EXCLUSIVE: Islamic Terrorism in Toronto

From letter bombs to terror cells, much is left unreportedBy Douglas J. Hagmann, Director, & Judi McLeod, Founding Editor, Canada Free Press

4 September 2007: A joint investigation conducted by the Northeast Intelligence Network and Canada Free Press appears to have uncovered a nest of Islamist activity inside the greater Toronto, Ontario, Canada area (GTA) that has its tentacles reaching over the border into the United States and well into other foreign countries. Ms. McLeod, founding editor of Canada Free Press with her many law enforcement sources and many years of investigative journalistic experience, and Mr. Hagmann, director of the Northeast Intelligence Network with his two-and-a-half decades of investigative experience, have ventured far beyond the headlines tempered by political correctness and the limited media disclosure involving the case of Adel Mohamed ARNAOUT, the Toronto “mail bomber” and his place of residence known as the “Bombay Bunker.”

Adel Mohamed ARNAOUT, 37, a Muslim immigrant from Lebanon living at 176 Ashdale Avenue, Toronto, Ontario was arrested by undercover Toronto Police officers late last Thursday night in a dramatic takedown at a Don Mills ESSO service station in the in Thorncliffe Park Drive - Overlea area of East York - about 6 kilometers north of the suspect’s residence. ARNAOUT is charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of intending to cause an explosion, one count of criminal harassment and one count of possession of explosive material.

His takedown was reportedly the culmination of police investigation that began in June and encompassed “three letter bombs” sent to three seemingly unrelated victims in Toronto and Guelph, Ontario. According to information obtained exclusively through this joint investigation, the “takedown” was deliberately executed at that time by quick-thinking investigative operatives to avoid a potential loss of life of others at the hands of ARNAOUT. At the time of his arrest, a reportedly cash-strapped ARNAOUT was driving a late model rental vehicle and carrying explosives in amounts far in excess and much more lethal than contained within the letter bombs he reportedly sent to date. He was a three-month resident of the “Bombay Bunker,” a dwelling located at 176 Ashdale Avenue, aptly nicknamed due to its unique, strangely fortified, bunker-like appearance and additions, the varying number of occupants and the frequency of its many obviously-Islamic visitors.

According to two police officials close to this investigation, both speaking on the condition of anonymity, ARNAOUT was the primary subject of interest, but the investigation is fanning out to encompass others “at its periphery.”  According to two well-placed police sources, ARNAOUT was carrying “very unstable explosives” in his rental vehicle when taken down at the gas station. “If properly detonated, the explosives could have caused potentially catastrophic and deadly results for a significant area,” stated one police source. The other source explained that the explosives were not only dangerous, but unstable and could not be safely detonated in place, which was the cause for their transport to the Leslie St. Spit. Both police sources refused to comment on the types of explosives found in the vehicle, but both affirmed that they “were not all the same composition” as contained in the so-called letter bombs. “That is the reason we had to take the extraordinary steps to transport the materials inside bomb canisters to a remote location. There were other considerations, but I do not wish to get into those,” added a police source. Asked if the other considerations included the possibility of the explosives being “laced with contaminates,” the police source again refused comment, adding only: “we transported the materials to a safely remote location for cause.”

The investigation into the primary suspect, Adel Mohamed ARNAOUT, began in June at the behest of a victim of harassment, allegedly by ARNAOUT. The investigation into his activities merged with the letter bombs in August, according to police officials. A brief time line of the dates and victims is provided below:

Harassment & letter-bomb victims

- June 2007: SCOTT, Steven; Toronto, Ontario [Harassment]

- 11 August 2007: RADI, Abdel Magid Radi: Victoria Park and Lawrence Ave. E. area, Scarborough, Ontario [Letter bomb – with injury]

- 19 August 2007: REIBER, Terrence: Yonge St.-Sheppard Ave. area Real Estate lawyer, Toronto, Ontario [Letter bomb]

- 22 August 2007: BECKER, JOHN: Self-Employed contractor, Guelph, Ontario [Letter bomb]

With respect to the letter bombs, it is clear that they were NOT chosen at random, but the reason was not disclosed by police. “We don’t have a motive at this point,” Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond said. “We do know that the three victims ” the two in Toronto and the one in Guelph - “ were not chosen at random.” [emphasis added].

According to our police sources, the trouble between ARNAOUT and SCOTT began at about the same time ARNAOUT moved in to the “Bombay Bunker.” During our joint investigation, Canada Free Press and the Northeast Intelligence Network were able to confirm that there is a connection to the suspect’s troubles with SCOTT, his arrival at the house, and his subsequent activities. Police refused further comment, including comment off the record as a larger investigation is continuing.

