political prisoners: the detention of muslims and their defenders
new prisoners of "the campaign"
the detention of muslims and their defenders
those called 'the toronto 18'
editor's note: status of "political prisoner" needs to be extended and expanded when covert agencies using informants and provocateurs wage anti-terrorism campaigns against civilian populations; there may be increasing arrests, charges of violent crimes and sentencing of innocent people who are only out of step with the status quo; if some here have broken laws, their arrest as a group furthered the interests of an anti-terrorism agenda, anti-terrorism propaganda, domestic racism; as victims of a political agenda these people become political prisoners. - ed.
april 15, 2008, brampton: the crown has withdrawn charges against an additional four adults arrested as part of a group media-presented to the canada and the world as 'the toronto 18'; released under "peace bonds" the previously accused are subject to mild restrictions while free and if the crown decides not to reinstate charges against them for a year, the charges are erased; this leaves eleven of those originally arrested, to be tried ("charges stayed against 4 more suspects in bomb plot trial," april 15, 2008, cbc news; "t.o. terror suspects have charges stayed," rob lamberti and brett clarkson, april 15, 2008, toronto sun; "crown frees four in terror case," omar el akkad and colin freeze, april 15, 2008, globe and mail).
april 11, 2008, u.s.: military officer training at west point uses the case of this group (the so-called "toronto 18") to teach tactics of terrorist groups ("toronto 18 terror suspects become west point case study," colin freeze, april 4, 2008, globeandmail.com); it is likely the "toronto 18" conspiracy was the product of a covert law enforcement operation; imbuing a group of civilians with military motives and objectives may suggest that the u.s. military is attempting to find excuse / provocation to allow its operation against civilian sectors; u.s. historical provisions against war on its own citizens has provided some obstacle to nazification; 2. the u.s. army has the email correspondence between"toronto 18" defendants ( ibid.) who are canadian citizens; they are citizens who are innocent of a crime until proven guilty; proof of court-ordered surveillance is necessary to explain the u.s. army's possession of canadian civilian correspondence; if court ordered surveillance predates evidence used against the so-called "toronto 18" it suggests this group was formed by agent provocateurs; brampton ontario: currently one of those accused of belonging to a "terrorist" group is on trial where the judge has not only suppressed the court proceedings but the names of all defendants (this defendant as a minor would not have his name released in any event); the cbc reports that the defendant's lawyer, faisal mirza, believes canada's anti-terrorism law violates its charter of rights ("canada's anti-terror law unconstitutional, defence says," cbc news, april 10, 2008, cbcnews.ca).
april 2, 2008, brampton: an ap article announces that april 1, judge john sproat clarified a publication ban on the names/identities of all fourteen defendants in this case ("publication ban in canada terror trial," associated press, april 1, 2008,newday.com); for now i'll put ********** in place of the names for any of the 14 noted in this ongoing history; - ed..
march 27, 2008, brampton ontario: on march 25th trials began for an alleged grouping currently referred to as 'the toronto 17', cases against a number of those originally included have been thrown out of court; 17 of 18 were arrested by 400 police on june 2, 2006; individual cases do not necessarily have anything to do with eachother - connections between the accused are "alleged" by the government; in a move toward more "secret trials" (see canadian security certificates ) the judge has extended a publication ban on court proceedings to the names of persons on trial; the public is left to rely on an acquiescent media for reporting the government's prosecution of possibly innocent people; the crown has released a portion of its case to the press; while the prosecution associates the defence with someone else's inflammatory speech, and with plans of violence, it's hard to find any crime actually committed; according to press reports the prosecutor's position is that it's a crime to state anger at the genocide of co-religionists; or to listen to anger at a society which some feel has betrayed innocents to the policies of war criminals; the prosecution continues to erase the line between anger and the commission of any crime; the defence suggests that accused muslims at a winter training camp for "terrorists" spent their bivouac in tim hortons and lacked any knowledge of how to effect violence ("first trial opens in canada terror case," ap, march 25, 2007, the washington post; "defence in toronto bomb plot case counters claims of terror training," march 26, 2008, cbc news; "crown documents give chilling detains of alleged toronto bomb plot," march 26, 2008, cbc news; "'jihadist' camp more like 'f-troop'," don peat sun media, march 27, 2008, torontosun.com; "the making of a terror mole," sonya fatah, july 14, 2006, globe and mail; "plot targeted peace tower; complex operation leading to arrests of alleged terrorists shrouded in secrecy," timothy appleby and colin freeze, june 5, 2006, globe and mail) ; implicit in the defence argument is an awareness that the only people with the know-how to for example 'blow up canada's parliament', were possibly the informant/provocateur(s) and arresting operatives; what outrageous lack of good judgment makes any canadian/american taskforce think ottawa's islamic community would allow any outside group to scratch