Men attended `training camp': Sources

The Toronto Star – A group of Canadian teenagers and young men in their 20s, accused by police of being members of a suspected homegrown terrorist cell, will appear in court this morning to face accusations that they plotted to attack Canadian targets, the Toronto Star has learned.

Some members of the group allegedly attended a “training camp” north of the city where they made a video imitating military warfare, and the suspects allegedly had acquired weapons and listed targets in Ontario, sources told the Star.

Led by the RCMP’s anti-terrorism task force, more than 400 police officers from across Ontario made the series of arrests last night and early this morning, taking as many as a dozen suspects into custody at a heavily guarded Pickering police station. Sources said there was a concern that some of the group’s members had acquired explosives.

 •   Update1: Mounties ‘supplied explosives’
 •   Update2: Lawyer: Government says terror plans included beheading

June 7: Please check out comments for updated articles and discussion ~ Eds

[Comment: Better have gotten this one right gentlemen, or there’s going to be a lot of egg wearing. Last thing that anyone needs is a reprise of Project Thread. More at the initial link above.

Sorry for the clumsy author line, BTW – simply isn’t enough space in the dialogue box for the numerous authors to this piece. ~ JPD]

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  • How Internet monitoring sparked a CSIS investigation into a suspected homegrown terror cell

    Michelle Shephard | Toronto | June 3

    The Toronto Star – Last night’s dramatic police raid and arrest of as many as a dozen men — with more to come — marks the culmination of Canada’s largest ever terrorism investigation into an alleged homegrown cell.

    The chain of events began two years ago, sparked by local teenagers roving through Internet sites, reading and espousing anti-Western sentiments and vowing to attack at home, in the name of oppressed Muslims here and abroad.

    Their words were sometimes encrypted, the Internet sites where they communicated allegedly restricted by passwords, but Canadian spies back in 2004 were reading them. And as the youths’ words turned into actions, they began watching them.

    According to sources close to the investigation, the suspects are teenagers and men in their 20s who had a relatively typical Canadian upbringing, but — allegedly spurred on by images of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and angered by what they saw as the mistreatment of Muslims at home — became increasingly violent.

    [more at link]

    [Comment: I’m looking forward to this being swept up into partisan debate expressed in terms of American domestic politics about as much as I look forward to root canal work. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • where did they do anything other than participate in Internet sites and make a movie?

    They have made no overt threat??? Jeez, this is not as if they have been caught red-handed planting bombs or actually doing a terrorist activity? Is it a crime to ‘think’ of terrorist-type activity? Where are their bombs, their guns, their WMD? Apparently, two of them did have some type of revolvers? Criminals have hand guns … that doesn’t make them terrorists!

    Strikes me the guilty parties are the CSIS, the RCMP and the police for spying on them! This is much worse than McCarthyism, because it isn’t isolated to one person motivated by selfish career ambitions spearheading attacks on groups of people calling them commies. It’s our government using the weight of its combined forces and all its resources to prosecute its own citizens labelling them terrorists.

    I await to hear what the evidence is for the case that will be announced later this morning. Much of the case is dependent on US authorities who should have all their marbles in place in order for the Canadian police to make the arrests and place the charges against these alleged Canadian terrorists.

  • …to judge that these guys are somehow harmless, given the sketchy information that’s come out thusfar. It may turn into another Project Thread debacle, but I suspect that it won’t – when you pull in 400 officers and brief most of the region’s Chiefs of Police, generally my presumption would be that there’s been a fair level of executive oversight.

    My understanding is that they are being charged under some of the new provisions coming out of the passing of C-36 late in 2001 – the relevant section of the Criminal Code can be found here and C-36 as passed can be found here. Having briefly skimmed some of the Code, I’d have to say that if the allegations are true, there’s basis for the charges.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • but thank God criminal charges are being laid. At least proof will have to be produced they are guilty as charged.

    It will be an interesting trial, because it may reveal the extent of the spying the CSIS, the RCMP and the police have used in order to produce their evidence.

    How many innocent Canadians have been indiscriminately spied upon that haven’t resulted in charges? Is Big Brother Canuck spying on me now as I type this? 🙁

    I await to hear what the actual charges are and the relevant criminal code #’s that were allegedly broken. Thanks for the link to the new terrorist laws that probably are relevant. The preamble, “includes a conspiracy” is distasteful, unless it is connected to an actual threat that is imminent and presents a clear danger to the public or individuals within/without our borders.

  • …that these guys had three tons of ammonium nitrate [h/t] (this appears on the short bullets, but I can’t find a story that specifically mentions), I think any assertion that they posed a potential threat is greatly strengthened.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Sat, 03 Jun 2006
    CBC News

    Details began emerging Saturday of an RCMP raid east of Toronto in which 17 people were arrested Friday evening on terrorism-related charges.

    Police said 12 adults and five young offenders have been charged with a number of terrorism offenders.

    The RCMP said they “have arrested a number of individuals who were planning to commit a series of terror attacks against targets here in southern Ontario.”

    The RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service officials, and law enforcement officials, including the heads of several Toronto-area police forces held a news conference that began at 10 a.m EDT. in Mississauga, Ont., just west of Toronto.

    All the men arrested were residents of Canada and most are Canadian citizens, officials said.

    “This group holds a real and serious intent,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell said.

    Officials have not said what specific targets the suspects may have had, although McDonell did confirm that Toronto’s transit system was not a target.

    “Terrorism is a dangerous ideology that knows no borders,” said Luc Portelance, CSIS Assistant Director of Operations.

    The charges are related to an explosives plot in Ontario.

    Officials said three tonnes of ammonium nitrate was found and they confirmed that the group attended a terrorism training camp.

    The suspects, described as being in their teens and 20s, were expected to be arraigned in Pickering, just east of Toronto.

    On Friday, armed officers could be seen surrounding the Durham Regional Police Station in Pickering as the suspects were transported in unmarked cars, which were driven into an underground garage.

    At least three police officers were armed with machine-guns as they patrolled the building, which was sealed off with yellow tape.



    From a previous Toronto Star article only 3 names are known at this time. One can but hope this isn’t a repeat of the previous debacle when the RCMP in combination with the Department of Immigration detained 24 people and deported 17. No charges were laid in that incident in 2003. The allegations were there was a plan to blow up the CN Tower and the Pickering Nuclear Plant.

    They have found explosives on this occasion, which does imply, the police do have substantive evidence to present for this case.

  • “Terrorism is a dangerous ideology that knows no borders,” said Luc Portelance, CSIS Assistant Director of Operations.

    Terrorism is not an ideology, it is a tactic. Timothy McVeigh, a Christian, used it. Protestants and Catholics in Ireland have used it. Secular atheistic Communists have used it. It is a tactic that no particular ideology holds claim to.

    It bothers me when the people who are entrusted with the pursuit of it are so sloppy defining it.

  • on the Toronto Star’s website. They are:

    1. Fahim Ahmad, 21, Toronto;
    2. Zakaria Amara, 20, Mississauga, Ont.;
    3. Asad Ansari, 21, Mississauga;
    4. Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, Mississauga;
    5. Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mississauga;
    6. Mohammed Dirie, 22, Kingston, Ont.;
    7. Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Kingston;
    8. Jahmaal James, 23, Toronto;
    9. Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, Toronto;
    10. Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, 25, Toronto;
    11. Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, Mississauga;
    12. Saad Khalid, 19, of Eclipse Avenue, Mississauga.

    I speculate the twelve names are Musllim?

  • The list of the 12 adults were named in my previuos post. Also charged were five youths, who cannot be named.


    You could be right Escher Sketch, they could be Scots … I took a wild guess they were Muslims. 🙂

  • …isn’t operating in his mother tongue, there. I haven’t read much of the literature in French but my vague (and very murkily translated) recollection is that it was more expressed as an ideology or a phenomenon of the ideal.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • It’s reassuring to think that the Francophone wing may have it hardwired into their language wrong.

    As he works for me as a Canadian taxpayer, I volunteer to compile a short list of English words he needs to be very clear about expressing the nuances of.

    I want the definition of terrorism rigidly controlled lest we wake up in five years finding it now means paying your taxes, or your parking tickets – or your phone bill – late. Give law enforcement or intel intensely powerful tools to fight terrorism and it’s an open invitation to broaden the definition of terrorism to “stuff we don’t like”.

  • …has a clearer idea than either of us what the definition of “terrorism” in the Canadian governmental context, and particularly in the context of Canadian law, entails. I don’t think that he has it hardwired into his language “wrong”, I think that when he speaks of the concept he chooses words that are slightly different from what he would choose were he a native English speaker – doesn’t mean that he actually has an meaningfully different concept of the phenomenon. ‘course, all this is predicated on him actually not being a native anglo, which is still pretty speculative.

    And yes, the definition of what constitutes terrorism is quite rigidly controlled – the links I posted elsewhere in this thread contain the legal Canadian definition.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Jun. 4, 2006

    Suppose, just suppose, that one or more of the 17 charged yesterday with terrorism is innocent.

    This is not the common assumption. I suspect most Canadians assume that Ontario was in great danger from terrorists, that police nipped this danger in the bud and that all of the 12 adults and five young people they arrested are guilty.

    All of which may be true. Terrorists do exist. There is the terror we don’t think about, committed by nation states under the rubric of security sweeps or targeted reprisals. And there is the terror we do think about, the terrorism of misguided individuals, loons, right-wing militias or Al Qaeda and its Islamist acolytes.

    Militant Islamists have committed outrages in the United States, Indonesia, Spain and Britain to counter what they see as the crimes of these countries against Muslims. There is no obvious reason to assume that similar criminals won’t try the same thing here.

    All of which is to say that the Mounties may be absolutely correct when they say they stopped the 17 from using homemade detonators and three tonnes of fertilizer to blow up as yet unspecified targets in southern Ontario.

    There may indeed have been a terrorist conspiracy that involved what the RCMP assistant commissioner Mike McDonell yesterday referred to as “training areas,” where militants tramped about in big boots, cooked on outdoor barbecues, built bombs and used a wooden door for target practice.

    That’s the implication from the evidence shown to reporters yesterday: five pairs of boots in camouflage drab, six flashlights, one set of walkie-talkies, one voltmeter, one knife, eight D-cell batteries, a cellphone, a circuit board, a computer hard drive, one barbecue grill, one set of tongs suitable for turning hot dogs, a wooden door with 21 marks on it and a 9-mm handgun.

    Or it is possible that the only thing that these bits of evidence prove is that a group of young men went somewhere where they tramped around in big boots, cooked on barbecues, played soldier and generally acted like jerks — which young men are occasionally wont to do.

    The three tonnes of ammonium nitrate allegedly purchased was, as McDonell said, three times the amount used in the Oklahoma terror bombing of 1995.

    But, as he also said, farmers routinely buy three tonnes of ammonium nitrate “every day.” They use it for fertilizer, not bombs.

    In short, we don’t know much yet about what these men and boys were trying to do. We don’t know if this series of arrests, called Operation O-Sage by the Mounties, pre-empted the kind of actions that in the United Kingdom led to last year’s bombing of the London subway by otherwise unremarkable young Britons.

    That’s one possibility. It’s certainly the explanation favoured by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who yesterday praised the police.

    Another is that this is a reprise of the infamous 2003 Project Thread fiasco, in which RCMP and immigration officials accused 23 Muslims of terrorism only to acknowledge later that at most the men were guilty of minor immigration fraud.

    Still another possibility is that this may turn out to be Canada’s version of the 2004 Virginia “paintball” trial, in which one man was sentenced to life and another got 85 years.

    In that controversial case (even the presiding judge complained the outcome was unfair), nine Muslim men were convicted of participating in terrorist training — the main evidence being that they had played paintball in the woods outside Washington.

    What we do know about Operation O-Sage is that the RCMP, as well as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, have been tracking the suspects since 2004. We also know that at least some of their neighbours knew police were watching them. Presumably, some of the suspects did, too.

    If the alleged conspirators knew they were under surveillance, it seems odd that they continued along merrily with plans to make explosives.

    But perhaps they are not bright terrorists. Or perhaps they are not terrorists at all.

    With luck, we will get these answers at trial. This time at least, Canada has chosen to deal with alleged terrorists in the proper way, by charging them with criminal offences and allowing the case to come to court — in Canada.

    For too long, the government’s preferred option was to let others handle our problems. In 2002, CSIS agents escorted alleged Canadian terrorist Mohamed Mansour Jabarah across the border so he could be arrested by the FBI and convicted in a secret trial. Later that year, the RCMP co-operated with the Americans to have them arrest Canadian suspect Maher Arar in New York (he was later transferred to Syria to be tortured).

    Five other alleged terrorists are simply being detained without charge under Canada’s very elastic immigration act until they can be deported.

    So, in this context, the 2004 decision to charge Canadian Mohammad Momin Khawaja for terrorism and yesterday’s unrelated decision to charge the 17 are welcome. At least the accused aren’t being sent to Syria.

    During the next few days, much will be written and broadcast on the 17. Their lives will be re-examined through the prism of the arrests as reporters try to retrace the steps that allegedly led them to violent jihad. Unnamed security sources will leak details designed to bolster the police case. Families and friends will proclaim the innocence of those charged.

    Take it all with a grain of salt. We know that police arrested people. We know they seized some materials — all legal — that can be used to make explosives. So far, we don’t know much else.

    Toronto Star

  • …you forgot about the handguns – those are prohibited weapons and a big no no. It’s definitely possible that this is another Project Thread fiasco, but given the weapons and the cell phone wired as a remote initiator (see below) the chances seem pretty low.

    It may prove to be difficult to prove all of this, particularly the elements of conspiracy, to the satisfaction of a court of law and I suspect that many of these men may end up getting off, but when you’ve got ammonium nitrate and a remote initiator like this it’s reasonable to assert that somebody (certainly not necessarily everybody) is up to no good.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Bomb-making material delivered in police sting

    Michelle Shephard and Isabel Teotonio | Toronto | June 4

    The Toronto Star – The delivery of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate to a group suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in southern Ontario was part of an undercover police sting operation, the Toronto Star has learned.

    The RCMP said yesterday that after investigating the alleged homegrown terrorist cell for months, they had to move quickly Friday night to arrest 12 men and five youths before the group could launch a bomb attack on Canadian soil.

    Sources say investigators who had learned of the group’s alleged plan to build a bomb were controlling the sale and transport of the massive amount of fertilizer, a key component in creating explosives. Once the deal was done, the RCMP-led anti-terrorism task force moved in for the arrests.

    [more at link]

    [So I wonder, says I, how long it’ll be before the allegations of entraptment begin to propagate, wrapped up in the “Harper as son of Bush” meme. I’m guessing not long – you say cynical, I say realist. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …that these guys were very difficult to distinguish from “other youth”.

    The ties that bind 17 suspects?

    ANALYSIS | `They represent the broad strata of our community,’ the RCMP says.

    Surya Bhattacharya, Nasreen Gulamhusein & Heba Aly | Toronto | June 4

    The Toronto Star – In investigators’ offices, an intricate graph plotting the links between the 17 men and teens charged with being members of a homegrown terrorist cell covers at least one wall. And still, says a source, it is difficult to find a common denominator.

    Some of the students, who cannot be named because they are not yet 18 and their identities are protected by Canadian law, attended the same high school.

    The suspects are mainly teens and men in their young 20s, with the exception of 43-year-old Qayyum Abdul Jamal, a bus driver and recognized figure at a Mississauga Islamic centre.


    RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell said yesterday the suspects are all Canadian residents and the majority are citizens. “They represent the broad strata of our community. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed,” he said.

    “Some are actually recruited. Going out and looking for marginalized youth, if we can call it that, and other ones it’s common association within a community.” As police briefed the media, families, friends and neighbours told stories of the men they believe are wrongly accused.

    [more at link above – detailed profiles can be found here]

    [Comment: Once again the Star shows its newsroom depth – there’s one heck of a lot of stories on this. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • MUSLIM REACTION | Few surprised by arrests, but leaders say more must be done to prevent involvement with extreme ideologies

    Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew | June 4 | Toronto

    The Toronto Star – Members of the Muslim community expressed shock and sadness — but not surprise — at the arrest of 17 people from the GTA who have been charged with terror-related offences.

    Though some leaders worry that Muslims may feel the sting of backlash, others say the community must do more to fight extremist views within its own mosques.

    Investigators made a point of saying yesterday that the arrests are not an indictment of any particular faith or national group. Muslim leaders also said they hope Canadians will remember that those charged are innocent until proven guilty, and that those who hold to violent and extreme religious views are a tiny fraction of the approximately 750,000 Muslims who call this country home.


    “There was a documented increase in hate crimes against Muslims in Canada following the Sept. 11 attacks. Community members also say they suffered incidents of verbal abuse after the transit bombings in Spain and London, Elmasry said. “We’re expecting the same after this news.”

    He added, “The accused are innocent until proven guilty. We hope the media will not find the community guilty by association.”

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

    The Associated Press
    Sunday, June 4, 2006

    TORONTO — Canadian authorities decided to move quickly against a suspected homegrown terror ring and head off any attack on Ontario targets after undercover Mounties delivered bomb-making materials in a sting operation, according to a news report Sunday.

    The Toronto Star said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police itself delivered the three tons of ammonium nitrate that authorities reported Saturday had been acquired by a group of Muslims apparently inspired by al-Qaida.

    Once the deal was done, police moved in for the arrests, the Star said. It added that investigators had learned of the group’s alleged plan to build a bomb and then controlled the sale and transport of the fertilizer.

    It wasn’t clear how the sting sale developed, and there was no indication of whether police might have altered the fertilizer to make it unusable in a bomb.

    Authorities refused to discuss the Star’s story. They have revealed few details of the purported plot, news of which was followed by vandalism against at least one mosque and e-mailed threats to Muslim leaders.

    Police officers are saying privately that Web surfing and e-mail among the suspects initially led to the investigation beginning in 2004, something that Canada’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Wilson, alluded to in an interview with CNN’s “Late Edition.”

    “My understanding of it is that the Internet played a very important part of it. Whether there was a direct inspiration or an indirect inspiration, the Internet was, according to the police, was a very important part of their activities,” Wilson said.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Canadian operation was “obviously a great success for the Canadians. They’re to be congratulated for it.”

    Police arrested 12 adults, ages 19 to 43, and five suspects younger than 18 Friday and Saturday on terrorism charges, including plotting attacks with explosives on Canadian targets. The suspects were citizens or residents of Canada, and police said they had trained together.

    Cpl. Michele Paradis, a spokeswoman for the Mounties, disagreed with a government official who said privately that more arrests might be made this week.

    “Not right now,” she said. “Once we once analyze and sort through everything that was seized as a result there may be. At this point we are confident that we have the majority of people.”

    The 17 suspects represent a broad spectrum of Canadian society, from the unemployed to the the college educated. The 12 adults live in Toronto, Mississauga and Kingston, Ontario. The five youths cannot be identified under Canadian law.

    more from the Washington Post


    Mounties delivered the 3 tons of explosives to the suspects??? 🙂

    Has anyone seen the Toronto Star article this Washington Post article refers to that makes the claim? It’s not on the Star’s site. I can’t imagine the Washington Post making such an allegation unless they checked their information very carefully. They are a very reputable source of news. There is no story like this in the Canadian press that I can find.

    So, the defendants’ lawyer (s) will contend the sting amounted to entrapment by the RCMP?

    The RCMP now has lost quite a bit of their credibility for this case by not including this fact in the release of the initial story that has been reported widely in the Canadian press IMHO.

    In the article, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has categorically denied these defendants can be linked with the counterparts in the United States. “We certainly don’t believe that there’s any link to the United States, but obviously we will follow up,” Rice said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” noting the investigation was continuing.


    So much for these alleged Canadian terrorists being international in scope. Their lawyer (s) if he/she is smart will have already taped Ms. Rice making that statement and replay it in court as part of their defense.


    How odd? Now the link from the Washington Post doesn’t bring up the same story? Should have posted the whole thing–now the story that I posted is lost except for what I cut and pasted. 🙁 But the one about the RCMP delivering the fertilizer to the suspects is now on the Star’s website. See story that follows this one. No idea what happened and why it is the Washington Post no longer has this particular story on their website.

  • Massive sweep | Investigators controlled the sale and transport of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate in an undercover probe of an alleged homegrown terrorist cell
    Police say they moved in quickly to avert attacks in southern Ontario

    Jun. 4, 2006

    The delivery of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate to a group suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in southern Ontario was part of an undercover police sting operation, the Toronto Star has learned.

    The RCMP said yesterday that after investigating the alleged homegrown terrorist cell for months, they had to move quickly Friday night to arrest 12 men and five youths before the group could launch a bomb attack on Canadian soil.

    Sources say investigators who had learned of the group’s alleged plan to build a bomb were controlling the sale and transport of the massive amount of fertilizer, a key component in creating explosives. Once the deal was done, the RCMP-led anti-terrorism task force moved in for the arrests.

    At a news conference yesterday morning, the RCMP displayed a sample of ammonium nitrate and a crude cell phone detonator they say was seized in the massive police sweep when the 17 were taken into custody. However, they made no mention of the police force’s involvement in the sale.

    “It was their intent to use it for a terrorist attack,” said RCMP assistant commissioner Mike McDonell. “If I can put this in context for you, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was completed with only one tonne of ammonium nitrate.”

    Ammonium nitrate is a popular fertilizer, but when mixed with fuel oil it can create a powerful explosive.

    Standing behind McDonell were the chiefs of police from Toronto and Durham, York and Peel regions, as well as officials with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service — representing about 400 people involved with the investigation of the group.

