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Nova Scotia media not telling the full story. Plotters' Neo-Nazi sympathies downplayed

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Facebook Doodle by alleged plotter Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath
Facebook Doodle by alleged plotter Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath

KJIPUKTUK, HALIFAX - Thankfully, a plot to kill a lot of people in Halifax on Valentine's Day was foiled.

Who were those plotters? Why would they want to do such an awful thing?

Well, they were murderous misfits, Federal Justice minister Peter MacKay told reporters yesterday, adding that the “the attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism.”

Maybe MacKay is right. Maybe he isn't.

But Nova Scotia's media is not giving us the information we need to make up our minds.

Reporters quote neighbours, who assure us the kids come from nice families and friends who are in shock that the plotters could even entertain such horrendous plans, let alone follow up on them.

That at least some of the plotters were into posting Nazi paraphernalia on their facebook pages, or espousing white supremacist ideas on message boards has been downplayed by local reporters.

The Tumblr blog of James Gamble, the 19-year old found dead in Timberlea, features pictures of Adolph Hitler and marching Nazis.

You go to the Tumblr blog of Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, the Illinois woman now in custody, and a swastika is the first thing you see.

Meanwhile, thanks to the work of people who know their way around in the world of blogs, message boards and handles, there are strong suggestions that at least Souvannarath has a long-time infatuation with fascist and white supremacist ideas.  None of this has made it into Nova Scotia news outlets.

One CBC reporter looked at Gamble's Tumblr blog, and mentions the Nazi references in passing, almost as an afterthought.

The same for a Chronicle Herald story, where a reference to Nazi images warrants one sentence.

You have to wonder whether coverage would have changed in tone had the plotters been Muslims, and had the Tumblr images been of Osama Bin Laden, or ISIS militants?

Would that have become headline material? Would MacKay still have referred to misfits? Would reporters have shrugged it off?

Or would it have become a story about terrorism?

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert

 


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342 words

Comments

Neo-Nazi or disturbed sociopath?

The story by "Patrick" on which this account is based on which this is based provides evidence of a dramatically muddled young woman (indeed, perhaps afflicted with some psychotic disorder) fixated on Nazis, Hitler, violence, death, pain, suffering, etc. It's a sad and troubling portrait.

That said, to describe this young woman who posted pictures of Hitler embraced by colourful unicorns (see below) as a "committed Neo-Nazi" (as "Patrick" does) is wild hyperbole. There is nothing to indicate that she has the slightest political understanding of neo-Nazism, or any involvement with fascist or white-supremacist groupings other than with similarly disturbed juveniles airing their fantasies on social media.

That's not, of course, to say that such people are not capable of atrocious acts, but such juvenilia does not constitute an actual manifestation of neo-Nazism on Nova Scotia shores – simply diseased minds fixating on symbols that reflect their disturbed psyches. Altogether, a sad state of affairs.

I actually agree with that

Thanks, Christopher.

I am not suggesting that the Nazi references are proof of some kind of terrorist white supremacy plot. Like you, I rather doubt it. I simply don't know (yet).

The op-ed was solely aimed at the way Nova Scotia media reported on these Nazi references. I suggest that the reporting would have been different had the kids been Muslim, and the web pages referred to say Bin Laden rather than Hitler.

A pox on both the words "terrorist" and "Nazi"!

 

Would the media coverage have been different if the kids had Muslim-sounding names? Perhaps. Would Peter MacKay's characterization have been different? Maybe.

However, my point is: A pox on both the words "terrorist" and "Nazi." ;~> Both are misplaced in this context.

For much more detail on this, see my article in Rabble.ca, "War of the words: Terrorists, Nazis and other concocted threats to Canadian democracy."

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