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Terrorists Plotted To Blow Up Peacenik Canada

From the "Paper Of Treason," the New York Times:

Police snipers guard a courthouse in Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, June 3, 2006. Seventeen Canadian residents arrested on terrorism charges were inspired by al Qaeda, had amassed enough explosives to build huge bombs and were planning to blow up targets in densely populated Ontario, police said on Saturday.

17 Are Arrested in Plot to Bomb Sites in Ontario

June 4, 2006

OTTAWA, June 3 — Seventeen Canadian residents have been arrested and charged with plotting to destroy targets in Ontario with crude but powerful bombs and other terrorism-related offensives, the Canadian authorities announced Saturday.

At a news conference in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, the police and intelligence officials said they had been monitoring the group for some time and moved in to make the arrests on Friday after its members took delivery of three tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be transformed into an explosive when combined with fuel oil.

"It was their intent to use it for a terrorist attack," said a Royal Canadian Mounted Police assistant commissioner, Mike McDonell. "If I can put this in context for you, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was completed with only one ton of ammonium nitrate."

The 17 men — almost all in their teens or early 20’s, with one 30-year-old and one 43-year-old — had planned to attack sites in the southern part of Ontario, the police said. They declined to identify specific targets, though they did dismiss reports in the news media that Toronto’s subway system was on the list.

The Toronto Star, citing an unnamed source, said the group had a list that included the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa as well as the Toronto branch office of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The suspects were arrested in a series of raids that began late on Friday night and continued until early on Saturday morning. All were taken to a heavily fortified police station in Pickering, Ontario, a city east of Toronto. Five suspects under the age of 18 were not identified by the authorities. The others were identified as Fahim Ahmad, 21; Zakaria Amara, 20; Asad Ansari, 21; Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30; Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43; Mohammed Dirie, 22; Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24; Jahmaal James, 23; Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19; Steven Vikash Chand, alias Abdul Shakur, 25; Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21; and Saad Khalid, 19.

"They represent the broad strata of our society," Mr. McDonell said. "Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed."

Luc Portelance, the assistant director of operations at the intelligence agency, said the group’s members "appear to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by Al Qaeda." The police official, however, said that there was no evidence of links between the two groups.

Both the police and a spokeswoman for the intelligence agency declined to say when they first became aware of the Canadian group. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mayor David Miller of Toronto said he was given a confidential briefing about the group several months ago. It operated what the police called training camps for its members. At the news conference the police displayed military fatigues, army-style boots and two-way radios they said were used at the camps, although they would not disclose their location.

The Toronto Star reported that the intelligence agency began monitoring Internet exchanges, some of which were encrypted, during 2004. According to the newspaper, the training camps took place north of Toronto. Members of the group, according to that account, often visited a popular Canadian chain of doughnut shops to wash up following their training sessions.

The suspects were scheduled to appears at a court north of Toronto in Brampton, Ontario, Saturday afternoon. By late morning, all entrances to the Brampton courthouse were blockaded by steel barriers and the police. People entering the court were required to remove their shoes and were scrutinized at a series of three command checkpoints by tactical officers carrying heavy weapons and accompanied by bomb-sniffing dogs.

The arrests, Mr. McDonell said, were successful in shutting down the terrorist group.

"All of us can say with confidence that this threat has been removed," he told the news conference.

Both Toronto’s mayor and Prime Minister Stephen Harper echoed that view.

"These individuals were allegedly intent on committing acts of terrorism against their own country and their own people," Mr. Harper said in a statement. "Today, Canada’s security and intelligence measures worked."

The F.B.I. released a statement saying that there was a "preliminary indication" that some of the Canadian subjects might have had "limited contact" with two people recently arrested from Georgia. Those two were Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, an American of Bangladeshi descent, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 21, a Pakistani-born American.

Law-enforcement officials said they had made "casing" videos of various sites in Washington, D.C., and have said that their case was linked to the arrests of several men in Britain last fall, and that the two were believed to have met with "like-minded Islamic extremists " in Canada in March 2005.

A counterterrorism official in the United States said that while there was contact between the men arrested in Georgia earlier this year and those arrested in Canada on Friday, there was no evidence that the Georgia suspects were involved in the bombing plot. But American officials were continuing to work with authorities in Canada to determine the nature and extent of the contact between the groups, said the official.

A second official said there had been extensive contact between American and Canadian authorities in the last several days, and that the Canadians had given the Americans advance warning of the arrests. Though there appeared to have been no direct threat inside the United States, the proximity of the potential terrorists to the American border "really got everybody’s attention," the official said.

Both American officials were granted granted anonymity because they were speaking about a continuing investigation.

Barbara Campion, a spokeswoman for Canadian intelligence, declined to identify the foreign intelligence and police services that were involved in the investigation.

The arrests might improve the image of the intelligence agency, which has been long criticized for its handling of terrorism cases.

In 1985, a group of suspected terrorists under investigation by the spy agency placed a bomb aboard an Air India flight that killed all 329 passengers aboard. Critics have long charged that the agency could have acted to prevent the explosion, and Mr. Harper’s government recently announced an investigation into its handling by the police and the intelligence agency.

More recently the spy agency has been criticized for unfairly and improperly singling out Canadian Muslims.

We can’t have that!

I suspect would wouldn’t have heard anything about this under Canada’s previous government.

They probably wouldn’t have even arrested anyone, for fear of appearing to discriminate.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 3rd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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