    “This group posed a real and serious threat,” said McDonell, speaking near a table with seized evidence such as a 9-mm Luger handgun, military fatigues and two-way radios. “It had the capacity and intent to carry out these acts.”

    The suspects were allegedly planning to launch attacks in southern Ontario, but officials would not specify targets. Nor would they say if attacks were considered imminent.

    However, they did say the TTC was not a target. Sources told the Star that the Toronto headquarters of Canada’s spy agency on Front St., adjacent to the CN Tower, was on the group’s alleged list.

    The names of the 12 adult suspects now in custody were made public yesterday, but identities of the youths under the age of 18 cannot be released, according to Canadian laws protecting minors. Of the adults, six are from Mississauga; four from Toronto and two were already incarcerated in Kingston on gun smuggling charges.

    The charges laid against the men included participating in or contributing to the activity of a terrorist group, including training and recruitment; providing or making available property for terrorist purposes; and the commission of indictable offences, including firearms and explosives offences for the benefit of or in association with a terrorist group.

    Charged are Fahim Ahmad, 21; Jahmaal James, 23; Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19; and Steven Vikash Chand, 25, all of Toronto; Zakaria Amara, 20; Asad Ansari, 21; Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30; Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21; Saad Khalid, 19; and Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, all of Mississauga; and Mohammed Dirie, 22 and Yasin Abdi Mohamed, 24, who are incarcerated in Kingston.

    As officials spoke with reporters, the suspects were being loaded into unmarked vehicles at the Ajax-Pickering police station, where they had spent the night. Wearing leg irons and handcuffs, they were taken to a Brampton courtroom in groups of between two and six to appear before a justice of the peace.

    Anser Farooq, a lawyer who represents five of the accused, pointed at snipers on the roof of the courthouse and said: “This is ridiculous. They’ve got soldiers here with guns. This is going to completely change the atmosphere.

    “I think (the police) cast their net far too wide,” he said, adding his clients are considering suing law enforcement agencies.

    The father of one accused, Mohammed Abdelhaleen, spoke outside the courthouse after his son’s appearance, saying there is “no validation” to any of the charges against any of the suspects.

    “I have no idea what this is,” said the distraught father. “I’m sure it’s going to come to nothing. We’re playing a political game here. I hope the judicial system realizes this.”

    With quivering lips, the father said he was in “a very bad place right now. The damage is already done.”

    Around the same time, Karl Nickner of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement that he is confident “the justice system will accord these individuals transparency, due process and the presumption of innocence.”

    “We stand behind our security forces and the Canadian government in their desire to protect Canada,” said the executive director. “As Canadian Muslims, we unequivocally condemn terrorism in all of its forms.”

    It’s still unclear how the group of suspects is connected and police yesterday offered few details of its alleged activities. But sources close to the investigation told the Star that the investigation began in2004 when CSIS began monitoring fundamentalist Internet sites and their users.

    They later began monitoring a group of young men, and the RCMP launched a criminal investigation. Police allege the group later picked targets and plotted attacks.

    Last winter some members of the group, including the teenagers, went to a field north of the city, where they allegedly trained for an attack and made a video imitating warfare.

    Sources said some of the younger members forged letters about a bogus school trip to give to their parents so they could attend.

    Police said there were no known connections to Al Qaeda or international terrorist organizations, but that the group was homegrown, meaning the suspects were Canadian citizens, or long-time residents and had allegedly become radicalized here.

    This type of extremism was blamed for the suicide attacks in London last July which claimed the lives of 52 commuters travelling on the subway and a double-decker bus.

    “They appear to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by Al Qaeda,” said Luc Portelance of CSIS, adding there is no direct link to the network.

    John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute said he has long warned officials about the possibility of homegrown terrorists and what he dubbed the “jihad generation.”

    “There’s been a focus on (recruiting) younger Muslims, especially those who were mostly raised here,” said Thompson, who is director of the Toronto-based think tank.

    Recruiters, or “ideological conditioners,” he said, have been actively seeking members in Toronto-area mosques, community centres and schools since 2002.

    Officials have not linked the suspects to terror cells abroad, but Portelance was quick to point out the investigation is ongoing.

    Sources say the cases of two men from Georgia, now in custody in the U.S. facing terrorism charges, are connected to alleged members of the Canadian group.

    Yesterday, officials offered few details about the suspects or how they met, saying only they come from a “variety of backgrounds” and represented a broad strata, including students, the employed and unemployed.

    “It is important to know that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community or ethnocultural group in Canada,” said Portelance. “Terrorism is a dangerous ideology, and a global phenomenon. … Canada is not immune from this ideology.”

    When asked why Canadians would want to attack targets in Canada, Portelance said: “Clearly, they’re motivated by some of the things we see around the world,” he said.

    “They’re against the Western influences in Islamic countries and have an adherence to violence to reach a political objective. But as far as the specific motivators, I think they probably change from individual to individual.”

    Speaking in Ottawa at an enrolment ceremony for 225 new Canadian military recruits, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his views.

    “As at other times in our history, we are a target because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values — values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law — the values that make Canada great, values that Canadians cherish.”

    Toronto Star

  • The FT gets up on its hind legs on “Canada” – nymole

    Financial Times – Saturday morning was probably not the best time for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to urge the US to slow the implementation of tighter border controls on travellers from Canada.

    The chances of Washington heeding that call – already low – had been diminished a few hours earlier when Canadian police arrested 17 people on suspicion of plotting a series of terror attacks against targets in heavily populated southern Ontario.

    The arrests, one of the biggest anti-terrorism operations in north America since the terror attacks of September 2001, are likely to fan debate in Canada on several other emotive issues, notably immigration and the presence of 2,000 Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

    Friday’s operation is also sure to provoke closer public scrutiny of the country’s rapidly growing Muslim community. While the men arrested on Friday were Canadian residents, several were immigrants from countries as diverse as Egypt, Somalia and Trinidad.

    In line with a generally tolerant attitude towards immigrants, Canadian Muslims have until now faced little of the backlash that has followed attacks in the US and Europe.

    “It’s a wake-up call to the Canadian state and the Muslim community, because it’s a reflection of failure on all our parts,” Tarek Fatah, communications director for the Muslim Canadian Congress, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Toronto’s mayor, David Miller, added that “we need to do some work to find out how people would be sucked into this kind of activity”.

    Police alleged the arrested men were arranging delivery of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate and enough other bomb-making equipment to blow up several large buildings. Ammonium nitrate, normally used as fertiliser, can be turned into a crude bomb.

    The Toronto Star reported on Sunday that the ammonium was supplied by the authorities as part of a “sting” operation.

    The police refused to identify the group’s intended targets, but said they were all in Canada. Local media reports have mentioned Toronto’s landmark CN Tower, offices of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the parliament buildings in Ottawa

    The men, including five under 18, have been charged under an anti-terror law passed in late 2001.

    The law has so far been used against only one person, Mohammad Momin Khawaja, an Ottawa software specialist, who is awaiting trial for alleged connections to a UK terror group. Several other people are being held without charge in Canada.

    US officials have been concerned for some time that Canada’s relatively relaxed immigration and asylum rules could make it a staging ground for terror groups.

    An Algerian-born man, Ahmed Ressam, is serving a 22-year sentence in the US for planning to detonate a suitcase bomb at Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations in 1999. Mr Ressam was detained when he entered Washington state from Canada in a car containing explosives and timing devices.

    Mr Fatah said that several of those arrested on Friday attended a small mosque in Mississauga, a Toronto suburb. The oldest member of the group, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, was the mosque’s imam. CSIS said that the men were followers of a “violent ideology inspired by al-Qaeda”.

    Large numbers of immigrants, especially from south Asia, have moved into the Toronto area over the past decade. Most have been allowed to enter Canada under a controversial family reunification provision.

    The Liberal party, which formed the government from 1993 until earlier this year, has built a strong constituency in these communities.

    The new minority Conservative government has retreated from earlier plans to tighten immigration laws. The prime minister, Stephen Harper, said on Saturday that “we are a target because of who we are and how we live”. But pressure is sure to increase on the government to make Canada a less welcoming target after the weekend’s events.

    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • Reuters is reporting…

    TORONTO (Reuters) – Vandals smashed windows of a Toronto mosque after a weekend police sweep that netted 17 suspected al Qaeda sympathisers accused of plotting bomb attacks, and Canadian Muslims expressed fear on Sunday that a backlash had begun.

    “Numerous windows were smashed” at the mosque either late Saturday or early on Sunday and the incident was being investigated, a police official said in an interview.

    A second official said he had no information on whether there was a link between the vandalism and the arrests.

    Mohammad Alam, the president Islamic Foundation of Toronto, said the incident may be the beginning of religiously motivated reprisals against the country’s Muslim population, estimated at more than 600,000.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his views.
    “As at other times in our history, we are a target because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values — values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law — the values that make Canada great, values that Canadians cherish.”

  • Canadian Police Moved in on Terror Suspects After Sting Delivery of Bomb Materials, News Report Says


    TORONTO Jun 4, 2006 (AP)— Canadian authorities decided to move quickly against a suspected homegrown terror ring and head off any attack on Ontario targets after undercover Mounties delivered bomb-making materials in a sting operation, according to a news report Sunday.

    The Toronto Star said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police itself delivered the three tons of ammonium nitrate that authorities reported Saturday had been acquired by a group of Muslims apparently inspired by al-Qaida.

    Once the deal was done, police moved in for the arrests, the Star said. It added that investigators had learned of the group’s alleged plan to build a bomb and then controlled the sale and transport of the fertilizer.

    It wasn’t clear how the sting sale developed, and there was no indication of whether police might have altered the fertilizer to make it unusable in a bomb.

    Authorities refused to discuss the Star’s story. They have revealed few details of the purported plot, news of which was followed by vandalism against at least one mosque and e-mailed threats to Muslim leaders.

    Police officers are saying privately that Web surfing and e-mail among the suspects initially led to the investigation beginning in 2004, something that Canada’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Wilson, alluded to in an interview with CNN’s “Late Edition.”

    “My understanding of it is that the Internet played a very important part of it. Whether there was a direct inspiration or an indirect inspiration, the Internet was, according to the police, was a very important part of their activities,” Wilson said.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Canadian operation was “obviously a great success for the Canadians. They’re to be congratulated for it.”

    Police arrested 12 adults, ages 19 to 43, and five suspects younger than 18 Friday and Saturday on terrorism charges, including plotting attacks with explosives on Canadian targets. The suspects were citizens or residents of Canada, and police said they had trained together.

    Cpl. Michele Paradis, a spokeswoman for the Mounties, disagreed with a government official who said privately that more arrests might be made this week.

    “Not right now,” she said. “Once we once analyze and sort through everything that was seized as a result there may be. At this point we are confident that we have the majority of people.”

    The 17 suspects represent a broad spectrum of Canadian society, from the unemployed to the the college educated. The 12 adults live in Toronto, Mississauga and Kingston, Ontario. The five youths cannot be identified under Canadian law.

    Rocco Galati, a lawyer, said he represented two of the men from Mississauga, an immigrant-rich town just east of Toronto.

    He described Ahmad Ghany, 21, as a health sciences graduate of McMaster University who was born in Canada. Ghany’s father is a physician who emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago in 1955, Galati said.

    His other client, Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, is an unmarried computer programmer of Egyptian descent, Galati said. He emigrated from Egypt at age 10 with his father, who is an engineer on contract with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., a private that firm provides services to nuclear utilities in Canada and other countries.

    “Both of their families are very well-established professionals, well-established families, no criminal pasts whatsoever,” Galati said. “That’s why we’re anxious to see the particulars of the allegations against them.”

    Two suspects, Mohammed Dirie, 22, and Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, already are in an Ontario prison serving two-year terms for possession of illegal weapons.

    Officials said the 17 arrests came after a lengthy operation involving some 400 intelligence and law-enforcement officers and was the largest counterterrorism operation in Canada since the adoption of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

    Toronto Mayor David Miller said he was told by the city’s police chief several months ago that a suspected terrorist cell was being investigated in the Toronto area.

    “I was relieved that police had discovered the activities at a very early stage,” Miller said. “I was relieved on behalf of Torontonians because I knew because of the police activities that if there was an actual threat, they would be able to stop it before anything serious happened.”

    Mike McDonnell, an assistant commissioner with the Mounties, said Saturday that the amount of ammonium nitrate acquired by the alleged terror cell was three times that used by American anti-government extremists to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people and injuring more than 800.

    The fertilizer is safe by itself, but when mixed with fuel oil or other ingredients, it makes a powerful explosive.

    The FBI said the Canadian suspects might have had “limited contact” with two men recently arrested on terrorism charges in Georgia. There was no indication Sunday, however, that the 17 detainees were trying to plan an attack in the United States.

    “We certainly don’t believe that there’s any link to the United States, but obviously we will follow up,” Rice said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” noting the investigation was continuing.

    Aly Hindy, an imam of Scarborough’s Salaheddin Islamic Center, said he knew nine of the suspects and complained that Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, has unfairly targeted his mosque and congregants for years.

    “They have been harassed by CSIS agents and this is what they come up with?” Hindy said. “I’m almost sure that most of these people will be freed.”

    Hindy predicted the case would end up like a 2003 high-profile security investigation that ended up embarrassing authorities.

    That case, a joint immigration and Mountie investigation, was touted as the dismantling of an al-Qaida cell. Twenty-two Pakistani students and an Indian national were arrested, but it ended up being just an immigration case that sent the students home branded as terrorists.

    Mohammed Abdelhaleen, the father of one of the those arrested over the weekend, was alarmed by the huge police presence at Saturday’s court hearing, where snipers perched on nearby rooftops and dozens of officers armed with M-16 assault rifles guarded the entrance.

    Abdelhaleen said he feared his son had already been convicted in the court of public opinion. “The damage has already been done,” the father said. “He just goes and prays in a mosque. That’s all he does.”

    Muslim leaders voiced worries that the highly publicized arrests would cause a backlash against their community of 750,000 people.

    A mosque in northwest Toronto was vandalized overnight, with 25 windows and three doors smashed, police said. Enuof Baksh, the building’s caretaker, said people were distraught when they saw the broken glass Sunday morning.

    Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, told AP that he and other Muslim leaders were getting threatening e-mails.

    He said Muslims would now have to deal with hate crimes, as they did after the Sept. 11 attacks and bloody bombings in London and Madrid, Spain.

    “It’s already happening. A mosque was vandalized. We hope Canadians will be more rationale and consider the facts,” Elmasry said.

    Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    ABC News

    That was the story that was originally on the Washington Post site. Now it’s on the ABC website. Copied and pasted the whole thing in case this one changes too.


    Seems there is a conflict whether these alleged terrorists have a connection to US suspects? Fair amount of confusion between articles that are being released, reported, and possibly ‘leaked’ to the press.


    If I were Harper I would restrict the flow of information that Canadians are being told! 🙂 Dratted international press–just can’t gag or shut them up!!!

  • and who are the “We”? It seems as though Harper is mindlessly channelling Bush and Blair. I’m just back from Halifax and was watching the story develop on TV up there (it was a wet weekend). By all reports these are Canadian citizens. Self hating Canadians perhaps? More likely they have other, more complicated, issues.

  • comparing the 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate they allegedly seized with the “one tonne” of ammonium nitrate used by McVeigh to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

    McVeigh’s bomb contained more than 2 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

    Here’s one link that says the Oklahoma bomb was about two tonnes. Most authoritative sources say 4800 or 5000 pounds. 2 tonnes would be approx 4400 pounds.

    That information is readily available on the Internet. Seems like there is some sensationalizing going on by the police?

  • Snipers, leg irons, selected evidence, police brass — all calculated to sway the public, lawyers and security experts say

    Jun. 5, 2006. 01:00 AM

    “A good spectacle … theatrical atmosphere … like 24 … an awards show.”

    Reviews for a Mirvish production, right? Maybe a Hollywood blockbuster or fast-paced new action series on Fox?

    Wrong. It’s how several lawyers and security experts describe the sombre, indeed frightening, events which transpired in the GTA over the past weekend.

    At a news conference Saturday, a dozen of the highest-ranking police officers in the province gathered to announce that an alleged terrorist cell had been shut down before it could explode a truck bomb three times more powerful than the device used in Oklahoma City. They were circumspect about Operation O-Sage, arguing time constraints in the preparation of evidence as well as police procedure.

    The anti-terrorism task force was careful about the wording of its news release, saying that the group “took steps to acquire” the three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a popular fertilizer used to make bombs. As well, they laid out selected evidence for the photographers and TV crews, showing only “sample” bags of ammonium nitrate.

    Meanwhile, under massive police security which included sharpshooters on nearby roofs and tactical squad officers with submachine-guns, suspects were brought in leg irons to the provincial courthouse in Brampton. There, in Room 101, Justice of the Peace John Farnum postponed bail hearings until tomorrow morning.

    For the experts contacted by the Star, these events were as much about creating an image for the public as about charging the individuals. And it’s an image, they argue, that could hurt the right of the accused — 12 men and five youths — to a fair trial.

    Being on message — “on script” as the spin doctors put it — is a concept more easily associated with politicians than police chiefs. But for a veteran of the criminal justice system like Toronto lawyer Walter Fox, it’s the obvious lens through which to judge events.

    The principal audience, in his view, is the Canadian public.

    “Police think they have to present a show of force to advance the public’s understanding that these guys are dangerous,” said Fox. “Does it prejudice the mind of the public? I think so.

    “As a criminal lawyer, I am well aware that police and the prosecution are never stronger than at the moment when they’ve brought their suspects into court for the first time. I’ve also learned that the stronger the police seem to be at this point, the more suspicious I become that they don’t have a complete case.”

    Overall, Fox tends to believe that the checks and balances of the justice system will probably win out. David Jacobs, a Toronto lawyer with extensive experience in international human rights law, is less sure.

    “The fanfare around the arrests creates such a theatrical atmosphere one wonders if it is necessary for the enforcement of justice…. It raises the emotional level without necessarily shedding any light,” he said.

    In Brampton Saturday, lawyer Anser Farooq, who represents five of the accused, clearly saw the image of snipers on the roof and police armed to the teeth as negative to his clients. “This is ridiculous,” he told the Star. “They’ve got soldiers here with guns. This is going to completely change the atmosphere.”

    Inside, lawyer Rocco Galati, representing two suspects, complained to Farnum about the leg irons and armed officers in the courtroom, adding: “I do not feel safe with an automatic weapon facing in my direction.”

    Police evidence was carefully chosen for the news conference, held at the Toronto Congress Centre by the RCMP-led National Security Enforcement Team.

    The chief speaker was RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell, and lined up behind him were chiefs of police from Toronto, York, Durham and Peel regions, as well as representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

    “When I saw all that brass lined up with every cop in southern Ontario and Canada telling us what a wonderful job they had done, I thought it was like an awards show,” said Fox. “Everybody will tell you it’s standard but they are all working to influence the public.”

    He had questions, as did Jacobs, about exactly how three tonnes of ammonium nitrate were “acquired” by the suspects. The Star has learned that when investigators monitoring the men found out about the alleged purchase of the fertilizer, they intervened before delivery, switching the potentially deadly material with a harmless substance.

    Jacobs advised vigilance in seeing what comes out in court about how far police went. He said that the courts have been drawing a line past which law enforcement officers can’t go without being seen as having induced the commission of a criminal offence.

    He found it interesting that police referred to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing where 168 people died in an explosion at a federal building. He said that if, for example, police arranged for delivery of the ammonium nitrate, it would shed a different light on proceedings.

    “In Oklahoma City, there was no suggestion police were involved,” said Jacobs, adding that there are a number of important unanswered questions in the investigation.

    Jacobs also criticized police for linking the suspects to Al Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, without providing evidence. Police said that cell members were “inspired” by Al Qaeda.

    Fox chuckled at the way evidence was presented, notably the use of similar bags of ammonium nitrate, not the actual evidence.

    Watching it on TV, he said, he had the sense of reading an old crime pulp magazine from the ’50s, with lines like: “At a location similar to the one pictured above, the following events took place …”


  • …mixed numbers out there around the size of the Murrah device. IIRC, the original ballpart estimate was approx. 1600 lbs ANFO. That estimate was revised several times, to the point where it’s pretty damned hard to tell what the real number was. I’ve read a few forensic studies of the damage to the structure that seem to agree on a yield equivalent to 4,000 lbs TNT.

    It’s important to note that though that’s the yield, the actual weight of the charge will probably be different – I recall that most ANFO mixes are somewhat less powerful than the equivalent wieght of TNT, but it varies significantly depending on the skill of the folks doing the mixing. A chunk of the weight of the charge will be taken up by the buffer charges and the fuel oil (i.e., it takes less than 4000 lbs ammonium nitrate to make a 4000 lb charge – I’m not sure what the ratio is by wieght, but if it’s about half they may well even have managed to be in the right ballpark).

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • The basic chemistry of ANFO detonation is the reaction of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) with a long chain hydrocarbon (CnH2n+2) to form nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water. In an ideal stoichiometrically balanced reaction, ANFO is comprised of approximately 94.3% AN and 5.7% FO by weight. In practice, a slight excess of fuel oil is added, as underdosing results in reduced performance while overdosing merely results in more post-blast fumes. When detonation conditions are optimal, the aforementioned gases are the only products. In practical use, such conditions are impossible to attain, and blasts produce moderate amounts of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

    Ammonium nitrate is widely used as a fertilizer in the agricultural industry.
    In the mining industry, the term ANFO specifically describes a mixture of solid ammonium nitrate prills and fuel oil. In this form, it has a bulk density of approximately 840 kg/m3. The density of individual prills is about 1300 kg/m3, while the density of pure crystalline ammonium nitrate is 1700 kg/m3. It is notable that AN prills used for explosive applications are physically different from fertilizer prills; the former contain approximately 20% air. These voids are necessary to sensitize ANFO: they create so-called “hot spots” in which the interaction of the detonation front with a spherical void concentrates energy. Blasting-grade AN prills are typically between 0.9 and 3.0 mm in diameter.

