I would like to announce the creation of a fund for Canadian pedophiles. Not those in prison or getting treatment but those languishing in squalid jails pending trial in southeast Asia after they were caught abusing young children, having traveled intentionally to that part of the world with the sole intention of having sex with kids. Please help me in saving these men, none of whom have been found guilty in what we all know to be unfair and substandard justice systems. Which one of you will be the first to sign up? If pedophiles aren’t your kind of deserving victim how about Canadian drug smugglers suffering in horrible conditions in Turkish jails? No? Why not?
The above offer is of course facetious. I have no interest in standing up for men that have sex with little boys or little girls and I have just as much sympathy for drug dealers (i.e. none). Not surprisingly, I have an equally small amount of time for Islamist extremists: after all I did spend 15 years trying to identify and stop them when I was at CSIS. There are many, though, who seem to think that these men deserve help and that the Canadian government needs to move heaven and earth to rescue them from the clutches of evil jailers or pay them obscene amounts of money to make up for alleged ‘human rights abuses’. As we are learning there is a whole industry of do-gooders who go to the wall to defend alleged terrorists, whether they are here in Canada or fought with Islamic State or other heinous groups in Iraq and now find themselves at the mercy of the Iraqis, the Syrians or the Kurds.
My questions to those individuals are the following: why would you support a terrorist but not a pedophile or a drug dealer? Why do you appear to give terrorists a pass? Why are you incapable of seeing them for what they are?
I can think of a couple of plausible reasons:
You might have a bit of admiration for the ‘bad boy’ image, in the same way that master criminal Al Capone was seen by many as a folk hero. Terrorists can seem to be daring, spit-in-your-eye characters that actually may appeal to you.
If the security services say someone is a terrorist they must be wrong since they lie about everything. CSIS may say it has a huge file on someone like Mohamed Harkat but there is no way for the average Joe to know what they know since the spies won’t share it. And they won’t share it because it is inaccurate and CSIS is Islamophobic anyway, or something like that.
Terrorism is all our fault when you think about it and we have to pay for our past sins (colonialism, occupation, support for Israel, Western hegemony…).
Some of you are woefully naive.
For those still reading and who may lean towards terrorists (ok, ‘child soldiers’) like Omar Khadr I have a very simple series of questions you should ask yourself before you join the “Free ______ (fill in the blank with your favourite ‘alleged’ terrorist)” movement:
a) why do you believe the ‘alleged’ terrorist when he says he went to Taliban or Al Qaeda-controlled territory but ‘just drove the bus’ or that he went to IS-controlled Syria to ‘hand out water bottles’? Are these stories plausible? Are those who tell them credible?
b) why would the State go to such lengths to accuse someone of terrorism? Do you think states do these things out of malice or hatred for a specific individual or group? Why would a government waste resources in this regard?
c) do you really believe that the terrorist threat is non-existent? I admit that many exaggerate the threat, calling it existential when it is not, but is it not also true that there do exist individuals who seek to kill innocent people all in the name of some perverted religious ideology? Is it not possible that some ‘alleged’ terrorists are real ones?
d) does the State not justifiably reserve the right to decide on matters such as who is allowed to come into the country and who is allowed to stay? If this is not the State’s prerogative then whose is it? The ‘no one is illegal’ crowd?
I am a 100% supporter of the presumption of innocence and the need for the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court case that a certain person is a terrorist and should be punished for his or her crimes. But I also 100% support the State’s ability to collect intelligence and use that intelligence to make decisions where court cases are not, and should not be, the issue (hint, hint: national security ceritficate cases). Any State that does not exercise these rights, within limits and subject to review, is not a responsible State in my opinion.
So for those still bent on carrying those placards you have every right to do so in a liberal democracy. But, if you don’t want to seem hypocritical, you really should make signs in support of alleged pedophiles and drug dealers since maybe they were falsely accused as well. When you do that, you will have at least earned my respect for putting your principles on the line. Until that time, those who swallow every word fed them by terrorists merit nothing less than the Stalinesque title of ‘useful idiots’ (useful for the terrorist cause that is).