Proceedings of the Special Senate Committee on the
Issue 4 - Evidence - Evening meeting
OTTAWA, Monday, March 14, 2005
The Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism Act met this day at 7:25 p.m. to undertake a comprehensive review
of the provisions and operations of the Anti-terrorism Act, (S.C. 2001, c.41).
Senator Joyce Fairbairn (Chairman) in the chair.
The Chairman: Before I begin, Mr. Gunaratna, I just want to say thank you for making the effort to join us this
morning from Singapore. We understand it has been a bit of an ordeal, but we are glad to see you. I will call this
meeting to order, honourable senators. This is the ninth meeting with witnesses of the Special Senate Committee on the
For all of our viewers I will explain the purpose of the committee. In October 2001, as a direct response to the
terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, and at the request of the United Nations, the
Canadian government introduced Bill C-36, the Anti-terrorism Act. Given the urgency of the situation then,
Parliament was asked to expedite our study of the legislation, and we agreed. The deadline for the passage of that bill
was mid-December of 2001. However, concerns were expressed that it was difficult to thoroughly assess the potential
impact of this legislation in such a short period of time, and for that reason, it was agreed that three years later,
Parliament would be asked to examine the provisions of the act and its impact on Canadians with the benefit of
hindsight and in a less emotionally charged situation for the Canadian public. The work of this special committee
represents the Senate's effort to fulfil that obligation.
When we have completed this study we will make a report to the Senate that will outline any issue we believe should
be addressed and allow the results of our work to be available to the government and to the people of Canada. The
House of Commons is also undertaking a similar process.
Thus far, the committee has met with the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; the Honourable Irwin Cotler, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney
General for Canada; and Jim Judd, the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. We now continue our
discussions of the threat environment within which the Anti-terrorism Act is expected to operate.
This evening we are honoured to be hearing from Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, who is joining us by videoconference
from Singapore. Prof. Gunaratna is Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at
the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies of Nanyang Technological University.
We are delighted to have you with us, sir. This meeting is, as you know, limited to only one hour. I will insist,
honourable senators, that questions and answers be as concise as possible. I will remind you of that as we go along.
Prof. Gunaratna, the floor is yours.
Mr. Rohan Gunaratna, Head, International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Institute of Defence
and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore): Honourable senators, I would like to make a
presentation for about 10 minutes on the current threat environment, especially the threat facing Canada today. By
way of background, I have been working in the counterterrorism research area for about 20 years. In addition to
heading the specialty centre for counterterrorism research in Singapore, I also work as a senior fellow at the
Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
I have been examining the terrorist support and operational networks of Western Europe and North America,
specifically Canada, for at least the past 10 years. I have made a number of visits to Canada and conducted field
research in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal looking at terrorist recruitment, propaganda, fundraising and
procurement in Canada. I will be very happy to answer any specific questions you may have on the terrorist support
and operational networks on Canadian soil.
Let me begin my presentation by referring to the 9/11 attack. What we have seen is that after al Qaeda attacked
America's most iconic landmarks on 9/11, the threat of terrorism has increased significantly.
Prior to 9/11, we saw an average of one big terrorist attack by al Qaeda. After 9/11 we are seeing an attack by al
Qaeda or by an associate group, some of those groups operating on Canadian soil, on average, every three months.
Most of the attacks take place in the global south, of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, but most of the funds for
these attacks are generated in the global north, primarily in Europe and North America. The legal structures in
Canada, the United States and Western Europe in many ways helped these terrorist organizations to set up front-cover
and sympathetic organizations in the West, including in Canada. Many of these organizations operate in Canada
through human rights, humanitarian, social, cultural, commercial, community and charity organizations. According to
my research and the research of my colleagues, millions of dollars have been raised on Canadian soil by terrorist
groups operating through front-cover and sympathetic organizations.
In my opinion, Canada has been a fortunate country in not having suffered a terrorist attack, but of course, Canada
has been used by these groups and by their representatives as an important place to raise substantial funds to procure
supplies and also to recruit members.
