"Recalling the relevant international counter-terrorism conventions
and in particular the obligations of parties to those conventions to extradite
or prosecute terrorists…"
– United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 [.pdf], Oct. 15, 1999
In the informed debate of the last 10 years regarding "terrorism," there’s a missing acronym to define this dreadful new menace, a menace fearful enough to provoke civilized nations into abandoning the Nuremberg principles, the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter, the Statute of Rome, the American Constitution, and here in Canada, the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. It would have to be pretty damn serious for that to happen, but as Ollie North’s secretary, Fawn Somebody, said: "Sometimes you have to go above the law." I was never clear where that was, or how it was different from breaking the law.
"The Harper government was warned shortly after it came to office in 2006 that Sudan’s notorious military intelligence agency was ready to ‘disappear’ Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, unless Ottawa allowed him to go home, The Globe and Mail has learned."
Anyway, I now have a solution for the missing acronym that defines the terrorist enemy: Extremist Jihadist Islamist Terrorist (EJIT). Have I left anything out? I don’t think so. I was going to add "fundamentalist," but that would drag in unwanted religion to muddy the waters of the 1267 Committee. I myself am an agnostic fundamentalist, and I don’t think I deserve to be on the "no-fly" list either. I admit the 1267 Committee has an ominous ring to it, implying an organization not to be messed with, and certainly not one to come to the attention of, but other than that it conveys no information. If we’re going to report somebody to this committee, however, we should have a clear idea what we’re looking for.
So let’s define EJIT. What is "extremist"? I don’t know. How about somebody willing to do violence not sanctioned by international law? That’s a long list. It includes much of the American executive branch. Nevertheless, the expression "Islamist extremist" is not hard to find at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just to pick one example at random. But how about Richard Armitage’s threat to bomb Pakistan "back into the Stone Age" if it didn’t co-operate after 9/11? That seems pretty extreme. I recall the Stone Age is a favorite destination for American warriors like Curtis LeMay, who wanted to bomb Hanoi back to the Stone Age. Why the Stone Age, one wonders, and not the Iron Age? I suppose if you’ve got iron, you’ve got the railway, and once you’ve got the railway you’ve got nuclear fission. The total obliteration of other humans seems a little extreme, and the most organized form of it, in Nazi Germany, is now the epitome of evil, as recognized by the Nuremberg Tribunal and all subsequent war crimes legislation and international humanitarian law.
What is "jihadist"? From Wikipedia’s disputed entry:
"According to scholar John Esposito, Jihad requires Muslims to ‘struggle in the way of God’ or ‘to struggle to improve one’s self and/or society.’ Jihad is directed against Satan’s inducements, aspects of one’s own self, or against a visible enemy. The four major categories of jihad that are recognized are Jihad against one’s self (Jihad al-Nafs), Jihad of the tongue (Jihad al-lisan), Jihad of the hand (Jihad al-yad), and Jihad of the sword (Jihad as-sayf). Islamic military jurisprudence focuses on regulating the conditions and practice of Jihad as-sayf, the only form of warfare permissible under Islamic law, and thus the term Jihad is usually used in fiqh manuals in reference to military combat."
But perhaps closer to the spirit of the 1267 Committee is the definition of Daniel Pipes, scholar, writer, idiot non-savant:
"The purpose of jihad, in other words, is not directly to spread the Islamic faith but to extend sovereign Muslim power (faith, of course, often follows the flag). Jihad is thus unabashedly offensive in nature, with the eventual goal of achieving Muslim dominion over the entire globe."
Well, it doesn’t get any clearer that that, or more shallow.
"Islamist." What is this? Is this Muslim, or Islamic? No. I think we’ve gotten to the stage where Islamist has connotations on the scale "Muslim-Islamic-Islamist" that are roughly the same as the old "negro-nigrah-n*gger" epithet, which carried an increasing weight of hate, fear, and contempt as it moved closer to the gutter. If Dan isn’t going to hold back, why should anyone else? Let’s call a spade a spade. I’m only saying, if you’re going to put Islamist together with words like extremist, radical, or terrorist, you might as well say "n*gger," and "uppity n*gger" at that.
"Terrorist." This word gets a lot of attention, but the definition is not all that complicated, which is anyone committing violence against civilians to achieve political or military goals. Hiroshima comes to mind, or of course the Blitz, or Operation Barbarossa, or 9/11, or 7/7, or 6/23.
On June 23, 1985, two bombs exploded within an hour of each other, one on Air India Flight 182 over the North Atlantic, resulting in the deaths of 325 people, and the other at Narita Airport in Tokyo, resulting in two deaths and four serious injuries (it was actually meant to be transferred to an Air India Flight 301 as baggage). It was a genuine terrorist operation with al-Qaeda-like timing (possibly bin Laden or al-Zawahiri were paying attention), but planned and built in Canada, in all probability as a result of the invasion of the Golden Temple a year earlier. It resulted in almost no convictions, a very expensive trial, and no UN Security Council Resolutions. Now that I think of it, al-Zawahiri was a dermatologist, or maybe that was his brother, and I heard Che Guevara was a dermatologist, though I’m not sure about that, and I’m a dermatologist. Don’t join the dots, people; sometimes a dot is just a dot. You see the trouble with information that isn’t information.
Despite the provisions of Chapter VII of the UN Charter (and in particular Article 41) and the atrocities of 6/23, there is no UN "Consolidated List" of Sikhs in British Columbia or elsewhere, or for that matter a "Consolidated List" of people from Oklahoma known to have associated with Tim McVeigh, like the residents of Elohim City, for example, a "gated community" started by a Canadian funnily enough, which had as many links to Timothy McVeigh as Abousfian Abdelrazik had to any EJIT. So the rooting out of international terrorism has a distinctly ethnic flavor, and Abdelrazik just lived a year in the Canadian embassy in Sudan to prove it.
According to the CBC:
"As we mentioned in our last half-hour, Abousfian Abdelrazik is back at home in Canada. He was stranded in Sudan for six years, jailed twice and accused of supporting al-Qaeda. He also spent a little more than a year sleeping on a cot in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.
"The RCMP and CSIS – the Canadian Security Intelligence Service – cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing. But he couldn’t come home because the Canadian government said he was still a security risk and refused to grant him a passport. Until a Federal Court judge this month ordered the government to allow him to return to Canada.
"His story has prompted comparisons to the story of Josef K, the protagonist in Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial. So The Current‘s Aaron Brindle and Chris Wodskou put the two stories side-by-side to see where they intersect.
"John Zilcosky and Amir Attaran both agreed to help. John Zilcosky is the author of Kafka’s Travels and the chair of the department of Germanic languages and literature at the University of Toronto. And Amir Attaran is a professor in the law and medicine departments at the University of Ottawa who has worked on Abousfian Abdelrazik’s case. The documentary is called Abdelrazik’s Trial. It first aired on The Current in April.
"At the time this documentary first went to air we requested interviews with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and his parliamentary secretary, Deepak Obhrai. They were not available."
It’s a genuine Canadian disgrace. What saves us is the Federal Court judge, Justice Zinn, who ordered him brought home to appear in court as bona fides of the execution of the court order:
"Memorandum to file from Honourable Mr. Justice Zinn dated 08-JUL-2009 further to the hearing held in Montréal on 07-JUL-2009 requesting that the following comments be made a formal part of the Court’s record: ‘In my Judgment of June 4th, I ordered that Mr. Abdelrazik be repatriated to Canada and that he appear before me today. … Mr. Abdelrazik, I urge you to let your future be shaped by the present, and not by the past. This hearing is concluded.’"
When I read that, I was proud of Canada. However, we have work to do.
Read more by Neil Kitson
- The Five Eyes’ Daisy Chain – February 20th, 2011
- Gimme More Magna Carta! – January 4th, 2011
- Treachery as Public Policy – July 18th, 2010
- Why All the Secrecy? – May 30th, 2010
- Canada’s ‘Whole Freaking Government’ Approach in Afghanistan – April 27th, 2010