TORONTO (May. 16)
A Baghdad-born man who claims to have been a double agent working for the Iraqi and Israeli intelligence agencies is seeking political asylum in Canada.
Ali Hussein Sumaida, 27, disguised by a wool hat and dark sunglasses, told an immigration panel here Tuesday that he was employed by both the Iraqi secret service, Mukhabarat, and Mossad.
He said he would be “killed like a dog” if he is returned to his native country.
He also claims in a recently published book that the 1981 Israeli air attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor failed.
Under Canadian law, those requesting asylum must pass a credibility hearing before appearing in front of a full adjudication panel, which then decides whether to grant immigrant status or recommend deportation proceedings.
Sumaida is in the first stage of a normally lengthy process, which moved remarkably fast recently for another Iraqi seeking asylum.
To the embarrassment of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s government, the former Iraqi ambassador to the United States, Mohamed al-Mashat, was admitted to Canada during the Persian Gulf War, unbeknown to a single member of the Cabinet.
Mashat, Iraq’s chief apologist in the West during the prewar military build-up, applied for Canadian immigration in Vienna in late February and now lives in Vancouver.
Opposition members of Parliament have questioned whether the diplomat’s application was expedited in return for sensitive information he may have given Canadian security agencies.
CLAIMS REACTOR NOT DESTROYED
Sumaida, meanwhile, has made claims he spied for both Israel and Iraq in a 308-page book, “Circle of Fear: A Renegade’s Journey from the Mossad to the Iraqi Secret Service,” co-authored with Carole Jerome, which was published here May 6.
He says he was motivated by a desire for revenge against his abusive father and hatred of the ruthless regime of Saddam Hussein.
According to the writer, he was threatened by his father, Ali Mahmoud Sumaida, a Hussein loyalist who is Iraq’s ambassador to the Philippines and a ranking official of the Ba’ath party.
The younger Sumaida said he became interested in the Mossad through confiscated books in the library of his father, who was chief censor after the 1968 coup that brought the Ba’ath to power.
Sumaida said he grew up idolizing Elie Cohen, the Mossad agent hanged in Damascus in 1965.
He also claims the Israeli air raid on June 7, 1981 failed to destroy its target, the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad.
Sumaida wrote that he worked for Mossad in England from 1984 to 1985, when he was a computer science student at the University of Salford, near Manchester.
He said he gathered information and recruited sympathizers.
The two-man panel that will rule on Sumaida’s petition will have to decide whether certain obvious errors in his book cast doubt on his tale as a whole.