Tuesday, March 24, 2015

24-Mar-15: In Canadian terror prosecution, research scientist and not-quite-stateless thug are convicted

From a news report highlighting enhanced security measures that
the foiled plot is provoking in Canada [Image Source]
In Canada, two men charged with plotting to derail a passenger train travelling between Canada and the US were convicted on eight terror-related charges on Friday. Their names are Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, and we wrote about them at the time of their arrests back in April 2013. See "22-Apr-13: Tentacles in Canada, and the Iranians are behind it according to police" and a follow-up, "28-Apr-13: Canadians learn that criminals can be saved from deportation if they persuade court they are "Palestinian""

The NPR version ("2 Men Convicted In Canada In 2013 Train Derailment Plot" | NPR | March 21, 2015) of the post-verdict report is brief to the point of laconic, avoiding mention of most of the points we raised two years ago. They write that Jaser is "of Palestinian descent" and Esseghaier is "Tunisian-born". That first descriptor is more relevant than they indicate, and points to something crazy in the way Palestinian Arabs can get away with murder (literally) via the current passion for political correctness in some quarters. The second conceals the real take-away which is that a poisonous passion for Islamist hatred, violence and showcase-scale murder is at the heart of this sequence of events.

Jaser immigrated to Canada with his parents on forged passports (as we noted here), and earned himself a criminal record as he grew to adulthood in the family's new land. Those offences, including making death threats, rendered him ineligible to become a Canadian citizen. The Canadian authorities tried to expel him, serving him with a deportation order in 2004. But in a Canadian court proceeding, Jaser's lawyer successfully argued that he could not be deported because, as a Palestinian, he was statelessSome time after that, Jaser received a pardon. Why is not clear but perhaps ought to be on the minds of Canadians today. Ditto for the fact that he was later granted permanent residency status in Canada.  

Convicted terrorist Jaser has his supporters, naturally
[Image Source]
As we said in our 2013 post, there is something startling about a criminal offender claiming to be a Palestinian as well as stateless and therefore exempt from being expelled - on the grounds that there is allegedly nowhere to send him - even when Canadian law requires it. That's something the Canadians might want to take up with the Palestinian Authority who declared themselves a state more than twenty-five years ago on November 15, 1988. Then 24 years after that, on November 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to give Palestine "non-member observer State status" and PA President Mahmoud Abbas called that the "birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine" [source]. For the freshly convicted terrorist, that must have felt like having your cake and eating it too. 

In its report on the convictions, Associated Press [Two men convicted of terrorist plot to attack New York-Toronto train, March 21, 2015] said of the Tunisian
Esseghaier appeared unruffled as the Toronto jury found him guilty on all five terrorism charges against him. He calmly repeated that he had not participated in the trial and did not want to take part in sentencing arguments either... Esseghaier, who was pursuing a doctorate in Montreal when he was arrested in 2013, chose not to participate in his trial because he had wanted to be judged by the rules of the Qur’an. He did not cross-examine any witnesses, refused to mount a defence and frequently fell asleep in the prisoner’s box.
Bionanotechnologist and convicted (though unkempt) would-be
murderer and terrorist [Image Source
A doctorate? Yes, plus a bachelors degree in Industrial Biology and a masters in Industrial Biotechnology [source]. Plainly no idiot, this passionate and ideologically-disciplined jihad-minded terrorist's professional advancement owes a great deal to Canada and Canadian taxpayers. It's they who underwrite the Quebec-based Biosensor BioMEMS Bionanotechnology Lab at INRS (Institut national de la recherche scientifique), one of Canada’s top universities, where Esseghaier, described here as an "unkempt, stuttering Tunisian", spent his days and his plotting time. A thank-you note was not, as far as we know, part of the evidence in the trial.

And did we mention that he "is known to have travelled to Iran"? According to the RCMP, "the duo received “direction and guidance” from “al-Qaeda elements in Iran” as they scoped out railway targets in Canada in hopes of derailing a New York-bound Via passenger train".

Now try to connect that to the fierce, perhaps impenetrable, state of mind that allows an accused to fall asleep while being tried for murder and terrorism.

It might have been interesting to see some speculation in the media analysis about how accurate or not the ever-popular model of desperate, disenfranchised, under-educated losers living on the fringes of society is when figuring out who the foot-soldiers of Islamist terrorism directed at the West really are. That opportunity was not taken in this round, unfortunately.

How easily might a murderous plot like this one have succeeded? Uncovering it involved co-operation among multiple agencies (listed alphabetically) - and perhaps others too, since only Canadian bodies are named in the source which seems unlikely:
Canada Border Services AgencyCanadian federal Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs); Canadian Security Intelligence ServiceCN Rail; Durham Regional PoliceOntario Provincial PolicePeel Regional PoliceRoyal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); Service de police de la Ville de MontréalSûreté du QuébecToronto Police ServiceYork Regional PoliceVia Rail Canada physical security team
When the effort required is as self-evidently large as that, reasonable people are entitled to be very thankful that worse has not already happened. The resources called for in thwarting un-noticed plotters of terrorism on a colossal scale are not something any society can take for granted. Life would of course be simpler if such people walked around with signs stuck to their foreheads announcing what they are planning to do to the rest of us. Until that becomes the case, we're doomed to perpetual watchfulness and quiet optimism as we live our lives and advance our societies.

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