Thomas Walkom, The Toronto Star
Sep 25, 2007 04:30 AM
Ottawa’s abrupt decision to cancel a preliminary inquiry into Canada’s most spectacular post-9/11 terror allegations and instead move directly to trial raises new and troubling questions.
Everything about the case of the so-called Toronto 18 is shrouded in mystery. Evidence raised in court, either at bail hearings or the preliminary hearing, is covered by a publication ban. But this hasn’t prevented the public from knowing allegations against 14 adults and four juveniles that are so bizarre as to be almost unbelievable.
The Crown claims that at one point the alleged Islamic terrorists were plotting to cut off Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s head — but changed their minds because they weren’t sure where Parliament Hill was. It also claims some of the 18 attended a Keystone Kops-style military training camp at Washago north of Toronto where, it seems, they spent most of their time complaining about the cold.
Shortly after charges were levelled, the Star reported the government case rested on two informants. One, whose name cannot be published, is said to have been paid $4 million by the government. He was apparently a central figure in an alleged plot to make a fertilizer bomb. A second informant, Mubin Shaikh, decided to go public. Now you can’t shut him up. He’s been interviewed by the Star, the National Post, the Los Angeles Times, the CBC and most recently the BBC.