Canadian Man Arrested For Not Being A Terrorist
from the fake-it-til-you-make-it dept
Here in the United States, we’re used to the FBI radicalizing terrorists in order to arrest terrorists. If you don’t have any aspiring terrorist friends, the FBI can set you up with some. Don’t have a plan to do some terror stuff? No problem, the FBI has all kinds of ideas. Low on cash and unable to pick up your own terrorist supplies? Petty cash has you covered, my man. Just looking for a little acceptance? The FBI can fill that void in your life, just before it arrests you and takes that life away.
A string of open net goals by the FBI’s counterterrorism division has left us a bit jaded. We need something new to shake things up a bit. Fortunately, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have stepped up to provide a new twist: arresting and charging someone for [checks news report] not being a terrorist.
A Canadian whose widely-publicized account of conducting executions for ISIS fueled public outrage and debate in the House of Commons has been charged with allegedly making it up.
Shehroze Chaudhry, 25, who has portrayed himself as a former ISIS member living freely in Canada, was charged with faking his involvement in the terrorist group.
Not only is it a crime to be a terrorist in Canada, it’s also a crime to not be one — not if you portray yourself as a terrorist. After invoking all sorts of small-t terror with his pretending to be Jihadist Public Enemy No. 1, Chaudhry found himself arrested on the more seldom-used charge of “terrorism hoax.”
The RCMP apparently doesn’t take kindly to being duped, although it seems any investigation would have discovered Chaudry’s lack of terrorism and allowed the agency to drop him as a suspect and quit wasting tax dollars on him. There’s a hint of bitterness in this statement:
“Hoaxes can generate fear within our communities and create the illusion there is a potential threat to Canadians, while we have determined otherwise,” said stated Superintendent Christopher deGale, who heads the Toronto INSET.
“As a result, the RCMP takes these allegations very seriously, particularly when individuals, by their actions, cause the police to enter into investigations in which human and financial resources are invested and diverted from other ongoing priorities.”
I understand things like hoax bomb threats and hoax 911 calls can be taxing on a system that often portrays itself as overstretched. But Chaudry’s faux terrorism was apparently limited to shitposting on a number of social media accounts, talking a good terrorist game while never actually being involved with any terrorism group.
The hoax charge hasn’t been used often, but it appears prosecutors think this time it will stick. After all, not many faux terrorists end up the subject of multiple news reports and podcasts reaching large audiences.
[T]he Crown may intend to argue that, because the hoax was so widespread and was featured on a popular podcast, it created fear that Canadian ISIS members were “returning and running around,” and that police were powerless to stop them.
Implicit in that argument is that Chaudry is being punished for making law enforcement look inept. Moving forward with a prosecution on these charges, however, won’t make them look any less inept. In fact, it will compound the perceived ineptness. First, the RCMP can’t take down real terrorists. Second, the RCMP has to resort to arresting fake terrorists. Adding these two negatives together won’t make them a positive.
But it could be an easy win for the Crown. The best defense against charges of fake terrorism is evidence you’re a real terrorist. Either way, Chaudry is probably screwed. But fake terrorism is only five years in prison. Actual terrorism usual nets a person a whole lot more time behind bars. The best choice may be to agree to be the guy who didn’t actually do anything.