Open Letter to Solicitor General of Canada Re: Banning of Palestinian Groups

Today, six B.C. groups sent the following letter to the Honorable Wayne Easter, Solicitor General of Canada, regarding his announcement last week about the banning of three Palestinian organizations. They stated: “We…denounce this biased and politically motivated announcement, the timing of which…was highly questionable.” The groups were Canada Palestine Association, International Solidarity Movement-Vancouver, No One Is Illegal-Vancouver, Palestine Community Centre, Palestine Solidarity Group and Please find more relevant articles below about the banning of Muslim and Palestinian groups.

Dear Mr. Easter,

The recent banning by the Canadian government of three Palestinian organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), is just the latest example of this government’s support for Israeli aggression, occupation and injustice against the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peoples. It is also an extension of the U.S. anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim policies that have been implemented since September 11, 2001.

We, as groups that support Palestinian rights, denounce this biased and politically motivated announcement, the timing of which, just before a governmental transfer of power, was highly questionable. We believe that such a move will most likely increase the hatred in the Middle East toward the western world. Western governments, led by the U.S., are already perceived as being interested in only controlling the region and its resources, and as callous powers that are imposing despotic dictatorships on the people of the Middle East, dictatorships that are acting as puppets for the West with no regard to human rights, democracy or freedom.

The banned organizations are part of the Palestinian liberation movement, recognized not only by the UN, but also by the majority of world public opinion. These organizations, despite differences in tactics, are part of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, liberation and democracy and two of them are long-time members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

While 59 per cent of European public opinion considers Israel the main country on the planet that threatens world peace, the Canadian government rewards Israeli aggression by striking at the “enemies” of Israel. The Canadian government is also continuing its economic support of Israel through the Canada-Israel free trade agreement, and the financial support and tax-deductible status the Zionist organizations enjoy and use, even though this helps the illegal settlements.

The political support of the Canadian government is long standing, goes back to even before the creation of the state of Israel, and is well-documented at the UN where Canada, alongside the U S, always protected Israel from any meaningful resolution that would hurt it economically or politically. These policies are motivated by the self-interest of our government’s politicians, who, in this respect, would seem to have no regard for international law, human rights or morality.

Israel, since before its official inception, has recruited Canadians (against Canadian Law, the Foreign Enlistment Act, and under the noses of successive Canadian governments) to go and participate in the killing of Palestinians and Arabs.

Some Canadian Zionist papers even boast about this and give recruitment figures. Israeli death squads have assassinated people, including Canadians, all over the world. The Israeli Mossad has used Canadian passports and Israeli agents have posed as Canadians to recruit Palestinian informants and collaborators.

Israel, its security agencies, its military and the settlers are the ones who should be put on the terrorist list, if Canadian foreign policy is indeed evenhanded. Amnesty International has charged Israel with “war crimes” in its recent actions in the Rafah area of Gaza. Where is our government’s action to respond to these outrages?

The Palestinians and their children are being terrorized daily, their homes and fields are being destroyed, their leaders are being murdered without any due process and their lands are being stolen. Israeli warplanes and tanks are attacking Palestinian civilian areas, killing the civilian population, including young children. Collective punishment is terrorism, building the Apartheid Wall is terrorism. So who should be on the terrorist list?

The Canadian government’s banning of these organizations gives a license to de-legitimize the Palestinian struggle and its Canadian support base. This will lead to further persecution and fear amongst Canadian supporters and escalate the racism, stereotyping and unwarranted arrests against many Palestinian and Arab-Canadians.

These Canadian government policies will endanger the strategic interests of the Canadian people for generations to come and do a disservice to international law and human rights. We, as organizations concerned for justice for the Palestinian people and for peace in the region and the whole world, urge the Canadian government to stop going down the path of McCarthyism at home and of supporting aggression, occupation and human rights violations abroad.

We also pledge our support to the just struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and self- determination, and pledge to expose the Canadian government’s immoral and inhuman stand against the Palestinians to the Canadian public.

