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Did Canadian police thwart another 9/11?


TRIBE Member

Did police thwart 9-11-style attack?
Parallels drawn between 19 Pakistanis arrested in Toronto area, 19 hijackers

Posted: August 22, 2003
5:00 p.m. Eastern

© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

The behavior and characteristics of 19 Pakistani men arrested in Toronto bear striking similarities to the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers, including the use of fraudulent student visas, the attendance of flight school and an association with a Muslim charity flagged by authorities for having ties to al-Qaida.

The 19 were picked up by immigration-enforcement agents and officers from four Canadian police departments during pre-dawn raids throughout the Greater Toronto area last Thursday. Some of the men were charged with immigration violations, while others are being held without any charges as a possible "threat to national security."

The arrests cap a seven-month investigation called "Project Thread."

"They're all related and it's all part of, what we're alleging, has to do with a group taking advantage of a system – the immigration system here in Canada," Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Michele Paradis told the Reuters News Agency.

The Toronto Star reports most of those arrested were students or refugee claimants and all were born in Pakistan. According to a four-page summary outlining "the reasons for detention" obtained by the paper, it was the associations and a pattern of behavior that authorities held to be suspicious.

Among the examples of suspicious behavior listed in the document, one man is currently taking commercial pilot lessons to qualify as a multi-engine commercial pilot but his instructors describe him as an "unmotivated student" who has been training for almost three years even though the "average timeframe for qualification is approximately one year."

The flight path of the training flies over the Pickering nuclear power plant.

In April, two other "associates of the group" were deemed suspicious when police found them outside the gates of the Pickering plant.

"They requested that they be allowed to enter the perimeter in order to go for a walk on the beach," the paper quotes the document as stating.

According to Canadian officials, the detainees "appear to reside in clusters of 4 or 5" and "change residents in clusters. The residences kept a "minimal standard of living" with most only consisting of a mattress and computer. One "cluster left an apartment during the night and discarded all of their belongings: mattresses, clothing and computer shells, apparently taking only the computer hard drive upon vacating the apartment," reported officials.

The document notes the men are all from "or have connections to the Punjab province in Pakistan that is noted for Sunni extremism."

Among the mens' suspicious associations, according to officials, are individuals who have access to nuclear gauges. While commonly used in construction, the gauges contain a small amount of cesium-137, a possible ingredient for a dirty bomb. Officials further note that at least two apartments where the men lived had "unexplained fires" and one residence had airplane schematics and pictures of guns on the wall.

Officials stated a "confirmed associate of the group" provided an offer of employment from the Global Relief Foundation Inc. – a group the United Nations has identified as a fund-raising outfit for terrorist groups, including al-Qaida.

"PSAT [Public Security and Anti-Terrorism ] officers determined that based on the structure of this group, their associations and connected events, there is a reasonable suspicion that these persons pose a threat to national security," the document states.

The 19 arrested last week are part of a larger group anti-terror agents have had their eye on. Thirty-one men ranging in age from 18 to 33 were discovered to have fraudulently received permits to enter or remain in Canada. All were linked to a bogus school named the Ottawa Business College where "foreign students and others could purchase acceptance letters, transcripts and diplomas for a fee without ever attending classes," according to officials.

The probe was sparked when an immigration officer was unable to verify the applicant was a student at the "college," as he purported to be on his application. He also had a bank balance with more than $40,000 but no "identifiable source of income."

Although the majority of the group entered Canada as students they are not studying or "engaging in them in what can only be called a dilatory manner," states the document, and many have traveled to other countries while maintaining temporary resident status.

Like terrorism probes in the United States, Project Thread walks a fine line between heading off terror before it happens and violating civil liberties. An attorney representing two of the Pakistani detainees says the Canadian government crossed the line.

"All 19 of them, not just my two clients, are being held on such flimsy evidence that if it was presented in a court of law it would be found as a joke," Mohammed Syed told the Star. "Some are being held without any charges under the Immigration Act or any other act for that matter."

Similarly, an aunt of two of the detained men called the allegations ludicrous and criticized their detention based on suspicion.

"Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? They're holding them because they're from one country and they're Muslim so therefore they have to be terrorists," she told the Star.