The immediate threat that we are seeing is that al Qaeda as a group has evolved or changed in many ways. Perhaps
the most profound change is that for the groups that were trained, financed and idealized by al Qaeda during that
critical 10-year period after the Soviets left Afghanistan in February 1989 until the time the U.S.-led coalition troops
intervened in Afghanistan, Afghanistan was a terrorist Disneyland, where about 30 to 40 different groups received
training. This included a few Canadians — for instance, Mohommad Mansour Jabara, the Canadian citizen of Iraqi-
Kuwaiti origin who subsequently worked with Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, to plan and prepare
the terrorist operations in Southeast Asia. His brother, Abdul Rahman Jabara, who was killed in Saudi Arabia in 2003,
was also a Canadian citizen of Kuwaiti-Iraqi origin. He was also trained in Afghanistan. Similarly, we have a number
of other cases of Canadian nationals going to Afghanistan, receiving this training and participating in terrorist support
or operational activity.
We also have instances where a small number of Canadians have gone to Iraq, in the same way Afghanistan was the
epicentre for planning and preparing terrorist attacks, to receive terrorist training. In the past, today and in the future,
Iraq will be the main centre for the global jihad training. We have seen a number of Europeans, about 200 according to
the European security and intelligence services, and a smaller number of North Americans, including Canadians, go to
Iraq to participate in jihad.
On average, we are seeing 75 car bombings in Iraq, and we believe that when these radicalized and politicized
Muslim youth from the West that go to Iraq return to Canada, to the United States and Europe, they will conduct
terrorist attacks in much the same way that Muslim youth who went to fight in Afghanistan, when they returned to
their countries, wanted to topple those regimes and create Islamic states. We believe that the jihad in Iraq will produce
a terrorist who will return to your country and conduct acts of terrorism, will raise funds and will recruit personnel.
In conclusion, I will refer to some of the terrorist networks that have been operating on Canadian soil over a long
period, and the inability, and in some ways the unwillingness, of the Canadian political leaders to develop legislation
and other measures to control the activities of these organizations.
We have seen that Canada, like many European countries, has received significant migrant communities from Asia
and the Middle East. Asia and the Middle East are two areas where 90 per cent of the terrorist organizations originate.
When these migrants leave Asia and the Middle East and go to the West, including to Canada, at least some segments
of these migrant communities become vulnerable or susceptible to terrorist indoctrination, recruitment and provision
Some of these migrants provide funds voluntarily because they have been indoctrinated. There are other, smaller
segments of migrant communities that have been forced to provide funds for terrorist groups, and there are
representatives operating in Canada. We have seen about 20 foreign terrorist organizations operating in Canada,
mostly through the front-cover and the sympathetic organizations that take the face of human rights, humanitarian,
social, cultural, community, educational and charity organizations. We have seen that some of these organizations that
terrorists have infiltrated have even been able to get Canadian government funding because they operate through
charity status. We have seen that some of these organizations have met with important Canadian political leaders,
including ministers, lobbied them, canvassed them and told them, ``Look, we will get you so many votes for your
election campaign.'' Some of these Canadian leaders have not been very active in the proscription of these
organizations or voicing their opinion about what is really happening in Canada.
The Canadian security and intelligence community and the Canadian law enforcement community have in many
ways improved their understanding of the terrorist networks operating in Canada to a great degree. However, in the
end their ability to work against the terrorist networks in Canada is very much dependent on the legislation, the legal
muscle, that you would provide them.
In many ways, Canada's response to terrorism was belated. If you look at the American legislation in 1996-97, it
designated about 29 groups as terrorists. Canada did not so designate these groups until 9/11. There was no real
support within the Canadian political establishment for doing so. I can tell you that in 1996-97, when the Americans
targeted the terrorist-supporting infrastructures on American soil, many of these terrorist groups moved their
supporting infrastructures to Canada and started to operate in the United States using Canada as a launching pad.
I am delighted that Canadians passed this long-overdue legislation after 9/11. I am pleased that the Senate and your
political leaders have finally realized their responsibility, in that it is important for Canada not to lag behind the United
Kingdom, the United States and other Western nations in having legislation that is up to speed.
Many countries in Asia and the Middle East look to Britain, Canada and the United States in developing their own
counterterrorism legislation. Having worked in Southeast Asia for a number of years, I know there are very few
countries in this region that have counterterrorism legislation. This has created several problems. Known terrorists
have been released and known terrorists cannot be arrested. In some cases, police authorities in these regions have
introduced false evidence to arrest known terrorists because there is no real legislation.
I believe that the Canadian government's move in this direction is the right thing to do. I will be very happy to
answer any questions you may have during the question and answer session.
I have spoken frankly to you and I hope you will not misunderstand me. I wish the Canadians very well. Canadians
are very trusting people, until you are cheated or realize that something wrong has been done to you. You are a very
open society, and it is important for open societies to protect minority and migrant communities. If you do not act
against the few terrorists in Canada, those large migrant communities will be vulnerable to terrorist indoctrination and
coercion and the operation of terrorist support networks. It is the responsibility of the Canadian government to ensure
that those groups do not operate in Canada and are incessantly targeted by your enforcement and intelligence agencies,
so that Canada will be protected and its good name will not be known internationally as a safe haven for terrorist
support and operational networks.
Senator Kinsella: Given that it is March 15 already there, the ides of March has already arrived in Singapore. Would
you have any advice as to whether you have seen anything in Singapore that would suggest to us here that we ought
not to come to the Senate of Canada tomorrow?
Mr. Gunaratna: There is much that Singapore and the Southeast Asian countries can learn from Canada. I am sure
that you can follow what is happening in this region and in our experience.
Senator Kinsella: Professor Gunaratna, thank you for being frank. I will ask you a frank question. Can you name
some of the organizations in Canada that you believe to be fronts for fundraising for terrorist groups? Which ones do
you believe have received Canadian federal money, and which ones have met with which ministers?
Mr. Gunaratna: It is well established that Mr. Paul Martin, when he was Minister of Finance, attended a Tamil
Tiger fundraising dinner. I believe it was organized under the auspices of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization.
Within the Senate itself, and within the Canadian Parliament, there was considerable debate after that particular
meeting. He was specifically advised of the nature of this organization by the then Canadian High Commissioner to Sri
Lanka, and also by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The Tamils Rehabilitation Organization has received
funding from the Canadian government and is also active in fundraising. That meeting was at a time when the Tamil
Tigers were actively conducting a terrorist campaign. Today it is not so; today there is a peace process. That is one
In 1994, there was a huge transfer of nearly Can. $400,000 from the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank in Vancouver to an
overseas bank account for the procurement of military goods. This money was raised in Canada and was used to
purchase weapons and explosives that subsequently killed a large number of citizens of another country.
These are specific examples that you could verify with the Canadian security and intelligence community and law
enforcement community as to how Canada has been abused and misused in the past by these groups and these
Senator Kinsella: Is it your opinion that Canada is not complying with the provisions of the United Nations
International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism Financing? Let me be more specific. In Singapore, there is
the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act of July 8, 2002. In Canada, we have similar legislation. Is it your opinion
that the Canadian legislation is not working? By way of comparison, is it working in Singapore?
Mr. Gunaratna: After 9/11, some of the measures taken by countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, have
proven to be more effective than the laws we previously had in dealing with terrorism. It is the same in the case of
Canada. There is a higher priority to go after these groups and these individuals in Canada since 9/11.
I believe that Canada has done much to target terrorist financing. They have developed a good understanding now
of individuals and organizations that have been active in Canada with regard to fundraising.
Senator Kinsella: You told us that it is your view that there were terrorist networks in Canada. If I heard you
correctly, you said there are some 20 of them today. Are any of those 20 on the list of 35 entities that have been
identified under this legislation that we are reviewing?
Mr. Gunaratna: Senator, you are absolutely correct. Many of the groups that are currently operating in Canada are
mostly support infrastructure; that is, to raise, support and disseminate propaganda and to recruit, but not to conduct
terrorist attacks. We have seen that many of these groups that have support networks are included in that list of 35. We
have seen Canadian citizens involved in some of the groups that pose a significant threat to your country, including
Ansar al Islam, one of the most active groups in Iraq today. We have seen Egyptian terrorist groups, such as the
Egyptian Islamic Jihad. We have seen al Qaeda active in Canada. We all know about the Ressam case. All of us know
about the Fateh Kamel case.
