The CIA department of dirty tricks is well known for paying for wanted terror suspects. It is not too surprising that this bounty was paid. Of course the confessions that were obtained in Pakistan were likely the result of torture but this is just a variation on the rendition practice of the US. That these facts are relevant to his defence are of course well known to the RCMP and Canadian intelligence agencies but they usually work hand in glove with their US counterparts. In fact Canada itself arranges for terror suspects to be arrested in foreign countries as in the Arar, Almalki, Nurredin, El Maati, cases.
U.S. paid bounty for Khadr arrest in Pakistan
Former top Mountie was briefed on $500,000 reward
May 13, 2008
A U.S. intelligence agency paid a bounty of $500,000 (U.S.) to Pakistani military officials who arrested a Canadian citizen wanted for links to al-Qaeda, according to a new Federal Court ruling.
Mr. Justice Richard Mosley ordered an Oct. 19, 2004, RCMP memo released yesterday after lawyers for The Globe and Mail fought for its disclosure. The newspaper obtained the document more than a year ago, but chose not to publish it after Crown lawyers warned that the release of the information could illegally reveal a state secret.
U.S. officials - likely from the Central Intelligence Agency - had regarded the bounty as sensitive information passed along to Canada in confidence, prompting officials to fight to keep it secret.
Marked "Top Secret," the internal Mountie memo was addressed to former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. Its subject matter was the arrest in Pakistan of Abdullah Khadr, now 28 and jailed in Toronto, the oldest living male member of Canada's infamous Khadr clan.
"He is deemed to be a national security threat and has a $USD 500,000 outstanding bounty for his capture," the memo reads. "He is deemed to be a great intelligence asset due to his close relationship with Osama bin Laden and other [al-Qaeda] members."
The suspect is the older brother of Omar Khadr, who was arrested at 15 in Afghanistan and sent to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Like his siblings, Abdullah Khadr was raised in Afghanistan by a fundamentalist father, a naturalized Canadian, who befriended Mr. bin Laden while fighting the Soviets.
The family fled to Pakistan in late 2001, where the local army killed the Khadr family patriarch in 2003 and arrested Abdullah Khadr a year later. He was questioned by a host of U.S., Canadian, and Pakistani agents while in custody for nearly a year. During that time, he is alleged to have made several admissions about running guns and rocket launchers to al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.
Mr. Khadr was released in 2005, and Canadian officials facilitated his repatriation, but he was arrested within days of landing in Toronto. More than two years later, he continues to fight extradition to Boston on a U.S. indictment alleging material support for terrorism. While the Mounties say they considered Mr. Khadr a "primary target" of their own investigation, they never laid any charges in Canada.
So far, Mr. Khadr's allegations that he was tortured in Pakistan, and his battles for disclosure of documents in Canada, have stymied all attempts to extradite him. Officials allege he admitted running guns across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border - "I only buy and sell weapons for al-Qaeda," he told authorities, according to a transcript - and also said he used a GPS device to map out co-ordinates for Pakistani jihadists plotting to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
It was amid the Canadian disclosure battle that federal officials inadvertently released to Mr. Khadr's lawyers the top secret Mountie memo as part of the case's voluminous court filings.
Citing secrecy provisions in the Canada Evidence Act, Crown officials tried to pull it back within hours of its release last spring, and, after learning The Globe and Mail had obtained a copy in the interim, warned that publication could lead to prosecution.
That set the stage for a court battle that ended yesterday with Judge Mosley supporting the news media's right to publish the document. "It is a reasonable inference from the public evidence filed in this application that the bounty was offered and paid by the U.S. government," his 47-page decision reads.
Judge Mosley then went one step further, confirming that the payment was made, even though the memo said only that the bounty was offered.
"The evidence heard in camera supports the conclusion that the bounty was offered and paid by the U.S.," Judge Mosley said in his ruling.
The Federal Court found that the information was supplied to Canada in confidence, and that the attorney-general had acted in good faith by striving to keep it secret. Even so, Judge Mosley ruled that the memo is crucial to Mr. Khadr's defence and the public has a right to know about it.
"The fact that a foreign state paid a bounty for the apprehension of a Canadian citizen abroad and that Canadian officials were aware of it at an early stage is also a matter in which the public would have a legitimate interest," the decision reads.
Government lawyers had argued that a "third-party rule" in intelligence circles keeps vital information flowing among states. Global counterterrorism agencies swap secrets on the understanding that sensitive foreign-generated information should not be publicly produced domestically. To jeopardize the third-party rule is often seen as tantamount to risking the entire flow of information.
Peter Jacobsen, the lawyer who acted for The Globe and Mail, called the ruling a victory for transparency. "It was a crack in the system that allowed The Globe to know this information even existed," he said. "... One wonders how much other information is out there being unjustifiably kept from the public in the name of risk to national security or international relations."
Mr. Khadr's lawyer, Nathan Whitling, said the memo is crucial. "The secret payment of this bounty is another illustration of the U.S.'s notorious practice of 'outsourcing torture,' " he said in an e-mail.
"Rather than getting its own hands dirty, the U.S. simply paid the Musharraf regime $500,000 to arrest Mr. Khadr, knowing full well what Pakistan would do to him."
When asked which U.S. intelligence agency paid the bounty, another one of Mr. Khadr's lawyers said it was obvious. "The CIA," said Dennis Edney. Asked if he had any doubt about that, he said, "none at all."
Mr. Edney added that records show that the CIA questioned Mr. Khadr for 17 days at the beginning of his detention in Pakistan. Defence lawyers intend to argue that the CIA grilling sessions informed, influenced and tainted all subsequent interrogations, nullifying any admissions Mr. Khadr may have made.