Let’s recall that the hard-Left Vox reacted to the revelation that Zehaf-Bibeau was a Muslim by dismissing the fact as irrelevant: “These reports imply that because Zehaf-Bibeau was Muslim, jihad is the likely motivation for his attack. But at this stage, without any actual evidence, it makes no more sense to come to that conclusion than it would to assume that he was motivated by Quebecois separatism, just because he was from Quebec. At this point, our focus on the Ottawa shooter’s religion says more about our own fears than it does about anything to do with Islamist terrorism.”
ABC News, meanwhile, noted that “authorities in Canada are trying to understand what motivated a gunman to kill a soldier in the country’s capital Wednesday.” As if it hadn’t been obvious from the beginning. And Toronto’s Globe and Mail, among others, decided that Zehaf-Bibeau must be crazy. After all, he couldn’t have been motivated by Islam’s jihad doctrine, which is peaceful and benign, so his shooting rampage simply must have been the product of a diseased mind. Its report offered no evidence of this diagnosis beyond quoting a friend of Zehaf-Bibeau saying, “I think he must have been mentally ill.” And how did the friend come to this conclusion? Zehaf-Bibeau, you see, “frequently talked about the presence of Shaytan in the world – an Arabic term for devils and demons.”
In other words, Zehaf-Bibeau must be insane because he spoke frequently of what are standard beliefs of mainstream Islam.
“Parliament Hill gunman Zehaf-Bibeau invoked ‘jihad’ in video shot minutes before attack,” by Jordan Press, Mark Kennedy, and Ian MacLeod, Ottawa Citizen, March 5, 2015:
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau sat in the front seat of his car minutes before his shooting rampage on Oct. 22, 2014, and spoke to the camera.
He spoke just long enough to talk about the actions he was soon to take, and put them into the context of “jihad,” the Arabic word for struggle that is associated — moderate Muslims argue wrongly — with a struggle against non-believers. He took aim at Canada’s foreign policy, threatened the Canadian military and invoked “Allah.”
Those words, captured on a cellphone video less than a minute long, have been in the hands of the RCMP since the day of the shooting, and every frame of the short video has been examined as part of a criminal investigation.
Zehaf-Bibeau left the video on a cellphone in the car he used to drive up to the National War Memorial and to the foot of Parliament Hill.
The cellphone was unlocked and unencrypted; investigators were left with the impression that Zehaf-Bibeau wanted them to find the video.
The details of how the video came to be, and how it fell into the hands of the RCMP, have been largely shrouded in mystery. The Citizen has pieced together the details from multiple sources with knowledge of the video that has yet to be shown publicly.
On Friday, a more than four-month wait to see the video will come to an end when RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson walks into a House of Commons committee room and briefs MPs and Canadians about Zehaf-Bibeau’s final message, and the Mounties’ criminal investigation into the Oct. 22 shootings in Ottawa.
The video could answer lingering questions about Zehaf-Bibeau’s actions that day, when he killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial, then stormed Parliament Hill before dying in a shootout inside the Centre Block, including whether he acted alone, or had any help planning or carrying out the shootings.
The video could also answer a central question: Whether Zehaf-Bibeau’s actions could be considered an act of terrorism.
The testimony and public viewing of the video comes as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government presses ahead with a plan, through Bill C-51, to broaden anti-terrorist powers for CSIS and the RCMP.
The bill grants new power to Canadian spies to disrupt suspected threats to the nation, in many instances without the need for judicial warrants.
It also establishes a new category of crime, making it illegal to promote terrorism, and gives authorities the power to seize “terrorist propaganda.” It lowers the legal threshold required for police to arrest and detain suspected extremists without charge and to impose conditions on their release.
Next week, the Commons’ public safety committee will begin hearing public testimony on that bill – the same committee that will see the video Friday.
Harper said Wednesday he hadn’t seen the video, but believed that incident and other global events have already taught Canadians they are facing a real threat of “violent jihadism.”