We also know about a number of individuals currently detained under the security certificate. We also know the
case of Mr. Khaja, who assisted the British cell that was planning a terrorist attack. Certainly a number of these groups
have been listed within those 35.
Senator Smith: Professor, have you had a chance to look at the legislation that is before the committee? We have to
try to find a balance between security and civil rights. Where do you draw the line? Do you have any comments?
Mr. Gunaratna: Senator, I have read the documentation and I agree it is important to have a balance. If we do not
have a balance, certainly we will not have public and political support to move forward. Until now, the legal system has
favoured many of the terrorist support networks active in Canada. I believe that the legislation you are looking at and
the legislation that you would develop over time would make it more difficult for terrorist organizations to recruit, to
raise funds, to procure supplies, and easier to get rid of terrorist propaganda in Canada. We must strike a balance and
our response against terrorism must be proportionate with the terrorist threat. There must be no overreaction and
there must be no under-reaction. If there is overreaction, there will be more support for terrorism. If there is under-
reaction, the terrorist groups will become more emboldened, as they did in Canada before 9/11. It is important to
achieve a good balance between counterterrorism legislation and civil liberties.
Senator Smith: What was your view of the legislation passed recently in Great Britain, where there was quite a
heated discussion? Was it adequate? Was it balanced?
Mr. Gunaratna: I have looked at the British threat environment closely, having worked in Britain for six years at the
Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, CSTPV, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The British are facing a
severe problem. For years they wanted to be politically correct. They did not interfere with what was happening inside
the mosques, inside the Madaris — the Islamic educational centres — and inside Muslim associations. They tacitly
permitted these religious leaders, who were working with al Qaeda, to radicalize and politicize many terrorists. In many
ways, it was very much like Germany, where there was a main recruiting centre for the al Qaeda pilots for the 9/11
operations. We saw a cell that was disrupted by the British in August 2004 that was preparing the templates for an
attack on financial targets in the United States. Today, we see that a number of countries in Europe, including Britain,
are facing severe problems with their legislation.
If the British do not pass certain restrictions and laws, they will suffer from terrorism. Not only that, but Britain will
be used as a launching pad to attack other countries. I wish to conclude my response by saying that the European
legislation is inadequate, British legislation in particular. None of the custodial interviews with the detainees in Britain
have yielded anything substantial. Currently, the British are reviewing their methods of detaining these people. It is
important for Canada to carefully follow what is happening in Britain and learn a lesson. Many countries in the global
south, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, look to the United Kingdom, with the mother of Parliaments,
and her rulings and laws. Britain is truly facing a crisis over this recent case and I hope they will work on it. It is
important for the British government to clarify to the British Lords and other political leaders that Britain is facing a
significant threat. Unless they progress rapidly in developing the appropriate laws and regulations, the British
government, police and intelligence agencies may not be able to adequately respond to the threat that the United
Kingdom could face.
Senator Fraser: Professor Gunaratna, I am fascinated by what you say. The obvious question that we must all
grapple with is how much of the village do we have to destroy in order to save it? You tell us that existing legislation in
Britain and Europe is not adequate. I am not at all familiar with what has been done on the continent, but we are
somewhat familiar with what has been done in Britain.
The law that we are now reviewing contains, in a number of ways, more safeguards for civil liberties than the British
law. You do not think the British law is sufficient. What precisely do you think we need to do that we have not done?
Mr. Gunaratna: Senator, it is important for you to continuously review whatever measures you are taking now
because the threat environment is constantly changing, and rapidly. Unlike pre-9/11, many governments are now
hunting terrorist organizations actively. The terrorist groups are undergoing tremendous change. As a result of that, it
is important to constantly shadow these groups, to develop appropriate legislation and to change legislation whenever
it is necessary to more effectively target these organizations.