    AN is highly hygroscopic; that is, it readily absorbs water from air. Care must be taken with its storage in humid environments, as any absorbed water interferes with its explosive function. AN is also water soluble. If ANFO is to be used in wet mining conditions, considerable effort must be taken to dewater boreholes.

    Other explosives based on the AN/FO chemistry exist; the most commonly used are emulsions. They differ from ANFO in the physical form the reactants take. The most notable properties of emulsions are water resistance and higher bulk density.

    The popularity of ANFO is largely attributable to its low cost and high stability. In most jurisdictions, ammonium nitrate need not be classified as an explosive for transport purposes; it is merely an oxidizer. Most mines prepare ANFO on-site using the same No. 2 diesel fuel that powers their vehicles. Many fuels can theoretically be used; however, the low volatility and cost of No. 2 diesel makes it ideal.

    AN/FO has occasionally been used in terrorist bombings. It has seen use by groups such as the FARC, Provisional IRA, ETA, and various Palestinian extremists. A more sophisticated variant of the standard AN/FO reaction was used in the Oklahoma City bombing. It is noteworthy that improvised bombs made with agricultural-grade AN are less sensitive and less efficient than the explosive-grade variety.

    Wikipedia: ANFO

  • Huh? With due respect, honoured Sir, for a more rational perspective, you really must visit the East Mall late on a Friday night.

    Anyway. Whatever. I’m one Canadian who certainly feels quite differently about the state of the nation’s security, now that Stockwell Day is in charge.

    I doubt. Therefore I could be.

  • Plot began in chat room

    CSIS monitored discussions on bombing targets `Training camp’ visit turning point for investigators

    Nicolaas Van Rijn | June 5 | Toronto

    The Toronto Star
    – For most Canadians, ammonium nitrate — even after it was used to destroy the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, including dozens of kids in a daycare centre — is nothing much more than a commonly used plant fertilizer.

    Farmers buy and use it by the tonne, mixing it into the soil to ensure a bountiful crop.

    But mix ammonium nitrate with the inflammatory rhetoric of an Internet chat room, and it instantly acquires the potential to become something entirely different, needing only the addition of a little fuel oil to turn it into a lethal bomb.

    So when a shadowy group of disaffected urban youth began talking in an Internet chat room in the fall of 2004, espousing anti-Western views, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was listening.

    The spy agency, and an alphabet soup of other security agencies across the continent, closely monitor such sites, where talk may sometimes turn to buildings and bombs and bringing global jihad home to North America, to Canada.

    Often it’s just that — talk — but when CSIS began monitoring the sites allegedly used by some of the 17 men and youths arrested on terrorism-related charges in a sweeping series of raids across the GTA Friday evening, the Canadian spy agency heard enough to remain interested, and increased surveillance of the group.

    [Comment: I have a feeling that this episode is going to end up being mentioned in the debate over electronic surveillance in the United States, particularly if this is how they really made the initial pickup. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • How would you like to be driving down the road and see this guy in your headlights?

    Or be entering a courthouse or other public building and be greeted by this guy?


    What are earth are they doing with machine guns outside buildings—who are they going to mow down with these things?

    Once saw something similar going into a bank in Mexico—never went back to that country because of it. These heavily armed guards aren’t needed for security—a gun in a holster is more than adequate. What are those packages he has strapped to his legs? He looks like an alien creature with that antennae sticking out of the side of his head.

    I do remember seeing armed troops in Montreal when civil liberties were suspended because of Trudeau’s Emergency Measures Act. Hundreds were arrested and thrown in jail who had nothing to do with the FLQ. The question we have to ask ourselves is what civil liberties are we willing to give up for the Anti-Terrorism Act? I’m not willing to part with any of mine. Won’t get a passport with a chip or a National ID card that has a tracking device. And I will insist that the government roll back the spying they are doing on me on my computer, email, telephone and other records that violate my right to privacy. Throw away those freedoms and it invites a military society that is ruled by guns instead of laws.

    The response to terrorism should be measured and not endanger the public’s ability to live peaceably among the population. Until now, I regarded the police as a positive influence in the communities. They’re now turning into scare mongers and people I’d run away from when I saw them. He looks like he’d be pleased to stomp the life out of me with his huge, ugly, black boots. The black eyes of the guard outside is equally threatening. What’s next, armed troops in the cities?

    Nor was I impressed with seeing these young defendants in leg irons–they’ve only be accused–they have been found guilty of nothing. The presumption of innocence is a very important ingredient–the onus is on the prosecution to ‘prove’ their allegations. If the Anti-terrorism Act they’re using to prosecute these individuals is too loose to protect the concept of innocence, God help us all because we could be next.

    Betcha if they seized my computer, I could also be accused and possibly found guilty because of statements I’ve made–not once has there ever been an overt act in my life that imperilled another person. But given free access and a microscope that examines my thoughts, there have been dark moments. The prosecution has confiscated the defendants’ computers and will use the information they find on them. Who decided they had the right to take them and use their own words against them?

  • From the Globe and Mail:

    Terror in Canada: Perspective, please

    Here? In Canada? Right in our midst?

    The dread of the enemy within is one of the most powerful any society can confront. News that authorities have broken up a suspected terrorist conspiracy in Ontario is bound to stir such fears. Some will even leap to the conclusion that our experiment with mass immigration and multiculturalism is failing, that our very tolerance and openness have become a weakness. That would be both rash and unjustified.

    From the Toronto Star:

    “Or it is possible that the only thing that these bits of evidence prove is that a group of young men went somewhere where they tramped around in big boots, cooked on barbecues, played soldier and generally acted like jerks — which young men are occasionally wont to do.”

    Also from The Star:

    “all 17 who were arrested are innocent until found guilty in a court of law. And second, if Canada is to fight those who want to unleash acts of terrorism against us, we all will be compelled to draw upon the best of what Canada has represented over the decades — diligence and fairness.”

    From the CBC:

    “My son is a decent person. He was raised very well. He is a very sensitive, very shy person.” Haleem said his son is still recovering from a heart operation he had in April.”

    From the Toronto Sun:

    Were the alleged terrorists captured in the country’s biggest ever terrorist bust infiltrated by agents and later entrapped? Does it matter?

    “Constitutionally it sure does,” said terrorism expert Dave Harris last night.


    Bring on the trial. I want to see the evidence. We better see something other than some flashlights and a soldering iron: Documents and records, firearms, bomb making material and plans–all of it! If they are guilty let them all rot for 20 years. If they are innocent, then free them.

    Not a secret trial but one where it is reported widely in the media. The wheels of justice will determine the guilt or innocence of the charges.

    No need to arm ourselves or panic that it has happened within our midst. Rule by law is for everyone and it is the only way to deal with terrorism. I do expect when all the evidence has been heard, the intrusive parts the RCMP and CSIS are currently authorized to use, will be rolled back and privacy restored to all Canadian citizens.



    I agree the number is 4,500 pounds (a little over 2 tonnes) of ammonium nitrate that was used in the Oklahoma bombing. One thousand pounds, which is currently being reported is not the correct amount.

  • …think? Have you considered that when you comment on how a police constable, even one that has the audacity to be a tactical officer armed with a submachine gun, would supposedly be pleased to stomp the life out of you without valid cause that that might be a comment about your mindset, not his? It’s my informed opinion that the guys on the tactical teams armed with the submachine guns are the guys that are least likely to end up shooting someone else, once one takes into account that they end up in the more extreme policing situations by the nature of their duties. They’ve the better training and doctrine, etc. etc. – where things go sideways and people get shot is quite frequently when the guy in the scout car gets thrown into a dynamic situation without warning and runs out of options.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …not, they’re reporting 2,200 lbs (one tonne) rather than 1,000 lbs.

    I completely disagree as to the how this should be viewed. This is how the system should work – identify, monitor, penetrate, build a case, lay charges, and go to trial. I rather suspect that when the dust settles what we’re going to see is that these guys were initially picked up because they were active on websites that are monitored due to the folks that congregate there and the ideas expressed. From that point on I would expect that they built a case based on probable cause, getting authorization for electronic surveillance and gradually building a case. That initial pickup may well be the only instance where anyone has any valid concern about privacy and I’m just not that bent out of shape about it – even if protected behind a password wall, a jihadi discussion forum just isn’t a situation where I think one can have a reasonable expectation of privacy. To be clear, this is not due to the content discussed, but due to the nature and composition of the groups. They simply didn’t charge these guys just because of their electronic communications (though those communications may turn out to be central to any eventual conviction), there was much more to the charges than that.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …decides to come to the court house carrying a suicide bomb, so as to give his colleagues the martyrdom that they aspire to rather than letting them rot in jail? Dunno about anybody else, but I’d sure rather that there be officers with MP-5s there so that they can shoot the guy quite precisely in the head from a nice safe distance. Any police officer with any sense that sees an elevated chance of needing a firearm gets a shoulder arm just as quick as they can. Handguns are carried because of the necessity of having a small arm constantly on one’s person for policing duties, not because they’re particularly effective in a gunfight compared to other weapons. Given that the downside to this is that the public might actually have to see a scary gun carried by a tactical officer, frankly I think that public can just cowboy the heck up and deal with it.

    Is it at least partially theatre? Yes. Given that the Canadian public has had its head firmly up its ass on terrorism for a period measured in decades, a little theatre’s not a bad thing, IMNSHO.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Another Terrorist Attack Coming Soon?

    June 5, 2006
    (CBS) U.S. officials believe Canadian arrests over the weekend and three recent domestic incidents in the United States are evidence the U.S. will soon be hit again by a terrorist attack. Privately, they say, they’d be surprised if it didn’t come by the end of the year, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Stewart in a CBS News exclusive.

    The first of the domestic incidents, all of which drew little attention at the time, began with the holdup of a string of Torrance, Calif. gas stations last summer. Muslim converts who bonded together in prison planned to use the robberies to finance attacks on 20 Army recruiting stations.

    Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton admits they stumbled on the plot during a search.

    “Make no mistake about it,” Bratton said. “We dodged a bullet here — perhaps many bullets.”

    Police in Toledo, Ohio, busted another cell in February. This one consisted of three men training to attack U.S. forces overseas. Once again, luck played a role. When they tried to enlist someone in their mosque to help, he turned them in.

    “These individuals are often hiding in plain sight in cities like Torrance and now Toledo,” says John Pistole, a FBI deputy director.

    Two months ago, a pair of Atlanta men, one a Georgia Tech engineering student, were arrested not long after communicating by e-mail with two of the suspects arrested in Canada over the weekend. The Atlanta men are charged with videotaping domestic targets, including the U.S. Capitol and the World Bank.

    Analysts now conclude similarities between all the cases were dramatic: All were self-financed, self-motivated, and in each case the men were seeking out others to join their cell.

    In short, Osama bin Laden didn’t pay for these plots, recruit for them or even know of them. They were all totally homegrown — even amateurish. But if four, including the one in Canada, have been uncovered in just 11 months, officials fear there are inevitably other plots that have not been and are maturing even now.

    The next attack here, officials predict, will bear no resemblance to Sept. 11. The casualty toll will not be that high, the target probably not that big. We may not even recognize it for what it is at first, they say. But it’s coming — of that they seem certain.

    posted under fair use link

  • They’ll undoubtedly be carrying a great big “under my clothes I’m wearing a suicide vest” sign visible from that nice safe distance allowing a positive ID so we can be certain they aren’t a Brazilian electrician before executing them.

  • …rather than some chance, me I’ll pick my plan. Or perhaps we can just try to subdue them with sarcasm, I’m sure that’ll work.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Okay.

    Since September 11th, 2001, security forces inside Britain and America looking for terrorists have collectively discharged several dozen rounds in the course of their duties. Can you give me an example of a single bullet that has wound up in a terrorist yet?

  • I never took you for one wanting a militarized authoratative state. I’m not trying to make fun of you but some of us in the US are used to seeing and questioning any big show of force. Too many false alarms and color coded alerts.

  • I never took you for one wanting a militarized authoratative state. I’m not trying to make fun of you but some of us in the US are used to seeing and questioning any big show of force. Too many false alarms and color coded alerts.

  • Jun 6, 1:21 PM EDT

    Canada Terror Suspect Charges Made Public

    Associated Press Writer

    BRAMPTON, Ontario (AP) — At least one member of a group of terror suspects plotted to storm Canada’s parliament and behead officials, including the prime minister, if Muslim prisoners in Canada and Afghanistan were not released, according to charges made public Tuesday.

    Authorities also alleged that Steven Vikash Chand plotted to take over media outlets such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

    “There’s an allegation apparently that my client personally indicated that he wanted to behead the prime minister of Canada,” attorney Gary Batasar said. “It’s a very serious allegation. My client has said nothing about that.”

    Chand is a 25-year-old restaurant worker from Toronto. Charges were expected to be read against at least some of the other suspects Tuesday.

    Batasar spoke outside the courthouse, where bail hearings for 10 of the 17 suspects were postponed.

    He said the charges were based on fear-mongering by government officials.

  • …officers on the streets around a courthouse when potentially dangerous subjects are being arraigned necessarily constitutes a manifestation of a militarized state. I can think of probably a dozen occasions when I’ve seen coverage of tactical officers performing these sorts of duties without folks even blinking (every time we bust some big group of Hells or have a press conference with 150 kg of coke, there are those same tactical officers). For some reason folks are up in arms about this specific instance – me, based on my long familiarity with the detached Canadian attitude towards international terrorism, I think it’s a manifestation of our steadfast denial that such things really present a threat to us.

    You guys had too many coded alerts and false alarms – our guys have been working in the shadows, where such work properly belongs. That said, just because it’s been happening in the shadows, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been happening – if these guys are to get their day in court in a safe and timely manner the periodic appearance of armed officers is perhaps something that the public is just going to have to put up with. If they want to say how threatened that makes them feel, that’s their right, but based on my appreciation of the tactical situation and the training and discipline of the officers involved, frankly I think that’s something that says more about the public and how poorly they understand what makes those officers tick than anything else.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …to concentrate on what’s happened in Canada. Have any bullets ended up flying because of any of this? No.

    More pertinently to your specific question, I can think of two shootings in the UK – what specific American examples are you thinking of?

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • with the professional low key systematic way this was handled they would not want pictures of govt snipers and open weapons displays pasted all over the press. I wondered if they were there in case of the possible missing persons or protection for them from the types that vandalised the mosque.

  • Allison Hanes | Toronto | June 6

    National Post – The contemptuous tone of United States’ admonishments to Iran over its nuclear ambitions is but one source of the humiliation, alienation and rage that propels disaffected Muslim youth to espouse fanaticism, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said yesterday.

    Speaking to the National Post after his speech to mark the opening of the International Law Association conference in Toronto, the former diplomat and champion of nuclear disarmament, touched briefly on the wave of terrorism arrests that swept Southern Ontario over the weekend.

    “To me, as a foreigner passing through here, I would fit it in to the larger picture of the Muslim world — much of which feels humiliated and infuriated by the non-Muslim world’s attitude towards it,” Mr. Blix said, speculating about the possible motivations of 17 young men, mostly raised in Canada, to allegedly contemplate launching homegrown terror attacks.

    In his view, the majority of Muslims in Canada, abroad or in the Middle East, do not support Iran’s drive to enrich uranium, which the international community fears one day could fuel a nuclear weapons program. But he said that the silent majority are often reluctant to raise their voices in opposition when assailed by tough talk that borders on insulting.

    For a destructive handful, inflammatory rhetoric becomes a call to arms.

    [Comment: I think Hans has this one pretty much dead on. More at link. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …and that means it needs to be highly visible. Part of it also is admittedly theatre serving to reassure the public and shake down the budget gods, but it’s mostly a deterrant to any stupidity while these guys are having their time in front of the courts.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Man killed after bomb claim at airport

    Thursday, December 8, 2005 Posted: 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)

    MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — A 44-year-old U.S. citizen who claimed to have a bomb was shot and killed when air marshals opened fire on a boarding bridge at the Miami airport, several sources told CNN. No bomb was found.

    …A passenger, Mary Gardner, told WTVJ in Miami that the man ran frantically down the aisle from the rear of the plane, arms flailing, and that the woman accompanying him said that her husband was bipolar and had not taken his medication, according to The Associated Press.

    After he got off the plane in Miami and went through customs, he got on the Orlando-bound plane and said he had a bomb, Air Marshal Service spokesman Dave Adams said. (Read about air marshals being taught to avoid risk)

    Air marshals asked him to get off the plane, which he did, but when they asked him to put his bag down, he refused, Adams said. Alpizar then approached the marshals in an aggressive manner, at which point two or three shots were fired, he said.


    Although my question was “can you give an example of a terrorist that has been shot”, rather than the related question “how many times now since Sept 11 have American/British law enforcement types screwed the pooch and shot a civilian thinking they were a terrorist?”.

  • in an atmosphere of fear:

    London raid yields suspects but no bomb

    Are UK police now abusing their powers?

    What happens, is a formerly very respected and amicable relationship erodes into pockets of adversarial groupings. Gone is the trust relationship that took so long for the police to build between the communities they swore to protect.

    I do maintain that Bush, Blair, and Harper by being confrontational and dividing people into us and them creates and contributes to an atmosphere of diverseness. No longer are people homogenous—they become Liberals versus Conservatives, lefties versus righties, radio pundits versus talk radio rational discourse with callers. Once in power it is so easy to change laws that manipulate the electorate. Throw in propaganda and control of the media and the public is persuaded to ramp up the volume to become either an us or a them.

    I don’t subscribe to using colourful adjectives or changing the tone of my speech to match because strident opposition is part of the disease and not the cure. Very, very difficult to now be in opposition to loud voices. How will my reasoned opposition be heard above the voices that shout? Mine and other progressives like me are the more difficult challenge of how to respond when all the cards are stacked against reasonable debate. I do have to trust there are others like me that have confidence that law will restore order. The goal is to bring people to power that won’t abuse them and will turn the volume back down.

    Harper doesn’t deserve to have a majority government and most Canadians recognize that. Once he’s back in the opposition seats, legislation he has brought into force will be rolled back and individual liberties and controls on the powers police received will be rolled back. Gradually, the trust will rebuild—it will take longer for that to be restored. Easy to build friction, difficult and a long period to restore relationships that existed before the laws were changed.

    Blair and Bush have falling numbers in the polls. The longer Harper stays in power, the more likelihood, his will decrease too.

    The Star’s depicts the charges that were laid and the connection each defendant has to each charge This is not the time to relax vigilance, but neither is it appropriate to overreact and rob these defendants of their right to represent themselves in court. Five of the defendants don’t have charges relating to bomb-making, but two of them do have charges related to gun offences.


    No Dave, I do not think police should stand outside a public building with machine guns and I don’t care if they are tactical or ordinary officers. Their guns don’t belong in my face to persuade me I need to follow the law. That’s a rather deadly persuader wouldn’t you say…what choices do I have against a lethal weapon?

  • …”security forces inside Britain and America looking for terrorists have collectively discharged several dozen rounds in the course of their duties” – having forgotten about Mr. Alpizar, I was trying to figure out which instance(s) you were thinking of for the United States.

    I guess my comment would be that I think the dichotomy that you’ve set up between shooting innocents and shooting terrorists is a false one – the situation that everyone strives for is shooting no one, terrorist or innocent. How many arrests have been made without anyone, terrorist or innocent, getting shot? I can think of a fairly large number. As it’s happened we’ve had one instance where incomplete information was passed and an innocent man was killed, one instance where a man was apparently shot and wounded by an AD, and one where an apparently unbalanced individual acted very unwisely and was killed by virtue of his actions. Would it be better somehow if a terrorist had been shot in some other event? I don’t think so.

    The question in my mind as it pertains to this discussion is whether it was reasonable that the officers in those circumstances were armed as they were and whether it was reasonable that they used lethal force in response to a perceived threat. I don’t think that one has the slightest hope of making a coherent argument that officers involved in these three circumstances shouldn’t have been armed as they were – that said, should things have been handled differently in some of these cases? Unquestionably yes, given that civilians that these officers had sworn to protect were accidentally killed, but those events simply don’t flow merely from the fact that the officers were armed.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …you or I or any other law abiding citizen to follow the law. Those armed officers were there because they were protecting a courtroom in which a number of men who had allegedly plotted a terrorist attack, using firearms, were making appearances. When you’ve got a bunch of guys running around who have allegedly conspired to use firearms and explosives in the furtherance of terrorism (it’s alleged that they conspired in planning the detonation of a large bomb and a shooting spree) it’d be a little dense not to take prudent precautions against the possibility that some previously unknown adherent might try using the same modus operandi in a direct action on the courts.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • foreigners are not anymore considered as persons necessarily deserving of justice and dignity?”

    There currently is little oversight over the RCMP

    This is the oath police officers take, “I solemnly swear that I will be loyal to Her Majesty the Queen and to Canada, and that I will uphold the Constitution of Canada and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge my duties as a member of the (insert name of municipality) Police Services Board faithfully, impartially and according to the Police Services Act, any other Act, and any regulation, rule or by-law.

    So help me God.”

