Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another form of extraordinary rendition

Canada's secret spy days are over : CSIS chief, said at a "recent and closed CIA-sponsored Global Futures Forum conference of international security services in Vancouver"

"Public terrorism trials are changing the way government spies operate, says Canada's spymaster, Jim Judd.
As a consequence of the fight against global Islamic terrorism, an increasing number of open-court criminal prosecutions in Canada, the U.S. and Europe have, at their genesis, information collected by shadowy secret agents rather than police officers.

Prior to 9/11 and in several cases since, most of those detained for suspected terrorist links in Canada were immigrants or refugees and the government conveniently relied on immigration laws and security certificates to quietly deport them to their countries of origin or hold them in custody.

But the alleged terrorist activities of Ottawa's Momin Khawaja and the "Toronto 11" -- all Canadian citizens awaiting trial in the first of Canada's post-9/11 terror prosecutions -- must be heard in open courts, where the prosecution's evidence is subject to the rigours of defence counsel scrutiny and the rules of evidence."

Judd refers to this as the "judicialization" of what has "traditionally been considered covert government information".

OK, hold that thought a moment - I'm coming back to it.

Yesterday, in The Lesson of the Arar inquiry : Keep it under wraps, Pogge wrote about Mr. Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen fingered by CSIS and arrested "at our request" in Sudan five years ago, where he alleges he was beaten while in custody, and frequently visited by CSIS.

In 2004, Sudan cleared him of all allegations that he was a terrorist or a member of al-Qaeda and released him. They further offered to fly him home but Canada obstructed the deal. !!!
A few months later, Mr. Abdelrazik was then bundled off back to prison for another five months after suggesting he wanted to make his case to the prime minister. Now released a second time, he remains trapped in Khartoum, his health failing, his family back here in Montreal.

And here's the perfect Catch 22 : He can't fly home because he's on a no-fly list and he can't go by land or sea because Canada continues to refuse him a passport.

From the G&M, who, to their eternal credit, put this on their front page yesterday :
"[Abdelrazik's lawyer] says the similarities with Mr. Arar's case are compelling. In both instances, a Canadian citizen is fingered by CSIS as a terrorist suspect. In both cases, no charges are laid in Canada. In both, the person is arrested and imprisoned abroad. In both, Canadian officials say there is little that they can do because the person is in the country of their other citizenship."

In both, he might have added, there were allegations of torture and extraordinary callousness on the part of government officials. The G&M article does a fine job detailing the blatant ass-covering, Lib and Con, that appears to have formed the bulk of Foreign Affairs' concerns regarding Mr. Abdelrazik over the past five years. Just like with Arar, CSIS didn't want him to come back to Canada to embarrass them.
As chief of CSIS, Jim Judd oversaw both.

POGGE asks for the second time now : How many more of them are there out there?

May 16, 2007, Day seeks security powers
"Anti-terror measures would restore `preventive arrests’ and help CSIS spies overseas
"The federal government plans to try to revive the extraordinary anti-terror police powers of "investigative hearings" and "preventive arrest" as part of a series of major security initiatives."

"Preventative arrest" allows police to arrest without charge and judges to penalize without trial, people who the authorities fear might commit future terrorist offences.

"The government also says it will expand the ability of Canada's spy agency – the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) – to do covert foreign intelligence gathering abroad.
The two police powers slated for revival were killed by the opposition parties in a parliamentary vote in February.
In an appearance yesterday before the House of Commons public safety committee, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day indicated he has drafted a bill to reinstate those powers."

The bill is still pending, and as noted here, now also enjoys the support of the Liberals.

So when CSIS chief Jim Judd laments for the CIA the late great days of publicly unacknowleged extaordinary renditions, the pre-'judicialized' days unsullied by the "rigours of defence council scrutiny and rules of evidence", just remember it's because they're planning to bring those days back.

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