2005 September 06 Tuesday
Ottawa Visitor's Guide Gets Wrongly Suspected Terrorist Tortured

Oops.

The map was of huge interest to U.S. border guards, who grilled Canadian truck driver Ahmad El Maati for hours about it. So, too, did interrogators in Syria and Egypt, where Mr. El Maati says he was tortured and repeatedly asked about the map's provenance.

The Globe and Mail has learned that the map -- scrawled numbers and all -- was in fact produced and distributed by the Canadian federal government. It is simply a site map, given out to help visitors to Tunney's Pasture, a sprawling complex of government buildings in Ottawa, find their way around.

"All my problems started with that map," says Mr. El Maati, who was interrogated about the document while held in filthy prisons in Syria and Egypt, where he says he was tortured to extract information for Canadian authorities.

Next time you read about evidence for a supposed terrorist plot keep in mind the threshold of evidence can be pretty low.

Yet in the past four years, the "terrorist map" has taken on almost mythic qualities. It has figured in various leaked accounts describing thwarted al-Qaeda plots to blow up targets in Ottawa, including the Parliament Buildings and the U.S. embassy.

Read the whole thing. This would be Keystone Kops funny if it didn't get a guy tortured and held for a couple of years.

Update: Jody Neel paints a more complicated picture of El Maati. Also see here for more. Not sure what to make of this story.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 September 06 02:21 PM  Terrorists Western Response


Comments
raj said at September 6, 2005 7:58 PM:

We cannot have it both ways. We cannot attempt to have strict anti-terrorism laws without occasionally making mistakes- even serious mistakes. I empathize with the victim here (just like the Brazilian the British shot). However, I certainly hope that the codes are reviewed but not softened drastically whenever a sensational event like this occurs. I say this as someone who is more likely to get targetted than most people reading this blog. I'm surprised you chose to focus on this event Randall. I doubt you disagree with me much- so why further sensationalize an obvious failure?

Jody said at September 6, 2005 8:35 PM:

All well and good to exonerate an innocent man, except I'm not certain that El-Maati is innocent.

You see, he (and his brother) trained in a terrorist camp (I wrote that about Arar, but El-Maati features prominently in the writeup). The Globe and Mail piece kinda glosses over this uncomfortable fact with "He had served as an ambulance and truck driver with a mujahedeen militia in Afghanistan in the 1990s. He says it was an Islamic duty."

The feds screw up. A lot. After all, they're the government and that's what they're best at.

But based solely on this puff-piece, I'm not changing my belief that El-Maati is a jihadist.

Mik said at September 7, 2005 1:05 AM:

The host eagerness to believe someone named Ahmad El Maati is very troubling.
I don't care what one thinks about Bush - personally I think he is a thoghtless spoiled brat with brain filled by whoever happens to be around. One can think anything about Iraq war - I think it is poorly executed in PC fashion.

However one has to be a blind moron to deny that there is an 50-90% chance that a random Ahmad or Abdullah want you dead. Is it so difficult to separate Bush hatred from reality of Religion Of Peace fascists?

M.Robinson said at September 7, 2005 5:24 AM:

When the Brazilian civilian was killed my the under cover metropolitan police, an independent inquiry was set up by the government. brazil sent a delegation and they were very satisfied with the investigation being carried out.

Recently in the british press there was a case of a young british-bangladeshi male, who was stopped on the way out of New York airport and was questioned for over 1 1/2 hours, one of the ridiculous questions posed was:

FBI: " why were you born in Bangladesh"

Brit: " I did not have a say in the matter of where and which country my mother gave birth to me".

A lot of Americans are paranoid to the extreme, the security services are stopping any muslim on some pretext. In britain we do not do that because we are not so Islamaphobic or paranoid to do such things. On one hand bush talks about democracy and the right of the individual, yet this case of Mr. Ahmad El Maati is not isolated, on a recent BBC programme it was shown that a US registered private jet was taking individuals to nations like Egypt, jordan, and Zambia to be tortured. It was later revealed that the vast majority of those tortured were innocent people. this is the kind of sick and depraved behaviour that is carried out by the US authorities under the guise of protecting democracy, what a sham.

terrorists need to be stopped, there is no disagreement with that, its the way one goes about doing this is important.


50-90% chance that a random Ahmad or Abdullah want you dead.............]
Where do you get these numbers from, have you carried out some sort of poll that the rest are unaware of, or is it just a figment of your anti-muslim agenda. People such as your self are a danger to democracy and liberty. President bush does not have the intellect capability of Prime minister blair.
Even a lowly British MP like george Galloway humiliated a congressional hearing into the food for oil scam.

Iraq war - I think it is poorly executed in PC fashion........]
Tell that to the families of 50,000+ iraqi civilians killed by the US invasion.


Bob Badour said at September 7, 2005 7:44 AM:

Rajesh/Robinson,

I agree it was poorly executed in PC fashion. I disagree with your numbers regarding civilians killed by the invasion.

The invasion was quick and relatively bloodless. The bloodshed among warring tribes in Iraq may very well have killed 50,000 civilians, but even then I have my doubts. The jihadists are not civilians. The police are not civilians. The various armies and militias are not civilians.

Given your wont to pull bald assertions from unmentionable places without any pretense of veracity, I pretty much discard everything you write as hogwash.

Matra said at September 7, 2005 9:38 AM:

In britain we do not do that because we are not so Islamaphobic or paranoid to do such things.

The capital isn't known around Europe as "Londonistan" for nothing.

M.Robinson said at September 8, 2005 6:07 AM:

The capital isn't known around Europe as "Londonistan" for nothing.........]

I am very much proud of the multiculture's of London, and our treatment of different races, this is quite different from the french and Germans.
The French talk of liberty, but in actual fact do not practice what they preach, they have this idea that multicultirism is okay as long as its French?
What they are saying in actual fact is, forget your culture, religion and food and just become french. I know of people who are more english than the English but that does not stop the racist from trying to denigrade the individual on his race.

The french and the germans have an inferiority complex, which makes them want to assert their culture onto others.

I too believe in integration, that is those who emigrate to the U.K should make a concerted effort to learn the language and know of the culture and laws of britain, while at the same time not losing their cultural heritage.

The bloodshed among warring tribes in Iraq may very well have killed 50,000 civilians................bob badour.....]

you have the audacity to accuse me of acquiring information from 'unmentionable' places and yet you have no problem in making a preposterous lie as mentioned in the above quote by yourself.
I received that information from the BBC. now i know of the BBc, and they do not put such info up so lightly.

I pretty much discard everything you write as hogwash...........bob badour]
I very much enjoy the fact when someone gets upset by the truth.

Bob Badour said at September 8, 2005 4:29 PM:

With all due respect Rajesh/Robinson/Vikram, what you are saying is "Forget your french culture. Forget your british culture. Who cares if it is the culture of the victors of Agincourt? Who cares if it is the culture that gave birth to liberty and to freedom? I want to come to your country and impose my culture on you."


"The french and the germans have an inferiority complex, which makes them want to assert their culture onto others."

Then, I guess that applies equally to anyone who immigrates to France, Germany, England, Canada, the USA and who wants to assert their culture in a 'multi-cultural' society. They all just have inferiority complexes. By your reasoning, in any case.


"I received that information from the BBC. now i know of the BBc, and they do not put such info up so lightly."

I disagree. I don't trust the BBC as a news source. I find their coverage heavily tainted by a socialist bias, racism, and mendacity. I don't trust them any more than any other blatant race baiter like Wolf Blitzer, for instance.


Upset? Truth? I am not upset, and you have yet to say anything that's true.

M.Robinson said at September 9, 2005 3:52 AM:

the British culture is flourishing in many parts of the world, from south asia to Malaysia, hong kong, Singapore, parts of africa etc. The English language is spoken more eloquently where english is not the first language. So british culture is surviving beyond the shores of great Britain. Equally other people with diferent languages and cultures come to britain to make it home, but the overwhelming are making the concerted effort to integrate.

People like yourself seem to be demanding Assimilation, I think this to be a dangerous notion, because the Jewish community was very much integrated into germany, yet that did not stop the Nazi's using them as the 'others' in society.

those who hate a certain group or race, will come up with the rhetoric to justify their actions.

Bob Badour said at September 9, 2005 6:29 AM:

British culture or the english language? Are you suggesting a lot of working class Asians come home to drink warm beer from their sideboards? Are you suggesting the Anglican church is sweeping Asia by storm?

When you say British culture flourishes in Malaysia, do you attribute that to the Islamist government there?

Yes, I do demand assimilation of those who wish to live here. Just as the vast majority of the world does. What is the point of encouraging a new immigrant to hate my culture and to detest the rights and freedoms that make my culture superior in the first place?

The Jewish community was about as integrated into German society as the oil is integrated into the vinegar in my salad dressing. Sure they were found everywhere, but they really didn't mix all that much. Your example argues strongly against multiculturalism, because after all, didn't the Germans tolerate the Jewish culture right up to the moment they stopped tolerating it? If multiculturalism works all so well, why do the Jews need a homeland to avoid extermination from all those tolerant multicultural europeans?

Why do you mention hatred? I don't see any haters around here.

M.Robinson said at September 14, 2005 6:45 AM:

Anglican church is sweeping Asia by storm.................]
The number of anglicans in south asia quite high in actual church attendance, the number of blacks and south asians who are part of the church in england is quite significant.

assimilation of those who wish to live here...............]
why do the Jews need a homeland to avoid extermination from all those tolerant multicultural europeans?....]

The vast majority of German Jews were an integral part of German society, they spoke German, similar dress code, many were bankers, lawyers, artists, musicians and most of all in medicine. The Germans, but more precisely the Nazi's sought to blame the 'other' for the wrongs in society, and many people were jealous of the jews, because many were business people and were professionals. The nazi's played on the stereotypes, and accused the jews of being the hidden enemy in german society, this 'hidden' point would suggest that the jews were integrated very well into german society.
the concept of ASSIMILATION would have mean't the end for the jews in europe, because they would had to renounce their faith and language and even then they would have been targetted for racial reasons.

