Re: OT: SHUT DOWN BOTH BORDERS!!
- From: stananger < stananger@********.***>
- Date: Sat, 20 May 2006 10:43:55 -1000
I thought stan was libertarian-leaning? Why does every message he posts
suggest raising taxes in one form or another?
raising taxes? me? boy, i guess I missed something..........
no political affiliation, I am an independent!!
On Sat, 20 May 2006, stananger wrote:
Canada has a long history of harboring political dissidents from a number
of different ethnic militant groups (perhaps as many as 50
organizations). This is an outgrowth of the liberal refugee policies and
generous social welfare programs for which Canada is known around the
world. In fact, the Canadian government receives some 20,000 to 30,000
applications for refugee status each year, and reportedly accepts more
than half of the applicants. Many of these refugees arrive in Canada
without documentation, or with forged or counterfeit documents, making it
nearly impossible to verify a person's true identity. Prior to November
2001, none of these people were screened for criminal, terrorism or other
concerns unless they requested permanent residency in Canada. After the
9/11 attacks, the policy was reformed: Canadian immigration officials are
now free to deny asylum to suspected terrorists, and database checks are
now run on all asylum applicants. But problems remain in dealing with
undocumented arrivals or those whose identities cannot be found in
Though U.S. policies are identical for visitors or immigrants passing
through either the northern or southern borders, they are much more
stringently enforced -- with a denser concentration of border checkpoints
and agents -- along the border with Mexico. In many places, it is
possible to cross the Canadian border by walking, jogging, swimming or
boating -- or entering through national parks, as has sometimes been the
case with would-be terrorists.
Refugees who have sought and received sanctuary in Canada have included
members of ethnic militant groups, such as Algeria's Armed Islamic Group,
various Palestinian factions (including Hamas), Hezbollah, the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Babbar Khalsa, a Sikh group. Many of these
groups use Canada as a place of refuge, and most use it as a base for
fundraising and political activity. However, some of those granted asylum
have gone on to commit terrorist attacks.
Perhaps the most notorious of the cases (and certainly the most
controversial) involving Canada were the twin bombings of Air India
Flights 182 and 301, carried out by Babbar Khalsa in 1985. The bomb on
Flight 182 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean and killed all 329 people
aboard; the bomb placed on Flight 301 exploded on the ground at Narita
Airport in Japan, killing two baggage handlers. There were several
arrests in each case but only one man, Inderjit Singh Reyat, was ever
convicted. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges related to
the Narita bombing in 1991; in 2001, he was charged and pleaded guilty to
his role in the Flight 182 bombing, for which he received an additional
five-year sentence. As part of the plea agreement, Reyat was expected to
testify in the trial of two other Flight 182 suspects. However, he later
claimed he could not remember anything, and the suspects were acquitted
in March 2005.
The Canadian government was widely criticized for its handling of the
case. There were allegations that the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service (CSIS) had conducted physical and electronic surveillance of
group leaders prior to the attacks, and employed an informant who might
have played a direct part in the attack. Later, following the acquittals
of Sikh separatists Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri in the
Flight 182 case, outrage from relatives of the victims prompted the
government to establish a commission of inquiry -- exploring issues
related to Canada's counterterrorism preparedness.
Threats to the United States
On several occasions, Canada has been a point of entry for people who
posed specific threats to the United States.
Some may recall the case of Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, a Palestinian who
was convicted of plotting a suicide bombing against the New York subway
system in 1997. Mezer, who had been granted political asylum by Canada,
reportedly was stopped by U.S. authorities twice while trying to enter
the country illegally. His first two attempts to cross the border were
made only days apart, in June 1996 (Mezer was jogging across the border
when he was stopped the second time). His third attempt came in January
1997, when he was stopped at a Greyhound bus station in Bellingham,
Wash., along with two other Arabs, after a successful border crossing.
At that point, Mezer was detained and, though he agreed to return
voluntarily to Canada, the country refused to accept him upon release
from U.S. custody, since he was not a citizen. What happened next
involves a maze of legal technicalities: Abu Mezer was eventually
released on bond and applied for political asylum in the United States.
While that request was pending, he moved to Brooklyn. He later agreed to
depart the United States voluntarily, in August 1997. His plans for a
suicide attack against the New York subway system, however, were to have
been carried out in July -- a month before he was required to leave the
country -- had it not been for a roommate who got cold feet and tipped
off police to the plot the night before it was to have occurred. Mezer
and a co-conspirator, Lafi Khalil, were arrested in an early-morning raid
at their apartment, where police found bombs assembled and ready for
The Millennium Bomb Plot
The best-known terrorism cases involving movement across the Canadian
border are, naturally, related to al Qaeda. Most prominent among these is
the so-called "millennium bomb" plot, for which Ahmed Ressam was
arrested. Ressam is a textbook example of someone who, in the words of
the recent State Department report, "capitalized on liberal Canadian
immigration and asylum policies to enjoy safe haven, raise funds, arrange
logistical support, and plan terrorist attacks."
In 1994, Ressam entered Canada under false pretenses, using a poorly
altered French passport to fly from France to Montreal. When Canadian
immigration officials confronted him about the document, Ressam admitted
that the passport photo had been altered and then immediately claimed
political asylum, saying that he had been tortured in Algeria because he
had been accused of arms trafficking and other terrorist activities.
Immigration officials released Ressam while a hearing on his asylum claim
was pending -- but he never showed up for the hearing, and his asylum
claim was later denied.
Ressam later testified, at his trial in the millennium bombing case, that
he supported himself from 1994 to 1998 with petty theft and welfare
payments he received from the Canadian government, as a potential
refugee. By his own account, he was arrested four times for theft; other
criminal activities involved credit card, financial and document fraud.
During those years, Ressam also acquired an authentic blank baptismal
certificate, which he completed and used to obtain an authentic Canadian
In early 1998, Ressam flew to Pakistan and then was taken across the
border into Afghanistan, where he trained at al Qaeda's Khaldan facility.
There, he learned a range of skills, including training in small arms and
urban warfare as well as surveillance techniques, document fraud and
bomb-making. In 1999, after nearly a year of training, Ressam returned to
Canada and began making preparations to carry out an attack against the
United States. In fact, his return flight to Canada stopped over in Los
Angeles; while waiting in the airport there, he hit upon the idea of
Although several of the men who reportedly had planned to assist Ressam
in the millennium plot were not able to gain entry to the United States
or Canada, Ressam managed to cobble together a team of acquaintances --
many of whom were seeking refugee status while living in Canada -- to aid
his project. Mokhtar Haouari, a friend and fellow Algerian asylum-seeker
living in Montreal, provided financing and agreed to be a communications
link with Ressam's partner in the United States, Abdelghani Meskini. In
November 1999, Ressam flew to Vancouver, where another Algerian
asylum-seeker, Abdelmajid Dahoumane, helped him rent a hotel room. There,
the two men brewed the explosives that Ressam later attempted to smuggle
into the United States via ferry -- traveling from Victoria, British
Columbia, to Port Angeles, Wash. Ressam was cleared by U.S. immigration
in Victoria but was arrested by a U.S. Customs inspector as he was
preparing to exit the ferry, and the plot was eventually outed.
The post-9/11 annals of terrorism history contain several other mentions
of Canadian citizens who have been arrested by the United States or
allied countries. These include:
Abdurahman Khadr, a member of a fairly notorious family who was captured
in Afghanistan and imprisoned for a time at Guantanamo Bay. He is now
living in Toronto. Khadr's father, Ahmed Said Khadr, allegedly served as
a finance and logistics operative for al Qaeda and, before his death in a
Pakistani counterterrorism operation in 2003, reportedly had close ties
to Osama bin Laden. Some of Ahmed Said Khadr's other sons also are
embroiled in criminal cases: Omar Khadr remains imprisoned at Guantanamo
for killing a U.S. medic in a grenade attack in Afghanistan; Abdullah
Khadr -- who is in Canadian custody while an extradition request is
pending -- has been indicted in the United States for conspiring to kill
U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, conspiracy to use weapons of mass
destruction, and conspiracy to possess a destructive device to commit
Mohamed Mansour Jabarah, who was born in Kuwait but raised in St.
Catherine's, Ontario. Jabarah has pleaded guilty to several charges in
connection with a foiled plot to bomb U.S. embassies in Singapore and
Manila. The plans had been hatched prior to the 9/11 attacks but were not
discovered until after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Jabarah
reportedly was a key link between al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives in southeast Asia; he is said to have
delivered cash from al Qaeda to JI leader Hambali, who is believed to
have planned the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings. Jabarah initially was
arrested in Oman in 2002 and sent to Canada. He then was sent to the
United States and reportedly is cooperating with American officials.
