[R-G] Canada: 'Anti-terror' arrests aimed at anti-war movement
gmeyerson at triad.rr.com
Fri Jun 30 13:08:54 MDT 2006
thanks for all the material on israel; it's been of immediate use to me
On Jun 30, 2006, at 2:22 PM, shniad at sfu.ca wrote:
> Green Left Weekly June 28, 2006
> 'Anti-terror' arrests aimed at anti-war movement
> By Ian Angus, Toronto
> On June 2, a combined force of local, provincial and federal police
> 15 young Muslim men, including five minors, in the Toronto area. Those
> and two others who have been in jail since last August, are accused of
> plotting terrorist attacks on various targets in Ontario. If
> convicted, they
> could be sentenced to life in prison.
> The arrests were conducted in the name of "stopping terrorism", but a
> look at the facts suggests that they were actually the opening salvo
> in an
> intense propaganda campaign to divide Canada's Muslims, build support
> the federal government's draconian "anti-terrorism" laws, and push
> back the
> considerable opposition in Canada to Ottawa's war policy in
> Afghanistan and
> elsewhere in the Middle East.
> The arrests were carefully orchestrated to ensure that the stories
> by police received maximum publicity. The arrests took place on a
> evening. This meant the men could be held incommunicado through the
> giving the police maximum opportunity to get their story out.
> Friendly journalists and politicians were briefed before the arrests
> place. Details of the police allegations were made public at a press
> conference the following morning, before the accused and their lawyers
> received any information at all.
> Trial by media
> All normal standards of decency or concern for accuracy were abandoned
> most journalists in the following days. Most reports based on a
> police-prepared eight-page "synopsis", a document normally given only
> defence lawyers.
> Prominent criminal lawyer Julian Falconer told CBC Radio that such
> are "notoriously acts of fiction" that seldom bear any resemblance to
> evidence eventually presented at trial. Despite that, newspapers across
> Canada reported every lurid accusation. Most devoted several pages a
> day to
> the "plot".
> No allegation was too nonsensical to get front-page treatment. The men
> said to be planning to take over parliament, hold MPs hostage, and
> politicians one at a time until Canada withdraws from Afghanistan.
> Other reported targets include the CBC, the Toronto Stock Exchange,
> and the
> Toronto offices of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
> Toronto's Globe and Mail daily raised fears of a 9/11-style attack by
> reporting that the accused were taking flight training. In fact, one
> of the
> men took one semester of an aircraft maintenance course that involves
> flying at all.
> The media coverage reeked of racism - article after article featured
> references to the arrested as "Canadian-born" (rather than simply
> "Canadian"); to "brown-skinned young men"; and to sinister goings-on in
> Meanwhile, the 17 accused, five of whom are minors, were held in
> cells with the lights on 24 hours a day, denied the right to consult
> in private, denied visits from their families.
> When they were taken to court, the police put on a show. Some 30
> with machine guns surrounded the building while sharpshooters patrolled
> nearby rooftops. The accused, none of whom has been accused of
> committing a
> single violent act, were brought in wearing leg irons.
> No evidence
> There is no reason to believe any part of the police story. Less than
> years ago, Toronto police arrested 19 young men from South Asia, and
> press was filled with charges that 19 planned to blow up the CN Tower
> - the
> world's tallest building - and the Pickering nuclear plant. The entire
> was false - no charges were ever laid.
> The latest arrests in Toronto occurred just before police in Britain
> forced to apologise for a heavily publicised raid on a London
> apartment that
> they wrongly claimed was a storage site for chemical weapons - a young
> Muslim man was shot and seriously injured during that attack.
> Even if every word of the bizarre police synopsis is true, it's clear
> this was not a sophisticated terrorist cell plotting to rain
> devastation on
> our "pluralistic Western society". What the synopsis actually
> describes is a
> group of devout young Muslim men, angry at Canada's increasingly
> active role
> in the international war against Islam, venting their frustration in
> online chat and "plots" that were mostly fantasy.
> They may have wanted to strike out, but they had no skills, no
> plans, and no resources. As Toronto-area imam Ally Hindy told Newsweek
> magazine, "I just think these people were bullshitting".
> The police say they have been watching these young men for nearly two
> - tapping their phones, reading their emails, interviewing friends and
> Until now the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and CSIS have
> that their policy is to break up groups like this before anything
> happens. Such heavy-handed police interventions have long been standard
> procedure against political activity the cops regard as threatening.
> According to the June 7 Globe and Mail, an RCMP/CSIS briefing paper
> presented to the new federal cabinet in February bragged that these
> agencies have carried out 12 such disruptions in the past two years.
