Toronto 18 Terror Story Continues to Unravel

(For background on this story, watch the documentary Unfair Dealing. -rep.)

Alleged bomb plot defendant unaware of any plans: RCMP informant

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A young man on trial in Brampton, Ont., for his role in an alleged bomb plot in the Toronto area in 2006 was kept in the dark by the other accused and treated like "sheep, non-entities," an RCMP and CSIS mole testified Monday.

Mubin Shaikh, the Crown's star witness, played down the role of the defendant, who cannot be named because he was under 18 at the time of his arrest in June 2006.

Shaikh said the accused, one of four youths picked up by police and CSIS agents two years ago, was not aware that a weekend training exercise held in a resort area north of Toronto was supposed to hone their skills as militant fighters.

The young men were told the winter camping trip was part of a Muslim religious retreat, not a terror training exercise as the Crown has alleged in documents submitted to court, he said.


(More below the fold)

RCMP informant says accused in militant plot was naive

Monday, June 16, 2008

An RCMP informant who infiltrated an alleged homegrown militant group has acknowledged the person now on trial had little or no knowledge of the group's plans...

...Shaikh said the accused was invited to the training camp under false pretences.

Having recently converted from Hinduism to Islam, the accused was eager to learn. So Shaikh told him the camp was a religious retreat where he would learn about the faith and also test physical skills, as laid out in the Koran.

Shaikh said the accused never heard a word of alleged plans to blow up buildings or behead the prime minister.

Shaikh described the accused as naive in the extreme. He said the youth asked embarrassingly basic questions about Islam. Shaikh said any sophisticated discussion, including that of a jihad, or holy war, would have been totally lost on the accused.

The picture left with the court, so far, is of a youth who had no idea what he was getting into, had no personal or political motives for wanting to attack innocent civilians and was kept in the dark by leaders of the alleged plot.


Previously: The Toronto 18 Become The Toronto 11 - R.I.P. Canada

Crown turns on own witness

Police mole accused of lying about so-called terrorist training camp
June 19, 2008
Isabel Teotonio
Staff reporter

In a stunning turn of events, a Crown prosecutor yesterday accused his star witness in the Toronto 18 terror case of fabricating some of the evidence about a so-called terrorist training camp.

Police mole Mubin Shaikh was caught off guard by prosecutor John Neander's suggestion that he had lied when he said the youth on trial did not know the true purpose of the camp.

Neander called some of Shaikh's testimony "an invention" designed to protect the defendant.

Although Shaikh agreed that he considered himself "a protector of the vulnerable" – a reference to the youths who attended the December 2005 camp – he rejected any notion that he had been untruthful on the witness stand.

Neander pointed to inconsistencies in three areas of testimony given by Shaikh during this trial and in previous proceedings.

One of the crucial discrepancies involved why the teens were told they had to clean up the campsite when leaving.

During a preliminary hearing, Shaikh testified "we did a sweep to conceal" and cover up "anything that would give away the nature of our activities."

But during this trial, he testified the youths were given a cover story and told to clean up the camp to protect the "chipmunks and squirrels" from choking on what they'd left behind.

Neander reminded Shaikh that he had described the nature of the camp as "nefarious" and questioned why they would've needed a cover story when its true purpose was evident since they had participated in firearms training and listened to terrorist rhetoric.

"Every fibre of your being as a loyal Canadian and a devout Muslim recoiled at what (the alleged ringleader) was doing to corrupt them, isn't that correct?" Neander charged.

"Yes," Shaikh replied.

"That's why now you maintain this incorrect pretext that there was some effort ... to mislead the youths as to the purpose of the cleaning up the camp," shouted Neander.

But Shaikh remained steadfast yesterday that alleged ringleaders had concocted an innocent explanation for the camp and that the teens had no idea its intended purpose was to prepare jihadi warriors.

Defence lawyer Mitchell Chernovsky pointed out to Shaikh that the Crown had suggested he lied under oath.

"I seek refuge with Allah for such an implication," said Shaikh, denying the charge.

Another area of dispute revolved around who was present during a speech by the alleged ringleader in which he said "we're not officially part of Al Qaeda but we share their principles and methods."

Initially, Shaikh testified that everyone at the camp was present during the Al Qaeda comment, yet later said he wasn't sure who was listening.

Yesterday he changed his tune again, saying the Al Qaeda comment may not even have been part of the inflammatory speech and said he didn't know who heard it.

Shaikh was a police informant who infiltrated the group before it was busted in a massive police sweep in the summer of 2006, when 14 adults and four youths were arrested. Of the original 18, only 11 still face charges.