Thursday, July 04, 2013

July 1 BC Terrorists Arrested In Canada

On Canada Day, the RCMP arrested two people in Surrey BC on charges of "home grown terrorist conspiracy".

At first blush, I didn't think much of it beyond being "another nut job was stupid enough to get caught".  More or less, the story seemed to be of very little interest beyond being yet another example of ineptitude being crossed with a reasonably diligent investigation by our country's police force.

But then yesterday, we started getting stories about "how he became a terrorist", along with the media being allowed in to photograph the basement suite that the pair shared.

At this point, I started to get very suspicious.  First of all, it is very unusual for the media to be allowed in to photograph a crime scene - even after the police have done their initial pass through.  While speculative pieces about high profile criminals do show up in the media after a major event such as an arrest, I started to think that something was fishy about it.

The first part that got my attention was the revelation that the RCMP had been following this pair for an extended period of time.  

Police said the investigation has been ongoing since February but at no time was the public safety at risk and that the devices were “under RCMP control.”
The accused are Canadian-born, police said, and said they had no contact with international terrorist organizations but were “inspired by Al-Qaeda.”
Two things about this seem more than a little suspect, in my view.  First is the timing of the arrests.  It's quite clear that the RCMP knew full well what was happening, and further were allowing the plot to proceed forward while they allegedly were undermining the effectiveness of the explosive devices being created.  The second point is the fact that this gets publicized on Canada Day, and shortly afterwards, reporters are getting access to the accused's residence.

Arguably, the first point suggests strongly not only that the RCMP had plenty of opportunity to shut things down earlier than they did but also that they may have in fact been encouraging this pair to continue with their plans.  I'm no expert in the law as it applies to police investigations of this nature, but this does not seem entirely above board.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if part of the defence strategy is to claim that the RCMP engaged in entrapment of some form.

The sudden access to the rental suite shortly after the police have been through the property seems fishy as well.  Splashing a bunch of pictures around the internet showing an apartment full of the detritus of people's private lives ... after the police have been through the place ... seems not only sensationalist, but it also violates the fundamental tenet of assuming the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

Instead, it appears that the media has already convicted them even though their stories carefully use the language of "accused".

We already know that the Harper Government has been playing a propaganda game with Canadians on a number of fronts, including criminal justice and terrorism.  This entire story strikes me as having been timed quite specifically to scare Canadians so that they will be more receptive to legislation such as Toews' "Spy on Everybody" bill earlier.  While Bill C-30 is officially dead, it is no secret that the Conservatives want to introduce it in a different form sooner or later (likely buried in the midst of another omnibus bill where it cannot be fully debated).

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