War on Terror

Canada has hardly `gone soft' on terror

posted on March 13, 2007 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: unsigned editorial
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link]
Date: March 11, 2007

Is Canada rolling out the welcome mat for Al Qaeda and other terrorists?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper would like the public to think so, now that Parliament and the courts have rolled back some security laws and procedures adopted in haste after the 9/11 attacks with a view to thwarting a terror onslaught.

In the past month, the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional parts of Canada's "national security certificate" process that has been used to detain for years on end a few non-Canadians suspected of having ties to terrorists. Judges have been ordering suspected terrorists released from jail, under strict supervision.

And Parliament has rejected extending two anti-terror laws – preventive arrest and investigative hearings – that were set to expire under a sunset clause.

All this has prompted Harper to fear-mongering. Stéphane Dion's Liberals have chosen "internal caucus politics over the national security of Canadians," Harper has charged. The Conservatives, in contrast, "will not be dropping the issue."

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Canadians brace for terror trial

posted on January 17, 2007 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Omar El Akkad Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: January 16, 2007 Security tight as lawyers begin jousting that's expected to last for months

BRAMPTON -- Four meek-looking teenagers, one in shackles, arrived at a heavily guarded Brampton courthouse yesterday to kick off what will likely be one of the most closely watched trials in Canadian history. More than seven months after 17 suspects were arrested in a high-profile anti-terror bust in the Toronto area, preliminary hearings began for four of the accused, all of them young offenders. Security at the Brampton courthouse, where bail hearings for the suspects had also taken place last year, was far tighter than normal. In addition to the metal detectors at the front entrance, another metal detector was set up outside Courtroom 107, which is now almost exclusively reserved for this case. About half a dozen extra Peel Regional Police officers guarded the area directly outside the courtroom. Using temporary doors, police effectively cordoned off a small wing of the courthouse where the hearing is taking place. Onlookers were also prohibited from sitting in the first two rows of courtroom benches. Nadir Sachak, the lawyer for one of the young offenders, described the increased security as a "bit of an overreaction," but added that it wasn't too much of an inconvenience to the defence counsels, who have been given special passes in order to avoid being searched every time they entered the courtroom area. Despite the added security, proceedings moved smoothly yesterday. The only delay was due to an ice storm that held up traffic on most GTA highways throughout the morning. Three of the four suspects had already been granted bail last year, and arrived at the courthouse with family members. One wore a dark suit and tie, the others were more casually dressed. The fourth suspect is still in custody, so police escorted him into a prisoner's box in shackles, which the presiding judge later ordered removed. All evidence presented in the trial is under a publication ban, and the young offenders cannot be identified by law. In June, 17 suspects were arrested and charged with terror-related offences, including attending a training camp and plotting to blow up several buildings in downtown Toronto and mount an armed attack on Parliament Hill. An 18th suspect was arrested in August. Yesterday, at the preliminary hearing for the four young offenders, the Brampton courtroom was relatively full, as family members and media arrived to watch. Two attorneys spoke for the Crown, accompanied by police officers familiar with the investigation that led to the June arrests. Opposite them, four lawyers for the teens occasionally made minor motions, but otherwise let the Crown make its opening statements without much objection. The suspects and their families were expressionless throughout most of the daylong proceedings, including the beginning of the hearing, when the charges against the teens were read out. The Crown is asking that the young offenders be sentenced as adults. That gives the suspects the right to request a preliminary inquiry and a trial by judge and jury. All four suspects requested both. Despite the increased media and police presence, most of yesterday's proceedings were formalities. By the time any evidence was presented later in the afternoon, two of the three suspects out on bail had already left the courtroom. Other than occasionally exchanging whispers with their attorneys, the two remaining suspects made no contact with anyone else throughout most of the proceedings. The process that began yesterday could take years to complete. About two months have been booked for the preliminary inquiry into the charges against the four young offenders. It is unclear how much longer an actual trial could take.

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Part of Anti-terrorism Act violates charter: judge

posted on October 25, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Source: CBC News
URL: [link]
Date: October 24, 2006

An Ontario judge has struck down part of the Anti-terrorism Act, but legal experts were divided on whether it will make successful prosecutions more difficult.

Justice Douglas Rutherford of Ontario Superior Court ruled that a section of the Anti-terrorism Act that defines "terrorism" violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The ruling does not mean that Mohammed Momin Khawaja, the first person charged under the act, will be freed.

