- Like in America post-9/11, Canadian Muslims have been
victimized, vilified, and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence,
and activism. They've been targeted, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention,
kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried
on secret evidence, convicted or incriminated on bogus charges, given long
sentences and incarcerated as political prisoners or deported to certain
torture, imprisonment or death by so-called democratic countries that,
in fact, mock the rule of law and judicial fairness.
- Victims are pawns in the war on terror - how rogue states
intimidate populations to accept foreign wars and homeland repression to
mask their more sinister agenda. Today, it reflects unbridled militarism,
permanent wars, imperial conquest, and planned economic crises causing
lost jobs, homes, benefits, futures, and the greatest ever wealth transfer
to the rich, largely below the radar.
- In her 2005 paper, "Securing Canada: Muslims and
the Myth of Multiculturalism in the post-911 World," Samantha Arnold
discussed the environment as defined by Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act and
the Canadian-US Smart Border Declaration, saying:
- "....Arab and Muslim Canadians have been 'painted
with the bin Laden brush,' cast as terrorists, interrogated and detained
on the basis of secret evidence, subjected to hate crimes, denied passage
across international borders, represented in racist and demeaning ways
in the media, and constructed as 'aliens' in Canada notwithstanding their
citizenship (or legal residency) status."
- It flies in the face of the country's image as a tolerant,
compassionate society, embracing diversity and multiculturalism - the very
"foundational myth of this country, a mythical heritage of tolerance
that turns on the historical reconciliation of French, English, and Aboriginal
peoples." In fact, the reality unmasks the mythology, Mohamed Harkat
one of many prime examples, an innocent man victimized for political advantage,
so far denied due process and judicial fairness.
- Detailed information about him can be found at justiceforharkat.com.
- Algerian born, he emigrated to Canada in 1995 at age
28, settled in Ottawa, worked as a gas station attendant and pizza delivery
man, met his future wife, and now together seek justice and an end to their
- In 1997, he got refugee status after successfully arguing
that Algerian authorities would persecute him. Could he have imagined in
Canada as well - nominally democratic with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- "Everyone has the following freedoms:
- a. freedom of conscience and religion;
- b. freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression,
including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
- c. freedom of peaceful assembly; and
- d. freedom of association."
- Its Article 7 assures everyone "the right to life,
liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof
in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
- By persecuting the innocent, Canada like America, defiles
its principles, laws, and fundamental human rights and values - a clear
sign of emerging fascism under which all rights are lost. No one is safe
when state power goes unchallenged, the fast track both countries now pursue,
inventing threats to advance it while destroying civil liberties and freedom.
- Harkat was victimized, his nightmare beginning on December
10, 2002 - Human Rights Day worldwide to commemorate the 1948 UN General
Assembly's adoption of Universe Declaration of Human Rights adoption, 48
- 0 with eight abstentions, from Stalinist Russia, Eastern bloc states
he controlled, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
- Based on alleged terrorist links to Al Qaeda and the
Armed Sayyaf Group (GIA), Harkat was arrested and imprisoned for the next
four and a half years under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection
Act provision pertaining to the "security certificate" process.
It lets authorities detain and/or deport foreign nationals and other non-citizens
suspected of human rights violations, alleged threats to national security,
or claimed affiliation with organized crime, using secret evidence withheld
from defense counsel.
- In place since 1978, the process is secretive and disturbing
in cases where alleged charges are determined too sensitive to disclose.
Since 1991, 27 residents have been affected. In February 2007, Canada's
Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in Charkaoui v. Canada.
- Then in October 2007, the Canadian House of Commons passed
Bill C-3 (a so-called anti-terror measure), amending the Immigration and
Refugee Protection Act by introducing a special advocate into the certificate
process on the pretext of protecting subjects during secret proceedings.
- That and other provisions are troubling, including indefinite
detentions, whether or not charged, draconian house arrest with continuous
monitoring and surveillance, and deportations to despotic states, ensuring
torture, imprisonment or death, the reason subjects fled to Canada in the
first place, believing they'd be safe.
