So I wake up to get milk at 7am today and this is the front page of the newspaper:
In a stunning development yesterday, police made a sweeping terrorist bust within the GTA and expected to make several more arrests throughout the night.
…Though unconfirmed, sources have told the Sun police arrested a possible home-grown al-Qaeda terrorist cell operating in Toronto that had planned to bomb the subway as early as Monday.
Now the TTC (subway) was just on strike earlier this week, and it was unpleasently hot that day, so I figured at first that it was just a bunch of teenagers who were really pissed. I put aside the fact that I use the TTC almost every other day. Also the “Sun” tends to be a bit dramatic at times.
The Toronto Star reports:
A group of Canadian teenagers and young men in their 20s, accused by police of being members of a suspected homegrown terrorist cell, will appear in court this morning to face accusations that they plotted to attack Canadian targets, the Toronto Star has learned.
Some members of the group allegedly attended a “training camp” north of the city where they made a video imitating military warfare, and the suspects allegedly had acquired weapons and listed targets in Ontario, sources told the Star
The Star also quotes Imam Ali Hindi as saying:
“I think they have it wrong. Those guys have nothing to do with (terrorism),” said Scarborough Imam Aly Hindy.
Hindy has been a high profile critic of the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service, accusing the federal agency of targeting Muslims who criticize the foreign policies of Western governments. He believes this is what led to the arrests yesterday.
“Because they are young people, and they are Muslims, they are saying it’s terrorism,” he said in an interview last night. [source]
Now I don’t know what to believe exactly. So far it’s 17 people and they’ll be appearing in a Brampton court house. Brampton is a city on the outskirts of Toronto where I grew up actually. 3 tons of the fertilizer ammonium nitrate were seized in relation to the alleged plot, three times as much as was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Problem is Canada has not had a whole lot of success in proving that people are terrorists. I’m not to keen on officials and the media using the term “homegrown terrorists” i.e. people who are citizens and never left the country to recieve training. They are being called “Al-Queda” when in reality these are people inspired by the group and not directly linked to it. This is why I’m not to fond of the Toronto Sun (or Star for that matter).
Why they would want to attack Toronto or Canada for that matter? I have no clue. That is probably the most illogical part about this. It would’ve made more sense to say they were smuggling weapons into the U.S. I am of course refering to “homegrown terrorists” and not Bin Laden. The question I am asking here is why would homegrown terrorists want to attack their own “home” so to speak. (it seems many people commenting in this post are unfamiliar with my blog and are under the assumption that I am asking why terrorists in general would want to attack Canada and for those people I would just like to point out that I understand extremism as well as why Canada can be a target, but that is not my question)
I’ll try and keep everyone updated if this develops further. I’m currently skeptical but also worried. Canada has avoided become post-911 America that is bent on scaring the hell out of its citizens and I’m hoping that this case won’t create the same atmosphere over here.
They released the names and pictures of bomb-making materials. Most of those arrested are in their early 20’s and apparently “trained together” in Ontario.
“Our information is that they participated in training altogether,” McDonell said.
“For various reasons, they appear to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaeda,” said Luc Portelance, Assistant Director of Operations for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
…”These individuals were allegedly intent on committing acts of terrorism against their own country and their own people,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. [CBC News]