The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force in 1982. It was the so-called War on Drugs which allowed the police -- both local and RCMP -- to gain public support for violating the Charter Rights of certain people. The RCMP had long been responsible for gathering information on people and using this information to barter with other organizations within Canada and internationally. In 1984 CSIS was established but the RCMP maintained its own secret police. Over the years the RCMP built up a booming business, copyrighting emblems, insignias etc and contracting to perform services such as information gathering, finding people, stinging people and extracting confessions by using means which went beyond what police services who contracted with them would accept. The drug war helped fill jails and provided excuses for building more jails. But the War on Terror? This has opened up a whole new frontier.
19 terrorists in 6 weeks have been able to command 300 million North Americans to do away with the entirety of their civil liberties that took 700 years to advance from the Magna Carta onward. The terrorists have already won the political and ideological war with one terrorist act. It is mindboggling that we are that weak as a society.
TORONTO (AP) - The Toronto lawyer representing former terror suspect Abdurahman Khadr was close to tears Thursday as he announced he would no longer handle such cases because he had received a death threat he's taking seriously.
"I'm not on the verge of tears for my safety," a shaken Rocco Galati told a hastily called news conference.
"I'm on the verge of tears because it means we now live in Colombia, because the rule of law is meaningless. It means that lawyers cannot represent anyone even in what you profess to be a democracy here in Canada."
From his office on a College Street strip known as Little Italy, Galati played a message left on his telephone answering machine Tuesday to reporters. The message threatened Galati for representing Khadr.
The call came one day after Galati held a news conference with Khadr, a Canadian citizen freed after two years in a U.S.-run military prison in Cuba.
Galati had pressed the Canadian government to facilitate Khadr's return to Canada.
Khadr told reporters neither he nor his family have any links to terrorism, but admitted he spent three months in 1998 learning to use Russian assault rifles at an al-Qaida-linked camp in Afghanistan.
Galati said he has received numerous threatening calls in the past, but he was taking the one Tuesday very seriously, although he wouldn't say why.
(Later Galati said that he recognized the voice as someone who had called him before regarding a specific client. Right after that, the client disappeared and has not been seen or heard of since. I will also mention here that on Monday, inJusticebusters received an e-mail which defamed Galati and expressed with some certainty that Khadr was a terrorist, etc. Controversial as this site is, we receive a surprisingly small amount of hate mail. This piece was troubling, but more troubling was the fact that I have no confidence in the police to behave responsibly if I was to report it. I did respond to it, expressing that Khadr is young. When I watched the press conference, I saw a truthful young man who said that he had, like many young men in Afghanistan, attended a Taliban camp. Last night, Rex Murphy had a rant where he accused the Khadr family of abusing their Canadian citizenship. According to Murphy, properly socialized Canadian young people don't go to training camps, they go shopping at the mall. This was not said satirically. However, I find the irony incredible.
Let me just spell that out for those (and there are many) who have little grasp of irony: Young people in poverty-stricken lands who have no opportunity to go to the mall prepare to defend themselves against the rich nations by going to a boot camp; the kids in the rich nations go to the mall where the ones who have money spend it (usually on junk and useless things) and the ones who don't have money shofplift and they also get to go to boot-camp.
--Sheila Steele, Dec. 4, 2003
Immigration lawyer puts his career on the line for his client
OTTAWA - A lawyer for a Canadian terror suspect released weeks ago from a U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, says officials in Ottawa are "lying through their teeth" and keeping him in the dark about information regarding his client.
Rocco Galati was responding to the Prime Minister's Office statement that the government learned about Abdulrahman Khadr's release to Afghanistan weeks ago.
He said the family was never informed about his release and that Khadr has been shunned by Canadian consular officials who refuse to help him return to Canada.
"If they knew he was released, why didn't they petition to have him brought back here," Galati told CBC.ca.
"The government hasn't returned any of my calls since Monday. Why don't they phone and contact me and give me some information," he said.
Khadr, 20, who was sent to Afghanistan late last month, was arrested there as part of a roundup of suspected al-Qaeda members after the fall of the Taliban in November 2001.
PMO spokesman Steven Hogue refused to comment as to why Khadr's family was not informed about his release.
"It appears that Mr. Khadr chose not to come back to Canada," he said, adding there's no record of Khadr going to any embassy to get his passport and that he can return to Canada anytime.
Galati said Khadr was turned away from a number of embassies and that he never chose to be sent to Afghanistan.
"Who would believe a boy would choose to be dropped in Afghanistan rather than coming home?" Galati said.
He said he was glad to hear that Paul Martin made similar comments Tuesday that Khadr was welcome back to Canada but "he should check with his department officials. They're lying through their teeth to him."
"Perhaps he should make a few phone calls before he reiterates what is not the truth."
TORONTO - The lawyer for a suspected Egyptian terrorist facing deportation walked out of a Federal Court hearing yesterday after describing the proceeding against his client as a sham.
