Arar report exposes RCMP, government officials complicit in torture

The coalition of groups with intervener status at the Arar Inquiry, including the Law Union, released the following statement in response to the commission’s final report.

September 18, 2006

Ottawa – Justice Dennis O’Connor has confirmed the worst fears of Organizations with Intervenor Status at the Arar Inquiry: that Canadian officials were complicit in the torture of Maher Arar and other Canadian citizens.

“Justice O’Connor has documented in astonishing detail how the very officials tasked with protecting the rights of these
Canadian citizens failed to live up to that responsibility, and worse yet, were directly involved in passing on questions for
interrogations where torture would be used,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.

The report details the callous disregard for the very real likelihood that government actions would directly contribute to the
torture of these Canadian citizens. In particular, there is chilling reference to an October 10, 2002 memo in which a Foreign
Affairs official warns that a decision to send a line of questioning about Abdullah Almalki to Syrian security agencies might
“involve torture.” The RCMP chose to ignore the concern and proceeded anyway:

“The RCMP are ready to send their Syrian counterparts a request that Al Malki be asked questions osed by the RCMP, questions relating to other members of his organization. Both ISI andDMSCUS/HOM [Ambassador Pillarella] have pointed out to the RCMP that such questioning may nvolve torture. The RCMP are aware of this but have nonetheless decided to send their request”(Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar: Analysis and Recommendations, page 209).

Intervenors welcome Justice O’Connor’s recommendation that a further process of “independent and credible” review into the
cases of Mr. Abdullah Almalki, Mr. Ahmad El Maati and Mr. Muayyed Nureddin be instituted (Analysis and Recommendations,
page 278), and urge the government to act on this recommendation without further delay. These men have waited far too long
for answers and accountability.

Organizations intervening at the Arar Commission are also pleased that Justice O’Connor says that his Interim Report should
remove any “taint or suspicion” that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or constitutes any threat to the security of Canada
(Anaylsis and Recommendations, page 59).

Justice O’Connor is also clearly of the view that Mr. Arar is entitled to compensation and has encouraged the Canadian
government to be flexible in how that compensation should be assessed, recognizing the suffering he has been through, the
damage of the improper and unfair leaks, his difficulty in finding employment and the impact of the inquiry itself.

Justice O’Connor has also signaled that an apology might be appropriate (Analysis and Recommendations, page 362-363).

“The report offers a staggering catalogue of deficiencies, mistakes and even deliberate wrongdoing, all of which laid the
ground for the severe abuses suffered by Mr. Arar and the other three men named in this report,” said Neve.

Those responsible should be held accountable and the reforms recommended by Justice O’Connor should be immediately
implemented in order to guard against future repeats of these tragedies.

Justice O’Connor has also recommended that Canadian agencies involved in national security investigations implement
written policies prohibiting racial, religious or ethnic profiling, and training to sensitize those agencies to the realities of
Canada’s Muslim and Arab communities. Intervenors urge the government to prioritize the implementation of these

For more information, contact Kerry Pither, Committee of Intervenors at the Arar Inquiry, at mobile 613.294.2203, or Beth
Berton-Hunter, Amnesty International, at mobile 416.904.7158, Denis Barrette or Roch Tassé, at mobile 514.258.3945.

Be Worried: Privacy, the LSAT & The Patriot Act

Students writing LSAT warned about privacy threat CBC News The University of Ottawa is warning aspiring lawyers that they may be giving up their privacy when they hand over thumbprints while taking an admission test administered by a U.S. company. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is used by universities around the world, requires prospective students to provide an imprint of their thumb and other personal information, a move to prevent students from hiring smart imposters to write the test on their behalf. A private company in the United States, the Law School Admission Council, administers the test. Privacy experts and students are worried about how the Patriot Act, which allows U.S. agencies to secretly collect personal information in the name of national security, might affect information handed over to the company. Read Full Story

U.S. War Resisters In Canadian Court

LAWYER WANTS CANADA TO LET US IRAQ DESERTERS STAY By Amran Abocar Reuters Thursday, February 09, 2006

TORONTO (Reuters) – Two U.S. army deserters were unfairly denied asylum in Canada partly because the refugee board would not consider the legality of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, their lawyer said on Wednesday. The soldiers want the Federal Court of Canada to overturn an immigration board decision last March that denied them refugee status in Canada. A decision on this round of the judicial process is not expected for several months, and it could take years to exhaust all legal appeals. Army privates Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey sought asylum in Canada in 2004, saying the war in Iraq was illegal and they feared committing atrocities if sent there. They also said they may be persecuted if returned to the United States. But the board refused to consider the legality of the invasion, dealing a blow to their case. “It’s just very convenient that of all the things in the world, the one thing the (refugee board) can’t decide upon is whether the U.S. invaded Iraq illegally,” lawyer Jeffry House said outside the courtroom. “We’re asking that this court state that we would have a right to litigate that question and provide evidence on that question.” If the Federal Court agrees to overturn the ruling, the case will go back before the refugee tribunal. If the court declines, it must decide whether to let the cases proceed to the Federal Court of Appeal. The soldiers, who face court martial and up to five years in prison in the United States, may remain in Canada while their case is under appeal. Full Story

Sharing Info on an Infiltrator: Solidarity with Arrested Enviros

Three enviros doing actions associated with Earth Liberation Front (ELF) in the U.S. were nabbed by cops thanks to two years of work by Anna, the infiltrating snitch. Now the word’s out and folks are tracing her movements – courting activist trust, all her emails signed off with “solidarity” or “resist”. For the full expose of a lying, snitch infiltrator, click here. Forgive a wee rant here – the lesson is NOT that we should respond by treating each other with suspicion. The lesson is that there is RISK associated with planning SOME actions – autonomy is good. So, is legal support. “We” are prone to internalize the criminalization of dissent by becoming our own police, dividing ourselves into “cool” and “not cool” when, in reality, it is RARE that we need to actually plan in private and, as “Anna” proves, we will NOT know who the undercover is! I was part of an action that included an anarchist block – one of the key organizers turned out later to be a cop (arrived at a demo in uniform!). He was involved in the organizing of the action as long as any of us and was as involved in the (stupid corporate security culture) discussions about who was cool and not cool as anyone. He seemed more cagey and suspicious than average, less open and outreach-y than average and totally a part of planning/proposing edgy actions (face piercings, native, had all the lingo, I could go on). WE WILL NOT KNOW THE UNDERCOVER (tho we successfully picked off a few fifty-buck-a-day informants). We need to stop “blaming the victim”, stop spreading corporate security toxins within our community, and get on with the business of building for better days.