Home-grown terrorism: A reporter suggests lax laws…

The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia)
April 3, 2004 Saturday Final Edition

Home-grown terrorism: A reporter suggests lax laws and haphazard
security make Canada a haven for terrorists

by Jeff Lee

COLD TERROR: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism Around The

By Stewart Bell

John Wiley & Sons, 288 pages (36.99)

Stewart Bell is unapologetic, if nothing else, in his contempt for
what he sees as a Canadian bureaucracy that condoned and fostered the
establishment of terrorist organizations.

But Bell, the author of an unvarnished look at how Canada became a
haven for terror groups, raises valid questions about why the country
failed to act, time and again, in identifying and expelling the bad

In his book Cold Terror: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism
Around The World, Bell argues that Canada has contributed, albeit
indirectly, to the deaths of innocent people, and that it is
incapable at this point of mounting an effective counter-terrorism

Everyone now recognizes Al Qaeda as the preeminent terrorist
organization around the world. But Bell points out that Al Qaeda’s
forerunners and cousins had been established in Canada long before
the Sept. 11 attacks levelled New York’s World Trade Center towers.

Bell, a former Vancouver Sun reporter who now writes for the National
Post, recounts how more than 25 years ago terrorists looked above the
49th parallel and found a place from which to raise funds for their
causes. He takes us back to what he believes was the first true act
of Canadian terrorism, an assassination attempt in 1982 by Armenians
wanting to avenge the 1915 Armenian genocide at the hands of Turks.

This was not something Canada was used to. Factional disputes between
ethnic neighbourhoods were one thing; attempts at political
assassination were another. Then the bloody 1985 attack on an Air
India passenger jet raised Canadian culpability in terrorism to a new

And yet, Bell suggests, Canada did little to prevent the incursion
and development of terrorist organizations on its soil. The result,
he says, was a conscious understanding by groups such as the Tamil
Tigers of Sri Lanka, Sikh separatists, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda that
the could operate from here with impunity.

“The list of specific government failures is extensive, from an
immigration system seemingly incapable of deporting even known
terrorists, to laws that have proven ineffective at shutting down
charities and ethnic associations fronting for terror,” he writes.
“But it all stems from a political leadership unwilling to take a
stand and secure Canadians and their allies from the violent whims of
the world’s assorted radicals, fundamentalists and extremists.”

Bell uses a network of security sources, both named and unnamed, to
spin stories demonstrating his thesis that Canada has long lacked the
chutzpah to stop terrorists. He also points out that Canadian
citizens have partaken in terrorist attacks abroad, from the 1993
World Trade Center truck bombing to the bombing of a Bali nightclub
in 2002 and the bombing of Western housing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a
year later.

“Canadian terrorists spill blood around the world,” he writes
harshly, as if somehow we should have expected otherwise.

In the end, Cold Terror is little more than an argument for tougher
laws and a tougher strategy for combating terrrorism.

Here, in suggesting Al Qaeda is governed by “irrational religious
zealots,” is Bell’s entire premise:

“What is needed to combat such fanaticism is a forceful security and
intelligence response that seeks to dismantle the terror networks
within Canada, coupled with an overseas military strategy that
attacks the dens of terror. That cannot happen as long as the
government is in denial and fails to recognize that terrorists have
declared war on our values, our way of life and our society.”

GRAPHIC: Photo: Istsuo Inouye, Associated Press Files; The Bali bomb
blast in October 2002 is an example of Canadian involvement in
terror.; Photo: COLD TERROR: How Canada Nurtures and Exports
Terrorism Around The World By Stewart Bell, John Wiley & Sons, 288
pages (36.99)