The dwelling is owned by Mohammad Latif RAJA. His brother, Mohammad Fayyaz RAJA, works as the “caretaker” of the Ashdale Avenue dwelling. In June, the then-unemployed ARNAOUT allegedly showed up at the house with enough money to pay for the security deposit and at least one month’s rent - over $1,000, but was unable to afford the entire amount that called for a security deposit and two months rent. Reportedly, ARNAOUT was permitted to rent a fortified basement apartment at a $20.00 discount. ARNAOUT then reportedly obtained a position as a security guard for a Toronto based security firm.

Neighbors have their say

Interviews with neighbors, most who are Muslim, by investigators of the Northeast Intelligence Network, brought a lively mix of descriptions of the residence and activities at that location.

Three neighbors living close to the Ashdale Avenue house were interviewed during this joint investigation - and all three expressed their troubling concerns about the residents and visitors to this fortress-like house.

“I see Muslim men coming and going to and from this house all of the time, at all hours,” stated one female in broken English who resides nearby and has a good vantage position of all of the activities at that location. “I’ve seen men coming and going all through the night, into the early morning hours, sometimes all night,” she added. “One thing I noticed were the vehicles- many are luxury vehicles and a lot have license plates from the United States, including New York and Michigan. I believe things maybe [are] not right, something going on there.”

 When asked if she reported any of her observations to the authorities, she replied: “What you want me to tell them? It’s not illegal for people to visit, is it? We’re Muslim, and we don’t want more problems. We don’t need to create more problems for our people. They could be teaching the Qu’ran, I don’t know.”  After being reminded that one of the occupants was just arrested for sending letter bombs and possessing explosives, she replied: “Maybe he was. We don’t know what’s true yet.”

When asked about the unusual construction of the house that resembled a fortress with steel doors and mesh wire window coverings, this neighbor declined further comment, adding that it is up to the owners to decide what to build there, not the neighbors and certainly, not anyone else.

A second neighbor was a little more concerned about the activities at the residence, also noticing a lot of vehicular traffic by vehicles with license plates from various U.S. states. This adult male resident, also refusing to provide his name although it was labeled on his mailbox, stated that between 20-30 people either live at 176 Ashdale Avenue or stay there regularly. They receive a lot of packages delivered by private couriers, and there seems to be a constant flow of Muslim men to and from this house that has been under construction for the last few years. “I don’t know what they are building there, but they sure have been doing a lot of construction,” added this source. They are not outwardly friendly to others, and keep to themselves. “I believe that some of the occupants attend university, but I cannot say for certain,” stated this neighbor.

A third resident, fearing repercussions, also asked for anonymity but was more vocal about the activities at the “Bombay Bunker.” “In fact, I might have been one of the first to refer to that house as the Bombay Bunker,” stated this long-time resident of the neighborhood. “Our neighborhood used to be much different than it is today. It used to be a place where everyone lived together, watched out for each other and helped each other. Now, there is a huge presence of Muslims who have taken over the area, segregated themselves and refuse to socialize or interact with non-Muslims.” This source stated that he has expressed concerned about the activities at the “Bombay Bunker” to authorities, but declined to detail the responses he received. “Two years ago, I was told that someone would look into it, and here we are today, that’s all I will say regarding the authorities.”

According to this source, he has seen men using both cellular and satellite communications outside at this location. “I have seen two or three men talking on satellite phones. I know what they look like, I’ve used one before.” This source added: “I know there are computers on constantly, and there are a lot of deliveries made to the house by private carriers like DHL and other private concerns. I don’t know what is coming or going, but the house is active all of the time.”

Possible International connections

“There have been many vehicles with license plates from New York, Ohio, Michigan, all from the United States coming and going to and from the house,” stated the third resident interviewed. I’ve seen men dressed in full Muslim attire coming from the U.S., staying for short periods, then leaving. Sometimes, three or four men would arrive, and only one or two would leave.” This source also stated that he has heard that “some of the men have connections to mosques in Buffalo and Lackawanna in the U.S. and Mississauga in Ontario. I don’t have any way to verify this, but I’ve been told by others in the area.”

According to the two police officials who have provided information, Canadian officials are investigating possible connections to at least three overseas countries, including Lebanon, Pakistan and Egypt. While our police sources declined to comment on any possible connections to Hezbollah, they both noted that a “decisive majority” of Muslims appear to support Hezbollah as evidenced by recent anti-Israeli rallies tacitly sanctioned by Canada’s political system.

“To be certain, there is much more to this than being reported. There will be additional arrests, not necessarily directly related to the letter bombs, but stemming from an ancillary investigation. This is much larger than three amateurish mail bombs, I will tell you that.”

The Northeast Intelligence Network and Canada Free Press are continuing their investigation.