See also our Open Letter to the Canadian Prime Minister Regarding the Banning of Moslem Organizations on Dec. 11, 2002

September 7, 2002, published in the National Post author Stewart Bell
Ottawa to ban Palestinian group
Follows Jewish lobbying: Cabinet to double number of entities covered by terror law

The federal Cabinet is expected to outlaw a Palestinian militant group and up to a half-dozen other terrorist organizations under its new anti-terrorism law this fall, the National Post has learned. The names of as many as seven terrorist groups slated for legal sanctions were expected to be approved by ministers in Ottawa over the next few weeks, making it illegal for them to operate in Canada. It is not known which Palestinian group is to be added to the list but the most likely candidates are Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). All are hardline Islamic terrorist organizations that have dispatched suicide bombers and gunmen into Israel to kill civilians. Their aim is to destroy Israel through a relentless campaign of random violence.
The decision will likely anger Muslim extremists but will be welcomed by Canadian Jewish organizations, which have appealed to Ottawa in recent weeks to put the main instigators of Palestinian terrorism on the list. The Canadian government passed an anti-terrorism law last December that allows it to produce a list of what it calls “entities knowingly engaged in terrorist activity” whose operations are banned under the Criminal Code. But so far only al-Qaeda and six affiliated Islamic terrorist groups have been put on the list: Egyptian Al Jihad, Algerian Armed Islamic Group, Vanguards of Conquest, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Salifist Group for Call and Combat and al-Ittihad al-Islam.

Canada’s most prominent Jewish organizations want the list expanded to include Palestinian groups that target Israel and Jews around the world. “There is certainly as much proof of terrorist activity attached to groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, PFLP and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade as there is for al-Qaeda,” said David Matas, senior legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada.

“In fact, these groups boast openly about their atrocities.”

Lawrence MacAulay, the Solicitor-General, announced the first round of designations on July 23, saying he wanted Canadians to be fully aware that the organizations were engaged in terrorism. “People might happen to be dealing with these entities and not be aware that they are terrorist groups. What we’re saying today is these are terrorist groups. They’re listed under the Criminal Code. If you deal with them, assist them in any way, you’re breaking the law and we’re going to come after you.” Officials say the process of placing terrorist organizations on the list is time-consuming; a stack of documentation several feet high is required to justify each of the designations.
Federal agencies involved in national security compile reports on terrorist groups and forward them to the Solicitor-General, who then brings them to Cabinet for approval. Each report forwarded to Cabinet is said to be as long as 70 pages, with thousands of pages of appendices. The Post has requested copies of the reports under the Access to Information Act but the government has said they cannot be released because they are Cabinet confidences. Those named on the list face criminal sanctions. Anyone who knowingly participates in activity that enhances the group’s ability to conduct terrorism could be arrested and prosecuted. Those named on the list could also have their property and assets seized.

While a Palestinian group is among the next batch going forwarded, it is possible delays could hold up the process. The government wants each of the designations to be carefully backed up by detailed documentation in case the Cabinet decisions are challenged in court. The designation of al-Qaeda has not been challenged but those sympathetic to Palestinian militant groups might try to stop Canada from outlawing such groups as Hamas.

Although Canada has not yet outlawed any Palestinian groups, it has ordered banks to freeze the assets of several anti-Israeli groups, including Hamas, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, PFLP and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. But Ottawa has frozen the accounts of only the military wing of the terrorist group Hezbollah, drawing complaints from Jewish groups who argue there is no distinction between the armed and political wings of the organization. Hamas and other Palestinian groups have some support among militant Muslims in Canada, including on university campuses. The Post reported last month that the Web site of a Concordia University Muslim student group was providing a platform for the justification of Palestinian suicide terrorism. The material was removed after a complaint from B’nai Brith.

The Post also reported that intelligence information collected by the FBI indicated that Hamas had been collecting money in Canada since the early 1990s. Several prominent Muslim organizations with offices in Canada have solicited donations to the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas charity shut down by U.S. authorities last year for allegedly financing Hamas.

© Copyright 2002 National Post

December 12, 2002, published in the Globe and Mail. author Jeff Sallot
Hezbollah ban attacked as biased Canadian Arabs say Israeli settlements should also be seen as type of terrorism

Angrily reacting to a ban on the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Canadian Arabs say the government should also outlaw fundraising for Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. “Illegal Israeli settlements and destruction of Palestinian villages are terrorism against the Palestinian people,” Mazen Chouaib, the executive director of the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations, said yesterday.

The Jewish National Fund, B’nai Brith Canada and other groups that support the Israeli settlements should be subject to the same kind of restrictions on activities now faced by Hezbollah, he said. Mr. Chouaib said the ban on Hezbollah will stigmatize Canadians of Arab and Muslim background and make them feel like “criminals or second-class citizens.

