The lie that Canada has stayed out of the war in Iraq is becoming less and less believable. There is an ongoing rotation of Canadian generals serving with the international forces there. Canada continues to have some soldiers there on troop exchanges with the Americans and British. Now new information has come out regarding Canadian airmen.
Canwest News Services has obtained a memo, censored in part, with sections blacked out, from General Rick Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, to Gordon O’Connor, who was Minister of National Defence when the memo was written a year ago. The memo reports that Canadian air crews train on American C-17 jets engaged in military missions in Iraq.
Socialist New Democratic Party MP Dawn Black criticized the “back door” Canadian participation in “George Bush’s war on Iraq.” The official opposition Liberal Party is not well placed to criticize, as the troop exchange in Iraq began under Liberal former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
stuck in Khartoum
Canada does not want Abousfian Abdelrazik to return. He is a Sudanese-Canadian stuck in Khartoum for close to five years, and neither the previous Liberal government nor the current Conservative one desires to see him back. He is suspected of links to al-Qaeda and admits to knowing Ahmed Ressam, nicknamed the millennium bomber, who had planned to bomb the Los Angeles airport. Abdelrazik says that the acquaintance was casual.
When he went to visit his sick mother in Sudan in 2003, he claims to have lost his passport. In any case, he no longer had the passport and the lack of a passport appears to be the key to his problem. He was arrested without charge in Khartoum in August, 2003, at the behest of Canada. He claims to have been beaten in prison. While in jail, he was interrogated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which had also questioned him on more than one occasion in Canada, and by French intelligence authorities. After a couple stints in jail, he was released in 2006.
Sudan has made it clear that it doesn’t want Abdelrazik. In fact, Sudan, which is often criticized for its human rights record, has expressed concern that his human rights were being violated. There are no criminal charges against him anywhere, but in 2006 he was put on the Interpol list of terrorist suspects.
Back in 2004, his wife wired $3,000 to fly him back to Canada on Lufthansa, but Lufthansa will not accommodate him as he is on the no-fly list. Canadian government officials, including former Prime Minister Paul Martin, have refused to return him on their flights from Sudan. Sudan offered to send him back on a private plane, but Canada refused to pay for the flight and to provide an escort. Currently, he is in ill health, and he receives $100 a month from Canada on which to subsist.