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.I am going to say this once more for the willfully obtuse. The entire case against the Toronto 18 has stunk since the first SWAT sniper was positioned on the roof of the courthouse at the defendants’ first court appearance. If you have not been able to smell it – it could be because you were either too busy reading fear-mongers or you have been too busy slinging the fear yourself. Christie Blatchford called the defendants the Clown Princes of Canadian Terrorism. She had it wrong - it's the RCMP who are the real Clown Princes of Canadian Terrorism.
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.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Homegrown ‘Maher Arar’
When the prosecuting Crown Attorney turns on its star witness/paid informer and accuses him of lying in Canada's top terrorism trial - the smell of acquittal becomes overwhelming in the air. The Toronto Star: