June 06, 2006
Not quite the same thing
Some people are comparing the alleged terrorist-bust to the 2003 netting of some Pakistani students on fake student visas in Toronto. I wrote about that one back in the day.
The big difference, of course, is that that fake visa case was blown wildly out of proportion by the media, primarily by the National Post, on the basis of very little initial information from authorities. It was also solely an RCMP and Immigration Canada affair, with no CSIS involvement.
It's probably fair to say that Canadian authorities learned a lot about how to publicize a possible terror connection from the way that story was mangled, but there's otherwise very little similarity here. It's probably also a little unfair to blame the government generally, rather than the Canadian media, for the stigmatization that was suffered by the guys caught up in that previous case. Everyone seems to be trying to be a little more responsible this time around, though.
Always nice to see your friends in the news
Two old colleagues are in the news a lot today around the alleged terrorism bust.
Star reporter (in both senses) Michelle Shephard was once, a long time ago, part of the same University of Toronto Varsity news team as me, a team that also included Tanya Talaga (also of the Star) and Elissa Lansdell of Country Music Television, among others. U of T doesn't have a j-school, all the student journalists are spare-time volunteers, and yet the Varsity, and the Canadian student press in general, proved the starting point for all kinds of amazing journalistic careers, up until at least the late-90s. Now I suppose all the kids who would do that sort of thing have blogs: it'll be interesting to see if they ever enjoy the same kind of cred that used to be more-or-less automatically bestowed on Varsity writers upon entering the professional workplace.
On the flip side of my young life, the Mackenzie Institute's John Thompson, much on the news as the local terrorism expert at the moment, shared an officer's mess with me at one time. You haven't changed a bit, John.
"endearingly macho" -- Mark Steyn
"wonderfully detailed analysis" -- John Allemang, Globe and Mail
"unusually candid" -- Tom Ricks, Foreignpolicy.com
Bill & Bob
Ghosts of Alex