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Canada and the War on Terror: The Ottawa Shootings, What Really Happened?

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Canada and the War on Terror: The Ottawa Shootings, What Really Happened?

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research, October 25, 2014

Url of this article:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ottawa-attack-isi/5409706

Prime Minister Steven Harper and the Canadian federal government are using the shooting rampage on Parliament Hill as a justification for imposing surveillance and detainment measures that they were already implementing and going forward with.

On October 22, 2014 a solitary gunman named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (originally Michael Joseph Hall) from the city of Laval, Quebec went on a shooting spree in downtown Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

Firstly, it was reported that there were shootings in the Rideau Centre which from the northern side of the Mackenzie King Bridge faces National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), the nerve of Canadas Department of National Defence (DND). This proved to be false or wrong. The gunman had killed a reservist guard in front of the National War Memorial and then made his way northward to Parliament Hill.

Secondly, it was reported that there were multiple gunmen. As a result all government employees were not allowed to enter or leave their respective buildings throughout the interprovincial National Capital Region, which includes the city of Gatineau. Although the police did the right thing in taking precautions to make sure that there were no other gunmen and declined to give explanations, the public was led to believe that there were multiple shooters. This justified the lockdown and suspension of mobility that took place for hours.

A lot of important questions also remain unanswered. NBC News reported on October 8, 2014 that US intelligence officials told it «that Canadian authorities have heard would-be terrorists discussing potential ISIS-inspired knife and gun attacks» inside Canada. Canadian officials, however, dismissed the report. Did US intelligence know something that its Canadian counterparts did not know? Why the contradictions?

Another important question is the following: how could an armed gunman that had already started a rampage make his way into the Centre Bloc of the Canadian Parliament unchallenged? Anyone that has been to Parliament Hill knows that there is a relatively large armed presence on the whole area and, specifically, at the entranceway and doors which is comprised of Canadas national police force (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), the local municipal police (the Ottawa Police Services), and two special federal forces (the House of Commons Security Services and Senate Security).

Framing: Media Discourse and Government Policy Links

Also, if he was indeed in touch with terrorist groups, how was he communicating with them?

Complicating the picture is the case of Martin Couture-Rouleau. Couture-Rouleau is a French-Canadian who became a Muslim in 2013. He deliberately hit two Canadian soldiers with his car in the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec on October 20, 2014. One of the soldiers would later die.

Couture-Rouleau would be chased by the police and then gunned down after his hit-and-run attack. Although the fatal hit-and-run murder in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu is a criminal act, it has been presented as terrorism and linked to Canadas involvement in the fighting in the Middle East.

The two attacks respectively in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa have no relationship whatsoever. While there was no visibly no coordination between the two events, the media has presented them as a part of a carefully planned (jihadist) plot. The hit-and-run attacks have been added to the narrative of what happened on October 22 to construct the image of an all-out battle. This is part of what sociologists call a moral panic.

What exactly motivated this gunman? It appears that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was not part of some intricate plot against Canada by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He had a criminal record and appeared to be psychologically deteriorating from increasing narcotics usage. He was troubled by hallucinations and heavy drugs, and became a Muslim relatively recently. According to information coming from people who knew him, it appears that he was upset with «the government» for not leaving him alone. This anger could be tied to the social workers and parole officers in his life and a suffocating feeling of being caught in a downward spiral.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was staying at the Ottawa Mission, a homeless shelter, between two weeks and a month. Before he went on his rampage, he told other people at the homeless shelter to pray because the world was coming to an end. In this context, it is also important to ask: how a psychologically troubled man staying at the Ottawa Mission homeless shelter could get a weapon?

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, however, has been portrayed to varying degrees as an ISIL member, which is being used to support the narrative that Canadians are under immediate threat from the ISIL by societal actors that sociologists call «moral entrepreneurs». The goals of moral entrepreneurs is to change societal norms, values, laws, and regulations. In this case the moral entrepreneurs want to sell a security agenda.

Although the gunman that attacked Parliament Hill was a French-Canadian (who had adopted both the last name of his Arab-Canadian stepfather and his mothers maiden name) that spent most of his life being a Roman Catholic (starting off as a devout Christian and then falling out of practice over the years), he has been portrayed or framed differently. From the start there was a tacit drive to give him an Arab and Muslim persona. Even when his identity was discovered, his Arab-Canadian stepfather was portrayed as his biological stepfather. The adoption of his stepfathers Arabic last name was tacitly presented as a marker of his Muslim identity, even though he was a Christian when he adopted the Arabic last name alongside his mother’s maiden name due to legal reasons.

Very telling was how the media initially described Zehaf-Bibeau. He was referred to as a «Canadian-born man.» This is very deceptive language and discourse that needs to be critically analyzed. When someone is called «Canadian-born» it means that they are not really Canadian, but are merely born in Canada. Referring to a Canadian citizen in these terms conceptually strips them of their Canadian identity and otherizes them as a foreigner that does not belong to the collective.

