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Mandel

Man accused in Toronto terror plot 'fried, cooked and baked'

By Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun

Jahanzeb Malik sits at Lindsay jail and speaks with immigration via video link on Monday March 16, 2015. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

Jahanzeb Malik sits at Lindsay jail and speaks with immigration via video link on Monday March 16, 2015. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

We sure hope the door doesn’t hit him on the way out.

His lawyer did his best to blow smoke and dangle mirrors, but in the end, even he acknowledged that alleged terrorist Jahanzeb Malik is probably going to be deemed a danger to Canada and deported back to his native Pakistan.

“He’s fried, cooked and baked,” sighed Anser Farooq after the conclusion of an inadmissibility hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board Wednesday. Member Andy Laut said he would release his decision as soon as possible.

The 33-year-old Malik, who came to Canada in 2004 on a student visa and was granted permanent residency five years later, is accused of returning from a terror training camp in Libya in 2013 bent on launching an attack on Canadian soil.

Tasked to investigate him, an undercover RCMP officer told the hearing that Malik tried to indoctrinate and recruit him last fall to join a terror plot to bomb the U.S. Consulate on University Ave. and blow up buildings in the Bay St. financial district. The flooring installer told him the attacks were justified because the West caused so much Muslim suffering in the Middle East.

“He said that there are no civilians in Canada, only enemies because all Canadians pay the tax and the tax dollars are used to buy the planes that are sent to Syria and Iraq and are used to fund the military,” the agent said.

It was the same argument mounted by convicted Via Rail terrorists Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser — who also felt justified in terrorizing the country that had welcomed them in.

Testifying under a strict publication ban, the officer said his instructions were to pose as a veteran of the Bosnian civil war who needed new floors for one of his Toronto properties and then have Malik move into what was really an RCMP “prop house.”

On Oct. 28, a month after their first meeting and after weeks of being “groomed” by Malik, who showed him a steady diet of extremist ISIS and al-Qaida videos of mass executions and beheadings, the Pakistani man suddenly grabbed a block of paper and said he wanted to ask his new friend a question. The frightening conversation that followed was all written down, with neither uttering a word.

“Can you make explosives?” Malik is alleged to have written.

“Yes,” the agent scribbled in reply.

“What do we need?” Malik asked.

“Target?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Malik responded.

The agent wrote “calculation” — as in, he needed to know what he had in mind to figure out how much explosive was required.

He said Malik then wrote down his three Toronto targets: “American Embassy, financial district, Bay Street.”

But the officer admitted there’s no record of this exchange. He told the hearing that Malik burned the papers on the stove. And while an audio recording wouldn’t have picked up their written conversation, his recording device malfunctioned that day.

Farooq jumped on the technological breakdown as evidence of, well, we’re not sure what exactly. He argued as if it were the smoking gun that would exonerate Malik. He also suggested that it was the agent who initiated the terror plot and his client who was just playing along.

But the lawyer also admitted that it didn’t help his case that Malik has refused to testify about the events leading up to his March arrest.

In her closing submission, federal government counsel Jessica Lourenco said the written exchange was only one part of the large body of evidence gathered against Malik: She pointed to Facebook accounts where he shared his praise and support of ISIS, his online chatrooms with convicted terrorists, his “incredulous” and unsubstantiated “teaching” trip to Libya, and his many recorded conversations with the undercover officer in which he talks about wishing he could fight for ISIS in Syria but having to settle for a terror attack in Canada.

“Mr. Malik came up with this plan. He calls himself ‘the teacher,’ he calls the officer ‘the student,’” she said. “It’s always Mr. Malik driving the boat.”

And now it looks like his boat has sailed.

Read Mandel Wednesday through Saturday.

michele.mandel@sunmedia.ca



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