The Toronto Sun
Monday, February 2, 1998

Big Brother Watching, hearing told

by Tom Godfrey, tgodfrey@sunpub.com

Ottawa dished out $31 million in the early 1980s for a state-of-the-art computer software program to keep track of Canadians, a secret refugee hearing was told.

The U.S.-made Promis system interfaced with any data base and provided information on a person's credit cards, banking, pension, tax, criminal, and immigration records, transcripts obtained by The Toronto Sun show.

The program could spit out details of a person's health care and even library transactions, officials said.

"If you ever had a driver's licence you would be on the program", Ari Ben Menashe, once an adviser to former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, told a secret Immigration and Refugee Board hearing last June.

"No data base existed then that could interface with other data bases", he said.

"This software can be used on any Canadian in any jurisdiction", Richard Kurland, lawyer for U.S. refugee claimant, Alexander Henri Legault, said. "It can be used by the government to play Big Brother."

Updated versions of the software are reportedly still being used by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. CSIS and RCMP officials could not be reached for comment.

The board is expected to rule any day on the fate Legault, 49, who says he'll be persecuted by the CIA for blowing the whistle on a Montreal brainwashing experiment, code named MK-Ultra, in the 1950s and 1960s.

Legault's information led to the CIA compensating nine Canadian victims $100,000 each in 1988. His mother-in-law, Frances Langleben, was one of them.

The experiments headed by the late Dr. Ewen Cameron and funded by the CIA, subjected unwitting patients to hallucinogenic drugs, weeks of forced sleep, and massive doses of shock therapy.

The transcripts of the refugee hearing show that families of Canadian victims of the experiment are still detained when crossing the border to the U.S.

"They're detained for times varying from 15 minutes to an hour", Legault told the IRB.

Court heard the software was also purchased by the governments of Argentina, Chile, and Guatemala, where thousands who opposed the state have disappeared.

The hearing was also told the CIA used contaminated mosquitos to spread dengue fever to parts of the Caribbean and Cuba, and conducted drug tests on abducted derelicts and prostitutes snatched off the streets of San Franciso. Most of them died.

Disposal CIA units called "Team B", were then called to get rid of the corpses, the hearing was told.

Copyright © 1998 by The Toronto Sun. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.