The Media Reaction

Many Canadians are proud of their medias reaction and have contrasted it to the sensationalism of US media. Although the media in Canada was much calmer than how the US media would have reacted under similar circumstances if the same incident took place in the United States, it was still emotionally charging the atmosphere with a sense of siege on Ottawa. Headlines and news broadcasts included titles like «Ottawa under attack.» Ottawans were liberally afraid that the ISIL was attacking Canadas shores.

Speculation about a Middle East connection kept being raised throughout the day. By the time that Prime Minister Harper spoke in the evening, it was clear that he wanted was to link the events to the Middle East and the terrorism panic to justify his national security agenda. “Canada will not be intimidated”.

The media coverage, the massive lockdown in Ottawas downtown core, and the national measures taken by the federal government created an atmosphere of panic in Ottawa and across Canada. Under this type of atmosphere, people can act unpredictability or abnormally and they are willing to make concessions to the government that they would not normally agree with making. In other words, when societies are gripped by fear many of their members are willing to forfeit their civil liberties and let them be stripped by the authorities.

Ottawa-Lockdown-Police-Line-22-Oct-2014-TD-photo-MDN.jpg

The New Normal and the Striping of Civil Liberties

When the Rideau Centre was stormed by three armed robbers in 2003 and half the local police forces fleet was sent after two of them who had escaped, the same panic did not exist nor did the media give it as much urgency or attention. Arguably the danger to safety was much greater then, even though an important national institution was not being attacked.

Legally speaking, Martin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau are murderers. Instead of treating criminals, the politicized and psychologically-charged terms of «terrorism» and «terrorist» are being applied. All the laws to deal with these criminals are in place in Canada, but new legislation is instead being made that also has the potential to be used against legitimate dissenters who oppose government policy.

Moreover, the police are being militarized under the new security paradigm of fighting terrorism. The day after the attack on Parliament Hill, on October 23, the severity of the police reaction to a homeless man crossing a yellow police line is testimony to the change in security habitus and tensions among the police in Ottawa. The measures that the Harper Government wants to normalize also include control and censorship over the internet, the unconstitutional and illegal act of taking citizenship away, and removing the mobility rights granted by the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms. The last measure has already begun with the confiscation of passports.

All Canadians have the right to leave and enter Canada freely, unless they have committed a crime. The government wants to have the legal authority to confiscate passports on mere suspicion without evidence. In the case of Martin Couture-Rouleau, he was detained and had his passport taken away when he wanted to go to Turkey in June or July 2014. The police could not arrest him and had to let him go, because of his views. «We could not arrest someone for having radical thoughts. Its not a crime in Canada,» RCMP Superintendent Martine Fontaine explained in an October 21, 2014 press conference.

The position of the RCMP says a lot about where the Harper Government wants to go with its new security paradigm. It wants the ability to arrest people for their views.

Revoking Citizenships?

Even more dangerous is the flirtation with the idea of revoking citizenship. Already unconstitutional precedents are being set for removing it among the so-called Western coalition of countries that consistently pay lip service to democracy and then stand shoulder to shoulder with dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, and Qatar. For example, the British Parliament took steps to remove British-born Asma Al-Assads British citizenship in 2012 simply on the account of the fact that she was Syrian President Bashar Al-Assads wife.

The Canadian legal system does not treat everyone equally and all people are not equal in the court system. Non-citizens are disadvantaged compared to Canadian citizens. In this context, the threat of stripping citizenship away is being viewed instrumentally as a way of circumventing the domestic laws and rights protecting citizens. Without these rights the government can indefinitely detain someone without charge, put them on trial in special security courts where they will not even be told what the evidence against them is, and be prevented from accessing a lawyer. This has been the case of some non-citizens living inside Canada that have been held on security certificates for years.

The idea of taking citizenship away is also a political issue being used to politically cater to segments of different societies in various countries that have xenophobic views and dislike certain strata in their societies for various reasons.

Ignoring the Roots of the Problem

There is an old saying that society gets all the criminals it deserves. What is meant by this is that many criminals arise out of a structural problem in society.

It is no coincidence that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau once asked to be detained to fight his cocaine and crack addiction. Both attackers were drug users and had psychological problems that needed to be helped. In the case of the gunman in Ottawa, he tried reaching out for help and felt a toxic feeling of hopelessness and not belonging.

Instead of looking overseas or blaming outside forces, Canada needs to look inside. The roots of the problem include the declining social services of Canada that have progressively faced government cutbacks and austerity measures. By blaming the ISIL and the internet the government is also refusing to acknowledge this failure and the marginalization of many members of Canadian society that are not getting the help they need.