Unless we do this, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies will not be able to effectively monitor these groups
or actively prevent terrorist attacks and protect our countries and societies. The attack on 9/11 was a watershed
moment for our coming together to fight networked terrorism. Today, we are not fighting terrorist groups, but rather
terrorist networks — groups that cooperate across boundaries. You can see the classic case of Fateh Kamel working
with British cells. You can see the classic case of Khaja working with a British cell. You can see the classic case of the
two Jabarah brothers working in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia and in Saudi Arabia. In many ways, there must a
revolution in the way that we look at terrorist organizations. We must develop our organizations to fight terrorism. As
much as we sharpen our terrorist and law enforcement tools, we must also sharpen our legislative tools, our prison
system and justice system. If we do not do this, even if we have the best police and intelligence services, we will fail.
There must be a recognition that Canada failed until 9/11 to develop the right legislation, and that you have a
significant terrorist support infrastructure in your country. It is important for the Senate and for the political leaders to
pay close attention to what is happening in Canada.
It is important for the Canadian intelligence agencies to brief the Canadian political leaders more frequently about
the developments internationally, because you have suffered from terrorism. You have been identified by Osama bin
Laden in November of 2002 as one of the six target countries. Already, Canadians have suffered, although in a very
small way, in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004. You have been lucky until now and you need to remain vigilant; you need
to be more proactive in the fight against terrorism hereafter, in my opinion.
Senator Fraser: What do you think we should be doing that we are not now doing, in particular, in legislative terms,
because we are reviewing our Anti-terrorism Act? What precisely do you think we should do to change that?
Professor Gunaratna: I ask you to look at the global best practices in counterterrorism legislation and draw lessons
for Canada. Look at the French legislation, how the French are operating against terrorist organizations. I believe that
in Europe, the government that has most effectively combated terrorism on its soil is France. Since 1996, there has been
no terrorist attack in France, but a number of operations have been effectively disrupted by the French. I believe that
you must look at the French legislation.
After 9/11, there is no standard textbook for fighting terrorism. We have to learn as we go along. We have to
maximize our successes and minimize our failures. On the legislative front, you need to look at what your continental
European friends have done to fight terrorism — where they have been successful, especially.
Senator Joyal: When you say that in your opinion, the French have the best legislation, I do not think we can
measure the efficiency of a country only by its legislation, but rather by the whole of its intelligence service. The
capacity to penetrate terrorist groups and cells, to develop the know-how, to speak the language and to understand the
mentality is not something you do with tanks and bombs. It is a fight that you undertake secretly and confidentially,
and it takes time to build and maintain an efficient network to penetrate terrorist cells.
To me, legislation is not enough. I could draft you the best legislation in the world tomorrow, but it would not give
me 100 per cent assurance that my country will remain free of terrorist activities.
On the other hand, I am surprised that you feel that the French have the best legislation. We have been told that the
Patriot Act was the most comprehensive approach, and that most extraordinary powers were given to the executive
government to fight terrorism. How do you balance those two aspects with the answer that you gave to my colleague?
Professor Gunaratna: I fully agree with what you said. I would ask you to look at the Patriot Act, as well as French
and other legislation. I also agree with you that the most important ingredient in fighting terrorism is intelligence.
I understand that CSIS and the other Canadian agencies have increased their budgets. They have also recruited
widely. I think you must continue to recruit from your migrant communities, and that you must provide the best
available training to your police and to your intelligence agencies. It is only by constant training, retraining, recruiting
the best and having the best leaders for your intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Canada can be protected
and can help other countries to fight terrorism.
Going back to legislation, certainly the American post-9/11 legislation has helped the United States significantly.
However, some components of that legislation may not be acceptable to Canadians because they are different from
Americans. Nevertheless, I ask you to look at the American legislation carefully.
I want to conclude my response to you by mentioning that while legislation is important, sometimes the criminal
justice system and the prison response against terrorism may not be adequate. For instance, from 1993 until 9/11, the
Americans prosecuted 70 terrorists, but during that eight- or nine-year period, Afghanistan produced several tens of
thousands of terrorists. We need to have state-of-the-art legislation, but we also sometimes may need to look beyond
legislation to fight the contemporary wave of terrorism.
We need to have a multi-pronged, multi-dimensional, multi-agency, multinational and multi-jurisdictional response
in the fight against terrorism. Again, the legislative response is a very important one, and we need to be up to speed
with regard to legislation.
