15 May 2000
The dirty side of
It has surfaced that the Canadian intelligence service CSIS, which closely follows Kurds that apply for political asylum in that country, also employs numerous illegal methods, including following persons with cars and secretly searching their homes.
It has been learned that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), not settling just for keeping reports against Kurds, has for years also pressured them to engage in secret agent activities. In a new report prepared by the government's Security Intelligence Supervisory Committee, which is assigned to follow CSIS activities, it was revealed that the CSIS not only keeps prejudiced reports against Kurds but also pressures Kurds living in Canada to become agents for the organization.
Making an explanation to the Edmonton Sun newspaper the other day, a Kurdish medical student living in the Canadian city of Calgary said that in 1996, when he was going from Calgary to the university in Edmonton, he was followed and kept under surveillance for hours. His home was also searched. CSIS victim Suleyman Guven said another person was also questioned by the secret service in order to learn more about him.
The Canadian intelligence service, for its part, said it did not use these methods to gather information. Organization spokesman Dan Lambert said in an explanation to the Edmonton Sun that the service does not follow people in order to gain information. While asserting that the CSIS performs its activities in accordance with the law, Lambert did not discuss who was responsibility for the actions against Kurds.
But, as opposed to Lambert's assertions, another Kurd, who spoke under the code name "Ahmed" for security reasons, gave the following details on what had happened to him: "They entered my home three times. They took things that normal thieves would not take. For example, they took notebooks and computer diskettes."
The CSIS admitted that it had been carrying out a secret investigation against Ahmed for years. According to the CSIS, Ahmed's relations with the Kurds extend as far as the national liberation movement in Kurdistan, and that he therefore constitutes a "terrorist threat." Ahmed said that he had been a very successful medical student in the field of genetics while studying in Kurdistan and that he had recently received an award for his work on asthma in Canada.
Ahmed said that he had explained in the deposition he gave upon arriving in Canada that he had been taken into custody three times and tortured in Kurdistan, and that these events were in his official record. Ahmed left his country in 1994 and arrived in Calgary to stay with his brother after passing through Russia, Greece, and Holland. In excerpts from the CSIS report published by the newspaper, it is asserted that Ahmed had given conflicting testimony concerning how he came to Canada and that he had been closely followed because of his relations with Kurdish organizations in Edmonton. The aim of the investigation was said to be to uncover relations with the PKK.
Ahmed, along with other Kurds who were uncomfortable with the dirty activities of the CSIS, lodged a complaint with the Security Intelligence Service Supervisory Committee in 1998.
Their attorneys sent 32 letters to the committee and received support in their initiative from university circles and academicians. Ahmed's application for asylum, on the other hand, in still waiting on the desk of Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Chief Elinor Caplan
Not the only incident
CSIS victim Suleyman Guven, who was found justified in the complaint he made three years ago to the Canadian Intelligence Service Supervisory Committee, said there have been other similar events.
Speaking at a press conference in Toronto the other day, the 43-year-old Guven said he was working to gather evidence concerning agent activities that the CSIS continues to carry out against him. Guven, who settled in Canada nine years ago after leaving Kurdistan, said that CSIS agents had questioned someone just recently in an attempt to gather information about him. They visited the person in question once, and claimed they had only gone to fill out a form relating to his application for political asylum. Guven said this was a method of terrorizing immigrants who had already been terrorized in their own countries. Guven said he was very uncomfortable by the fact that agent activities against him continued to be carried out, despite the fact that his application for political asylum had been accepted in 1993 and asked for this madness to end.
The CSIS carries out security investigations into immigrants who take up residency in Canada and apply for asylum. These investigation reports are forwarded to the offices of Citizenship and Migration. But it has been understood now from the experiences of Kurds that these investigations generally exceed the bounds of the law. In the report prepared by the Security Intelligence Service Inspection Committee and released last week, it has become clear that the CSIS and Security acted prejudicially towards two Kurds and that this situation must be investigated further.