Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mahjoub Forced Back to Jail by Devastating House Arrest Conditions

Canadian Secret-Trial Detainee Mohammad Mahjoub Forced Back to Jail by Draconian Conditions That Have “Broken” His Family.

Tear-Filled Courtroom Hears About the Pain of Family Under House Arrest, and A Father’s Sacrifice to Free His Children

TORONTO, MARCH 18, 2009 – It was not, as most media reported, a “choice” for secret trial detainee Mohammad Mahjoub to return to the confines of Guantanamo North after almost two years of draconian house arrest. Nor could one really categorize it as a “protest.”

It was, rather, a forced jailing, the logical outcome of a cruelly designed process that is more properly called a “control order,” with all the eerie consequences that follow.

In essence, Mr. Mahjoub and other secret trial detainees on “bail” have had all of the indignities and humiliations of jail come home with them, placing their families in the web of 24/7 surveillance, turning their spouses and grown children into jail guards, and leaving their little ones bewildered, frustrated, frightened, traumatized.

To be able to live with their families, the detainees had to consent to having phones tapped, mail opened, and GPS tracking devices strapped permanently to their legs. “Freedom of movement” is restricted to three government-approved outings a week that are closely monitored by agents of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) wearing bullet-proof vests. The agents snap pictures of the men and their wives and kids and anyone else in camera’s view, images of which are sent on to a counter-terrorism database in Ottawa.

On a summer’s evening, they have to be inside the house by 9 pm. If the family wishes to sit outside, the detainee can pull up a chair on one side of the screen door, but must never be out of sight of his wife, or it is deemed a breach of bail. There are no cell phones, no internet access, no visitors who have not been approved by the government (isolating the family because few people are willing to have their names join the government’s counter-terrorism database, especially if they are members of a vulnerable targetted community).

The home, once a place of sanctity, becomes a jail, and government agents can enter any time of day or night without a warrant, and seize anything they feel is “suspicious,” even if it’s a children’s toy (as happened in the Mahjoub family).

Mr. Mahjoub had originally “chosen” to enter house arrest because it was the only way he could be with his family after over seven painful years of indefinite detention without charge based on secret allegations created by the same spy agency whose false information resulted in the overseas torture of Mssrs. Arar, Almalki, El Maati, and Nureddin.

Mahjoub’s house arrest has continued despite the fact that the process under which he was kidnapped in 2000, the security certificate regime, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2007.

Security certificates are elaborate rendition-to-torture hearings straight out of Kafka: you are never allowed to see the case against you and, if the certificate is upheld, you face deportation to torture. The legislation allows anything to be introduced as “evidence” that is not normally admissible in a court of law, so one is no longer in a court of law, save for the window dressing of judicial robes.

In a move that Kafka and Orwell would have envied for its absurdity, judges inform the public, in the spirit of openness, that secret hearings will or have taken place in the absence of the detainee. To “protect the interests” of the detainee, a new system came into place in 2008 that created “special advocates” who are allowed into the room where some of the secret case is heard, but are not allowed to speak with the detainee once they have been in the protected chamber, nor to see the whole of the secret case, nor to cross-examine the confidential “informants” whose allegations seem to be the heart of these cases.

It is against this horrific backdrop that Mr. Mahjoub, his wife and grown step-son entered Courtroom 6-D this morning in a last-ditch effort to seek some form of mercy from a Federal Court that has never had a problem upholding and enforcing the undemocratic process. On the right side of the courtroom is a disturbing glass booth, especially built for these cases but as yet unused. It is there to create the impression that whoever sits inside is so dangerous that even physical touch would bring irreparable harm, an impression that is needed by the government to distract people from understanding the manner in which these cases are built on thin shadows of uncontested secrets.

It was here last fall that Mr. Mahjoub and his family laid out in painful detail the humiliations and trauma of being treated like criminals any time they got approved outings to go to a children’s play area or a mall. During many days of hearings that lasted into December, Mahjoub and his wife, Mona Elfouli, had testified about the effects of house arrest on their young children, informing the court that one of them said he wanted to leave home because of the conditions and another had talked of killing himself. The effect on the family has been nothing short of profound and destructive.

Judge Layden-Stevenson, who heard the case, released a decision last week that was the final straw for a family that was already on the edge. While she determined that Mr. Mahjoub could remain at home alone without a supervisor, he could only do so on weekdays between 8 am and 6 pm, but not with his young children (the government claimed, and the judge bought to a certain degree, the argument that “the best interests of the child cannot trump national security interests.”)

Seeing no alternative to ending the family’s present state of misery, Mahjoub’s wife, Mona Elfouli, and their adult step-son, had decided to withdraw their consent to remain as supervisors to Mr. Mahjoub, triggering the process that would result in his being returned to the Guantanamo North facility in Kingston, Ontario.

Presiding today was case management judge Simon Noel, who attempted to play the role of social worker, stating “the consequences of the decision is a major consequence on the freedom of an individual,” perhaps losing sight of the fact that house arrest is a continuation of confinement by other means that also incarcerates the family.

“If something can be done [to prevent Mahjoub from going to jail], this court is open to it,” Noel said, but he did not elaborate on how this was possible, since he said he could not revise the decision made by his colleague, Layden-Stevenson.

“We are going back into the darkness, we are not moving ahead,” Noel continued, losing sight of the fact that the whole security certificate regime over which he presides is just such a bleak place.

One by one, family members took the stand.

Mona Elfouli declared, “The CBSA give us no choice but to go to this decision. They have become a barrier between the children and their father. They are punishing the children for having their Dad back with them. They take pictures of them, they even take the children’s own toys. They can’t enjoy their time with their Dad. I care about the future of my children, and the CBSA are working hard to destroy them. I am not going to let that happen.

“My older son has no life because of the conditions. My little ones cry every day. And now Justice Layden-Stevenson says the kids cannot stay with their Dad. Imagine I have to go to the doctor, the kids would get kicked out of the house [Mahjoub would not be allowed to be home alone with his children]. Imagine the kids come home from school and he is alone, this means the kids can’t come in.”

Openly crying, Elfouli pleaded, “I care about Mohammad. I am torn inside. It would be better and easier to give him a fair trial instead of punishing and oppressing him.”

“But why is it so rushed?” Noel asks of the decision, again not catching sight of the fact that an accumulation of humiliation and traumatic incidents over the past 22 months have torn apart the Mahjoub household.

“Why don’t you give us a fair and open trial and stop oppressing us? This is a game and I don’t want to be part of it,” Elfouli replies.

Given his major role in facilitating a process that denies Elfouli’s husband a fair process, Noel has no answer to that question, preferring instead a count-your-blessings sermon.

“I understand fully the situation you are in,” Noel says, to a whispered chorus of “No, you don’t!” from the public gallery. “The judicial system is following its course. We’re all trying to improve the system. The legislation has been changed, in the closed hearings Mr. Mahjoub’s interests are represented. The system has improved. This is Canada. It is working.”

The sermon is so full of irony and flat-out misrepresentations as to be stomach turning. Mr. Noel does not know what it is like to have his children followed as if they are criminals, nor to have his lawyer-client conversations listened to by spy agency CSIS, nor what it’s like to fear losing a loved one to overseas rendition to torture based on secret allegations.

As for the statement that things are improving and that Mr. Mahjoub’s interests are represented behind closed doors, it was Noel himself who just two weeks ago stripped special advocates of any meaningful role they might play when he ruled the security-cleared lawyers would be barred from cross-examining secret informants behind closed doors.

Noel’s attempts to placate are not bought by Elfouli.

“I disagree with you,” Elfouli says. “When we come to court the pressure does not ease. We just get more conditions, and the most affected is me and the children.”

“I understand that,” Noel says. “Is there anything else that you have not told me?”

What more can be said?

Mahjoub’s adult stepson says the decision to withdraw as a supervisor is a culmination of a lot of things, noting the security certificate process has been declared unconstitutional. “My mother and I and my two brothers do not have a say. We do not have legal representation. Our interests are ignored or skimmed over. We are not being heard.”

His stepson continues, “As one example of many, I had a condition imposed on me, but I wasn’t exactly involved in that decision. I wasn’t summoned, and yet my ability to use my cell phone in my house has been restricted to a locked room. I don’t know that there was due diligence from the Crown.

“In the past, we have seen that the Crown’s clients have not been held accountable in terms of their actions. My mail was being intercepted. I agreed to it being viewed but not to it being delayed or photocopied and distributed. In my view that is unlawful search and seizure.”

He relates an incident in which his parents and younger brothers went to an ice rink but were confused about the date of the outing. Afterwards, the CBSA demanded that they sign a letter acknowledging the error but which also included a number of false statements. When Mahjoub and Elfouli refused to sign, they were told they would be grounded for three weeks, “which in my view is extortion.”

(In fact, the behaviour of the CBSA bureaucracy has at times been so over the top that even Judge Layden Stevenson stated that the CBSA “has demonstrated a tendency to overreach on more than one occasion,” and that in one instance, “the reaction of CBSA’s Chief of Operations can only be described as high-handed....An objective observer would understand Mr. Mahjoub’s frustration.”

Yet when CBSA has over-reached (for example, in illegally recording and handing over lawyer-client tape recordings for CSIS analysis, or sending copies of mail to the counter-terrorism branch for copying, analysis, and further distribution, something never contemplated in the consents to the mail opening), there is no reprimand.

“It’s the lack of accountability, and the way I see it, I’ve done what I could and I don’t see an opening any time soon,” Mahjoub’s stepson continues. “I feel the Minister’s clients have used the situation to exploit and I do not want to be a part of that exploitation anymore. I fear for the safety of anybody else in Canada.”

A clearly distraught Mohammad Mahjoub finally takes the stand, and explains that the bad experiences of his indefinite detention have been visited upon his family now as well. “We can’t handle it anymore,” he says. “My kids say Daddy, we can’t handle it anymore. I have to protect my family and my kids from the abuses of the CBSA. I have to go back to jail to protect my family because they are broken.”

As Noel directs Mahjoub to spend a few moments with family before his return to jail, he ends with a message that sounds like a Wall Street stock advisor trying to buck up investors pummelled by the recent economic chaos.

His words are remarkably unhelpful.

“The Court is here, it has been there in the past and it will be there in the future, in the interests of justice, for respect of our laws, and the interests of Mr. Mahjoub.”

Small comfort as the lights go back on in Guantanamo North, and Mr. Mahjoub begins a new chapter in his decade-long saga of indefinite detention without charge.

Outside of court, Mona Elfouli tries to explain the conflict she feels as a mother trying to raise loving children. What she says mirrors what she told the Federal Court last fall:

"I brought my kids up to love everyone and to be there for everyone, and not to fear anyone and not to be angry at anyone. But my kids is growing up now, with the situation that we are in, because of the surveillance, because of [government agents] coming in and taking things from them and making their life miserable, they started to say, I hate CBSA.

“I say, Guys, you know what? We love everyone. Don't say you hate them. Say, I hate their action. I don't like it, and we can talk to them and get them to change it. When their dad was in detention, at the beginning they were small; they didn't know. At the time, I wanted to explain to them. I said, You know, you're old enough to understand that your dad is in jail, and that's not because he has done something wrong. It's just the government are human beings and they sometimes make mistakes. And we talked to them and tried to help them to correct their mistake, and when it is corrected, your dad would be home.

“It took a long time after I said that, and the children, I was afraid they wouldn't trust what I said anymore. But then, their dad came home. And I said, See, guys, we were able to make it.”

Elfouli has promised her pre-teen children that the same relentless persistence that brought their father home after seven years in jail will end the secret trial process that dogs their daily lives. She is relying on opponents of security certificates to ensure another seven years don’t pass before this promise to her children comes true.

How you can help:

While we work on a broader political campaign to get Mr. Mahjoub out of Gitmo North, there are some immediate things yoou can do:

1. Write to Mohammad Mahjoub a message of solidarity and support, reminding him that he is not forgotten and that efforts to end two-tier justice in Canada will continue. He can be reached at:

Mohammad Mahjoub
Kingston Immigration Holding Centre
c/o CSC RHQ Ontario Region
440 King Street West
PO Box 1174
Kingston, Ontario K7L 4Y8

2. Write to Mona Elfouli and her children. Letters can be sent to: Mona Elfouli, c/o PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Avenue West, Tornto, ON M6C 1C0

3. Contribute to the ongoing costs borne by the families of the secret trial detainees. Now that Mr. Mahjoub is back in jail, it will be expensive for his family to visit, and we need to raise funds for transportation and lodging.

Contributions can be sent to Homes not Bombs, PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0. Put “Family Fund” in memo portion of cheque

If you would like a tax receipt for charitable purposes, contact us for more details.

Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0,

Monday, March 2, 2009

CSIS, Sex, Lies, and Torture: Canada’s Secret Trials Just Got Even More Bizarre

CSIS, Sex, Lies, and Torture: Canada’s Secret Trials Just Got Even More Bizarre.

(In Two Federal Court Rulings, we learn that part of the case against secret trial detainee Mohamed Harkat is born out a love affair between a CSIS employee and a “person of interest to the Service,” while in another we learn that special advocates will not be allowed to examine “human source” witnesses who have come up with the unsubstantiated allegations against Harkat and the other detainees.)

March 1, 2009 – Just as “information” gleaned from torture is hardly reliable (the victim will say anything to make the torture stop), information gleaned from a spy’s torrid affair with a “person of interest to the Service” (the spy’s sexual partner will say anything to keep the lovin’ comin’) is just as questionable.

But in the case of secret trial detainee Mohamed Harkat, it appears that secret information obtained both from sex and torture is now being used to have him deported to torture in Algeria.

And so marks yet another chapter in the ongoing secret rendition-to-torture hearings of Canada’s secret trial detainees, all of whom have yet to see the so-called case against them.

In a series of “expurgated reasons for judgment” written last November but only released a few days ago, Simon Noel of the Federal Court revealed that a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officer working on the Harkat case had what appears to have been an affair with a “person of interest to the Service.” Throughout the decision are a series of markings that look like this: “[...]”. They represent information not shared for unexplained “reasons of national security.”

Hence we learn in paragraph 2 of the decision about “the [...] relationship that developed between her and a person of interest to the Service [...] in the context of the Harkat investigation.” One is not sure if the secret part of the sentence relating to the relationship should read “intimate,” “totally hot,” “dysfunctional,” “inappropriate,” or just plain “platonic.” After all, inquiring minds need to know, but as in all security certificate proceedings, the hot stuff stays behind closed doors.

T.S. (we are never sure what the acronym stands for, whether Totally Sexy or an actual name) was a CSIS employee from the 1980s until 2002. We don’t learn much about her, because three paragraphs of material state only that she “[...].” Shortly after T.S. began suffering from domestic difficulties, a “person of interest to the Service” known as A.B. (Absolutely Buff?) initiated phone contact at her workplace, and as the relationship developed, “gifts and photos were exchanged.” After receiving written instructions to end the relationship in 1998, T.S. refused.

As the chronology continues, only a grocery store bodice ripper can compete. “In April 1999 T.S. travelled to [...] for a holiday where she had a [...] encounter with A.B. CSIS was unaware of the [...] encounter until 2001, at which time the decision was made to begin an internal security investigation.” In January 2002 T.S. was dismissed, following which [...]. A grievance filed by T.S. was denied because of [...]

The Special Advocates (security-cleared lawyers who are allowed to go behind closed doors and challenge some of what is supposedly there) argued that they should have access to the employment records of the agent. They had raised concerns about “the reliability and credibility of the information provided [...]” and requested copies of T.S.’s employment records, which the government argued against based on privacy grounds. Even though everything that takes place in the closed hearings stays behind closed doors, at the risk of being prosecuted and sent to jail for 14 years under the Security of Information Act , Noel of the Federal Court insists that “privacy rights do exist even in the closed portion of the proceedings,” a brilliant bit of illogic that allows CSIS to withhold whatever it does not wish to reveal in secret hearings (perhaps information that shows there is no case against Harkat, among others!)

Noel states that the employment records of former CSIS intelligence officer T.S. are not necessary for the court to determine the accuracy of allegations against Mr. Harkat. Noting that employment records would contain such things as annual evaluations, positions held within the agency, salaries and benefits, Noel states “this type of information, which is inherently personal, will not help determine the reliability of the information [...] nor will it allow for an assessment of the quality of the reporting [...]”

But simple common sense states that it WOULD be helpful to see an annual assessment of an employee in CSIS, whose actions result in targetting individuals for years of misery under security certificates. What if an annual assessment states said employee relied rather heavily on tarot cards, the advice of Sybil the Soothsayer, articles in The National Post, or similarly bizarre sources to build the alleged case? What if an assessment found that, like many in CSIS, T.S. was prone to bouts of paranoia, Islamophobia, and a hatred of all things Halal?

