Wikileaks: Montreal mosque ‘is a top Al Quaeda recruiting zone’

Daily Mail: April 27th, 2011

A mosque in Montreal has been ranked in the world’s top nine Al Qaeda recruiting zones and linked to a terror cell planning attacks on Los Angeles airport, new released documents claim.

The WikiLeaks files, written by U.S. military chiefs, list the Al Sunnah Al Nabawiah mosque among nine houses of prayer worldwide considered as a place ‘Al Qaeda members were recruited, facilitated or trained’.

The leaked ‘Matrix of Threat’ documents, designed in the early days of the Guantanamo detention centre to assist intelligence officials, rank the Canadian mosque alongside sites in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The mosque, which was also linked to the September 11 attacks, is the only Islamic prayer house in North America listed as a threat in the leaked report.

The classified documents claim the mosque’s former Imam and current Guantanamo inmate, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, was the leader of the Canadian-based Al Qaeda cell.

The Mauritanian man arrived in Montreal from Germany in November 1999 but left Canada after police began to question him about ties to Ahmed Ressam, the so-called ‘Millennium Bomber’ who planned to attack Los Angeles airport and other U.S. targets.

Ressam, an Algerian who lived in Montreal, was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border carrying explosives before he could execute the ‘Millennium plot’.

According to the documents, Salahi met with Ressam four days after arriving in Montreal and had prior knowledge of the plot as well as contact with the extremists planning the attack.

The documents also claim that the 39-year-old electrical engineer recruited three of the September 11, 2001, terrorist hijackers and facilitated their training.

Salahi has acknowledged joining the mujahedeen in its fight against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But he says he had no role in the millennium bomb plot and denies any connection with Al Qaeda, the Taliban or their associates since 1992.

The leaked documents claim Salahi and a number of his contacts met frequently at a Montreal safehouse operated by a friend and former classmate Salahi met in Germany who was later arrested in Israel.

Salahi has tried unsuccessfully to obtain Canadian intelligence documents from interviews the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conducted with him in 2000, which he claims could corroborate his claim of abuse at the hands of his American captors.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear his case while the Federal Court of Canada ruled last year that he is not entitled to the information because he is neither a Canadian citizen nor subject to legal proceedings in Canada.

He has been held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than seven years.

An attempted prosecution was called off when questions arose about whether key evidence had been obtained by torture.

The documents, prepared by the U.S. defence department in 2008 and titled ‘JTF-GTMO Detainee Assessment’, consider Salahi one of the most valuable sources at Guantanamo.

‘Detainee still has useful information regarding extremist activity in North Africa, Europe and Canada, as well as information concerning the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks,’ the documents say.

The memo concluded he should continue to be detained at Guantanamo because he swore bayat (allegiance) to Osama bin Laden and was prepared to be a martyr.

The classified documents released by WikiLeaks are assessments of almost 800 past and present Guantanamo detainees. On a scale of low, medium or high, they rate the detainees for their intelligence value and the risks they could pose if released.

Salahi was assessed by the U.S. military to be ‘high’ risk, an assessment given to most of the 172 remaining Guantanamo detainees.

About one-third of the 600 prisoners already transferred to the custody of other nations were also declared ‘high risk’ before their transfers, the New York Times reported.

Also among the documents dumped online by WikiLeaks is a detainee assessment that suggests another Guantanamo inmate acted as an informer for Canadian intelligence but continued to maintain his militant ties.

The 2008 assessment file says Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili acted as an intelligence source for both the British and Canadians because of his connections to members of various Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.

But the document says after repeated interrogations, the Central Intelligence Agency concluded Hamlili ‘withheld important information’ from the British and Canadians and was found to be a threat.

The document says Hamlili, an Algerian, was involved in a plot to attack a U.S. consulate in Pakistan and was possibly the leader of an extremist cell that carried out a string of bombing attacks against civilian targets in 2002.

Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay also uncovered serious plots to unleash chemical and nuclear weapons on the West, the WikiLeaks documents show.

According to detainees’ confessions, Al Qaeda mastermind Kalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed they had hidden a nuclear bomb in Britain, which would be detonated if Osama Bin Laden was captured or killed.

Detainees admitted that Mohammed, currently facing trial over the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was involved in a plot to blow up U.S. atomic plants and unleash a ‘nuclear hellstorm’.

According to the files, a Libyan detainee and close friend of Bin Laden, Abu Al-Libi, ‘has knowledge of Al Qaeda possibly possessing a nuclear bomb’.

Another told his interrogators the bombers would be ‘Europeans of Arab or Asian descent’.

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