I dont know if this is huge in the national news but it is big news here!
Plot targeted prime minister
DOCUMENTS CITE VAST OBJECTIVES
Defense attorneys criticize government
By LOU MICHEL and VANESSA THOMAS
News Staff Reporters
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Charles Lewis/Buffalo News
People believed to be family members and associates of the terrorism suspects make their way through a throng of reporters and photographers gathered outside the courthouse in Brampton, Ont., after Tuesday's 3&1/2;-hour hearing concluded.
BRAMPTON, Ont. - The accused terrorist cell planned to storm the Canadian Parliament, take politicians hostage and behead Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, according to court documents released Tuesday.
These revelations follow allegations that 17 Toronto-area suspects purchased three tons of explosives to carry out other attacks in Toronto and Ottawa. But the new information indicates an even more elaborate reign of terror that included do-or-die demands upon the government.
"I'm concerned about a number of the allegations demanding that Canada remove its troops from Afghanistan, release Muslim prisoners and storm the CBC network in Toronto to send out their messages," Gary Batasar, an attorney representing one of the defendants, said after a 31/2-hour court hearing in which the defendants sat shackled to each other.
Lawyers for the defendants said the Crown attorneys released an eight-page document in court that makes a number of damning allegations - including beheading hostages if terrorist demands are not met - but fails to shed light on how the government obtained its information in the investigation.
"I need to have a flavor of the allegations - who did what and what evidence is there to support the charges. Did the government get video, wiretaps or use informants?," Batasar said outside the packed courtroom.
Frustrated defense lawyers said the government continued to withhold details on how their clients were associated with Fort Erie and how that location might have played into the scheme to destroy Canadian landmarks and kill large numbers of people.
Fort Erie is mentioned several times in court documents, along with Toronto and Mississauga, as being a site for "terrorist activity." But no new details were released during the hearing held in a heavily guarded suburban courthouse several miles outside Toronto.
The defense lawyers asked Justice of the Peace Maurice Hudson to order Crown attorneys to release more information about how Fort Erie and other sites fit into the alleged terror plot.
"I'm not sure why Fort Erie is mentioned in court papers. That's some of the information I requested on the record," Batasar told The Buffalo News.
Even Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop has expressed skepticism that Fort Erie was a terror target, because neither he nor police were notified.
"It is hard to believe that police authorities would not have notified us, so we could have taken [extra] security steps," he said. "It would be imprudent for them not to."
Arif Raza, another defense attorney, accused the government of unfairly digging up old crimes, such as gun-running at the Peace Bridge, to make an even stronger case against the alleged terrorists.
Two of the suspects were caught last August after crossing the Peace Bridge into Fort Erie in a car rented by a third suspect and were charged with transporting three handguns and 200 rounds of ammunition.
"There are no targets or [terrorist training] camps - none of it in Fort Erie," Raza said. "There are no American accomplices other than the two mentioned for gun smuggling, and that's history. They're throwing everything and seeing what sticks."
Tuesday's bail hearing for 15 of the 17 suspects quickly evolved into a complaint session, with lawyers for the suspects complaining about harsh jail conditions.
"Even if you're held in custody in the Province of Ontario, you still have the presumption of innocence, but these defendants aren't allowed to see their families or make a phone call. They're under 24-hour surveillance, in separate cells and aren't able to pray as a group," said Donald F. McLeod, a lawyer representing one of the accused.
Discussion of bail was postponed until next Monday.
None of the defendants made public statements in court, and most maintained a low-key demeanor and appeared somber, eyes trained on the floor. But a couple managed to smile at family members - numbering about 20 in the 40-seat courtroom.
Outside the courthouse, TV satellite trucks and swarms of reporters representing more than 150 media outlets assembled around the main entrance to the court building. Anyone dressed in traditional Muslim clothing drew journalists seeking quotes, photos or video footage. Meanwhile, SWAT team officers clutching submachine guns patroled the halls of the courthouse.
The first of the spectators, including reporters and family members, began lining up at 4 a.m. Tuesday for the court proceeding, which got under way at 9:30 a.m.
"I think it is absolutely terrifying. Canada is not free anymore," said Brampton resident Kim Dillon, who was there on an unrelated court matter.
Her sister, Jackie Dillon, said, "I think they should be allowed to blow themselves up. I'll bring the popcorn and clap."
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06-07-2006, 11:46 AM #1
Terrorist Plot targeted Prime MinisterShawn M. Cecula
IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS
06-07-2006, 11:48 AM #2
And More still!
'Extreme camping' raises suspicions
By LOU MICHEL
News Staff Reporter
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The coffin containing the body of Laura VanRyn is exhumed Tuesday. VanRyn was mistakenly buried as Whitney Cerak.
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WASHAGO, Ont. - Robert Clousghley's woodsman instincts warned him to be cautious last winter when a group of men dressed in camouflage fatigues and armed with paint-ball guns and high powered rifles set up camp next to his 327-acre refuge in this rural northern Ontario community.
Chris O'Donnell said she and her husband grew concerned when he stumbled across the shadowy group of men while he was out snowmobiling.
"One of the guys told [my husband] they were doing "extreme camping,' " she said.
Kim Rowe knew something was amiss because she kept hearing the sound of gunfire coming from the woods at night.
"And that was unusual," she said, "because it wasn't hunting season."
The residents of this normally bucolic hamlet on the northern end of Ontario's cottage country learned this weekend what those strange men may have been up to.
Canadian authorities say members of a suspected Toronto-based terror cell were holding a terrorist training camp - modeled after al-Qaida camps for its followers in Afghanistan - in preparation for a deadly rampage across Ontario.
Authorities say the men were in these backwoods to secretly practice techniques to use in a plan to storm the Parliament building in Ottawa, take over CBC televisions headquarters, attack the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service offices and set off explosions using three tons of ammonium nitrate throughout the province.
But people of Washago knew something the alleged terrorists did not.
Also in the rugged snow-covered woods were Canadian intelligence agents, staked out in unmarked cars and watching the strange men's every move.
Clousghley told The Buffalo News that on trips to a nearby hamlet for provisions, he spotted the unmarked cars.
Strangers in cars
He said a neighbor who lives a few miles away also took notice of the strangers sitting in parked cars day after day.
"She said she went up to one of the cars and asked them what they were doing," Clousghley recalled. "When one of them said he couldn't say, she said she was going to call the police. That's when they told her, "We are the police.' "
Clousghley, 68, said he first saw the suspected terrorists late last winter as they set up their base camp. On a shoulder of land behind a patch of woods, the men erected a large tent and rolled out bales of foam insulation on the ground to protect them from the bitter cold and snow.
"By the second week," Clousghley said, "I understood what they were doing. Their maneuvers were more pronounced. I figured they were real Taliban and up to no good."
Clousghley, a retired IBM researcher who is now a tree farmer and beekeeper, described how he watched them scamper through gullies in three feet of snow while another of their companions shot live rounds of ammunition over their heads.
He watched them track each other through dense woods, practicing ways of giving each other the slip.
From a safe distance one night, Clousghley watched the men pull sentry duty, guarding their tent encampment after they claimed someone had been shooting at them in the middle of the night.
When word reached him a few days ago that these uninvited guests had been arrested on charges of planning to blow up buildings in Toronto and Ottawa with 3 tons of explosives, he said he was not shocked.
"Coming and going'
Pointing to photos of the alleged terrorists splashed across the pages of newspapers he was shown, Clousghley said he recognized the men whom he had come to know in the isolated woods.
"I talked to them. I figured I didn't want to antagonize them. I figured they could just as easily kill me," he said. "Over the next two weeks they were here, different men kept coming and going."
The younger of the men, he said, were sociable and tried to convert him to the Islamic faith.
"They hadn't been hardened enough. You could talk to them. They tried to get me to read the Quran. I said, "No, God is the same for everyone and there's no preference,' " Clousghley said.
When the younger ones ranted against the United States for entering Afghanistan and Iraq, Clousghley said he tried to reason with them.
"They were saying the U.S. is bad and shouldn't be there. I told them God does not want you to kill," he said.
The older men, who appeared to be in their 30s, were not interested in talking, he said.
The older ones also cast frigid stares his way when he trudged through the snow on the unpaved lane leading from his house past their camp to the road where Clousghley parked his minivan.
"They gave you that evil eye like they were trying to scare you. One fellow had a wild look. There was hatred," he said.
One of Clousghley's neighbors, O'Donnell, said her once husband confronted the men.
"My husband asked if they had permission to be on the land, and they said they didn't need permission because it was Crown [government] land," she recounted. "But the land is privately owned. There is some Crown land around here, but not there."
The land is owned by Danny English, who lives on the site, authorities said.
Marshall Rowe remembered walking his dog through the woods when he encountered them.
"I saw their cars, and they were standing around bundled up and talking. Usually you don't see anybody out there," Rowe said. "I actually waved, and they waved back. But they were pretty intent on their conversation, so I kept walking with the dog."
Clousghley gets note
Bill LeBarr, another neighbor, said he remembers hearing gunshots but figured it was someone hunting wild turkey.
The Sunday after New Year's Day, when the men decided to pull up stakes, Clousghley said he found a note from them, asking to see him.
"They were all on their carpets [prayer rugs] up by the road, and I stepped aside while they did their thing for about 10 minutes," he said.
But when a car drove by, Clousghley said, he could not resist speaking up.
"That's an unmarked police cruiser that just passed by," he said. They sort of raised their eyebrows and were gone in 20 minutes." But not before saying goodbye to Clousghley, who said he was caught off guard by the curiously friendly gesture.
"They told me they were going back to Toronto and Mississauga and wanted to say goodbye," he said. "That sort of flabbergasted me. I wasn't really their friend."
New uninvited guests
Noticing that their tent and other camping gear were loosely tied down on the roof of their van, Clousghley said he helped them secure the load with a thicker rope.
They, in turn, gave Clousghley some chicken breasts they had not eaten. Leery of their good will, he fed it to his two dogs instead of eating it.
Days later, when Royal Canadian Mounted Police visited his remote home, Clousghley provided the investigators with the license plate numbers on the four vehicles that had shuttled the uninvited guests to their training camp.
And again, he watched new uninvited guests as they combed the woods with metal detectors and dogs.
This time, Clousghley didn't mind them so much. They were the police.
http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial...07/1035632.aspShawn M. Cecula
IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS
06-07-2006, 12:44 PM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
Sounds like the neighbors might have provided some excellent information to the police here.
06-07-2006, 01:21 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
This was received from the Embassy email, here in Washington.
REVIEW & OUTLOOK (Editorial)
Praise Canada. 7 June 2006 The Wall Street Journal
Canadians are still digesting the news of the arrest of 17 Muslims caught trying to purchase three tons of ammonium nitrate, the equivalent of three Oklahoma City bombs. Reports suggest that among their targets were the iconic CN Tower in Toronto and the parliament building in Ottawa. Police say they expect to make more arrests, and there appear to be links between the group and at least two Georgia-based U.S. Muslims.
We'll count the milliseconds before somebody tells us this is more evidence of the evils of immigration -- er, never mind, New York Republican Peter King just did that. So instead we'll point out that this terrorist cell seems to have been entirely composed of citizens and legal residents of Canada. As interesting is that the cell was identified through the work of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which monitored Internet chat rooms frequented by Islamic extremists. This again reminds us of the crucial role electronic surveillance plays in uncovering potentially catastrophic terrorist attacks. Question: Did that surveillance require a warrant? Do you care?
No less telling is that, while 2,000 Canadian soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan, Ottawa was a conspicuous dissenter against the war in Iraq and the concept of regime change generally. "If we change every government we don't like in the world, where do we start?" asked then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien in March 2003. This opposition would apparently not have spared Canada from the wrath of these home-grown jihadis, yet when Spain was hit by a terrorist atrocity in 2004 its support for the Iraq war was widely described as the principal reason. Ditto for Britain and the London bombings in 2005.
Meantime, the important thing is to praise the work of Canadian authorities in foiling what could have been another 9/11. We can only hope their American counterparts are as good.
Reaction in the US to Friday’s Terror Arrests”
Below please find reactions gleaned from media reports, as well as reactions expressed privately from Consulate reports, as prepared by WSHDC/Debjani Roy.
If you are aware of any others that should be added to this list, please email WSHDC/Roy and copy WSHDC/Etzinger and WSHDC/Roy. We will keep this list evergreen.
Positive Reaction, 7 June 2006
"It's probable that something similar is going to happen in the U.S.," said Henry "Hank" Crumpton, the State Department's counterterrorism chief. "And we can learn from the Canadians how to deal with it."
Henry “Hank” Crumpton, quoted by Siobhan Gorman, “Terror cell discovery is 2-sided win With arrests comes new concern on bin Laden movement's impact,” The Baltimore Sun, 6 June 2006.
“[The] important thing is to praise the work of Canadian authorities in foiling what could have been another 9/11. We can only hope their American counterparts are as good.”
“Praise Canada,” Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 7 June 2006.
[RE: Correction to article by Dave Montgomery, reporter for Fort Worth Star Telegram, “Terrorism arrests highlight threat from north”]
“In a story on Tuesday about growing concern that terrorists might infiltrate the United States by entering from Canada, the Knight Ridder News Service wrongly said that several of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists had entered this country from Canada. While widely reported in the aftermath of Sept. 11, that assertion is incorrect.”
“Correction,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, 7 June 2006
Negative Reaction, 7 June 2006
“Canadians ‘picture themselves as being thought of as nicer than the United States,’ acknowledged Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto law professor, in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times. Of course, the same could be said of the British and Spanish. They too picture themselves as being though of around the world as nicer than the United States. And yet it didn’t stop major terrorist attacks in London or Madrid, any more than Canada’s image would have prevented a terrorist attack in Ontario absent adept work by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and intelligence agents who monitored and finally arrested 17 suspects last weekend.”
Vincent Carroll, “On Point: “Nice” is no protection,” editorial, Rocky Mountain News, 7 June 2006.
“Making Canada vulnerable, officials have said, are its liberal immigration policies, tradition of multiculturalism, and a democratic government that respects the privacy of individuals.
After the weekend scare, many Canadians are wondering whether they are too nice, and overly tolerant. Canada has historically been a "cultural mosaic," encouraging immigrants to retain their homeland identities as they integrate into society.
The mosaic has always been a point of Canadian pride. But Andre Cappuccio wonders whether the policy has backfired. "I think our strength in the past turned out to be a weakness here," said Cappuccio, 39, a corporate training representative.”
Jennifer Moroz, “A shocking reality for Canadians; They are trying to absorb news of a plot ‘inspired by Al-Qaeda.” Some wondered if the culture was too tolerant,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 7 June 2006.If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
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