BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

BBC's Lee Carter in Toronto
"The report is a candid, self-critical document"
 real 28k

Friday, 16 June, 2000, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
Bin Laden 'using Canada as base'
Osama bin Laden
The report calls Osama bin Laden a 'terrorist financier'
The Canadian Intelligence Service says Islamic extremists, including supporters of the Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden, appear to be using Canada as a base for plotting against the United States.

The statement follows the capture last December of an Algerian-born man, Ahmed Ressam, as he tried to cross into the United States from Canada while allegedly carrying bomb-making equipment.

Sunni Islamic extremism, exemplified by terrorist financier Osama bin Laden, has emerged as the pre-eminent international terrorist threat

CSIS report

In its annual report, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) said the arrest of Mr Ressam and a number of associates was an indication that extremists had intensified their activities in North America.

The report says that, while state-sponsored terrorism continued to pose a significant threat, "one of the prime motivators of terrorism today is Islamic religious extremism."

"In the past few years, Sunni Islamic extremism, exemplified by terrorist financier Osama bin Laden, has emerged as the pre-eminent international terrorist threat."

'The financier'

Last month, President Clinton accused Mr bin Laden of financing Mr Ressam - a charge denied by his lawyer.

The US has demanded that Afghanistan extradites Mr bin Laden to stand trial on charges of masterminding the August 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.

CSIS said Canada's open society and proximity to the United States meant the country was becoming an increasingly attractive base for foreign terrorists.

The Intelligence Service also said it was concerned that extremists were trying to manipulate immigrant communities in Canada.

"Despite warnings by the Canadian government that it is deemed unacceptable, certain governments consider it in their best interest to monitor the activities of political opponents living in Canada and coerce expatriate nationals," the report said.

'Friendly' threat

CSIS acknowledges that Canada is also threatened by its own allies.

Nairobi bombing: the scene
Bomb explosions at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania cost many lives

"Foreign governments, including some of Canada's allies and trading partners, direct their departments, state-owned corporations and intelligence services to engage in economic espionage against Canada," CSIS said.

The most sensitive areas of economy include aerospace, biotechnology, communications, information technology, nuclear energy, oil and gas, the report says.

CSIS is also concerned that other countries have targeted Canadian trade negotiations, military and technological development, and classified Nato exchanges.

Another serious problem is the smuggling of illegal immigrants - mainly from China - and the powerful financial resources enjoyed by crime groups from Eastern Europe and Asia.

"Several groups have an increasing presence in Canada and its economy through Canadian nationals and companies used to launder hundreds of millions of dollars," the CSIS reports says.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

20 Dec 99 | Americas
Canada warns of terror crime ring
30 Dec 99 | Americas
FBI 'terrorism' swoop
12 Dec 99 | Americas
US warns of terror threat
12 Nov 99 | Americas
FBI reorganises to combat terror
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories