Oh. Noes. Any kid that’s a bit troubled (that’s all of them, people)Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â could be recruited as a terrorist. A ‘Domestic Terrorist’, at that. They walk among us! Dear God, they’re everywhere! More of our rights must be curbed for the purpose of security! (Propaganda award of the month goes to Isabel Teotonio and the Star for helping carry the ‘domestic terrorist’ ball a bit further down the field with this article. Meanwhile, anyone who actually reads the papers knows full well that this kid was fingered and recruited by CSIS, which also set up the supposed terrorist boot camp in Northern Ontario. Don’t let your view of reality be distorted by this kind of media charade.
The history: ‘Toronto 18ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â² member handed 14-year sentence | 2-year term sought in Toronto ‘terror plot’ | Toronto 18 ‘terror’ accused signs confession, media retreads tales of planned chaos | Toronto 18 member pleads in bomb plot | How MI5 blackmails British Muslims | New York “Terror Plot” Another Government Provocateured Set-Up | Toronto 18 Terror case: RCMP agent Shaikh was instigator who broke law: defence | Five muslims face life for Fort Dix ‘terror plot’ orchestrated by FBI | American Intelligence Contractors Leak Canadian Toronto 18 ‘Terror Training’ Video to Web | Third Mole Surfacing in Toronto Terror Trial? | RCMP informant says accused in militant plot was naive | Paid CSIS Informant Says Public Not Upset Enough about Toronto ‘Terror’ Plot | Latest Toronto 18 ‘Terror’ Wiretaps Confirm Youths Goaded by Reservist, Paid Police Informant | Toronto ‘Terrorists’ Agree on Decapitation Plot, Fail to Open Tuna Tin | Many Question if Toronto “Terrorists” Were Led by Informants as Case Weakens | Crown presents evidence in Toronto terror suspect trial | Australian ‘Terror Plot’ Case Bears Remarkable Similarities to ‘Toronto 18ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â² | Terror case begins to emit ripe aroma | Canada’s anti-terror law unconstitutional, defence says | Toronto’s Terrorism Case: For the Families, Fear and Bewilderment | CSIS informant admits cocaine, marijuana use during investigation | Terror trial proceedings troubling | Alleged Toronto terror plot included two police agents | Toronto Terrorist Ringleader Has Military Connections | Canadian ‘Terror Plot’ Begins To Unravel | Police arrest terrorist suspects in Toronto
Isabel Teotonio, The Toronto Star
September 4, 2009
Saad Khalid was only 16 when he was dealt a devastating blow.
He returned home to find paramedics trying to revive his mother, who had been found submerged in the bathtub. He sank to his knees in despair and buried his face in his hands. She was gone.
The once-gregarious teen became reticent. He withdrew from sports, tended to his younger siblings and took on more household chores.
He and his brothers and sisters were discouraged from speaking about his mother’s struggles with depression and her death. Instead, they were told to pray to God.
Khalid, whose family was Muslim but not overly religious, found comfort in Islam. At his Mississauga high school, he started hanging around Muslim students with extremist views, denouncing the West and leading impassioned sermons about jihad and martyrdom.
Reflecting on those years, Khalid would later tell a psychiatrist that he had developed a “connection toward the Muslim cause” and an “increased sense of meaning.” He believed he was “here for a purpose.” By age 19, he felt a religious obligation to do something to change Western policies that he believed were hurting Muslims.
Yesterday, Khalid, now 23, was sentenced to 14 years for his role in a homegrown terror cell known as the Toronto 18, which was busted in June 2006 for plotting to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.
But he was given credit for his three years and three months spent in pre-trial custody, meaning his sentence amounts to an additional seven years behind bars. He will be eligible for parole in 28 months. Khalid was ordered to provide a DNA sample and was given a lifetime weapons prohibition.
In May, he pleaded guilty to intending to cause an explosion that was likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or damage to property. He was the first member of the group to admit the existence of a bomb plot.
His sentence will surely influence some of his co-accused, who are also considering guilty pleas.
Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno told a Brampton court yesterday he had been persuaded Khalid did not know all the details of the chilling plot and that he had expressed regret for his involvement.
While reading from the 48-page ruling, the judge also noted Khalid “was vulnerable after the death of his mother and recruited by more devoted extremists.” [Ed. Note: More devoted federal agents, he means.]
“(Khalid’s) need to emulate powerful and influential leaders, combined with his youthful naivete, were evident and likely played a role in his behaviour,” said Durno.
Khalid was arrested while unloading three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer intended to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Front St. offices of Canada’s spy agency and a military base off Highway 401. The plot was foiled with the help of undercover police agent Shaher Elsohemy, who set up a sting operation that resulted in the arrests of 14 adults and four youths.
The story of how Khalid went from being a carefree child to convicted terrorist emerges, in part, from Star interviews with former schoolmates and court documents, including a psychiatric report and about 30 letters from Khalid’s family and friends to the judge.
Khalid was born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents and is the middle of five children. The family moved to Canada in 1995, when he was 9.
By all accounts, he was an average kid, raised by supportive parents. He loved cartoons, video games and playing sports, especially soccer and cricket.
By Grade 9, he wanted in with the cool crowd, he told forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Ramshaw during a risk assessment that consisted of two interviews done in the spring.
Initially, he didn’t have many Muslim friends, preferring to hang with the “cool black guys,” who were popular with girls, and he began skipping class and getting into fights. But even during those early years in high school, Khalid respected his teachers and never disobeyed his parents. [Ed. Note: This seems like a somewhat racist formulation.]
His mother’s death marked a turning point for him, family members say.
“(Khalid) was at a stage in his life when he was preparing to achieve a lot of good things,” wrote his father, Khalid Syed, who works in information technology. “The untimely loss of his mother came as a great shock and disrupted his life.”
One of Khalid’s uncles said the loss “skewed (Khalid’s) psychological state of mind in a manner that we failed to identify” and that the “psychological trauma” led to his involvement with the group.
His family didn’t realize he had an increasing preoccupation with the Muslim cause.
But at Meadowvale Secondary School there was no mistaking it. He made new Muslim friends, including the alleged mastermind of the bomb plot, started praying five times a day, and began leading sermons that made him popular.
He criticized western policies and Canada’s role in Afghanistan, turning sermons into vitriolic diatribes about how the West was the enemy.
A former student who attended sermons led by Khalid and a co-accused told the Star he remembered being pressed about what he planned to do for his Muslim brothers overseas.
“They spoke about martyrdom at the sermon, how martyrs would go straight to heaven,” said the young man, who asked not to be identified. [Ed. Note: We need to know who that co-accused was. Why isn't it just stated? Why would a newspaper withold a fact?]
By the time Khalid started at the University of Toronto, where he studied business management, he felt obliged to do something. Months later, in December 2005, he and other members of the Toronto 18 attended a terrorist training camp, held in Washago, Ont. The bomb plot began to take form in March 2006.
During his interviews with Ramshaw, he denied any change in his religious convictions or political beliefs, but said he now realized there were other ways to effect change.
There was “no tangible benefit from fighting,” he said, adding that he would like to channel his energy and “do more grassroots work.”
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