The Prime Minister, in his role as Chief Scarifier, performed as expected on Thursday, once again using an atrocity for political gain, and to serve his government’s agenda to reduce Canadians’ civil liberties. No surprise there. What was surprising — or, if not surprising, then wall-to-wall evident in the 24 hour news coverage of the shootings in Paris — was the media’s obliviousness to the likelihood that some intelligence agency was involved in the attacks.
Yes, “likelihood,” unless you regard things like math and statistical probability as conspiracy theories. In the vast majority of such crazy-Muslim-guy (or guys) attacks in the past, they have eventually been shown to have been enabled by the likes of the FBI or CIA or RCMP. Of course, to believe such a thing, you must rely on suspect news sources like The New York Times.
Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast. Thus began our current era of blame-the-Muslims in 1993. In this case, the FBI had recruited an informer, a former Egyptian army officer, and placed him in the midst of a bunch of militant Islamists in New York City who wanted to bomb the World Trade Centre. He helped them build the bomb and then, when he told his FBI handlers it was time to move in and stop the bombing, they declined. Once again: They declined.
The bomb was planted, detonated, six people were killed and over a thousand injured. And that, of course, was just a precursor to what was to come.
Which is to say, yes, there are crazy-Muslim-guys out there, or at least ones bent on destruction and killing, but, as The New York Times has also reported, in pretty much all instances in the U.S. the FBI has been behind their activities. And remember the underwear bomber? As a State Department undersecretary later told a congressional inquiry, “intelligence officials” were in on that one, too.
In Canada, CSIS and the RCMP were on the inside of the 2006 plot to bomb buildings in Toronto. We know this because they told us so. In the case of the more recent Parliament Hill shootings, however, we still don’t know what “persuasive evidence” they have that “Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack was driven by ideological and political motives,” or how they obtained it, because they’ve told us next to nothing since. They also still haven’t released the video that allegedly is part of their “persuasive evidence,” the one they told us we’d just have to wait patiently for. In fact, they now tell us, we may never get to see it at all.
Now, just because these intelligence agencies were aware of these plots as they formed does not mean they instigated them, though it would be extremely naive, not to mention ahistorical, to suppose that that doesn’t happen also. Of course, much of the media is naive, willfully or otherwise; the howls of outrage unleashed even to this day by mainstream journalists at any suggestion the official story of 9/11 might not be 100% reliable are as excruciating as they are embarrassing. (It will be diverting to watch those same journalists respond as the story now begins to unravel at an official level.)
I am inclined to give most if not all of the talking heads the benefit of the doubt as they credulously report on the events in France, and parrot information provided to them by “anonymous intelligence sources” about the origins, motives, histories of the murderers, without any apparent inkling, and certainly no on-air cautions, that those same intelligence sources might, as the past teaches us, be implicated in the crime. Journalists on breaking stories have never looked much beyond the surface of the narrative, either because they haven’t the time, or just aren’t knowledgeable or bright enough to. And, of course, by the time the story has played out, and they might take the time to look into it further, and maybe make themselves a little bit smarter, they are on to the next one.
But that doesn’t make it any less disturbing to watch in action, whether on CBC or CNN (mostly on CNN, to be fair), or on the website of The Globe and Mail. I can only imagine what’s been going on on Fox News and the pages of the National Post.
It’s one thing for the news anchors to read glassily from their teleprompters. But as I watched their correspondents in the field blithely assure us within hours of the event that we knew who had done it (because one of the gunmen had helpfully left his ID behind in the getaway car) and that they were not murderers but “terrorists” (a word which typically means that some larger organization is at work, which would be fine, if by it they didn’t simply mean the usual brown-skinned suspects), I thought, “Now these people are a topic for satire.” Charlie Hebdo has bigger subjects to fry, but I hope it gets around to them.