CSIS grilled trio in Cuba

Interrogation of former Montrealer being used to justify his indefinite detention, lawyer says

Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star, 27 July 2008

When agents from Canada's spy service were given access to Guantanamo Bay in February 2003, it wasn't just 16-year-old Omar Khadr they were coming to see.

They wanted to interrogate three other detainees who were not Canadian but had once lived in Montreal.

As one agent interviewed Khadr over four days, two other agents tried to get what information they could from the former Canadian residents.

No one from the federal government, or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, will discuss the cases involving Algerians Djamel Ameziane and Ahcene Zemiri, and Mauritanian Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

But Canadian and American government officials interviewed by the Toronto Star confirm there were three CSIS employees on the private jet that took the Canadians to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba, from Washington in early 2003. Another group travelled to the base in September 2003.

Study sees legal gap between security agencies, human rights

Don Butler, Canwest News Service, 25 July 2008

OTTAWA - Current laws do not effectively protect against human right violations by Canada's security intelligence agencies, concludes a study undertaken for the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The commission asked four Toronto human rights lawyers to examine the extent to which the RCMP, CSIS, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the bodies that monitor them are legally obliged to consider human rights issues when discharging their duties.

It commissioned the study because of concern that laws enacted in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks might unfairly target certain groups based on their race, religion or ethnic origin.

The study found some broad legislation, such as the Anti-terrorism Act, imposes "limited human rights obligations" on security intelligence agencies and their monitoring bodies.

But none of the agencies, it says, is explicitly mandated by its enabling legislation to consider and report on human rights matters.

That legislative gap increases the risk of rights violations by national security agencies, said Nicole Chrolavicius, one of the report's authors.

Top court scolds spy agency; Charkaoui case: CSIS must stop destroying evidence: ruling

The Gazette, JAN RAVENSBERGEN, 26 June 2008

He's now batting two-for-two before the highest court in the land.

But a second landmark legal triumph before the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday has not given Montrealer Adil Charkaoui back all the freedoms he lost since he was first detained by Canada's spy agency more than five years ago.

The 34-year-old was jubilant regardless - declaring "a full victory" over the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in the wake of Canada's second top-court decision in less than 17 months to bear his name.

"This is not a half-victory," the schoolteacher told reporters at a downtown legal-aid office.

Less than two hours earlier, the nation's top judges dropped a bombshell on Canada's spy agency - in Charkaoui's name.

In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ordered CSIS to stop systematically destroying interview notes and other evidence gathered during national-security probes:

"The destruction by CSIS officers of their operational notes compromises the very function of judicial review.

"There is no question that original notes and recordings are the best evidence."

Supreme Court victory! Coalition calls on government to implement decision, review Charkaoui file for more destroyed evidence

The Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui is calling on CSIS, Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and Minister of Immigration Diane Finley to review Charkaoui's file for other destroyed evidence and to confirm that they will implement Thursday's Supreme Court decision.

The Supreme Court of Canada handed Charkaoui a second victory Thursday in his lengthy struggle against the immigration "security certificate": "We have concluded that Mr. Charkaoui's appeal succeeds. In our view, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is bound to disclose to the ministers responsible all information in its possession regarding the person named in a security certificate," (2) wrote the nine judges in a unanimous decision.

"Today we are calling on CSIS to actually apply the ruling," said Marie-Eve Lamy, a spokesperson for the Coalition. "They are nice principles, but meaningless if not applied. Will CSIS show us evidence that the policy has changed? Will they provide a timeline to implement the policy?"

The Coalition was not able to reach CSIS's media liaison, Manon Bérubé, yesterday to get a response to these questions.

CSIS boss quietly rebuffed spy watchdog's call for apology to charity

24 June 2008, Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service secretly rejected a call from the spy agency's watchdog to apologize to an Ottawa-based charity for an "unsubstantiated statement" linking the organization to a terrorist group.

CSIS has been publicly silent for more than a year about the Security Intelligence Review Committee recommendation to make amends to Human Concern International with an apology and retraction.

However, a newly declassified letter shows CSIS director Jim Judd told Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day in late March 2007 that he had no intention of saying sorry.

"As a result of our review of the report, the methodology used by SIRC Counsel and a review of the information on HCI in the possession of the Service, I disagree with SIRC's findings and, as a result, do not intend to act on the recommendations made in the report."

A copy of the letter, marked secret, was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. Portions were considered too sensitive to disclose.

Michel Drapeau, lawyer for the charitable organization, expressed frustration at CSIS's response. He said Day should direct the spy agency to apologize.

CSIS spying on Canadian punk band

Canadian Dimension, 20 May 2008

Canada's spy agency and an RCMP anti-terror unit carried out an intelligence campaign against Ottawa-based punk band The Suicide Pilots, documents obtained through Access to Information requests show.

Following the arrest of the band's drummer, bones (aka Jeffrey Monaghan), the RCMP's anti-terror unit opened a file on the band, alleging their logo "depicts an airplane flying into the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill." A copy of the frightened-looking airplane caricature was included in the 184 page file.

"If you want an example of bloated police powers, this is it," says Ottawa-based lawyer Yavar Hameed. Hameed notes that the investigation seems to be completely unrelated to the arrest of Mr. Monaghan. Monaghan was alleged to have leaked the Tory Green Plan last spring. The anti-terror investigation appears to have surfaced after media coverage of Mr. Monaghan denouncing the Harper regime's actions of climate change. Monaghan has never been charged. The investigation is organized through the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), and the documents reveal an explicit coordination with Canada's spy agency, CSIS.

Document speaks volumes about how CSIS works

In June 2005, shortly after Charkaoui was released from prison in Montreal, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), issued a three-page report called, "Islamic Extremists and Detention: How Long Does the Threat Last?".

Short on facts and long on generalizing assertions, the report speaks volumes about the kind of assumptions made by the Canadian spy agency, not to mention the kind of slipshod work that passes muster in this agency.

John Norris, one of the lawyers for the Toronto security certificate detainees, showed in court that one of the sentences from the reported is in fact lifted directly from an article that was published in the Washington Post, "Released Detainees Rejoining the Fight" (22 October 2004).

Not only was the word-for-word quote unattributed, it had been taken out of context in an entirely misleading way.

Terror claims trap Canadian in Khartoum

Marooned for five years, Abousfian Abdelrazik gets $100 a month from Canada to survive, but no passport or clearance to go home

PAUL KORING, Globe and Mail, April 28, 2008

Abousfian Abdelrazik, a 46-year-old Sudanese Canadian fingered by CSIS as a terrorist suspect, has been marooned in Khartoum for nearly five years as successive Canadian governments have refused him a passport and thwarted other efforts to bring him home to his family in Montreal.

Homegrown intelligence gap

CSIS is proving to be just as inept and dysfunctional as the discredited RCMP Security Service it replaced in 1984

Andrew Mitrovica, Toronto Star, 17 April 2008

The case that was supposed to be a defining moment in Canada's so-called "war on terror" is becoming a national embarrassment.

Earlier this week, federal lawyers stayed charges against the four "ringleaders" of a "homegrown terror" group that police and security officials once insisted with great fanfare were the spiritual and ideological architects of sinister plans to launch terrorist attacks in this country.

The media dubbed the gang "The Toronto 18." The catalogue of crimes they were apparently poised to unleash was astonishing. The plans included storming Parliament Hill, beheading the Prime Minister and seizing control of CBC's Toronto headquarters to issue a jihadist manifesto.

Today, the number of alleged "terrorists" involved in this conspiracy sits at 11 and is bound, despite the bravado of government lawyers, to plummet further.

Tainted Evidence: Canada tosses CIA terror testimony obtained through waterboarding