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With friends like this, who needs Canadians?

A provocative new book claims that - even after 9/11 - the Canadian government has coddled international terrorists

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This past Easter weekend, the Canadian government allowed the widow and youngest son of deceased Canadian Al Qaeda leader Ahmed Khadr back into the country. Khadr's widow, who left no doubt about her own hatred for the West in a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation while in Pakistan, opted to return to Canada so that teenaged Karim Khadr could get medical attention for wounds he received while engaged in armed combat for Al Qaeda.

As disgraceful as the government's Easter decision was to many Canadians, it is only the most recent in a long list of similar outrages. Stewart Bell makes clear in his new book, "Cold Terror: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism Around the World," that Canada's political leadership has a history of ineptitude, naiveté, and outright irresponsibility with regard to international terrorism that stretches back to the 1980s.

Bell, the chief reporter at Canada's National Post, has been covering terrorism for more than a decade. In this solidly documented book, he shows that successive Canadian governments have allowed Canada to become a fundraising and operational haven for terrorists, enabling them to carry out attacks throughout the world.

While the book covers everything from Sikh and Armenian terrorism to the Tamil Tigers, the most urgent chapters deal with Middle Eastern terrorists who have managed to enter Canada due to a combination of laxity and bureaucratic bungling. In some cases, active terrorists have even been granted Canadian citizenship.

More disturbing though, is how radical Islamist groups have turned Canada into a launching pad for attempted attacks on the US and elsewhere. Among the many cases he examines, Bell provides details about the Algerian-born Al Qaeda members Fateh Kamel and Ahmed Ressam, both of whom operated from Montreal. Ressam was arrested at the US border in 1999 for attempting to smuggle in a bomb to blow up the Los Angeles airport. This incident was described in the recently declassified CIA briefings to President Bush as "part of Bin Laden's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US."

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