” Facing intense pressure from the Canadian Alliance in Parliament and national Jewish lobby groups, the government reversed course and outlawed fundraising and all other material support for Hezbollah under antiterrorism laws. Until yesterday, the government restricted activities in support of only the military wing of the group. Ottawa allowed Hezbollah’s political wing to raise money in Canada for schools, clinics and other social services in war-ravaged southern Lebanon. Solicitor-General Wayne Easter said yesterday that Hezbollah has been raising large sums in Canada that have not all gone to charitable work. Mr. Easter also announced a ban on Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese doomsday cult responsible for a 1995 poison-gas attack on the Tokyo subway, and the Kurdistan Workers Party, which attacked Turkish and Greek government offices in Canada in 1999. Mr. Easter was unable to cite examples of any activities in Canada by supporters of Aum Shinrikyo, the first group banned by Ottawa that is not based in the Middle East. The federal law is intended to combat terrorism globally, not just in Canada, Mr. Easter noted.

Yesterday’s announcement brings to 16 the total number of groups banned under the government’s new antiterrorism law since July. Conviction for assisting a banned group can bring a prison term of up to 10 years. Mr. Chouaib said it has always been a myth that Hezbollah raised large sums in Canada. The reality is that many Canadians of Lebanese descent send small sums directly to family members back

home and donations to schools and orphanages in their old villages, he said. “Hezbollah has no branches, representatives or fundraising activity in Canada,” Mr. Chouaib said. By contrast, Mr. Chouaib said, Jewish groups openly support Israeli settlers who have been responsible for destroying Palestinian villages. There is no valid comparison, B’nai Brith lawyer David Matas said. People can debate whether or not building Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank is a good policy, but these are not the acts of terrorism contemplated in the new federal law, Mr. Matas said.

B’nai Brith’s lawsuit against the federal government may have forced Ottawa’s hand, Mr. Matas said. B’nai Brith sought a Federal Court order to require Ottawa to disclose its files on Hezbollah. Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said Canada is reversing its policy on Hezbollah because of recent calls by the group’s leader for suicide bombings. He previously said Canada would deal with the Hezbollah political wing as part of the elected Lebanese parliament.

Ori Tannenbaum, an Israeli whose father was reportedly kidnapped by Hezbollah more than two years ago, appealed to the federal government to apply pressure to the Lebanese government to locate and free his father.

This is how the Canada government changed its policy into classifying the Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Not only was Canada pressured by a lawsuit from the B’nai Brith of Canada, it was also deceived by media reports. A journalist named Sayed Anwar, reporting from Jerusalem for the Washington Times wrote that the Hezbollah sheik Nasrallah said some nasty things like: “Suicide bombings should be exported outside Palestine”, and “I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide, don’t be shy about it.” The ominous quotes were picked up and reported widely in the Canadian media.

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Bill Graham, quoted them often as the reason for the government making a policy shift in declaring the Hezbollah as a terrorist group. But the problem is that sheik Nasrallah never made those comments and the reporter “Sayed Anwar” simply does not exist. In fact, “Sayed Anwar” is really the zionist Paul Martin, who writes from London, England, not Jerusalem. He has written many anti-Palestine propaganda pieces under the fraudulent name of “Sayed Anwar”, never revealing that it was a pseudonym.
Sometimes, the Washington Times would carry stories by both Anwar and Martin in the same issue. Paul Martin was exposed several months ago and one can check the exposure on the internet in politically incorrect websites. A pity the Canadian mainstream media and the government bureaucrats never found out in time.

After the announcement on the policy shift was made, Neil Macdonald reported the “Sayed Anwar” fraud on the CBC’s The National. Transcripts are shown below, for the video clip, click here.

Transcript host Peter Mansbridge, December 11, 2002, CBC TV, The National
Ottawa put Hezbollah on list of banned organizations
What was said by Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

PETER MANSBRIDGE: Tonight. Banned.

BILL GRAHAM (Minister of Foreign Affairs): We will be sending a signal to Hezbollah.

MANSBRIDGE: After months of pressure, Ottawa has put Hezbollah on its list of banned organizations. Why now? Eric Sorensen reports from Ottawa. Neil MacDonald is in Beirut. Intercepted and released. A ship carrying North Korean missiles is straining relations between the US and a Mideast ally. One hundred million dollar scam. Did Enron trick Revenue Canada and walk away with the cash? And order of battle.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What you’re seeing is a classic military build-up.