    Police Services Act:

    The duties of a police officer include,

    (a) preserving the peace;
    (b) preventing crimes and other offences and providing assistance and encouragement to other persons in their prevention;
    (c) assisting victims of crime;
    (d) apprehending criminals and other offenders and others who may lawfully be taken into custody;
    (e) laying charges and participating in prosecutions;
    (f) executing warrants that are to be executed by police officers and performing related duties;
    (g) performing the lawful duties that the chief of police assigns;
    (h) in the case of a municipal police force and in the case of an agreement under section 10 (agreement for provision of police services by O.P.P.), enforcing municipal by-laws;
    (i) completing the prescribed training. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15, s. 42 (1); 1997, c. 8, s. 28.


    Dave, Yes there are times when the police must react with force to protect the laws they swore to defend. At the same time, there is a valid need for oversight to contain abuses of the powers they have. That tactical police officer should not have been outside of that public building carrying his military assault weapon. There was no need for force at the time his picture was taken. The defendants were in leg irons and no longer posed any danger to the public. The show of force was completely unnecessary.


    You are correct .. I did not offer a flattering portrayal of the other tactical officer who was just doing his job. It is frightening to see police officers so heavily armed I don’t have my head buried in the sand—know they do need arms consistent with the threat. What worries me is the fist picture leads to the second one where there was no threat—just a lady who pulled her hood over her head so the photographer wouldn’t be able to have a picture of her splashed all over the news.


    Do you agree the Canadian police have given far too much information to the press about these defendants before their trial? Do you agree the RCMP should not have shared so much information about Maher Arar with foreign countries? Do you agree the RCMP and/or CSIS should be given lattitude to search our computers, e-mail, telephone calls and confiscate our own words to use against us in a court of law without a warrant?

  • …this: “The defendants were in leg irons and no longer posed any danger to the public” isn’t at all germane – that armed officer wasn’t there to protect the public from the defendants, he was there, among other things, to protect the defendants from those who might wish them harm. And contrary to your assertions, yes, it was entirely appropriate that he be outside the building, in plain view, so as to provide defence in depth and a visible deterrant.

    (As a technical aside, an MP-5 isn’t a “military assault weapon” – it’s a submachine gun, something that has a highly specialized role and is very infrequently used in the military [and particularly in the Canadian Forces – about the only folks you’ll find with them are JTF-2 {and then only sometimes} and naval boarding parties; just about everyone else prefers a C-8 {in the CQB variant with the shorty 10″ barrel if they’re working in confined spaces and have access to one}]. In fact, the weapon was originally designed for the German Border Police, not the military.)

    I agree that there’s been far too much speculative information released to the media. My guess is that a lot of the stuff that’s leaking is actually from folks that aren’t actually directly involved – apparently the officers directly involved have been signed to the Security of Information Act, which as I understand it carries some pretty severe penalties for leaks like this.

    As to whether CSIS should be allowed to search without a warrant, I think you’re getting very, very far ahead of the available evidence – I’ve seen no indications that any searches without warrants occurred in this case. I’d guess that there was some collection on these guys by CSE for communications that went outside the country, but as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in these fora a number of times, that’s legal under Canadian law – and yes, speaking even as someone who’s doubtless been collected on because of the nature of my personal communications, I think that’s entirely appropriate.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Yes, but doubtless the presence of the armed police adds to the visual weight of the accusations. There’ve been a lot of visuals
    in this drama.

    C’mon Dave, a picture tells more than one story.

    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • …theatre? I have not. In fact, I’ve stated it a number of times.

    I have suggested and continue to suggest that those who find the presence of officers armed in that manner completely without merit need to consider the tactical situation more closely.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • These guys don’t miss one opportunity…..

    …John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, speaking on Fox News, pointed out on Tuesday that the arrests followed two years of police surveillance including wiretaps, observation and tracing of internet usage.

    “I hope the American public as a whole understands why these steps are being taken (in the United States), not to invade their privacy, not to find out things about legitimate activities, but to uncover these terrorist networks,” he said.

    US President George W Bush authorised domestic eavesdropping without a court order shortly after the September 11 attacks.

    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • I was just bringing it up again as part of this particular visual….Everyone’s crawling out from under the woodwork in the media circus, which is, at least for now, distinct from the case itself.
    Assuming that the plot was real but being closely monitored and infiltrated for the last two years, I am not poo-pooing the danger, I’m also just reserving judgment about the timing of the arrests 🙂

    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • The eqivalent NYPD guys that can be seen at Wall and Broad Street in New York every weekday have the automatic weapons, the flack jackets and the rest of the kit including helmets.

    I remember travelling in Europe in the 80’s and being somewhat unnerved by seeing police at the airports with automatic weapons. Now, it is just de riguer all over. I agree with JPD that these guys,despite the scary weapons, are by by their training less likely to be a threat to ordinary citizens on account of their intense training.

  • …the timing of these arrests, the timing could have been more effective – like during the election campaign, perhaps. Would have submerged that “other” RCMP investigation quicker than the Titanic. I think they simply got to the point where they’d paid out enough line that these guys had made the best case they were going to without actually fabricating an explosive, which’d be enough to give any Mountie worth the Stetson pause.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • to protect the defendants from those who might wish them harm

    It wasn’t and isn’t necessary for a police officer to have a machine gun to protect the defendants from those who might wish them harm. An officer with a handgun in his holster would have served just as well.

    This isn’t the first time there have been terrorists in Canada. This is however; the first time there has been a knee-jerk reaction to threats and draconian legal code legislation adopted to combat it. The passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act wasn’t and isn’t needed. Criminal law covers conspiracies, blowing up of buildings, threats to cause physical harm to peoples, and whatever other charge prosecutors would need.

    Did you not read Plot began in chat rooms

    From the link: “While CSIS and police typically won’t talk about their operational methods, the available techniques range from monitoring electronic communications, from cell phones and landlines to emails and computers, to physically following persons of interest as they move about and talk to others.”

    getting very, very far ahead of the available evidence

    What world are you living in? NSA spying has been in the front pages of the news. International agreements have been signed by Canada, with the EU where information is routinely exchanged using huge databases that are collected and retained for long periods about citizens in a wide variety of countries. Canadians have not escaped from survelliance. It is unfortunately without court sanctioned warrants. Privacy means nothing to governments—they could be watching as I type. “Hi there!!!”

    I completely disagree with your conclusion that

    speaking even as someone who’s doubtless been collected on because of the nature of my personal communications, I think that’s entirely appropriate.

    It is MHO completely inappropriate to rummage in my computer. I have the right to private thoughts and the government has no business listening or monitoring it. Google Rights to Privacy and Unreasonable Search and Seizure and you’ll find Supreme Court rulings that guarantee those rights. Give away yours if you like, but I’m not surrendering mine unless the court rules that I must.

    Militarization of the police is dangerous to the freedom of Canadians.

  • Ottawa seeks to quash terror suspect’s bail
    Jun. 6, 2006

    OTTAWA — An Ottawa man accused of terrorist ties “cannot be trusted” to abide by bail conditions and will renew contact with other Muslim radicals if released from jail, the federal government says.

    Justice Department lawyers are moving to keep Mohamed Harkat behind bars, arguing he poses a “serious threat to the well-being and security of all Canadians.”

    The government is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to put his bail — approved last month — on hold until full arguments can be heard.

    “Harkat’s release would place him in a position to recommence his contacts with members of the Islamic extremist network, allowing them to be involved in planning and execution of terrorist acts,” says a federal submission filed with the court.

    Harkat, detained on a national security certificate for more than three years, was granted bail, albeit with a raft of strict conditions, by Federal Court Justice Eleanor Dawson.

    He is one of five Muslim men facing deportation on certificates — controversial anti-terrorist tools issued under federal immigration law.

    The government will contend Friday before the Court of Appeal that releasing Harkat would be a mistake.

    The hearing comes just a week after police arrested 17 people in Toronto for allegedly plotting violent acts inspired by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network.

    The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says the 37-year-old Harkat is a collaborator with bin Laden’s terrorist web.

    The spy service, which monitored Harkat for five years prior to his December 2002 arrest, also argues he supports Afghani, Pakistani and Chechen extremists.

    Harkat, a refugee who wants to stay in Canada, denies any involvement with terrorism.

    Matt Webber, one of his lawyers, was unavailable Tuesday. But Webber has previously expressed confidence the bail decision will withstand a federal appeal.

    Harkat has spent most of his incarceration in Ottawa and was recently transferred to a federal facility in Kingston, Ont.

    In her May ruling, Dawson said that during testimony Harkat “has been untruthful on a number of significant points.”

    However, she added that a series of conditions can be imposed that will “contain any threat or danger posed by Mr. Harkat’s release.”

    In its filing, the government disagrees, saying the threat Harkat represents “is in no way either mitigated or diminished” by the court-imposed conditions.

    Harkat would be permitted to live in the Ottawa home shared by his wife, Sophie, and her mother. However, he would require constant supervision and must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

    Under other terms of the arrangement, $35,000 in bail money must be deposited with the court, and another $82,500 in promised funds would have to be committed by Harkat’s family and associates.

    Harkat would be allowed to leave the house up to three times a week for four hours on each occasion. But he must have approval from federal authorities, wear the electronic bracelet and be accompanied by either his wife or mother-in-law.

    Harkat must also surrender travel documents, refrain from using the Internet and agree that his telephone conversations will be monitored.

    Toronto Star


    The defence
    Jun. 6, 2006

    Only seven of the 17 accused had found representation as of Saturday. Those lawyers are:

    Rocco Galati, who has the highest profile of the lawyers on deck so far. The Toronto barrister made an emotional announcement in 2003 that he was dropping all his high-profile clients in terror-related cases, while accusing U.S. and Canadian security agencies of of making a nasty anonymous phone call (a charge the Canadian Security Intelligence Service denies) and referring to him as “a dead wop.”

    Galati said later that he had lost his appetite to be a constitutional lawyer because “there is no Constitution left. … I can calmly and without exaggeration say that, personally, as a constitutional lawyer, I’ve witnessed the disappearance of the rule of law in our country.”

    James Silver, currently one of the lawyers representing Torontonian Abdullah Khadr in his fight against extradition to the United States.

    The U.S. government alleges that Khadr was involved in supplying ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and bombs to Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.

    Silver is a member of the “illegals” — a group of motorcyclists that has travelled to the United States on several occasions to fight for wrongly convicted people.

    Anser Farooq, who has a law office in Mississauga, where six of the accused men resided before they were arrested. His calling card indicates that he practices criminal and family law, and that he handles matters such as car accidents, life insurance, slip and fall, defamation, and sexual assault. Anser prides himself on being a trial lawyer who will advocate on your behalf, offering you “a Cadillac defence irrespective of your financial budget.”

    Toronto Star


    Jeez, of that bunch the only one I’d even consider representing me or a member of my family, is Galati. Silver, a former motorcylist and Faroog sounds like an ambulance chaser? 🙂 They’ll be up against Canada’s very best prosecutors.


    Inside the bomb ‘plot’
    Suspects cited for terrorist training
    Six are singled out in explosives plan
    Jun. 6, 2006

    Government lawyers will allege 20-year-old Zakaria Amara, a university student and father of an 8-month-old daughter, was the man who purchased three tonnes of ammonium nitrate for bomb attacks on Canadian soil, sources have told the Star.

    Court documents released yesterday claim Amara and another five suspects were involved in the bomb plot.

    All 17 suspects in what police are alleging is a home-grown terrorist cell are expected to appear in a Brampton court today for the start of their bail hearings.

    Amara was close friends at Mississauga’s Meadowvale Secondary with Fahim Ahmad and Saad Khalid and all three received religious instruction from 43-year-old accused Qayyum Abdul Jamal at a prayer centre in a Mississauga strip mall. Asad Ansari and Shareef Abdelhaleen also were regulars at the prayer centre.

    This is the group, according to court documents, who will stand trial for explosives offences, among other terrorism-related charges. The plot involved using more ammonium nitrate than was employed in 1995 to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City. That blast killed 168 people.

    Investigators who had the group under surveillance for months learned of the alleged purchase and intervened, switching the fertilizer, which can be used to make a bomb, with a benign substance, sources told the Star. Police moved in for the arrests after the bogus substance had been delivered.

    Cindy Andrews, a spokeswoman for Agrium Inc., a Calgary-based fertilizer producer, said ammonium nitrate can be bought in bulk for $250 a tonne. The price usually doubles if bought in smaller bags, she said.

    In total, 17 suspects, including five under the age of 18 who cannot be identified under Canadian law, were arrested Friday night and Saturday morning in raids conducted by 400 officers and led by the RCMP’s anti-terrorism task force.

    With the release yesterday of the breakdown of terrorist-related offences each of the 17 accused are facing, more details were added to the complicated web that links the suspects.

    The charges also provide a glimpse into the roles police allege each suspect filled, although information on the five youths was not released.

    According to the court documents released yesterday:

    # Nine of the adults accused, including Steven Vikash Chand, who recently converted to Islam and went by the name Abdul Shakur, are alleged to have attended a “training camp,” north of Toronto in Washago. Sources said the group donned fatigues and recorded a video imitating warfare akin to past jihadist battles in Afghanistan, Chechnya or Bosnia.

    # Four of the men, including Chand, Ahmad and Amara, are charged with conducting training or recruiting. Amin Mohamed Durrani, who went to the same Scarborough high school where the charged youths attended, is also charged with this offence.

    But the eldest suspect, Jamal, who taught some of the group’s members about Islam and raised suspicion in the Muslim community for his fiery speeches and association with youths, was not charged with recruiting or training.

    # Suspects Ali Dirie and Yasin Abdi Mohamed, already serving a two-year sentence in Kingston after being caught last August bringing loaded guns and ammunition from the U.S. across the Fort Erie Peace Bridge into Canada, now face additional weapons charges for allegedly acquiring the material “at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group.”

    Ahmad, who sources told the Star rented the white Buick the two men were driving, but who was not charged last August, is now also charged with allegedly helping to acquire the weapons.

    It is not clear from the charges if government lawyers will allege there is one discernible leader.

    When asked Saturday if additional arrests were expected, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell replied: “I think all of us can say with confidence that we’re satisfied this threat has been removed.”

    But sources familiar with the investigation and who spoke on condition of anonymity, say others are still under investigation and more arrests are expected.

    While there is much speculation about international angles to the Canadian case, there are no known examples, with the exception of the arrests this spring of two Georgia men now in U.S. custody, who allegedly were associated with the Canadian group.

    However one of the suspects, 23-year-old Jahmaal James, allegedly travelled to Pakistan at some point during the investigation and, said one source, evidence is expected to be entered that claims he was in search of jihadist training.

    But those who know him, including Scarborough imam Aly Hindy, say that accusation is preposterous and that James went to Pakistan to get married.

    Lawyers representing the accused and relatives say they’re eager to hear what police have to support their claims — some already vowing to sue the government for their clients’ ruined reputation if evidence doesn’t support the sensational claims now being made.

    Many are pointing to the 2003 immigration-RCMP investigation known as Project Thread where a group of foreign students from Pakistan and one from India were held on alleged immigration violations and classified at one of their immigration hearings as an “Al Qaeda sleeper cell.”

    The security allegations were later dropped and the students deported home, where they said they had difficulty shaking the stigma of being identified as terrorist suspects.

    Toronto Star


    By the way, the reason I site the Globe and Mail so often is because they are the only Canadian national newspaper that has a police reporter, Michelle Shephard, as part of their staff. The Star’s editor hired him two years ago and now his articles are reflective of the depth of this news source. Many other papers quote The Star as their primary source for this terrorist story.

  • No argument that reality does enter at some point to determine timing!

    Leaving the main story (and worry) to Canadians, I’m just(typical for a US type) watching the timing as it effects US politics, more specifically our US debate on NSA and privacy/security- The US appears to have had quite a hand in the investigation and admin flacks are all over FOX with it.

    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • If we’re to believe the police, they had this lot under surveilance for 2 long years, but never found it necessary to run around in the Darth Vader commando costumes, protecting our freedoms, until Saturday, AFTER the alleged bad boys were already in custody.

    Uh, Duh!

    Masked men with sub-machine guns do NOT make me feel safer! It’s not that they MIGHT shoot me, or that they WOULD shoot me, but only that they COULD shoot me. Consequently, in life, I make it a practice to physically avoid any person with a weapon. I consider this to be a very wise idea.

    This whole thing is as smelly as the Humber River on an August afternoon.

    Press the biggest fear button possible, but quickly, quickly assure people that the TTC was never a target. (Don’t be afraid to go to work, people.) Then we were told that the Parliament Buildings were allegedly a target, but that suggestion was promptly withdrawn. (Canada’s Parliament Buildings have never resonated with the public as an iconic Canadian symbol in the same way as, say, the White House elicits a patriotic response among Americans. They’re ugly buildings, first of all. They’ve been targeted from time to time in the nation’s history, by various individuals, from Louis Riel to the occasional nut case, all without serious consequence. And most people think they’re in a stupid location vis a vis the rest of the country. Moreover, in the dreadful event that the buildings were actually levelled, a substantial number of Quebecois could hardly be expected to be unduly upset, not to mention most of Newfoundland and all of Alberta. So, blink, and the alleged threat to the Parliamnet Buildings evaporates. Then we learn that wow, those dastardly violent freaks wanted to eradicate the CBC. The CBC!!! The horror! It is quite reasonable to assume that alleged target may be soon withdrawn too, for sheer lack of interest on the part of the Canadian public. Late this evening, the police even seemed to be pulling back on the suggestion that CSIS offices in Toronto were presumably a target, as was the CN tower, because up to four conventions were on the verge of cancellation in Toronto, their American organizers having expressed concern about the new security risks. So, at last check, the best we can safely come up with now seems to be a grisly attack on Steven Harper??? We shall see if that threat is sufficient to raise the Canadian fear quotient to a sufficient level to allow for increased funding for police and continuing the recent dramatic increase in demonizing of non-“Christian” immigrants by authorities.

    I doubt. Therefore I could be.

  • Your interpretation here:

    If we’re to believe the police, they had this lot under surveilance for 2 long years, but never found it necessary to run around in the Darth Vader commando costumes, protecting our freedoms, until Saturday, AFTER the alleged bad boys were already in custody.”

    …completely fails to take into account the lead story in the Post of yesterday – when they were monitoring the training camp, 25 SOF assaulters from JTF-2 were on standby ready to go in by helo if something got out of hand and the cops couldn’t handle the situation. Sounds a lot like they found the “commando costumes” pretty necessary – sounds like they also thought that filling those costumes with the most lethal CQB experts in the country was a real good idea, too.

    Sorry to hear that armed police officers don’t make you feel any safer. As I mentioned, the presence of officers armed in this manner just ain’t about you. Sorry that that conflicts with everyone’s sense of outraged self-importance.

    Perhaps you’d find this all a little less “hilarious” if you stopped viewing it through such an explicitly political lens, ascribing political motivations to every minute aspect of the big ball of crap that is this story. I think the reason why there’s such confusion over what their targetting really was is because there’s a hell of a lot of folks on the periphery of the investigation who don’t actually know what’s happening that well, talking out of school.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • (Originally posted in News Queue by Harvey Bushell: 006-06-07 07:29:37 -0500- Editor

    Thomas Walkom | June 7

    Toronto Star – If these guys are terrorists, they aren’t very good ones. At least that seems to be the picture that is slowly emerging of the 17 men and boys charged this week under Canada’s anti-terror laws.

    Their so-called training camp turns out to have been a swath of bush near Washago, where their activities — shooting off firearms and playing paintball — were so obvious and so irritating that local residents immediately called police.

  • …amount from the history.


    It wasn’t and isn’t necessary for a police officer to have a machine gun to protect the defendants from those who might wish them harm. An officer with a handgun in his holster would have served just as well.”

    How much time with a handgun have you logged? I’ve fired thousands of rounds from a range of them and I can tell you that a shoulder mounted arm like an MP-5 is vastly superior to a handgun, even when the handgun’s in expert hands. If your interpretation is correct, why is it that the Emergency Task Force, a group of police officers that are specifically employed for calls involving armed suspects are equipped with MP-5s and other shoulder mounted weapons as their primary duty weapons? They use those weapons because they work an awful lot better than a handgun. As I’ve mentioned before, any copper who thinks he might be at risk of getting into a gunfight (as would any reasonable constable involved with a case where the accused allegedly planned a shooting spree), equips him or herself with a shoulder arm at the earliest possible opportunity.


    This isn’t the first time there have been terrorists in Canada. This is however; the first time there has been a knee-jerk reaction to threats and draconian legal code legislation adopted to combat it.”

    You decried the October Crisis earlier – have you forgotten about that? If that wasn’t a “knee-jerk reaction” I damned sure don’t know what one is. They used legislation that was the equivalent of using a Buick to crush a walnut because they realised that they had damned all in the way of intelligence on the FLQ and didn’t really have much else in the way of hopes of stopping them. The present situation is all of the stuff that they should have had then, but didn’t.

    Thirdly, as to what world I’ve been living in, I’ve been living right here in Canada – whereas you are apparently living somewhere else, where the mere mention that the security services and police monitor electronic communications as an investigative technique turns into them running wiretaps without a warrant. I have news for you – CSIS gets warrants to intercept electronic communications, the police get warrants to intercept electronic communications – it’s how they work. CSIS in particular, given the circumstances in which it was founded (i.e., out of the wreckage of the RCMP Security Service, foundered on the shoals of civil liberties violations), tends to follow that type of rule pretty closely. Where they likely don’t get warrants is when they’re monitoring bulletin boards and discussion forums, because they don’t legally need to. When it comes to privacy on the Internet, please, don’t make me laugh – you have never, ever had meaningful privacy on the Internet, particularly in any discussion forum; one ostensibly behind a password or not. Of course the government may be “watching” what you type here – it’s the equivalent of standing on a soapbox at the corner of Yonge and Bloor and shouting it at the top of your lungs; how could they reasonably be expected to ignore it?

