In a bygone, saner era, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s murder of Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo and subsequent shooting rampage inside the Parliament would have been treated as a drug-related murder. Not so in the age of terrorism.
Instead, the authorities used the long-time crack addict and Muslim’s actions to whip up hysteria, framing the events of Oct. 22 as excuses for expansion of the security state. Will Prime Minister Stephen Harper lead Canada down the same road the George W. Bush led America?
The center of Ottawa was locked down for several hours until evening, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Canadian nation it was a terrorist act, “a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.” [ii] Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit told the media that two or three gunmen were believed to be involved in the attacks. [iii]
First news reports, citing official sources, also said that “Zehaf-Bibeau … has been on the terrorist watch list … and could be an ISIS jihadi.” [iv] A dramatic photo of him, with a long-barreled gun and semi-masked with a scarf, like an outlaw in a Hollywood Western, was also reproduced widely in the media and on the Internet. [v]
The alleged source of the photo, a Twitter account, was used to link Zehaf to another Muslim murderer, Martin Couture-Rouleau, who two days earlier had killed a Canadian soldier and injured another in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. (It was alleged that Couture-Rouleau followed the same Canadian-based pro-ISIS Twitter account.) [vi] CNN reported, from a “U.S. source,” that “Zehaf-Bibeau has ‘connections’ online with jihadists.”[vii]
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