IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW, THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO OVERTHROW OUR GOVERNMENT…
Parliament likely target of attack
Montreal subway also believed a possible site for terror assault, says ex-CSIS agent
The alleged plot behind this week’s arrest of a group of suspected terrorists was to attack Parliament Hill and Montreal’s subway system with bombs, says a former counterterrorism officer with the RCMP and CSIS.
Michel Juneau-Katsuya said he has learned that at least one of the suspects used Ottawa Public Library computers to communicate with other members of the Ottawa-based cell. Internet messages between the men triggered computer “sniffers” used to monitor electronic signals at Ottawa’s Communication’s Security Establishment, the national cryptologic agency, which alerted the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
“They wanted to hit Parliament Hill and there was discussion of going against public transportation in Montreal because one of the guys had studied there and knew the system,” said Juneau-Katsuya, adding “they were not excluding the possibility to some major (transit) hubs,” in Ottawa as well.
No charges had been laid against the unnamed person in custody Friday, the RCMP said, adding no more information would be forthcoming Friday.
“One of the (CSE) filters picked up their chat. The way the system is established, we’ve got red flags everywhere and you can trip one of those flags anytime. If you’re travelling to Pakistan, that’s a red flag. If you’re going on certain websites, that’s another red flag and if you use in e-mail certain key words. . . . When you’ve got enough red flags, then you become a person of interest. My understanding is they were caught from the Internet.”
At some point, he said, CSIS alerted the RCMP, which launched a major national security investigation code-named Project Samossa. He said a key part of the yearlong probe that followed involved clandestinely monitoring the suspect’s communications via the public library computers, the IP addresses for which authorities obtained from the City of Ottawa.
A spokeswoman for the Montreal transit authority, however, said there have been “no threats, and no information regarding” Juneau-Katsuya’s claim.
“We have communication channels with the government; it can be federal, provincial or municipal. If something like that occurs, we’re informed,” Isabelle Tremblay told Global News. “On this matter, there’s nothing.”
Meanwhile, one of the three other suspects, Khurram Syed Sher, appeared in court in Ottawa Friday morning. The 28-year-old Sher, a doctor who once auditioned for Canadian Idol, appeared nervous on being led into court by two RCMP tactical officers.
Sher, who was arrested in London, Ont., where he had recently moved, is charged with a single count of conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist offence with two Ottawa men, Hiva Alizadeh, 30, and Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26. It is alleged the three men conspired with three other people, who are not in Canada and have not been charged, and with other unknown persons in Canada, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Dubai and Iran.
In the aftermath of the arrests Muslim leaders from Ottawa met with police Thursday to seek assurances their community was not regarded with suspicion.
During his tour of Canada’s North, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked Friday how he would try to prevent an inflammation of racial or ethic tensions because of the terrorism arrests.
“Let’s be very clear: these are not the acts of a community. The vast majority of people from this community, like the vast majority of all Canadians, want absolutely nothing to do with this and expect the government to vigorously pursue, and expect our police and security forces to vigorously pursue, anybody who dabbles in criminal or worse terrorist activity,” Harper said.
Sher’s lawyer, Answer Farooq, said his client was flown to Ottawa after he was arrested. Farooq said his first priority is to get Sher released from jail.
TERRORISM CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT IN CANADA
– Three terror suspects arrested this week in Ontario are charged under the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act with plotting to “knowingly facilitate terrorist activities” in Canada and abroad, punishable by a maximum 14 years imprisonment upon conviction.
– The conspiracy allegedly played out in Canada, Iran, Afghanistan, Dubai and Pakistan. Police say they seized educational literature and more than 50 circuits boards intended to remotely detonate bombs. One of the accused, Mohammad Alizadeh, also faces charges of making or possessing explosive devices for terrorist purposes and terrorist financing.
– Three months after the terrorist attacks in the U.S., the federal government passed the Anti-terrorism Act, which specifically defined terrorism and made it a criminal offence.
– Prosecutors have had a solid track record in pursuing terror suspects in the nation’s criminal courts in the last nine years. Eleven of the “Toronto 18” terror cell were convicted, as were all three of the other cases prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation: Mohammed Khawaja, Said Namouth, and Prapaharan Thambithurai.
– The courts have handed down a wide range of sentences, some of which have been the maximum allowable under law. The ring leader of the Toronto 18 received life imprisonment last January after he pleaded guilty to participating in the activity of a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion that was likely to cause serious harm or death.