War on Terror

Court rulings jeopardizing fight against terrorism: minister

posted on September 28, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Janice Tibbetts
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link]
Date: September 27, 2009

OTTAWA -- Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan says he fears for the government's ability to fight terrorism in light of "an increasingly complex legal environment" in which judges are no longer deferring to the government in its efforts to deport foreign suspects.

"It raises questions about whether we can protect national security and I can tell you I am concerned," Van Loan told Canwest News Service. "I spend a fair bit of time thinking about it."

His comments followed a disastrous week in the courts for the Conservative federal government as it watched one of its key tools for fighting terrorism - the power to detain non-Canadian suspects without charge or without knowing the case against them - suffer critical blows that have left the regime in tatters.

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Top judge warns against overzealous anti-terrorism measures

posted on September 23, 2009 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Janice Tibbetts
Source: The Ottawa citizen
URL: [link]
Date: September 22, 2009

OTTAWA — Canada's most senior judge cautioned Tuesday against going overboard in the fight against terrorism by putting too much emphasis on the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. at the expense of sacrificing civil rights and charter protections.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin's warning that lawmakers, judges and citizens must heed the big picture comes as the federal government's war on terror is taking a beating in the nation's courts.

"The fear and anger that terrorism produces may cause leaders to make war on targets that may or may not be connected with the terrorist incident," McLachlin told the Ottawa Women's Canadian Club in a luncheon speech Tuesday.

"Or perhaps it may lead governments to curtail civil liberties and seek recourse in tactics they might otherwise deplore . . . that may not, in the clearer light of retrospect, be necessary or defensible."

The chief justice, citing historic examples of terrorism over the decades, described it as "an ongoing phenomenon that neither started nor ended with 9/11" and therefore must be dealt with in a broad, systemic and sustainable way.

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Khawaja has paid his debt, lawyer tells court

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

Source: The Canadian Press
URL: [link]
Date: February 5, 2009

OTTAWA — Convicted terrorist Momin Khawaja has already served enough time behind bars, his lawyer told the judge pondering the Ottawa man's sentence.

Lawrence Greenspon argued Thursday that Khawaja should receive no more than 7 1/2 years for the seven offences he was convicted of last October in a groundbreaking terrorism case.

Khawaja, arrested in March 2004, has spent almost five years in jail while his trial and sentencing play out. As the courts usually credit offenders with double such time served, Khawaja should be set free, Greenspon said.

He urged Justice Douglas Rutherford of the Ontario Superior Court not to "pander to the collective, frightened will" by handing down an unduly harsh sentence.

The Crown is scheduled to make arguments next Thursday.

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"War on Terror" has undermined human rights globally: UN conference

posted on October 06, 2008 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Julio Godoy Source: Inter Press Service News Agency URL: [link] Date: September 08, 2008 RIGHTS: Fighting the 'War on Terror'
by Julio Godoy The "war on terror" in the aftermath of the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001 has undermined human rights globally, according to activists and experts who attended a UN conference in Paris. "Immediately after Sep. 11 we saw a dramatic change in government policies with regard to terrorism, suspected terrorism, and the monitoring of citizens, with the underlying assumption that human rights norms as established in conventions and treaties no longer apply," Joanne Mariner, director of the terrorism and counter-terrorism programme at Human Rights Watch said at the conference in Paris last week. The trend has worsened over the last seven years, Mariner said.

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Secrecy an effective legal tool

posted on June 25, 2008 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Thomas Walkom
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link]
Date: June 24, 2008

Ottawa computer software developer Momin Khawaja is not the first to face trial under Canada's anti-terror legislation. That dubious honour belongs to a youth who cannot be named, currently on trial in Brampton for his part in the so-called Toronto 18 plot.

A verdict in the Brampton trial could come as early as next month. The Khawaja case, which has already absorbed four years of court time in pre-trial motions and which began in earnest yesterday, is not expected to end quite so soon.

But for a government desperate to show that Canada's post-9/11 laws work, Khawaja may well be more important.

There are key similarities between the Khawaja case and that of the Toronto 18. Both involve alleged attempts to blow up buildings and create mayhem in support of Islamist causes. Both involve otherwise unremarkable young Canadians.