At an event in Toronto, Harper said he had nothing to do with the decision to release the video.
“It’s not my decision, one way or the other. The video is in possession of the RCMP. It’s part of a police investigation,” he said.
“I have not seen the video, but I think that Canadians are well aware – not just because of the Oct. 22 attacks but because of what they can see around the world — that unfortunately the threat of terrorism, violent jihadism, is very real.”
Harper suggested his government isn’t in the mood to adopt any amendments before the bill is passed: “We do always listen but I should be very clear: that the government deliberated long and hard over these changes.”
But critics have said the government is moving too fast, providing new powers that are too broad and lack proper oversight. Moreover, they say there has never been publicly released evidence that Zehaf-Bibeau was part of a terrorist plot.
NDP critic Randall Garrison, whose party will vote against the bill, said Canadians need to see the full police investigative report into the Oct. 22 shooting, as well as into an attack two days earlier in Quebec on a soldier who was killed when he was run down by a vehicle.
“We had the two incidents in October and we are moving ahead with very sweeping changes in our legislation without having a final report on either incident,” said Garrison.
“It would be helpful not just to have the video, but to have the complete reports on the investigation if these are going to be used as the justification for such sweeping changes.”
Garrison said the “central question” about Zehaf-Bibeau’s actions is whether or not he was part of a wider terrorist plot, adding the video is just one part of the overall investigation.
Liberal MP Wayne Easter said he hopes the video to resolve some key questions: “How much of a terrorist was this guy? There’s no question it was a terrorist act. What motivated this individual to be radicalized to do what he did?”
Easter urged Harper to lessen the “fear factor” amidst public debate on the matter.
“There is no reason for people to be afraid. Yes, there is the possibility of an incident. There always was the possibility of an incident. And we need to be looking cool, calm and collectively at how we can enhance Canadians’ public safety while at the same time balancing it reasonably well with civil liberties.”
Paulson is unlikely to be grilled by MPs during the hour-long appearance Friday morning, the committee chairman said Wednesday. Conservative MP Daryl Kramp said Paulson’s appearance was “not a hardcore Q-and-A event.”
“This is primarily (just) a showing of the video,” Kramp said.
The RCMP declined Wednesday to say whether it has shown the video, or described it in any way, to Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother, Susan Bibeau, or other members of his family.
However, the Citizen confirmed that Susan Bibeau had not seen the video or been contacted by the RCMP as of Wednesday morning.
Five days after the Oct. 22 shooting, Paulson said Zehaf-Bibeau’s words were “quite deliberate,” and that Zehaf-Bibeau himself was “quite lucid and … purposeful in articulating the basis for his actions.
“And they were in respect, broadly, to Canada’s foreign policy, and also in respect of his religious beliefs,” Paulson said at the time.
While Paulson committed to showing the video at a future date, the RCMP appeared to backtrack on the promise weeks later when Paulson said he would like to one day release a transcript.
Last month, MPs asked the Mounties to publicly air the video. The Senate’s national security committee submitted a similar request, asking the RCMP to air an unedited version of the video….
Oct. 22, 2014 Around 7 a.m.: Zehaf-Bibeau leaves Mont-Tremblant.
8:25: He is seen leaving the Ottawa Mission after a fire alarm was accidentally set off.
9:52: Zehaf-Bibeau arrives at the National War Memorial in purchased Toyota. He shoots at two ceremonial sentries, killing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. He drives to the East Gate, exits the car and runs onto Parliament Hill.
9:53 a.m.: He hijacks a ministerial sedan, drives it to Centre Block and runs in. He wrestles with House of Commons Const. Samearn Son, shooting him in the leg, then runs down the Hall of Honour. He is shot dead outside of the Library of Parliament.
November: Zehaf-Bibeau’s body is flown to Libya and receives a Muslim burial in Zawiya, west of the Libyan capital of Tripoli.