Search this site

CANADIAN TERROR‎ > ‎

Canadian Terror Plots & Patsies


Title: Canadian 'Terror Plot' Begins To Unravel
Date:
June 6, 2006
Source:
Prison Planet

Abstract: Just as predicted, the frightening plot to bomb high profile targets in Toronto and the arrest of 17 alleged terror suspects has all the hallmarks of yet another invented nightmare intended to scare western populations into quelling their dissent of the empire.

From a manufactured scheme to attack the Library Tower in LA to the British government's hoax Canary Wharf and Ricin terror conspiracies - every major alert or mass arrest since 9/11 has proven to be a fraudulent movie script with no basis in reality.

As the credibility of Friday's London terror raid collapses, so does its counterpart in Canada with the news that the arrests were a sting operation in which, "The Royal Canadian Mounted Police itself delivered three tons of potential bomb-making material," to the alleged terrorists according to the Associated Press. As one blog points out, "I remember once when huge lots of Chinese food were ordered in someone else's name by bored teenagers as pranks. Do things like that still happen, I wonder, and could they happen with fertilizer, too?"

At the moment CSIS is saying very little and it appears that the bulk of the case is being built around stage prop photos of 'sample' bags of ammonium nitrate, guns and explosive timers (pictured below).

The Canadians are obviously taking a leaf out of the Russian textbook of government sponsored terror. After FSB (former KGB) agents were caught in the act of carrying out apartment block bombings in the late 1990's, the Russian state media relentlessly showcased a bag of hexogen explosive and cited it as proof that their official story stood up.

For those who are aware of the past activities of CSIS it's going to take more than a scary display of terrorist paraphernalia to validate the government's account of events.

In August 2003 26 Pakistani and South Asian men were arrested during a pre-dawn raid by the RCMP under Project Thread. The weight of the evidence behind the accusation that they were planning a dirty bomb attack on a nuclear facility comprised of the fact that the suspects often burned meals and one of them had a poster of airplane schematics on his wall. All allegations were dropped and the men were released, but not before a media juggernaut fearmongering campaign about how Canadians in major cities were not safe.

The story also coincides with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's Senate demand for more funding to fight terrorism. It is hardly beyond the pale to suggest that this is another imaginary nightmare dreamt up in order to scare Canadian politicians into rubber stamping a giant cash cow.

Authorities have been very keen to stress that the Internet, and the ability of the security services to intercept e mail and web browsing history, were key to the supposed plot. This kills two birds with one stone - firstly drag the name of the Internet through the mud and solidify calls for government regulation - and secondly chill Canadians into thinking that their every cyber action is being catalogued by the state.

Racial tension, always a boon for the police state, has increased with reports of Mosques in Toronto being attacked. Armed tactical units of the police are now patrolling Toronto streets (pictured above).

Meanwhile in London it emerges that 250 armed police who raided a family home in the Forest Gate area, shooting a man in the shoulder, first smashed their way into the suspect's neighbors house, brandishing machine guns and beating an innocent man with the gun butt as his wife and eight-month-old baby watched in horror.

However, as the supposed chemical weapons that justified the raid are now admitted to "not exist," the police are unapologetic in their actions, forcefully telling Brits that this is an aspect of the new world order that they must learn to accept (Prison Planet, 2006).

Title: Canada Terror Plot: Parliament Was Target
Date:
August 28, 2010
Source:
Hindustan Times


Abstract:
  The Canadian Parliament was reportedly on the hit-list of the Al-Qaeda-linked terror plot unearthed in the capital Ottawa on Wednesday with the arrest of two suspects. Another suspect was held Thursday and one more Friday, taking the number of arrests to four. Three overseas collaborators remain at large in the plot which security agencies have traced to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Dubai.

While 30-year-old Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, who is of Iranian origin, and 26-year-old Misbahuddin Ahmed, whose claim of being Indian has not been confirmed yet, were charged with the plot Thursday, 28-year-old Khuram Khan was charged with abetment in the conspiracy Friday.

Khan, who is of Pakistani origin, had participated in the Canadian Idol contest in 2008. Charges against the fourth suspect arrested Friday have not been laid yet.

After a year-long surveillance by more than 100 officers, police mounted 'Project Samosa' to swoop on the suspects and seize 50 circuit boards to be used to remotely detonated bombs.

Police said the alleged plotters were "months" away from carrying out the first terror attack on Canadian soil. Attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan were also part of the alleged plot.

Initial interrogations of the suspects have hinted that the country's Parliament was on their hit list.

"They wanted to hit Parliament Hill and there was discussion of going against public transportation in Montreal ... (and) they were not excluding the possibility to some major (Ottawa transit) hubs," security sources were quoted as saying in the daily National Post.

The ringleader of the alleged plot used Ottawa Public Library computers to communicate with other members of the terror cell to "avoid detection and surveillance," the sources said.

Even as the terror plot continues to shock Canadians, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has asked people  to "be vigilant" against terrorist threats.

"We need co-operation from various community groups" as security agencies alone cannot detect terrorists, he said.

This is the second terror plot unearthed in Canada after the Toronto-18 plot smashed in 2006 with the arrest of 18 Muslim youths, mostly from Pakistan. Eleven of them were convicted (Hindustan Times, 2010).

Title: Fourth Suspect Held In Canadian Terrorism Probe
Date:
August 29, 2010
Source:
WSJ

Abstract:
Police here are continuing to hold a man described by a federal prosecutor as a fourth suspect in a widening Canadian terrorism probe.

The man, who was arrested Friday, hasn't been charged with terrorism-related offenses. Instead, he appeared in court Saturday on domestic-violence charges, was released on bail, then immediately rearrested and detained on a separate charge of uttering threats, according to his lawyer. He is expected to appear in court again Sunday morning.

The man cannot be identified under a court-imposed publication ban, a standard condition of domestic violence hearings in Canada.

Police wouldn't confirm whether the man is also a suspect in a year-long terrorism probe, dubbed project Samosa. But he was initially detained by the RCMP unit handling that probe, and his arrest came a day after the unit charged three men with terrorist activities in a sweep that uncovered videos, schematics and manuals on bombing-building in their homes. In one home, police found some 50 remote-control detonators for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

The main Ottawa prosecutor in the terrorism case against the three other men characterized the Friday arrest as a "fourth arrest."

The three terror suspects—Hiva Alizadeh and Misbahuddin Ahmed, both Ottawa residents, and Khurram Syed Sher of London, Ontario—are expected to appear in court next week. All three are Canadian citizens.

Police say the group is linked to an international terrorist cell plotting to make bombs and aid anticoalition forces in Afghanistan, including at least three suspects outside Canada who remain at large.

Lawyers for each of the three declined to comment on the charges. Lawyers on both sides are closely guarding information about the matter. Evidence against the three won't be made public until their trial.

Little is known about Mr. Alizadeh, who police allege is the leader of the group and believe had bomb-making training abroad. Police also allege Mr. Alizadeh raised money to buy weapons for insurgents in Afghanistan.

Security officials said Thursday that international partners are investigating three suspects outside Canada who allegedly worked with the trio. One of those persons is Mr. Alizadeh's wife, according to briefing documents from the New York Police Department's Counterterrorism Bureau reviewed Friday by The Wall Street Journal.

Friends of Messrs. Ahmed and Sher say they are unlikely candidates for terrorists, describing them as peaceful young professionals from Montreal who showed no signs of radicalism.

"They have very good manners, easygoing, integrated into society, hockey players," said Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, who says he has known both since childhood. "I know them. I know the way they think. If I were a betting guy I would bet that they will be found innocent."

Montreal's Muslim community is taking the arrest "very, very seriously," Mr. Elmenyawi said. "If these people have gone wrong, we have to find out what went wrong."

Mr. Ahmed, a radiologist at a hospital in Ottawa, was born in India and lived in Saudi Arabia for a time before coming to Canada, according to the New York police documents. He moved to Ottawa from Montreal a few years ago, Mr. Elmenyawi said.

Mr. Sher, hired this month as a pathologist at a hospital near London, Ontario, was an avid hockey player and top-notch student who graduated from McGill University's medical faculty, say several people familiar with him. Mr. Sher moved to Ontario with his wife, mother and three daughters around a month ago, says Faisal Shahabuddin, a hockey buddy from Montreal who says he has known Mr. Sher since childhood.

