Thursday, April 01, 2010

Annals of counter-terrorism: fruit of the poison tree

Mohamed Harkat's security certificate hearing took an...interesting turn yesterday:

The federal government case against Ottawa terror suspect Mohamed Harkat appears to have suffered a significant blow Wednesday when a document was introduced in court showing that Abu Zubaydah, once considered a master terrorist and 9/11 mastermind, actually had nothing to do with the attacks.

Even more surprising, the document, which quotes U.S court filings declassified last week, shows that Zubaydah, once believed to be one of the top leaders in al-Qaeda, was not even a member of the terrorist group.

As I noted earlier:

Zubaydah, whose alleged importance to al-Qaeda is now in some dispute, was waterboarded 83 times by US officials. The suspect validity of his evidence had, I thought, already been acknowledged by Canadian officials. Judge [Simon] Noël has stated, in any case, that he will not accept evidence obtained through torture.

Sounds like the dispute about Zubaydah is now over. Water under the bridge, one might say. So much for the amazing fits of fantasy that prolonged torture evokes. Here's another:

Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik remains on
the UN's infamous "1267 list." It is claimed that he was "closely associated" with Zubaydah, at that point held to be a senior member of al-Qaeda. It seems clear that the "evidence" used by Foreign Affairs to exile Abdelrazik for six years, and the torture-sessions he endured in Sudan, may have originated from one of those waterboarding sessions.

Abdelrazik is still legally unable to work in Canada, and others are forbidden by law (the United Nations Act, to be precise) to do so much as buy him a cup of coffee.
Perhaps these newest revelations might help to improve his situation. Not to mention providing an object lesson to the slack-jawed gulls at CSIS about the reliability of evidence obtained under torture.

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