Well, well, it finally happened in Canada. Seventeen “terrorists” arrested in Toronto. And how do you react when you read and hear in the news that seventeen “terrorists” have been arrested in Toronto? Are you frightened? Let’s make a sure a few other key phrases get tossed into the mix: explosives. plotting. video. rented cars. travel. targets. And so on. Let’s make sure public officials act as if there is no such thing as the presumption of innocence. Let’s not have a single public official or reporter say, “maybe we should wait until the evidence is presented before we judge the importance of this raid”.
I haven’t heard the word “informant” come up yet, but it almost certainly will. And when it does, you will almost certainly see that the informant was on the hook for some kind of offence– usually immigration or check fraud or something– and is now “helping” the police. The only help he can provide, of course, is to identify terrorists. You don’t get rewarded for telling the police that you know some people who aren’t up to anything at all, that just talk big and boast, and say stupid things, and have foolish fantasies about joining God’s holy army. [Update 2022: I was correct. An informant was rewarded by the police for befriending the men and suggesting Jihad to them.]
You will almost certainly also see the evidence of foolishness and alienation among some Islamic adherents. Maybe boasting. Maybe naiveté.
The one thing I expect you will never see in connection with this case is real evidence of an actual plot. There have been numerous arrests and even convictions in the U.S. Most of them are the result of dubious testimony by small-time losers with Arabic or middle-eastern names who were on the hook for relative minor offenses, were threatened with severe prison sentences, and chose to cut a deal. In some cases the evidence used was so incredibly preposterous, it is hard not to laugh at it (like the video allegedly showing garbage bins at Disney World, which, authorities concluded, was an obvious attempt to find a location for a bomb.) They were given powerful incentives to exaggerate, distort, and misrepresent what they heard the others do or say. Frightened juries convicted these men on evidence which, if applied to a white Christian man charged with a felony, would be laughed out of court.
I’m sure we’ll see things that the authorities will tell us indicate a definite– or “real” in the words of police chief Blair– plot to do something. A map. A sketch. An address written in a book. What we probably won’t see is anything resembling an actual specific plan for a particular date and location with a particular method.
They got the words “ammonia nitrate” out there in a hurry. The police claim that they have confiscated three tons of it– more than was used in the Oklahoma City bombings. I’m betting that sooner or later we will hear that the “terrorists” did not actually have possession of the stuff. Then perhaps that they didn’t actually order it, and that it wasn’t actually three tons, and maybe that they were actually only talking about ordering, and that was in a foreign language, so we’re not even sure if he wasn’t just ordering fertilizer for his lawn, after all.
Or, we may discover that the “informant” is the one who suggested and even ordered the nitrate.
The most important thing to know about these arrests might be that they occurred shortly after Stephen Harper and Stockwell Day took office. The goal of this government will be to keep the public frightened and on edge so that they feel the need for a tough, authoritarian prime minister, who is eager to abridge civil liberties and privacy rights, but whose real agenda is probably to restructure the Canadian economy so that it benefits the wealthy and punishes the poor.
Just my guess– the police probably were prevented from doing raids like this earlier by the Liberal government which just didn’t get all hysterical quite as readily as Stockwell Day and Harper do. Well, that era is now over, God help us.
A fragment from unholywars.org:
The FBI affidavit also says agents found two CD-ROMs in the lining of Sadequee’s suitcase when he was leaving the United States. One disc contained pornography and the other was encrypted with a code the FBI was unable to crack, according to the affidavit. It also says Sadequee had maps of the Washington area with the discs.
Ehsanul Sadequee was arrested in Bangladesh by government security forces and illegally flown to the U.S., and is alleged to have been in Toronto organizing jihad with the alleged Toronto “terrorists”. It is possible that he became a suspect after posting a video to the internet.
The video had a building in it.
The building could become a target for terrorists.
Now, if a white, American, protestant had posted a similar video… like Timothy McVeigh, you mean?
Signs that another “terrorist” round up didn’t actually round up any terrorists:
- no actual evidence of any assembled explosives or any actions – no bodies, no victims, no broken in buildings, no possession of actual explosives
- lots of hearsay evidence from individuals threatened with incarceration for other unrelated crimes
- no actual charges of committing any actual terrorist acts are laid
- the alleged terrorists are charged with multiple counts of the most serious offenses even remotely plausible. BUT, once threatened with horrendous sentences for those crimes, they are bullied into pleading guilty to much lesser offenses.
Oh ho, Bill– so you want the police to wait until they actually commit a terrorist act before they are arrested? You mean, the police shouldn’t have to wait for an actual burglary, or assault, or murder to happen before they arrest someone for burglary, assault, or murder? As they do now?
No. Nobody has to wait until the actual act of terrorism is committed. It would be quite sufficient to prove that there was an actual conspiracy and real intent.
When we lock someone up, for example, because they were allegedly planning to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blow torch, I’d like to know if the suspect actually thought he could do it, if the police thought he thought he could do it, and if anyone with common sense wondered aloud or to himself if any sane person would really plan such a thing?
I would like to be assured that we do not arrest everyone who ever says “I could kill you”.
Mayor David Miller, during an interview on the CBC, bizarrely compared the arrests of the “terrorists” to the arrests of bank robbers, and stated that the police don’t wait until a robbery has taken place before they arrest the robbers.
Well, ask yourself: if the police were told that a man was planning a robbery of a downtown bank, would they arrest him? Almost certainly not. Now, if he had a gun, and the gun was illegal, and a map of the bank, and gang of co-conspirators, and got into his car, and drove to the bank— yes, then they might arrest him at the front door and they would have good evidence to convict him.
But if he had merely written down on a scrap of paper the name that was the same as the name of a man who had once robbed a bank in different town?
What if an underground officer befriended the man and engaged him in conversation and said something like, “gee, wouldn’t it be great if we robbed a bank and got lots of money” and the man said, “sure would”, should he be arrested and charged with conspiracy?
Think about that.
When was the last time you read about a man or woman in Canada being convicted of planning a bank robbery, or belonging to an organization that planned bank robberies, or providing material support to an organization that supported bank robberies? On the contrary, it is a cornerstone of our legal system that to lock someone up in jail, you have to prove that they actually committed or attempted to commit a crime– not that they thought about or planned to commit one.
We don’t usually arrest people for thinking about murdering someone, and then go– “look– he has a knife!” You think that’s only because we almost never hear about someone “planning” to murder someone? On the contrary, we do. In fact, the police will tell you that they quite regularly deal with estranged husbands who have threatened to kill their wives. They do it all the time. We don’t arrest them all and lock them all up indefinitely because we recognize that the vast majority of these men don’t seriously intend to carry out that threat. Even if a man enters a woman’s house and threatens her, he can only be charged with uttering threats, and that crime is treated far less seriously than the crime of actually assaulting or murdering a person.