The Slippery Slope and the Harper Governments Dirty Hands

There is a call for Canadians to be vigilant against an inflated terrorist threat from the ISIL. This is why Prime Minister Steven Harper and his government are doing their best to portray the events in Canada as an extension of the front in the Middle East. Redefining criminals as terrorists is helping reinforce this perception. Canadians and the citizens of other countries, however, should be vigilant over their rights and freedoms that took centuries of struggle to obtain.

Changing the criterion for the granting of citizenship is a whole different topic, but its removal is a dangerous and slippery slope. Although the claims are that these type of measures are for the greater good or public safety, the historic record has shown that the suspension of civil liberties has been used for ulterior motives.

As a final note, the same people inflating fears of terrorism in Canada have also supported it overseas. It should never be forgotten that Prime Minister Steven Harper and his cabinet supported the «terrorists» they now claim to oppose. The Harper Government tacitly encouraged Canadians to go fight in places like Libya and Syria for the sake of assisting Washingtons foreign policy of regime change. Canada even armed the militants linked to Al-Qaeda in Libya with drones and weapons in 2011 and allowed private security firms (mercenaries) to assist them. This should not be overlooked when people question how such a state of affairs has arisen.

ADDENDUM

Important details have emerged that strengthen the case against the Harper Government as intellectually dishonest opportunists.

(1) The Toronto Star originally reported on October 20, 2014 that multiple witnesses confirmed that Martin Couture-Rouleau’s hands were in the air in surrender when he was shot. Here is a passage from the article:

«Witnesses who spoke with the TVA network Monday afternoon said they saw a man emerge from the flipped vehicle that was lying in a ditch on the side of the road. The man had his hands in the air and was walking toward police when at least one officer opened fire on the suspect. The witnesses said they heard up to seven gunshots.»

Later the article would redact this and be re-edited.

(2) A Canadian investigative journalism webpage (FreeThePressCanada.org), noticed that before the scene was secured in Ottawa at 10:54 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) that the US news network CBS reported the following:

«The gunmen has been identified by U.S. officials to CBS News as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian national born in 1982.»

This was many hours before Canadians were even told the gunman’s identity or that he was alone. The CBS article would even be edited to remove Zehaf-Bibeau’s name or any mention that the US government was aware of it. Although security can be cited for this, it can also be looked at politically as part as a means of keeping the public in suspense and allowing a state of shock to reverberate across Canada so that the Harper Government can justify its foreign policy and security initiatives.

Copyright © 2014 Global Research

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Written by Mika

25. oktobra 2014. at 13:08

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Putin lashes out at US, West for destabilizing world

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Putin lashes out at US, West for destabilizing world

Published time: October 24, 2014 12:25
Edited time: October 24, 2014 14:18

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov)

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Politics, Russia

Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the United States for destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains. He also accused the West of inflaming the situation in Ukraine and said Russia was not interested in building an empire.

The Russian President delivered a fierce broadside aimed at the United States at a speech for the Valdai Club in Sochi, which is an informal group of scholars. He hit out at Washington for behaving without regard to the rest of the world’s interests

“The system of international relations needed some changes, but the USA, who believe they were the winners of the Cold War, have not seen the need for this.” He added that the US has been trying to create the world “for their own gains." The Russian President added that because of this, regional and global security had been weakened.

Putin also touched on the issue of the growth of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, while also accused the West of, "turning a blind eye," to the encroachment of international terrorism into Russia and Central Asia. Putin believes the US has played a considerable role in sponsoring the growth of Islamic extremism, using the example of Washington’s funding of the Mujaheddin in the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980’s, which eventually gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

“It never ceases to amaze me how our partners have been guilty of making the same mistakes time and again. They have in the past sponsored Islamic extremists who were battling against the Soviet Union, which took place in Afghanistan. It was because of this the Taliban and Al-Qaeda was created,” the president added.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is the latest terrorist organization, which is destabilizing the world and Putin was scathing of countries that have been helping to fund the Islamist militants by buying cut price oil they are selling.

“Terrorists have been selling oil at really low prices and those countries who have been buying it and then selling it on, are financing terrorism, which will eventually come back to bite them,” the Russian President said.

Relations between Russia and the US have been plummeting for months, however Vladimir Putin accused the US of using the EU to further their own gains against Russia. He hit out at the numerous sanctions that had been imposed on Moscow, saying, "This was a mistake, which has a knock-on effect on everyone."

“The USA, which has implemented sanctions against Russia, is cutting down the branches, upon which they are sitting,” President Putin added.

The reduction of nuclear arsenals was another issue, which was high on the agenda for the Russian President and once again, he was not afraid of having a dig at Washington for their reluctance to cut the number of nuclear missiles. He mentioned that unfortunately many countries see the only way to preserve their sovereignty is, "To make a nuclear bomb."

The reduction in nuclear arsenals was initially proposed by the Obama administration and Putin admitted it had potential, before talks about decreasing weapons stockpiles collapsed.

