Yesterday, the first steps were taken in the Canadian justice system:
“One of two suspects in a terror plot to derail a passenger train claims he is innocent and ‘plans to defend himself vigorously’ against the charges, his lawyer told reporters after a brief court hearing Tuesday morning. Toronto-area resident Raed Jaser, 35, was remanded to custody until his next hearing on May 23, and was banned from communicating with his co-accused, 30-year-old Montreal resident Chiheb Esseghaier. Jaser’s lawyer John Norris said his client intends to fight the charges against him. ‘He’s in a state of shock and disbelief, he’s anxious to see the evidence against him and we’ll move forward in that way,’ Norris told reporters on the steps outside Old City Hall court.”
Of course, at this point, all I know is what the government tells us. We’ll have to see what comes out in the trial. But when I read one aspect of the story, I expressed disbelief:
“The court appearances come the day after Assistant RCMP Commissioner James Malizia said the suspects’ alleged plot was supported by ‘al Qaeda elements located in Iran’ in the form of ‘direction and guidance,’ but added there ‘is no information to indicate that these attacks were state-sponsored.’”
What made this news story superior was the disavowal of any claim of state sponsorship. When I first read the stories, they stated that “Al Qaeda in Iran” was providing guidance without any other qualification. The problem is that Iran and Al Qaeda are enemies. There were/are some Al Qaeda persons in Iran under virtual house arrest but, both due to their Sunni religion and their Arab power base, Al Qaeda and Iran have not been allies. If you want to find Al Qaeda, you go to Iraq (ironically, since they were never there when Hussein ruled) or Libya (where we financed and supported them to overthrow Gaddafi), or Syria (where we support them now despite inconsistent and faint protests that we are trying to limit their influence).
But then it dawned on me today that there are, in fact, Al Qaeda in Iran who, as long as they survive, are not being watched or restrained by the Iranian government. Here is an introduction to some of them from Seymour Hersh in 2008:
“The Administration may have been willing to rely on dissident organizations in Iran even when there was reason to believe that the groups had operated against American interests in the past. The use of Baluchi elements, for example, is problematic, Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. clandestine officer who worked for nearly two decades in South Asia and the Middle East, told me. “The Baluchis are Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran, but you can also describe them as Al Qaeda,” Baer told me. “These are guys who cut off the heads of nonbelievers—in this case, it’s Shiite Iranians. The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.” Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks, are Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists.”
The Administration was reported to also be supporting Jundallah, a “vicious Salafi organization whose followers attended the same madrassas as the Taliban and Pakistani extremists.” They are suspected as having links to Al Qaeda and drug trafficking.
So if it turns out that the accusations are true, then we may be facing a case of “mission drift” on the part of dangerous criminals and terrorists whom we support. What bothers me is I don’t know if the US or Canada considers this possibility a liability. They just got to pose as our saviors rescuing us from terrorism.
Looks like supporting terrorism abroad is a “win-win” for our governments when it drifts back to the homeland.