The Toronto Star – February 16, 2011
Questions remain after a British man who was flagged for being on the U.S. no-fly terrorist list was suddenly cleared to go home when his story became public. Dawood Hepplewhite, 30, a self-employed auto mechanic in Sheffield, England, identifies himself as a white Muslim. He ran afoul of the air rules while attempting to fly home Sunday with his Canadian wife and their three children, ages 1, 3 and 5. He says Air Transat flagged his passport and turned him away. The same thing happened when he tried to fly on Air Canada and British Airways.
He has been in Toronto since Oct. 29 visiting his wife, who was raised in Toronto and was trying to sponsor him so they could live together in Canada. He has travelled to Toronto several times in the past year. His visitor’s visa was to expire April 29.
Hepplewhite believes he has been put on the U.S. no-fly list because about three years ago, he applied for a teaching position in Yemen, considered a breeding ground for terrorism. He later abandoned the idea after he was pulled aside by police in England. U.S., British and Canadian authorities would not comment on the specifics of the case.
The Globe and Mail – September 17, 2010
The Canadian Harper government has quietly tightened air security rules to make it absolutely clear that airlines must check a passenger’s “entire face” before they board a plane. The measure stems from an early August 2010 controversy in which a video released on YouTube showed two Muslim women, their faces covered, boarding an Air Canada flight out of Montreal.
At the time, then-Transport Minister John Baird insisted that airlines were already obligated under “identity screening regulations” to verify the identity of all passengers before they are allowed to board. The new measure, enacted by recently appointed Transport Minister Chuck Strahl, has been issued because Ottawa discovered the existing rules were not detailed enough.
A suicide plot to blow up as many as 18 bombs on transAtlantic aircraft simultaneously was “almost ready to be put into practice” by Muslim fanatics in Britain intent on causing carnage, a court has heard. British officials said the alleged plotters had not been about to strike when they were taken into custody. But on Thursday, Peter Wright, QC, prosecuting, told Woolwich Crown Court the men had been “almost ready” to launch their plan. “The disaster they contemplated was not long off,” he said. The eight alleged terrorists had drawn up plans of which flights they intended to target, and had bought everything they needed to make liquid-based bombs capable of bringing down passenger jets, the court heard. The alleged plot was smashed when police arrested the men after months of surveillance. One of them, Abdul Ahmed Ali, was carrying a USB memory stick alleged to have contained a “blueprint” of the plans. It was said to have included details of daily United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada flights from Heathrow, and research on what could be taken on board aircraft in hand luggage. Significantly, say the prosecution, the men “only seemed to be interested in one-way flights”. Gordon Rayner and Duncan Gardham report.