“The controversy surrounding former Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) employee Richard Warman has a familiar ring to it. Warman has been accused of logging onto web sites and writing inflammatory statements to goad people into making similar remarks.
“Actually it’s worse than that. He’s accused of planting hateful statements and then using those as evidence in CHRC complaints against those who operate the web sites—in other words, fabricating evidence to convict people. Warman’s CRHC convictions then become part of the justification to suppress political debate through the use of hate laws and human rights legislation.
“It sounds familiar because agencies of the Canadian government have a track record of this — using agent provocateurs to inflame situations to discredit political dissent.
“In the timeline, Bristow’s non-existence in [Warren Kinsella’s book] Web of Hate certainly looks less like editorial license or carelessness or stupidity on the author’s part. When the sequence is examined, it looks deliberate.
“If Kinsella removed references to Grant Bristow from his book because at some point he learned that Bristow was a CSIS agent, then he suppressed knowledge that the Heritage Front had been infiltrated by CSIS at the highest level, making the book worthless as a description of the far right.
“Further, it would make Web of Hate look like a contrived CSIS asset and, by extension, its author would be an asset as well. And being an asset of Canada’s secret service would pretty much negate anything Kinsella has written or said on the subject of hate laws, human rights commissions and free speech in the last 13 years.
“Now there is anecdotal evidence that CSIS agents were involved in the more serious allegations against the 18 Muslims in Toronto arrested on terrorism charges a couple of years ago. One agent was paid $300,000 and ran the training camp; another was paid $500,000 and was involved in the ordering of ammonium nitrate for a bomb. Reasonably, one has to wonder, just how involved were these agents in taking what appears to be nothing more than a bunch of disgruntled, incompetent kids and turning them into a terrorist cell? With the Bristow affair in mind and in view of the allegations against Richard Warman, it’s reasonable to ask how the current case has been used to support the extension of investigative police powers created in the wake of 9-11.
“A backward glance at the Bristow Affair, a cursory look at the Toronto 18 case, and with the revelations coming forth in the Warman Affair, maybe it’s time for a full public inquiry into the use of government agents to create fear among Canadians in order to justify the suppression of liberties.
“One final word on the Warman affair. For too long some Canadians have used the easy slur of racism to attack anyone who might disagree with them. The epithets ‘racist,’ ‘fascist’ and ‘neo-Nazi’ have been hurled around in this country longer than Joseph McCarthy used ‘communism’ to attack his opponents in the U.S. in the early 1950s. Nowadays these epithets are being tossed at just about everyone who supports our long traditions of an open, just society and its foundation of free speech. This behavior must be called out for what it is, demagoguery.”
This piece by Kevin Steel is just out online. One paragraph threw me off:
“If you look at what Bristow did during Operation Governor, it’s obvious his mission was more than simple infiltration. An infiltrator doesn’t start major organizations. He doesn’t build them up. He doesn’t play both sides against each other to create violent confrontations. He doesn’t go anywhere near politicians.”
Really? What IS he to do? Make coffee?
Obviously, I’ll be waiting to see what other bloggers make of this article.
He and Kevin Steel argue in the comments.
“Now, it is possible that Kinsella left one of the three founders of the Heritage Front in Canada out of the first edition of Web of Hate because he didn’t know Bristow’s name. And it is possible that Kinsella did not mention Bristow at all in that first edition simply because Kinsella’s research was strikingly slipshod. And it is possible that Grant Bristow was not mentioned by name in the police complaint Kinsella filed against him (I have not seen this report) five months before completing his interviews on the Heritage Front. And it’s possible that Bernie Farber forgot to mention to Kinsella the identification of Grant Bristow from an earlier photograph to Kinsella.
“So, it is possible that Kinsella was telling the truth in his email to Kevin Steel.
“But it is also possible that Kinsella knew exactly who Grant Bristow was and left him out of the first edition of Web of Hate so as not to expose a CSIS asset. At the moment it is impossible to know and Kinsella has made the blanket denial of even knowing who Grant Bristow was when the first edition came out.”