Was it Terrorism or “Senseless Violence” that occurred in Canada?
At 9:52 AM EDT in Ottawa long haired 32 year old Michael Zehaf Bibeau wearing a black and white scarf and dressed in black equipped with a double-barreled shot gun, stormed Canada’s War Memorial on Capitol Hill in Ottawa. He shot and fatally wounded a member of The Honor Guard , 24 year old Pvt. Nathan Cirllio , a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment who was on duty with a companion who was wounded in the attack. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Zehaf-Bibeau was considered to have been “a high risk traveller and had his passport revoked”.
Bibeau then drove to the Parliament building in a stolen black automobile with no license tags. He ran with weapon in hand into the Parliamentary center complex apparently running past a room where Canadian PM Harper was speaking. In the ensuing gun battle Bibeau was shot dead at approximately 10:30AM by Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant at Arms before he could barge into the Caucus room filled with various party delegation members. Wednesdays are busy days in Canada’s parliament as there are also tours for visitors. While the Sergeant at Arms is an honorific post at the Canadian Parliament, Vickers is in charge of protection for the Parliamentary Center complex. He was appointed to this post in 2005. In 2009, Vickers was given an award by a Canadian Progressive Muslim group for his unbiased multicultural security practices. He was a trained law enforcement officer, former member of the famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police who served 25 years including stints in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
MPs gathered for the Wednesday caucus overheard 20 to 30 shots fired. The entire parliamentary district, several embassies , including the US , and the nearby Rideau Mall Center remained locked down, while police comb the area in search for rumored accomplices. Prime Minister Harper was escorted to safety. However, his trip to Toronto to attend a ceremony conferring an honorary Canadian Citizenship on Pakistani teenage Noble Laureate Malala Yousafzai was unavoidably cancelled.
Upon hearing the news, social media in Ottawa and Canada lit up with expressions of thoughts and prayers for the family of Pvt. Cirillo and concerns for the safety of those in Ottawa under lockdown.
ISIS immediately sent out a picture of Zehaf Bibeau. Bibeau, has had a troubled family life and number of convictions for possession and distribution of drug s and parole violations. In 2011, he was arrested in Vancouver on assault and robbery charges. In 2012 he was arrested on additional charges of making threats in Vancouver. The ferocity of the attack in Ottawa by Bibeau indicates he was highly motivated and aggrieved. Bibeau’s murderous actions may have been Jihadist inspired by ISIS given his use of the terrorist group’s Twitter site.
Then is the similar case of 25 year old Martin Couture-Rouleau, who flouted his newly adopted Islamic Jihadist faith and its doctrine of hate towards Jews, Christians and other unbelievers in posts on his Facebook page . As a result of his new found faith he succumbed to the excesses of murderous and barbaric ISIS. What is interesting in Couture-Rouleau’s case was that the anti-terrorism unit of the RCMP had been monitoring his social media and chatter focusing on his intention to leave to join ISIS. That was prompted by his parents’ calls to the police concerned about his newly adopted views espoused at the local mosque he attended near Montreal. Apparently under Canadian law there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to a terrorist group after his arrest In July, 2014, before boarding a flight to Turkey to join ISIS. He was subsequently released to regularly meet with Police until just before he perpetrated Monday’s vehicular murder. Like Bibeau, following his arrest, he had his passport removed as “a high risk traveller”. Superintendent Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a televised news conference:
It’s very difficult to know exactly what an individual is planning to do before a crime is committed,” Superintendent Fontaine said. “We cannot arrest someone for thinking radical thoughts; it is not a crime in Canada.
Prime Minister Harper announced Canada’s joining the US led Operation Inherent Resolve with a Canadian Air Force F-18 squadron to conduct air operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That triggered a spike in social media by the Islamic State calling for Jihadist wannabees to attack Canadian and US military. Couture-Rouleau’s jihadist attack culminated Monday, October 20, 2014 in his running down two Canada Force soldiers at a strip mall in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. He killed 53 year old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and wounded the other serviceman. Police shot and apprehended Couture-Rouleau. Following today’s Ottawa attack, the Canadian federal government issued a temporary ban on use of many public places to prevent a repetition. Ironically, Canadian Public Safety Minister Blaney raised the Canadian national terrorism threat level to “medium” on Tuesday , just prior to today’s attack in Ottawa.
In the U.S., today’s attack that killed a member of the Canadian Honor Guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial ,prompted the Administration to bolster security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery. The U.S. is concerned about the emergence of self-actualized jihadist supporters in our midst. An example is the prison convert to Islam who beheaded a fellow woman employee in Moore, Oklahoma. Then this week there was the apprehension of three underage Denver area girls from Sudan and Somali émigré families who left unannounced, boarding a flight in Colorado only to be apprehended by German police when they arrived in Frankfurt before they could board a connecting flight to Turkey. Their ultimate destination was Syria to join ISIS. Both the Canadian attacks and US one raises the policy question about how to combat the jihadist theocratic message of ISIS. That message is anchored in the Qur’anic canon of foundational documents and codified under Shariah law in the ‘sacred manual’, The Reliance of the Traveler.
President Obama was interviewed in the Oval Office following a phone conversation with Canadian PM Harper. He conveyed the collective thoughts and concerns of this country for what Canada has endured this week. Choosing his language carefully to avoid any controversy over what motivates such actions , he condemned what he termed “senseless violence”. PM Harper said that “a terrorist murdered the soldier in cold blood”.
Mark Steyn, American-Canadian commentator and author of the recently released book Undocumented, was interviewed on Neal Cavuto’s Fox News program today. He said, “violence against the state isn’t “senseless”. Steyn thought the President’s “senseless violence” comment brought to mind the equivocating term “ workplace violence”, as in the Moore, Oklahoma beheading and Maj. Nidal Hassan‘s murderous jihad rampage at Fort Hood in 2009. Steyn instead put the blame for this week’s Montreal and Ottawa attacks squarely on Canada’s policy of multi-culturalism that tolerates Islamic theocratic doctrine supporting the barbarity of ISIS and similar Jihadist, Salafist groups. He noted that while ISIS beheads captive unbelievers and violators of Sharia, so does Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, an ally of the U.S. in the coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve.
David B. Harris, former planning director for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and columnist on counterterrorism, spoke by phone with Cavuto about Canada’s dilemma. He was asked if he thought the Ottawa event was a terrorist attack? He suggested that, while it required confirmation, it certainly had the appearance of one. However, Harris said that Canada may be unprepared for more such attacks in view of the significant number of Canadians who have left to join up with ISIS. They include some who have become prominent ISIS spokespersons, who may return to foster such domestic terrorism. He drew attention to a Canadian Senate testimony by Michel Coulombe the current head of CSIS, who indicated that Canada could be overwhelmed by such ISIS inspired homegrown terrorist threats lacking the resources and legal means to combat them.
Watch this Fox News report video report on the shootout today inside the Canadian Parliament: