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Canada Releases Alledged Terrorists From Jail

The results of the Supreme Court of Canada's overturning the use of security certificates to hold refugee applicants in permanent detention without trial if there was any suspicion of terrorist activity are now being seen. Two men who had been held under the law for years were both released from federal penitentiaries in the past two days.

Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub was released on this past Thursday after being held in Kingston Penitentiary for the last seven years because he had run a farming operation in the Sudan for Osama bin Laden. He has been released under conditions tantamount to him being under twenty- four-hour surveillance.

The terms of his house arrest includes being monitored by The Canadian Border Authority via a GPS bracelet permanently attached to his ankle, video cameras in his house, taps on his phone, and being followed by agents on the rare occasions he is allowed to leave his house. His family are also being held responsible for him adhering to all of his bail conditions.

Mr. Mahjoub has been the Canadian suspect with closest ties to Osman bin Laden, but he claims his association was innocent. The farming concerns he ran for the leader of al-Qaeda were during the time before bin Laden even lived in Afghanistan, and he claims to have just been another employee and eventually left the job over money disputes with bin Laden.

Mr. Mahjoub has never been accused of any terror activity, but the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) claims that he was part of an Egyptian extremist group called the Vanguards of Conquest and knew al-Qaeda operatives including a person alleged to be a Canadian financer of the group and an Iraqi who the American 9/11 commission calls al-Qaeda's principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction. ( It may be just me, but any American announcement containing the words Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction just doesn't seem to have much credibility)

The second man was released on Friday from a detention centre in Kingston Ontario Canada as well. Mahmoud Jaballah has been in detention since 2001, although the government has been after him since 1999. When they attempted to have him deported in 1999 they lost their case held under normal circumstances, but when the opportunity arose with the security laws in place he was immediately rearrested.

Attempts by the government to have him deported back to his native Egypt have been constantly denied by the courts because of the very real threat of torture he would face if returned. Although the current government continues to insist upon Mr. Jaballah's guilt (In a statement released by Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, in response to Mr. Jaballah's release Day implied he was the murderer of women and children.) the judge said that although the initial evidence against Mr. Jaballah did at one time warrant the security certificate, now that he has spent six years in detention and no additional evidence has come to light she had to defer to the Supreme Court's ruling that the longer a person spends incarcerated the less likelihood there is of them being a security risk.

Based on those grounds the federal court judge changed Mr. Jaballah's sentence to that of house arrest, similar to the conditions imposed upon Mr. Mahjoub. The judge asserted, but offered no proof to back her words, that the conditions were imperative in Mr. Jaballah's case because she had no doubt that if not monitored he would get in touch with terrorists.

Mr. Jaballah first came under suspicion because of a series of over a hundred phone calls he placed to the United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, and Yemen to an alleged al Qaeda front. When those are added to the twenty calls he made to those destination and Pakistan in a subsequent two-day period and the fact that when asked to explain he either was evasive or didn't answer the questions it served to confirm his guilt in the eyes of the courts.

Given the atmosphere in North America in the days following 9/11 you can understand why he was placed under suspicion. The bombings he was accused of co-ordinating were embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. But now nine years later and no further evidence has come forth, and, according to his lawyer, when the United States released a list of suspects, he wasn't even named as an un indicted co-conspirator.

The government of Canada's reaction to these events has been highly predictable. Aside from his insinuations about Mr. Jaballah being responsible for killing women and children and just awaiting his opportunity to go on another bloodthirsty rampage, he also has stated that the government would prefer that all these people remain locked up.

In another tidy bit of fear mongering he also said he hoped that the house arrest rules would be enough to keep Canadians safe from them. He then added that the court agreed that Mr. Mahjoub had clearly worked for Osama bin Laden and received a salary for that work. Well who wouldn't want to be paid for working, and since when has it become a crime to work for someone when there is no proof that your activities were criminal.

I mean if we're going to start rounding up people who've had business associations with Osama they better be picking up Dick Cheney and almost everybody on the Halliburton Board of Directors. At one point they had owned around 30% of bin Landen's company. Not just his families business – but his company. Doesn't anyone find it at all odd that on the day after 9/11 when all the planes in and out of the United States were grounded, that all the members of the bin Laden family living in the United States were able to fly home?

Who arranged that for them, and why was it allowed to happen? If Dick Cheney and George Bush, both of who would have to okay something like this, come to Canada will they be picked up on a security certificate? They've had some pretty suspicious contact with bin Laden and his whole family immediately after 9/11.

What does that sound ridiculous? Why is it anymore ridiculous than wanting to keep a man in jail because he ran a farm for bin Laden long before he even went to Afghanistan? What proof do they even have that either man had of any involvement in any terror activity? Well, none, actually. One guy made a lot of phone calls to the countries where he could have family just as easily as he could have terror contacts. Why so many calls in two days? Hell if my mom has to contact her family about an event like a death she could make twenty calls in an afternoon no sweat.

Mr. Mahjoub worked for someone who turns out to be one of the bad guys, but how was he supposed to know that back whenever it was he worked for him. In fact the government hasn't said when he worked for him, only that it was before bin Laden was in Afghanistan, which means before 9/11/01. In fact he even says he quit working for him over a dispute with money. No one has given us any reason not to believe him.

Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub were both held in Canadian prisons with no trial, not knowing what exactly they had done to end up there, and knowing if they were to lose they'd be deported to torture and death in their former homes. Perhaps it was understandable seven years ago to keep an eye on people like them, or even detain them temporarily. But now it 's just cruel and unjust.

If you're having any doubts about which side to err on in Canada, freedom or so called safety, think about Mahar Arar and his time in an Egyptian jail being tortured. It was our security service that put him there with their inaccuracies and incompetence. Do you trust them with any more lives?

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