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Killing Canadians 'best way': student

Killing Canadians 'best way': student

Author: Stewart Bell
Publication: National Post
Date: January 30, 2008
URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=272528

Web posts spark RCMP probe, free speech debate

A Toronto-area man has been posting messages on the Internet supporting attacks against Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil, drawing the attention of RCMP national security investigators.

Police have advised the Bangladeshi-Canadian that he is under investigation for incitement and facilitating terrorism after he repeatedly called the killing of Canadian troops in Canada "legitimate" and "well deserved."

No charges have been laid, but counterterrorism officers are apparently taking it seriously, and the case has set off a debate inside government over where to draw the line between free expression and incitement.

"The promotion of hate and violence has no place in Canadian society, and it is an offence under the Criminal Code," Stockwell Day, the Minister of Public Safety, responded when shown a sample of the postings. "Our government carefully balances the right to freedom of expression with our duty to protect Canadians from harm."

Alarm bells about the online writings went off last September after German authorities arrested three Islamic militants accused of planning to bomb the Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport.

That same day, Salman Hossain posted several messages about the plot on the comment board of a Toronto-based Internet site where he is a frequent contributor.

Although Mr. Hossain claimed in one of his communications with the National Post that he made the comments in a private online chat room, the messages can easily be viewed by anyone using a simple Google search.

"I hope the German brothers were gonna blow up US-German bases in their country. We should do that here in Canada as well. Kill as many western soldiers as well so that they think twice before entering foreign countries on behalf of their Jew masters," he wrote.

"Any and all Western soldiers getting prepared to enter Muslim nations like Afghanistan or Iraq should be legitimate targets by any and all Islamic militants either in the attacked nations or in the western nations --if there were any planned attacks against Canadian/ American soldiers by 'Muslim militants' in Canadian soil, I'd support it," he added.

"Canadian soldiers in Canadian soil who are training to go to Afghanistan or Iraq are legitimate targets to be killed. Now it is POSSIBLE AND LEGITIMATE!! ... believe me, if we could have enough of our soldiers killed, then we'd be forced to withdrawn from Afghanistan."

In addition, he singles out Jews, writing: "When do I get to shoot a few Jews down for attempting to blow up dozens of mosques in America right after 9-11 why f---ing target the Americans when the Jews are better?"

The author of the messages is a Mississauga university student in his mid-twenties who claims to know the infamous Khadr family and several of the men arrested in Toronto in June, 2006, on terrorism conspiracy charges. He confirmed to the National Post that he was the author of the postings but later declined to comment further on the advice of his lawyer. While he writes that he approves of attacking Canadian troops, he also says he would not do so himself.

Despite being visited by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and RCMP and told he was under investigation, Mr. Hossain has continued to post messages approving of attacks on Canadian troops.

Saying anti-war protests "will do sh$$," he describes a "mass casualty" attack on the home-front as "a well considered option" and "the best way to compel western soldiers to get out of Afghanistan/Iraq."

Such an attack "would be fantastic and would get the job done," he writes. "If someone gets the bright idea of committing such a wonderful act, it's NOT my responsibility in any way, shape or form."

He wrote, "I enjoy watching the blood flow from the western troops," and during Defence Minister Peter MacKay's Christmas week visit to Kandahar, he wrote: "I pray that the Taliban kill our Mackay motherf---er."

In other postings, he wishes "a merry 9-11, and I wish y'all many more merry 9-11s"; says "the Jews are literally the most treacherous nation on the face of the Earth"; says "I hate the Jews"; and claims "the filthy Jews carried out 9-11."

He rails at police, saying "you can't charge me for possessing a thought" and writes that he "honestly got a kick outta pissing off the RCMP HAHAHA i was laughing my ass off for provoking the RCMP."

The case comes as Canadian security agencies are struggling to deal with extremism among a minority of Muslim Canadians, particularly youths. Intelligence analysts believe much of this radicalization is occurring on the Internet.

"So what we are in the presence of is a ranter, informed by the usual conspiratorial views that are unfortunately part and parcel of extremist Islamist thought -- especially the core anti-Semitic notion of a giant Jewish conspiracy," said Professor Wesley Wark, a Canadian security expert.

But he said while the language is violent and crude, it is probably harmless venting. "On the other hand, there is always a worry that such speech could tip over into action by this person or others of like mind."

The RCMP would not comment on the probe, saying sensitive matters of national security were involved, but spokeswoman Corporal Cathy McCrory said the government was "committed to ensuring the safety and security of citizens and we will not tolerate those that seek to harm Canadians."

Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) does not specifically outlaw incitement of terrorism, although such a measure has been discussed by MPs.

Prof. Work, visiting research professor at the University of Ottawa School of Public and International Affair, said a debate on the topic is needed.

"It's high time we had a proper public airing of the pros and cons of further reforms to the ATA, including an incitement clause, and a public airing of the nature of legal powers needed to ensure prompt and effective monitoring of potentially harmful Internet traffic."

A few days after Mr. Hossain wrote that "we should do" a Ramstein-type plot in Canada, the RCMP contacted him. He spoke to them on Sept. 18 at his lawyer's office.

He later posted messages saying he was under police investigation, but he said that "cheerleading" for Muslim insurgents in Afghanistan "is every Muslim's right."

Although he did not tone down his rhetoric, he did make one change: His comments are now sometimes followed by a disclaimer that says he is not inciting violence but merely "suggesting" scenarios and he is not responsible if they actually happen.

"I don't see how the right to free speech includes deliberate

incitement to violence," said Bruce Hoffman, a Georgetown University professor and a leading international expert on terrorism, after reading the postings.

"One would think that [Canadian soldiers] are owed more than, 'Well, I don't think we can secure a conviction.' How demoralizing is it for soldiers to find out that people are openly advocating terrorism against them and yet the government who they serve won't do anything about it because it's either too much trouble or there's no guarantee they're going to succeed?"

Prof. Hoffman said the postings remind him of the material that incited Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. "Reading those, I was wondering, is there any Western country that would tolerate people posting things talking about staging attacks like this?"
He said that while there was no guarantee a criminal case would succeed, prosecutors might want to go ahead anyway, if only to send a message that "you can't openly advocate the murder of Canadian soldiers.

Four months after he met RCMP officers at his lawyer's office, the Mississauga man continues to make provocative postings. On Jan. 17, he wrote that, "If the Taliban had the capability to attack our troops in our own soil, which I personally hope they do in the future, then these pussies will be dead scared of sending any more troops in2 Afghanistan."

- sbell@nationalpost.com

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