CSIS fails accountability standards

posted on May 22, 2011 | in Category CSIS | PermaLink

By Jim Bronskill, CP Source: The Chroncicle Herald (Halifax, NS) URL: [link] Date: May 21, 2011 Csis Watchdog report: Spy agency isn’t keeping all notes

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy service has failed to meet strict new accountability standards set by the Supreme Court, says a watchdog report obtained by The Canadian Press. The latest annual review from the inspector general of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service says the spy agency hasn’t lived up to a high-court ruling that requires it to retain all operational notes, electronic intercepts and other investigative material. Almost three years ago, in the case of Montrealer Adil Charkaoui, the country’s top court found the agency’s destruction of notes violated its legal duty to keep documentation and — out of fairness — disclose the material during judicial proceedings. Charkaoui, a native of Morocco, was arrested in 2003 under a national security certificate for suspected terrorist links. He was set free in 2009 after the case buckled and the certificate was quashed. As a result of the 2008 high court decision, CSIS made it a policy to file away all notes and other information that make up a case record. The agency also gave personnel a training seminar on note-keeping. During her review, CSIS inspector general Eva Plunkett asked the service for original, hard-copy notes cited in agency reports. "In a number of cases the service was unable to locate hard copies of the operational notes," Plunkett wrote. After further examination, CSIS determined that its own reports were wrong and that no notes had been taken to support the information in them, she found. The Canadian Press obtained a declassified version of Plunkett’s top secret November 2010 evaluation under the Access to Information Act. Overall, Plunkett concluded CSIS had not strayed outside the law, contravened ministerial direction or exercised its powers "unreasonably or unnecessarily." She also praised CSIS employees for their "level of commitment and dedication," saying they "deserve our respect and appreciation." © 2011 The Halifax Herald Limited.



Supreme Court appointments need to be transparent

posted on May 18, 2011 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

by unsigned editorial
Source: The Montreal Gazette
URL: [link]
Date: May 18, 2011

MONTREAL - By the time Stephen Harper’s term as prime minister is over, four years from now, more than half the judges who make up the country’s top court will have stepped down.

Some departures – like the two announced last week by Justices Ian Binnie and Louise Charron – are by choice, others because the judges will have reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. As head of a majority government, Harper will be free to impose his vision on the nine-member court.

Canadians who believe the current Supreme Court justices are too inclined to make decisions that are Parliament’s to make will look forward to a Harper-influenced court.

Those who think the Supreme Court is already too timid in protecting Charter rights and civil liberties fear a highly politicized court too deferential to Parliament.

Unfortunately for most Canadians, figuring out whether either scenario is plausible requires the analytical ability of a Kremlinologist at the top of his or her game. Little is known by the general public about the current sitting justices – how many of them can you name off the top of your head? – and far less about those who might replace them.

The process by which judges are appointed to the top court traditionally ensured that they remained close to anonymous and their workings opaque. Until 2006, a prime minister together with a justice minister made the selection behind closed doors. The public was provided with a bare-bones announcement: a name and a province of origin.

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Awaiting appeal, accused Ottawa terrorist builds petition of support

posted on May 17, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: May 16, 2011 OTTAWA — Five months after a judge declared him a terrorist threat to national security, Ottawa’s Mohamed Harkat is still waiting to plead his case in the Federal Court of Appeal. That appeal hearing will likely not begin until the late summer or fall. Lawyers for Harkat and the government will hold a conference call Tuesday to discuss the timing of the appeal. In the meantime, Harkat continues to collect signatures on a petition that demands an end to the secretive security-certificate process. It allows the government to present evidence gathered by domestic and foreign intelligence agencies in secret in an effort to deport people. Because it’s an immigration proceeding, not a criminal one, the standards are different. More than 3,000 groups and individuals have signed the petition, including Amnesty International Canada, the Law Union of Ontario, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Green Party of Canada. A host of New Democratic MPs, such as Paul Dewar, Pat Martin and Jean Crowder, have also added their names to the petition. “I think it speaks volumes: people don’t want secret trials in Canada,” said Mohamed Harkat’s wife, Sophie, in an interview Monday. “People want to see democracy in this country; people want to see fair and open trials.”

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VIDEO: Mohamed Harkat - Stop Secret Trials in Canada

posted on May 13, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

If you haven't done so already please sign our Statement Against Security Certificates in Canada. And please invite your contacts, friends, family and co workers to sign on as well. We need to hear your voice loud and clear. Take a stand against secret trials and deportation to torture based on flimsy allegations and secret, untested information from CSIS. Visit

WWW.HARKATSTATEMENT.COM

WWW.HARKATSTATEMENT.COM

We're hoping to reach or exceed our goal of 3,000 signatures before March 29th. A big thank you to our friend and supporter Tyrone Drummond for producing and uploading this video to help us spread the word!


FTQ prends position contre les certificats de sécurité

posted on April 17, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

par Fernand Deschamps Source: N/A URL: N/A Date: 16 avrils 2011 Voici la résolution du Congrès de la FTQ (résolution no. 128) et qui fut adoptée au conseil général de la FTQ le 16 mars dernier. CERTIFICATS DE SÉCURITÉ ATTENDU QUE le syndicalisme exercé par la FTQ et ses syndicats affiliés repose sur des principes de défense des droits des travailleurs autant au travail que dans la société civile; ATTENDU QUE le droit à un procès juste et équitable, dans le respect du principe de la justice naturelle, constitue un droit fondamental de la personne tel que garanti par la Charte québécoise et la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés de la personne; ATTENDU QUE le gouvernement canadien utilise les certificats de sécurité et tient des procédures où la preuve secrète est en violation directe des droits de la personne, à l’issue de laquelle la personne peut être déportée vers la torture, pratique que dénoncent les agences internationales de surveillance des droits civils au Canada ou ailleurs; ATTENDU QUE cette pratique de la loi prive toute personne du droit à une défense pleine et entière, contrevenant ainsi aux principes de protection et de défense pourtant prévus par notre système de justice; ATTENDU QUE la Cour suprême du Canada a reconnu le 23 février 2007 que les certificats de sécurité ne devraient pas enfreindre le principe de justice fondamentale, malgré le fait que les certificats de sécurité aient un rôle à jouer en matière de sécurité nationale; ATTENDU QUE la loi C-3 ne propose que des modifications mineures qui ne rétablissent en rien le droit à un procès équitable, principe de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés; ATTENDU QUE la contestation judiciaire se poursuit contre les certificats de sécurité; QU’IL SOIT RÉSOLU QUE la FTQ et ses syndicats affiliés dénoncent les certificats de sécurité et exigent le retrait de cette disposition de la Loi sur l’immigration et la protection des réfugiés.



Photos From "Day For Democracy" in Ottawa

posted on April 07, 2011 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Thanks to Philippe Parent for these pictures taken at the April 6th "Day For Democracy" in Ottawa. CLICK HERE to see more photos from the event.
Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar speaks to a crowd gathered in downtown Ottawa, April 6, 2011


One day it could be you. The persecution of Mohamed Harkat

posted on March 21, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Sophie Lamarche Harkat Source: Peace Alliance Winnipeg URL: [link] Date: March 20, 2011 What was expected to be the end of a long nightmare and a great end to 2010 turned out to be a disaster. We can’t really put 2010 behind us because our battle continues. On Dec. 9th, 2010, the day before International Human Rights Day and the 8th-year anniversary of my husband Mohamed Harkat’s arrest under a security certificate, the Harkat family, his legal team, and his supporters across the country got a big punch in the guts. It is one, Moe and I never expected. One, which many never expected! Our family, supporters, groups, unions and legal experts were all shocked at the recent ruling made by Justice Simon Noel from the Federal Court of Canada to uphold the security certificate against Moe. The certificate was found ”reasonable” under the lowest standard of proof in a Canadian court. This decision was based on secret evidence neither Mohamed nor his public counsels could see or test for national security reasons. All that because CSIS believes, thinks, or assumes that Moe was involved or will be involved with terrorism in the past, present, or future. That position could cover any one of us at any time. To this day, he still does not know the evidence against him. We have all been kept in the dark for eight years.



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Le gouvernement soutient qu'il n'a pas à être de bonne foi lors des audiences secrètes

posted on March 16, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

par Matthew Behrens, Campagne pour arrêter les procès secrets au Canada Source: Parti communiste du Canada (marxiste-léniniste) URL: [link] Date: 19 janvier 2011 Mohamed Harkat, un réfugié algérien détenu au Canada sur la base d'allégations secrètes qu'il n'a pas le droit de voir, depuis le 10 décembre 2002, a reçu de mauvaises nouvelles le mois dernier, lorsque le juge de la Cour fédérale, Simon Noël, a enclenché le processus de sa déportation vers la torture. Le juge Noël maintient le certificat de sécurité contre Mohamed Harkat sur la base d'allégations secrètes sans fondements, ainsi que de « résumés » produits par le SCRS de supposées conversations téléphoniques datant de plus de dix ans, dont les originaux, s'ils ont jamais existé, ont été détruits depuis longtemps. (Les certificats de sécurité permettent au gouvernement, en utilisant les normes de preuves les plus basses, de détenir de façon indéfinie des immigrants et des réfugiés sur la base d'allégations secrètes ainsi que d'informations inadmissibles en justice, dans le but ultime de les déporter — habituellement vers la torture). Le juge a aussi fait une constatation défavorable contre Mohamed Harkat qui contredisait complètement la décision d'un autre juge rendue l'an dernier sur la même question mais un cas de sécurité séparé.[1] Des notes de bas de page secrètes

Comme pour justifier le secret de la condamnation de Mohamed Harkat, le juge Noël a depuis publié plusieurs notes de bas de page « top secrètes », nouvelles et caviardées sur ce jugement qui, selon les avocats du gouvernement, mettraient en péril la sécurité nationale si elles étaient publiées. Leur disponibilité récente n'a pas fait tomber le ciel sur nos têtes, mais quiconque est intéressé à les lire découvrira que la chose la plus dangereuse à leur propos est la quantité d'encre utilisée pour imprimer page après page de larges blocs noirs pour garder secret ce qui se trouve en dessous, ponctués seulement de temps en temps par un mot ou deux. La page 7, par exemple, est incroyablement utile. Sous le chapitre « Armes », pas un seul mot, seulement beaucoup d'encre noire. Sous la section « Afghanistan », on ne peut lire que : « Harkat nie être allé en Afghanistan », suivi d'un tiers de page d'encre noire. La section « Ressources financières » est un autre grand bloc d'encre noire suivi de la phrase éclairante du juge Noël qui se lit : « Sur la base de ces informations, la Cour conclut que Harkat avait d'autres ressources financières à sa disposition au Pakistan ». Les pages 13 et 14 sont entièrement caviardées.

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The Interview: Mohamed Harkat

posted on March 01, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by David Julian Wightman Source: XRay Magazine URL: [link] Date: February 24, 2011 The Interview: Mohamed Harkat The Kafkaesque secret trial of Mohamed Harkat

by David Julian Wightman If you want to interview Mohamed Harkat you have to reach him at home on his land-line. As part of the federal security certificate against him, Harkat is not allowed to use a computer or the Internet, or even a cell phone. He’s not allowed to leave Ottawa area without permission---he was recently denied permission to travel to Montreal for a dinner in his honour---and must wear a GPS tracking unit on his ankle. The restrictions against him are lighter than they used to be. Until the government mysteriously lifted the more severe stipulations in September 2009, Harkat could not be left alone at home without the supervision of one of his three court-appointed sureties. Canadian Border Security officers used to watch the house where Harkat lives with his wife Sophie. Two surveillance cameras were installed in the living room and front entrance, and all visitors had to be pre-approved by security officials. Their phone was tapped and mail was intercepted. Family Christmas cards were finally delivered in January, if at all. With conditions like that, you’d think Mohamed Harkat stands accused of the most terrible crimes imaginable. Not so. CSIS alleges that he’s a sleeper agent for al-Qaeda but Harkat hasn’t been charged with anything. The evidence against him is secret. There is no due process accorded to Harkat under the security certificate against him. Instead, the federal government and CSIS can label him---and anyone else, presumably---a threat to national security, and conduct secret trials in which the accused has no right to hear, let alone challenge, the evidence against them.

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Secret Trials, Blackmail and Other Adventures

posted on March 01, 2011 | in Category CSIS | PermaLink

by Meagan Wohlberg and Jasmine Papillon-Smith Source: The Link (Concordia University, Montreal) URL: [link] Date: February 8, 2011 Secret Trials, Blackmail and Other Adventures: Panel Investigates the Human Rights Cost of National Security

+++++++++++++++++++++++ In the Hands of Canada’s Secret Service

Secret trials, blackmail and other “dirty tricks” were on the table at “CSIS: Who needs them?” an event held at Concordia’s Hall Building over the weekend. Panelists, offering first-hand accounts, spoke about the history of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, kicking off the People’s Commission Network Popular Forum on national security on Saturday morning. Sharing the panel were Laurentian University professor and editor of Whose National Security? Gary Kingsman, lawyer Yavar Hameed, Kanehsatake activist Clifton Arihwakehte Nicholas and Palestinian-rights activist Marie-Ève Sauvé. Hameed, who acts as counsel for Muslims and Arabs in CSIS investigations, is currently representing Mohamed Mahjoub, one of the last remaining security certificate cases in Canada. Security certificates allow for permanent residents and refugees in Canada to be imprisoned indefinitely on secret evidence, with the presumption that they are connected in some way to a threat to national security. Evidence is not disclosed to the defendant or their legal counsel, and once a judge upholds the certificate there is no access to an appeals process. The result of an upheld security certificate is deportation, often to countries where the defendant faces torture.

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