Senator Joyal: I would like to go on with what I perceive to be one of the major weaknesses of the American system
prior to 9/11. If you read the joint Senate report that was released last summer on the investigation following 9/11, one
of the major recommendations they made is that the American intelligence and police investigation services were
working too much in clusters and were not exchanging information. In fact, all the information that was needed to
prevent 9/11 already existed in various parts of the administration. However, because each one worked separately and
there were so few people mastering the Arab language in the CIA — I do not dare to quote numbers, but it was fewer
than the fingers on my two hands — they were unable to read or to decrypt the messages and the information that
became available to them.
As I say, it sometimes might be too easy to try to identify a quick-fix solution to fighting terrorism. We may need a
much more operational approach in terms of various services that might produce an effective result, rather than just
legislating and giving more extraordinary power to the executive.
I feel that we can fall into the trap of the more the government has power, the more we feel secure. It is like having
the most powerful army with the biggest tanks and the most effective bomb. It might satisfy your national pride when
you see that parading in your streets on your national day, but that does not protect you from terrorism at all.
We all know how terrorism works. It does not work with that kind of tool. It works by infiltration, and it sometimes
works by means that do not compare at all, in terms of financial budgets, with what the armies would request to fight.
What we need really is ``intelligence'' at two levels — intelligence in trying to understand and intelligence in trying to
infiltrate. Because we always talk about the ``war on terrorism,'' everybody thinks of war. Everybody thinks of an army
and that kind of movement. It is not that at all. An effective fight on terrorism is essentially sharing intelligence. It is
essentially developing the ability to read people's minds. As you said, it is indoctrination. We are working on the
mentality of people. This is a totally different kind of situation. When you take a gun and shoot the person on the other
side, it is not fighting terrorism. It is much more complex and refined than we are led to believe by the propaganda on
both sides on terrorism.
I wonder if, in our approach, we should not in fact be redefining at this stage, three or four years after 9/11, our
strategy to fight terrorism. In fact, I wonder if we should not concentrate more on the tool that is targeted to what is
Mr. Gunaratna: I would say that there are three principal reasons why the United States has not suffered a terrorist
attack after 9/11. The first reason is unprecedented security, intelligence, law enforcement and military cooperation
within the United States and overseas. The Americans were very reluctant to share information with Asian and Muslim
countries and the Middle East before 9/11. We have seen unprecedented sharing today. As a result, a number of
terrorist attacks have been prevented.
The second reason is heightened public alertness. As long as the public is alert, it is very difficult for terrorist
organizations to effectively plan, prepare and mount large-scale attacks.
The third reason is a changing mindset. We have seen that prior to 9/11, security, intelligence and law enforcement
agencies were following the fisherman model, which is, you put out the bait and wait until the fish attacks you. Then,
when a terrorist attack occurs, you do a brilliant post-blast investigation. After 9/11, many law enforcement and
intelligence agencies have become hunters. They are proactively targeting these organizations, both strike operations
and intelligence operations, using human source penetration to infiltrate terrorist groups and their support bases.
Certainly, if we can maintain a high operation tempo, both in intelligence and strike capabilities and executive action, I
believe that we can reduce the threat of terrorism. We can lower the probability of a terrorist attack.
I agree with you fully that intelligence is the key to fighting terrorism. More than our knowledge of the enemy,
understanding the enemy is critical. We can develop that knowledge if we recruit more Muslims to our intelligence
services and our reinforcement agencies, and also if we work more closely with the Arab and Muslim world.
I can tell you, in fairness to Canada, that the Canadian security and intelligence services have been quite good at
working with the Arab, Asian and Muslim countries. They have cooperated much more with the Muslim world than
the Americans did before 9/11, although Canada is a small country and the Canadian service is a small service. I believe
that the Western nations as a community can work together more closely with the Asian and the Middle Eastern
countries, the countries that produce 90 per cent of the terrorists. Only if we can maintain this partnership can we
protect especially the Western nations from terrorism.
