A U.S.-based anti-terrorism group has posted a video on its Web site showing a training camp in rural Ontario allegedly attended by a group of Toronto men charged with plotting large-scale terrorist attacks in Toronto and Ottawa.
The video, which was played inside a Brampton court earlier this year in the trial of 11 men charged with planning terrorist attacks in Canada, shows masked men wearing camouflage parkas, firing weapons and waving a black flag from atop a small hill in the snow-covered woodlands near Orillia, Ont., and chanting “Allahu Akbar.”
The non-profit Nine-Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation obtained the two-and-a-half minute video after it was played in a related trial in the United Kingdom.
It shows up to 10 men, their faces concealed either by parka hoods or Arabic scarves, marching through the snow, practising shooting and unarmed combat and evasive driving techniques, while Arabic music plays in the background. Police seized the tape in a series of raids in 2006 in which they arrested 18 men from the Greater Toronto Area and charged them with planning terrorist bombings and other attacks on targets in Toronto and Ottawa.
“The video features footage of the men receiving instruction on the use of handguns, sniper tactics and basic calisthenics,” NEFA says in its introduction to the video on its Web site. “Crudely edited by its creators to include nasheed music, the video also shows the men practising evasive driving maneuvers at night in an abandoned parking lot.”
The video is part of the evidence against 11 men who were among the 18 arrested in 2006 and are accused of taking terrorist paramilitary training. Some of those accused are also charged with plotting a truck-bomb attack on downtown Toronto.
One of the accused, who cannot be named because he was under 18 at the time of his arrest, is awaiting the verdict in his trial, which concluded last month. The others, who cannot be named under the terms of a publication ban imposed on the trial of the youth, have yet to be tried.
Earlier this year, charges against several of those accused of taking part in the training were dropped.
The video, which authorities say was shot by the suspects for propaganda purposes, was played in the trial of a British extremist who had contacted members of the Toronto group and who was convicted last month of being a terrorist propagandist. NEFA acquired a copy of the video after the trial.
It shows scenes from a winter training camp in early 2006 and shows men firing a handgun and a rifle with a scope.
The only man whose face is identifiable in the video is that of Mubin Shaikh, the police agent who has since testified about how he infiltrated the group for the RCMP.
© Postmedia News, 2008