The State Department's harsh language on Canada contrasted with its statements in the report of Iraq, which it said was "not currently a terrorist safe haven" despite the continued attacks carried out by al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi and other groups in the country.
Which claim, of course, the State Department report does not even remotely bear out.
The principal threat to the close U.S.-Canadian cooperative relationship remains the fallout from the Arar case. U.S. authorities in 2002 detained dual nationality Canadian-Syrian terrorist suspect Maher Arar in New York and removed him to his native Syria. Arar claimed he was tortured in Syria, triggering a media outcry in Canada that prompted the Canadian Government to review and restrict information-sharing arrangements with the United States. The two governments are working to develop a mechanism to accommodate Canadian concerns while resuming the free flow of counterterrorism information.
The Arar case underscores a greater concern for the United States: the presence in Canada of numerous suspected terrorists and terrorist supporters. Algerian-born Ahmed Ressam, the "millennium bomber" caught attempting to bring bomb-making materials into the United States, was denied asylum in Canada, yet remained in Montreal for seven years and used false identification to obtain a Canadian passport. Other known terrorists in Canada include:
• Mohammed Mahjoub, member of Vanguards of Conquest, a radical wing of Egyptian
• Mahmud Jaballah, senior member of the Egyptian Islamic terrorist organization al-
Jihad and al-Qaida;
• Hassan Al Merei, suspected al-Qaida member;
• Mohammed Harkat, suspected al-Qaida member; and
• Adil Charkaoui, suspected al-Qaida member.
Canada is also home to the Khadr terrorist family. Father Ahmed Said, a member of al-Qaida, was killed by Pakistani security forces in 2003. A son accused of killing a U.S. Army medic and wounding another soldier is being held in Guantanamo. Another son was detained by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and has since returned to Canada. The USG seeks the extradition of a third son for conspiring to kill Americans. A daughter is under investigation by Canadian authorities for terror-related offenses.
And on Iraq :
Terrorist attacks are frequent and are conducted by Islamic extremists, former regime elements, and foreign terrorists. Attacks and kidnappings in Iraq targeted foreign aid workers, contractors, and other non-combatants. Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi all declared the importance of victory for their terrorist cause in Iraq. In recent months, a growing distinction between the
various elements of the Iraqi insurgency and the foreign terrorists has emerged.
Terrorist groups coordinated and conducted attacks on Iraq’s utility infrastructure and also claimed responsibility for kidnappings and attacks on Iraqi personnel working at refineries and electrical stations. Terrorists’ efforts to disrupt and destroy Iraq’s energy infrastructure sought to make the Iraqi Government appear incapable of providing essential services, and hindered economic development. These attacks also sought to undercut public and international support for Iraq.
Looks like someone at CanWest needs reading comprehension lessons. Or a lesson in journalistic ethics.
Nonetheless, it's refreshing to see these people referred to in cold print as terrorists instead of misguided souls or innocent immigrants to Canada caught up in a witchhunt.