Messrs. Ahmed and Sher played hockey together and attended services at the same Islamic Community Center in Quebec, says Mr. Elmenyawi.

Friends say Mr. Sher's playful sense of humor was exemplified when he uncharacteristically donned a traditional shalwar kameez for a 2008 audition for CTV's "Canadian Idol,'' and asked the judges to pick a song for him to perform. "I can sing, like, different things—like Hilary Duff or Avril Lavigne," he said. In the audition video, posted online, he says he had arrived from Pakistan in "2K5," or 2005.

Mr. Elmenyawi said he thinks Mr. Sher was born in Canada. "He came to me so happy and having fun," says Mr. Elmenyawi. "Look at his spirit. This is not a guy that's going to be an instrument in killing someone."

It is unclear how the two other suspects met Mr. Alizadeh.

For some in Montreal's Muslim community, the arrests and public suspicion have recalled previous instances when they say Canada's spy agency has been heavy-handed and secretive. In one case, immigration officials in 2003 detained Moroccan-born Adil Charkaoui under a "security certificate" process that granted the government power to deport non-Canadians on national-security grounds without disclosing the evidence against them. Mr. Charkaoui fought his deportation and won. The Canadian government has since revised the process (WSJ, 2010).

Title: U.S., Canada Hunt Manitoba Man Accused Of Training Terrorists
Date:
March 15, 2011
Source:
Globe & Mail


Abstract:
Counterterrorism officials on both sides of the border announced charges against a 30-year-old Canadian fugitive Tuesday, going public with their long-held suspicions that he trained al-Qaeda operatives who tried to kill U.S. citizens.

Ferid Imam, once a biochemistry student at the University of Manitoba, faces the equivalent of two life sentences - one in Canada, one in the U.S. - should he ever be caught and convicted. He is wanted in connection with a 2009 scheme to bomb the New York subway system.

There is no allegation Mr. Imam was directly involved in the thwarted attack. Rather, he stands accused of being a training-camp instructor in Pakistan's tribal regions, a man who schooled other "homegrown" radicals later caught in the United States.

The three suspects apprehended in that scheme were New Yorkers. Two of them have since admitted their crimes, telling police they had trained with al-Qaeda figures who had tasked them with becoming suicide bombers.

"Ferid Imam helped them get that training," Janice Fedarcyk of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. "Today's charges are an important step in bringing to justice all the conspirators."

As prosecutors in Brooklyn named Mr. Imam in a new indictment, Canadian police in Winnipeg obtained arrest warrants on related charges.

At a news conference, the RCMP revealed that one of the New York subway bombers has fingered Mr. Imam as being a training-camp instructor in Waziristan, Pakistan.

Such evidence has given Canadian authorities confidence to pursue their own criminal case alleging that Mr. Imam is a terrorist instructor - the first planned Canadian prosecution for terrorist crimes alleged to have taken place entirely overseas.

For any trial to happen, authorities would first have to arrest Mr. Imam, who is elusive. He has been the subject of a global hunt for years.

After immigrating to Canada from East Africa at age 7, he was a popular high-school student. Mr. Imam gravitated toward fundamentalism in his 20s as he studied at the University of Manitoba.

In 2007, Canadian police were alarmed to learn from Manitoba Muslims that some students were disappearing to places unknown. The first tip came when the family of Miawand Yar, a mechanical engineering student who is now 27, called to report him missing.

The RCMP said Tuesday that Mr. Yar and Mr. Imam were photographed upon their arrival in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2007, before they moved on to the border town of Peshawar.

Assistant RCMP Commissioner Bill Robinson told reporters that the two men had spoken of going to Afghanistan to join the Taliban, though there is no information indicating they ever left Pakistan.

On Monday, the Mounties got warrants alleging Mr. Imam is a terrorist trainer and alleging that his accomplice, Mr. Yar, is guilty of the lesser charge of participating in terrorist activity.

The U.S. charge sheets suggest other connections.

Also implicated in the wider New York scheme is an obscure but significant figure: Adnan el Shukrijumah, a former Florida resident sought for a decade by FBI agents who describe him as a leading al-Qaeda planner.