Rocco Galati said he could not uphold his oath as a lawyer while representing Mahmoud Jaballah because of the inherent unfairness of the hearing under Section 40.1 of the Immigration Act.
After a brief statement in front of Justice Andrew MacKay, Mr. Galati left the courtroom.
"You sandbagged me," said Judge MacKay after learning that Mr. Galati did not intend to put forward a defence to allegations by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that Mr. Jaballah has ties to Egyptian extremists and al-Qaeda supporters.
Mr. Jaballah, 39, who has been in custody for seven months, described himself as a "weak" person but told the judge he agreed with his lawyer's decision.
"It is not in my client's interest. I have no role there [in court] to play as lawyer. We should stop the pretense that this is a fair, independent judicial review of the Minister's allegations, when I cannot gauge for the life of me what is new about this case, from the first one in 1999," a very emotional Mr. Galati said outside court.
Mr. Jaballah was arrested last August after the federal government issued a second national security certificate against the Toronto Islamic school principal, in an attempt to deport the refugee claimant to Egypt.
A previous certificate was quashed in 1999 by Federal Court Justice Bud Cullen. He ruled there were not reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Jaballah was a risk to national security.
About 25 certificates have been issued under Section 40.1 of the Immigration Act since it was introduced in the early 1990s. The 1999 Jaballah hearing is the only time a certificate has been quashed.
Section 40.1, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court, permits CSIS to present its evidence to the judge in a hearing that is closed even to the defendant and his lawyer.
CSIS is required to make public only a very general summary of its allegations.
"This is the fairest process there is, where there is a threat to national security," said government lawyer Robert Batt. Mr. Galati has argued repeatedly in court that CSIS does not have new evidence linking his client to terrorist groups and is attempting to retry a case it lost in 1999.
A CSIS agent known only as Mike testified in open court last December that he could not reveal the new evidence. But he said it "cast a different light" on old information.
"I want to make it clear to the government that we, as lawyers, are officers of the court, not court jesters for CSIS," Mr. Galati said yesterday.
Three 40.1 certificates have been upheld by Federal Court judges since Sept. 11. All of them have been released in written form.
Judge McKay said he hoped to issue a final ruling on the certificate within a couple weeks. He promised to deliver it in open court, "in fairness to Mr. Jaballah."
Mr. Galati said he is still going to assist Mr. Jaballah. "I'm not abandoning my client. I'm abandoning the process," he said.
Calling a federal hearing a "sham," the lawyer for Egyptian Mahmoud Jaballah, who is suspected of being a terrorist, walked out of court yesterday leaving his client on his own. Rocco Galati was accompanied by his own lawyer, one of seven he consulted about his tactic. The move came on the first of six days that had been set aside for a federal judge to review whether there is sufficient new evidence to support a ministerial certificate authorizing Mr. Jaballah's arrest as a national security risk.
If the judge upholds the federal certificate signed by the Immigration Minister and the Solicitor-General, a deportation-hearing adjudicator would take it as a given that the allegations are true, Mr. Galati said in an interview.
The grim-looking immigration lawyer told the packed courtroom and Mr. Justice Andrew MacKay of the Federal Court of Canada that his oath as a lawyer precluded him from continuing at the hearing.
"I cannot in good conscience . . . proceed with what I consider a sham proceeding," he said. "My oath would not forgive me. My conscience would not forgive me. And history would not forgive me."
He was not abandoning his client, he said, but withdrawing from the hearing because he was frustrated by what he called the secrecy with which government lawyers had shrouded the evidence.
After Mr. Galati's departure, Mr. Jaballah entered the witness box and declared that he, too, on his lawyer's advice, would no longer participate in the hearing.
Mr. Jaballah, a 40-year-old teacher and principal of a Toronto Islamic school, said the government did not have any new evidence against him. "My position is that I am the weak person here. I don't know the law. I trust my lawyer."
Judge MacKay, who said he was "surprised" at the turn of events, promised to review with "an abundance of caution" what government lawyers submitted as new evidence and give a ruling within two weeks. Outside the court, Mr. Galati said he is disturbed that the government declared the new evidence so classified it can be shared only with the judge. He said government lawyers have met privately with Judge MacKay four or five times.
Mr. Galati said the government has only put a new twist on evidence it presented two years ago to another federal judge, who found that the government evidence did not support the ministerial certificate and set Mr. Jaballah free.
Mr. Jaballah, a father of six, was first arrested in 1999 and accused of being a member of al-Jihad, a terrorist group allegedly linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
He was arrested again on a second ministerial certificate based on the same charges last August. He has been in custody since then.
Lawyer Robert Batt, representing the Canadian government, said after the hearing that "we're looking at the same information but from a different point of view."
Mr. Galati said he will represent Mr. Jaballah in a lawsuit against the federal government.