    It’d be innappropriate to “rummage” in your computer without probable cause – and that’s why they’re not in there. Got news for you – none of us are that important, and until we engage in a terrorist conspiracy, we’re not gonna be. And at that point, they’ll get warrants.

    The “militarization” of the police in Canada is a construct of your mind, pure and simple.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …and IIRC her current beat is specifically terrorism and intelligence rather than generic policing – I think she used to work the police beat but moved into this beat about three years ago. She did a fair number of investigative stories with Rob Cribb that I noticed a while back, which I think indicates that she’s taken seriously by the paper’s leadership. I can’t recall when I first saw her byline at The Star, but she’s in the archive as far back as 1999 and probably goes back before that (it maxed out at 1,000 hits). An acquaintence of mine worked with her on The Varsity and thinks highly of her. Having seen her stories over the years, so too do I.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • which I would say at this point may have been Jamal.

    it’s always of course, easy to judge after the fact.

    The July 21 London bombing group were somewhat of the same order,but had not been under surveillance and caused quite a lot of havoc.

    The shoe bomber, could also have done serious harm -though he obviously had difficulties with secrecy- but even he (along with Bin Laden) disclaimed the Moussaoui(who caught attention when he said he only wanted to learn to take off) as being incompetent .

    On the other hand< what can be said about the Liberals/Conservatives after "budget passes unanimously" this morning.?
    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • “The allegations are very serious, including storming and bombing of various buildings,” Mr Batasar, who represents Steven Vikash Chand, 25, told reporters outside the courthouse. “There is an allegation apparently that my client personally indicated that he wanted to behead the Prime Minister of Canada.”

    Mr Batasar portrayed the allegations as an attempt by the Government to frighten the public. “It appears to me that whether you are in Toronto or Ottawa or Crawford, Texas, or Washington, DC, what is wanting to be instilled in the public is fear,” he said.

    man just think of how many Americans would be in jail for wishing or dreaming for ill will towards elected officials. lol

  • Terrorism & Security
    posted June 6, 2006 at 12:30 p.m.

    More arrests possible in Canadian terror case
    Canadian officials say suspects were a domestic cell, but US media speculate on foreign connections.
    By Tom Regan |

    Canadian authorities are saying that more arrests may be possible in connection with an alleged terror plot to bomb several sites in the province of Ontario.

    But some experts are advising Canadians to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude about the alleged plot, citing the numerous cases in the US where large, public “spectacle” cases trumpeted by the government and police often fizzle by the end. The Toronto Star reported Monday that these experts say that much of what has happened so far – the police showing only “sample” bags of ammonium nitrate, dozens of senior police officials taking part in Saturday’s announcement of the alleged plot, Canadian police snipers and sharpshooters showing up outside and inside a courthouse where some of the suspects were taken for a bail hearing – was “as much about creating an image for the public as about charging the individuals.”

      Being on message – “on script” as the spin doctors put it – is a concept more easily associated with politicians than police chiefs. But for a veteran of the criminal justice system like Toronto lawyer Walter Fox, it’s the obvious lens through which to judge events. The principal audience, in his view, is the Canadian public.
      “Police think they have to present a show of force to advance the public’s understanding that these guys are dangerous,” said Fox. “Does it prejudice the mind of the public? I think so. As a criminal lawyer, I am well aware that police and the prosecution are never stronger than at the moment when they’ve brought their suspects into court for the first time. I’ve also learned that the stronger the police seem to be at this point, the more suspicious I become that they don’t have a complete case.”,/ul>

      The Toronto Star reported Tuesday that lawyers for the men arrested are already vowing to sue the government on behalf of their clients “if evidence doesn’t support the sensational claims now being made.”

      Many are pointing to the 2003 immigration-RCMP investigation known as Project Thread where a group of foreign students from Pakistan and one from India were held on alleged immigration violations and classified at one of their immigration hearings as an “Al Qaeda sleeper cell.”
      The security allegations were later dropped and the students deported home, where they said they had difficulty shaking the stigma of being identified as terrorist suspects.

    The Globe and Mail reports that Canadian officials did not actually use the sweeping investigative and detention powers of the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in order to develop the surveillance and the case against the 17 Brampton men. The Canadian Parliament is debating whether or not the ATA should be extended beyond its expiration date next year. And while the act has never been used once since it was adopted in 2001, law enforcement officials say they want to keep the act because it helps recruit informants.

    more with lots of links at CSM

  • This is serious. I mean, if he’d just said he’d like to – or he was going to – “shoot” or “kill” the Prime Minister – like someone somewhere at a family dinner table around Canada does every day under any Prime Minister – that would be far less final and… I don’t know… scarily foreign.

    (and when I say “final”, I mean… well, think about it… Once your head is, like, off… like… what are you gonna do? It’s like… over!)

  • …mechanism quite so irrelevant, given the signature association with a large number attacks carried out by Islamic militants over a huge geographic range. I can think of decapitations ranging from Algeria to Thailand – I can think of statements specifically put forward by Islamic militants calling for the decapitation of political leaders that they don’t like. On what grounds is the specific mention of exactly that threat somehow irrelevant?

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • The Globe and Mail reports that Canadian officials did not actually use the sweeping investigative and detention powers of the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in order to develop the surveillance and the case against the 17 Brampton men.”

    …means they used warrants. Could everyone please keep that in mind while they’re forecasting the death of Canadian civil liberties?

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …was even one truly “serious” guy among them. That said, it’s important to remember that even the bumblers occasionally pull these things off. I’ve read assessments of the fieldcraft and training of the 9/11 guys and they were pretty rudimentary, but on the day they pulled it off. Just because they’re amateurs, it doesn’t mean that they’re not potentially dangerous, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they haven’t committed an offense.

    Like it or not, this trend to enthusiastic amateurs is probably going to be the new norm – I’m actually a lot more worried about the public dismissing these guys as a threat because they seem like such bumpkins than I am about any other single element. Even if they’re dipshits, they only need to be lucky occasionally – we need to be on game always.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • could do well keep “I guess rhey used warrants” in mind (but not as confirmed until it is)

    while waiting to find out a lot of unknowns
    -what or what not was used by both Canada and the US in this case
    -what was or done or not done by the defendants….

    “at some point I’m hopeful I’ll figure out something to put here”

  • And yes, I knew you agreed – I’m really just self-indulgently moaning about the long set of revisionist histories about how such guys aren’t really a threat that I see stretching out into the future, narratives that’ll come to dominate the Canadian discussion of terrorism – right up until they manage to kill someone of course, then the shit’ll hit the fan.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • article, it was “Giles Gherson, The Star’s editor in chief, was mainly hard work by a single reporter.

    About two years ago, before Mr. Gherson joined the paper, The Star’s editors assigned Michelle Shephard, a police reporter, to cover national security issues.”


    So if Michelle, who you now identify as being female, was on the staff of the Toronto Star, perhaps she wasn’t specifically assigned to cover national security issues? I have no insider knowledge about the staffing at the Toronto Star. I was merely pointing out they are the only national daily that employs this type of reporter (to the best of my knowledge).

    Trudeau did go over the top by implementing the little known War Measures Act in reaction to the October Crisis. I did point out that hundreds were arrested, with few charges laid. The numbers were approximately 497 arrests with something like 38 charges laid–don’t quote me, those are not exact figures. (Went back and looked it up … 453 people were arrested, only 20 were convicted on any charge)


    Good write-up from this Winnipege blog


    Don’t think civil lilberties are in jeopardy?


    “Intelligence watchdog group in the works

    Tories want senators and MPs to report on activities of national security agencies


    OTTAWA — The Conservative government is planning to set up an intelligence oversight committee of MPs and senators who would be cleared to receive confidential briefings and to request information from Canada’s security agencies.

    The National Security Committee of Parliamentarians would essentially be an offshoot of the Prime Minister’s Office, rather than a parliamentary committee.

    The MPs and senators, who would swear an oath of secrecy for life, would table a report each year in Parliament outlining their findings and concerns, but the Prime Minister would retain the right to block the public release of certain information.

    The previous Liberal government introduced legislation to create such a committee last November, but that bill died just days later when the government was defeated. The Globe and Mail has learned that Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day told certain MPs last week that he intends to reintroduce that bill, possibly before the June 23 summer recess.

    Liberal MP Derek Lee, who has long called for the creation of such a committee, said Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay told him the government intended to move forward with the plan, and Mr. Day told him last week that the bill would be coming soon.

    “I want it done yesterday,” Mr. Lee said when asked how urgently he believes the committee should be established.

    While MPs and senators on the committee would not be able to reveal much about what they have learned, Mr. Lee said the benefit to the public is that there will be elected representatives in place who can assure the public that security forces are following proper rules.

    Mr. Lee said he is not second-guessing the existing civilian oversight bodies such as the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which oversees the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but he believes MPs would make better watchdogs than government appointees.

    “. . . I think the public benefits from having elected persons who, having seen some of the stuff that isn’t public, can say to the public: ‘We’ve had a chance as your representatives to see this and we believe it’s happening as it should.’ ”

    NDP MP Joe Comartin said he was told by Mr. Day last week that the government is hoping to reintroduce the legislation, with some changes, to create the committee before the summer recess.

    Melissa LeClerc, a spokeswoman for Mr. Day, would confirm only that the government is looking at the previous government’s legislation and suggested it is unlikely a bill would be introduced before summer.

    “This is something that we’re reviewing now. When there’s something to announce we’ll be sending out a news release . . .”

    Mr. Comartin said he is urging the government to bring in the bill as soon as possible in light of the terrorism-related arrests on the weekend. He said that if the bill is essentially the same as what the Liberals had proposed, it could likely receive support from all parties to be passed through all stages so that the committee could soon be up and running.

    “I would have very much liked to have that committee in place now so that we would have had parliamentarians able to be briefed more extensively than we can now because of the limitations our intelligence agencies are functioning under,” he said.

    Mr. Comartin, Mr. Lee, Mr. MacKay and Bloc Québécois MP Sérge Menard were among a group of MPs who studied possible options last year.

    Mr. Comartin and Mr. Lee said the consensus contained in the Liberal bill was to roughly mimic the British model, as opposed to the U.S. model, where certain representatives of Congress receive detailed briefings about the operational details of American intelligence agencies. “The [U.S. system] would still be much more extensive than ours is.”

    The Liberal legislation called for the committee to be made up of three senators and six MPs, who would be appointed to the committee by the government after consultation with the relevant opposition party leader. It stated that, according to the Security of Information Act, “each member of the committee is a person permanently bound to secrecy.”

    Globe and Mail


    There already is a watchdog for CSIS What’s needed is a matching dog for the RCMP.

    Civil rights are constantly threatened

    It is only with vigil that civil rights will be retained and that includes police powers. Give them too much and civil rights will be abused … give them too little and they can’t do their jobs. It’s a fine balance, with the public who needs the most protection from erosion of theirs.


    If CSIS did obtain warrants that’s admirable, but I don’t believe under the Anti-Terrorist Act, it’s compulsory. I could be in error about that. Would have to read the Act to confirm it, which I will do when I have more time at my disposal. I do know the powers they were given have been described as sweeping by the blogosphere.


    I do agree that it would only take one ‘real’ sicko terrorist to plant a bomb and possibly cause hundreds or thousand of deaths. Timothy McVeigh was a prime example of a home-grown terrorist who did exactly that. Was it preventable? Would anything have stopped or prevented him even had massive powers been granted to the FBI, or any other police forces…would they have been able to foresee it? There is only so much protection that is humanly possible.

  • …Ms. Shephard, who once was a reporter on the police beat, was re-assigned to cover terrorism and intelligence (which they describe above as “national security”). Judging by the stories she’s covered, though they may have formally reassigned her two years ago, it started de facto somewhat before that. While her coverage is very good, there are others out there who cover similar beats – Stewart Bell for the National Post springs immediately to mind.

    As to oversight of the RCMP, what pray tell is the Complaints Commission of the RCMP if not a means of oversight? Near as I can tell from their summary, the only significant difference between it and SIRC is that it does not have the power to review the agency’s duties and functions, which I believe does happen via another body in the RCMP – conversely, it can hold public interest hearings, which SIRC can’t. There just ain’t that much difference near as I can see it between the two bodies.

    I agree with you that vigilance is what guards civil liberties – part of that vigilance, however, is accurately understanding and characterizing what’s going on. Cry wolf too many times and when vigilance properly highlights a threat to civil liberties, no one will be listening. It is a fine balance, and I’m not seeing an appreciation of the fineness of that balance in peoples’ reactions – what I’m seeing is people wrapping this up in events in the United States and reacting on that basis, without paying proper attention to the specifics of the Canadian situation. The blogosphere (or more properly various factions within the blogosphere) can come to all the consensus (frequently incompatible consenses) that it wants, but that doesn’t mean that it is correct.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • At least that SOB of a PM had the bright Idea of conning those lamers in putting their hands on 3 tons of amonium nitrate, delivered by the RCMP; thus creating its own WMD and casu belli.

    What percentage of the population hasn’t fantasized, dreamed or had a thought about blowing up, atomizing, hanging, shooting, chopping, mincing, boiling, stranging, or disposing by whatever means, Bush or some other bastards in his admin; a fantasy is just a fantasy. So why not open up 40,000,000 new places in federal jails?

    Better get your dreams and fantasy in line and keep them to yourself, otherwise you’re dead meat. It will be an interesting trial to follow, just to see how much of entrapment can be allowed.

    Needless to say that after seeing the family and friends of those guys on TV, well just to say that they don’t get much if any of my sympathies.
    So I guess that the “raison d’état” will prevail if only to send a message. How consoling to see that Canadians and americans are so much alike.
    Bye for now, i’m gonna puke

  • but these guys are Canadians, Dave. True, there are several countries in the world where tete lopping is a prescribed sentance under strict interpretations of the law – as is burying people, especially women, up to the neck and firing rocks at them ’til they succumb, etc. Best not to live in those countries if it can be avoided, which, theoretically at least, may have been among the reasons prompting their families of the accused to relocate to Canada. (That plus corruption, racism, gangsterism, poverty, drugs and stuff.)

    This is not to dismiss the relevance and importance to this case of the beheading charge in keeping people on hysteria alert in the “war on terra firma”. It has grabbed headlines around the world. I particularly liked the headline in some Aussie outback paper which read “Canadian Prime Minister To Be Beheaded”. Evidently it’s not always easy to sell papers these days.

    I doubt. Therefore I could be.

  • …accused of being adherents to a radical Islamist sect, it’s somehow different. Doubtless, when the accused allegedly said that he wanted to decapitate Harper, what he really meant to say was that he wanted to debate Harper on Quebec sovereignty until Harper’s head popped off of its own accord.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • CSIS

    If I’m not mistaken, the Inspector General is able to make audits of the CSIS and recommend changes. Also, the CSIS is required to make ongoing reports of their activities to a Senate committee.

    The RCMP watchdog on the other hand has no teeth other than being able to call a public inquiry into complaints they receive.

    The CSIS was formed because of the MacDonald Commission. The RCMP don’t have the same controls CSIS does. They haven’t been sufficiently reigned in despite that Senate Committee.


    I do agree that is quite possible for home-grown terrorists to form within our own borders. It is a delicate balance giving enough authority to the police, the RCMP and CSIS for them to protect citizens from the dangers terrorists represent.

    At the same time, how is any force going to prevent a Timothy McVeigh? There is only so much protection that policing can predict. They should only be given enough power that is consistent with the threat. It is encumbent on them to protect all aspects of freedom. The military forces in Afghanistan are there as much to protect liberties at home as they are to offer protection to the people of Afghanistan. Wars are very much about liberties for all.

    If policing agencies such as the more elite forces like the RCMP and CSIS, cannot operate within the confines of the Canadian Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other laws that protect all Canadians, they deserve to be disbanded. Police are given trust and responsibilities along with the priviledge to carry arms in order to carry out their duties.

    What happened to the Consitution, their Bill of Rights, in the States should not be repeated in Canada. The fear factor must be reduced and reliance placed on laws that govern us. Police absolutely must come within those laws.

    Give these home-grown terrorists their day in court, have the prosecution produce their evidence and let the wheels of justice decide their fate.

  • I don’t know about you, but I’ve never, ever fantasized that I would chop off anyone’s head or blow any member of parliament into smitherines. 🙂

    Some I have visualized being behind bars and eating their own words…guess I’m just not violent enough? There are some reporters that I would enjoy seeing them receive a good tongue lashing!

    Do I think these terrorists actually had these visions? I await to see the evidence for that allegation produced in court.

    It isn’t entrapment if this group really were planning to do these barbaric things.

  • of being Islamist?

    I did not know that.


    You know, Dave, my conviction that this whole thing is an hysterical crock was confirmed when Prime Minister Harper flashed his strange, recently acquired tooth-baring cat smile, and quipped “I’m ok with threats so long as they don’t come from my caucus.” or words to that effect. A joke?? From this Prime Minister???

    Everybody knows PM Harper has the sense of humour of tree stump.

    This fright wing crap is a very, very dangerous game imo.

    The paranoids are out to get us!.

  • I agree with JPD that these guys,despite the scary weapons, are by by their training less likely to be a threat to ordinary citizens on account of their intense training.

    Guys in official costumes carrying powerful weapons are no less likely than any of the rest of us to be stressed out, over-tired, momentarily inattentive, having a bad hair day, mentally unstable, under or over medicated, or suffering from the flu. The difference is that when I, an unarmed ordinary citizen, subject to those and other such foibles, have an accident involving my equipment, my cell phone hits the pavement. When one of these guys has an accident, somebody may get killed.

    I doubt. Therefore I could be.

  • …being accused of being involved in a conspiracy to commit an act of terror translates into, given the motivating factors that these guys have allegedly cited, if it isn’t being accused of being adherents to a radical Islamist sect or ideology?

    My conviction, frankly, is that your political opinions blind you to what is and isn’t a threat. I think Harper’s an asshole of epic proportions and wouldn’t vote for the man as dog catcher, but I also know enough to take it seriously when folks, even those that seem like a bunch of stumble bumkins, start buying job lots of the principal ingredient for ANFO and building remote initiators.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • I doff my hat to to Canada, which at least is trying to function as a democracy. It may be shown that the evidence accumulated to result in the arrest of these individuals was faulty, but at least the Canadians are allowing the suspects to appear in court. Here in the US they would have been whisked off to some unknown location for further “questioning” or even transported to ‘Gitmo for safe keeping. Our current Supreme Court has even ruled such that it allows our current regime to hide individuals in custody. Canada shows how it can be done legitimately and democratically.

  • …saying that his client is being accused of wanting to behead Stephen Harper, mentioned specifically by name. If it’s wrong, presumably it’s because his lawyer’s presumed something unwarranted.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • The difference is that they are trained to be far less likely to drop thier cell phone than you are.

    I fail to see your utter abject fear of a law enforcement officer.

    Mad Dog

  • The contemptuous tone of United States’ admonishments to Iran over its nuclear ambitions is but one source of the humiliation, alienation and rage that propels disaffected Muslim youth to espouse fanaticism, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said yesterday.

    The problem is that the rage is completely hypocritical. Do you think these same “disaffected youth” remember when the US tried to feed starving Somalis ? How about when it intervened in Bosnia ? Liberated Kuwait ?

    Do these same disaffected youth think about what Saddam has done to his own people ? What Assad has done ? The Taliban ?

    No, Candy, I think the “rage” over “tough talk” is a flimsy excuse at best on the part of the disaffected youth.

    Mad Dog

  • As for the so-called training camp, it consists of 40 acres that they trespassed on. All they were doing was, “shooting off firearms and playing paintball”, Walkom reports from the Star.

    Also, reported by the Star: the Plot to storm Parliament was dropped: They didn’t know their way around Ottawa and decided to restrict themselves to areas they knew better.


    Jeez, what kind of terrorists are these? They are beginning to sound like nincompoops. Falling into frozen ponds, drawing attention to themselves when told they were on private land and sassing the farmer back when told to leave. The location where the alleged training camp is in is such an isolated area, all the residents know when someone has a grassfire that would need putting out. The tiny community knew they were there and would have been able to hear them anytime they were practicing their bomb-making abilities. I do think this group would have needed practice–they don’t strike me as being particularly competent at anything they do. They definitely weren’t very clever when they placed their bulk 3 tonne fertilizer order with the RCMP. Where for instance were they planning to store their contraband goods? …they all live in the city where such a bulky amount would have needed quite a large ‘very secure’ area to keep it from view.

    Not sure if anyone else thinks this is hilarious, but they paid the RCMP $4,000–they could have bought it direct for $750. Were the police looking to make a profit on the deal or just price gouging them? 🙂

  • they remember, I’m betting on Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram…. I’m pretty sure they are selective tho.

    I think tough talk is done, it failed and caused alienation and lost of standing for the US.

  • Pretty typical ones for guys that are figuring it out on their own, actually. Terrorism is a lot harder than folks seem to realise – that’s why state sponsorship is considered to be a big deal. Ever baked a cake that failed for reasons that you didn’t completely understand? Now think if you were whipping up a batch of improvised explosive… Generally, one only gets one mistake in this arena.

