Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Canadian radical jihadists who plotted murder 

Chiheb Esseghaier, age 32 is an ideologue and is also an unkempt, stuttering Tunisian PhD student studying in Quebec. He was also a brilliant scientist specializing in nanotechnology.  Unfortunately for him, he chose to be an al-Qaida-inspired terrorist who was eager to carry out jihad, armed with exuberant plans with surprisingly little practical sense on how to carry them out.  

Raed Jaser, 37, was far more calculating and more grounded in reality, a married zealot working at his brother-in-law’s moving company, with a pardoned criminal record for credit card fraud, a growing passion for preaching the Qur’an and a fiery hatred for Jews and other infidels which would also include Christians and anyone who isn’t a Muslim. Jaser worked as a driver for A Plus School Service and even passed a police background check. But even he couldn’t blend in society enough to avoid suspicion. His increasingly radical proselytizing at Toronto-area mosques was drawing attention. An imam at a North York mosque reportedly alerted authorities to Jaser’s extremist views. 

These two men were homegrown losers who had terrorist ideas on how to get even with Americans and Canadians for participating in fighting terrorists in the Middle East. They both wore the full beards as religious Muslims, both prayed five times a day and both railed against the permissive society that surrounded them.

Then they met by chance, someone else who appeared to them as being quite sympathetic to their cause. He called himself Tamer el-Noury. It was Esseghaier    who met him first while he was on his way to a conference in the United States.  He began talking to the American stranger about his contempt for infidels. The reasoning for his willingness to talk that way to a complete stranger was because the stranger looked like a Muslim. I don’t know if he was a Muslim but one thing I do know is that both Esseghaier and later Jasper didn’t know that the stranger was a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. OOPS!

Since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) already were already aware of the goings on with these two losers, they contacted the FBI and arranged to have an undercover agent cozy up to the unsuspecting Esseghaier. This fool and later his partner in crime were hooked line and sinker. In fact, the hooks went so far down their throats; it would have required major surgery to remove the hooks.    

Didn’t their mothers tell them to never talk to strangers?  I guess there were other lessons they chose to ignore also such as respect for fellow human beings.

Meanwhile, CSIS (Canada’s anti-terrorist organization) was investigating Esseghaier as well. They had a federal warrant to wiretap Esseghaier’s conversations from May 11, 2012. They were tapping Jaser’s car from August 24 that year. These two losers were the targets of three covert investigations. By then Esseghaier was already a subject of interest to the FBI as well. He had applied for a U.S. visa to travel to the TechConnect World Conference in Santa Clara, California and during his April 18, 2012 visa interview; he mentioned that he’d travelled twice to Iran, in 2011 and 2012. His visa was approved—the sting was born. Mentioning his trip to Iran was a big mistake.

Jaser seemed far more dangerous than his comrade-in-arms. Esseghaier may have had instructions from the Mujahedeen overseas but he was impulsive, and a loose cannon who had little abilities on how to bring those plans to fruition. On the other hand, his Palestinian brother seemed far more capable of bringing their plan to a terrifying reality.

How about these words audio taped from Jaser’s mouth? “Islam is a monster, a beast. Islam is a very powerful weapon and it is in the right hand.” Then there was this statement from him as he was rhetorically talking to Canadians, “Get out. Get out before we kill you all because we want this whole city, this whole country to burn.” Are these the words of a man trying to de-radicalize his fellow terrorist? They are the words of a raving terrorist.

I guess Jaser felt secure talking to whom he believed was a wealthy Egyptian/American Muslim who was willing to act on Jaser’s beliefs. The agent’s hook dug deeper every time that fool opened his mouth.

How does a man who has lived 20 years in Canada turn on the nation that took in his Palestinian family? The answer is easy. He is a psychopath. He doesn’t give a tinker’s dam (a circular piece of metal worth less than a cent) about human beings. He was willing to kill 50 or more passengers on a train heading from Toronto to New York.  That is why he and his fellow terrorist along with their unknown FBI undercover agent were walking along railway tracks and over rail bridges to find a spot where they could place dynamite so that they could derail a passenger train.

Esseghaier was charged with conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of a terrorist group, conspiring to interfere with transportation facilities for the benefit of a terrorist group, three counts of participating in the activities of a terrorist group. Jaser was charged with conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of a terrorist group, and two counts of participating in the activities of a terrorist group. The jury couldn’t arrive at a decision of another charge facing Jaser to wit; conspiring to damage transportation property.

Jaser told the RCMP that he was trying to “de-radicalize” his friend, that he was just going through the motions of the plan in hopes that he could show him it was impossible—a defence that was never raised at his trial. Instead, his lawyer, John Norris argued that his client was a fraudster just hoping to wrangle cash from el-Noury to finance a restaurant business. The lawyer offered no explanation as to why Jaser was discussing plans to derail a train with Esseghaier long before the undercover agent appeared on the scene. In fact, weeks before he even met el-Noury, Jaser was seen with Esseghaier scouting out the St. Catharines, Ontario train station. Does that mean that Jaser was lying?  The answer to that question is no different than the answer to this next question—“Is the pope Catholic?”                                 

Rather than trying to “de-radicalize” his friend, the recorded tapes make Jaser sound even more bloodthirsty than Esseghaier and even more crafty. Jaser preached the importance of “Blend, blend, blend to lull the disbelievers into thinking your views were benign, when the opposite is true. Your delivery must change from person to person.” He said this as they ate Timbits in Dennison Park. “The war is deception. So you need to play certain parts.” Are these the words of a man trying to de-radicalize his fellow terrorist?

Crown lawyers have spent nearly four weeks presenting their side of the case against Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, The latter defendant said that he didn’t recognize the court because he insisted that he could only be tried by God and he rejected the Canadian Criminal Code by declaring that the Code was a poor substitute for sharia law. He remained silent throughout the six weeks of the trial. In a surprising development after the Crown wrapped its arguments late Thursday afternoon, both Esseghaier, who was representing himself and Jaser's lawyer indicated they would not be calling a defence.

Esseghaier decided that he would speak after being told by the judge that he could address the jury before they began their deliberation if that was his wish. 

He rambled on and on and must have sounded like a small child as his gibberish spewed from his mouth.

That was unfortunate for Jaser because his lawyer had suggested to the jury that his client had no intention of derailing a train. He said that his client’s motive was purely for the purpose of wrangling money from the third man and only that. If that was so, he should have testified to that fact. Since he chose not to, the jury no doubt disregarded his lawyer’s argument.

The jury spent 10 days trying to reach a verdict. No doubt their verdict against Esseghaier was a slam dunk. And their verdict against Jaser was relatively easy also for all but one of the charges against him. They couldn’t agree on the charge of him conspiring to damage transportation property since he left the other two men before the serious discussions came about with respect to derailing a train because (as he claims) he withdrew from the plan as he was exasperated with the recklessness of Esseghaier and also because he was spooked by cops who occasionally watched them walking on the tracks.

I don’t see how the jury couldn’t agree on his guilt of attempting to derail a passenger train.  After all, he was heard on tape saying that derailing the train was doable. No doubt the crown will ask for a retrial for that particular offence.

Esseghaier was convicted of five charges, including three counts of participating in terrorism activities including conspiring to derail a Via rail passenger train.   Jaser faces up to life in prison after being found guilty of planning to commit murder in association with or for the benefit of a terrorist group. 

They won’t be sentence to death since Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976. In 1985, while I was addressing a UN crime conference held in Milan, Italy, I recommended that all terrorists of all kinds be executed. My reasoning was that if they are imprisoned, like a great many in Israel were, they would eventually be released as those in Israeli prisons were and then return to terrorism again, just as many in the Israeli prison who were released did.

In Canada, the penalty for acts of terrorism can be up to life in prison. Planning a terrorist act is a form of terrorism. The dominant objectives of sentencing in this case must be to denounce, to repudiate and to punish the conduct of these two men’s misconduct, to reinforce our Canadian values of individual worth and peaceful, tolerant co-existence, to deter others from such misconduct, and to protect the public from any such further criminal conduct. Further, giving these two men credit for their pre-sentence custody would, in my view, skew the whole purpose of sentencing terrorists.  

The sentencing will take place in July 2015. I will let you know what the sentences are in an UPDATE at the bottom of this article after I get the information. 

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