one stone of parliament ?"the george," toronto internet radio host relates how he verified a listener's report to him of a covert military/law enforcement group unloading/transporting explosives from an algoma ship in downtown toronto may1 2006; he exposed the operation on three shows to over a million people and the operation stopped; about a month later individuals to be known as 'the 18" were arrested and their "plots" related to the press; his accounts suggest the crown's principle informant was an intelligence operative (among other operatives in the group), a 'handler' who was training his charges to cover a false flag operation that might justify canada's participation in the 'war on terror'; with the covert operation exposed, those to be blamed were sequestered in prison (sources: george freund, emails of march 26, 2008: "the patsies, the sting, and the master plan;" "fwd: pictures explosives transfer toronto terrorists;" "fwd: urotrichus propagandus: the csis mole;" "fwd: high level mason supplied 'terrorists' with ammonium nitrate;" "fwd: time travel to a day when terrorists arrested with 5 tons of explosives in a trailer park are released without charge;" "fwd: operation secret bison").february 25, 2008, ottawa: csis has released papers of specific allegations against five men it holds under canadian security certificates, which are also position papers for 'the service'; of 18 arrested in toronto the report says no affilation with al qaeda was found although the arrested "were believed to be inspired by the ideology of al qaeda;" csis also notes an alleged conspiracy to "hit" local targets such as its offices in toronto, but isn't able to convey clearly the reasons for its fear ("summary of the security intelligence report concerning hassan almrei," canadian security intelligence service, feb. 22, 2008, federal court of canada website).
february 21, 2008, canada: according to canwest, legal aid ontario has informed lawyers for the accused that defence of 14 of the men arrested in this "anti-terrorism sweep" might exceed eight million dollars to date; government application of section 38 of the canada evidence act further obstructs the accuseds' right to justice ("defence costs in terror trial could exceed $8 milllion," jordana huber canwest, jan. 30, 2008, canada.com); neglect of the canadian charter of rights hides the propaganda basis of charges, profits the legal industry and impoverishes the immigrant, the poor, and canada's mechanisms of conscience attempting to protect both...- ed..
december 23, 2007, brampton ontario: on december 20th, ********** , another of those arrested by law enforcement as part of "the toronto 18" was released on $50,000 bail after 2 and a half years in jail; details of the judge's decision remain protected by a publication ban; in this case the crown seems to have taken previous charges which the prisoner was convicted of, and found within them a 'terrorist inclination' to include this man in the widely publicized arrests which became a propaganda tool of the 'war on terror;' his lawyer finds this double jeopardy, and claims that the other offenses have nothing to do with terrorism ("bail for terrorism suspect," isabel teotonio, dec. 21, 2007, the toronto star; "terror suspect freed," brian gray, dec. 21, 2007, toronto sun.com).
november 11, 2007, brampton ontario: on november 5th bail was granted and raised for **********, a father and husband imprisoned since june 2006 in maximum security - mostly solitary confinement; he is the eldest of the charged 'toronto 18', the crown has recently withdrawn its charges of plotting to bomb; some of the detainees were charged with crimes that are frightening to the public; it is a serious mistake to levy this kind of false charge against anyone but particularly in times of marked injustices against and persecutions of the muslim community; such charges should be considered hate crimes against an oppressed minority; ed. ; 11 of those charged remain without bail ("alleged 'toronto 17' terrorist granted bail," colin freeze, nov. 5, 2007, globe and mail; "accused terrorist gets bail," isabel teotonio, nov. 5, 2007, the toronto star; "alleged ring leader in ont. terror case gets bail," toronto ctv.ca, nov. 5, 2007, ctv.ca); the publication ban on this court's proceedings remains in effect.
september 25, 2007, brampton ontario: the preliminary hearing against 14 of-age suspects in its fourth month, was ended mid-testimony in court; the judge stayed all charges and all were re-arrested for direct trial without preliminary hearing; this may be part of a federal campaign to maintain secrecy where the allegations have appeared to respected journalists, to be "so bizarre as to be almost unbelievable" ("terror trial proceedings troubling," thomas walkom, sept. 25, 2007, toronto star); court proceedings are hidden by a publication ban; some defense lawyers believe the hearing was abruptly ended because the crown believed all charges against their clients would be permanently dismissed if it continued; the crown's primary known highly paid witness, recently accused of unrelated charges, was on the stand when the crown chose to shut the hearing down; legal preparations for the hearings cost both the suspects and the government (ibid.; "canada bomb plot case goes straight to trial: paper," sept. 24, 2007, reuters canada; "14 terror accused will go directly to trial," melissa leong, sept. 25, 2007, national post); the crown's need to show its effectiveness and commitment to the u.s. "war on terror" has made these suspects, political prisoners; the government's actions, which require the re-arrest of bailed defendents,and re-constitutes charges, unnecessarily inflicts psychological damages and expense on people who are still innocent under law.
august 16, 2007, brampton ontario: of the four minors detained in this case, three are now free; charges against two were staid july 31rst in a brampton court, ending their participation in the case under the condition they not associate with other suspects and undergo counseling; preliminary hearing evidence remains under publication ban ("two youths in terror bust go free," omar el akkad, july 31, 2007, globe and mail; "terror charges stayed against toronto youths," isabel teotonio, july 31, 2007, the toronto star).
may 15, 2007
may 11, 2007, toronto: may 7th, lawyers for several of the accused are questioning in court the practice of holding the men in prolonged isolation when trial date is unsure and possibly distant; ten remain incarcerated; the trial will go into next week as well ("terror suspects ask for prison conditions to be eased," melissa leong and darryl konynenbelt, may 7, 2007, national post ; "lawyers decry terror suspects 'cruel' conditions," isabel teotonio, may 8, 2007, the toronto star); ineptly referred to as the "terror suspects' in canada no one seems to know what to call these men or how to refer to targets of an international and canadian police operation; they were initially referred to as the "toronto 18;" informant and police setups were extreme and reporting of early court appearances was banned, some thought because of the ridiculousness of the setups, so that even the press has remained leary of attempting straight reporting; reporting of court proceedings continues to be silenced.
april 17, 2007, toronto: see urgent; entry transferred here from urgent page: the wife and children of one of the accused "toronto 18," are receiving death threats while their husband/father remains in detention; in highly publicized "anti-terrorist arrests" 17 men and children from toronto were arrested by armed teams june 7, 2006; twelve remain held for trial at some unknown date, in solitary confinement; the eldest is **********, 44; his wife, [name temporarily withheld as well] believes the threats against their family are the result of a media article which describes her as "very vocal" (april 3, 2007, toronto star) amid the media silence about the detained men's treatment at the maplehurst's detention centre, and quotes her saying the reason her husband and the others have been held in isolation for the past ten months is to pressure them into pleading guilty; her requests for better treatment led her to be banned from maplehurst detention centre for two weeks; the threats consist of bullets found lodged in the radiators of both family cars, discovered at recent attempts to visit her husband; other threats include being followed by "black government cars" and army personnel, and the army marching with gas masks in front of her young children's islamic school ("terror suspect's wife claims vandals won't intimidate her family," april 16, 2007, citynews, chum tv; "wife of terror suspect says she is target of harassment," jim wilkes, april 17, 2007, the toronto star; "terror suspect's wife ties vandalism to published remarks," timothy appleby, april 17, 2007, globeandmail.com; "surviving an ordeal by isolation," michelle shephard & isabel teotonio, april 3, 2007, toronto star; "terror suspect's family targeted," torstar network, april 16, 2007, the mississauga news); since all canadians are the object of a neoconservative agenda it needs to be said that the "toronto 18" are innocent because they haven't been proven guilty; even the arrests appear to be for crimes not actually committed and no crime of violence has occurred; evidence against the detained is tainted by the huge sums of money paid government informants or provocateurs; the arrests may be part of what was initially a u.s. and international covert operation; particularly heavy and illegal pressure to cooperate with authorities is placed on a detainee when his wife and children's lives are being threatened; mrs. [***********] says she has asked for and was refused police protection (wilkes, april 17, 2007, toronto star); this is outrageous; it denies the accused his rights; it denies his wife and children their human rights; it subverts the course of justice; it damages the lives of very young children; it's embarrassing to canadians that this mother and her four young children are effectively being terrorized without recourse.