Senator Joyal: I think you have touched on one of my concerns. I do not think that the Western world will succeed
in really bringing down terrorism — I do not think it will ever disappear — without the direct cooperation of Arab
countries in developing their own effective intelligence services. They are the ones best placed, if I can use that term, to
develop intelligence capacity among the various groups that are active within their ranks. Let us take Saudi Arabia, for
instance. We have had many witnesses tell us how many laymen, preachers and clerics Saudi Arabia was exporting
around the world. I think they are in a much better position to understand the ramifications of the various groups, the
way they operate, the way they are trained, the way they are structured in their own country; rather than us reacting ex
post facto when they are on our soil in trying to understand them, to speak their language, to decrypt their way of
doing things, when it could have been done before if, of course, we share information with those countries. Those
countries have to develop a refinement of capacity. It did not seem that, before 9/11, countries were very much aware
of that. To me, this is a very important element in terms of international cooperation. That should be one of the
priorities, because if you bring to international forums only the usual countries — United States, Canada, France,
Belgium and the European countries, and one or two Arab countries or Middle Eastern countries or Southeast Asian
countries, we will never achieve real efficiency in developing intelligence where the threat origin or terrorism is being
nurtured. To me, that is the important element on which we should concentrate.
Mr. Gunaratna: Senator, I fully agree with you. I want to reiterate that 90 per cent of the terrorist groups originate
in the global south, in the poorer regions. They lack the resources, but they also lack the discipline, and that is why it is
so important for the Western enforcement and intelligence services to work closely in partnership, not in cooperation,
but in collaboration, by having common databases, exchanges of personnel, joint training, joint operations, sharing of
technology and resources and, most importantly, sharing of experience in the fight against terrorism. Unless the West
works with the rest of the world, we will fail in this fight.
The Western population, the white population of this world, North Americans, Europeans, Australians and New
Zealanders, are only about 15 to 20 per cent of the world's population, but they have 70 per cent of the world's
resources. Unless you work with the poorer countries of this world, you will suffer from terrorism. We must not forget
that 9/11 was planned in Afghanistan, and the Western nations neglected Afghanistan. There was international neglect
of Afghanistan after the Soviets left, and that is why al Qaeda was able to plan, prepare and execute that horrible
attack against the United States. As long as you work in partnership with countries in the global south, I can assure
you that the threat of terrorism to the Western nations will be low. You are only suffering from the tailwind of the
terrorist groups that are in the global south. Your networks are very small compared to the ones that exist in our part
of the world. If the groups are put under equal pressure in Asia and the Middle East, I can tell you that they cannot
maintain and sustain the networks in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. That is why you need to work more closely
together and have a more strategic, long-term approach to fighting terrorism.
Senator Andreychuk: Senator Joyal asked about working with other countries and their intelligence services. What is
your opinion of countries like Canada and the United States allowing people to be returned or taken to countries
where torture is one method of extracting information?
Professor Gunaratna: We have seen that the Western interrogators have learned a lot during the past three years
about how to interrogate more effectively without subjecting the detainee to torture. That type of interrogation is
called rapport-based interrogation, but still, a very small percentage, less than 5 per cent, of the detainees will not
cooperate unless some extreme measures are used against them.
Some security and intelligence agencies in Western countries have realized that the only way to get those people to
cooperate is to send them to countries in the Middle East that practice torture routinely. I personally disagree that we
should subject these detainees to torture because it will make them more hardened. Also, we will lose our moral
legitimacy to conduct this fight effectively. The information we get by torturing someone is often inaccurate. When we
put those data into our database, it will increase the inaccuracy of our complete data pool.
I certainly disagree with sending these people to countries that routinely practice torture. However, I want to urge
the Western nations to review your methods of detention and your practices of interrogation. If you do not do that,
your detainees will not cooperate with you. Your custodial interviews will yield no substance for you to prevent
These are my frank views on the torture of detainees.
Senator Andreychuk: I am a little confused by what you said at the end. Are you saying that the intelligence services
do not understand whom they are interviewing because terrorism is a new concept to them, as opposed to organized
crime or criminality? Although you have excluded torture, are you saying that they are not current with the kinds of
techniques that are being employed in other like-minded countries?