    If the long sordid history of terrorism makes one thing clear, it’s that the players don’t need to be particularly competent to be deadly (and historically they have tended not to be all that competent). Nor do they need to be particularly competent to have committed an offense.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …these guys actually are less likely to be affected by many of those things. One of the salient differences between your typical soldier or copper and the typical civvy is that they continue to function effectively in situations where the cacaphony of whining from the civvies is ear splitting. Why else do you think it is that boot camp and basic police training have such high leavenings of pure, unadulterated chickenshit in them?

    The typical civilian in charge of a motor vehicle is a much greater threat to any other citizen on a day to day basis than even the most heavily armed police officer or soldier.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • I highly doubt this group has any international connections. These are our very own homegrown terrorists boobs! Good thing the RCMP did intercept the order. Had they be able to get ‘real’ ammonium nitrate, they probably would have blown themselves up! Hey…not a bad idea…that would have saved the taxpayers the price of their trial.

  • …safe distance from that much ANFO is, well, pretty darned big.

    I’d really rather that we put these guys in jail – I have a feeling that many of them, removed from that sort of alternate world where their heated rhetoric feeds round and round on itself, may actually calm the hell down and go on to lead somewhat useful lives. The literature on the psychological health of the old German extremists seems to me like it might be pretty pertinent here (they just got totally whack in the timing and headspace department – for many of them it was the first meaningful group experience they had, validation, the whole nine yards – my recollection is that removed from the environment, many chilled out a bit).

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • some of these young men could have just been bored and were just seeking excitement in their dull lives rather than being dedicated to the cause? Perhaps some aren’t even particularly religious?

    Teens and young men are ‘sometimes’ attracted to some really strange groups? Running ’round isolated fields, dressed in fatigues, shooting off firearms and playing paintball would have appeal. Some in the group might not have anticiated how serious this episode could be in their lifes for themselves, their families and for what now looks like a dismal future if they are convicted? Consequences of actions are often overlooked by teens and young men, particularly in group situations.

    This was not a YMCA youth group they joined…not all may have been aware of it? At the moment, a leader hasn’t been identified.


    I looked at several terrorists groups and individuals, but gave up. I just cannot find a sane or logical reason why anyone joins a terrorist group. The more I read about these scumbags, the harder it became to suppress the barf reflex.

    There is no justification for murder regardless of whether the individual member (s) is/are aged 10 or 100. If these defendants are found guilty, they’ll have lots of time to examine why it was they became terrorists. So they had better not pick me as a jurist for their trial thinking they’ll find a sympathetic ear. May they rot in prison if the prosecution proves the case against them.

  • June 8, 2006

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND—The arrest of a British man allegedly connected to Ontario terror suspects has angered his friends and relatives, who describe him as a devout Muslim wrongly accused.

    Abed Khan, 21, was returning from seeing his wife in northwestern Pakistan when British police arrested him at Manchester airport Tuesday night, said his uncle, Ismail Khan.

    “It must be a case of mistaken identity,” Ismail, 33, said in an interview yesterday. “He’s a very devout and quiet person.”

    “I don’t know why he was arrested. They see a guy with a beard at an airport and that’s how it goes.”

    The Star and The Times of London have both been told by sources that Khan was recently in Toronto.

    An RCMP spokesperson said last night there would be no comment because the case is now before the courts. But a source told the Star’s Michelle Shephard that Khan is alleged to have connections to the Canadian group now in custody.

    Referring to the alleged terror plot in Ontario, a security source told The Times:”We believe that people living in the U.K. played a pivotal role in helping to organize this series of planned attacks.”

    After Khan’s arrest, British police raided several homes in Bradford and Dewsbury, where a 16-year-old male was arrested. It’s not clear yet whether this arrest is also allegedly linked to the Ontario case, but security authorities told The Times the 16-year-old was connected to Khan.

    Ismail was reluctant to give details about his nephew, except to say he was unemployed and had married a woman in Pakistan within the last few months.

    “He was in Pakistan to see his wife. She lives there,” Ismail said, adding that Khan’s family comes from northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghan border.

    A massive police raid in Greater Toronto last Friday resulted in terrorism charges against 17 suspects, including two who were already in prison in Kingston on weapons offences. The 12 adults and five teenagers are accused of being members of a terrorist cell, plotting attacks in Canada.

    At a Brampton courthouse Tuesday, 15 of the suspects appeared for a brief hearing. They will remain in custody for a week until their bail hearings begin.

    Defence lawyers for the 17 accused have now been given a summary of the allegations against the men.

    Various media reports say the Crown is alleging:

    # The group obtained business cards to use as a cover, reportedly to buy ammonium nitrate fertilizer that police say was acquired for a bomb plot.

    # One of the suspects, Amin Mohamed Durani, 19, enrolled in an aviation course at Toronto’s Centennial College but never attended the classes.

    The Crown’s disclosure states that suspect Zakaria Amara allegedly gave $2,000 to 30-year-old accused Shareef Abdelhaleen, of Mississauga, for the purchase of the ammonium nitrate.

    The CBC reports two other suspects, Saad Khalid, 19, of Mississauga and a young offender, were arrested at a warehouse last Friday. They had allegedly been lining cardboard boxes with plastic as a means of hiding fertilizer bags.

    The lawyer for one of the suspects says the 17 are accused of being involved in a “detailed terrorist plot,” which included plans to storm the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, take political hostages and harm them if Canadian troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan, and to attack media outlets, including the CBC.

    But Canadian Press reported the plot to take MPs hostage was abandoned at an early stage. An insider with knowledge of the investigation told CP the plan was dropped because the alleged plotters were too unfamiliar with the capital.

    In another development, U.S. law officials say the arrest of a London man in October spurred an international investigation that eventually led to the 17 Canadian arrests.

    Officials say Younis Tsouli, who faces charges including murder, conspiracy and terrorist financing, may have been communicating with the suspects who were arrested in the GTA last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported. In Dewsbury, resident Mohammed Afzal said neighbours were upset because one of the houses raided belonged to an imam, or a Muslim preacher. He said the teenager arrested lived in the same home as the preacher, and that the religious leader had not been arrested, but that he did leave with police.

    “He’s one of the most respected imams in our community,” Yunus Garja, who lives nearby, told Associated Press. “He’s spoken locally and nationally at various seminars preaching against violence as a means for any purpose.”

    A 15-year-old who identified himself as Khan’s brother said police burst through the door of Khan’s Bradford home at about 1 a.m. yesterday. Javed Khan said police ordered all the members of the extended family — including four brothers, a sister, and his parents — into the kitchen while the house was searched.

    Police also raided two homes in nearby Hannover Square, including the one where Khan’s grandmother and his uncle Ismail live.

    “The poor woman was terribly frightened,” said neighbour Shakart Zamman, 55. “The police didn’t even give her time to open the door. They just barged right in.”

    Dozens of officers stormed the square, where almost every family comes from northwestern Pakistan.

    “They’re just targeting Muslim people,” said Qassim Khan, 50, who said he’s not related to Abed Khan. “In their eyes, every Muslim is a terrorist.”

    Several neighbours compared the raid to the one Friday in East London, which the Muslim community suspects was triggered by flimsy intelligence. Police say they stormed a house in search of a chemical bomb, but admit they have yet to find any trace of it. A suspect was shot during the raid and his lawyers accuse police of opening fire without warning.

    “They just want to provoke us,” said Za Khan, 35, who also said he was not related to the arrested man. “They want to justify their war in Iraq so they want people to believe there are terrorists everywhere.”

    Across the square, two police officers stood guard before a broken blue door. Neighbours say the home belongs to Sultan Muhammed, who knew Khan and works sorting mail at a post office. It’s not clear if Muhammed, described as in his early 20s, was arrested.

    “We’re really sorry for this area. This is a nice area. It has a good reputation. But now, everyone is really shaken,” said Abdus Sattar, 45, who owns a grocery store.

    Toronto Star


    It does appear they had made plans to store and hide the ammonium nitrate fertilizer in a warehouse.


    The Times
    June 08, 2006
    Briton wanted over Canada bomb plot arrested at Manchester airport
    By Daniel McGrory, Andrew Norfolk and Michael Evans

    A BRITON said to be a key figure in an alleged plot to bomb public buildings in Canada, including the Parliament, was arrested by counter-terrorist police as he stepped off a plane at Manchester airport.

    The 21-year-old man had arrived from Canada, where security services claimed that he had been living alongside some of the 17 terror suspects arrested in Toronto at the weekend in one of the biggest operations in North America. Hours later police in West Yorkshire arrested a 16-year-old youth after documents and mobile phone records seized in Canada revealed a British link to the alleged gang of Muslim militants operating from their homes in the Toronto suburbs.

    Canadian prosecutors have claimed that the plot involved taking over the Parliament building, holding MPs hostage and beheading Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister. They wanted to force Canada to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

    A security source told The Times yesterday: “We believe that people living in the UK played a pivotal role in helping to organise this series of planned attacks.”

    The 21-year-old man was seized as he tried to leave the airport on Tuesday night. Scotland Yard officers were also present, but police say that no guns were used.

    The suspect was born in Pakistan but is believed to have British citizenship and lived at a number of addresses in Dewsbury, the home town of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 suicide bombers. He is understood to have spent much of this year living in Toronto.

    “This is an example of the extremist soup we have in this country with lots of overlapping links,” a security source said.

    The security authorities said that the man arrested at Manchester airport was judged to be a “pretty interesting” line of investigation, and the 16-year-old was connected to him. The Canadians are expected to start extradition proceedings.

    The sources said that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had uncovered the British connection to the alleged plot and put out an immediate alert when they discovered that one of the main suspects was leaving the country.

    Police are still searching three properties and two streets in Savile Town, Dewsbury.

    Residents said that the early-morning raids by police and forensic science experts, who forced their way into properties in Warren Street and South Street, evoked memories of the scenes last July after the suicide bombings on three Underground trains and a double-decker bus in London.

    Times online


    The suspect isn’t named in the Times article, but the article in the Toronto Star and the Times appears to be referring to the same person?

    This latest information if true would strengthen the government case significantly.


    From the Guardian:

    Youth arrested over links to Canadian terror plot is grandson of leading Islamic scholar


    If there is a link with the 16-year-old, I’m assuming it was a cyberspace relationship rather than him being physically present anywhere in Canada.


    Of interest to me was the Guardian article positively identifies the 16-year-old. Don’t think his name would be released in the Canadian media, because he qualifies as a juvenile. Oops, my mistake…neither the 16 or the 21-year-old are named in the article. The 16-year-old is just referred to as the grandson of a respected Islamic scholar… which would expose his identity to locals who know who his grandfather is (whose actual name wasn’t mentioned). I’m not sure such deviousness on the part of the press would be allowed in Canadian media. (I possibly could be incorrect about that) Does anyone here know what the guidelines are the press has to follow when reporting about juveniles–I do know it is forbidden for their name to be disclosed.

    As a sidenote…the reason there are artist’s sketches of the defendants, is quite often cameras are not allowed in courtrooms. The presiding judge of the courtroom makes the decision whether to allow cameras or not. I would think artist’s sketches of juveniles would not be allowed, but not positive on that point about Ontario juvenile law–judges often do have wide discretion in how they conduct trials in their own courtrooms–their conduct would be subject to appeal by their defendant’s lawyers to a higher court.

  • in the Criminal Court jurisdiction.

    “Child under 12-years-old cannot commit a criminal offence.

    Any boy or girl under the age of 18 must be tried under the
    Juvenile Justice Systems

    Where a young person 14 years of age or over is charged with certain serious offences, he or she may be ordered to stand trial in adult court, depending on the interests of society and the young person’s needs, having regard to the offence, the person’s age, maturity, character and background, and the availability of treatment or correctional services.”


    My interpretation at my previous post regarding the ban on revealing the identify of juveniles may be correct. When Omar Khadr was tried, Artists sketches were banned from the courtroom

    Currently, 5 of the 17 defendants have been classified as juveniles. I am not aware there are movements to try them as adults, but prosecutors for the government may present their case for it. The defendants’ lawyer (s) will obviously seek for it not be allowed.

  • “The facts as they emerge seem to indicate this is a group of rank amateurs playing at something extremely dangerous. That isn’t to suggest that their actions did not constitute a real threat. Indeed, the wild ideas which seem to have emerged would, if carried out, represent a disaster of unbelievable proportions. And there is every reason to believe, particularly since they had acquired the makings for one or more significant sized bombs, that they intended to follow through.

    But, their operational security, if they can be accused of having any, was downright crappy.

    What has also emerged is a form of hysteria which is out of place when all things are taken into account. Since the al Qaeda attack of 11 Sept. 2001, most western democracies realized that they were under increased threat of more such attacks. It was a wake-up call and whether we want to believe it or not, Canada responded properly. Increased attention was paid to the risk and the government of the day passed legislation to counter and interdict groups who would engage in terrorist activities.

    What these arrests constitute is simple: good police work and good intelligence. I’d call that a good thing, since we haven’t always had that in the past. Terrorist groups have been among us from the inception of Canada as a state. One could go back to the 19th Century, but in the 20th Century we had the FLQ and then the bombing of Air India flight 182. This time, apparently, the group was stopped dead in its tracks. And, if reports are accurate, the RCMP and CSIS have been keeping on the scent of a lot more.

    The hysteria, therefore, seems exaggerated considering Canada has not been immune to previous acts of terrorism. There seems to be a sense of shock that Canada could actually be considered a target of such acts. A belief that our self-proclaimed innocence should have protected us and our institutions from heinous acts of wanton barbarism is slightly delusional. We are, after all, not the United States.

    And that’s where we’d be wrong. Canadians have a perception of themselves in the world which, while based in some substance, is not shared by as much of the world as we think.

    It would be correct to state that as a nation we do not believe in hegemony and we do not assert our national ethos on others. To say that people throughout the world, particularly in less-developed nations, fully understand that would be wrong. Even in the most sophisticated societies Canada and Canadians are viewed as adjunct to the United States and Americans. In western Europe the distinction is often blurred. We are viewed as different, but not that much different. Many times, after revealing my identity as a Canadian, I have been told I come from America. When I argued the point it was shrugged off.

    That’s understandable when a wider view is taken. Despite occasional disputes, Canada and the United States have some of the strongest voluntary ties of any two nations on Earth. And Canada, at roughly one-tenth the population of the US, is deemed to adhere in many areas, to US foreign and defence policy.

    It is only since the rising to power of the neo-cons in the US that Canada has suddenly taken an opposite swing, and in the minds of many, that situation is only temporary.

    So, the terrorist threat, against which we felt our identity alone as Canadians would protect us, is as real as it always was. Nothing has really changed, except that this time the possible act of violence was thwarted. No act of terrorism occured. And if a new part of the Canadian identity is to live in fear that one might happen, well, we all might as well turn in our multi-coloured money, our touques and our passion for winter sports for a multi-coloured threat level system, kevlar helmets and unwarranted paranoia.”

    Click to read it with the active links

  • we should contact Islam next for their opinion on what emotions Americans are entitled to feel.

    Whats Islam’s phone # ? Call him and let us know what he says.

    The question is not what Islam or the US is “entitled” to think, but whatever it is, it ought to have some balance.
    As Candy says, the “disaffected youth” may not remember such times where the US helped Muslims, but I think they more choose not to to fit thier idealology.

    Mad Dog

  • Here are some questions that were asked and answered of a recruiter at the Vancouver Police Department.

    Three months at the police academy would not change personality characteristics: Civvies, who you appear to disdain come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Some would be meek others would be more aggressive. I do think there is a psychological test both in the military and the police forces that attempts to weed out bullies, and other psychological conditions that would make them unsuited to be in those occupations. There are people like Timothy McVeigh who are attracted by uniforms, guns and the sense of power it affords them. People such as he and is ilk make better terrorists than soldiers or police officers. See FLQ terrorists and like scumbags. When stripped of their guns while incarcerated, they reveal themselves as the cowards they are.

    “Q:5. It’s widely known that many people got kicked out from the competitive process for variety of reasons. It would be really encouraging for the applicants if they can get to know if anyone in this class have been rejected before but finally got accepted with the VPD? (Asked by Joyce) VPD=Vancouver Police Department.

    A: Typically at least one-third to one-half of the Vancouver Police Department’s class members had been deferred during their original recruiting process. They may have been asked to acquire more education, life experience, volunteer experience or improve their level of fitness.


    Police Officers and soldiers have no distinctive personality—the officers and soldiers who stay are like the general population from which they are drawn.

    You do have to physically fit to be a RCMP police officer, because policiing is a physcially demanding occupation. Selt-assessment Questionnaire to be a RCMP police officer.

    RCMP Recruiting Civilians are encouraged to join in a variety of positions within the RCMP.

    Requirements to be a spy at CSIS They are more about intelligence gathering than policing and do not have the power to arrest people. Much more knowledge based, but still physically demanding I would think? Perhaps not? More likelihood of being hired by CSIS if you’re not physically fit. I expect they do carry guns, probably under their clothing or in their handbags, strapped to the inside of their thighs, etc! This branch of Canadian government would be of a more clandestine nature, and would be similar to CIA spies and spooks!!! Not everyone’s cup of tea! 🙂 I answered their intial screening questions, and the site said I should apply … 🙂 No questions were asked about my gender or age! I would be a very brief career for me! 🙂 Careers at CSIS

  • …recruitment criteria and processes of those three organizations, save the Vancouver Police Service (swap in the Toronto Police Service in that instance), than the average bear. And yes, your hed says it all – in fact, machismo is negatively selected for. Yes, people from all personality types are selected and are successful as police constables – however, my point wasn’t about the personality of these individuals. My point is that the individuals in these positions, by virtue of their training and particularly by virtue of perservering through the “chickenshit” aspects of that training (which are quite deliberate, BTW), are significantly better than the average, civilian without that training at dealing with all of the factors that Chickadee mentioned, from bad hair on down. That’s a matter of training and experience, rather than personality – though some personality types are better at it than others, all benefit from the training.

    As to CSIS, last I was told it was a matter of policy that no CSIS member be armed in the course of their duties. I was told this by the then CSIS Director some years ago, so I tend to accept that as the truth – certainly I’ve seen folks with the organization express concern about that fact, even over the past couple years. My understanding is that their field officers (they use another term that I can’t recall right now) receive about a week’s worth of weapons training, just in case. Part of the reason why I won’t apply to work for them is that I don’t believe they pay enough attention to the physical security of their members working in the field, in fact (only a tiny part of that has to do with them not being armed – most of it is due to the fact that I don’t think they have the manpower appropriate to task).

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • in joining the military or becoming a police officer. I was too short, and didn’t weigh enough. Is it correct there aren’t those type of restrictions anymore? I couldn’t even be an airline hostess because of my lack of height. I’m 5’1″ and as a teen, was no more than 105 pounds soaking wet, but as healthy as a horse, had lots of stamina and for my size, quite strong. 🙂 There wasn’t much I was afraid of…only my petite size stopped me from persuing those careers.

    I didn’t see anything listed in the requirements about minimum heights and/or weights on either the RCMP or the CSIS sites.

  • Help us weed out extremists, Muslims tell governments
    Politicians support idea of summit
    Youth feel marginalized, groups say

    Jun. 9, 2006

    OTTAWA—Canada’s Muslim community is asking for high-level political assistance, including the help of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to weed out extremists who are preying on young people.

    “We’re not here to say we don’t have an issue. Of course we have an issue, but we can’t deal with it ourselves,” social worker Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, told a news conference yesterday.

    “We are part of the Canadian society and so we demand that the Canadian society come forward and help us to root out this.”

    Her group was among several organizations that called on Harper, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor David Miller to hold a summit by month’s end to tackle the problem of marginalized youth in their community who are falling prey to the pull of radical elements.

    Her group was joined by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Students Association, Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association and several other agencies.

    Their call was motivated by the recent arrests of 17 people in the Toronto area — including five youths — on charges they were plotting a bomb attack on Canadian soil.

    But Siddiqui, a social worker, warned that more and more Muslim youth feel “marginalized and isolated” by the “ongoing harassment” of their faith, and are open to the recruiting of extremists.

    “I’m seeing the children feeling as if they don’t belong because of the onslaught on Islam and Islamo-phobia, the anti-Islam tilt in the media,” she said.

    “They feel there is no venue where they can express that resentment.”

    Siddiqui is hoping the proposed summit would develop a “tool kit” that could help parents and community leaders detect the “telltale” signs when young people get involved with extremists.

    In the meantime, she says, parents need to stay alert to the influences on their children.

    “If your children are hanging out in the mosque and they’re talking to someone that you don’t know, it’s your duty to find out who they are,” she said.

    The call for a political summit, which would also involve community groups and youth organizations, won Miller’s immediate support.

    “We think this has to be addressed,” Miller spokesperson Don Wanagas said, noting that the mayor was in contact with local Muslim leaders following the weekend vandalism of a Toronto mosque.

    Queen’s Park also offered its backing. In Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day was in touch with Muslim leaders to ask for more information.

    Opposition leaders urged the Conservatives to get involved.

    “In this situation, discussion is absolutely vital. We welcome the initiative,” NDP Leader Jack Layton said.

    “It’s clearly a very challenging issue. It’s heartening to see leaders from the breadth of the community coming forward and saying, `We’ve got a problem, we’ve got to talk about it,'” Layton said.

    Still, Karl Nickner, the executive director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the problem of radicalization is “almost impossible” to detect.

    “I go in mosques across the country, I meet Muslims across the country and I don’t hear it — it’s very hidden.”

    He said the dramatic news of the alleged terror cell was a “wake-up call.”

    “I think that the events of the last weekend (were) a surprise for all of us, a shock for the Muslim community,” he said.