The U.S. indictment also mentions Rashid Rauf. The British citizen was linked to a 2006 scheme to use bottles of liquid explosives to blow up 10 passenger jets as they left London for North American cities.

Reports suggest Mr. Rauf has since been killed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency drone planes that strike terrorism suspects in lawless tribal regions of Pakistan, which remains a haven of sorts for al-Qaeda (Globe & Mail, 2011).

Title: Mounties Lay Terror Charges Against Missing Canadians
Date:
March 15, 2011
Source:
Globe & Mail


Abstract:
The RCMP have charged two Canadians with terrorism-related offences in connection to a 2009 plot to blow up packed subway cars in New York.

The RCMP allege that the al-Qaeda terrorists behind the plot were trained by a University of Manitoba student who has disappeared from Canada.

Ferid Imam vanished from Winnipeg in 2007 and is now suspected of being in the lawless mountains of northwestern Pakistan. He is now being sought on terrorist-training charges as part of a new criminal case.

The case, which alleges lesser offences by a second suspect, amounts to a crucial test of the reach of Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act. Passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it allows police to charge suspects who are suspected of committing terrorist offences outside Canada's borders. The new case is the first time that the Mounties have charged someone with acts taking place entirely overseas.

Police hope the case against Mr. Imam - who faces a life sentence if he is caught and convicted of being a terrorist trainer - will alert the public about what they say is the growing threat posed by radicals from the West who want to join al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

The charges are new, but the investigation is not. Several counterterrorism agencies have been quietly hunting Mr. Imam over the years. But by obtaining warrants from a Winnipeg court on Monday, the Mounties have made the manhunt official - and laid a claim to the suspects by alleging they are fugitives from Canadian justice.

RCMP allege that Mr. Imam, while in Pakistan, had a role in training Najibullah Zazi - the Afghanistan-born New Yorker who has already pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb the subway system.

In 2009, the high-profile U.S. manhunt that resulted in Mr. Zazi's arrest in Colorado shocked Americans. He and two accomplices, also long-time U.S. residents, are now co-operating with authorities in hopes of reducing their jail terms.

Washington officials are growing more fearful about the prospect that "homegrown" terrorist attacks could cause carnage on U.S. streets. The fear is shared by officials in Ottawa, who face the added nightmare than any Canadian connection to any terrorist attack may lead U.S. lawmakers to tighten up the border - threatening billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

The American suspects have admitted to journeying to al-Qaeda's bomb-building camps prior to plotting the suicide bombings within the United States. "They told us we would be more useful if we returned to New York City … to conduct operations," Zarein Ahmedzay, one Zazi accomplice, said during his guilty plea in Brooklyn last year.

The Globe and Mail last year revealed a behind-the-scenes manhunt for three missing students from the University of Manitoba, including Mr. Imam. Their disappearance spawned a massive probe, not just by the RCMP, but also by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The counterterrorism operatives knocked on doors across Winnipeg and as far away as the United Arab Emirates.

A past head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged that he briefed former president George W. Bush on intelligence that the Canadian students were in Waziristan, Pakistan. The CIA routinely targets terrorism suspects in the tribal regions - usually by zeroing in on them with Hellfire missiles fired from drone planes.

An immigrant from East Africa who came to Canada at the age of seven, Mr. Imam was a popular high-school student in Winnipeg not that long ago. He played soccer and was on the honour roll, before enrolling in the University of Manitoba to study pharmacy.

While at university, he weighed in on the notorious Danish cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed. "They attacked our Prophet [peace be upon him], who is Islam by himself," he wrote in an Internet forum. "Thus, I like to think of this as a crisis rather than a controversy."

In December, 2006, Mr. Imam went on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, a few months before disappearing from Canada for good.

His alleged accomplice is a fellow Winnipegger, Miawand Yar, who had amassed a rap sheet for dealing crack before becoming a religious fundamentalist. He faces up to 10 years in prison if prosecuted on the catch-all charge that he participated in a terrorist conspiracy.

On Monday, the Mounties obtained warrants for these Canadian suspects from a judge in a Winnipeg court. The charge sheets were not immediately made available, but are to be publicly announced Tuesday.

A third missing University of Manitoba student, Muhannad al-Farekh, remains unaccounted for, but faces no charges.

There are no allegations that the Canadian suspects have hatched any specific plots targeting civilians. Nor is there any allegation they had any direct role in the New York bomb plot hatched by Mr. Zazi and his accomplices.

Top Obama administration officials have said the Manhattan subway plot is the most significant plot devised by "core" al-Qaeda members inside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Though the U.S. indictment names no Canadians, it does name several fugitive al-Qaeda figures in the tribal regions of Pakistan - including some since reportedly killed by CIA strikes.

Under terms of the plea deal involving Mr. Zazi and his accomplices, they are to give "truthful, complete and accurate information" and must also "testify at any proceeding in the Eastern District of New York or elsewhere as requested."

There is no information indicating that the arrests of any Canadian suspects are imminent (Globe & Mail, 2011).

Title: Canadian Judge Says There Is Enough Evidence To Extradite Terror Suspect To The US
Date:
October 19, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A judge ruled Friday there is enough evidence to extradite a Canadian man to the United States to face charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian jihadists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex.

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, who holds dual Canadian/Iraqi citizenship, was arrested in 2011 on a U.S. warrant and has been fighting extradition to New York.

The prosecution said intercepted phone and Internet conversations show Sharif helped jihadists contact members of a terror network as they made their way from Tunisia to Iraq to make the attack.

Justice Adam Germain of Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench said the recorded phone calls and emails went far beyond religious enthusiasm.

The case will go to Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for a final decision on whether the 40-year-old will be sent to New York to face trial.

Sharif's lawyer, Bob Aloneissi, said they will appeal the judge's ruling.

Sharif never left Canada as part of the alleged conspiracy. He was born in Iraq but moved to Toronto as a refugee in 1993 and became a Canadian citizen. He has also gone by other names, including Faruq Muhammad'Isa.

His lawyer, Bob Aloneissi, argued in final submissions this week that the prosecution provided no clear evidence that Sharif helped support a terrorist group.

Aloneissi said Sharif's right to legal advice was violated when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, FBI and U.S. Justice Department officials interrogated him immediately following his Jan. 19, 2011, arrest at an Edmonton apartment.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigator interviewed him with an FBI agent and a RCMP corporal present, the extradition request said. The interview "was conducted in compliance with United States law," with Muhammad 'Isa signing a waiver before voluntarily answering questions, it said.

During the interview, Muhammad 'Isa admitted he corresponded by email from Canada with two of the terrorists while they were in Syria, and knew that they were on a mission to kill Americans, the paperwork says. The documents allege he corresponded with "facilitators" who were trying to get the attackers into Iraq, and wired one of them $700.

The judge pointed out this week that the standard of evidence required to extradite someone is much lower than is required for use in a criminal trial.

On Monday, Germain ruled that videotaped statements that Sharif made to police during his interrogation would be admitted as evidence.

If convicted of terrorism charges in the United States, Sharif could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Canadian Khalid Awan Remains Stranded After Years At U.S. 'Gitmo In The Heartland'
Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
Rabble


Abstract:
While Omar Khadr returned from Guantanamo Bay this fall, another abandoned Canadian will shortly mark 11 years behind bars, much of that time in an Indiana hellhole known as Little Guantanamo and Gitmo in the Heartland. The case involves classic hallmarks of a national security system riven with physical and psychological torture: death threats, forced confessions leading to apparently trumped-up allegations, lengthy periods of solitary confinement, indefinite detention and the complicity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Khalid Awan is a Canadian citizen, a Muslim originally from Pakistan who was working as an immigration consultant in New York City in the fall of 2001. Like tens of thousands of Muslims detained after 9/11, he too was targeted by officials whose racial profiling resulted in his extraordinary and violent takedown arrest and detention in October 2001. This was designed to compel his appearance as a "material witness" at the grand jury investigating Osama bin Laden's involvement in the attacks (a simple subpoena would have done the trick). Since that day, Awan has been imprisoned under an escalating series of allegations and charges that can only be described as outrageous.