Mr. Gunaratna: I am saying that there are some countries that, because of inadequate and inappropriate legislation,
find it difficult to detain certain people for long periods of time. Also, in some countries, when someone is arrested, you
have to have that person's lawyer present in order to question him or her. There are some countries where you cannot
use a plea bargain agreement whereby you tell a detainee, ``Look, you have killed so many people. You are going to jail
for 20 years, but I will reduce your sentence to 10 years or 5 years if you cooperate.'' Some countries do not have that
type of legislation. It is important to empower the government agencies that are holding and interrogating these people
with more appropriate rules and regulations so that they can more effectively conduct their business. More recently, we
have realized that the American practice of detention inside the continental United States has proved to be more
effective, for instance, than the way the British are holding their detainees inside the United Kingdom. Therefore,
countries can learn from one another.
I must also say that the Guantanamo Bay experience has proved to be somewhat of a failure, because the Americans
today have a huge problem on their hands in terms of how to process detainees. Similarly, I think the abuse in Abu
Ghraib in Iraq has not helped America or the Western nations. We need to deepen our understanding of, first, how to
detain these people; second, what type of legislation, rules and regulations we must have; and third, what types of
practices and training we give our interrogators.
I believe that a professional interrogator will never use torture. A professional interrogator knows how to
interrogate a detainee properly. We need to send our interrogators through proper training programs at proper schools
so that they will become effective in their interrogation techniques and able to elicit sound and timely information
without using torture.
Senator Andreychuk: You say that the British system is not as good as the American system in terms of legislation.
What would you put into the British system that is not there today, or the Canadian system, which more mirrors the
British system, in my opinion?
Mr. Gunaratna: I believe that there is a serious problem in Britain in two areas. First, when the lawyer says to the
detainee, ``You do not have to answer that question,'' it is a serious problem. If they do not answer a question from a
law enforcement officer, the detainees should be sent to jail for a very long time. Second, when someone is being
questioned, the interrogator should have the freedom to tell the detainee, ``If you cooperate, I will be able to
recommend to the court that your sentence be reduced by 50 per cent,'' which is a plea bargaining agreement. There is
no provision for such an agreement in the United Kingdom. Plea bargaining has proved to be a very effective way of
dealing with terrorism in some of the continental European countries and in the United States.
Senator Andreychuk: I will not go into the merits of those, but I will certainly look into them.
I agree that money should not be collected or utilized within Canada to perpetrate terrorism. I do not think the
government or anyone else should support it. Having said that, I think we know about and have tracked money in
Canada. You have made the point that the money is coming from the north. Have you factored in that there have been
terrorism attacks in Indonesia? Much of the literature that I have read certainly does not absolve the south or the
Middle East of providing money for terrorism. You have highlighted what we are doing wrong, and I do not disagree
with that. Comment on the Indonesian situation, the Saudi Arabia situation and other countries.
Mr. Gunaratna: Saudi Arabia, until recently, played with these groups and did not take them seriously enough. Only
after the Saudi al Qaeda members attacked Saudi Arabia did the Saudis start to regulate their charities. Saudi charities
were never responsible for the end use of their money. After the money left Saudi Arabia, they did not care what
happened to it. I can tell you that 60 per cent of the Islamic charities have been infiltrated by terrorist organizations.
The charities are today a main source of terrorist financing.
Similarly, in Indonesia, we see that a number of Islamist politicians support these organizations. We have been
constantly working with the Indonesian law enforcement and intelligence services and political leaders to identify those
politicians and to shame them. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task in the global south.
Your leaders are more educated. When we advise your leaders, most of the time they listen. They know the gravity
of these problems. However, often it is very difficult to convince the leaders in the global south that they must not
support or tolerate these organizations.
You must become the model for fighting terrorism because your leaders are educated. Your leaders understand
these problems. Your leaders do not have to depend on the ethnic and religious world to do good things in Canada. I
hope that your leaders will take the problems of terrorism seriously; that Canada will become a model for fighting
terrorism; that Canada will no longer be identified as a safe haven for terrorist groups to raise funds, to recruit and also
to procure supplies; that Canada will continue to work with these countries in the global south where most terrorist
groups originate to reduce the threat of terrorism to Canada and to the world at large.
The Chairman: On that note, Mr. Gunaratna, our conversation will have to come to an end. We all wish to thank
you for hanging in there and making sure that this connection worked. Your words have given us a great deal to think
about. We wish you the very best.
The committee adjourned.