MANSBRIDGE: Twelve years after taking on Iraq, the United States looks poised to strike again. How will it wage war this time?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In a way, we’re trying to use huge military invasion forces to produce a coup d’etat.

MANSBRIDGE: A feature report.

ANNOUNCER: “The National.” From the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, here is Peter Mansbridge. Ottawa put Hezbollah on list of banned organizations

PETER MANSBRIDGE: Good evening. It is a controversial policy decision. Slap a complete ban on the Lebanese group Hezbollah. Today the federal government made the move, outlawing the group in Canada. Ottawa has been under pressure to act for months, so why the change now? What was the catalyst? In essence, the decision was driven by an incendiary quote attributed to the leader of Hezbollah. That quote, however, is questionable, the source suspect. That investigative story from Neil MacDonald in a moment. First, though, here is Eric Sorensen with the ban and the battle to get it imposed.

ERIC SORENSEN (Reporter): The latest in a series of pressure tactics turned out to be overkill. Ori Tannenbaum, his father reportedly held captive by Hezbollah, arrived from Israel to press Ottawa to ban the pro-Palestinian group. The government had already done so two hours earlier.

WAYNE EASTER (Solicitor General): This decision is made on the basis of sound criminal and security intelligence information and in no way is due to political pressure from anywhere.

SORENSEN: But there had been pressure from the Canadian Alliance in the House of Commons to B’nai Brith in the courts. Today the Jewish lobby group dropped its lawsuit to have Hezbollah outlawed.

FRANK DIMANT (B’nai Brith Canada): Canadians as a whole do not want terrorists operating in this country. It was the voice of Canadians that made the difference in this case.

SORENSEN: Three groups – Hezbollah, Aum Shinri Kyo which carried out the serin gas attack in Tokyo, and the Kurdistan Workers Party which launched attacks mainly in Turkey – have been added to a list that now total sixteen organizations. It is illegal to belong to or to aid the groups banned under Canada’s new anti-terror law. Until today, Ottawa had only banned Hezbollah’s military wing, which had been linked to such acts as the US marine barracks bombing in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s social political wing was allowed to operate and raise money in Canada for education and charities. Ottawa re-assessed after Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah was recently quoted calling on Palestinians to take a terror campaign worldwide.

BILL GRAHAM (Minister of Foreign Affairs): It was clear from the leaders comments the other day that, in fact, it was not distinguishing itself from terrorist activities.

SORENSEN: The Minister of Foreign Affairs says Ottawa’s decision sends a message about terrorism and inciting terrorism.

GRAHAM: I think it will be sending a signal to Hezbollah that its affirmation of the use of terrorism as an international instrument is not acceptable.

SORENSEN: But others say Nasrallah’s rhetoric is nothing new and accused Ottawa of looking for an excuse to take action. This Arab community spokesperson says Ottawa simply caved in to political pressure.

RAJA KHOURI (Canadian Arab Federation): It’s unfortunate to see a major policy such as this one shift based on political considerations as opposed to real security concerns.

SORENSEN: As for the impact of the ban, one Arab group says it will block the charitable work done by Hezbollah, but the Canadian Jewish Congress says what will be blocked is fundraising for military activities. They may both be right. Eric Sorensen, CBC News, Ottawa. What was said by Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

PETER MANSBRIDGE: Well now to that crucial quote, the one that helped kickstart the change in Canadian policy and attributed to Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. The CBC’s Middle East correspondent Neil MacDonald went to Beirut to investigate what was said and what was not. Here’s his revealing report.

NEIL MACDONALD (Reporter): This unremarkable cleric enjoys legendary status in the Arab world. The man whose fighters drove Israel out of Lebanon. Israel and its supporters, though, regard Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah as a cold-blooded terrorist and say his own words have now provided the proof. Certainly the quotes attributed to him last week and reported widely in most Canadian media were ominous. “Suicide bombings should be exported outside Palestine”, he was reported to have said. “I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide, don’t be shy about it.” Canadian Jewish groups and their allies immediately pressed their demand that Canada classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Ottawa resisted doing that, given that Hezbollah also runs a social network with projects like this one which retrains and offers work to disabled Lebanese. Hassan Nasrallah’s heavily reported new quotes merely had an impact. The only problem is there is simply no evidence Hassan Nasrallah ever made a speech promoting global suicide attacks. There is no record of such a speech here, and there would be. It was not broadcast on Hezbollah’s television station, as was reported. Hezbollah, which vigorously publicizes Nasrallah’s every word, says the remarks were never uttered and the Canadian embassy in Beirut has tried and failed to document the quotes. The story originated not in the Middle East but in London, with this man. Paul Martin freelances for “The Washington Times,” a right wing newspaper owned by the Unification Church. He cannot back up the quotes his story attributes to Nasrallah. Nevertheless, he believes he understands Nasrallah’s true agenda.