Never charged in connection with 9/11, Awan was preparing for his release from detention in November 2001 when he was re-arrested, this time for alleged credit card fraud tied to his immigration business. Awan says it's ridiculous, considering no former client or bank made a claim against him. His fate is similar to that of many post-9/11 detainees, who often suddenly faced immigration and/or misdemeanour charges prior to release, as authorities sought to justify the original, unwarranted, illegal detention without charge. Such charges were useful because they conveniently fell under the umbrella of "anti-terrorism" statistics, making it look like the government was "securing the homeland."

Traumatized by Disappearance
Already traumatized by having been disappeared from the streets of New York City, Awan took the advice of a lawyer who said that, as a Muslim in those fearful days, he was unlikely to get a fair shake from a jury, and would do better to plead guilty. Awan says he entered a plea bargain, which guaranteed no future money laundering charges would be brought against him, in exchange for upwards of two years behind bars, but that agreement was not honoured, and instead, he received five years.

As he prepared for his 2006 release, Awan was transferred from the federal penitentiary to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he expected that he would sign paperwork for deportation back to Canada. He then discovered that a Montreal police officer, seconded by the RCMP, had contacted Awan's sister and brother-in-law wanting to know the location of Awan's wife. No explanation was provided, though the Montrealers did tell the officer Awan's wife was in Pakistan. Learning the RCMP was interested in her, Awan's wife called a number of times and left messages on the officer's answering machine, but never heard back. The reason for this sudden interest from the Mounties would soon become clear, when Awan was shortly hauled in to a lengthy interrogation with the FBI and a federal prosecutor, who threatened him with the arrest of his sisters in Montreal and his wife in Pakistan if he did not co-operate and act as a spy for the U.S. both in Canada and Pakistan.

Awan was frightened, wondering how they knew where his relatives lived. They plied him with questions about topics for which he had no answer, and then threatened him with death by lethal injection, stating they only need make a phone call and Awan would be plastered across the media as a "big terrorist.”

Coerced 'Confession'
"I was intimidated and pushed to the edge during this interrogation, I was determined to provide anything these U.S. officials wanted to make them happy, even if the questions made no sense, because I wanted to stop the harassment of my family," he later wrote. Awan further feared being branded a terrorist and put to death either in the U.S. or via deportation to India, whose government "would view me as an enemy, and [they] told me 'you know better than I do what they can do with you.'" At Awan's subsequent trial, an FBI agent frankly admitted that when they asked Awan to work for them as a spy in Pakistan and Canada, the "gist" of what the U.S. prosecutor had said to Awan was: "These are terrorism charges…You face serious penalties for these charges anywhere from jail to possibly even the death penalty."

As the interrogations of Awan continued, the Canadian officer called both of Awan's sisters in Montreal and demanded they come to his office for investigation. Awan felt this was meant to put further pressure on him to spy for the Americans. Awan told his family not to meet with the Mounties without a lawyer present and to insist on getting the RCMP's requests in writing; as normally happens when targets request the presence of legal counsel, the RCMP stopped calling. Nevertheless, the RCMP's actions made real to Awan the FBI threats that failure to co-operate could result in harm coming to his family members. As one of Awan's lawyers pointed out, FBI agent "Ross told Awan that Awan's family in Canada was facing potential repercussions that Awan should take into account when deciding whether to accept the government's proposal."

(Awan was also aware of revelations from the Arar Inquiry about the extensive U.S.-Canada co-operation on information sharing, rendition and other forms of repression which have thrown countless people into the national security detention net.)

Because Awan never agreed to be a spy, he feels he was subsequently charged based on the self-incriminating statements he had made under coercion and threat of death. He'd never been given an opportunity to review the statements that were written up by the FBI, and the government never made an effort to introduce corroborative evidence for those statements. Instead, the government indicted him for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist entity, and money laundering to support terrorism during the years 1999-2005. Awan says this was a case of double jeopardy, since there was no new evidence presented for the years prior to his detention, and the charge violated the terms of his original plea bargain. He was also penniless while in prison.

Enter Orwell
More bizarre, it was Awan, as a Muslim, who was accused of transferring a modest amount of money (some $4,000) to the Sikh nationalist group Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), which seeks an independent country from India, and KCF's leader in Pakistan, Panjwar Singh. And for a final Orwellian touch: neither Singh nor the KCF were listed as terrorist entities by the U.S. government. After a judge threw out two of the three charges in pre-trial, the government simply issued a new indictment against Awan that rehashed the previous one.

