SECRET TRIALS UPDATE
1. Mahmoud Jaballah To be Granted Bail.
2. Next Steps in Pressuring Government to Abolish Security Certificates
3. Play the “Name That Allegation” Game and Predict the Next Target of CSIS!
1. JABALLAH TO BE GRANTED BAIL!
Federal Court Judge Carolyn Leydon-Stevenson shocked all parties concerned today (Tuesday, February 6) when she indicated she was going to recommend release of secret trial detainee Mahmoud Jaballah even though she did not have written reasons prepared. While advising that she would be looking for “stringent” and “restrictive” house arrest conditions, she said that in fairness to Mr. Jaballah and his family, it made sense for work on conditions of release to be worked out concurrent with her writing her bail decision. A court date of March 22 in Ottawa has been set to discuss conditions, and it will likely be a good couple of weeks beyond that date until Mr. Jaballah is finally home.
Family members and supporters were pleased that Mr. Jaballah will finally be reunited with his family after almost six years of incarceration without charge. With the release decision three weeks ago of Mohammad Mahjoub (held almost seven years, though still not yet home due to government foot-dragging), this series of releases will leave Hassan Almrei, held since October, 2001, the lone detainee at Canada’s Guantanamo Bay, a $3.2 million facility with 23 staff.
2. NEXT STEPS ON ENDING SECRET TRIALS IN CANADA
Even though security certificates have been declared unconstitutional, CSIS still has a year to use them, and we have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure the government does not simply rewrite the legislation with some fancy window dressing.
On February 23, the Supreme Court of Canada found the secret trial security certificate procedure to be unconstitutional and upheld the principle of a fair trial for everyone. Unfortunately, the government was given one more year to use the draconian certificates, and those currently subject to the certificates remain either behind bars or under house arrest (despite the
fact that the process that put them in this horrific place has been ruled unconstitutional!!!).
In the coming year, there is concern that CSIS, the spy agency that is the driving force behind the certificates, will issue one or two more certificates in a public relations effort to show the government that such procedures are necessary. Now that they have their fancy multi-million dollar jail (Guantanamo North, at Millhaven), it would surely be an embarrassment if it were to sit empty.
REPEAL THE LEGISLATION
The Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada is urging people to write to Prime Minister Harper, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, and Immigration Minister Diane Finley to demand the following:
1. Repeal the security certificate legislation. Do not claim the process will become fair with the addition of window dressing such as “special advocates” or “security-cleared lawyers”, whose presence will provide nothing more than a minimal air of legitimacy to a process that has been found to be unconstitutional and inconsistent with the principles of fundamental justice. A fair trial using criminal law standards means knowing the case against you, being allowed the opportunity to respond to charges and evidence in a transparent and open process, and proof beyond a
2. Release those subject to the security certificate, eliminate the draconian conditions that have been imposed on them, and allow a process whereby they can clear their names. If the government truly believes these or any other individuals in Canada pose some kind of threat, charge them, allow them to see disclosure of the case, and carry out such a process in a fair, open, transparent court of law using the procedural safeguards and standards of the criminal law process.
3. End the effort to deport the security certificate detainees to torture in Egypt, Syria, Morocco, and Algeria.
(all can be written via snail mail c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Stockwell Day (Public Safety Minister)
Phone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995.1154
Diane Finley (Immigration Minister)
Phone: (613) 996-4974
Fax: (613) 996-9749
Phone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
3. PLAY THE “NAME THE NEXT CERTIFICATE” GAME
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union
proved a scary time for agencies like CSIS, whose raison d’etre was suddenly in question. The creation of the “terror threat” allowed them to stay employed, and the use of security certificates, which kept the whole case against an individual a secret, meant that CSIS didn’t have to actually prove anything.
Given the Supreme Court’s finding that security certificates are unconstitutional, CSIS is once again in a jam. With one year until security certificates expire, CSIS will likely go on the PR offensive. It doesn’t take a genius to see that CSIS will manufacture some kind of “alleged threat” before that one year expires, in order to “prove” to Parliament that secret trials, arbitrary and indefinite detention, and deportation to torture are a necessity for the “safety of Canadians.” Further, with a $3.2 million Gitmo North facility likely to be emptied by year’s end, they need somebody to put in there.
Lest we think CSIS is not above carefully timed arrests, look at the out-of-the-blue use of a certificate last fall against a Russian “spy,” issued in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision. The guy was built up as a major threat, then allowed to go home. Some threat. But his arrest was used on numerous occasions by Stockwell Day to remind Canadians how “useful” the procedure can be.
The arrests of the so-called Toronto terror cell were suspiciously timed as well, coming only ten days before the Supreme Court hearings on security certificates. The government claimed it had an urgent need to act because its highly-paid mole had already ordered three tons of fertilizer, yet the RCMP replaced that fertilizer with a benign substance before delivery (all of which adds to the belief that much of the government’s case is bull manure). The resulting ten days of propaganda and scare headlines were most convenient as the Supreme Court readied itself to hear the secret trials challenge.
Recent headlines suggest CSIS is certainly looking hard for their next target. Will it be a Somali refugee that CSIS has reasonable grounds to believe is possibly associated in the past, present, or future with a group of people (perhaps the Islamic Courts Union) in Somalia that CSIS feels is a threat?
Will it be an Albertan of Arabic heritage who CSIS believes poses a threat to the oil sands? (After all, one of CSIS’s favourite “sources,” the much discredited SITE threat assessment website, believes this is a possibility, as reported two weeks ago. SITE is infamous for overhyping alleged threats without providing substantial evidence, and for coming up with the bizarre “connection” — long since debunked — between a group of Georgia chicken farmers and terrorism.)
Will it be some poor Middle Eastern restaurant owner who smiles when he gives you Humous, and it is perceived by CSIS as a nudge-nudge-wink-wink endorsement of Hamas?
HOW TO PLAY
Simply submit to us your one sentence idea, with perhaps a paragraph of background allegations that you think CSIS will come up with (be creative –they certainly are) and send it to email@example.com
Winners will be notified by email, and publicly announced at the Toronto CSIS offices on the day following the next certificate.
Stuck on ideas? Try some real-life CSIS allegations (following examples from court documents):
One man is seen as an expert Al-Qaeda communications relay because he came to Toronto with his family and wasted no time installing a phone in his apartment. Not only that, he borrowed a cell phone during the time of his wife’s pregnancy. Not only that, he “procured” a fax machine (most of us “buy” one, he “procured” one). Finally, he had learned how to surf the internet. In CSIS’s eyes, case closed (Seriously!)
Or try the man who is seen as a threat because he got married and has kids, and was thus blending in with Canadian society.
Or perhaps the man who is shy and tends not to associate with people.
Or the guy who was suspect because he once lived in an apartment with “airline schematics” on the wall (in fact, it was a picture of a passenger airbus).
Or the guy who must be highly trained in clandestine tools of
evasion because he is cautious when he discovers he is being followed by four unmarked cars.
No allegation is too silly for consideration! Think big, think
bizarre, think wild, think racial profiling! CSIS certainly does! Having troubles? Do what CSIS does! Watch Fox News and read the National Post.
That’s where they get a lot of their ideas.
Stay in touch! Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org,