And there it is, near the bottom, almost as an aside:
He was paid.
He was paid more than $300,000.
That’s near the bottom of the article linked to in the left column, which describes, with great earnestness, the authentic, real, god-awful truth about Islamic terrorists operating in Toronto: that they really mean it, that they are serious, that they are a real threat.
Frontline and the CBC, which collaborated on the report, have a lot of credibility. Unlike Fox, or even CBS or NBC or ABC, they tend to take a more measured and less sensationalistic approach to stories about terrorist cells operating in North America. (Though even CBS’s “60 Minutes” recently ran a rather odd piece on how terrorists are using the internet to train young jihadists.) But there it is, a long, detailed, well-researched program (and website), detailing how the 17 young men were seriously plotting to storm the Parliament buildings, take MPs hostage, and behead them one by one until Canada withdrew it’s armed forces from Afghanistan.
And then, way down the page, there is that one little, embarrassing detail: the informant, Mubin Shaikh, whose revelations to CSIS (the Canadian Security Service) led to the arrests, was paid more than $300,000 for the information.
When the trial is held, Mubin Shaikh will be the star witness. Undoubtedly, he will have to reveal the fact that he was a paid informant to the court. Then the court will have to decide whether $300,000 is an incentive to exaggerate or distort his information. They should also decide whether $300,000 is an incentive for someone to incite. They should also consider the question of “entrapment”.
The question is, would Mr. Shaikh have been paid if he had not provided the RCMP with suspects?
No, he would not.
It is possible that CSIS has additional proof. We won’t know until the trial, of course. It is possible that the additional proof wouldn’t mean much if it wasn’t put into “context” by $300,000 worth of testimony. It is possible, if not likely– I say it is likely– that the additional evidence CSIS will offer will have been produced as a result of the activities and encouragement of Mubin Shaikh.
The question that should be asked is, would these young men have committed a crime if they had never met Mubin Shaikh?
Perhaps you believe that the police are willing to pay large sums of money to informants if their information clears suspects of suspicion. Perhaps you live in Disneyland.
Mubin Shaikh was paid an initial $68,000 U.S. So, suppose he reported back to CSIS that nothing was up. No reason to be concerned. There’s a couple of hot-heads, but they are just shooting off their mouths. They are kids who, not unreasonably, are against the war on Iraq because they believe it is motivated by the U.S. desire to control oil supplies and support Zionism. They believe the U.S. invaded Iraq. Oh yeah… Well, they believe the U.S. lied about weapons of mass destruction so they could invade Iraq to steal its oil. Okay– it it illegal to believe that? It is if you are an Arab living in North America or Europe.
Do you suppose Shaikh had any reason to believe he would receive an additional $300,000 if he continued to report that there was no serious terrorist plot?
I suspect that among the 17 youths that were arrested, were a small number of relatively serious-minded extremists, who genuinely hated decadent western culture, and dreamed of seeking revenge for the perceived humiliation of the Moslem world at the hands of the Israelis and Americans. (Shaikh is not going to propose the ridiculous to CSIS.) But I suspect that for every ten youths like that, maybe one or two ever actually end up doing something. Of that number, a smaller percentage acquire the means and determination to actually do something effective.
I wonder if the infamous 3 tons of ammonia nitrate will turn out to have been Shaikh’s suggestion.
Apparently, the RCMP ended up “providing” the (fake) material.
Stunningly– I say– the RCMP provided them with fake ammonia nitrate, in order to provide evidence for the crime they allege.
There are several American cases that sound alarmingly similar: a paid informant infiltrates a local youth group, encourages the boys to talk “jihad”, then reports on their conversations to Homeland Security and they sweep them up. In most of those cases, there is no evidence that any of the suspects ever took any steps to actually commit any terrorist acts. In some cases, there was bravado and bragging and macho posturing. The victims of this scam are threatened with years in prison for very serious charges, but then agree to plead guilty to a relatively minor charge, and then the government holds a parade and awards medals to everyone. The plea, the result of bullying, becomes the proof that there really was a threat.
The boys went up north and took training… from Mr. Shaikh. They used paintball guns and pellet guns and, Mr. Shaikh claims, some live ammunition.
Why does this all look so pathetic?
Why is it so offensive to me that reporter Linden McIntyre of the CBC seemed to spend an inordinate proportion of his report on Mr. Shaikh’s civic-mindedness, and his concern for the Moslem community, and his own spiritual journey from misspent youth to respected leader of the Moslem community in Toronto… before telling us about the $300,000?
Mr. McIntyre knows a good story and how to package it. A real journalist is more skeptical than he is.
If Mr. Shaikh really was a man of integrity, why would he even have accepted the money, knowing, as he must have, that a reasonable person would question how much honesty $300,000 can buy?
Frontline (PBS) on the Canadian Terror Plot Informant
Imagine, if you will, an Arab power that “takes possession” of a number of American citizens, declares them enemy combatants, and locks them away in solitary confinement in a horrible prison somewhere. Suppose the U.S. protests, and demands their release. Suppose this Arab state says, “these men are terrorists”. And then the U.S. says, they are not. We can prove they are not. And the Arab state says, you can make those arguments at the trials. Right now, the world is too dangerous for us to release these men. What if they invade our country after we release them? And the U.S. says, okay, when are the trials? And the Arab state says, never.
Imagine the outrage. How dare they?
I wonder how many people just assume that the government would never do such a thing — buy evidence. They couldn’t get away with it, could they? They can and they do, on a surprisingly regular basis. Sometimes our judges slap them down for it, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, like the rest of us, they seem to believe that a higher good is served by abridging the most precious rights we have in a democracy.