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Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Canada admits:
We're terror haven

22-page intelligence report says 'most notorious' groups still flock to nation

Posted: March 2, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern


The world's "most notorious" terrorist groups continue to operate in Canada, says a classified intelligence report written two years after Parliament gave police new powers and money to dismantle the country's deadly terror networks, reports the National Post.

In a 22-page assessment of the security threats facing the nation, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said international terrorists are still using the country as a base for waging worldwide political and religious violence.

"Terrorism of foreign origin continues to be a major concern in regard to the safety of Canadians at home and abroad," says the Oct. 10, 2003, report, titled "Threats to Canada's National Security." "Canada is viewed by some terrorist groups as a place to try to seek refuge, raise funds, procure materials and/or conduct other support activities. ... Virtually all of the most notorious international terrorist organizations are known to maintain a network presence in Canada."

The threat from terrorist groups using Canada as a staging ground was first reported in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin last September.

The document obtained by the National Post is classified "Secret: Canadian Eyes Only," but the paper got a copy under the Access to Information Act.

The CSIS report confirms a recent U.S. Library of Congress study that said Canada's welfare system, immigration laws, infrequent prosecutions and light sentences had turned the country into "a favored destination for terrorists."

Dozens of those who trained at Osama bin Laden's camps were citizens or residents of Canada. Unlike the United States, which has prosecuted American al-Qaida trainees, Canada has not brought criminal charges against those who attended bin Laden's terrorism schools.

The CSIS report confirms fundraising for terrorism has not stopped in Canada, even though halting the flow of money to such groups as al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas was one of the chief aims of Canada's anti-terrorism bill.

"In Canada, supporters of a number of terrorist groups collect and send money abroad to finance their causes," the report says. "These supporters range from highly structured and well-run organizations ... which can raise substantial sums, to less formalized groups of individuals with limited fundraising abilities. The most effective way of raising money is through community solicitations and fundraising events, often in the name of organizations with charitable status. Other methods include the sale of publications, cultural or social events, or appeals to wealthy members of the community."