Saturday, April 9, 2011

Will CSIS Require “Dream Ban” for Canadian Muslims?

New Secret Report Alleges to Have Found a Link Between Muslim Dreaming and “Extremism”
April 8, 2011 -- The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the spy agency tasked with protecting the never-defined “national security” of Canadians, may well have come upon the ultimate terror-fighting strategy: banning the dreams of Muslims.

CSIS, a national agency which regularly terrorizes members of the Muslim community with unannounced home and workplace visits, threats of jail, deportation, and prevention of family reunification, has for quite a few years produced reams of reports on what it thinks could affect the “security” of Canadians.

The latest secret “intelligence assessment” (pardon the oxymoron) is called “The Role of Dreams in the Justification of Jihad,” obtained under the Access to Information Act by the National Post. The 6-page, largely blacked out document, states in its summary that “Dream interpretation is closely tied to religious belief in Islam. Islamist extremists often report having dreams about the Prophet Muhammad or fellow mujahideen. Dreams about religious figures can inspire extremists to act.”

Hence, in its simple-as-abc, connect-the-dots approach, CSIS appears to have come up with a genius bit of pre-crime-think straight out of a Tom Cruise thriller. While much of the report has been redacted, it is clear that investigations of Muslim dreaming could open a new front in Canada’s war on terror.

While it is unclear whether Muslims will now have to keep dream journals that can be accessed by CSIS agents (if you have nothing to hide in your dreams, why would you want your dream journal kept private?), this new approach to spying on Canada’s Muslim communities seems to build on longstanding CSIS practices that have more to do with the practices of carnival soothsayers and crystal ball prognosticators than with anything remotely resembling reality.

While it is true that various agencies of the federal government are engaged in crime-think research – it was revealed in early March that the Canadian War Dept. is researching mind-scanning technology in the hope that “this ability can be used by members of the military and the security forces to isolate adversaries prior to commission of actions” – CSIS has long preferred to rely on feelings, intuition, stereotypes, and other unscientific methods when the facts simply won’t add up. Indeed, the whole raison d’etre of security certificates, the measure by which refugees and immigrants can be indefinitely detained based on secret allegations, is the idea that individuals may in the past, could at present, or may at some point in the future pose some kind of threat. The basis for such a conclusion, of course, is secret, as it cannot withstand public scrutiny.
Typical of CSIS attitudes are comments regularly found in the reports of its toothless oversight body, the Security intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which in the past raised questions, for example, "about some beliefs the Service has about the nature of the threat. We are of the opinion that these beliefs are sometimes overdrawn."

SIRC found that in one CSIS case, "information put forward was more than a decade old and the information adduced was derived from one source's 'feelings.'” Another finding was that "One source's speculation was quoted. Some assertions that the target engaged in 'suspicious activities' appeared to us to be misleading or exaggerated."

"For another person targeted, [CSIS] failed to include in the affidavit significant information of which it was aware which contradicts its own position on the person,” SIRC found in another instance. In yet another case, a hyperactive CSIS treated as a threat activity something that "seemed to be routine diplomatic behaviour," while in another case, "with little corroborating information, CSIS ascribed intelligence gathering motives to apparently normal consular contacts."

On more than one occasion, the CSIS oversight body has stated that the government needs the best possible national security advice “unencumbered by unfounded speculation."

Yet it is precisely on unfounded speculation that CSIS builds its dreamworld of national security threats. This has been evident in the false naming as imminent threats a series of Canadian citizens who were tortured as a result of CSIS and RCMP targeting, the unsubstantiated allegations that have been used for years on secret trial security certificate cases, the naming of individuals to no-fly lists, and the refusal to grant security clearance to individuals working for the federal government.

In the last instance, perhaps the most famous case involved that of diplomat Bhupindar Liddar, who had been deemed a security risk by CSIS. That claim was unambiguously rejected in a September, 2005 SIRC report that found CSIS "purposefully misled" its oversight agency in an attempt to "suppress information that was embarrassing to the Service."

