Authorities Can't Find Anything To Charge Alleged 'Extremist' With But Still Insist On 24-Hour Monitoring, Computer Restrictions
from the fighting-terrorism-means-never-having-to-make-sense dept
Canada's civil liberties-trampling anti-terrorism law (C-51) only recently passed, but authorities have been nothing if not proactive in combating the threat posed by radicalized citizens. Co-opting US law enforcement's belief that supportive words = 'material support,' the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raided the home of an "extremist," arresting him and seizing a bunch of his computer equipment.
Harun Abdurahman, known as Aaron Driver to his father, apparently came under surveillance after expressing his "extreme views" during an interview with a Canadian newspaper. His father, a career member of the Canadian Armed Forces, seems somewhat dismayed by his government's actions.
"They told me he was on the watch list. He was considered a radical extremist and 'we hope he doesn't go to terrorist,'" said the man's father in an exclusive interview with CBC News in March. The CBC is not identifying the father.Driver/Abdurahman may be C-51's first test case/victim, even though his surveillance and arrest occurred before the law was passed. But if the aftermath of this arrest is any indication, Canadians who articulate "extreme" views have a lot more reasons to fear their government than their government has reason to fear them.
"Here you've got your national security force, if you will, monitoring your child," he said. "How would you react to something like that? I didn't know what to say."
After spending a week in jail, Driver has been released. He has not been charged, but federal authorities are treating him as though he just served a lengthy prison sentence for an incredibly heinous crime. There are 25 stipulations attached to his release (once again, not charged with any crime) which will severely limit Driver's ability to live anything approaching a normal life.
Here are just a few of the restrictions imposed by authorities:
- Wear an electronic monitoring device around the clock.
- Take part in "religious counselling" and forward the counsellor's name to RCMP.
- Follow an overnight curfew (from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily) and stay at his home in Winnipeg's Charleswood neighbourhood. The home was raided earlier this month.
- Surrender any passports he has and not apply for any passport from Canada or any other country.
- Not possess any desktop, laptop or tablet computer. Any cellphone he has must be approved by RCMP, and the phone number must be submitted to police.
- Provide passwords and access to his cellphone at the RCMP's request, with "such requests not to exceed two times per month."
- Stay away from social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Kik, Surespot and Telegram encrypted chat.
- Have "no contact or communication directly or indirectly with any member of ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Al Qaida in Iraq." He must also not possess anything bearing the logos or names of any of those groups.
The government believes these are reasonable restrictions to place on a person who has not been charged with nor convicted of any criminal activity. Federal prosecutor Ian Mahon sees these stipulations -- which are far more severe than those that convicted criminals face -- as nothing more than an appropriate level of quid pro quo.
"If he is willing to enter into certain conditions, then there's no reason to keep him in custody," Mahon told CBC News on Monday.How about "if he hasn't been charged with any crimes, then there's no reason to keep him in custody?" That's sort of how criminal custody works. Apparently, plenty of exceptions will be made for someone deemed dangerous enough to justify a raid involving several officers loaded in tactical gear and the seizure of electronics, but not dangerous enough to be charged and put on trial. This is the Canadian government aggressively chilling speech it doesn't like and nothing more.
And for all the supposed danger Driver posed, the police didn't seem to exercise much care during its weeks of surveillance.
Neighbours say undercover officers have been watching the home in the city's southwestern neighbourhood of Charleswood for months.LOL. "Undercover."
If the RCMP truly believed this was a dangerous individual, it would have done better obscuring its presence. But all it was looking for was an excuse to bust someone for the nonexistent crime of supporting unpopular views. It openly surveilled a Canadian citizen, held him for a week without charge and then only agreed to release the uncharged Driver if he would agree to further round-the-clock scrutiny from authorities so concerned about his online comments, they couldn't even find anything to charge him with.