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Media's missing the point with the arrest of terror suspects

Monday, June 5, 2006

Written by Adam A. Donaldson

It was a wee bit of a shock over the weekend when we heard that 17 men suspected of conspiring in a terrorist plot against Canadian targets were arrested in unassuming neighbourhoods in suburban Mississauga. A little more shocking when it was revealed that some of these men, mostly in their teens and early 20s, were naturalized Canadians, if not actual citizens.

Reportedly, the were planning on hitting sites throughout Ontario, like the CN Tower in Toronto and the Peace Tower in Ottawa, with incendiary devices similar to those used in an attack on Oklahoma City in 1995. Internet chatter allowed CSIS to identify the suspects, gather intel on their plans and swoop in for the arrest on Friday night. As with the recent deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan over the past few months, the War on Terror has come home, and the Monday-morning quarterbacking has begun.

First, and in my estimation most disturbingly, was the news that mosques in Toronto have been vandalized. Leaders in the Muslim community have noted the similarities between these acts and the reactions following the attacks of September 11, 2001, which, in my mind, makes them as acceptable now as they were then. Breaking the windows of a mosque, or painting its walls with racist graffiti, is as much the act of an extremist and a coward as secretly plotting to plant bombs; it’s just a matter of severity.

One would think that nearly five years out from 9/11, the idea that not all Muslims are extremists would be an easy one to collate; otherwise, this would truly be a “clash of civilizations” like some believe. There are very few Muslims, at least in Canada, that believe what these suspected terrorists believe, fewer still who would take them so far as to plot the deaths of innocents.

Another thing that bothers me about this situation is the view from America; already the reporters, the pundits and the hacks are making this about the good old U. S. of A. No, there was no plot to attack targets in the US, but the arrested suspects do have ties to America, according to the State Department.

Yes, they did. You know what those ties were? Guns. They were buying their munitions from pit stops in Georgia and Ohio; didn’t hear or friend Condi Rice cop to that fact at her news conference. Just goes to show you that if you want to launch a terror attack in Canada, you still have to shop cross border for your guns. Of course, US guns have been causing much terror in Toronto in the last year in the hands of street gangs, but those were just drive-bys, and they’re a dime a dozen - absolutely nothing we can do about that.

The problem here is that this will surely get the border lockdown fruit cakes out of their arm chairs and onto their soap boxes. These are the guys that still drink the Kool-aid that the 9/11 terrorists got into the US from Canada (thank you Hillary Clinton). Some of them also think that their Canadian border is as porous as their Mexican border, and want troops and Minute Men station at the 60th parallel too. The voices on these guys are going to get louder; hopefully most Americans are deaf to them by now.

Stephen Harper was Johnny-On-The-Spot with some well-chosen words from the George W. Bush playbook by saying that the terrorists hate us because of our democracy and our freedoms. Generally, this is a ridiculous statement made by people who want score points with patriots, but who don’t really understand the conflict at all, like Harper and Bush. I will agree with Harper that Canada does have some nice things, like: universal health care, gay marriage, legalized abortion, and a social safety net.

Of course, Stephen Harper hates all of those things, but does that mean that he hates our freedoms too? Somebody better arrest him fast.

What I consider of paramount importance in this news item is that if the suspected terrorists are guilty of the crimes of which they are charged, then we got them. We found them and arrested them before they were able to start some stuff, whatever they were planning. Lives were saved, and our world can keep on chugging along in the knowledge that sometimes, real life bad guys are thwarted in time.

Canada has been accused of not taking the threat of terrorism seriously, we were told to look at what happened in London and New York and fear for what a terrorist group might do here. Well, monitoring every nook and cranny in London didn’t dissuade the subway bombers, and having the largest, most expensive intelligence network in the world didn’t prevent 9/11, but CSIS, Big Brother’s cousin Oliver of a spy agency, managed to pull a rabbit out of it’s hat.

No matter your feelings on the War on Terror, vigilance is the eternal price for freedom. Thank God that Canadians seem to be a vigilante bunch.

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