Morality Lessons in Canadian Torture

 Tariq Jeeroburkhan

April 15, 2011 – Abdullah Al Malki is a family man with a life story to tell, and based on this country’s present global reputation as indicated by the recent UN Security Council nomination fiasco, now more then ever is when all Canadians should be listening.

“…when the Canadian Government and security forces refer to protecting ‘national security’ what they are actually talking about is protecting their own job security”

Abdullah Al-Malki was tortured in Syria based on CSIS and RCMP mis-information

Al Malki, a Canadian citizen and graduate of Carleton University, was incarcerated and tortured in Syria based on false and misleading information that the RCMP and CSIS – which went so far as to mislabel Al Malki “an imminent threat” in official correspondence – provided to the Syrian government. Dark days indeed.

Mr. Al Malki is currently on a 4-stop speaking tour at Quebec CEGEPS and will continue to bring the message of his experience to young Canadians, just upon the threshold of university, who will hopefully be the next generation to raise and return Canada’s moral and ethical standing in the world. The 60 or so young Canadians in the classroom-setting were hanging on Mr. Al Malki’s every word, especially when he provided the no-holds-barred details of his physical torture. It was especially interesting to note that the talk was occurring at the same time as the leader’s debate – but young Canadians, turned off by the ineffectiveness of political rhetoric, clearly showed their priorities.

“Governments and elections change the parties but these are the issues of justice that affect us all,” said one student in attendance. “Whoever wins the election will still have to deal with this issue.”

Canada’s reputation in cases like Al Malki, Maher Arar and far too many others is internationally established. Robert Fisk once summed up Abdullah’s situation and Canada’s complicity like this: “Snooped on by the Canadian secret service and then tortured in Syria while the Canadian authorities did nothing for him – save supplying his perverted torturers with questions. Western nations simply assisted the perverts by providing them with pages of questions while their citizens/residents lay in agony, wishing they had never been born”.

More then three years after Canadian government inquiries have identified the mistakes and sloppiness of Canada’s security forces in their treatment of Abdullah and other Canadian citizens, there still have been no corrections made to procedure, no apologies to the individuals like Abdullah who have been victimized by their own country, and the misleading information about these individuals is still circulating within the “intelligence” community even though it has been three years since it was identified as false.

Mr. Al Malki was held prisoner in a Syrian dungeon for 482 days, while the Canadian embassy to Syria and the diplomatic corps never even requested access or a consular visit. In fact, during 2008, the Canadian Department of Justice, in anticipation of the Iacobucci Commission and the O’Conner Report finding against the government and its security affiliates issued this statement:

 “Canada bares no responsibility for the torture, even through complicity, if the torture takes place outside of Canadian borders.”

 Guess what? Both the Iacobucci Commission and the O’Conner Report found Canada to be complicit in the torture of Canadian citizen Al Malki in Syria, but thanks to the Department of Justice predefinition of complicity versus responsibility before the findings against CSIS and the RCMP, no Canadian official to this day has been held accountable or even apologized for the torture of Abdullah Al Malki.

 Probably the saddest thing for Canadians in general, is the testimony of several witnesses representing the RCMP and CSIS, who at the various commissions between 2002 and 2008 testified “it was not the responsibility of intelligence or law enforcement officials to be concerned about the Human Rights of a Canadian detainee.” Huh? What? Isn’t that the basis of their very jobs?

 There’s more – and sadly it justifies the world’s and young Canadians’ lack of good faith that the RCMP and CSIS have brought upon themselves. On October 2, 2001 the RCMP issued a private memorandum to the intelligence agencies throughout the world which labeled Mr. Al Malki “an imminent threat” to Canada, conjuring up images and associations of suicide bombers. 

On the very same day the RCMP issued the worldwide security warning concerning Mr. Al Malki, an internal RCMP memo was issued and circulated which revealed that the Mounties had nothing on Mr. Al Malki except that he is an “Arab running around”.

 These are perhaps the double-standards and selective information releases that have led so many young Canadians to lose their faith in the Canadian government and its “intelligence” agencies. One young person asked Mr. Al Malki how he could not hate Canada after what they had done to him – Abdullah replied that one of the most important life lessons he has learned is to realize the difference between the governments, their actions and the people. Mr. Al Malki answered that the actions of the Canadian government, the RCMP and CSIS were a disgrace, but he could not hate Canada because the people of this country have given him nothing but their support.

 Hopefully, this country will see a day where those Canadian people supportive of justice and fairplay, will get their chance to represent themselves through the government. The young Canadians are ready.


Tariq Jeeroburkhan is an independent content provider based in Montreal who can be reached at . His blog is




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3 responses to “Morality Lessons in Canadian Torture

  1. Pingback: Weekly Update into Afghanistan Situation – May 27, 2011 | Tariq Jeeroburkhan’s Blog

  2. Tariq Jeeroburkhan

    Unfortunetly, Canada’s exclusionary xenophobic culture is not limited to the Harper government. Using Harper as a scapegoat releases the majority of Canadians who are exclusionary and xenophobic from their responsibility in the disgrace Canada has become. We are all responsible for Canada’s global reputation based on how we treat people in our country and throughout the world. Putting all the blame on Harper won’t solve Canada’s reputation – all it does is clear our individual guilty consiousness while Canada remains a disgrace to the world community.

  3. rana

    Folks who have ME connections will bring maturity, understanding, a deeper sense of humanity and history for all Canadians to learn from. Canada cannot remain in the throes of the exclusionary xenophobic culture that emanates from Harper’s vision of society. Perhaps the dignity of people like him will introduce young Canadains to ask what the Egyptians, Tunisians have–that we do not want a patronizing, intellectually humiliating, boxed-in conservative mindset to run Canada much longer.

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