- The special advocate provision is reprehensible, providing
legal cover for a fundamentally unjust process designed to stigmatize,
vilify, convict or deport targets to oblivion - at the same time pretending
it protects national and public security.
- The bill mocks the rule of law and judicial fairness,
yet got Royal Assent on February 13, 2008. It targets human and civil rights
advocates, anyone against illegal wars and homeland repression, and creeping
fascist governance. It denies their presumption of innocence and right
to judicial fairness in open proceedings with full disclosure of the facts.
- Once issued, Federal Courts conduct secret proceedings,
subjecting victims to draconian injustice. Later they're given unclassified
summaries of whatever the presiding judge considers appropriate, another
fundamentally troubling procedure to withhold vital facts from the defense.
- During proceedings, special advocates represent authority,
not subjects. They may examine government claims, cross-examine witnesses,
call their own, make submissions to the Court, and communicate with and
hear testimony from named subjects until they see the Court-opproved information
and can rely on counsel.
- The government claims it's to defend national and public
security, as well as core principles under the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms, international law, and fundamental human rights precepts.
Victims like Harkat disagree, saying it persecutes innocent residents like
himself, for his religion and ethnicity, the common American practice supplemented
by racist media-hyped fear.
- Harkat is one of Canada's Secret Trial Five - five Muslim
men, bogusly arrested, then shamelessly persecuted for political advantage.
He wasn't charged, was imprisoned on secret evidence, denied bail, held
mostly in solitary confinement, prevented from contacting family or friends,
and under Canadian law can't appeal a judge's ruling by order of the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Yet he was never before charged,
convicted of a crime, or even suspected of one.
- On March 31, 2004, Amnesty International (AI) directed
an open letter to Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, expressing grave
"concerns with respect to the security certificate provisions that
have been part of Canada's immigration legislation for a number of years"
- a process "resulting in violations of a number of fundamental human
- AI urged that "immediate steps (be taken) to bring
(the process) into full compliance with Canada's international human rights
obligations." It cited Canada's responsibilities under its Immigration
and Refugee Protection Act in s. 3(3)(f), requiring the law to be "construed
and applied in a manner that complies with international human rights instruments
to which Canada is a signatory."
- No action was taken. Harkat and others remain vulnerable.
- On May 23, 2006, he was granted bail, transferred to
house arrest under electronic monitoring and round-the-clock supervision,
but faces deportation he's struggling to prevent.
- Last September, Justice Simon Noel eased his bail conditions,
ending his phone monitoring, mail, curfew, in-and-outside home video surveillance,
and requirement that visitors need official approval. He must still wear
a GPS monitor, report in weekly, and travel unsupervised only in the Ottawa
- Two Hopeful Signs
- In October, the Federal Court of Canada annulled Adil
Charkaoui's security certificate, another bogusly targeted victim. Arrested
but not charged in 2003, he was kept under draconian house arrest for nearly
two years, then very restrictive bail conditions until February 20, 2009.
On March 24, 2010, he sued the federal government for $24.5 million in
damages to restore his lost reputation. The case against him was never
- In December 2009, the Federal Court voided Hassan Almrei's
security certificate, Justice Richard Mosley stating:
- "Having considered all the information and other
evidence presented to the Court, I am satisfied that Hassan Almrei has
not engaged in terrorism and is not and was not a member of an organization
that there are reasonable grounds to believe has, does or will engage in
terrorism. I find that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that
(he's) a danger to the security of Canada (so) find the the certificate
is not reasonable and must be quashed."
- Final Comments
- On April 1, the Ottawa Citizen's Mohammed Adam headlined,
"Harkat terror case takes a serious hit," saying:
- "US report says his reputed al-Qaeda associate (Abu
Zubaydah) actually had no ties to the terrorist group."
