Alleged militants considered bank fraud to fund Canadian attacks
The alleged ringleader of a Toronto-based militant group sought advice on an elaborate bank fraud scheme to fund attacks on Canadian soil so devastating that the country would "never recover again," wiretap evidence played in court Thursday suggests.
A cache of guns brought into Canada from Mexico was awaiting the group if it could raise the $10,000 price tag on the shipment, the accused is heard saying in a recording made just months before he and 17 others were arrested in June 2006.
"It's hard, but you know what, this has never been done right before," the alleged ringleader says while sitting in a car with two other men and a police informant.
"They're probably expecting what happened in London or something, some bombing in a subway."
The accused then says his plans are on a "much greater" scale.
"You do it once and make sure they can never recover again."
The wiretaps were played during the trial of the remaining youth suspect. The youth's case is the first to go to trial after he and 17 others were charged two years ago in an alleged plot to attack power grids, Canada's spy agency, the CBC, the RCMP and a nuclear power plant.
During the same March 2006 conversation, another man who is not one of the suspects tells the police informant and two of the accused about a bank fraud scheme.
After securing fake ID, a blonde white woman is sent into a bank to arrange a loan, the man says. The woman then hands the cheque off to a man who, in turn, cashes it at a cheque-cashing outlet to avoid bank scrutiny, he explains.
'It's done, everything is set'
The girls used in such schemes are usually "crackheads," since no one else would agree to take part in such a risky plan, he adds.
"This is to establish the religion of Allah and to get rid of the oppressors," one of the accused says after the man outlines the scheme in full.
Later, one of the alleged ringleaders adds: "Yeah, our thing is we need funding."
"The planning, it's done, everything is set."
The alleged ringleader also outlines a vision of thousands of like-minded people taking part in similar plans.
"I only got 50 guys, whatever, yeah, you have 50 guys, right," he says to the man with the bank scheme.
"But there's another group like me that went there and they got another 50, another 50 and the next thing you know you have thousands ... It's just we gotta be independent."
The wiretap evidence also suggests the alleged ringleader assailed Canada for its military role in Afghanistan and told other group members that Muslims are obliged to fight non-believers in this country.
'You're no longer peacemakers'
"You no longer have a cover, you're no longer peacemakers," he says of Canada's role in the war-torn country. "The fact of the matter is you're in there with your guns."
Later, the alleged ringleader says Muslims have an "obligation" to fight non-believers who support western military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, no matter where they are.
"You're a Muslim first before you're anything else... the laws of Islam apply before anything else," he says.
"It's a global fight, it's not just a specific country and a specific battlefield."
Earlier Thursday, the judge hearing the case ruled that video exhibits in the case would not be released to the media.
Releasing the videos would impact on the rights of the adult suspects, whose trials have yet to begin, said Ontario Superior Court Justice John Sproat.
"I'm not going to order copies being provided," Sproat told the court, adding they would "almost certainly" end up broadcast on television and posted on the internet.
"That does have significant impact on [the] fair trial rights of [the] adult accused."
One of the videos shows one of the adult suspects testing what's alleged to be a cellphone bomb trigger.
Another wiretap played in court Thursday featured a discussion on the possibility of being tortured.
The conversation, in which one adult suspect says he'd rather kill himself than endure torture, ends when the car they're travelling in goes through a Tim Hortons drive-thru and the suspect orders a hazelnut smoothie.
Mubin Shaikh, an RCMP informant considered pivotal to the Crown's case, is featured prominently in many of the wiretaps. His testimony is expected to begin next Wednesday, court heard.
Defence lawyers have questioned the strength of the Crown's case against the suspects after charges against seven of the accused men were stayed, whittling the so-called Toronto 18 down to 11.
I don't know.... sure sounds slightly more elaborate then some "Fantasy"
as the defence seems to claim.
Not to mention they arrested them originally when they we going to buy the weapons from undercover RCMP.... I think it all adds up to them being royally screwed.
Last edited by Praxius; Jun 6th, 2008 at 11:53 AM..