Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Intelligence Operatives our Immunized against Accountability

This is from the Scarlet Pimpernel.
This is from a longer article in the New York Times. The sections summarise some of the main reasons Almalki et al ended up in Syrian prisoners and being tortured. This also shows another way in which the contribution of the Canadian authorities may have been indirect. It is quite possible that the CIA told the Syrian authorities to arrest the men. However, the questions came from Canada or were based upon other data provided by Canadian intelligence.
The article also shows how unverified and inflammatory the accusations were. Yet Iacobucci seems to excuse these whopping lies and unsubstantiated labels as conscientious mistakes. It should make every legal practitioner''s blood boil. No one is held accountable for their mistakes or held up to any even minimal bar of care and caution. These are the people who are responsible for determining the balance of individual rights and national security that Iacobucci notes is so important. They obviously give very little consideration to individual rights since they label some people as terrorists with horrendous consequences and share these sloppy and damaging labels with the CIA and FBI whom they must know care about as much about human rights as the Syrians with whom they co-operate. These are the people who sent Arar to Syria as well. These are the people who kidnap people from Italy and end up being charged in an Italian court but of course they remain untouched and unpunished. Our own intelligence operatives seem to be similarly immunized against accountability. Neither Justice O''Connor nor Iacobucci have been able to change this. In fact Iacobucci goes out of his way to say that our operatives are just doing their job. And no doubt Iacobucci just did his job, a snow job.........

Mr. Iacobucci confirmed a longstanding contention by the three men that Canada had tipped the United States to their travel plans. He also faulted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for making strong claims about the men that were mainly unsupported.The inquiry was limited to assessing the actions of Canadian officials, and the United States and several other foreign governments declined to cooperate.In Mr. Elmaati’s case, Mr. Iacobucci concluded that the detention resulted from three events: the Mounted Police advised several foreign legal authorities, including those in the United States, that the man was “an imminent threat to public safety”; the Canadian intelligence agency told its American counterparts and others that the man was an associate of an aide to Osama' Bin Laden and the Canadian police gave the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. his travel itinerary.The Mounties, Mr. Iacobucci wrote, “should have considered, before providing Mr. Elmaati’s travel itinerary to the U.S., that U.S. authorities might take steps to have Mr. Elmaati detained and questioned.”In connection with Mr. Almalki, the report indicates that in October 2001, the Mounties told the United States Customs Service in a letter that he was an “Islamic extremist individual suspected of being linked to the Al' Qaedaterrorist movement.”The inquiry, however, found that this claim — and similar information given to agencies in the United States about the other men — was largely based on secondhand information. In Mr. Almalki’s case, some of it referred to another person.The Canadian suspicion about Mr. Almalki seems to have come from his business, which involved exporting common, and in some cases obsolete, electronic components to Pakistan.In May 2002, the Mounties met with the F.B.I. and members of other United States security agencies. Those agencies are not identified in the public version of the report, which was censored. The meeting, which was apparently intended to prompt an American criminal investigation of Mr. Almalki, included a PowerPoint presentation titled, “The Pursuit of Terrorism: A Canadian Response.” It described Mr. Almalki as a “procurement officer” for terrorist groups.“Labeling of someone at a time when 9/11 was sort of recent can be a very serious matter,” Mr. Iacobucci said at a news conference.Mr. Almalki, who had traveled to Syria to join his parents on a family visit, was detained for 22 months. The inquiry concluded that he, like the other two men, was tortured and held under “inhumane” conditions.Mr. Iacobucci was not assigned to review the actions of the three men. Despite that, all three told reporters that the report of the inquiry had cleared them of any wrongdoing.Mr. Almalki, after noting that he was apparently a victim of identity confusion, told reporters: “My life has been ruined; my reputation has been ruined. I lost my business based on information that didn’t even relate to me.”A lawyer who represented the Canadian Arab Federation in the inquiry, James Kafieh, said the report showed that “these three men were sacrificed to show the United States that Canada was doing something.”While Mr. Iacobucci found fault with actions by the Canadian police, intelligence investigators and diplomats, he added that no one had behaved improperly.“Mistakes were made, but I don’t think that’s inconsistent with saying that people doing their jobs were doing so conscientiously,” he said.The three men have all filed lawsuits against the Canadian government. Last year, the government gave Mr. Arar about 10.5 million Canadian dollars in compensation.A classified version of the report was submitted to the government on Monday. No action is required.From The New York Times

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