Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Paintball 17

From the – ahem, but statements against interest, even by liars, are admissible – National Post (as found in the CanWest papers; the story is hidden behind a subscription wall; my emphasis in red):

Members of an alleged homegrown terror cell knew they were under the watchful eye of Canada's spy agency for at least two years, CanWest News Service has learned.

Photographs of the individuals now charged with terrorism offences were first flashed throughout Toronto's Muslim community as early as two years ago by officials with the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency - and so there was little surprise among friends and acquaintances that police swept down on the 12 men and five youths Friday night and Saturday morning. The only surprise was that it took so long, said the director of a Muslim group.

‘All the faces that are being shown to me I've been shown before,’ said Omar Kalair, founder and director of United Muslims, a moderate community group based in Mississauga.

Police investigators have suggested this group posed an imminent threat to national security, but there are questions being raised about how dangerous the group could have been if CSIS had known about it and was watching it so closely for so long.


“. . . instead of being comforted that an alleged terror threat has been averted, Mr. Kalair said community members feel resentful at the media spectacle that has been orchestrated, and said some feel investigators have ‘ballooned’ the danger of the threat.

He said the community is left with ‘a lot of questions ... regarding how this played out.’

Why do it now? Why wasn't this reined in before without all of this media blitz.

‘In the end, when I walk down the street people are looking at me," he said. "My personal viewpoint is that these guys should have been reined in a year ago.’”

Every summer, young Canadian men head for the woods to drink beer and shoot guns at things.  Except (perhaps) for the beer, young Muslim Canadian men do the same thing.  Once you are labeled a ‘terrorist’, all the innocent stupidities turn into something sinister.  There is a history in this area of rushing to judgment based on the wild imaginations of police and the media. 

It is becoming obvious that CSIS found a hot-headed leader, and took its time to cultivate the leader and his ‘cell’, probably through guidance from an insider informant who carefully developed all most the radical ideas, up to and including the RCMP-supplied fertilizer.  The reason CSIS didn’t act more quickly is that it needed to build up the group to the extent where it could use it to form the basis for requests for more money and power.  It is completely ridiculous to believe that the group wasn’t aware that it was being watched, since the Muslim community was completely aware.  What kind of group carries on its activities knowing it is being watched by the police?  The kind of group that knows it is doing nothing wrong.