This is from Canada.com.
This sounds like an interesting book. The strategy was hardly just disruption however. There was obviously an attempt at gathering intelligence by having Almalki, Arar, et al imprisoned and tortured in Syria. Obvious too I should think is co-operation with the U.S. even though CSIS seems to have covered this up for the most part and the Arar investigation did not show CSIS and RCMP co-operation with the U.S. except that they sent plenty of unscreened evidence without any caveats. That evidence is probably what got Arar classified as an Al Qaeda agent and shipped to Syria. It seems that Canadian authorities did not know that this was to happen but one wonders about the CSIS and RCMP. Canadian intelligence authorities did inform the Americans that Arar would not be charged if sent to Canada. Wink wink nod nod. So you better send him to Syria for processing! After all that is what we did with others in the group.
RCMP 'disruption' led to Canadians' torture, book charges
Unable to secure prosecutions, Mounties, CSIS worked to have men sent to Syria: author
Canwest News Service
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
OTTAWA - A new book suggests Abdullah Almalki's imprisonment in Syria was the end product of a "disruption strategy" employed by the RCMP after prosecutors refused to launch a criminal case against the Ottawa engineer.
Almalki spent 22 months in Syria's prison system where, he alleges, he was tortured based on faulty intelligence supplied by Canada. At the time of his detention in May, 2002, Almalki was the focus of an RCMP national security probe that would also ensnare another Ottawa engineer, Maher Arar.
In her new book, Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror, Ottawa author Kerry Pither says it was no accident the men suffered such similar ordeals.
It was, she argues, part of an orchestrated - and possibly illegal - campaign by Canadian security agencies to neutralize men they wrongly believed to be terrorist threats.
"The public for the most part, while they know and recognize Maher Arar's name, they don't know that there was something far more systematic going on," Pither said in a recent interview.
"I believe that you can't really understand what happened to Maher Arar without understanding what happened to the other men."
Four Canadian Muslims - Arar, Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin - were detained and tortured in the same Damascus military prison in the three years that followed the 9-11 terror attacks. All were under investigation by the RCMP or CSIS at the time for alleged terrorist connections.
"You can't argue this was a series of coincidences or mistakes when you look at all of them together," charged Pither, an Ottawa human rights activist, who worked as a communications strategist for Arar and the other men who form the subject of her book.
"When you look at all of them together, it demands accountability; it demands a review of who knew what, when. It can't be explained away as just the Americans, as just coincidence, as just the Syrians, as just mistakes . . . It must be systematic."
Pither notes, in the book, the RCMP consulted with the Ontario Crown Attorney in the fall of 2001 to determine if charges could be laid against several terror suspects - believed to include El-Maati and Almalki - based on evidence gathered by the CSIS.
The Crown, however, said the evidence was too tainted and insufficient for criminal charges to be laid.
According to testimony offered by Jack Hooper, then CSIS deputy director of operations, and contained in a footnote in the Arar Report, "this resulted in the focus of the investigation moving from prosecution to more of a disruption exercise, whereby the police would assist CSIS in dismantling a group of alleged terrorists."
In her book, Pither points to a May, 26, 2006 Senate committee hearing as further evidence that the four men were victims of a systematic disruption strategy.
At that hearing, Hooper told legislators that the spy agency uses "other techniques" when it proves impossible to prosecute terror suspects in a court of law.
Then RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli told the same committee that, "particularly since 9-11, we have had to accept going to a disruptive mode, because prevention is the most important thing."
Pither believes that, taken together, the four cases demonstrate the full meaning of disruption.
Almalki and El-Maati, she said, were harassed by national security agents in Canada, who followed them constantly and in plain sight. The intrusive surveillance, Almalki says in the book, "squeezed" him out of Canada.
Pither believes Almalki and the others were detained in Syria as part of the same disruption campaign.
"I believe so: everything we know points to that," Pither said. "Everything we know points to these cases being an example of circumventing the normal legal processes, the rule of law.
"The fact that they're held in the same detention centre as so many other war on terror suspects from other countries seems to me to point to Canada's role in a global diffuse and disrupt strategy. We now know the extent to which the U.S. and CIA were doing this. Does this point to the same strategy happening in Canada? Yes, these cases certainly do."
A federal inquiry has already established that the RCMP passed questions through Canadian diplomats to Almalki's Syrian interrogators.
Pither's book argues Canadian security officials were particularly keen to show results in their post 9-11 terror investigations because of the mistakes they had made in the Ahmed Ressam case.
An Algerian refugee who lived in Montreal, Ressam was arrested by U.S. border guards while crossing into Washington State on Dec. 14, 1999 with high explosives in the trunk of his car. He later admitted he was part of a plot to blow up the Los Angeles Airport.
CSIS had lost track of Ressam after he returned to Canada from an al-Qaida training camp on a false passport.
In her book, Pither calls Ressam "the poster boy for CSIS incompetence and lax passport controls."
The book hits the shelves Tuesday as a federal inquiry prepares its final report on the role Canadian officials played in the detention and mistreatment of Almalki, El-Maati and Nureddin.
Judge Frank Iacobucci has conducted the "internal inquiry" almost entirely behind closed doors.
Pither says she's concerned by the secrecy that surrounds the inquiry and hopes her book will add important context to the forthcoming report. "The inquiry is about the action of Canadian officials: it's not about how this unfolded for the men themselves and I think that's an important perspective for Canadians to understand."
Iacobucci is to deliver his report by Oct. 20.
The Canadian government has already apologized to Arar and awarded him $10 million in compensation; the other men have launched civil suits against Canadian officials seeking similar redress.
© Ottawa Citizen 2008