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Crown turns on own witness

posted on June 21, 2008 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Isabel Teotonio Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: June 19, 2008 Paintgun
Police mole accused of lying about so-called terrorist training camp

PHOTO: After testifying on June 18, 2008, Mubin Shaikh gestures as he leaves the Brampton courthouse where he is the Crown's star witness in the trial of a youth accused of belonging to an alleged terror cell dubbed the Toronto 18. In a stunning turn of events, a Crown prosecutor yesterday accused his star witness in the Toronto 18 terror case of fabricating some of the evidence about a so-called terrorist training camp. Police mole Mubin Shaikh was caught off guard by prosecutor John Neander's suggestion that he had lied when he said the youth on trial did not know the true purpose of the camp. Although Shaikh agreed that he considered himself "a protector of the vulnerable" – a reference to the youths who attended the December 2005 camp – he rejected any notion that he had been untruthful on the witness stand.

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Canadian spies to occupy new home in Ottawa

posted on May 27, 2008 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Stewart Bell Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: May 23, 2008 Government to spend $62M for building

TORONTO - The federal government is spending $62 million to expand the country's ultra-secret electronic spy agency, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced yesterday. The money will pay for construction of a new building in Ottawa for the Communications Security Establishment, the most secretive branch of the intelligence community. The security branch operates an electronic eavesdropping system that collects signals intelligence. It works closely with allied agencies in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The announcement indicates the CSE has been growing since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Hundreds of employees have been hired since then and the existing campus on Leitrim Road was "no longer able to support the agency's day-to-day operations," the agency said in a press release. The new 65,000-square-foot facility will open in 2011 and house up to 250 employees. "A safe and secure Canada is one of the government's top priorities and CSE performs vital functions in safeguarding Canada's security," Mr. MacKay said in a statement. Exactly what the CSE does to protect security is one of the most closely guarded secrets in government. From its nondescript headquarters in south Ottawa, the CSE intercepts, decodes, translates and analyses the phone calls and e-mails of Canada's adversaries. It also safeguards government computer systems. Although the CSE operates under strict secrecy, signals teams are known to have played a role in the March 23, 2006, rescue of one British and two Canadian hostages in Iraq.

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Tainted Evidence

posted on March 18, 2008 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball Source: Newsweek URL: [link] Date: March 5, 2008 Canada tosses CIA terror testimony obtained through waterboarding.

The Canadian government is no longer using evidence gained from CIA interrogations of a top Al Qaeda detainee who was waterboarded. According to documents obtained by NEWSWEEK, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the country's national-security agency, last month quietly withdrew statements by alleged Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah from public papers outlining the case against two alleged terror "sleeper" operatives in Ottawa and Montreal. The move, which so far has received no public attention, is the latest sign of potential international fallout from the CIA's recent confirmation that it waterboarded a handful of high-profile Al Qaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003. The use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques were approved by the Bush White House and Justice Department. Waterboarding, which critics charge is a form of torture, involves strapping a suspect to an inclined board and forcing water into his lungs, typically by pouring water through a cloth placed over his nose and mouth.

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Don't blame Islam for terrorism, expert says

posted on January 19, 2008 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

By Douglas Todd Source: The Vancouver Sun URL: [link] Date: January 18, 2008 Former CIA official, now an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University, argues that a 9/11-type attack would have been likely anyway

VANCOUVER - A terrorist attack on the U.S. like that launched on Sept. 11, 2001 would likely have occurred even if the Muslim religion had never existed, says a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency who now makes his home in Squamish. "If not 9/11, some similar event like it was destined to come," writes Graham Fuller, an expert on political Islam who was in charge of long-term strategic forecasting for the CIA, in the cover story of this month's issue of the magazine Foreign Policy. Fuller, an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University, argues in his opinion piece, titled A World Without Islam, that though Islam provides a convenient scapegoat for those trying to explain the origins of terrorism, violent reformers would have likely arisen out of the Middle East even if the region had remained largely Christian.

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Harper defence doesn’t fly for human rights lawyers

posted on December 04, 2007 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Tim Naumetz
Source: The Law Times
URL: [link]
Date: December 3, 2007

OTTAWA — Human rights lawyers are astonished at a defence the Harper government has provided Parliament in response to allegations Canada’s secret no-fly list may violate the Charter of Rights.

In a written reply to questions about the list from an NDP MP, Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon said the government, by preventing passengers who “may” be a threat from boarding aircraft, is fulfilling a duty under s. 7 to protect the right to life and personal security of the crew and other passengers.

Legal experts say Cannon has it backwards — the Charter is intended to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens from government abuse.

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