"Russia has been all for the continuation of talks about the reduction of nuclear arsenals," and according to President Putin, "Moscow is ready for serious talks, but without “double standards."

Perhaps Putin’s harshest criticism was reserved for the West’s creation of color revolutions and "controlled chaos," which he a likened to "letting the genie out of the bottle," with particular reference to Ukraine.

"We have been trying to discuss with the Ukraine issue with the EU for a long time, but we were told this was none of other business. They then put two countries against each other, which has led to countless destruction of infrastructure. When I asked why did they do this, they just shrug their shoulders and don’t have an answer," Putin added.

The Russian President said that there is no truth whatsoever in claims from the West that Russia is interested in Empire building and that Moscow is looking to destabilize the world order. With relations between Russia and the West at a very low ebb, Putin also hinted Russia will look to develop allies further afield.

"Russia has made it’s choice – we want to develop our economy and develop democratic values. We work with our counterparts in the Shanghai Cooperation, the BRICS union for example. We want our opinions to be respected likewise. We all need to be cautious to not make hasty and dangerous steps. Some of the players on the global front have forgotten about the need for this," he said in another barb directed at Washington.

http://rt.com/news/198924-putin-valdai-speech-president/

Written by Mika

24. oktobra 2014. at 10:37

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The European Union Isn’t Going To Bail Out Ukraine

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The European Union Isn’t Going To Bail Out Ukraine

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The European Union has had a pretty rough run over the past seven years. Economically, things are simply catastrophic. The Eurozone is not only experiencing an output slump that is even worse than the great depression, it is also teetering dangerously close to outright deflation. Unemployment remains persistently high everywhere except Germany: it is still above 25% in both Greece and Spain, and above 10% in Portugal, Italy, and France. The forecasts are hardly encouraging, with expectations of little or no growth in 2014 and an exceedingly modest rebound predicted for 2015. The situation is so desperate and hopeless that respected economists like Tyler Cowen have started to compare the performance of the more sclerotic European economies with the de-industrialization of 19th century India.

Politically, things aren’t a whole lot better. The most recent elections to the European Parliament in late May saw Euroskeptics and radicals of various stripes storm to unprecedented victories. Even The Economist, which has been relentless in its promotion of the EU, sounded the alarm, admitting that the previous “bastion of European federalism” was set to become a “beachhead for all sorts of anti-Europeans.” There’s also the small matter that Viktor Orban, Hungary’s president, has all but declared war on “liberal democracy.” This is just a little bit awkward because Hungary is a member of an organization explicitly founded on liberal democratic concepts. The EU is now in the unprecedented position of needing to confront an avowedly “illiberal” regime within its own ranks.

As I hope the above makes clear, the EU is barely holding itself together. Even in a relatively optimistic scenario, it will have experienced a “lost decade” of economic growth, and tens of millions of Europeans will have had their professional lives deeply and negatively impacted by the European elite’s inability to effectively respond to the crisis. Political radicalism has already been strengthened to a frightening degree, and its anyone’s guess where the process will lead. In such a situation the EU is pretty obviously not in a position to bail anyone else out. Economically the EU doesn’t have the money and, politically, there is no will for further “expansion.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who is well known for his extensive use of social media and for his support of Ukraine’s integration into European institutions, hasn’t gotten the message though. The other day he tweeted the following:

Important that Germany Chancellor Merkel now raises the issue of EU help in rebuilding of Donbass region. Will be needed. And expensive.

To the extent that Bildt convinces anyone in Ukraine that the EU will ride to the rescue he is being cruel. There is no other word for it. The EU is not going t help rebuild the Donbass. Full stop. Even if the EU (read: Germany) had sufficient funds at its disposal for this sort of effort, which is increasingly doubtful, the recent election made clear that popular enthusiasm for the EU project is evaporating almost in real time. There is precious little enthusiasm among the German public for bailout of other Eurozone members. The idea that Germany will consent to spending tens of billions of dollars rebuilding Eastern Ukraine is completely and totally divorced from political reality. Can anyone seriously imagine Angela Merkel, whose country recently had its 2014 growth estimate downgraded to a mere 1.5%, going in front of the German public to demand a substantial outlay for Ukrainian infrastructure? It would be political suicide, and Merkel is clearly a clever enough politician to understand this.

Ukraine and its political leadership needs to understand that, regardless of Bildt’s musings, the country’s “European choice” is not going to be underwritten by anyone else. Basic political reality in Germany and the EU, particularly the rapid growth of Euroskepticism, means that no help will be forthcoming. Kiev will have to chart its own course, and will need to find a way to pay for the (enormous!) expenditures of repairing its Eastern industrial heartland.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2014/08/25/the-european-union-isnt-going-to-bail-out-ukraine/

Written by Mika

19. oktobra 2014. at 11:20

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