Plethora of problematic pieces

Ok, before we get going here, I want everyone to repeat after me:
They were undercover cops.
They were undercover cops.
This is the one fact that a lot of people are omitting from their reports and commentaries on the shooting of an unarmed, innocent man in the London subway. Despite what Peter Worthington and his letter-writing supporters would have you believe, the brown guy had no way to know that the angry mob of gun-toting white men chasing him and yelling for him to stop were cops.
Cops that shot him seven times in the head.

Okay, on to today’s coverage.

Continuing the fight for freedom
I am really concerned about the resurgence in “us vs. them” thinking lately. I thought we’d finally accepted that “terror” is a complex entity comprised of many different elements, but lately, we’ve slid back into this reactionary, polarizing discourse on the nature of the threat.

Here’s a few examples. First, Marcus Gee in today’s Globe cites the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, and notes that the killer was a relatively-affluent, Dutch-raised Muslim who was motivated by antiquated notions of Islamic fundamentalism. No argument here. But then he some how extends this argument to apply to each and every jihadist, and dismisses suggestions that some terrorist cells are motivated by aggressive Western foreign policies.

Apply that thinking to the other side. Would anyone dare suggest that each and every American soldier is driven by the same motivation? No, of course not. Some soldiers enlist because of a sense of patriotic duty. Some do it because they’re poor and it gets them a free education. I assume some do it because they like to kill. There are myriad reasons that U.S. soldiers enlist, and it’s unrealistic to try and pretend that the situation is different with jihadists.

Another example: Bruce Garvey’s column in the Post’s Issues and Ideas section today deals with Canada’s complacent approach to terrorism. I can’t link to the piece because the Post blocks access to it and Google News can’t seem to find it, but Garvey makes a few lovely arguments. Allow me to post and refute:

He dismisses concerns about racial profiling by saying “to my recollection, the vast majority of the terrorist evil-doers who’ve struck struck the West traced their roots to the Middle East or South Asia. (The notable exceptions: a Jamaican-born British bomber, the executed Timothy McVeigh and, if we’re going to count failed attempts, Richard Reid).”

That’s quite the recollection, good sir. Impressive that you’ve already managed to forget that the four failed London bombers were from Somalia and Eritrea, which are in Africa.

Garvey then goes on to complain that “the liberal cause celebre” is the shooting of the Brazilain man in London. I won’t repeat myself, just know that Garvey, like so many others, fails to note that the cops were undercover.

There’s more, but it would take too much time to post everything. Just digest this little conclusion: “The civil libertarians would do well to recall that during the last great war the British fought six decades ago, censorship and restrictions would have prohibited any of these events from even being reported.”

I’m encouraged to see that four years into this great war on terrorism, the U.S. is finally starting to recognize that terrorism isn’t a clearly-defined enemy (story is here, but it was also in the CanWest papers and a few others). I hope the chattering classes get the memo and start contributing something worthwhile to the national debate.

Whaddya mean they’re related?
All this talk about Hans Island has people wondering about Canada’s ability to patrol the arctic. The Montreal Gazette and Toronto Star both ran editorials today underlining the seriousness of the issue. They both stressed that Canada needs to be able to protect its Arctic sovereignty. Odd then that they both passed on this CP story.

I don’t understand how papers can editorialize on issues as though they exist in a vaccum. It happens all the time. Some outlet will bemoan Canada’s weak borders and pass on a wire story about a major drug seizure at the border. In this case it’s even more surprising because it would have added to their point. It’s just really frustrating.

Parting shots
First of all, hooray for Jeffrey Simpson. He takes the premiers to task for asking for dedicated education money from the feds after lobbying for years for lump sum transfer payments. Anyone who’s heard me rant knows this topic is near and dear to my heart. So Simpson gets a big hooray.

Oh, and guess who’s going to be supplying and servicing (no, not like that, perverts) our troops in Afghanistan? If you said Canada’s homegrown war profiteerers SNC-Lavalin, you’d be wrong! It’s Halliburton! Read all about it here and pay special attention to the fact that they spelled Halliburton wrong.


  1. to your “They were undercover cops” comment, joe, i would also add that it appears the young man who was shot (Jean Charles de Menezes) was also threatened the week before by a few Londoners (younger, whiter men with a little drink in them).

    at least that’s the story that CBC Newsworld reported yesterday. they interviewed a man — i can’t remember his man, but he is a smalltime businessman who helps Brazilians transfer money to the relatives back home, and who knew de Menezes — and that’s the story he told.

    if indeed true, small wonder the guy ran from a bunch of white dudes with guns. these details should certainly be more widely reported and (again, if true) should, hopefully, shut up callous commentators like Worthington who seems to be alright with the execution of innocent civilians in the name of ‘fighting terror.’

  2. Yea, I saw that same report on The National. De Menezes apparently worked for the guy part time.

    In other news, if you thought Worthington was a prick (and he is), check this out:

    Go to
    Click on “Free Video”
    Click on “opinion” in the left sidebar
    Click on “John Gibson’s My World”

    Just remember, it aired before they knew he was innocent.

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