Multiculturalism is a good thing in my opinion, as long as the immigrant society learn the language and history of the host nation, and becoming more integrated into the wider society. Britain is a land of people who enjoy bacon in the morning, yet we have two communities who do not eat bacon due to religious dietary law, now would you suggest that these people eat bacon to show their love for everything british?. if yes, then where is freedom and liberty.

When you say British culture flourishes in Malaysia..............]
It flourishes for a number of reasons, firstly malaysia was a colony of britain so english became the language of the law, secondly we have a lot of malaysian students come to britain for studies, and as such they will study on average 3-7 years (depending on course), they bring aspects of their culture to britain, and take certain aspects of british culture with them, this is an enriching process for both, but more importantly it breaks down stereotypes that certain communities may have of each other.

immigrant communities from south asia constitute 4% of the population, yet their economic output is amounts to 10% of the economy. these people have made a concerted efort to make britain their home.

I

Bob Badour said at September 15, 2005 4:27 PM:


Anglican church is sweeping Asia by storm.................]
The number of anglicans in south asia quite high in actual church attendance, the number of blacks and south asians who are part of the church in england is quite significant.

And the source of your information is ... ? And the actual numerical figures are ... ? And what about all those working class asians and their warm beer?


assimilation of those who wish to live here...............]
why do the Jews need a homeland to avoid extermination from all those tolerant multicultural europeans?....]

The vast majority of German Jews were an integral part of German society, they spoke German, similar dress code, many were bankers, lawyers, artists, musicians and most of all in medicine. The Germans, but more precisely the Nazi's sought to blame the 'other' for the wrongs in society, and many people were jealous of the jews, because many were business people and were professionals.

Exactly! Germany was multicultural, or more precisely bicultural, right up until the moment it wasn't anymore. The jews were perceived as a market dominant minority, and the German response was altogether too typical for market lagging majorities.


Multiculturalism is a good thing in my opinion, as long as the immigrant society learn the language and history of the host nation, and becoming more integrated into the wider society.

Having spent my entire life in a multicultural society, I have to respectfully disagree. I see no reason to foment ethnic rivalries. If you want to live in Rome, do as the Romans do.


Britain is a land of people who enjoy bacon in the morning, yet we have two communities who do not eat bacon due to religious dietary law, now would you suggest that these people eat bacon to show their love for everything british?. if yes, then where is freedom and liberty.

I once knew a Jamaican man who could not tolerate the smell of bacon. His family never ate it growing up, and the very thought of it nauseated him. I avoid dairy products. My girlfriend goes into anaphylaxia after casual exposure to seafood. The last time happened when she touched the corner of her eye while washing the plate her daughter ate coconut shrimp off of.

I don't see how diet has anything to do with culture at all.

That said, I live in a culture that spent the better part of a millenium fighting bloody horrific battles to finally establish principles by which men of varying faiths, backgrounds, political preferences, means and intellects can prosper together as free men. To achieve this worthy goal requires adherence to certain core values notably among which are individual property rights, mutual respect and toleration, equality of individuals before the law, the separation of church and state, and representative democracy -- complete with a loyal opposition.

If one is not willing to assimilate and fully internalize all of those values, one has no real business here. It's not a buffet where one can pick and choose.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that I can live in such a culture where I can practice my religion, atheism, without fear of discrimination or to put it bluntly fear of murder. The core beliefs of many cultures insist on my murder in large areas of the world solely for my religious beliefs.

Some cultures not only fail to value the core values I mentioned above, but actively oppose those values. Sharia law has no place in western liberalism. If one wants sharia law, one can have it elsewhere. Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Iran for instance. Can you imagine the uproar in the west if a democratic country instituted anything resembling dhimmitude? With lesser rights for--I don't know--the Scottish let's say? Or the Jewish? Or the Hispanic?

Sadly, I also live in a country where multiculturalism has eroded those core values to the point where I wish to flee. I live in a country that cynically tolerated a legislative leader who ordered the police to arrest peaceful protesters using chemical agents to subdue them, and then on a later date ordered the same police to beat thosee same protesters with clubs. A regime that misappropriated billions of dollars to line its own pockets. A country that sent young men into battle and, while our allies wanted to lavish praise on them, singled out one of them for court-marshall--allegedly for uttering an english word while in-theater.

Here where I live, collective rights have usurped individual rights, and the people around me seem utter oblivious to the consequences.


When you say British culture flourishes in Malaysia..............]
It flourishes for a number of reasons

I don't see where you established it flourishes at all.

I have a friend who lives in Sandakan. She's afraid to discuss anything remotely resembling politics. She watches television that largely disperses Islamist propaganda. While she speaks English and practices Catholoicism, I would say her culture is thoroughly Chinese.

What aspects of English culture do you see enriching Malaysia? How does it influence any part of their lives?


immigrant communities from south asia constitute 4% of the population, yet their economic output is amounts to 10% of the economy. these people have made a concerted efort to make britain their home.

I agree that some immigrants, particularly intelligent immigrants, when properly assimilated, contribute a lot to western civilization. Historically, the problems have arisen when too many immigrants arrived together with their tribal connections intact to properly assimilate.


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