Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Toronto Zero.

There are now two big "terror trials" that have captivated the imaginations of news editors in Canada. I wouldn't bet on either amounting to much more than that.

Both have been years in the making - Momin Khawaja has been in detention since 2004, while the not-quite-notorious "Toronto 18" were arrested in 2006.

The approach to the two cases has been markedly different. In the case of Khawaja, the RCMP dragged their feet before coming up with a charge, and were publicly and privately tight-lipped about what exactly evidence was. I had the opportunity to meet an RCMP member involved with the Khawaja file over a year after he was arrested, and when I asked them what they thought Khawaja had done, I was assured "We have evidence. I can't tell you, but there is something there." Fortunately, Khawaja is a citizen, so unlike the very unlucky Mohammed Harkat, he is allowed to defend himself against the accusations, even if he had to spend 4 years in prison first.

When the "Toronto 18" were arrested, I told some colleagues of mine that I presumed them to be innocent, and doubted the veracity of the police spokesmen. I was quickly rebuked for my naïveté, with a dear friend of mine telling me, in his characteristic way, that I was too willing to give the benefit of the doubt to "people that had an abnormally large amount of ammonium nitrate and precious few Chia-pets to fertilize."

Of course, the Toronto 18 have now fallen to the Toronto 11, which will in a few weeks become the Toronto 10. Apparently the Crown didn't think it could prosecute 7 of those dangerous fanatics, and so stayed the charges and loosed them back upon vulnerable, unsuspecting Toronto suburbs. If so many people hadn't been smeared as a result, the ridiculous implosion of the prosecution's case in the current trial would be a matter of pure comedy. What was billed as a terrorist-training camp with an elaborate cover-up is looking more and more like a Muslim boys' fat-camp with a concern for the environment.

There was no talk about attacking any Canadian targets, although there was some political discussion about oppression of Muslims in places such as Iraq, he said.

Muslims in privileged countries such as Canada were obliged to help out, Syed cited the leader as saying.

The video also shows participants in fatigues, with faces covered, sitting in a tent in a scene Syed said was designed to look like a "resistance video seen on the Internet."

They wanted to "look cool," he said.

The alleged leader also "wanted to imitate a covert operation" with a night-time hike that was like the X-Box game, "Ghost Recon," and participants hid behind trees and bushes without much success, Syed told the court.

"A drunk person caught them," he said.

Ammonium nitrate indeed. . . I don't know if we'll ever hear about the Toronto Zero, but if there are convictions, I don't expect them to be for anything more than petty crime and nuisance-making.

As Momin Khawaja's case unfolds, I am hearing the same things. Now that they have been forced to come out with it, the Crown is boasting about hundreds of e-mails and hours of wiretap, along with witnesses willing to swear on a stack of Qur'ans (actually, I have doubts about that bit) that Momin trained with Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, and was building remote detonators for a British terror plot.

Their case against him sounds very impressive. Even more impressive are tight security measures, including rooftop snipers, that reporters have been treated to outside the downtown Ottawa courthouse. The Toronto n = ? were treated to the same.

A redhead in a pink tube-top has aroused suspicion

The plot was allegedly to build remote detonators in Canada and ship them across the Atlantic for use in a massive bomb attack in Britain. Khawaja allegedly planned to use DFAIT's (where he was working) courier service to get them there. I am no security expert, but I see problems with this plan.

Then again, there is a reason why we don't try people based on media reports.

The prosecution sounds strong because they get to go first, and because putting snipers on rooftops gets you a lot of media coverage. In the end, though, if Khawaja is acquitted, such tasteless theatrics will only inure the public further to the innumerable antics of our "terrorism"-obsessed security establishment.

. . .If he is acquitted. I don't know that he will be. For now though, I am doing what everyone else ought to be, and presuming innocence.

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Padraic said...

If you're referring to the courthouse on Elgin, that's provincial, not municipal.

The Proud Islamist said...