This from Asia Times, 14 January 2011:
Well-placed Taliban sources say that a group of Canadian militants is receiving jihadi training in al-Qaeda camps in North Waziristan for terror attacks in Canada, whose troops are a part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
[…]Arif Wazir, a local militant of Darpakhel in North Waziristan told Asia Times Online, « In the first stage of their journey, the Canadians went to Afghanistan in February 2010; there were 12 of them. After nine months, al-Qaeda’s leaders decided to send them to North Waziristan and they reached Darpakhel in November last year.
[…]The sources gave the names of some of the Canadians undergoing training. These could not be independently verified and include: Jeam Paull (local name Sadiq Ullah), Leman Langlois (Sana Ullah), James Richard (Abdur Rehman), Otto Paul (Abu Usman), Thomas (Abdullah) and Paul Gall (Hafiz Ullah).
This story is preposterous at many levels. First, let’s recap: a Taliban militant identifies himself as such, by name, then goes on to name 12 terrorists his group is training so they can go back to Canada and blow stuff up with sugar-based explosives.
Really? Nothing at all odd about this?
For one thing, it strikes me as not at all the best way to remain undetected. But let me mention one more small detail: I’m the only person in the world with the name “Leman-Langlois”. It is NOT a common name. Interestingly, I’m a terrorism EXPERT not a terrorist (google it).
Given the context, I surmise that the « Jeam Paull » mentioned is Jean-Paul Brodeur, my mentor and long time collaborator. He died last April. Right here in Quebec.
The other names are fanciful as well. Jean-Paul and I wrote many papers, book chapters, and a book about terrorism. In one we mention former ministers Otto Jelinek and Paul Martin, likely the Otto Paul of the report. « James Richard » sounds like James Richard Cross, former British diplomat kidnapped by the FLQ in 1970, also one of our topics (thanx to Dr Dawg’s readers). Paul Gill (not Gall) is an expert in suicide bombing at University College Dublin.
What does this all mean? First, that the original story and its writers are frauds. Nothing new there, much reporting about terrorism is, to a point, fabricated. (Watch below how our most trusted media sources systematically append stock photos to this story, providing an artificial appearance of factual reality). Second, dozens of other news organizations are too busy meeting deadlines to actually do the most basic fact checking before copy-pasting sensational bullshit on terrorism:
A (very incomplete) sample:
Only one media organization has been up to the task we assume to be their raison d’être: CBC News – The National.
Bloggers, for the most part, have followed suit (one perceptive exception). In both cases the commenting public has been regurgitating fiery, anti-muslim, anti-immigration, bomb-them-all rhetoric. For what? Hot air.
But why does this hot air not disperse as it should? Because the story fits well with our preconceptions about religious robot terrorists learning obscure skills in distant lands, returning anonymously as invisible ticking time bombs. It also fits the back story for our effort in Afghanistan: they are just waiting to regroup there (ok, this is Pakistan, but close enough).
Let’s stop panicking about terrorism, right now. I mean it. This is getting ridiculous. An obscure, and most likely fabricated story such as this one should not be repeated in every media. Even if true. What these 12 potential losers represent as a threat to Canada or individual Canadians is vanishingly small. The likelihood that they would return and successfully conduct a deadly attack is ridiculously low. And if they succeeded, the overall risk any of us faces would not change by more than the proverbial grain of sand on the beach.