february 5, 2007, toronto: on june 7th 2006, 18 minors and young men appeared in court for alleged firearms violations, bomb plots, and "terrorist training"; according to early news accounts some members of the group are alleged to have attempted to buy 3 tons of fertilizer; 4 youths charged under the anti-terrorism act were in court january 15 ; police statements have not charged any of the above with committing an act of violence; five of the original group arrested are out on bail while the others remain in prison and many are in continuing solitary confinement; there is a publication ban on court proceedings; a reuters report refers to the arrests as a "police sting operation" while reporting by canada's national post alludes to the operation as the rcmp's project osage, integrated with the fbi's northern exposure and u.k.'s operation mazhar and with combined previous allegedly-related arrests of 18 outside canada; the related u.s. indictments were said to include the cases of ehsanul sadequee and syed ahmed and two unidentified cases in georgia (national post); aside from six minors (names not released), the others are mostly in their teens and twenties; the natonal post notes somalia, egypt, jamaica, trinidad, among origins; almost all are canadians**********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********, **********; the "group" as formed by the arrests, includes a health sciences graduate, a business student at U of T, people of faith, parents, a man recovering from a heart operation, and two men each serving a two year sentence for trying to bring a handgun into canada; csis's luc portelance has publicly linked them to an al-qaida inspired ideology (ibid.); the case against them was based on the testimony of two informants, an agricultural engineer who has said the rcmp paid him 300 thousand canadian dollars and a primary informant whose identity is sheltered but agence france press reports the primary informant was paid 425 thousand canadian dollars with a cost to canada of 4 million canadian dollars to protect his extended family (sources: "2nd mole played key role in bomb plot probe," oct. 13, 2006, cbc news; "canada terror case hearings open; law in focus," cameron french, jan 15, 2007, reuters canada;"alleged canadian terror plot has worldwide links," stewart bell & kelly patrick, canwest news service, june 4, 2006, national post; "canadian informer paid handsomely for terrorism suspects: report," afp, feb. 2, 2007, yahoo news canada; "toronto 'terrorist' roundup - 19 young muslims arrested. coincidence ?" [access, feb. 5, 2007: yayacanada.com]; "sketches of ontario-based terror suspects," ctv.ca news staff, june 7, 2006, ctc news); update of march 26, 2007, canada: a cbc-tv fifth estate report ( january 17, 2007) seems part of an active agit-prop campaign in the service of the "war on terror" and a conservative agenda; spartacist canada ("labour must fight 'anti-terror' witchhunt," fall 2006, spartacist canada no 150) points out fertilizer for bomb-making was delivered by the rcmp undercover police; there was a need to justify an undercover operation ongoing at public expense since 2004; a publication ban on the court proceedings was placed immediately; it was a political operation (including toronto's mayor david miller for months previous to the arrests ); how much is the "war on terror" directed at all islam ? is the propaganda war against muslim communities meant to contain a normal outrage at the government's refusal to assert fundamental principles of international law ? note: the globe and mail has assessed the identity of the second planted informant in the toronto 18 case; the case is notable not so much for the accuseds' alleged plans to commit crimes, but for mounting evidence of very highly paid informants and entrapment of initally innocent people; without betraying the informant's identity the globe and mail article reveals a man whose personal concern is business, whose family is subject to demands of government and covert bureaucracies for doing substantial business abroad, and whose family business recently went bankrupt so was short of funds... ("police had second mole in terror plot," omar el akkad & colin freeze, octo. 14, 2006, globe & mail / the muslim news).
update march 26, 2007, u.s.: 19 year old virginia born u.s. citizen ehsanul islam sadequee, was abducted in bangladesh april 17, 2006, by bangladeshi intelligence when he and his wife of two weeks returned after shopping; he appeared in court in brooklyn new yok, april 22nd; syed haris ahmed, 21, a u.s. citizen and student at georgia tech was arrested march 23, 2006; the fbi says the two had been to canada to meet with 3 canadian suspects already under investigation by the fbi [were the toronto 18 arrests part of a u.s. operation then ?]; the fbi affadavit against the 2 men says they planned to receive training in pakistan; while ahmed is accused of giving material aid to terrorists (videotaping buildings), sadequee is accused of making false statements in the fbi's investigation; why are these men held in prison ? are they accused of stating moral anger at a policy which led the u.s. into a disasterous criminal war? there's little information in north american media on these two men aside from a january 17, 2007 cbc-tv fifth estate report ("among the believers") which suggests the canadian group may have tried to provide a safe place for the americans to hide ("another atlantan in fbi custody," bill torpy, april 20, 2006, atlanta journal constitution / free republic; "fbi: 2 atlantans plotted terrorism," giovanna dell'orto ` ap, april 21, 2006, 11alive, atlanta georgia; "syed haris ahmed," as of march 25, 2007, wikipedia; "held in dhaka, teen terrorist suspect now in u.s. custody," viji sundaram, april 28, 2006, pacific news service ).
