photographed by Susanne Haerpfer

After the terror attacks on September 11 th in 2001

Everybody asked


Why didn´t one check on the passengers?

“You caught yourself thinking am I racial profiling, basically, right?” asked CNN host DREW GRIFFIN.

TICKET AGENT VAUGHN ALLEX confirmed, what being asked:

I caught myself thinking, you know, am I doing this for a racial reason and I said, no, I’m not doing it for that and I didn’t want to be accused of that and I went back to what I was doing.”

After thousands

of people died, they regretted not having risked to be claimed for unequal racial treatment.

(read also full broadcast transcript

Relatives of terror victims ask questions.

Prior to the devastating attacks of 2001, a plane was bombed in 1985.

John Nunziata, liberal member of the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament asked the [Canadian] government to take immediate steps to initiate a royal commission of inquiry into the Air-India disaster of June 23, 1985 which claimed the lives of 329 people.

In his public statement he said:

“There is evidence to suggest the Government of Canada in the months before June 1985 was warned there could be or would be a serious act of terrorism by Sikh extremists in Canada.

June 1985 marked the first anniversary of the storming of the Sikh holy temple at Amritsar. The Indian government stormed the most holy place in June of that year and a number of people were killed.


photographed by Susanne Haerpfer at the Golden Temple of Amritzar on a different occasion

As a result Sikh extremists worldwide were suspected of planning retaliatory measures to seek revenge. extremists in the government of India, aware that the first anniversary was coming up, gave a specific warning to the Government of Canada and in particular to the foreign affairs department, at that time headed by Joe Clark, that there could be an act of terrorism.”

According to the Canadian politician “In the weeks preceding the Air-India disasteri CSIS agents actually saw the two prime suspects detonate a bomb in the woods outside of Duncan, British Columbia.

Notwithstanding this information and in spite of the fact that they were actually listening in on telephone conversations, they discontinued the surveillance on these two individuals. Why did they do that?”

This fact made the independent Member of Parliament summarize: “There is no doubt in my mind there was a cover-up. The Mulroney administration refused to initiate an inquiry because it was trying to cover up the actions of agencies of the Government of Canada for which it was responsible.”

 “There is also an international element to this tragedy, not only because it was an Air-India plane blown up, not only because of the involvement of Sikh extremists, but also because there is evidence suspects involved in the bombing of Air-India were trained in the United States in Alabama”, the Canadian continues.

From this fact Nunziata concludes: “The theory put forward, with evidence, by a number of people in Canada and abroad is that the American government, the Pakistani government and the Indian government knew that Sikh extremists were being trained; that the Pakistani government facilitates the training of Sikh extremists abroad; that the American government needed the co-operation of President Zia of the Pakistani government at the time to ensure that Pakistan could continue to be used as a conduit, as a route, for arms for the Afghan rebels fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

There is evidence to suggest that there was pressure by foreign governments, in particular the American government, the Indian government and the Pakistani government, on the Canadian government not to hold a royal commission of inquiry because of the international implications of what happened.”

During the same hearing in Canada,

Mr. Gurbax Singh Malhi (Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Lib.) stated:

“There are real questions about how much the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service knew. (…)

All 329 people aboard the plane lost their lives, including 280 Canadians. Most were of East Indian origin; some were Sikh families.

This was the worst mass murder in Canadian history. Yet 10 years later no one has been prosecuted in Canada for bombing the plane. Ten years later, the families are still waiting for answers. Ten years later, the Canadian Sikh community is still waiting to find out who was really responsible. We still have far too many questions and not enough answers.”

10 years after the bombing of the airplane in 1985 “no charges have been laid. During the first two years there were up to 75 officers on the investigation. Today only one officer is dedicated to investigating this savage crime on a part time basis”, critizes the hearing.

It was only in June 2010, that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] formally apologized to the families of the bombing victims for the government’s failure to prevent the attack. According to the online service Harper delivered his apology a week after Canada’s Commission of Inquiry [official website] into the bombing released its final report [JURIST report] finding various institutional organizations failed to fulfill their responsibilities before and after the bombing. The report condemned the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) [official websites] for not utilizing available information, failing to enhance security and not cooperating with each other during the bombing investigation.” wrote that:“A man found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the 1985 Air India bombings [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] was found guilty Saturday of perjury.”

He “was the only person convicted for his role in the 1985 terrorist attacks where bombs were planted in suitcases aboard airplanes leaving Vancouver. One bomb went off in Japan’s Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers, and another bomb went off on Air India Flight 182 as it flew over Ireland, killing all 329 passengers.”

The sentenced “admitted to buying the parts to make the bombs and was convicted of manslaughter in 1991 for the incident in Japan and in 2003 for the incident aboard Flight 182”, according to the wire service. “

Reading the different investigation reports carried out by different authorities from different nations one may conclude that even the terror attacks of 911 could have been prevented if security forces and journalists would have investigated the background of the blast of the Air India plane in 1985.

With memorial day of September 11 th emerging one should take the opportunity to conmemorate the victims of 1985 as well.


Canadian Royal Mountain Police (Mounties) photographed by Susanne Haerpfer in Canada on a different opportinity


Susanne Haerpfer is working as free lance journalist for television as well as for print and online media. Publishing rights as well as assignment are to be negociated with me personally: