Ezra on Liberal spin-doctoring of muslim refugee terror plot in Kingston Posted on January 26, 2019 by Eeyore — 1 Comment ↓ CBC does hard core spin doctoring to make sure no one thinks islamic terror has anything to do with Islam or its followers. Share this:FacebookTwitter
TORONTO STAR – Kingston man says terror arrests over alleged bomb plot are ‘just allegations’
KINGSTON—Hussam Alzahabi said he was at work near his home Thursday when suddenly police swarmed around him, yelling, and telling him that he was under arrest.
The 20-year-old says he was handcuffed and taken to the Kingston police station on Division Street, where he was held overnight in a cell.
At the same time, a teenager, whose gender was not released by police — Alzahabi said he was male — was charged with knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity; and counselling a person to deliver, place, discharge or detonate an explosive with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. He cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Asked how he knew the minor who’s been charged, Alzahabi said he is “just a friend” and a former classmate.
“There was some accusation that I work for some terrorist group,” he said, sitting on a brown sofa in his family’s living room after his release from custody Friday afternoon. He looked tired. His father, Amin, sat on a flowered couch across from him and said he wanted his son to talk, so the public would know what happened and hear his perspective.
On Friday, the RCMP said the investigation was initiated by a tip from the FBI on Dec. 21.
RCMP Supt. Peter Lambertucci said at a news conference in Kingston that “there was an attack plan, which is what led to our disruption (Thursday),” he said. “We believe we have extinguished that threat.”
Investigators have not identified a specific target for the alleged plot and no bomb was ever planted, Lambertucci said.
But one individual was “believed to be building a homemade improvised explosive device,” said RCMP Cpl. Caroline Duval.
Labertucci said investigators confirmed that fact during a search of the teenager’s home, adding a potentially explosive substance was removed from the home and blown up Friday morning by the Kingston bomb squad.
“There were elements and trace elements, but I’m not prepared to speak on that with regard to the ongoing investigation,” Lambertucci said.
On Friday night, back home with his family, Alzahabi said he met the youth at school.
He said he was communicating with him, but said they didn’t do anything wrong, calling the arrests “just a misunderstanding” and “just accusations.”
Asked if the minor spoke about bombs, Alzahabi said he “talked a lot about that.” But Alzahabi said he never took him seriously and told him it was a bad idea to talk about things like that.
Now, back at his family’s home on a quiet residential Kingston street, he’s “worried about what will happen in the future.”
“Not for me, but for the whole Syrian people, because they will be affected,” he said.
The police still have his phone and laptops and are still investigating him, he added.
The family came to Canada about two years ago after fleeing war-torn Damascus for Kuwait. Their home in Syria has been destroyed. The father was once imprisoned for not joining the ruling political party and would be vulnerable to arrest and severe retaliation should he and the family return home, according to one of the churches that sponsored the refugee family.
They’ve been in Kingston for about one-and-a-half years, Alzahabi said.
Alzahabi said the police at the division treated him well, and gave him a sweater because he was cold.
Without laying charges, RCMP were required to release Alzahabi 24 hours after arrest, police said.
As Alzahabi described his last 24 hours, his father, Amin, looked on protectively. After Alzahabi went to bed, his father was eager to speak more about how he says his family was treated by officers who came to their home.
With the help of his younger son to translate, he expressed his outrage at how he says they stormed into his home and terrified his family.
He said he was shaken by the way officers, who he said were not wearing uniforms, rushed into his house with their guns and saw his wife without her hijab and stepped on the prayer mats, both of which, he said, are very upsetting to people of Muslim faith.
The RCMP said they started their investigation as soon as they received the tip from the FBI. Over the last few weeks, Kingston residents had started complaining over social media about the sounds of a low-flying plane, buzzing over their homes at night.
At the Friday news conference, Lambertucci confirmed the plane was part of the investigation and identified it as a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop operated by the RCMP.
Bronek Korczynski, who co-chaired the church committee behind the sponsorship, said he and other members of the four churches that brought the family to Canada were shocked by news of Hussam Alzahabi’s arrest.
“Even though our sponsorship ended last July, many of us in the group have maintained relationships with the family — meaningful relationships — and this is just a real body blow,” he said. “We’re just gobsmacked by this. It’s so out of whack with the family we’ve come to know and care for.”
Korczynski said he’d been at a meeting with Kingston police and RCMP on Friday morning, alongside other community leaders. Officers wanted to ensure the leaders had the answers they needed, and were able to continue providing services to the family and the broader community.
“It was very much an opportunity to say, ‘What can the community do to make sure that this doesn’t become an incident that unjustifiably targets any ethnic group, national group, religious group?’ ” he said.
He added that Alzahabi has both a younger and an older sibling, both of whom are dedicated to their education.
No other countries were involved in the alleged plot, and the FBI did not tell the RCMP about any U.S. connection, Lambertucci said.
Diane Smith-Merrill, who lives across the street from one of the Kingston homes raided Thursday, told the Star she heard sounds of a small explosion nearby early Friday morning.
“I shot right up out of bed,” she said.
Christian Matte, a Queen’s University student, was sitting inside the house across the street with his roommate Thursday when “we saw lights come on and there was already like 30 cops on the street, they all got out of their cars.”
Matte said the raid happened around 4 p.m. and there was “a plane flying over at night for the last few days.”
“It’s usually pretty quiet around here,” Matte said.
The FBI, Kingston police, OPP, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada all took part. The RCMP said as many as 300 people were involved in the investigation.
Asked if this was a “lone wolf” plot or if the accused had ties to a larger group, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale refused to delve into the details of the case.
“At this stage, the investigation is just beginning. As of this morning one set of charges were laid,” Goodale told reporters in Edmonton.
“The process is just too early to speculate,” Goodale added. “But police and security agencies are very clear that the situation has been neutralized, and (is) under control, and Canadians can be confident in Kingston and elsewhere across the country that they are indeed safe and secure.”
There has been no change to Canada’s threat level, Goodale said in an emailed statement to the Star on Thursday.
Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said the incident underscores the “critical importance” of having strong anti-terrorism laws and appropriate penalties for those found guilty of breaking them.
“It is also clear that Canada’s refugee-screening process needs to be seriously examined,” Scheer said. “We’ve recently learned of several examples of dangerous individuals entering the country, due, in part, to lax screening procedures.”
A senior national-security policing veteran warned against jumping to conclusions.
“We live in a fear-based society, that’s for sure. It’s partially a media construct and partially police and senior bureaucrats and politicians trying to get everyone afraid of ‘The Other.’
“Yes, there are some bad people out there,” said the officer. “I’m more concerned about some guy going crazy just because his girlfriend hurt his feelings than I am about some Syrian refugee kicking off.
“The world is changing and everyone’s afraid, but I just don’t think it should be the priority that it is.”