The trial of Momin Khawaja started today, and it is shaping up to be far more important than the trial of the Toronto 18/11/4 that everyone the Toronto media is paying the most attention to. To begin with, unlike the wannabe Jihadis from Toronto, the people Khawaja is accused of consorting with are the real al-Qaeda deal. Indeed, five of his alleged co-conspirators, arrested in England in Operation Crevice the day after MMK was arrested by the RCMP here in Ottawa, have already been tried and convicted and will be spending the rest of their lives in British prison.
Khawaja is the first Canadian to be charged under Canada’s post-9/11 anti-terrorism laws, and it is a huge test of this country’s ability to prosecute accused terrorists. Note that his alleged co-conspirators in Britain have already been tried and convicted, after the longest criminal trial and longest jury deliberation in the country’s history.
But the Khwaja trial is also going to be great theatre. Over at the Citizen we have a great team covering the opening days of the trial, with Andrew Duffy and Ian MacLeod tag-teaming on webhits, colour, analysis, and newswraps. Here is the text of some emails between Khawaja and an alleged co-conspirator that were introduced today by federal Crown David McKercher, from Andrew Duffy’s webfile:
Subsequent e-mails to Mr. Khyam are spiced with hip hop style exchanges, such as: “How’s it’s goin’ niggas, everything OK?”
“Yeah, bro, got home safe.”
“How bout you niggas? Everything cool?”
It appears by March 19, 2004, however, that Mr. Khawaja may have known that the security forces were closing in the group.
Mr. Khyam said: “Bro, thing are bad. Be prepared, nigga.”
To be “down with the J” meant an individual was in support of Jihad, Mr. McKercher told court.
READ: Today’s Citizen, where Wesley Wark weighs in with an excellent opinion piece laying out just what is at stake.