Mohammed Momin Khawaja, who was born in Canada to Kuwaiti parents and has
lived in Ottawa. Momin Khawaja is believed to have been an important link
between New York-based Mohammed Junaid Babar and a group of
co-conspirators in London, who were planning a string of attacks there.
Babar was identified as a potential problem following the 9/11 attacks,
when he made threats against the United States on a Canadian television
program. Momin Khawaja is the first person ever charged under Canada's
Anti-Terrorism Act -- which is in itself significant, since the attacks
he allegedly was planning would not have been carried out on Canadian
The recent State Department report labels several more people who are
living in Canada as known or suspected terrorists. These include Mohammed
Mahjoub of the Vanguards of Conquest, a radical wing of Egyptian Islamic
Jihad; Mahmoud Jaballah, a senior member of the Egyptian Islamist
organization al-Jihad and al Qaeda; and three suspected al Qaeda members.
In a very recent case, former Canadian resident Ehsanul Islam Sadequee
has been accused of conspiring with a Georgia Tech student, Syed Haris
Ahmed, to attend a militant training camp in Pakistan and planning
terrorist attacks against targets in the United States.
Ahmed was indicted in April on charges of conspiring to provide material
support for terrorism. Sadequee was interviewed at JFK International
Airport in August 2005 before boarding a flight bound for Bangladesh and
thus far, it is believed, has not returned to the United States. Federal
authorities since have filed an affidavit supporting an arrest warrant
for Sadequee that provides great detail about the allegations in the
The affidavit claims that Sadequee -- a U.S. citizen who attended high
school in Ontario -- made false statements to FBI agents when he was
interviewed about a March 2005 trip to Canada. Sadequee told the bureau
he had traveled alone, but the FBI had evidence that he and Ahmed had
been traveling together. The purpose of the trip, according to the
affidavit, was to meet with Islamist "extremists" in Canada. Ahmed
reportedly said during his interview that they discussed possible targets
for a terrorist strike in the United States, such as oil refineries,
military installations and the global positioning system, and made plans
to attend a military training camp in Pakistan.
The affidavit also notes that three people Ahmed and Sadequee met with in
Toronto are subjects of an FBI international terrorism investigation (and
thus, presumably, were under the scrutiny of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police and CSIS.) Also, Ahmed and Sadequee reportedly traveled from
Georgia to Toronto and back via bus. Though they still had to pass
through immigration and customs inspection points, the security
procedures applied to bus passengers are far less intensive than those
used by the airline industry.
In the grand scheme of things, suspects like Ahmed and Sadequee can be
viewed as examples of grassroots jihadists -- part of the evolution of al
Qaeda from a focused organization to a looser ideological movement. Such
jihadists are not likely to be major players in the international
terrorism scene -- but as illustrated by cases such as "shoe-bomber"
Richard Reid, London rail attacks cell leader Mohammed Sidique Khan or
Ahmed Ressam, they still are capable of causing significant, though
Jihadist sympathizers who attend training camps like those in Pakistan or
Afghanistan often become further radicalized, and -- history has shown --
frequently become involved in the planning or execution of a terrorist
attack upon leaving such institutions. This is why the FBI sought an
arrest warrant for Sadequee; charges of making false statements are not
very significant, but federal authorities clearly believe Sadequee has
gone overseas for training and they want to have a reason to detain him
if he returns to the United States.
Though the affidavit filed in Sadequee's case contains many interesting
details, there also are several significant omissions. For example, it
gives no indication as to the current location or activities of the
Toronto men who were the subject of the FBI terrorism investigation. It
is not clear whether federal authorities believe any of them have
traveled overseas with Sadequee to seek training, or whether they have
remained in Toronto to "capitalize on liberal Canadian immigration and
asylum policies" while fleshing out plans for potential attacks.
That, at its core, is likely the best explanation of why the Canadian
border is so frequently overlooked in discussions of immigration and U.S.
border security. American concerns about the southern border with Mexico
are deeply rooted in geography, history and culture and are, at bottom,
sovereignty issues -- whereas the threats that have emerged from Canada
are embedded in a more liberal political system.
Stated differently, the security risks to the United States arising from
Canada are not so much products of fundamental, structural issues as they
are the outgrowth of political attitudes and preferences. As a result,
these security concerns tend to command less emotion and attention -- but
they are, for all of that, no less real.
- Re: OT: SHUT DOWN BOTH BORDERS!!
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