A "narrative" implicating Abousfian Abdelrazik in terrorism has surfaced on a United Nations website--just as he is about to return home to Canada after a six-year battle.
Paul Koring has it all this morning in the Globe & Mail. The issue is not whether the unsourced allegations have any merit--I have no idea, I don't know Abdelrazik personally. But the suspicious timing of the "narrative" should arouse our concerns.
At this point he's got a clean bill of health from both the RCMP and CSIS. The Sudanese tortured him for a while and then pronounced him innocent of any terrorist involvement. And we know, from the disgraceful tale of Maher Arar, that many fingers were pointed at many innocent people in the paranoia that boiled up after 9/11.
It gets worse. The name of Abu Zubaydah has been raised in the UN gossip-column as well. His adventures at the hands of American authorities--going all the way up to then-President George W. Bush, where the buck stops--is an ugly story in itself. Believed to be a top-ranking al-Qaeda operative, it turns out he was a low-level munchkin who had done little and seen less. But they broke him, with beatings, suspension from a ceiling, sleep deprivation, and 83 waterboardings.
A tiny fraction of that and I would be prepared to swear that I was bin Laden's golf partner.
Zubaydah apparently implicated Abdelrazik in something. Omar Khadr, under torture in Guantanamo, implicated Maher Arar, too. But that story soon fell apart. Torture induces narratives, but they tend, in reality, to be the narratives of the torturer.
Koring notes that the UN posting is unprecedented: such announcements usually appear in groups, but this was the first time a solo posting has been made. Here's Abdelrazik's lawyer, Yavar Hameed:
It's highly irregular and I don't believe it is coincidental that the UN posted this one on the eve of Mr. Abdelrazik's return. It smacks of smear by association; if there was anything criminal or substantive in terms of terrorist activity then I think our security services or those of the United States would have launched a prosecution.
We know, of course, that the US wanted information from Canada to help prosecute Abdelrazik under the lower standards employed by the Americans in such cases. But there is no evidence that the Canadian authorities had any such information to provide--it appears not, since no prosecution was ever launched.
Again, however, the timing and the presentation of this unsourced rag-bag of allegations are suspicious in the extreme. Is the Harper government trying to recover from months of damaging publicity, and build an alibi for its shameful conduct, by means of the United Nations Security Council 1267 committee?