In a sign of how politically opportunistic this case has been, Awan was then asked to be a co-operative government witness against two members of the KCF (for which he no doubt would have gotten off lightly), but he declined, and so the government went to those same KCF members instead, who happily agreed to testify against Awan. Awan's lawyers pointed out that even if one believed that Awan had transferred the monies, the KCF members' testimony failed to "establish that Awan had anything but a lawful intent to pass money along to a personal friend for lawful activities."

In addition to the statements he made while being threatened with death, Awan's case had as a backdrop a series of secretly recorded conversations with a jailhouse snitch who was promised thousands in cash, status for the snitch and his family, and a reduced sentence for numerous crimes. In the manner of classic FBI-style sting operations that have marked the bureau's anti-terrorism set-up operations, the snitch tried in 2003 to get Awan to make statements implicating him in KCF activities, but Awan only admitted he knew KCF leader Panjwar Singh. The snitch actually got Panjwar on the phone from Pakistan on several occasions and urged Awan to get on the line, but, according to legal briefs, "nowhere in the recordings did Awan state that he provided funds or resources to Panjwar or the KCF." The only thing the tapes revealed was that Awan boasted that he know of Mr. Singh because, when he lived in Pakistan, Awan, then a civil servant, felt it best to have powerful acquaintances in the event he would ever need to call on them. Indeed, as the judge concluded, Awan's motivation appeared "to have been to drop names and associate with people in power, people with reputations," and not anything to do with politics. Dropping powerful names in jail can also bring about the kind of status that ensures a sense of safety.

No Evidence from Government
"At trial," Awan's lawyers wrote, "the government did not offer any bank records, wire receipts, or any other forensic evidence to establish that Awan ever sent funds to Panjwar or the KCF." His lawyers add this was a case of "selective and vindictive prosecution," noting the government waited almost until the last possible minute under the statute of limitations to charge Awan, rather than doing so years earlier.

In the end result, the judge refused to believe the American government would threaten Awan and vengefully charge him for failure to become a spy, and, based on the illegally obtained self-incriminating statements, sentenced him to 14 years in prison. Yet the judge conceded that Awan was not involved in terrorism, noting "there is simply not sufficient evidence for me to conclude that Awan had, or for that matter, continues to have an intent to battle with the Governments of India or Pakistan to influence their conduct in any respect." The court was provided with a comparison to the sentences meted out to American white supremacist terrorists who have plotted acts of violence including blowing up a federal building, assassination plots, killing a sheriff's deputy, possessing deadly toxins like ricin, and other serious acts of violence that netted jail terms on average of 3-6 years.

Post-conviction, much of Awan's time was spent in Little Guantanamo in Terre Haute, Indiana, in the infamous Communication Management Unit (CMU, the polite phrase for a total surveillance and control environment), where Muslims rounded up in the "war on terror" have been incarcerated under brutal and isolated conditions. Awan recalls being in cells that originally held death row inmates that were freezing in winter, boiling in summer, and constantly leaked. Held in solitary confinement for close to a year, he was denied medical treatment and basic dignities like access to his eyeglasses.

Nonetheless, he pursued his case, complaining that the RCMP co-operated with the FBI in harassing his family and creating the conditions whereby the FBI could coerce him into self-incriminating statements. This was met with indifference by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. Despite the acknowledgement that the officer was acting on an FBI request made to the RCMP National Security Operations Branch in Ottawa, the Commission found that the officer's actions were within the mandate of the organization and that this was all "standard procedure." (This is the same kind of rationale that was used to defend many of the actions of Mounties in the torture of Canadians Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin.) Readers of this column are familiar with the fact that standard procedure by the RCMP and CSIS generally fails to respect human rights.

RCMP Inappropriately Gathered and Shared Information
On a personal note, Mr. Awan has corresponded for over four years with me as a writer and advocate, but our attempts to set up email communication were stymied, and letters were rarely received. Mr. Awan filed a complaint with the RCMP, alleging the Mounties had interfered with our communication in an effort to prevent advocacy on his behalf. The Mounties concluded they had done no wrong, but the RCMP's Complaints Commission disagreed, finding that the RCMP "Staff Sergeant Peter Lea inappropriately collected the information about Mr. Behrens for the sole purpose of providing it to the US Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP)," and called on the Mounties to clarify their information collection and sharing policies, especially with respect to International Liaison Officers.