> This time the cops changed tactics. Someone, undoubtedly with cabinet
> approval, decided that rather than simply intimidating the young
> into inactivity, they should arrange for an anti-terrorist propaganda
> So the cops orchestrated a sting, setting up the young men to buy
> from an undercover cop, allegedly to build giant bombs.
> It's not yet clear to what extent the cops used agents or provocateurs
> promote the purchase. Entrapment is standard police procedure in this
> of case, and there's no reason to think that the RCMP and CSIS have
> hands now.
> In any event, it's not illegal to buy fertiliser in Canada, so the
> have fallen back on charges of "plotting" and "conspiring" - the usual
> resort of prosecutors when hard evidence is weak or non-existent.
> The arrested young men are being used as pawns to promote Ottawa's
> anti-immigrant policies. The evidence against them is virtually
> non-existent; the media coverage is a blatant witchhunt; and the police
> propaganda campaign has so poisoned the atmosphere that they are
> unlikely to
> get a fair trial.
> The weakness of the police case was demonstrated on June 12, when the
> prosecution sought (and a judge granted) a complete publication ban on
> proceedings, over the objections of defence lawyers.
> "After they've had 10 days with the media, feeding the media whatever
> want to feed the media, denying us disclosure of any evidence and
> doing what
> they need to do to conduct a trial in this parking lot of this
> they now have the audacity to request a blanket publication ban of all
> proceedings from today's date", said Rocco Galati, lawyer for one of
> The cops were eager to get their unproven "synopsis" allegations out
> to the
> widest possible audience, but when it comes to court-tested evidence,
> that's different. It's hard not to conclude that the actual evidence
> is even
> less convincing than what we've seen so far.
> Why now?
> The police could have moved against this small and poorly organised
> group at
> any time. The decision to move now was driven by the cops' political
> who wanted a dramatic event they could use to build support for the
> government's pro-war and anti-immigrant policies.
> Galati told reporters that the government's goal is "a show trial for
> political ends" designed to influence the Supreme Court's review of the
> legality of security certificates under which five Muslim men have
> been held
> without trial for as long as five years. He also said that the arrests
> publicity aimed to build support for cabinet's plan to renew the
> Anti-Terrorism Act, which eliminates important civil rights, including
> right not to testify.
> That law, which was rushed through Parliament in the wake of the 9/11
> attacks, will expire this year unless parliament votes to extend it.
> But the number one goal of the June 2 arrests and the subsequent
> campaign is to intimidate opponents of Ottawa's growing war in
> where 2200 Canadian troops are participating in the NATO occupation
> On May 18, a motion to extend Canada's "mission" until 2009 passed in
> House of Commons by only four votes, and anti-war sentiment has been
> across the country.
> The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expanding Canada's
> partnership with Washington's imperial war drive, but it fears that
> domestic opposition will block its ambitions. The war is not going
> well in
> Afghanistan for the Canadian invaders, and large numbers of people at
> are opposed to it. With these arrests, Canada's rulers are renewing the
> fraudulent claim that the illegal invasion and occupation of
> Afghanistan is
> somehow connected to stopping terrorist attacks in Canada.
> The anti-terrorist propaganda barrage has had a short-term impact on
> anti-war sentiment. In May, a Strategic Counsel poll found that 54% of
> Canadians opposed Canada's involvement in Afghanistan, while only 40%
> in favour. Three days after the arrests, the same polling company
> found 48%
> in favour and only 44% opposed. That's a substantial shift - but 44%
> opposition is still very strong, and support for the war will certainly
> erode again as people realise the destructive effects of the war on
> Afghanistan and Canadian society.
> Opposition to the war is particularly strong among Muslim Canadians,
> most of
> whom correctly see Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan as
> part and
> parcel of Washington's war in the Middle East.
> The June 2 arrests and the subsequent propaganda campaign are part of a
> concerted effort by the government to isolate the Muslim community, to
> that community itself by pressuring "moderate" Muslims to condemn
> and extremism" - and to block the developing alliances between Canadian
> Muslim organisations and anti-war activists, particularly in Toronto.
> The message is very clear: support the government, refrain from
> and keep your head down - or you might be next. But the government's
> campaign of intimidation can be countered. Opponents of the war must
> the right of everyone in Canada to speak out against the war, against
> "security certificates", and against all attacks on civil rights.
> We must condemn every attack on immigrants and refugees, and ally
> unconditionally with the Muslim community in their fight against
> discrimination and religious or racial profiling by the police. And we
> build the anti-war movement, which opposes Ottawa's imperial ambitions
> the Middle East.
> Canadians are dying in increasing numbers in Afghanistan, and working
> at home are suffering as the government diverts money from education,
> care and social programs into increased military spending. Ottawa's
> demagoguery about "supporting our troops" must be countered with an
> unequivocal demand that Canada end its participation in the occupation
> Afghanistan now.
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