Organ of Alliance
Marxist-Leninist (North America) Volume 1, Issue 9; November-December 2003 $1.00
A L L
I A N C E ! A Revolutionary Communist Monthly
Canadian Foreign Affairs
Department Jumps to USA Tune
In the last few months, startling
news has shaken the immigrant population of Canada leading it to doubt its
alleged “equal rights” in Canada. The problem goes further than even just
the rights of brown skinned immigrants to Canada. It applies actually to all
Canadians, whatever the colour of their skin, or whether they are recent or
old immigrants, as the case of William Sampson,
a white immigrant to Canada from the UK, shows. What unifies all these cases
is the kowtowing of Canadian officials at Department of Foreign Affairs, to
USA polices and requirements. Indeed the Department of Foreign Affairs should
be renamed the Department of Monitoring Canadians For the USA.
We review two recent serious cases. A third – that
of a 17 year old Canadian citizen, sent to Guantanamo Bay for a year on
no evidence, was released but refused entry back to Canada to join his grand-mother
– has begun to be reported. Details are sparse, other than his having been
turned away from three Canadian embassies in three countries – Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and Turkey.
TWO CANADIAN CASE REPORTS
1) The Case of Maher Arar
Maher Arar at Press Interview
Arar, left Syria in 1988 when he was 17, to emigrate to Canada and did not
return to Syria, until October 9th 2003. He did not return voluntarily.
The high-tech consultant was detained at New York's JFK Airport, while changing
planes, en route to Canada.
USA immigrations officials
charged that Arar had links to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network,
No charges were laid. But in secret the was shipped like some baggage, to
Jordan, and then to Syria. He was kept there for a year and was tortured,
until his sudden release in October 2003. [Below we have excerpted Arar’s
address to Canada].
government has been dodging questions every since. Because the big question
is How could this happen? After all, Aher is a dual citizen – of both Canada
and Syria. He has rights accorded to every Canadian – or does he? It seems
not, because, the Canadian government was in cahoots with the USA to “shake
him down”. Officials in the Canadian government admitted that they were contacted
when Arar was detained at New York. But then, when Canadian security was contacted,
they were asked:
"’Do you have anything
on him,''' an official closely involved in the case said, on condition that
he not be quoted by name.
"`Yes indeed,' they were told. `He is watched because he has been to Afghanistan
Graham Fraser, US Urged Canada to hold Arar”; Globe and Mail; October 9
This was enough to ensure violation of Arar’ international
human rights. The Canadian government was fully complicit, giving private
documents of Arar’s, to the USA. And the coup
de grace, is that under USA and Canada law, if a deportee is to be removed
from the USA - then he/she must be sent back to
their national state &/or to a country of their choice. But, Canada would
not guarantee that he would be arrested on return to Canada. At which point
the Americans say that :
“He was sent to Syria
because Canada would not guarantee he would be detained when he returned
to Ottawa, an official involved in the case says”.
frequently on business to the U.S. In January, 2002, his wife, Monia Mazigh,
was visited by the National Security Investigation Section. Arar then was
interviewed. In April, 2002, Arar was given his U.S. work permit back.
In an interview with the CBC reporter Alison Smith, on October 3, 2003, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
Tom Ridge and Canada's Deputy Prime Minister John Manley discussed the
case. Ridge confirms that the Canadian government had supplied information
to the US:
”Tom Ridge: First of all, I think we need to
dispel the notion that this was an arbitrary decision on the part of our
government. There was sufficient information within the international intelligence
community about this individual that we felt warranted his deportation back
to one of – he had dual citizenship – of one of two countries. The decision
was made, based on that information available through the global international
intelligence community to effect that outcome.”
While John Manley offered bland
homilies, as if only a minor breach of etiquette was involved:
John Manley: As you know,
there are some concerns that our government has in the case, particularly
consular access,…..We are making very direct interventions with the Syrian
government to have him returned to Canada. We're unaware of any information
that justifies his detention there, and if there are some issues with respect
to him, then they should be – he should be given the opportunity to answer
them. That's our view. Again, occasionally things happen that could be handled
It is possible that Arar’s sudden release
was from direct intervention by the then Canadian Prime minister Jean Chrétien, together with Amr Moussa, Secretary-General
of the Arab League.
These excerpts are from
Maher Arar’s address to the Canadian people in a press conference on November
4th after his release.
See: “Maher Arar: statement: CBC
News Online | November 4, 2003 http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/arar/arar_statement.html
Arar was flanked by his wife, whose tireless campaign
was undoubtedly the reason that his case was not simply buried.
“I am here today to tell the people of Canada
what has happened to me. There have been many allegations made about me
in the media, all of them by people who refuse to be named or come forward.
So before I tell you who I am and what happened to me, I will tell you who
I am not. I am not a terrorist. I am not a member
of al-Qaeda and I do not know any one who belongs to this group. All I know
about al-Qaeda is what I have seen in the media. I have never been to Afghanistan.
I have never been anywhere near Afghanistan and I do not have any desire
to ever go to Afghanistan. Now, let me tell you
who I am.
I am a Syrian-born Canadian. I moved here
with my parents when I was 17 years old. I went to university and studied
hard, and eventually obtained a Masters degree in telecommunications. I met
my wife, Monia at McGill University. We fell in love and eventually married
in 1994. I knew then that she was special, but I had no idea how special
she would turn out to be.
If it were not for her I believe I would still
be in prison. …….
So this is who I am. I am a father and a husband. I am a telecommunications
engineer and entrepreneur. I have never had trouble with the police, and
have always been a good citizen. So I still cannot believe what has happened
to me, and how my life and career have been destroyed.
In September 2002, I … headed back home to
prepare for work.… My flight arrived in New York
at 2:00 p.m. on September 26th, 2002. …..This is when my nightmare began.
I was pulled aside at immigration .. Two hours later …they took my fingerprints
and photographs. . …. I was scared and did not know what was going on. I
told them I wanted a lawyer. They told me I had no right to a lawyer, because
I was not an American citizen. They asked me where
I worked and how much money I made. They swore at me, and insulted me. It
was very humiliating… the information they had was so private I thought
this must be from Canada. I told them everything I knew. ….. I was very,
very worried, and asked for a lawyer again and again. They just ignored me.
Then they put me in chains, on my wrists and ankles, … At 1:00 in the morning
they put me in a room with metal benches in it. …. The next morning they
.. asked me about what I think about bin Laden, Palestine, Iraq. They also
asked me about the mosques I pray in, my bank accounts, my e-mail addresses,
my relatives, about everything.
.. Then a man from the INS came in and told
me they wanted me to volunteer to go to Syria. I said no way. I said I wanted
to go home to Canada or sent back to Switzerland. …. They asked me to sign
a form. They would not let me read it, but I just signed it. I was exhausted
and confused and disoriented. I had not slept or eaten since I was in the
plane. .……. After five days, they let me make a phone call. I called Monia's
mother, who was here in Ottawa, and told her I was scared they might send
me to Syria, and asked her to help find me a lawyer. They would only let
me talk for two minutes.
On the seventh or eighth day they brought
me a document, saying they had decided to deport me, and I had a choice of
where to be deported. I wrote that I wanted to go to Canada. It asked if
I had concerns about going to Canada. I wrote no, and signed it. The Canadian
consul came on October 4, and I told her I was scared of being deported to
Syria. She told me that would not happen. She told me that a lawyer was being
arranged. I was very upset, and scared. I could barely talk. The next day,
a lawyer came. She told me not to sign any document unless she was present.
We could only talk for 30 minutes. ..That was a Saturday. On Sunday night
at about 9:00 p.m., the guards came to my cell and told me my lawyer was
there to see me. I thought it was a strange time, and they took me into a
room with seven or eight people in it. I asked where my lawyer was. They
told me he had refused to come and started questioning me again. They said
they wanted to know why I did not want to go back to Syria. I told them I
would be tortured there. I told them I had not done my military service;
I am a Sunni Muslim; my mother's cousin had been accused of being a member
of the Muslim Brotherhood and was put in prison for nine years.
They asked me to sign a document and I refused.
I told them they could not send me to Syria or I would be tortured. I asked
again for a lawyer. At three in the morning they took me back to my cell.
At 3:00 in the morning on Tuesday, October 8th, ….. again chained and shackled
me. Then two officials took me inside a room and read me what they said
was a decision by the INS Director. They told me that based on classified
information that they could not reveal to me, I would be deported to Syria.
I said again that I would be tortured there. Then they read part of the
document where it explained that INS was not the body that deals with Geneva
Conventions regarding torture. ….
…They took me out of plane and there were
six or seven Jordanian men waiting for us. They blindfolded and chained me,
and put me in a van. They made me bend my head down in the back seat. Then,
these men started beating me. Every time I tried to talk they beat me. .
… I asked one of
the people where I was and he told me I was in the Palestine branch of the
Syrian military intelligence. ….. the guards
came to take me to my cell downstairs.
We went into the basement, and they opened
a door, and I looked in. I could not believe what I saw. I asked how long
I would be kept in this place. He did not answer, but put me in and closed
the door. It was like a grave. It had no light. It was three feet wide.
