing accusations British suspects had been ill-treated at Guantánamo Bay and other foreign holding centres.
The case arose originally out of claims by Bisher al-Rawi, Binyam Mohamed, Jamil el-Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes and Martin Mubanga that MI5 and MI6 aided and abetted their unlawful imprisonment and extraordinary rendition.
[ Read the rest ... ]
Documenting Canada's 'war on terror'posted on June 12, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Date: June 10, 2011
For any documentary filmmaker, gaining the subjects' trust is a challenge. But how do you break through to men who are still in the midst of a Kafka-esque ordeal of torture, secret trials, and constant surveillance?
Director Amar Wala and producer Noah Bingham are grappling with these issues as they film The Secret Trial 5, a crowdfunded documentary that takes a personal look at Canada's "war on terror." Their subjects, five Muslim men, have been held for over a decade using security certificates, a controversial measure of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that allows non-citizens to be detained indefinitely. Hassan Almrei, Adil Charkaoui, Mohamed Harkat, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Mohammad Mahjoub each spent two to seven years in prison, but have never been charged with a crime. Their lawyers and human rights groups have expressed strong concerns that the secret "evidence" against them is little more than hearsay, obtained by foreign agencies using torture.
Wala, who moved to Toronto with his family from Bombay when he was 11, first learned about security certificates from one of his professors at York University. "It's something I never would have believed existed in Canada," he says. His award-winning narrative short, The Good Son, told the true story of Mahmoud Jaballah's young son Ahmad, who was asked to translate for his father during a CSIS (Canadian Security and Intelligence Services) interrogation in their home.
[ Read the rest ... ]