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Blow dealt to anti-terror law

posted on October 24, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Canadian Press (CP) Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: October 24, 2006 Momin Khawaja
Canadian Momin Khawaja Ottawa must redefine terror

OTTAWA (CP) — A judge has struck down a portion of the Anti-Terrorism Act that defines terrorism, saying it violates the Charter of Rights. The ruling hands a partial victory to accused terror suspect Mohammed Momin Khawaja, but he remains behind bars. Khawaja is the first person charged under the anti-terror provisions of the Criminal Code. He has been in custody since his arrest on March 29, 2004, and was scheduled to go to trial in January. Justice Douglas Rutherford of the Superior Court “severed” a clause in the law which deals with ideological, religious or political motivation for illegal acts, but said the case can still go to trial. Khawaja’s lawyer said the ruling strikes to the core of the law. “The motive clause is at the heart of the anti-terror law; that clause has been struck down,” he said. It was not immediately whether the Crown planned to appeal the ruling. Khawaja, a 27-year-old software developer, faces seven criminal charges alleging he participated in and gave assistance to an alleged terrorist organization based in Britain.

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High-tech watchtowers in works for U.S-Canada border

posted on September 24, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Sheldon Alberts
Source: Victoria Times Colonist
URL: [link]
Date: September 22, 2006

WASHINGTON - Sections of the Canada-U.S. border in British Columbia and southwestern Ontario - areas deemed most vulnerable to drug smuggling and terrorist infiltrations - are likely the first locations where American authorities will deploy a ''virtual fence'' of high-tech monitoring equipment to stop illegal crossings, Homeland Security officials said Thursday.

Detailing plans for an array of sensors, infrared cameras, watchtowers, and drones that will eventually stretch across America's entire 8,890-kilometre border with Canada, U.S. authorities said their goal is to have the world's longest undefended border under surveillance within three to six years.

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Canada's anti-terror act unjust, court told

posted on September 12, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Omar El Akkad
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link]
Date: September 12, 2006

OTTAWA -- Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act was a hastily conceived, unnecessary reaction to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the lawyer for Canadian terrorism suspect Mohammad Momin Khawaja said yesterday in the first major court challenge of the law.

Lawrence Greenspon asked the Ontario Superior Court hearing to strike down the sections of the act under which his client was charged because their wording was vague, far-reaching and likely to infringe on fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and association.

The act, he told Justice Douglas Rutherford, is "broad, vague definition piled on broad, vague definition."

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Anti-terror powers unused, but police want to keep them

posted on June 09, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Jeff Sallot Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: June 6, 2006 Law seen as a lever to recruit informants

OTTAWA -- Federal authorities and local police did not use the extraordinary investigative and detention powers of the Anti-Terrorism Act to crack the case of the 17 bomb-plot suspects who were nabbed in weekend raids in Southern Ontario. Though the men are charged for alleged offences under the ATA, their activities were detected and monitored by police and national security investigators using the same legal tools and traditional techniques that were available to them before the controversial law was passed by Parliament in 2001, the RCMP says. Parliament is considering whether to allow those investigative and detention powers to expire under a five-year sunset clause.

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Ottawa considering special terror trials

posted on May 09, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Colin Freeze Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: May 8, 2006 Broad mandate of Air-India commission includes weighing use of three-judge panels

The Canadian judge heading the Air-India inquiry is being asked by the Stephen Harper government to consider new ways to try terrorism suspects -- including a parallel system where cases would be weighed by three-judge panels instead of the standard judge or jury. Since it was announced one week ago, Mr. Justice John Major's commission has been chiefly described as a means of bringing "closure" to families whose loved ones were killed more than 20 years ago.

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Secret court hearing raises alarm (Kassim Mohamed case)

posted on February 26, 2006 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Original author: Michelle Shephard Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: February 13, 2006 Location or date can't be disclosed Man suing Ottawa for jailing in Egypt

Somewhere in a Canadian courtroom, sometime soon, a secret hearing will take place to discuss an Egyptian Canadian suspected of making surveillance videos of Toronto's subway system and the CN Tower. Civil libertarians have labelled the hearing Canada's Star Chamber proceedings, since its location or date cannot be disclosed, and the public is barred from attending. It's known as a "Section 38 application," under Canada's Evidence Act. The legislation has existed for more than two decades as a means for the government to safeguard sensitive evidence, but amendments resulting from the omnibus 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act now shroud the process in secrecy.

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New surveillance bill introduced

posted on November 16, 2005 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

Source: CBC News
URL: [link]
Date: November 15, 2005

The federal government has introduced a bill to make it easier for police and CSIS to monitor private cellphone conversations and communication on the internet.

The Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act, if passed, would require internet companies to give the police confidential information on their subscribers. The information, which includes the person's name, address and telephone or cellphone number, would allow the police or CSIS to identify the location of a person's computer.

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