Awan discovered through a FBOP memo that the RCMP had advised U.S. authorities that "Behrens was on probation for a violation of the law and was prohibited from corresponding with known felons." At the time, I was on probation for a minor nonviolent trespassing incident at Burlington, Ontario's L-3/Wescam, a longtime producer of key components for drone warfare, but no other conditions were placed upon me. It appears the RCMP inappropriately sought a copy of the probation order and shared both the order and their exaggerated interpretation with U.S. officials. While such practices not surprisingly continue long after the RCMP was whacked on the wrist by the Arar Inquiry, one cannot help but wonder about the extent to which the RCMP wants to cover up its less than appropriate role in the ongoing imprisonment of Mr. Awan.

Khalid Awan has been subject to several prison transfers over the past year, and continues his efforts to receive a transfer to Canada with the assistance of the Centre for Constitutional Rights. His spirit remains unbowed, and he hopes that by publicizing his case, justice will eventually be done and he will again walk the streets a free man (Rabble,2012).

Title: ‘Millennium Bomber,’ A Convicted Terrorist With Canadian Ties, Gets 37 Years For Plot To Blow Up L.A. Airport
Date:
October 24, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam was sentenced Wednesday to 37 years in prison for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport around the turn of the new millennium.

Ressam was arrested in December 1999 as he drove off a ferry from Canada into Washington state with a trunk full of explosives. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour had twice ordered him to serve 22-year terms, but both times the sentences were reversed on appeal.

Ressam's attorneys had conceded that he should face at least three decades to satisfy the appeals courts, but no more than 34 years.

The Justice Department had sought life in prison because of the mass murder he intended to inflict, and because he recanted his cooperation with federal investigators.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ausa Helen Brunner argued Ressam continues to pose a threat, as evidenced by his recantation of prior cooperation.

Ressam's lawyer, Thomas Hillier, disagreed, pointing to a letter Ressam sent the judge this week in which he wrote: "I am against killing innocent people of any gender, color or religion. I apologize for my actions."

Ressam, who made a similar statement to the court in 2003, did not speak at the hearing Wednesday.

Coughenour said Wednesday that this "this case provokes our greatest fears."

The judge said the sentence reflected more than the 35 years maximum for the two most serious counts Ressam was convicted of, and he discredited the government's argument that Ressam would pose a future threat. He will be eligible for release at about age 64.

The sentence also took into account Coughenour's belief that Ressam stopped cooperating because of the effect of extended solitary confinement. His recantation was a "deranged protest," rather than a true return to terrorist sympathies, Coughenour said.

The judge said that if the harsh conditions of his confinement were in fact what caused Ressam to stop cooperating, that shouldn't compound the sentence.

"I will not sentence a man to 50 lashes and then 50 more for getting blood on the whip," he said.

An alert customs official in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula noticed that Ressam appeared suspicious when he drove from a ferry from British Columbia on Dec. 16, 1999, and signaled him to stop for further inspection. His arrest, after a brief foot chase, prompted fears of a terrorist attack and the cancellation of Seattle's New Year's Eve fireworks.

Ressam's case has been vexing because he started cooperating after he was convicted and was interviewed more than 70 times by terror investigators from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. Information he provided helped convict several terror suspects; prompt the famous August 2001 FBI memo titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.;" and contribute to the arrest of suspected Osama bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, who remains in custody without charges at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

However, Ressam subsequently recanted all of his cooperation when it became clear that the prosecutors weren't going to recommend that he serve less than 27 years in prison. The recanting forced the Department of Justice to drop charges against two suspected co-conspirators, Samir Ait Mohamed and Abu Doha.

In previously sentencing Ressam, Coughenour noted that before he went to trial, the government offered him a 25-year sentence if he would plead guilty — no cooperation necessary. Ressam refused, but Coughenour said that any discount for Ressam's cooperation, while it lasted, should start from that 25-year offer.

The appeals court rejected that rationale (Fox News, 2012).