PAUL MARTIN (The Washington Times): Nasrallah said we look at America as the enemy of this nation. He then adds, we will fight the enemy or them anywhere and everywhere and says that we need to work on the culture of suicide missions.

MACDONALD: There is nothing new in Nasrallah’s support for Palestinian tactics in the occupied territories and in Israel. Just recently, Nasrallah praised Palestinians he says are, quote, “willing to sacrifice themselves fighting Israel with whatever weapon”, suicide bombs included. But, says Hezbollah legislator Mohammed Raad, Nasrallah has specifically instructed that Hezbollah’s fight with Israel is military in nature and not to be taken outside the region. Raad says “The Washington Times” story about exporting attacks as part of a propaganda orchestrated by America’s pro-Israel right wing. Indeed, there does seem to be a theme to “Washington Times” stories. Earlier this year, the paper ran a report by a reporter named Sayed Anwar accusing Palestinian Muslims of raping, executing and extorting Christians in Bethlehem. When the story was questioned, Sayed Anwar turned out to be a fictitious name. A composite for Paul Martin and two of his researchers. Martin refused to discuss that incident on camera. Ottawa now knows that the Nasrallah quotes in the “Washington Times” about exporting suicide attacks were almost certainly never uttered. Of course what this all really boils down to is the old question of what constitutes terrorism. Is Hezbollah a national liberation movement or, as Israel and its supporters maintain, a murderous global menace? To a great many people in this part of the world, to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization is to choose sides in the defining conflict of the Middle East, an intensely political decision for any government. Neil MacDonald, CBC News, Beirut.

December 13, 2002 The Electronic Intifada by Nigel Parry False
Washington Times report convinces Canada to ban Hezbollah

November 14, 2003, The Ottawa Citizen, by Janice Tibbetts
Three Palestinian groups added to blacklist
Organizations blamed for hijackings of cruise ship, airliners

Three Palestinian groups were blacklisted yesterday as terrorist organizations, bringing to 34 the number of groups banned by the Canadian government. The three groups are the Palestine Liberation Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command. All seek to destroy Israel and form an independent Palestinian state.
“The government of Canada has determined that these entities knowingly engaged in terrorist activity,” Solicitor General Wayne Easter said in a statement. “Any person or group that is listed may have its assets seized or forfeited.”

Under the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act, the federal cabinet is allowed to keep a list of terror groups whose activities are deemed criminal. Being listed makes it a crime to participate in these groups, contribute to them or assist in their activities. The federal government describes the 42-year-old Palestine Liberation Front as “a small, armed splinter group” linked to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
“During its most active period, it is known to have conducted several high-profile attacks, including the operation for which it is best known, the October 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro,” says the solicitor general’s website. The Italian cruise ship was hijacked in the Mediterranean Sea by four hijackers, armed with guns and explosives. They killed one passenger, disabled American Jew Leon Klinghoffer, and demanded the release of 50 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is blamed for hijacking an El Al flight en route from Rome to Tel Aviv in 1968, and more recently, car bombings and suicide bombings in Israel, and the assassination of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command’s activities also include an airline hijacking in the 1970s.

© Copyright 2003 The Ottawa Citizen

November 13, 2003, Canadian Press
Canada adds three Palestinian groups to list of outlawed terror organizations

The federal government has added three Palestinian groups to its list of terrorist organizations banned from operating in Canada. The Palestine Liberation Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the PFLP-General Command all “knowingly engaged in terrorist activity,” Solicitor General Wayne Easter said in a news release Thursday. There are now 34 groups listed under Canada’s
Anti-Terrorism Act, meaning they are banned from activities in Canada. “The assessment process for more listing continues,” Easter added. Listed organizations may have their assets seized, and anyone belonging to or having dealings with them faces penalties ranging up to 10 years in jail.

The controversial Anti-terrorism Act was born out of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Groups can appeal for removal from the list by applying to the Solicitor General’s office.

© Copyright 2003 The Canadian Press