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Canada's Gitmo Dilemma

Six detainees seek refugee status north of the border.

11:00 PM, Feb 4, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Tunisian recruiter Ameziane met in Montreal may be an experienced al Qaeda handler named Raouf Hannachi, who reportedly recruited Ahmed Ressam for al Qaeda as well. In the mid-1990's, Hannachi himself was recruited into al Qaeda by another senior al Qaeda terrorist named Abousofian Abdelrazik, who is a designated terrorist under Executive Order 13224. Abdelrzik was, in turn, closely associated with Abu Zubaydah, the senior al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ressam fingered as the senior al Qaeda member in charge of the millennium plots.

Thus, it is entirely possible that Ameziane was recruited by the same Canadian-based network that served as al Qaeda's forward base of operations for the millennium plot. It is not clear what Ameziane was doing in Afghanistan. The U.S. government's unclassified files do not indicate that he is suspected of fighting or training in a terrorist camp. Instead, Ameziane allegedly "wanted to go to Afghanistan because he believed the Taliban had created the only country which was truly Islamic," and he "wanted to live somewhere with only Sharia Law." It is possible that he was a new recruit or serving some other function for the Taliban or al Qaeda. It is also possible that the U.S. government has more information on Ameziane's activities in its classified files.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan began in late 2001, Ameziane allegedly retreated to Tora Bora. From there, he illegally entered Pakistan and was arrested. Ameziane escaped from Pakistani custody when the bus he was being transported in was hijacked and overturned by its riders. Ameziane was injured in the bus incident and captured a short time later. He was then turned over to the United States and detained at Guantanamo.

Canada's government would be wise to deny Slahi, Zumiri, and Ameziane the privilege of immigrating. In all probability, all three of these Guantanamo detainees pose a threat to both Canadian and American security.

Thomas Joscelyn is the senior editor of the website Long War Journal.