Noel states that all of this would be subject to privacy rights, yet the hearing is taking place behind closed doors in a secure location, where it becomes a major crime for any of the security-cleared lawyers to utter a whisper about any of this. More importantly, all of this impacts on the case of a man, Harkat, who needs every chance he can get to prove his innocence, given that he faces torture or death if forcibly deported to Algeria based on secret allegations he will never be able to see, much less contest.

Noel’s decision is a split one, however, for he does see the value in the special advocates’ request that “has as its object the [...] report that studies the reliability and veracity of the information [...] which was primarily reported by [...] who had a [...] encounter with a person of interest to the Service [...]”

This might refer to an internal CSIS report that makes such an evaluation, but CSIS is an organization whose own review committee (and whose former agents) all critique an institutional tunnel vision that would prevent the organization from making an honest assessment. If the Special Advocates can only see what CSIS chooses to allow them to see, they can hardly get a clear, unbiased picture.

Meanwhile, the much-criticized Special Advocate system (which then “Public Safety” minister Stockwell Day praised as the answer to all of the unconstitutional problems with secret hearings) took a major body blow in Noel’s companion decision, written in early December but also not released until last week. In essence, it creates the firewall CSIS has been praying for all along: the security-cleared lawyers can see some, but not ALL, of the secret case, and certainly not the most crucial parts that the government will likely be relying upon.

Must the drafters of secret trials legislation now go back to the table and call for Super Special Advocates (who will act in a capacity even more restricted than the Regular Brand Special Advocates, thus creating a two-tier system of special advocacy that mirrors the two-tier justice of security certificates?). We know from recent history that two of the Special Advocates, though security-cleared, were nonetheless initially denied their posts based on secret information, requiring them to hire their own Special Advocates to fight for the right to begin their jobs.

In any event, Noel has done a terrific job of protecting CSIS from what it most feared: that skilled lawyers would actually cross examine the “human sources” behind closed doors and have their credibility picked apart in the same manner in which CSIS witnesses who appear in the limited public portions of the proceedings are generally mincemeat within five minutes of cross examination.

Thus, the security certificate, which denies an accused from challenging his/her accuser, now denies even the special advocate, who is supposed to protect the interests of the accused, from confronting said accuser. That Noel would have no problem with this is apparent in the way in which it appears his mind is already made up in these proceedings. While writing of the “two weeks of closed hearings” from September 2008, he says the government presented evidence in support of their case “and the danger associated with Mr. Harkat.” This is a public ruling, available on the court’s website. No finding of danger has been made with respect to Mr. Harkat. The least a federal court judge could do is put in the words “alleged danger” or “alleged danger the government claims is associated with him.”

Noel, like many judges and journalists in Canada, has yet to take a lesson from the inquiries into the torture of Canadians Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, and Muayyed Nureddin. Throughout those inquiries, we learn time and again about the dangers of false labelling, and the particular need for great care to be taken when referring to anyone who is deemed suspect. The same agency responsible for the false labelling leading to torture in the above cases is behind the security certificate cases.

In Noel’s second ruling, he states that “the evidence currently before this court discloses that [...] human source(s) provided information to the Service in relation to the intelligence investigation into Mr. Harkat’s activities.” The Special Advocates (who in this case were clearly not special enough) sought an order producing those witnesses for a secret cross-examination, a request Noel ultimately denied. What, then, is the purpose of a special advocate if they cannot get to what is allegedly, in secret, the heart of the case?

What if, for example, one of the covert human sources received his information from an overseas torture session in which the victim made up whatever the torturers wanted in order to stop the torture? As we learned from the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC)’s 2008/09 annual report, this would hardly be a surprise, since CSIS “uses information obtained by torture.” That assessment comes from a complaint generated by Mr. Harkat’s public lawyers.

Yet thanks to Mr. Noel, this human source, even in secret, need not be questioned about his complicity in the torture of someone else, nor about the assumptions that guided his theories about Mr. Harkat, nor about the accuracy or reliability of what this individual has produced. In other words, Mr. Harkat is no further ahead than he was before the Supreme Court of Canada declared the security certificate regime unconstitutional.