- Writing in the Los Angeles Times on April 30, his co-counsel,
Joseph Margulies, assistant director of Northwestern School of Law's Roderick
MacArthur Justice Center, detailed what he endured, appalling torture from
the time of his 2002 arrest in Pakistan - how America treats alleged terrorists,
inflicting enough pain to force confessions, then saying they came voluntarily
- The Bush administration called him a senior Al Qaeda
figure, George Bush saying he was one of their "top three leaders
(and) chief of operations."
- "First, they beat him. As authorized by the Justice
Department and confirmed by the Red Cross, they wrapped a collar around
his neck and smashed him over and over against a wall. They forced his
body into a tiny, pitch-dark box and left him for hours. They stripped
him naked and suspended him from hooks in the ceiling. They kept him awake
- Then they waterboarded him 83 times - the procedure inducing
suffocation and panic. CIA torturers ordered him wrung dry, perhaps taking
him to the brink of death and back, what was done repeatedly to Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo, the bogusly charged 9/11
mastermind who endured intense torture over an extended period, effectively
turning him to mush and getting him to say anything to stop the pain.
- In Zubaydah's case, he "was nothing like what the
president believed. He was never Al Qaeda," journalist Ron Suskind
asserted in his 2006 book, "The One Percent Doctrine", the first
to describe him as "a minor logistics man, a travel agent," a
man the Justice Department later admitted in an April 2010 court filing
had no "direct role in or advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001," nor was he an Al Qaeda member or "formally"
identified with the organization.
- Yet the Obama administration still detains him, claiming
he "supported enemy forces and participated in hostilities (and) facilitat(ed)
the retreat and escape of enemy forces" after America's 2001 Afghanistan
invasion, charges as bogus as about Al Qaeda and his involvement in 9/11.
- Detained or free, he sustained permanent damage. "Abu
Zubaydah paid with his mind" and more. "Today, he suffers blinding
headaches and has permanent brain damage. He has an excruciating sensitivity
to sounds, hearing what others do not. The slightest noise drives him nearly
insane. In the last two years alone, he has experienced about 200 seizures."
- He can't remember his mother's face or father's name.
His humanity was willfully destroyed, the same fate many others endured
- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Jose Padilla, and Aafia Siddiqui three of the
- One of Harkat's lawyers, Norm Boxall, called the new
Zubaydah information significant, saying it destroys a key part of the
government's case. Zubayah's attorney, Brent Mickum, said the:
- "government's accounts frequently have been at variance
with the actual facts, and the government has been loath to provide the
facts until forced to do so." Then after gotten through discovery,
"it realized that the game was over and there was no way it could
support the Bush administration's baseless allegations."
- Canadian government lawyers have the information, but
so far haven't commented on how it impacts their case or what's next.
- Harkat's lawyers called it another plus for their client,
saying it "follow(ed) the February release from US custody of Hadje
Wazir, a Harkat associate whom CSIS has characterized as Osama bin Laden's
'money handler.' Last year, the case was rocked by the revelation that
three CSIS witnesses failed to reveal that a key informant failed a lie-detector
- Yet CSIS claims Harkat was a Zubayah "intermediary,"
even though it's untrue, and he denied in federal court in 2004 that he
ever met or knew him.
- "The new information came to light in court the
same day that defence (sic) lawyer Matt Webber blasted the credibility
of CSIS, accusing it of 'egregious breaches' of Harkat's rights that bring
into question the administration of justice," citing numerous abuses
- -- "violation of solicitor-client privilege;
- -- unlawful detention;
- -- destruction of documents and unlawful search; and
- -- seizure of documents," calling all of them "profound,"
showing Canadian justice is just as tainted, shameful, odious, and reprehensible
- Nonetheless, Harkat's struggle continues. Closing arguments
in his security certificate hearing are scheduled from May 31 - June 3
at the Supreme Court of Canada Building, 301 Wellington Street, East Courtroom
in Ottawa, beginning at 10AM. It may be months before a final decision
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org . Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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