Monday, March 16, 2015

Is Stephen Harper Fighting Terrorism or Promoting It?

As we know Stephen Harper would have us believe that the "international jihadist movement" has declared war on Canada.

That there is no greater threat to our lives and our values. And of course, that only he can save us from being beheaded in our beds.

But unfortunately for him, the facts don't back up that argument. And this burning question must be asked:

Is he fighting the international jihadist conspiracy, or helping to promote it?

Because for starters, as Jeffrey Simpson points out, jihadi terror is just one threat among many.

All terror, all the time distorts the threats facing Canada. A better approach, although one with less political appeal, would view jihadi terror as one threat among many, an approach that would require more resources, balance and nonpartisanship, since the country’s internal security belongs to no single party.

And Harper can hardly claim to be serious about fighting it, when he has been slashing the RCMP's budget.

Full-time equivalent positions in the force dropped from 2012 to 2015. The international policy operations budget fell from $79-million to $59-million. The police operations budget declined. So did the RCMP’s overall budget. In some public documents, the government bragged about the “savings.”

And as even CSIS itself points out, the kind of lone wolf attacks Canada has experienced are more often the work of white supremacists. 

“Lone wolf” attacks more often come from white supremacists and extreme right-wing ideologies than from Islamic radicalism, internal CSIS documents say. Citing recent academic research, the unclassified documents note extreme right-wing and white supremacist ideology has been the “main ideological source” for 17 per cent of so-called lone wolf attacks worldwide.

Like the wannabe terrorists in Halifax, who despite the bloodbath they were planning, were declared NOT to be terrorists by Peter MacKay. 

“The attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore [is] not linked to terrorism,” MacKay said in a press conference Saturday — a quote that stirred controversy for its apparent ignorance of the Criminal Code definition of terrorism.

And what's even even more disturbing is that by claiming that the international jihadi movement has declared war on us, Harper is actually promoting that movement and helping it grow:

The CSIS documents explicitly warn that the notion the Western world is at war with Islam plays into terrorist recruitment strategies. “International terrorist groups place a high priority on radicalizing Westerners who can be used to carry out terrorist attacks in their home countries,” the documents read. 

“The narrative that the West is at war with Islam continues to exert a very powerful influence in radicalizing individuals and spreads quickly through social media and online fora.”

When he should be helping to diminish it, by portraying ISIS as just a ghastly gang of criminals, religious fanatics, and losers. Who should never be given the power to scare us, or change our lives in any way.

And if he was serious about trying to counter the influence of ISIS' slick propaganda videos on some disaffected youth, Harper might stop building them up like they were some big act, and he was their press agent.

And instead encourage those who mock them...

Like this group of young Syrian refugees is doing.

“The entire world seems to be terrified of Isis, so we want to laugh at them, expose their hypocrisy and show that their interpretation of Islam does not represent the overwhelming majority of Muslims,” says Maen Watfe, 27. “The media, especially the western media, obsessively reproduce Isis propaganda portraying them as strong and intimidating. We want to show their weaknesses.”

By laughing at their fanaticism, and at those who would lead young people astray...

Because if you want to reach the young, and put a dent in the myth of ISIS, YouTube videos are the way to go.

But of course that would require intelligence, sophistication, and an interest in root causes which as we know Stephen Harper lacks. He'd rather spend a billion dollars on porky ads than fight homegrown terrorism.

He can hardly target right-wingers and white supremacists when he is a right-wing extremist himself. 

He can't have people laugh at the terrorists, when he's trying to make us believe that there is a jihadi behind every tree waiting to behead us.

And him and his ghastly Cons would rather create another wedge issue, to try to snatch another bleeding majority, by riling up the "whities," and using "brown people" as scapegoats.

Even if that means using fear to divide us, and turn us into a police state. 

While fanning the flames of bigotry...

And making our lives more dangerous rather than safer.

But then that's why I mock them, and laugh at him all the time. 

So I don't inadvertently help build him up into some kind of Great Leader, like he's building up the jihadi movement.

For crass political purposes...

When I'd rather deflate him, and portray him as he really is: a grubby little coward  who has defiled this country and its values, bullied all kinds of people, and shamed us beyond recognition in the eyes of the world.

And why I always say, we will not be safe, and we will not be decent.

Until the glorious day when that dangerous terrorist is finally defeated...

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Anonymous said...

I recall how Chretien handled things post 9/11 and how he snubbed George Bush's request to join his based on lies war in Iraq. Now there was a true leader who didn't try to scare Canadians with idiotic and dangerous rhetoric and he probably saved thousands of Canadian lives by not entering the Iraq war. Then along came Harper. Imagine if he'd been leader at that time. Scary eh? Everything about him is scary as in what he's done to this country and the lengths he'll go to to win the election. You are bang on Simon. Harper is the biggest threat this country has ever faced and the sooner people realize this the better.

jrkrideau said...

When you think about it, Harper has never met a foreign policy mistake he didn't like. Off the top to my head: Early on, he pointedly snubbed China based on their human rights record, admittedly less than outstanding, and a few years later had to go back, cap in hand, looking for business; he closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran at a time that we, arguably, needed a listening post there and certainly needed consular services for Canadians; and, most unbelievably, managed to get us tossed out of Dubai (a base IIRC the Emirates were supplying free of rent) as the Afghan mess was ending. It was so bad that a Canadian plane with the defence minister and Chief of Staff coming back from Afghanistan were told they could not land.

And didn't the Cons implement a visa program for Mexico, with no warning and just as the Mexican economy was becoming a real heavy-weight contender? That really must have helped business. We even did such a good job that, I believe, we refused a visa to a retired Mexican Supreme Court judge,

Senior civil servants in Ottawa must spend half of their day, either gulping tranks or pounding their heads on their desks.

Unknown said...

"Is Stephen Harper Fighting Terrorism or Promoting it", is a really good question Simon. I believe he is consciously promoting it with the hope that they will commit an attack on Canadian soil.He will do absolutely anything to hold on to power and I mean anything.This tyrant is a very dangerous man.

e.a.f. said...

I'm not afraid of the jihadists, as described by Harper and his Cons. I am afraid though we could loose our health care system. I'm not afraid of some "terrorists" blowing up any malls in Canada, but I am afraid for my First Nations women friends, who might be murdered.

I'm not afraid of "terrorists" torching our country, but I am afraid of the lack of fire protection in many communities around the country. Your house burns to the ground because there is no national strategy for municipal fire departments.

I am not concerned about jihadists "converting" Canadian kids, but I am worried about Canadian kids living below the poverty line and dying younger than they ought to due to poor nutrition and lack of health care.

The list goes on.

This Jihadist thing is simply a new form of gangs. We had religious cults kids joined. Then we had kids joining criminal gangs. Now we have some kids joining jihadist gangs. The jihadists are simply about poverty. Its what poverty produces in countries which are poor, have no governments. Just look at where the "jihadists" started. So if some "western" young people want to join, let them go. Its their lives. You can always arrest them on their way home. Oh, that might be a tad difficult, they got out of the country to begin with, so no point in implementing laws to prevent it.

We have more young people killed by substance abuse, than by joining jihadists, so why harper has got this things all in a knot is beyond me.

Harper would like us to think these new gangs are going to take over our malls and kill us all. Our diets will do that for us first.

Steve said...

I shot up my kitchen this morning, turns out my wife had just not folded the dishrag.

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure is redirecting police resources away from organized crime and gangs is not going to make Canada safer.