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Edited with opening paragraph 2/16/2015

I’ve been reading “Spring’s End,” John Freund’s harrowing tale of surviving Auschwitz and the war. His family was not so lucky at the hands of the SS and death camp guards. His book brings back memories of the stories I heard as a child from my aunts and uncles who made it through the nightmare. It helped shape my politics at an early age. The lesson I took away from “Never Again” was that it describes how we expect everyone’s rights to be respected. 

So I found the recent news story about the alleged plot to shoot up a mall in Halifax to very alarming. First, that anyone could think about doing so. Second, because there may be a white supremacist, neo-nazi undertone to the alleged plot. Third, because Peter McKay tries to assure us that because there is no link to religion (Islam?) or culture (Aboriginal people?) there is no link to “terrorism”. 

Gamble’s Tumblr blog contains a photo of him holding a rifle, Nazi imagery and pictures from the Columbine High School massacre…. 

Justice Minister Peter MacKay told reporters the alleged plot “was not motivated by terrorism.”

Rob Devet from the Halifax Media Coop has more. His article, “Nova Scotia media not telling the full story. Plotters’ Neo-Nazi sympathies downplayed” also leads to this and this tumblr site from the youth who allegedly committed suicide. 

That at least some of the plotters were into posting Nazi paraphernalia on their facebook pages, or espousing white supremacist ideas on message boards has been downplayed by local reporters.

Unless I’m missing something, they clearly worshipped the very people who exterminated most of my Polish family. But don’t expect any references to this murderous ideology of hate — neo-Nazism — from the Harper Conservatives & Sun News Network (oh yeah – they’re gone) and their War on Terror. I really don’t understand what lessons the Jewish members of Harper’s caucus took away from WWII. 

Don’t expect to hear about an exhaustive police or CSIS investigation that might look for links to other potential real threats from the larger pro-violence, white supremacist movement in Canada or the U.S.A. According to Peter Mackay they are not to be considered as terrorists – just misfits. 

Double standards

So a real plot (if it is real) to cause mass casualties in Canada is not “terror” because the perpetrators were only avowed racists, not religious or cultural fanatics. But a Muslim kid posting a picture of Bin Laden can be arrested without warrant and possibly sent to prison for five years after Harper’s new laws are passed. 

Of course, there are no demands for the conservative movement to disavow itself of this murderous plot and the people implicated in it in the same way that they demand the Black, Muslim and First Nation communities are expected to take responsibility for every crime committed by “one of their own”. 

The Prime Minister is busy going after women who wear niqabs, redefining terrorism to suit his party’s electoral & ideological needs and floating new laws targeting Muslims for thought crimes and posting on social media. Yet the neo-Nazis can apparently post whatever hateful and murderous images they want and get a pass. After all, if it wasn’t for an anonymous tip from the US (not the work of the security apparatus), this alleged deadly plot may not have been thwarted. 

If anything, this all shows that when the state “security” apparatus watches everyone, they watch no one – least of all the real threats right under their noses – consciously choosing to make us less safe while stripping us all of our civil rights in the name of security.

Sadly, recent polls show that voters are vulnerable to such posturing.

Edited to add (Feb 18):
1) Tom Walkom at the Toronto Star points out the same absurdities, double standards and arbitrariness of Harper & Trudeau’s reaction. 

Halifax murder plot shows absurdity of anti-terror laws: Walkom

2) I appreciate the comments and closer examination of the social media content. Just to clarify, I didn’t say they were neo-Nazis (nor am I suggesting that the Harper government is) but suggested that there were neo-Nazi undertones and influences which were pretty much ignored by the media and not even acknowledged by MacKay. I was trying to point out the double standard whereby a Muslim person posting pictures of Bin Laden or the ISIS flag would be branded as terrorists and subject to the laws governing that. I also don’t think it’s unreasonable – in light of the government’s fixation on security – that before “closing the case” so quickly, there might be a closer look at whether or not there were any organized neo-Nazi influences that may not be apparent on the social media. Just how did they get their guns is one question that might be explored. 

Many (but not all) of the current attacks on both Muslim and Jewish targets in the US and Europe are emanating from neo-Nazis so it’s not as if there’s no threat at all from those quarters. 


Image: Flickr/PMWebphotos

Gary Shaul

Gary Shaul is a union activist who has been involved with a number of issues including electoral reform, anti-war, international solidarity, human rights and the environment. A Toronto resident, he has...