Canadian Suspect Had Military Training

A police officer guards the underground enterence to a Brampton, Ont., courthouse on Tuesday June 6, 2006, as a police van esscorts accused terrorist suspects into the building. Twelve men accused of scheming to blow up Canadian targets in a terrorist plot that authorities say was inspired by al-Qaida faced a formal hearing Tuesday on the charges against them. (AP Photo/CP, Nathan Denette)
AP Photo/CP, Nathan Denette
Steven Vikash Chand — who went by the alias of Abdul Shakur, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — belonged to the Royal Regiment of Canada, a reservist unit that meets in Toronto, Cmdr. Denise Laviolette told The Associated Press.

Chand was a member from June 2000 through April 2004, Laviolette said, but was quick to dispel any notion that he was a well-trained soldier ready for combat duty.

"Mr. Chand, his personal record indicates that he spent a large portion of his time on leave of absence," Laviolette said. "We're fairly confident — we still have to get access to his larger file — but we don't think he completed his occupational training, which would have been his infantry training."

However, he would have received some training on a C7 automatic rifle, typically used by infantrymen in the Canadian Forces, Laviolette said.

Fifteen of 17 suspects appeared in court Tuesday to set dates for their bail hearings, after the RCMP announced Saturday that authorities had foiled a plot by the group to attack targets in southern Ontario. They said 12 men — and five teenagers — had obtained three tons of ammonium nitrate, three times what was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.


Read about a court document obtained by CBS' Investigative Unit that paints the fullest picture yet of the alleged conspiracy

CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports one of the most troubling aspects about the case is that five of the 17 suspects are teenagers that who, until last week, were considered to be typical high school students.

Gary Batasar, a lawyer for Chand, had a clerk in the Ontario Court of Justice courtroom read aloud part of a synopsis of the allegations against his 25-year-old client.

The allegations focused on a plot to storm the Parliament building in Ottawa, take politicians hostage and behead them if the government did not pull its 2,300 troops out of Afghanistan and release Muslim political prisoners.

He told the AP later that some of the other suspects face similar accusations, but did not say who or how many.

The synopsis, given to defense attorneys but not made public, also included alleged plans to bomb power plants in southern Ontario, the Toronto Stock Exchange and the downtown Toronto office of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service — Canada's spy agency.

The Globe and Mail reported the synopsis included a lengthy and meticulous investigation into the alleged plot, in which months worth of surveillance, communication intercepts and physical evidence were amassed before an alleged monitored buy of $3,600 worth of ammonium nitrate fertilizer last Friday.

Laviolette said it was doubtful that Chand got advanced explosives training for anything more than tossing a grenade or firing the assault rifle.

"It's unlikely because of the time he was on leave of absence," she said. "I'm not saying it's impossible. It's very unlikely."

The purported plot to take political leaders hostage and behead them added a chilling dimension to a case that has led U.S. authorities to toughen security along the border and unsettled Canada's Muslim community of 750,000 people.