War on Terror

Torture can never be justified

posted on November 09, 2016 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Torture can never be justified. Learn about the International Convention Against Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CAT.aspx

OP-ED: A zero-tolerance policy on torture

posted on December 07, 2011 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Alex Neve
Source: The National Post
URL: [link]
Date: December 7, 2011

Canada abhors torture. We support all efforts to abolish it and to punish torturers. We insist that our policing and security agencies have nothing to do with it. That’s Canada’s public line. Yet every time we seem to reaffirm these fundamental principles, a loophole always presents itself involving the words “national security.”

The most recent disturbing example involves a 2008 memo from former CSIS director James Judd to then-minister of public safety Stockwell Day that has just come to light. In that document, Mr. Judd objected to a law-reform initiative spearheaded at the time by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh. As part of a court-ordered overhaul of the immigration security-certificate process, Mr. Dosanjh had proposed a measure to keep evidence that might have been the result of torture out of security-certificate proceedings. The amendment passed, clarifying the principle that when there are reasonable grounds to believe that information had been obtained by torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, it cannot be used.

It actually wasn’t all that ground-breaking. It essentially confirmed existing international and Canadian legal prohibitions. The UN Convention against Torture, ratified by Canada more than 25 years ago, makes it clear that the only time evidence obtained under torture can be used in court is when the torturer himself is the one on trial. But it was necessary to have the principle laid out explicitly with respect to security certificates.

But the issue keeps coming up. Yes, torture is bad. But what if it will help us catch a terrorist, crack a sleeper cell or thwart a terrorist attack? What if taking a strong stand against it makes it more difficult to co-operate with countries where torture is rampant?

[ Read the rest ... ]

Judges differ in their view of jihadist

posted on January 09, 2011 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: January 8, 2011 One declared Ibn Khattab a terrorist, the other didn't and, writes Andrew Duffy, that divergence could lead to the deportation of Ottawa's Mohamed Harkat

[PHOTO: CSIS alleges that Mohamed Harkat operated a guest house in Pakistan for Ibn Khattab, shown above. There is conflicting evidence whether Khattab was part of the bin Laden network.] In the Federal Court of Canada, one judge's terrorist is another's jihadist warrior. In two security certificate cases, two federal judges have drawn vastly different conclusions about Ibn Khattab, a Saudi known as "the lion of Chechnya." The judge who upheld the certificate against Ottawa's Mohamed Harkat earlier this month deemed Khattab an al-Qaeda linked terrorist. Last year, however, another judge dismissed the case against Toronto's Hassan Almrei, ruling that Khattab "could not reasonably be said to be part of al-Qaeda." Their conflicting views highlight the complexity of certificate cases, in which judges must often decide hard questions of history.

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When fear reigns

posted on September 18, 2010 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Mohammed Adam Source: The Vancouver Sun URL: [link] Date: September 11, 2010 September 11 was the day the world changed. Fear followed, and many lived scared. As one observer points out, 'Fear can lead to scares and scares can lead to witchhunts'

OTTAWA — On a rainy Ottawa day, a man meets a friend at a popular shawarma restaurant for lunch. Another travels to his Middle-Eastern homeland to seek a wife. A routine check at a border crossing reveals a tourist map of the capital in a truck. A young volunteer travels to the Indian sub-continent to work for a charity. These mundane activities happen every day, and nobody pays any particular attention. However, since Sept. 11, 2001, when fear of terrorism swept the country, lunch at the Mango Café in Alta Vista suddenly took on a sinister meaning for Maher Arar, for example. Overnight, Muslim men fell under collective suspicion. As Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin and others found out, when people are scared, things can quickly turn nasty. A federal judge is preparing to deliver his ruling this fall in the case of Algerian immigrant Mohamed Harkat, 42, who came to Canada in 1995 as a refugee, but was arrested in 2002 under a security certificate on suspicion of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent. It remains to be seen how society will judge him, but one thing is very certain: Shaking the terrorist label is difficult indeed.

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The perils of racial profiling

posted on January 09, 2010 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Shadina Siddiqui
Source: The Winnipeg Free Press
URL: [link]
Date: January 9, 2010

News of body scanners and other intrusive security measures is raising deep concerns within Muslims of Canada about the possibility of a back-door introduction of racial profiling into this country. Racial profiling is easy to speak of and defend; just follow the law and you have nothing to worry about. But when you consider Maher Arar and the other Muslim men that were all law-abiding Canadian citizens and yet were rendered to torture, the logic behind profiling starts to look pretty thin. When you hear about harassment of hijab-wearing Muslim women at the U.S. border and when you feel like all eyes are on you, following you, spying on you, you cannot help but feel that these measures are more about making people feel safe than providing any real answers to legitimate questions about security concerns. These feelings are further reinforced when the criteria used to single you out are based on your nationality, race, religion and ethnicity.

If we have real security concerns, why are we not questioning the now publicly acknowledged intelligence failure, the lack of co-ordination, collaboration and information sharing among agencies? Why are we not addressing or at least investigating the possible root causes of what is producing and recruiting these young Muslim men to terrorist organizations and causing them to abandon their faith?

These are tough questions that deserve honest and well-thought answers or, at the very least, debate. We need to eliminate the cause(s) rather than continue to treat the symptoms and compromise our democratic values in the process. If we don't, we can only expect further encroachments on our collective civil liberties and human rights in the name of greater security.

George Radwanski, our past privacy commissioner, articulated what now echoes in my ears as I try to reconcile with the new reality that awaits me at the airport: "If we have to weigh every action, every statement, every human contact, wondering who might find out about it, make a record of it, judge it, misconstrue it or somehow use it to our detriment, we are not truly free."

Winnipeg, MANITOBA

Alleged Sikh extremist vanishes after Canada deports him to Belize

posted on December 18, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Jim Bronskill and Sue Bailey (CP)
Source: The Canadian Press
Date: February 15, 2009

Officials in Belize don't know what happened to an alleged Sikh extremist who made global waves when he bought a passport for the tropical paradise after being ordered out of Canada.

Iqbal Singh has quietly vanished.

Ten years ago next month, Singh left Toronto for the Central American fun-and-sun destination.

His arrival in an unsuspecting Belize caused a media sensation. The spotlight glare was apparently intense enough to drive Singh from the oasis he found upon paying about US$50,000 for a passport through a since-cancelled immigrant investor program.

At the time, flummoxed Belizean officials said they hadn't been warned about the terror allegations against Singh.

These days, they're not sure how to find him.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Government will review anti-terrorist law: Van Loan

posted on December 14, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press
Source: CBC News
URL: [link]
Date: December 14. 2009

The federal government has launched a sweeping review of its rickety national security certificate law, The Canadian Press has learned.

"We are working on it actively, very actively, and recognize that the current situation is not ideal — and that there is a need for change," Peter Van Loan, Canada's public safety minister, said in an interview.

The review could scrap or revamp a law used to arrest and deport non-Canadians considered a threat to national security. Certificates have existed for three decades, and more than two dozen have been issued since 1991, when they became part of federal immigration law.

But legal challenges and upbraidings from judges over miscues by Canada's spy agency have seen recent cases slow to a crawl, or collapse completely.

"I'm contemplating what we would do in the future, and whether that is an appropriate instrument," Van Loan said.

"I'm taking a serious look at it, trying to work our way through what the implications of the court decisions are and how we can balance that with our ability to assure the national security of Canadians."

[ Read the rest ... ]

La suspicion du SCRS

posted on November 11, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

par Pierre Jury, opinion
Source: Le Droit
URL: [link]
Date: 30 octobre 2009

Les Canadiens sous-estiment la menace terroriste et la faute repose sur les épaules d'« organisations non gouvernementales, de journalistes militants et d'avocats ». Combinée, leur action aurait fait de ceux qui sont accusés d'actes de terrorisme des « quasi-héros » qui sont représentés sous un angle positif, photographiés avec leurs enfants et, grosso modo, crus sur parole.

Ces paroles sont lourdes de sens et illustrent bien la perception qui prévaut, du moins dans les plus hauts échelons du Service canadien du renseignement de sécurité, notre agence d'espionnage. Ces mots sont ceux qu'a prononcés le nouveau patron du SCRS, Richard Fadden, à l'occasion de sa première sortie publique depuis sa nomination en juin dernier.

M. Fadden considère les « leaders d'opinion » avec incrédulité, parce que ces derniers ne semblent pas comprendre que « les efforts de lutte contre le terrorisme contribuent à miner la démocratie et nos valeurs plutôt qu'à les défendre ». Car, poursuit-il, « le terrorisme constitue en fait l'atteinte ultime à la liberté. »

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Lifting the cover on Canada's spy files

posted on October 26, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Michelle Shephard Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: October 26, 2009 Debate unfolds in courts over how to safeguard nation's security while still respecting civil rights

Only the judge and lawyers could see "John" behind a large screen in a Toronto courtroom. The Canadian spy entered through a separate entrance each day last week and a "Do Not Enter. Sealed by Judge's Order" sign hung on the door as he took his place on the hidden witness stand. While his identity may have been shielded, the agent's testimony in the extradition case of Abdullah Khadr gave an unprecedented glimpse into the covert world of international terrorism cases. John told the court that the Americans wanted to render Khadr to a U.S.-run foreign prison – perhaps Guantanamo Bay or one of the undisclosed "ghost sites" – but that the Canadians and Pakistanis refused to consent to his transfer. He testified about the $500,000 bounty the CIA paid the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence agency, and gave detailed answers about the delicate dance that went on between Ottawa, Islamabad and Washington. It seems everyone wanted information from Khadr but no one had the evidence to charge him – until Khadr confessed – which is the crux of the case. Was his abusive treatment (which the prosecution conceded took place after his arrest in Pakistan) enough to render anything he said about purchasing weapons for Al Qaeda inadmissible (even when he repeated these claims in Canada?)

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How to design a better anti-terrorism tool

posted on October 06, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Craig Forcese, op-ed piece Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: October 5, 2009 With the security certificate system defunct, we need to focus more on our criminal law system

The security certificate system as a tool of anti-terrorism is dead. Last week, the government abandoned its case against Adil Charkaoui, supposedly as a lesser evil to disclosing information it says would jeopardize national security. Four other cases continue, and the government could “win” a few in the short-term. But even if the government demonstrates a reasonable basis for its allegations, the saga will continue – security certificates are supposed to be about deportation. And that prospect seems vanishingly remote because of the risk that the four remaining individuals will be tortured if deported. All of this means the government will inevitably need a “Plan B” for the future. So what now? Faced with similar dilemmas in designing law as a tool of anti-terrorism, other states have done two things of note. First, they have used the criminal law with greater vigour than Canada. Second, some have tinkered with conventional legal standards to authorize constraints on liberty outside of criminal prosecutions. Back to basics: criminal law

The first strategy is, relatively speaking, uncontroversial. There are, of course, difficult challenges. The question of national security confidentiality is ripe in criminal cases, as much as it has been in Canada's security certificate cases.

[ Read the rest ... ]

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