It was six feet deep. It was seven feet high. It had a metal door, with
a small opening in the door, which did not let in light …….There was a small
opening in the ceiling, about one foot by two feet with iron bars. Over
that was another ceiling, so only a little light came through this. There
were cats and rats up there, and from time to time the cats peed through
the opening into the cell. There were two blankets, two dishes and two bottles.
One bottle was for water and the other one was used for urinating during
the night. Nothing else. No light. I spent 10 months, and 10 days inside
..The beating started that day and was very
intense for a week, and then less intense for another week. That second
and the third days were the worst. I could hear other prisoners being tortured,
and screaming and screaming. Interrogations are carried out in different
rooms. One tactic they use is to question prisoners for two hours, and then
put them in a waiting room, so they can hear the others screaming, and then
bring them back to continue the interrogation. The cable is a black electrical
cable, about two inches thick. They hit me with it everywhere on my body..
… They kept beating me so I had to falsely confess
and told them I did go to Afghanistan. I was ready to confess to anything
if it would stop the torture. They wanted me to say I went to a training
camp. I was so scared I urinated on myself twice. The beating was less severe
each of the following days.
At the end of each day, they would always
say, “Tomorrow will be harder for you.” So each night, I could not sleep.
… Most of time I was not taken back to my cell, but to the waiting room where
I could hear all the prisoners being tortured and screaming.. … …The interrogation
and beating ended three days before I had my first consular visit, on October
23. …. I did not know what was happening and they
would not tell me. …. I was told not to tell anything about the beating,
then I was taken.. for a ten minute meeting with the consul. The colonel
was there, and three other Syrian officials... I cried a lot at that meeting.
I could not say anything about the torture….or I might be beaten again.
About a month after I arrived, they called
me up to sign and place my thumb print on a document about seven pages long.
They would not let me read it, but I had to put my thumb print and signature
on the bottom of each page. It was handwritten.… The consular visits were
my lifeline, but I also found them very frustrating. There were seven consular
visits, and one visit from members of parliament. After the visits I would
bang my head and my fist on the wall in frustration. I needed the visits,
but I could not say anything there. . . .. .. I
was not exposed to sunlight for six months. The only times I left the grave
was for interrogation, and for the visits. Daily life in that place was
hell. … I lost about 40 pounds while I was at the Palestine Branch.
On August 19 I was taken upstairs to see the
investigator, and I was given a paper and asked to write what he dictated.
If I protested, he kicked me. I was forced to write that I went to a training
camp in Afghanistan. They made me sign and put my thumbprint on the last
page. … Then he said
I would be released. .. I want to conclude by thanking all of the people
who worked for my release, especially my wife Monia, and human rights groups,
and all the people who wrote letters, and all the members of parliament who
stood up for justice.
….. I want to know why this happened to me.
I believe the only way I can ever know why this happened is to have all
the truth come out in a public inquiry.
Two: William Sampson
was working as an expatriate in Saudi Arabia, when in November 2000 he was
arrested following a bomb incident in Riyadh that killed one British man.
It was alleged that he and the 6 others had set a bomb as a part of a alcohol
bootlegging turf war with another gang. He faced public beheading after a
conviction in a Saudi court that was obtained after torture-extracted confession.
For two years he was kept in prison and beaten and tortured over that period.
He described his conditions as follows:
"While you were not being
tortured, you were stood up sleepless, chained to a door, listening to the
screams of others," he said.
Government is not known to be “kind”. What is more shocking is the attitude
taken to his custody and conviction by his legal representatives – the Canadian
Government. Sampson accused it, in a public meeting of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International
”neglect, broken promises,
and believing he was guilty of charges he was convicted of in Saudi Arabia.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs operated as if I was guilty, even before
I had a trial — a trial in which I was without counsel and without representation,"
he told MPs. "Even before that, I had received indications from embassy
officials that they considered me guilty.. . .
harshly critical of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
saying that in contrast with British officials, they had not been supportive
to him or his family.
"It took two backbench
MPs, Dan McTeague and Stéphane Bergeron, to present my case to the
House of Commons more effectively than any single member of the government,"
…. Sampson .. said officials had conveyed to him or to his father numerous
times that they thought he was guilty as charged.
"One of the quotes was, `As you are guilty ...' and, `considering what
you have done, you must co-operate with Saudi officials.'" "
one Canadian official had compared him to a Hells Angel in conversations with
his father, James Sampson, suggesting that he had been involved in a bootlegger's
turf war in Saudi Arabia.”
Graham Fraser “They
considered me guilty – Sampson says he was prejudged by foreign affairs”.
Nov. 7, 2003. Toronto Star.
Sampson is suing the Canadian Government.
Conclusion: The pro-USA stances of the Canadian
government severely affects its own citizens, whether white or black