    At the same time, Nickner sought to distance the Muslim community from an alleged terror plot, saying terrorism is “antithetical” to Islam.

    “Whether people decide to act in a radical way or not is not our problem as Muslims,” he said.

    Toronto Star


    How disappointing that Nickner would say, “Whether people decide to act in a radical way or not is not our problem as Muslims”

    It may not be Muslims direct responsibility if an individual decides to act, but radicalized Muslims are a problem that need to be addressed by members of the Muslim community.


    Police raid Internet café
    Seize computer gear as Bradford probe widens
    Teenage customer had been targeted in earlier raid
    Jun. 9, 2006. 01:00 AM

    BRADFORD, ENGLAND—Police last night stormed an Internet café and confiscated at least a dozen computer hard drives as part of a widening investigation into British links with Ontario’s terror suspects.

    About 20 police officers in black riot gear entered the PC Vision Internet café, around the corner from the Hanover Square neighbourhood where two homes were raided early Wednesday.

    The Star watched several police officers walk out of the shop with 12 computer hard drives, two black computer bags and a large blue duffle bag.

    A 15-year-old who often used the Internet at the café said one of its customers was Sultan Khan, whose house was raided by police Wednesday.

    “Sultan’s been there once in a while,” said Ali Noonsur Alam.

    Sultan has not been arrested and it’s unclear if police know his whereabouts. Neighbours at Hanover Square say he wasn’t at home when police smashed through his door.

    Police arrested Sultan’s friend, 21-year-old Abid Khan, when he arrived at Manchester airport Tuesday on a flight from Pakistan. He spent yesterday being questioned by police about alleged links to the Ontario terror suspects, said his lawyer, Javid Arshad.

    “He denies any links to terrorism whatsoever,” Arshad said in an interview. “He said he has no dealing with any terrorist group either in this country or abroad.”

    Canadian sources have told the Star Abid Khan once visited Canada, but Arshad wouldn’t comment when asked to confirm if that’s the case.

    “It’s quite an involved inquiry,” Arshad said, referring to the police interrogation. “It’s at a very, very delicate stage.”

    Clare Peace, a spokesperson for West Yorkshire police, said police raids and arrests in the region have all been connected — the raid on the Internet café, the arrest of Abid Khan, the arrest of a 16-year-old in the nearby town of Dewsbury, and the raids on three homes in Bradford and three others in Dewsbury.

    Asked if the arrests and raids were linked to the alleged Ontario plot, she said: “It’s being looked into at the moment.”

    The British investigation was triggered by a massive raid in the Toronto area last Friday that resulted in terrorism charges against 17 suspects, including two already in prison in Kingston on weapons offences.

    The British raids are taking place in an atmosphere of growing anger among the country’s 2 million Muslims, many of whom believe police are using flimsy evidence to target them.

    In East London, the Muslim community is planning a rally to protest the storming of a home last Friday in search of a chemical bomb — a raid not connected to the alleged Ontario plot.

    Police have so far found no trace of a bomb-making chemical and have apologized for the amount of time the search is taking. Police are also being accused of shooting a suspect in the raid without warning and wounding him in the shoulder. Two men have been arrested.

    In Dewsbury, the Muslim community is seething at the fact that a leading scholar of Islam — one who vigorously denounces terrorism — has been caught up in the raids connected with the alleged Ontario terror plot.

    Police spent a second day searching the home of Yakub Munshi, spiritual leader of the growing Tablighi Jama’at in Britain — an apolitical and highly conservative missionary movement in Islam.

    His house is attached to the home of the 16-year-old suspect arrested Wednesday. One report says the suspect is his grandson. Munshi has not been arrested but has been unable to enter his home.

    At sermons yesterday morning and Wednesday night, the elderly Munshi urged followers in his mosque to remain calm and to let police finish their work.

    Adding to the tension in Dewsbury’s Savile Town neighbourhood, which is almost exclusively Muslim, is the stigma the community feels because suicide bomber Sidique Khan used to live nearby. Khan led four British suicide bombers to kill 52 people in London last July.

    “Dewsbury, frankly, needed this like a hole in the head,” said Shahid Malik, the Labour party MP for the area, referring to the police raids.

    “Unfortunately, we have become synonymous with terrorism following the July 7 bombings. It just seems it won’t go away,” he said in an interview outside Munshi’s Zakaria Mosque.

    Malik said police are searching Munshi’s home because the 16-year-old spent time there. He said they are looking at Munshi’s literature and computer.

    In a televised statement after the London bombings, Munshi described breaking down in tears at hearing the news: “We believe that killing even one person is wrong. That day was a black mark on humanity, and we are all ashamed. It is the victims of the bombs who died that are the martyrs.”

    In the House of Commons, former Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith yesterday raised the possibility of a plot by Muslim extremists to pass on wrong information to police.

    “A number of people now in the Islamic community are quite concerned that there is a game going on among the extremists to try and discredit those who are supportive of the British authorities,” he said.

    Malik said he knows the family of the 16-year-old well and is convinced the lad was arrested “simply because police have got to exhaust these leads.

    “In doing that, invariably there will be people in the net that are innocent. The inquiry hopefully will come to a conclusion that this young man is not involved in anything,” he said.

    Malik said the police searches are “intelligence led, they’re not a random search of Muslims. But it certainly feels that way for much of the Muslim community, so the tension is there.”

    In Bradford, scene of a race riot in 2001 involving the city’s Asian community, Abid Khan’s uncle said his nephew was returning from visiting his wife in Pakistan when he was arrested.

    Arshaf Khan said his nephew married in the northwestern Pakistani town of Attock last year, returned to Britain to try to get his wife a visa, and then went back to Pakistan to see her last February.

    In between, he did odd jobs, including working as a security guard, but was largely unemployed. He said Abid Khan never finished high school.

    Arshaf Khan said he spoke to Abid Khan’s father yesterday and heard him describe accusations that his son was linked to terrorism as “a joke.”

    Shortly after midnight Wednesday, police burst into Arshaf Khan’s home, where he lives with his wife, mother, children and other relatives. He said police forced him to lie on the floor. They confiscated his laptop, some computer discs, and went through his videos.

    “Abid would never get involved in anything like terrorism,” Arshaf Khan said, sitting in a living room with framed pictures of the Qur’an on the wall. “The only thing he use to talk about was getting a job.”

    Toronto Star


  • …at least with any police service requirements that I’ve ever seen (and I’m given to understand that the Canadian Forces is similar in this regard, except for a few limited things like aircrew where there’s real concern if one wouldn’t meet the physical requirements of the equipment). There are physical requirements, but they are based on one’s ability to perform a set series of tasks; at least that’s how it works for the police services that I know anything about (I’ve never actually seen any physical requirements for CSIS at all, but I know the least about their process). For the vast majority of police services in Ontario, the set of requirements is known as PREP (Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police) – the RCMP uses what looks to be a pretty similar set of tests that they’ve given a different name to, that I don’t recall right now. If one is able-bodied, generally, one can pass the physical tests – it’s a bit more of a challenge for some women due to the differences in upper body strength, but in my experience it’s more technique than anything else. The major winnowing of the applicant pool seems to happen with the life experience / suitability interview(s).

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Validity of Khawaja case facing scrutiny September hearing planned: Lawyer
    Jun. 10, 2006

    OTTAWA—Canada’s anti-terrorism law appears set to face its first constitutional test later this summer when an Ottawa man arrested under the provisions challenges them in court.

    The lawyer for Momin Khawaja, charged two years ago with breaching the Anti-Terrorism Act, says the constitutional arguments will get under way in September.

    Lawrence Greenspon said yesterday his client plans to contest the act’s validity under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms before his scheduled trial next January.

    “We’ll be looking at the constitutionality of those provisions for the first time before the courts, and the judge will have to make a ruling one way or another on whether those provisions withstand the challenge,” Greenspon said in an interview.

    “And then we’ll see what the decision is and go from there.”

    The veteran Ottawa lawyer seems acutely aware of the stakes in what could be a landmark constitutional case.

    “It’s not something that counsel does lightly, but it is something that we are expected to do when somebody’s liberty is affected, as it obviously is in Khawaja’s case,” he said.

    “That’s what the courts are there for.”

    Khawaja, a software developer in his mid-20s, has been behind bars since his March 2004 arrest for alleged terrorist activities in Ottawa and London.

    Khawaja was also named, but not charged, by British authorities as playing a role in a foiled bomb plot.

    The Anti-Terrorism Act has suddenly become the focus of renewed public scrutiny with the arrest of 17 people under the law last week in a dramatic Ontario police sweep.

    Authorities say the arrests thwarted an alleged plot to bomb targets in southern Ontario.

    Court trials stemming from the most recent charges aren’t expected to take place for many months, with bail hearings yet to even begin.

    Two weeks have been set aside for the constitutional arguments in Khawaja’s case. Perhaps fittingly, the proceedings are slated to begin Sept. 11 — the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

    It was those assaults by members of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network that spurred the Canadian government to usher in the Anti-Terrorism Act.

    The law permits the government to brand individuals and organizations as terrorists, imposing hefty penalties for anyone who participates in their activities or assists members of the groups.

    In addition, the law gives police the power to make “preventive arrests” of people suspected of planning a terrorist attack. And it requires anyone with information relevant to the investigation of a terrorist act to appear before a judge to provide details.

    Greenspon declined to discuss the substance of the coming constitutional challenge.

    He said Khawaja is “doing as well as could be expected” in the maximum security wing of the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, and has been receiving regular visits from family.

    Toronto Star

  • Much at stake in terror case
    Jun. 10, 2006

    The idea of a homegrown terrorist cell is hard for Canadians to digest.

    Somehow it’s easier to think of terrorists as the product of far-flung training camps operated by Osama bin Laden, not what police are now alleging after the dramatic arrest of 17 adults and youths last weekend.

    How could a group of predominantly young men, born or raised here, plan devastating bomb attacks at home?

    Although it will be months, perhaps years, before the suspects have their day in court, an astonishing amount of detail concerning the government’s case has already been disclosed through a synopsis of the allegations given to defence lawyers, and interviews with relatives, community members and security investigators.

    Until all the evidence is presented, its veracity weighed, and a jury decision of guilt or innocence, there are two ways to view the sensational details.

    One is that security officials have stopped what could have been a catastrophic attack on Canadian soil and this group, however incompetent they may seem, was fully capable of bombing and killing hundreds. While some of the claims may seem ludicrous, would a plan to hijack planes with box cutters seem any more believable had the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks not occurred?

    In the other view, this investigation is the product of overzealous, inexperienced federal agencies, under intense pressure from the United States.

    Just over a month ago the United States repeated its charge that Canada is a “safe haven” for terrorists. The State Department noted that Canada had made “only one,” arrest since introducing anti-terrorism legislation in 2001.

    It wouldn’t be the first time either in Canada, or other Western countries, that claims later dissolved once the evidence is presented, leaving cleared suspects devastated by the terrorist label.

    And despite the involvement of our troops in Afghanistan, the fact Osama bin Laden has specifically mentioned Canada in his recordings, or the anger over various controversial domestic issues, it still is hard to fathom Canada as a target. As comedian Jon Stewart said on his mock newscast Thursday night: “You hate Canada? That’s like you saying you hate toast.”

    The 17 arrests mark the first time a group has been charged with terrorism since legislation introduced following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks made terrorist activity a criminal offence. Only one other Canadian faces these charges for an alleged bombing plot. Mohammad Momin Khawaja’s case will go to trial in January, but is directly tied to a group now on trial in the United Kingdom.

    What we now know about the allegations in arrests of the 17 suspects is that while police have referred to the accused as being part of one group, or cell, government lawyers will present evidence of two groups. They may have started together, but earlier this year split roughly along geographical lines.

    The Scarborough group, which includes its alleged leader, 21-year-old Fahim Ahmad, and the five teenagers charged, who cannot be named due to Canadian laws, were allegedly in possession of weapons and had visions of shooting sprees.In Mississauga, the other group allegedly was planning to conduct bombings, and had a variety of targets including the Toronto headquarters of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on Front St., adjacent to the CN Tower. Leading this group, according to police, was 20-year-old Zakaria Amara, a one-time close friend of Ahmad’s. Crown attorneys are expected to allege that Amara arranged for the purchase of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used as bomb-making material.

    Included in this group, documents state, is the eldest suspect, 43-year-old Qayyum Abdul Jamal. To put last weekend’s arrests in context and try to understand the mindset of security investigators, we have to look back a decade, to a Montreal apartment.

    Acting on two international tips from intelligence agencies that alerted them to the potential presence of a terrorist cell plotting an attack, CSIS was monitoring the apartment in the mid-1990s. They took pictures of all who came and went, including a petty thief named Ahmed Ressam.

    Agents were also listening, and they would later say the conversations were almost comical, dubbed by some of the investigators as “terrorist Tupperware parties.” Agents heard lots of talk, but there was no real fear of action.

    That group which included Ressam became known in the halls of CSIS as B.O.G., an acronym for “Bunch of Guys” — a group of seemingly hapless petty criminals full of bravado and anti-Western views, but not much else.

    It’s a tag CSIS would later regret.

    Ressam is better known now as the Millennium Bomber. He was caught by a border guard crossing from Vancouver into Seattle in December 1999 with a trunk full of explosives and a plan to bomb the Los Angeles airport. He is serving a 22-year sentence in the U.S.

    Fast forward to the July 7, 2005 bombing of the London Underground and a double-decker bus that killed 56, including the four suicide bombers. A government post mortem tried to find out why they weren’t detected, much the same way the U.S.’s 9/11 commission tried to explain American intelligence failures.

    There were factors that investigators could piece together, but before the attacks they didn’t set off alarm bells. It’s doubtful they would today. Youths on a white water rafting trip, a burglary investigated by police, one of the bombers becoming erratic, although, according to the report “not in a way that would suggest he had terrorism mind.”

    The report describes the banality of evil. It’s likely required reading for every intelligence and police officer in the field of terrorism and one that, along with the lessons learned from 9/11, and the embarrassment of Ressam a decade ago, is at the back of their minds.

    Now consider another side — members of the Muslim community who say they feel targeted and who believe that benign acts are considered suspicious by authorities simply because of the religion of those performing them.

    In 2003, the Toronto Star broke the story of Project Thread. There were no elaborate news conferences or announcements of the arrests, but rather a quiet tip from someone in the community asking if the newspaper knew foreign students were being held without charges as suspected terrorists?

    Without the value of hindsight, the four-page summary of the allegations in the case looked equally as chilling as those made this week. The 22 Pakistani students and one Indian national were in Canada illegally and seemed to be engaged in suspicious activity, which included unexplained fires in their apartments, possible surveillance of Pickering’s nuclear power plant, and there was a pilot, prompting ominous thoughts of the 2001 hijackings.

    At a detention hearing for one of the men, an immigration official said investigators were looking into a potential “Al Qaeda sleeper cell,” and that vanloads of evidence were being dissected.

    But in the end, the case dissolved into a routine immigration matter of which there are thousands each year. In this case, however, the men returned home branded terrorists.

    One of the students, 33-year-old Sajjad Ahmad, is now living in Lahore, Pakistan, and when contacted by the Star in March said he was still unsettled.

    “I had a minor violation of the immigration rules and they portrayed me as a terrorist of the world. … I don’t want any sort of an apology. I just want them to stand up and say we’re innocent.”

    The review agency for the RCMP cleared the police force of any wrongdoing and immigration officials refuse to comment on the case.

    But Project Thread did harm the reputation of both federal agencies.

    However this case of the alleged homegrown cell plays out, there’s one issue that’s clear: A great many reputations are at stake, from those of the 12 adult suspects whose names have been splashed all over the world as terrorism suspects, to the Canadian government, specifically the RCMP and CSIS, who can’t afford to be embarrassed on the world stage.

    It will not just be the 12 adults and five youths who are on trial. The case will also be a test of Canada’s new terrorism laws and a chance to decipher our country’s position globally concerning terrorism.

    What happens here, will likely dictate how Canada fights terrorism in the future.


    Radical steps to counter radical Islam
    After the London transit bombings last year, British Muslims mobilized to fight Islamic extremism
    The Radical Middle Way project was designed to give young people a different view of their religion
    Jun. 10, 2006

    It’s been going on all week and will go on for a long time yet: The investigation into how and why the seeds of violent Islamic extremism could take root in comfortably bland Toronto suburbs.

    Whether the 17 males arrested were armchair jihadists or for-real terrorists has yet to be determined, but the apparent intent to wreak havoc — in the name of religion — has stunned their fellow Canadians.

    That, here? A world away from the ancient rancours of the Middle East?

    The reaction, however, has been only an echo of the horror in Britain that greeted the terrorist bombings in London last July 7, when 52 people were killed by four British-born extremists.

    Within three weeks, the British government had set up a series of “Preventing Extremism Together” workshops with 100 British Muslims. Mostly young and from all walks of life, their job was to provide insight into why a small minority of Muslims veer over the edge into fundamentalism, while the majority do not.

    Economic deprivation, second-generation tensions, social isolation from the mainstream had all played a part and all got their due.

    But what came through emphatically from the advisers was that extremists, no matter how warped and misguided their interpretation of Islam, perceive themselves as devoutly religious.

    Indeed, the final report concluded: “The problem is not primarily rooted in socio-economic deprivation: it is based on a global ideology motivated by political grievances and justified by a mistaken interpretation of Islam.”

    And the only way to combat the ideology is to take on its arguments and knock them down flat, says Fareena Alam, the 27-year-old managing editor of trend-setting Q-News, the U.K.’s largest Muslim magazine, who was one of the 100 advisers.

    “If these young people are motivated by faith, and the idiots who tell them to kill in the name of the faith, then we need to use religion to get at them,” she says from London.

    “We can’t run away from the fact that religion is important to these young people. So, we must counter extremism with more religion, not less.”

    Which is precisely what the British government, with the help of Q-News and three other young-Muslim groups, decided to do in setting up the Radical Middle Way project. “Middle Way” because balance is a primary value in traditional Islam; “radical,” well, to attract teens.

    The project involves a group of international Islamic scholars with credibility among young people travelling across Britain to give theological counter-arguments against extremist interpretations of the faith.

    “We told government, let’s not reinvent the wheel here,” Alam says. In other words, let Q-News and cohorts run the show. The government agreed.

    With $210,000 in public funds, Q-News books the venues — deliberately not mosques, but concert halls or auditoriums — and flies in speakers from around the world, including Yemen, Germany and Canada.

    Since it started in December, the “Imams Tour,” as it’s dubbed, has been a huge success. More than 25,000 curious young Muslims have turned out to listen to, or argue with, scholars whose names are venerated in the Islamic world. Attendance is free.

    When the highly respected Abdallah bin Bayyah from Mauritania walked on stage at a Middle Way event in London, awestruck teenagers craned to capture him on their camera-phones as if he were a rock star.

    But the biggest draw, perhaps, has been the charismatic young American convert, Hamza Yusuf. The former Mark Hanson of Walla Walla, Wash., understands the problems of integrating as a Muslim into the non-Muslim West and that, Alam says, is key.

    “Most mosques and imams don’t have a clue what’s going on with young people and fewer kids go to them for guidance. So, the vacuum gets filled in kebab shops or bookstores or on strange sites on the Internet.”

    `Extremists live in a media-savvy world and they learn from each other’

    Fareena Alam

    But there is always the person-to-person exposure, she adds. Someone slightly older becomes a “mentor,” all too happy to supply a quick theological fix to young people enraged by what’s happening to Muslims in the Middle East.

    The fix? Born-again fundamentalism — a “pure,” literalist Islam — that teaches rejection of national loyalty and the embrace of the black-and-white militancy.

    Alam isn’t surprised the phenomenon has spread to Canada: “Extremists live in a media-savvy world and they learn from each other. Your kids there were not immune. The 7/7 bombers here, they were angry. `Our people are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.’ They wanted to help them. They wanted to be men.”

    The logic of helping by blowing up London’s transit system or anything else doesn’t simply elude reason, says Jamal Badawi, an Egyptian-born Canadian scholar — it flatly contravenes and betrays the traditional faith.

    Badawi, imam to Halifax’s 18,000-member Muslim community and professor of religious studies at St. Mary’s University, was the speaker at a Middle Way event in April. His message to the sellout crowd was clear-cut: “Terrorists have a totally perverted interpretation of the faith.”

    Koranic references, he says, “are taken out of context to justify terrorism, just as biblical texts are warped by Christian fundamentalists to justify bombing abortion clinics.”

    Extremist ideology holds that true Muslims cannot be loyal to their country and to their faith, Badawi says from Halifax.

    “That’s erroneous. Normative Islam believes in peaceful co-existence, in being `justly balanced.’ It rejects extremism, whether of excess or neglect.”

    Fundamentalists who try to stop fellow Muslims from contributing to the culture and politics of their new, non-Islamic country — as one of the Mississauga accused, Qayyum Jamal, reportedly did during the last federal election — couldn’t be more wrong “and must be countered,” he says.

    Badawi is not deaf, however, to the frustrations of the young, a point his Middle Way audience undoubtedly appreciated.

    “Extremism didn’t come out of the thin air,” he says. “The deaths of 100,000 Iraqis does arouse resentment, which can turn into blind hate. A feeling of anger is fine. But what is not justified is taking violent action.”

    That message, coming from an internationally respected scholar and targeted directly at a young audience, has enormous impact, says Hussein Hamdani, a 33-year-old Hamilton lawyer and Muslim activist.

    Its success in the U.K. is why he wants Ottawa to sponsor a Canadian Middle Way tour, with the same speakers. He spoke this week with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who asked for more information.