"I wish that such events never occur again," Paule Gauthier, former chairwoman of SIRC, wrote. The report found "there is no reliable evidence that supports a conclusion that Mr. Liddar may engage in activities that would constitute a threat to the security of Canada." She said CSIS undertook an "inaccurate and misleading" investigation that produced "unqualified, alarming" findings that relied on "uncorroborated and/or unreliable sources."

"I find that many of the conclusions concerning Mr. Liddar . . . result from the transfer of suspicions about a person who would support Arab causes," she wrote.

More recently, CSIS and its fellow paranoid spooks in the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre developed a report called "Lone-Wolf Attacks: A Developing Islamist Extremist Strategy?" A Lone Wolf is described as someone “inspired by a terrorist ideology or organization to conduct attacks, but acts independently, without established ties or accountability.” They ascribe these attacks to the philosophy of “Leaderless resistance,” and then state that the internet is “helpful to an individual who may be preparing to conduct a lone-wolf attack, providing ideological motivation, encouragement, justification.”

"Lone wolves are difficult to identify because they do not join terrorist groups or associate with other known extremists," they conclude. If you read between the lines, this means that pretty much anyone can now be a suspect.

One wonders if wolves, who do populate the Arctic, are the metaphoric inspiration for another CSIS report that conjures up images of abominable snowmen coming south with the global warming threat. “The Canadian Arctic: Threat from Terrorists and Extremists,” discusses how the Arctic might become, according to a Canadian Press report from earlier this year, “a conduit for international or domestic radicals.”

If we keep going in this direction, it may not be too long before Jonah the terrorist may be coming in the belly of a whale via the Arctic Circle. Polar bears may soon be equipped with anthrax tablets. There is no end to the terror that may be wreaked by the things out there trying to get at us in here! Perhaps Canadians should all move to Texas to be safer. But even then, the threat of a rogue asteroid, launched by Martians (from the RED, Communist planet) could signal the rise of a new Bolshevist threat (coming from the cold Siberian plains). For those who work at CSIS, it is getting just so scary out there. People may laugh at her now, but maybe former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin can help stop this????

While CSIS is having nightmares, there is still the problem posed by the dreams of Muslims. On the third page of its secret report, CSIS declares “Dreams provide a inspirational (sic) component of the world of the jihadist. Jihadists receive divine guidance of future events and see the legitimacy of their actions in their dreams.”

CSIS then concludes that among those who have been “reported” to have experienced significant dreams of jihad are Osama bin Laden, Zacarias Moussaoui (the so-called 20th hijacker), shoebomber Richard Reid, Mullah Omar, and Iraqi Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.
Of course, CSIS has no more interviewed these men than it has the individuals about whom they claim to know the thought processes in security certificate cases. Yet the report is one more example of making a whole community suspect in the eyes of their neighbours, a practice that CSIS continues to engage in, with serious human rights consequences, from its Ottawa bunker.

What are we to make of this? Maybe by keeping Muslims up at night, we will prevent their dreams, and therefore prevent attacks. Perhaps everyone who lives next door to a Muslim individual or family could as their patriotic duty play that funky music LOUD all night long?
All of these threat assessments are incredibly convenient for CSIS: by constantly throwing threat assessments against the wall in the hope that something will stick, they detract from the real threat posed to the security of people in this country: the actions of federal agencies like CSIS, the RCMP and others who continue to profile and unjustly target whole communities, often leading to serious crimes, including complicity in torture.

(report from Matthew Behrens of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada)

What you can do:

1. Sign the statement calling for the abolition of secret trials in Canada at

2. Support our work: Donations can made out to Homes not Bombs and mailed to PO Box 2020, 57 Foster Street, Perth, ON K7H 1R0

3. Support the talented filmmakers putting together a major documentary on secret trials in Canada:

4. Attend the October CSI: Ottawa Crime Scene demonstrations focused on ending Canadian involvement in torture. These nonviolent gatherings will name and spotlight Ottawa-based agencies and corporations complicit in torture, mark them as crime scenes, and carry out the investigations necessary to ensure accountability, system change, and compensation for victims of their actions.

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