Director Judd ascribed an “Alice in Wonderland” worldview to Canadians and their courts, whose judges have tied CSIS “in knots,” making it ever more difficult to detect and prevent terror attacks in Canada and abroad. The situation, he commented, left government security agencies on the defensive and losing public support for their effort to protect Canada and its allies.
The Director observed that CSIS was “sinking deeper and deeper into judicial processes,” making Legal Affairs the fastest growing division of his organization. Indeed, he added, legal challenges were becoming a “distraction” that could have a major “chill effect” on intelligence officials.
Judd derided recent judgments in Canada’s courts that threaten to undermine foreign government intelligence- and information-sharing with Canada. These judgments posit that Canadian authorities cannot use information that “may have been” derived from torture, and that any Canadian public official who conveys such information may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Judd credited Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government for “taking it on the chin and pressing ahead” with common sense measures despite court challenges and political knocks from the opposition and interest groups. When asked to look to the future, Judd predicted that Canada would soon implement UK-like legal procedures that make intelligence available to “vetted defense lawyers who see everything the judge sees.”
I’m really not surprised by this at all. The former director of CSIS had no respect for Canadians or for rule of law in a democracy. He was on board with convicting people based on the things they say while being tortured. I wonder what his role was in the Maher Arar affair, given his view on information gained via torture?
He observed that the images would no doubt trigger “knee-jerk anti-Americanism” and “paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty,” as well as lead to a new round of heightened pressure on the government to press for Khadr’s return to Canada. He predicted that PM Harper’s government would nonetheless continue to resist this pressure.
We (as Canadians) are already cast as terrorist enablers who get outraged by little things like torturing children and treating captured battlefield combatants as war criminals instead of as POWs. Not to worry, though, Stephen Harper has no such qualms. In Judd’s view, Harper must be more of an American than the rest of us rabble, who are unfortunate enough to be *ptui* Canadians. Canadians value equal treatment, the rule of law, and the presumption of innocence, which probably leads to our “paroxysms of moral outrage”.
That said, this Wikileaks document doesn’t surprise me. CSIS is, and always has been, dismissive of the individual rights and freedoms of Canadians. This really serves as a cautionary tale for anyone who finds themselves dealing with CSIS personnel. They are a paranoid organization. If you find yourself in CSIS’ sights, in their mind you are already guilty of something, and deserve whatever inhuman treatment third party torturers have in store for you. Just like Maher Arar.