University employees in the Ontario Branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are calling for a ban on Israeli teachers in Ontario universities in reaction to Israel’s bombing of Gaza’s Islamic University.
Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario
A resolution to this effect is to be presented at a convention this February. Len Radner, Ontario Regional Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, criticized CUPE and Sid Ryan, saying that they are acting against freedom of speech.
Man sues Canadian government
Mohamed Omary, a Moroccan Canadian, is suing the Attorney General, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Agency (CSIS), and the RCMP for a million dollars. He claims that they shared information with the Moroccan government which, on his visit back to Morocco in 2002, resulted in his detention, threats, intimidation, and numerous interrogations. He charges that the cell in which he was kept was cold and filthy and that he was kept hungry. The guards, he says, constantly humiliated him, and he heard constant screams from a woman who was in detention. Two CSIS agents participated directly in the interrogations at one point, he claims.
After his return to Canada the following year, he made another visit to Morocco with his family in 2005, and he says that he was again harassed by the police. According to Omary, after 9/11, CSIS approached him to be an informer. Moroccan security agents also sought his collacoration. It appears that Omary’s troubles are related to his association with Fateh Kamel, an Algerian-Canadian who was arrested in France in 1999 for trafficking forged passports. The two had traveled together in Bosnia and Croatia. He says that these travels were to engage in humanitarian work. However, it is said that Kamel was a member of Save Bosnia Now (SBN), which has been described as an al-Qaeda organization. SBN later became the American Worldwide Relief Organization.
Hassan Almrei is being freed from the Special Holding Unit at Kingston Penitentiary. Critics have dubbed it Guantanamo North.
Hassan Almrei is to be freed from the Special Holding Unit at Kingston Penitentiary. Critics have dubbed it Guantanamo North. He is held there while fighting deportation back to his home country, where he risks torture or death. Several Canadians, most prominently Maher Arar, were tortured by Syrian authorities.
The other three Muslim men who were former inhabitants of Guantanamo North were released on bail. They, like him, are suspected of terrorist connections. Almrei was not released because he, unlike the others, has no family in Canada to guarantee his compliance with bail conditions. An earlier offer by Ottawa Jewish social worker Diana Ralph to adopt him and serve as guarantor was not accepted. Nevertheless, this time Judge Mosley found that he currently posed no significant danger if under strict bail conditions.
Guantanamo North cost over $3 million to build, more than three times the original cost estimate. It costs $2.6 million a year to operate. Almrei was the sole occupant of the prison within a prison since 2007, the year following its opening. Millions down the drain. Almrei soon to leave. And then there will be none. Perhaps it can be used for storage.
Colonel Jamie Cade
Canadian Colonel Jamie Cade, deputy commander of NATO forces in Kandahar, let loose a bombshell of a different sort on New Year’s Eve. He had learned three days previous of an incident in Helmand Province, which has led to a charge of second degree murder being placed against Captain Robert Samrau, a Canadian trainer of Afghan forces.
The incident was alleged to have occurred on October 19, at the time of a fierce battle with the Taliban. It is charged that Samrau shot and killed an unarmed man suspected of being a Taliban insurgent. While uneasiness immediately arose among the media present at the announcement concerning the circumstances of the event, Cade refused to entertain any quesitons. Commentators have found it odd that nothing was known about the event from October 19 to December 27.
Paul Champ, a lawyer who acted for Amnesty International to seek protection for Afghan prisoners turned over to Afghan forces, demanded that “the Canadian military should be answering a few more questions — immediately.” University of Ottawa law professor, Amir Attaran, who triggered investigations of the torture of detainees by Afghan authorities, questioned if the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service has sufficient independene to do its job in this case.
Hossein Derakhshan has burned absolutely all of his bridges. He is an Iranian-Canadian known in Iran as the blogfather because he encouraged many of his countrymen to set up their own blogs by putting detailed instructions on the internet in Farsi.
Derakhshan visited Israel, to try to imporve Iran’s understanding of Israel and Israel’s understanding of Iran, he explained. Then he returned to Iran. An erstwhile opponent of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he has now found the President’s defiance of the West to his liking. He favors an Iranian nuclear bomb program. As well, he is now critical of human rights organizations for their criticisms of Iranian human rights and censorship.
Having alienated just about everyone, he finds himself in big trouble. Iranian authorities have arrested him for things he has been alleged to have said about the caliphs.
Canada is making last-ditch efforts to save the life of Mohamed Kohail, a 23-year-old Canadian citizen under sentence of death by beheading in Saudi Arabia. The sentence is the result of the death of Munzer al-Haraki in a schoolyard brawl. Mohamed’s brother Sultan is also facing a similar fate, as he is to face a trial in adult court after a juvenile court sentence of 200 lashes was set aside.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Secretary Deepak Obrahi went to Saudi Arabia on December 20, and during his three-day visit he met with Saudi officials in order to plead for Mohamed’s life. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has spoken to the Saudi Foreign Minister by phone about the case. The decision is now in the hands of the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council and the King.
Liberal Party M.P. Dan McTeague
Iraqi-Canadian arrested at border
Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish, an Iraqi-Canadian, was taken into custody at the U.S. border on December 24. He has been charged with conspiracy to spy for Saddam Hussein.
According to media reports, he is alleged to have passed on information to the Iraqi Intelligence Service about Iraqis who joined the U.S. military and who were being trained in Virginia. He is also said to have tried to cover up the acitivities of Ba’ath Party members in the U.S. and in Iraq. While he was alleged to have carried out these activities, he was working as a cook in Maryland.