Go Canada! Via the National Post:
TORONTO – A Canadian counter-terrorism investigation that led to the arrests of 17 people accused of plotting bombings in Ontario is linked to probes in a half-dozen countries, the National Post has learned.
Well before police tactical teams began their sweeps around Toronto on Friday, at least 18 related arrests had already taken place in Canada, the United States, Britain, Bosnia, Denmark, Sweden, and Bangladesh.
The six-month RCMP investigation, called Project OSage, is one of several overlapping probes that include an FBI case called Operation Northern Exposure and a British probe known as Operation Mazhar.
At a news conference Saturday, the RCMP announced terrorism-related charges had been laid against a dozen Toronto-area men and five teens under the age of 18.
The group “took steps to acquire components necessary to create explosive devices” including three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, commonly used in terrorist bombs, police said.
By comparison, the truck bomb used to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, contained a single tonne of ammonium nitrate.
“It was their intent to use it for a terrorist attack” RCMP assistant commissioner Mike McDonell said.
“This group posed a real threat. It had the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks.”
Police declined to identify the intended targets because the investigation is ongoing but said they were all in southern Ontario and did not include the Toronto transit system, as some media outlets had reported.
As senior RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service officials spoke to reporters, some of the evidence seized during police raids was displayed on a table guarded by police officers.
The materials included a bag of ammonium nitrate, a handgun and ammunition clip, computer hard drive, and what appeared to be a cellphone activated electronic detonator hidden inside a small black fishing tackle box.
Police also displayed bags of camouflage clothing and boots apparently seized from a camp north of Toronto that some of the members of the group had allegedly used for combat training.
My Canadian liberal friend Michael Stickings has been blogging about this, and his blog has several updates.
Confederate Yankee makes an interesting point:
What authorities are not saying—and will almost certainly not confirm—is the distinct possibility that this plot was uncovered via the NSA foreign intelligence surveillance program that the NY Times tried to label a “domestic spying” program. As most international communications into North America filter through U.S. switching equipment, it seems logical that if international communications were involved, the NSA would be the lead agency handing off information their counterparts in Canadian border police and intelligence agencies.
It’s a good day for Canada and a bad day for terrorists. The war on terror continues on in countries all over the world.
Update: There’s a possible connection between the 17 arrested in Canada and two terror suspects in Georgia. Dan Riehl covers that here.