    “I told him that, yes, Muslims have to clean up their act and encourage moderate and moderating voices,” Hamdani says. “These voices exist, but the community doesn’t have the money to bring them forward. Petro-dollars are hard to compete with.”

    He is referring to the Saudi Arabian financiers who fund the spread in the West of Wahhabism, a 200-year-old, hard-line interpretation of Islam. Hamdani, who sits on Ottawa’s new Cross-cultural Round Table on Security, says the sect’s us-versus-them ideology is the common link in terrorist plots.

    But it is foreign to traditional Islam, he adds. Just as acting violently to assuage grievances — legitimate or not — is foreign to the Muslim mainstream, most of whom “are quiet, boring, tax-paying people,” he says with a laugh.

    “I’m a proud Canadian and a devout Muslim — there is no contradiction.

    “To those who think there is, I say: `If you don’t want to live here, go buy a one-way ticket out. You won’t be missed.'”

    He agrees with Fareena Alam that more young people now get their religious education outside the conventional Islamic establishment. “They don’t hang out at mosques. They’re having discourses at Second Cup or in somebody’s home.”

    Somebody who might have a dangerous contemporary take on a 1,400-year-old religion.

    But if Hamdani has his way, they’ll be lining up in Canada some time next spring to hear the real message of Islam from those who truly know.

    Toronto Star


    The last article does hold promise that it could be possible to thwart recruitment into radical forms of Islam.

  • Jun. 12, 2006

    The alleged Islamist terror plot marks a turning point for this country. Even though nothing happened, it creates the fear that, maybe, something could happen. It changes the way we see things.

    This is not the first time Canada has seen itself threatened by terror. We have experienced actual terror attacks — like the 1985 Air-India bombing that killed 329 — which have been, in reality, far more serious.

    But the arrest 10 days ago of 17 Muslim males involves something that is more significant than mere reality. It has the potential to change the way Canadians think about ourselves and the world. It is, in the broadest sense, an event that creates new mythologies.

    We have been on this terror path before. We started along it in 1970, when militant separatists from the Front de Libération du Québec kidnapped British diplomat James Cross and killed Pierre Laporte, a provincial cabinet minister.

    That so-called FLQ crisis was a frantic moment, one in which the media and the population briefly lost all perspective, when fear transformed the desperate actions of a few dangerous men into the perception that insurrection threatened the existence of an entire country.

    But that perception did not last. Not long after the federal government used its War Measures Act to round up, without charge, dozens of separatists in Quebec, conventional wisdom began to switch. By the late ’70s, the entire episode was generally viewed as an embarrassment — a gross overreaction on the part of Ottawa.

    To find a real analogy to the events of these past few days, we must look back to 1946 — to revelations of former Soviet cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko and the spectacular spy trials that rocked Canada.

    These trials set the mood for the Cold War in Canada. They convinced most of the country that Canada was threatened by a vast conspiracy, spearheaded by Soviet agents who looked and acted like normal Canadians but who, in reality, were determined to subvert and destroy our way of life. They brought home the idea, already taking hold in the United States, that the free world was engaged in an existential struggle against evil.

    “The crusading power of communism has been harnessed by a cold-blooded, calculating, victoriously powerful Slav empire,” then external affairs minister Lester Pearson said in 1948. “Our frontier is now not even on the Rhine or rivers further east. It is wherever free men are struggling…. It may run though our own cities, or it may be on the crest of the remotest mountain.”

    To modern listeners, Pearson’s unusually flamboyant rhetoric, even his gratuitous reference to ethnicity, may sound familiar. If “communism” were replaced with “Islam”, “Slav empire” with “terrorist caliphate” and Germany with Afghanistan, his speech could have been given 10 days ago. And, in some ways, it was.

    “As at other times in our history, we are a target because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values — values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said after RCMP and other police officers swooped down on terror suspects.

    These same words could have been uttered 60 years ago, when RCMP officers, in a massive operation, arrested 13 Canadians for allegedly passing state secrets to the Soviets.

    Those arrests, too, were accompanied by blaring headlines. The 13, all civil servants, were held in solitary confinement, denied access to lawyers and vigorously interrogated.

    Lights were left on day and night in their cells. They were barred from seeing family members.

    Over the next two weeks, all 13 were brought before a two-man royal commission where — out of the public eye and without the benefit of counsel — they were again interrogated about what they knew and what they had done. They were then released, immediately rearrested and charged under either the Official Secrets Act or the Criminal Code.

    Nine others, who had been named during the royal commission interrogations — including a sitting MP — were also arrested and charged.

    As Reg Whitaker and Gary Marcuse explain in their 1994 book, Cold War Canada, the spy trials roiled Canada.

    Newspapers printed extravagant accounts of the perceived threat (one Winnipeg Free Press story cited unnamed sources as saying that fully 1,700 Russian agents had infiltrated North America).

    While Canada did not engage in the extremes of U.S. McCarthyism, those deemed to be leftists did find doors subtly, or sometimes not too subtly, closed to them.

    Ottawa introduced loyalty tests to ensure those contaminated by alien ideology didn’t infiltrate the civil service.

    Suspected Reds were drummed out of trade unions. If the unions themselves were deemed Red, efforts were made to drum them out of the country.

    According to one 1946 Gallup poll printed in the Star, the public was overwhelmingly on side with the government.

    Yet in the end, the great spy scandal of 1946 never quite lived up to its billing. While real, it was not as terrifying as first suggested.

    When the dust cleared, only half of the 22 arrested were convicted of anything. Three were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act; six more of conspiring to break the Official Secrets Act and two of trying to obtain false passports.

    Writing in a recent edition of the Canadian Historical Association Review, Dominique Clément recounts the case of one woman, apparently traumatized by her two weeks in solitary confinement, who, at trial, refused counsel and simply kept repeating over and over again: “I did it. I did it.” She got three years.

    The most spectacular case involved Communist MP Fred Rose, who was convicted, sentenced to six years in jail and stripped of his Canadian citizenship for engaging in a conspiracy to pass on classified information about explosives to the Soviet Union.

    As Marcuse and Whitaker point out, Rose was indeed involved in passing information that was technically secret. But he did so in 1943, when Canada was an ally of the Soviet Union.

    In 1944, two years before Rose was arrested, the Canadian government decided to make this information freely available to the Soviets.

    But in the end, the final disposition of these trials was irrelevant. The actual importance of the crimes, in terms of their real challenge to Canadian national security, didn’t matter.

    What mattered was that a mood was set. The arrests and subsequent trials defined the way that Canadians and their governments reacted to a certain class of people. The left itself fractured, as so-called moderates tried to distance themselves from those they perceived to be radicals.

    The big scare was on. Except in 1946, the bogeymen were Reds, not Muslims.

    Toronto Star
  • Lawyer for one of accused attacks ‘oppresive, isolation conditions’ in which men are being held
    Jun. 12, 2006

    The lawyer representing one of 17 people accused of being terrorists has launched a blistering attack on the “oppressive, isolation conditions” in which the men are being held.

    Before a hearing began at the Brampton courthouse Monday morning for the 17 arrested earlier this month – at which a justice of the peace imposed a publication ban on the proceedings – Rocco Galati said the oppressive conditions included:

    # being in a room with a light on 24 hours a day;
    # being denied leaving this room for the first five days for even 30 seconds;
    # being given only five minutes to eat their meals – otherwise their meals are taken away from them;
    # not being allowed to speak to anyone, including the guards;
    # being forced to keep their eyes on the floor at all times.

    Galati, who represents Ahmed Mustafa Ghany, 21, of Mississauga, added that when the arrested men, including five who are charged as youths, are escorted or walked from Point A to Point B, “they must walk at a 90-degree angle with their legs upright and their torso across at a 90-degree angle with handcuffs stretched out. And they are being escorted by three armed tactical members of the security forces.”

    Galati also accused the authorities of unfairly leaking selected information to the media “to ensure the denial of a fair bail hearing and the denial of a fair trial,” he said.

    He was infuriated that the crown would ask for a blanket publication ban. He said he wants the allegations against his client to be known.

    He said the public should be allowed to assess the case against each of the terror suspects.

    He said he wants a live feed of the proceedings broadcast through the media.

    The ban was also met with criticism from Muslims and defence lawyers outside the courtroom.

    “We call it a publication scam,” Ahmad Shehab, a Muslim counsellor, said outside the courthouse.

    “If you accuse people you might as well show things, clear, transparent, due process, crystal clear evidence so the public could see,” he said.

    Defence lawyer Arif Raza said much of the information is already in the public domain, so he sees no need for a ban now.

    “Rather than have speculation in the press, I think that justice would be better served by accurately reporting what precisely had happened in the court rather than speculate.”

    No bail hearing was scheduled Monday.

    The first bail hearing, that of an accused man who is charged as a youth, is set for Friday and is expected to last the entire day.

    The bail hearing of Shareef Abdul Haleen, 30, of Mississauga, is set for July 4.

    Monday morning’s hearing was expected to deal with administrative matters such as setting dates for bail hearings for the other accused men.

    Two lawyers gave notice at the last hearing that they may have to bring a formal application under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the effect that their clients’ right to meet with counsel privately has not been honoured by the authorities.

    Today was the third court hearing for the accused men.

    The previous two hearings were held in a tiny courtroom that could barely accommodate the family members of the accused men and the mass of reporters, including foreign media organizations such as CNN.

    For Monday, a larger courtroom was made available.

    Galati also complained he had observed “some things that have happened in this process that are unheard of in a criminal trial.”

    Galati’s list of unprecedented occurrences included:
    # notice and a police debriefing of the investigation given to politicians and select members of the media before the arrests happened;
    # details of the allegations made public at a press conference before the accused were brought to court while lawyers and the court were kept waiting;
    # the addresses of the accused were published, which Galati said was unheard of in a criminal proceeding.
    # what he called a military show of force at the courthouse on June 3 for the first appearance.

    Galati also charged that police and politicians declared the guilt of the accused in public statements and that “self-proclaimed leaders of the Muslim community in a desperate attempt to ‘distance themselves from the accused’ have declared them guilty as well.

    “All these actions by the police and politicians are completely unheard of in a real criminal case,” Galati said. “A general statement that one often hears from politicians is that ‘we cannot comment while the matter is before the court.’

    “That rule has gone out the window in this case,” Galati said.

    Galati said he fears that the trial process has been tainted but did not outline any ways that the situation could be corrected.

    Toronto Star


    Background: Rocco Galati

    Thomas Walkom on the Rocco Galati case
    Sat Dec 6, 2003

    Post-9/11, this doesn’t seem all that weird

    On the face of it, Rocco Galati’s claim that U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies want to kill him sounds too weird for words.

    His evidence is scanty. All that the 44-year-old constitutional lawyer produced for reporters yesterday in his crowded College St. office was a recorded telephone voice-mail message.

    In that message, an unidentified man chides Galati for aiding “punk terrorist” Abdurahman Khadr, the 20-year-old Canadian imprisoned by the United States without charge in Cuba, who just made it back to Canada this week.

    “Now you a dead wop,” the voice advises the Italian-born Galati.

    What’s obvious is that this is some kind of a threat. What’s less obvious is that it came, as Galati claims, from an “unspecified intelligence agency or agencies.”

    He and his lawyer, Paul Slansky, provided no proof to back their suspicion that the caller represented a U.S. or Canadian security service.

    Galati said only that he had heard the man’s voice twice before, from similar recorded telephone threats uttered against a former client who subsequently disappeared.

    Which client? What case? Neither Galati nor Slansky would say. “I’m not at liberty to discuss the case,” Galati said.

    So the whole thing sounds nuts. Right? Showboat lawyer works too hard, gets too paranoid, loses it. Right?

    And yet … and yet …

    The world of security and intelligence in which Rocco Galati has been living for the past two years is weird. Spooks do strange things. In the 1970s, a Canadian royal commission laid bare RCMP security service practices that, on the surface, seemed unbelievable — like burning down barns.

    U.S. congressional investigations around the same time uncovered even stranger practices and plots, such as the CIA plan to blow up Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar.

    If, prior to these official revelations, a College St. lawyer had announced that the CIA was using exploding cigars and the Mounties were burning barns, he would have been dismissed as a loon.

    So let’s look at this from Galati’s point of view. He is one of the few lawyers willing to publicly defend people who, in the post-9/11 world, are most unpopular. He doesn’t just take on the clients that are demonstrably innocent, such as torture victim Maher Arar. He takes on those whose situation is far murkier.

    The media are all goo-goo over Arar now (they weren’t when he was first arrested in the U.S. and deported for torture to Syria). The media are not all goo-goo over the Khadr family, even though they, like Arar, have never been charged with any crime.

    Galati, to his great credit, chose to defend the difficult ones.

    And back in 2001, he and Slansky defended another unpopular man in another very murky case.

    The man was Delmart Edward Vreeland, an American locked up in the Don jail who was wanted in his own country for credit card fraud.

    What was unusual about Vreeland was his claim that the U.S. government had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Indeed, as the Star reported at the time, Vreeland handed over to his guards a sealed envelope in August, 2001, that predicted the attacks.

    Unfortunately, the guards didn’t get around to opening it until Sept. 14.

    Vreeland also made other claims. He claimed he had been working for U.S. naval intelligence.

    He claimed that a Cuban immigrant named Nestor Fonseca, in jail in Toronto on drug charges, was plotting to kill Canadian and U.S. police officers.

    He claimed that a Canadian Embassy worker in Moscow named Marc Bastien had not died from natural causes in 2000 as the government said but had been poisoned.

    Vreeland’s allegations against Fonseca were initially supported by Toronto police, who said they found a hit list in the Cuban’s cell.

    But by November, 2001, two months after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, everything changed.

    Crown prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charges against Fonseca, saying they had been based on the testimony of an “unsavoury witness.” Three months later, prosecutors dropped a bevy of other charges against Fonseca, including extortion, and instead extradited him to the U.S.

    The apparent collapse of the Fonseca case also had the effect of destroying any credibility Vreeland may have had with regard to his more intriguing allegations about Sept. 11 and the death of Bastien, the Moscow embassy worker.

    Until January, 2002. That’s when Quebec coroner Line Duchesne concluded that Bastien, described as an information systems handler, had indeed been poisoned — probably by someone who slipped a concentrated anti-schizophrenic drug into his drink in a Moscow bar.

    Vreeland’s credibility suddenly shot up.

    But eight months later, while out on bail awaiting an extradition hearing, he just disappeared.

    At the time, Slansky told the court he had gone to Vreeland’s apartment to pick him up but found it ransacked, with key evidence related to his client’s 9/11 claims missing.

    Did Vreeland skip town? Slansky argued no. He said he believed his client had been “killed, kidnapped or harmed” because he had evidence that the U.S. government knew ahead of time about the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Now Galati and Slansky are talking of similar threats. They say they recognize the voice of the man who said he wants to kill Galati.

    They don’t say it was Vreeland that this man threatened before. They don’t say it wasn’t.

    Walkom: Rocco Galati


    Delmart Vreeland Debunked: Recap – A redux of all of the interviews so far. 79:25 [48k/27.21MB]


    I’m not sure why Galati is protesting the court’s decision to ban the news being published about these hearings? He objected to articles about the defendants being published in the news, now he’s saying the court’s decision to ban the press from reporting is against his client’s best interests and that he wants a live feed of the courtroom proceedings? Very confusing???

  • Jun. 28, 2006

    If there was one suspect who was thought to have a chance at getting bail while awaiting his terrorism trial, it was the youngest accused.

    Police say the 15-year-old attended a training camp last winter as part of a Toronto-based terrorist cell, but he is not facing the more serious accusations levelled at others in the group, involving weapons or explosives.

    However, he remains behind bars today after being denied bail by a Brampton justice of the peace.

    Justice Maurice Hudson also denied bail yesterday for an 18-year-old suspect. His decisions concluded the first bail hearings for a group of 17 suspects arrested June 2, as part of what police call a “homegrown” terrorist group allegedly plotting attacks in southern Ontario.

    While the allegations against the 15-year-old appear to be the least serious facing those in the group, an additional charge was added yesterday for the 18-year-old, who is now accused of acquiring explosives for the purpose of a terrorist activity. He was 17 at the time. That brings to seven the number of suspects accused of being part of a bombing plot.

    Police said the group sought to acquire three tonnes of ammonium nitrate and intended to create bombs to target sites that including the downtown Toronto headquarters of Canada’s spy agency. Sources told the Star that police knew of the purchase and switched the fertilizer with a harmless substance before allegedly making the delivery.

    There are five youths charged as part of the group who cannot be named due to the Youth Justice Act that protects the identity of those who were under 18 at the time of their alleged criminal activity. The act allows for youths denied bail before a justice of the peace to apply again for bail before an Ontario court justice, which means these two teenagers will get another chance next month to ask to be released on bail.

    Michael Block, who represents the 15-year-old, said outside court yesterday that he was still optimistic his client will be released.

    “I think he has a reasonable shot at bail. Ultimately, the evidence of his involvement may well show that his connection to this whole thing is very minimal indeed,” Block said.

    During yesterday’s hearing the families of the two teenagers filled half of the courtroom, with the 15-year-old’s parents holding hands as the evidence was read out and the mother of the 18-year-old resting her head in her hands to cover her face for much of the hearing.

    “It’s certainly a disappointing result for (the youth) and his family,” Block told reporters.

    Bail hearings for two other youths continue today.

    Toronto Star


    Wonder why the bail hearings weren’t heard for all five of the youth’s that were charged?

  • from the July 31, 2006 edition –
    Leader turned informant rattles Muslims
    Toronto Muslims debate duty to help track suspected terrorists after a religious leader helped officials arrest 17.
    By Rebecca Cook Dube

    The surprise announcement by a prominent Muslim leader here that he was an informant who helped authorities arrest 17 Muslims on terrorism charges has raised questions in the Muslim community over the ethics of informing versus a responsibility to stop violence.

    Since outing himself as an informant who infiltrated and trained with the suspects, Mubin Shaikh has come under harsh criticism by some Toronto Muslims and sparked a debate about how far citizens should go in aiding police investigations, even as he has been hailed as a hero in the mainstream media.

    The men, ranging in age from 15 to 43, were arrested last month after buying three tons of ammonium nitrate, a common bomb-making ingredient, and are alleged by police to have planned to blow up Toronto buildings and storm Canada’s parliament. Then, earlier this month, Mr. Shaikh revealed himself to several media outlets as a mole who infiltrated the group at the request of the police.

    “I wanted to prevent the loss of life,” Shaikh told the Toronto Star newspaper. “I don’t want Canadians to think that these [suspects] are what Muslims are. I don’t believe in violence here. I wanted to help, and I’m as homegrown as it gets.”

    Before this, Shaikh was a well-known conservative leader in the Muslim community. He runs a shariah arbitration center and is a fierce advocate for Islamic law, in Canada.

    “Whatever the source of his motivation, he did his duty as a Canadian citizen,” The National Post newspaper wrote in an editorial. “And he has taught a lesson that others in the Muslim community would do well to heed.”
    But that view is not shared by many in Toronto’s Muslim community. Some wonder whether Shaikh couldn’t have dissuaded the terrorism suspects, most of whom are younger than he, from violence. Some accuse him of entrapping the suspects. Some question his motivation – Shaikh claims he was paid C$77,000 (US$68,000) for his work and is owed another C$300,000. Others simply scorn him as a betrayer.

    “He was not just an informer in terms of ratting out certain people, he was actually fishing,” says Aly Hindy, imam of the Salaheddin Islamic Centre, a mosque several of the suspects attended in Scarborough, an eastern suburb of Toronto. Mr. Hindy said Shaikh’s deep knowledge of Islam – he studied for two years in Syria – helped him gain sway over the youngsters.

    For his part, Shaikh told the CBC that the suspects had already chosen their path and needed no encouragement from him. After taking the unusual step of identifying himself as an informant, Shaikh has retreated from the public eye and could not be reached for comment.

    The question of entrapment often arises in investigations involving undercover informants, experts say. Some of the 17 defendants’ attorneys are claiming Shaikh instigated the terrorist plot rather than merely observed. In the US, informants in Muslim communities have been used often since the 9/11 attacks including in a Federal Bureau of Investigation case involving seven men accused of being Taliban sympathizers in Portland in 2002.

    “If the police lose control of their informant, they lose control of the investigation,” says Alan Young, a law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. “In organized crime, very often you need informants to penetrate the inner circle … sometimes they’re necessary and sometimes they’re a disaster.”

    Some Toronto Muslims say they support the idea of reporting suspicious behavior to the authorities, but they draw the line at Shaikh’s extensive undercover work.

    “All citizens have an obligation to report a terrorist plot to the police should they find out about it. In fact, they have a duty to do so,” Safiyyah Ally, a Toronto graduate student, wrote on her blog ( But posing as a member of a group is different, she wrote.

    “It becomes particularly problematic when a prominent member of a community spies on other individuals within the community,” Ms. Ally wrote. “It wasn’t right for someone of his stature to infiltrate himself within a group of youths with the intention of spying on them and secretly reporting their activities and ideas to the police.”

    Ally’s posting touched off a storm of comments on her blog, ranging from predictions that Shaikh would burn in hell to calmer voices cautioning against a rush to judgment. Ally raised concerns about what the use of such informants might do to Toronto’s Muslim community of 300,000.

    “Our community is fragile enough as is, and our leaders are our moral anchor…. We cannot have communities wherein individuals are paranoid of each other and turned against one another,” she wrote.

    Hindy said he believes that would-be moles at his mosque already report to police when he makes controversial statements. “It looks like people are starting to be afraid of each other,” says Hindy.


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

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