note:from urgent page, june 15, 2006, maximum security maplehurst correctional centre, milton (near toronto): lawyers of recently arrested terrorist suspects say their clients were beaten by guards and placed in isolation after threats by inmates; a publication ban on courtroom proceedings followed claims of abuse by suspects ("terror suspects charge abuse in canada prison," anthony depalma, june 13, 2006, new york times); media and tactical campaigns with political agendas and law enforcement at their service may be jeopardizing the safety of islamic suspects innocent of charges.
other victims of law enforcement / judicial operations
update february 25, 2008, ottawa, momin khawaja : recently released unclassified csis material states "he is alleged to have made the detonating devices to be used by a homegrown british terror cell with links to al qaeda;" csis expects his trial in 2008 ("summary of the security intelligence report concerning hassan almrei," canadian security intelligence service, feb. 22, 2008, federal court of canada website); khawaja wasn't charged in england; see previous.
february 21, 2008:
momin khawaja is held in prison in ottawa without trial; he was arrested four years ago; hearings are secret and under publication ban; accused of participation in terrorist activities with a group of alleged associates arrested in england, he faces criminal charges in canada; media have shied off demanding charter rights for this ottawa born canadian, a muslim; by my understanding the charges against him and alleged associates are primarily supported by one of their group, an american muslim detained in new york, and persuaded by the f.b.i. in new york, to confession, giving evidence and testifying; guilty or innocent of charges against him, this prisoner is becoming a political prisoner through the law's treatment of his case; five of his alleged associates have been sentenced to life imprisonment in highly charged english trials with heavy reliance on the u.s. informant ...ed. (some sources: "link to katherine's interview and request from mahboob khawaja," katherine hughes, feb. 12, 2008, dhafir email; "fallacy of terrorism; complicity of canadian intelligence agencies to terrorize citizens," mahboob a. khawaja, jan. 29, 2008, cross-cultural understanding, access: < http://www.ccun.org >; "terror trial delay angers judge," ian macleod, jan. 25, 2008, ottawa citizen; "five men found guilty in british terror bombing plot," arthur bright, april 30, 2008, csmonitor.com; "ottawa man faces 5 new charges," chris cobb, dec. 21, 2005, ottawa citizen; etc..).
update december 10, 2007, chicago: abdelhaleem ashqar was sentenced in federal court to 11 years, for not testifying against the palestinian group , hamas; palestinian-american, this former professor at howard university, said he didn't want to give information that would help the israeli government ("palestinian professor sentenced to 11 years for refusing to testify," nov. 26, 2007, democracy now!); previously acquitted of being a leader in hamas and supporting terrorism this man is sentenced in an american court for not being a willing intelligence source.
update december 10, 2007, new york city: rafiq sabir, a medical doctor and florida resident was sentenced to 25 years by a new york federal district court judge for conspiring to provide medical care for al quaeda; he was also accused of making an oath of support to al quaeda, which he said he undertook because he didn't understand arabic well enough to know what it meant. Other 'co-conspirators', mahmud faruq brent, abdulrahman farhane, tarik shah, pleading guilty were given 13 to 15 year sentences; once again the conspiracy and crimes within it may have been constructed by the 'terrorist recruiter' who was an f.b.i. informant ("u.s. doctor gets 25 years for conspiring to help al-quaeda," afp, nov. 29, 2007, yahoo! news; "manhattan" doctor sentenced in terror case," ap, nov. 29, 2007, new york times; "n.y. terror doc gets 25 years," kati cornell, nov. 29, 2007, new york post).
update march 26, 2007, nyc: james elshafay was accused with shahawar matin siraj of plotting to to blow up facilities in nyc; there were neither explosives nor terrorist links involved; elshafay pled guilty and received a five year sentence for testifying against siraj who received thirty; just to either ? ("man gets 5 years for nyc bomb plot," march 2, 2007, usa today).
update, january 10, 2007, new york city: shahawar matin siraj, from pakistan working as a bookstore clerk in new york, was sentenced january 8th to 30 years for plotting to bomb a subway station in the city, yet he had no explosives, no time table, not enough knowledge to accomplish a plot which his lawyer explains was the construction of a new york city undercover police agent; did the sentenced man do anything other than think with anger ? a day after his sentencing, siraj's parents and sister were detained for deportation which is also a way to silence them ("nyc subway bomb plotter says he was set up by police," amy goodman, jan. 9, 2007, democracy now!; "police entrapment in terror case ? nyc subway bomb plotter says he was set up by paid nypd informant," amy goodman, jan. 10, 2007, democracy now!.
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