Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"For Reasons of National Security"

In Canada, every time a Muslim is accused of terrorism (and let's face it: these days, no one else gets accused of terrorism), his human rights are violated, his legal rights are denied, and he is imprisoned - usually indefinitely and without charges. Of course, the rest of Canada is assured that this is all being done for the good of the country and our personal safety. Our authorities are working hard to keep us safe. And when asked for evidence, they will always say that the evidence is classified "for reasons of National Security".

It's never been explained to me what that means, or how National Security (NS) could be endangered by releasing evidence that could convict an accused terrorist. After all, if someone really is a terrorist, wouldn't a swift and solid conviction be best for all? And if our authorities are arresting someone on a terrorism accusation, shouldn't they have solid proof of that person's guilt? A conviction would also go a long way in reassuring the public that a terrorism accusation is justified.

In the case of Mohamed Harkat, who was imprisoned on terrorism allegations under a security certificate, filmmaker Anice Wong produced a documentary which addressed this issue. In the film, using documents from Harkat's lawyer, we get a rare glimpse into how the authorities suppress information:

(Screenshot taken from Anice Wong's documentary, "Whose Rights Anyway? Justice for Mohamed")

Don't you feel better now? The whole country could be in jeopardy if other terrorists find out whether Moe Harkat can speak French.

If that gives you doubts about the competence of CSIS, stay tuned. I have lots more to share.

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