Noel’s ruling is filled with useless rationalizations for why said sources must be protected even from a secret cross examination in which all parties are sworn to secrecy. The court relies on jurisprudence with respect to police informer privilege, protecting the informer’s identity unless the innocence of the accused is at stake (which is the case in all secret trial cases). Noel declares that “covert human intelligence sources are individuals who have been promised confidentiality in return for their assistance in gathering information relating to the national security concerns of Canada,” but he does not explain how that confidentiality would be violated if they were to testify only in a secret hearing.

His illogic continues, stating “If the Service is unable to protect the identity of its sources or is required to produce them in the context of a Court proceeding (even one that is closed to the public), the number of individuals willing to come forward with information would be reduced. Indeed, there is evidence before this Court that the recruitment of human sources would be harmed if the guarantees of confidentiality given by the Service were not upheld by this Court.”

Anyone interested in considering such evidence can go to Mr. Noel’s footnotes, which read thusly: “[...]”

Of course, if a CSIS witness is forced to appear in a secret session, how on earth would A.B., potential CSIS informant in the community, even know, unless CSIS agents violated their own oath of secrecy and told them? In another case of CSIS easily pulling the wool over Noel’s eyes (something CSIS regularly does in these cases, simply making unsubstantiated, bold absolutist statements), “Evidence before this Court established that identifying a source to a Special Advocate or requiring a source to testify in a closed proceeding, even anonymously, will almost certainly end the Service’s relationship with that source.”

Again, the source of said bold statement is “[...]”

No proof required, for reasons of national security.

How, then, does one test the case against Mr. Harkat, as well as the cases against Mssrs. Jaballah, Mahjoub, Almrei, and Charkaoui? The answer, to CSIS’s satisfaction, is that the case will never be fully tested, even within the extremely problematic Special Advocate system where the detainee cannot see the case nor consult with the Special Advocates after the latter have viewed the secret file. All of the information on an individual will not have to be released, and CSIS is using secret arguments to build in even greater protections to cover it’s own derriere with respect to the errors, misinterpretations, and falsifications that are its trademark.

Clearly taken in by the spy agency’s scare-mongering press releases, Noel sounds the alarm, stating that “widening the number of people with access to the identity of a human source puts both the personal safety of the source and the national security of Canada into jeopardy.”

Special Advocates have argued that they should be able to see any information related to the Harkat investigation because of their top secret clearance and because they are bound to secrecy under the Security of Information Act. Noel disagreed, thereby rendering the Special Advocates to even more of a window dressing position than could have been imagined.

Mr. Harkat’s right to defend himself is thoroughly gutted by the court’s deference to undisclosed, unsubstantiated national security considerations.

In concluding, Noel asserts the special advocates “have not established that the production of human source(s) as a witness in these proceedings is necessary to avoid a flagrant denial of procedural fairness,” which is quite rich given that the whole security certificate proceeding, special advocates or not, represents just such a denial of procedural fairness.

Noel ends with a political broadside, stating “there are issues which, on occasion, transcend the proceeding in which they arise. Issues that impact not only on similar proceedings but potentially on the intelligence system as a whole. The issue before me is one such question which will reverberate throughout our intelligence network – nationally and internationally. Great care must be taken by the Court in balancing the competing issues that have been reviewed in these reasons.”

Hence, CSIS remains protected from revealing its alleged case, increasing the likelihood of Mr. Harkat’s rendition to torture with Simon Noel’s judicial seal of approval.

The reasons for such a rendition to torture will also likely be a secret, because, as we can see from all the [...], we simply cannot be allowed to know.

The Federal Court’s ongoing deference to CSIS in such matters is not surprising. Indeed, in December, 2008, it was revealed that CSIS, one party to these proceedings, had been listening in on two years’ worth of solicitor-client phone calls in three of these cases, a clear and well-understood violation of one of the bedrock principles of a democratic justice system.

But while the Federal Court did issue an order calling on CSIS to stop listening to such calls, the judge hearing the case stated: “I don't want to hear any more about it. It is done. It is over. It is finished. It has happened. We understand it happened. It is unfortunate, but there is nothing we can do to change the past. We can only look at what goes from here in terms of where it will go from here.”

There is no sanction, no punishment, for CSIS. No indication that such behaviour will not be tolerated in the future.

Starting next month, the public portion of some of the rendition to torture hearings will get underway. Little of substance is likely to be heard from the government’s side because of “reasons of national security.” Thanks to Mr. Noel’s ruling, it appears increasingly clear that little of substance will be heard behind closed doors either.

Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada,