National Post

Lebanon formally arrests wife of ISIS leader on suspicion of ‘terrorism crimes’

BEIRUT — Lebanese judicial officials said Tuesday that authorities have issued a formal arrest warrant for a wife of the Islamic State (ISIS) group leader and referred the detained woman to military prosecutors.

The officials said Saja al-Dulaimi is being held at the Defence Ministry on suspicion of “terrorism crimes,” and that all military staff dealing with her will be women.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Last week, Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said that DNA tests have confirmed that a child captured along with al-Dulaimi late last month is the daughter of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Iraqi officials have disputed that.
He added that al-Dulaimi was married to al-Baghdadi six years ago for a period of three months.

Lebanese authorities say they’ve also arrested the wife and two children of another Sunni militant commander in Syria, Abu Ali al-Shishani.

The officials said the woman had entered Lebanon illegally, and authorities were studying whether to deport her to Syria or give her refugees status in Lebanon.

Al-Shishani, who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, had threatened to “retaliate” against families of Lebanese soldiers over the arrest.

N.Y. police kill attacker at Brooklyn synagogue after student is stabbed in the head

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

NEW YORK — A knife-wielding man stabbed an Israeli student in the head inside a synagogue at the Brooklyn headquarters of an international Jewish organization early Tuesday before being fatally shot by police after refusing to drop the knife, authorities said.

The man stormed into the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Crown Heights at about 1:40 a.m. and attacked Levi Rosenblat, who was studying inside the synagogue, spokesman Rabbi Motti Seligson said. He said there were other people inside at the time.

The 22-year-old Rosenblat was in stable condition after being stabbed in the temple, officials said.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2LSZ1xmwtU&w=620&h=465]

Part of the confrontation was caught on video. A clip posted on the Facebook page of Israeli news site 0404 shows a man in a waist-length jacket and hat with a knife in his right hand. He is surrounded by police officers with weapons drawn.

An officer tells him to put the weapon down and step away from it. He put it on a chair and stepped away, but moments later he picked it up again. He started to move around with officers yelling for him to drop the knife. Then, a gunshot is heard and the suspect falls to the ground, with officers still yelling for him to drop the knife.

According to witnesses, the attacker was heard saying repeatedly “Kill the Jews,” said Rabbi Chaim Landa, another spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch. Several other people immediately intervened, he said.

AP Photo/Mark LennihanA crime scene investigator outside Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic headquarters Tuesday.

A witness flagged down a patrol officer, who confronted the 49-year-old man and told him to put the knife down. He initially put it down, but picked it up again, police said. More officers responded and repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife.

He refused and, with the knife in his hand, charged at one of the officers, who fired once, striking the man in the torso, police said.

Police said no other officers discharged their weapons.

The man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was not immediately identified, but police said he was from New York City and had a criminal history.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

AP Photo/Mark LennihanThe scene in Brooklyn Tuesday.

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind condemned the attack.

“I’m told that the attacker came earlier that evening, too. He was stalking the scene. Thank God he didn’t inflict more harm nor do more damage to more people,” Hikind said in an email statement.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

AP Photo/Mark LennihanMembers of the Lubavitch community watch a police officer enter Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic HQ.

A 23-centimetre knife, with a 11.5-centimetre blade, was recovered at the scene, police said.

“We commend the heroic efforts of the individuals who were present and took immediate action. If not for their intervention the outcome could have been, God forbid far worse,” said Landa.

Last month in Jerusalem, two Palestinian cousins wielding knives, meat cleavers, and a handgun stormed a synagogue killing four worshippers and a policeman. The two assailants were shot to death by police.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

AP Photo/Mark LennihanA member of the Lubavitch community walks through crime scene tape as he leaves Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic headquarters Tuesday in New York.

In 2012, a homeless man was arrested inside another Crown Heights synagogue. He was caught on video in a confrontation with two police officers who ordered him to leave the outreach centre at the Aliya Institute. The charges were dropped after the synagogue said he was sleeping in a back room and had permission to be there.

German court throws out case against former Nazi accused of 1944 massacre, cites lack of evidence

BERLIN — A German court on Tuesday threw out the case against a former SS man accused of involvement in the largest civilian massacre in Nazi-occupied France, saying there was not enough evidence to bring the 89-year-old to trial.

Cologne resident Werner C., whose last name has not been revealed in accordance with German privacy laws, was charged with murder and accessory to murder in connection with the 1944 slaughter of 642 civilians in Oradour-sur-Glane in southwestern France.

In its ruling, the Cologne state court said no witness statements disprove the suspect’s contention that he was present but did not take part, nor is there any reliable documentary evidence that he was involved in the massacre.

Werner C. was part of the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the “Der Fuehrer” regiment of the fanatical SS’s “Das Reich” division. Four days after the June 6, 1944, D-Day landings in Normandy the company attacked Oradour-sur-Glane in reprisal for the French Resistance’s kidnapping of a German soldier.

The troops herded the civilians into barns and into the church, blocked the doors and then set fire to the entire town. Those not killed in the blazes were shot as they tried to flee, though a handful managed to escape.

Dortmund prosecutors had alleged that the suspect shot 25 men as part of a firing squad and then helped as troops blockaded and set fire to the church.

“In a trial it could probably only be proved the suspect was in the area during the massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane as he has consistently maintained,” the court said. “This mere presence is not enough to prove accessory to murder without the proof of other circumstances.”

Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel, who led the investigation, said he was surprised by the court’s decision but that it was too early to say whether he would appeal.

“I brought charges because I believed that the evidence was sufficient,” he said. “The court came to a different conclusion.”

Attorney Thomas Walther said he would appeal on behalf of his client, the brother of a young female schoolteacher who was burned to death in the Oradour church, who has joined the case as a co-plaintiff as allowed under German law.

In a gesture of reconciliation last year, German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande together visited the phantom village — whose burned-out cars and abandoned buildings were left as a memorial to the massacre. Gauck said he shared the bitterness of those in France “over the fact that the murderers have not been brought to justice.”

Brendel is currently investigating five other members of the unit involved in the massacre, but said given the lack of witnesses and other evidence, charges are unlikely.

U.S. embassies around the world bracing for backlash as ahead of CIA torture report’s release

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — American embassies, military units and other U.S. interests are preparing for possible security threats related to the release of a report on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques at secret overseas facilities after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The report from the Senate Intelligence Committee will be the first public accounting of the CIA’s use of what critics call torture on al-Qaida detainees held at “black” sites in Europe and Asia. The committee on Tuesday was expected to release a 480-page executive summary of the 6,000-plus-page report compiled by Democrats on the panel.

“There are some indications that the release of the report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday. “The administration has taken the prudent steps to ensure that the proper security precautions are in place at U.S. facilities around the globe.”

Likewise, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said “there is certainly the possibility that the release of this report could cause unrest” and therefore combatant commands have been directed to take protective measures.

U.S. officials who have read it say it includes disturbing new details about the CIA’s use of such techniques as sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning process known as waterboarding. It alleges that the harsh interrogations failed to produce unique and life-saving intelligence — a conclusion disputed by current and former intelligence officials, including CIA Director John Brennan.

It also asserts that the CIA lied about the covert program to officials at the White House, the Justice Department and congressional oversight committees.

President Barack Obama has said, “We tortured some folks.”

Earnest said that regardless of whether the U.S. gleaned important intelligence through the interrogations, “the president believes that the use of those tactics was unwarranted, that they were inconsistent with our values and did not make us safer.”

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty ImagesA police officer stands guard at a gate of the U.S. embassy in Tokyo on Tuesday.

While the White House has said it welcomes the release of the summary, officials say they do have concerns about potential security threats that could follow.

On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry asked the committee’s chairwoman, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to “consider” the timing of the release. White House officials said Obama had been aware that Kerry planned to raise the issue with Feinstein, but they insisted the president continued to support the report’s release.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday in an interview on CNN that U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign governments have said privately that the release of the report on CIA interrogation techniques will be used by extremists to incite violence that’s likely to cost lives.

Rogers questioned why the report needed to become public, given that the Justice Department investigated and filed no criminal charges.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteSenate Intelligence Committee member, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, defends the panel’s planned release of a report on the report Tuesday during a TV news show interview on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Floyd Mayweather sought for questioning about report that he witnessed Stephanie Moseley murder, police say

Los Angeles Police are looking to speak with Floyd Mayweather Jr., amid reports that the boxer somehow witnessed the murder of Canadian actress and dancer Stephanie Moseley.

Thoroughbred. http://t.co/dq306yNYTn


Stephanie Moseley (@Haselstar) November 27, 2014

Ms. Moseley and her husband, rapper Earl Hayes, were found dead in their L.A. apartment Monday in what police believe to be a murder-suicide. TMZ reported Mr. Mayweather was on the phone to Mr. Hayes via FaceTime at the time of the murder, “pleading with him to get a grip.” Citing unnamed sources, the gossip website said Mr. Mayweather “heard everything.”

“Of course we would like to talk to anyone including Floyd Mayweather,”LAPD Lieutenant John Radtke told the National Post. “Yes he’s somebody we would like to talk to and we haven’t talked to him yet.”

Lt. Radtke said there was “hearsay” at the scene, even before the TMZ report, about a possible witness “maybe on Skype.”

“We have not been able to prove or disprove that,” he said.

Ms. Moseley, a Vancouver native, was best known for her role in the VH1 television show Hit the Floor. She was also a backup dancer for Britney Spears and Janet Jackson and had performed with other well-known artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Usher.

Calls to Mr. Mayweather’s publicist were not immediately returned Tuesday morning.

With files from Postmedia News

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Justin Bourque was sleep-deprived, depressed before shooting rampage that killed three Mounties: documents

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP

MONCTON, N.B. • Justin Bourque was suffering from sleep deprivation and felt depressed about his life in the days before he committed one of the worst police shootings in Canadian history, newly released court documents reveal.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP Justin Bourque is shown in this RCMP booking photo taken June 6, 2014. A judge in New Brunswick ordered the release Friday of all exhibits entered into evidence at the sentencing hearing of Justin Bourque in the killing of three Mounties in Moncton.

A court-ordered psychiatric report and a pre-sentence report shed light into Bourque’s family history, social interests and the moment he reached “his breaking point” before he opened fire on RCMP officers in Moncton on June 4, killing three of them and injuring two others.

The documents are among a number of exhibits including a videotaped interview Bourque gave to police after his arrest that were made public when the Court of Queen’s Bench ordered them released.

News media organizations including the Canadian Press asked for access to exhibits used to sentence Bourque, who pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

In some ways, the documents portray someone with a fairly typical upbringing.

He is the third of seven children and as a child, he mowed lawns in his neighbourhood and delivered newspapers, spending the money he earned on Nintendo video games. At 16, he got a job at a Sobeys grocery store.

His psychiatric assessment, prepared in July while Bourque was held at the Shepody Healing Centre in Dorchester, N.B., for a month, says he was not clinically depressed nor did he suffer from any psychotic illness. It concluded he was fit to stand trial.

But the document shows signs of strain between Bourque and his family, particularly his mother, who home-schooled him and disliked his passion for video games.

The assessment concluded that “95% of the time, he did not like being home-schooled. He vented his anger and frustration towards his mother. He said, ‘I wanted a normal life.”‘

He also felt he grew up in a “religious fanatic” environment believing he was a soldier of Jesus Christ, wrote Dr. Moses A. Alatishe.

The assessment says an older friend taught him how to shoot when he was 15. “He said he became gun crazy at this age,” Dr. Alatishe says in the assessment.

The psychiatric assessment and pre-sentence report discuss at length his interest in heavy metal bands as he got older and his “chronic” marijuana smoking, a habit he picked up at 22.

The pre-sentence report says Bourque felt his marijuana smoking helped him cope with his negative thoughts about life, which included a disdain for authority.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP A wall in Justin Bourque’s residence is shown in this RCMP photo taken in June 2014. A judge in New Brunswick ordered the release Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 of all exhibits entered into evidence at the sentencing hearing of Justin Bourque in the killing of three RCMP officers in Moncton.

In that same report, Bourque’s parents, Victor and Denise, tell a probation officer that they noticed a “dramatic change” in their son in December 2013, when he became increasingly vocal about his dislike for police and “established societal norms.”

“While Mr. Bourque was worried about his son, he continued to encourage Justin to stop worrying about issues beyond his control,” says the report dated Oct. 10.

Both that report and his psychiatric assessment say Bourque’s life unravelled further in the two weeks prior to the shootings as he was working 15-hour days at a wholesale outlet on two hours sleep and couldn’t afford marijuana.

“Mr. Justin Bourque was in an emotional turmoil, disillusioned and confused from sleep deprivation and probably also withdrawing from marijuana (THC),” the assessment says.

“In a blind rage, he dressed up in camouflage and left his trailer. When he left the trailer, he said, ‘I knew I was not coming back to the trailer alive.”‘

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP Mossberg 500 shotgun is shown. A judge in New Brunswick ordered the release Friday of all exhibits entered into evidence at the sentencing hearing of Justin Bourque in the killing of three Mounties in Moncton.

The pre-sentence report adds: “Justin Christien Bourque explained he was again working in a job he did not like, had no money and his romantic life was not going the way he had hoped. On the day in question he had decided he had reached his breaking point and was going to go live in the woods, with no plans to ever return home.”

Bourque, now 25, is serving a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 75 years. It is the most stringent sentence handed down in Canada since the last execution in 1962.

Killed were constables Dave Ross, 32, Fabrice Gevaudan, 45, and Doug Larche, 40. Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were also injured in the shootings.

Jian Ghomeshi investigator may pass employee testimony to CBC management, union warns

TORONTO — The union representing CBC employees is warning members that what they tell an investigator looking into the broadcaster’s handling of workplace harassment allegations against Jian Ghomeshi could be used by management against them.

The Canadian Media Guild issued a memo Monday saying that while it is “strongly supportive” of the investigation, it has “some concerns” about how the information garnered from interviews with employees will be used.

The memo says the independent investigator — Janice Rubin — will be recording the interviews and may pass the recordings to management, who could then rely on the information to discipline employees.

“While we firmly believe that evidence of wrongdoing should be investigated and necessary measures taken as required, no employee should be put in a position of exposing themselves to discipline based on information they themselves have provided,” Marc-Philippe Laurin, president of the union’s CBC branch, said in the memo, obtained by The Canadian Press.

“CMG has been unable to receive assurances against self-incrimination,” or guarantees that employees will have access to the complete findings and recommendations emerging from the investigation, he said.

The CBC has also told the union that employees will not be allowed to record the interviews themselves, nor will they be able to obtain a copy or transcript of Rubin’s recordings until the results are released.

The broadcaster was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Rubin, a Toronto employment lawyer with expertise in workplace harassment, was chosen last month to lead an independent investigation into the scandal that has erupted around Ghomeshi, the former host of the radio show Q.

She will report to senior CBC management about what her investigation uncovered along with recommendations on resolving any complaints, and report separately on what the broadcaster should do to prevent any similar issues arising in the future.

The CBC fired Ghomeshi, 47, on Oct. 26 after seeing what it called “graphic evidence” that he had caused physical injury to a woman.

He is also facing five criminal charges — four counts of sexual assault and one of choking — stemming from alleged incidents involving three women.

One of the women who contacted police was actress Lucy DeCoutere, a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force and a star of the long-running TV series “Trailer Park Boys.” The others cannot be identified due to a routine publication ban.

Since his dismissal, nine women have come forward in the media with allegations that Ghomeshi sexually or physically assaulted them.

Ghomeshi has admitted he engaged in “rough sex” but insisted it was always consensual.

He has been released on bail and his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty.

Stephanie Moseley shot dead in L.A. apartment in apparent murder-suicide

A Vancouver-born dancer and TV personality was shot dead in a Los Angeles apartment Monday in an apparent murder-suicide.

Thoroughbred. http://t.co/dq306yNYTn


Stephanie Moseley (@Haselstar) November 27, 2014

Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that the bodies of Stephanie Elyse Moseley, 30, and her husband, rapper Earl Hayes, 34, were found in a room in their apartment building just after 7:30 a.m. Monday.

The initial investigation revealed Hayes shot Moseley to death and then took his own life, said police.

News of Moseley’s death hit her former dance colleagues in Vancouver hard.

“It’s devastating,” said Tye Shantz, who attended dance school Danzmode Productions in Burnaby with Moseley about four years ago. “You can comprehend accidents … but when it is something like this, it just kills us.

“We, as an industry, took a hit today. She was a bright star.”

According to her bio, Moseley moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to pursue her dreams.

She was best known for her role in the VH1 television show Hit the Floor. She was also a backup dancer for Britney Spears and Janet Jackson and had performed with other well-known artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Usher.

Moseley, who also had a role in the TV series Hellcats, also had small roles in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn movie and the 2012 film Mirror, Mirror.

“She did some amazing work,” said Shantz. “She hustled and got the job done.

Despite her success in Hollywood, Moseley never forgot where she came from, he added: “She was just level-headed and grounded. She always loved her roots.”

Moseley was in Vancouver less than a week ago visiting family, said Shantz. Her last Instagram photo showed her wearing a Vancity baseball cap.

According to Los Angeles TV station KTLA, a neighbour called police after hearing gunshots early Monday and a woman screaming.

Unnamed sources told TMZ Hayes had accused Moseley of having an affair with a famous singer.

In a statement, VH1 said: “We are incredibly saddened to hear the news of the passing of Stephanie Moseley. VH1 and the entire Hit The Floor family send our thoughts and condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.”

Media seek access to sealed documents alleging leaks in RCMP security unit that protects Stephen Harper

File

An Ontario Superior Court judge is going to be asked to unseal court documents believed to contain allegations of leaks within the RCMP security unit that protects Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his family.

Documents were entered last week by lawyer John Phillips as part of a lawsuit brought by his client, Sgt. Peter Merrifield, who is suing the RCMP for harassment and bullying. Sgt. Merrifield alleges senior officers sidelined his career after he launched an unsuccessful bid to run for the federal Conservatives in Barrie in 2005.

FileSgt. Peter Merrifield, alleges senior RCMP officers sidelined his career after he launched an unsuccessful bid to run for the federal Conservatives in 2005.

Three media outlets — Postmedia, the CBC and Maclean’s — intend to make application to unseal the documents, which sources say include letters from private investigator Derrick Snowdy to the RCMP about information leaks within the PM’s detail.

Mr. Snowdy first came to public attention in 2010 when he had a role in making allegations about MP Helena Guergis and her husband. She was later cleared by the RCMP after being stripped of her cabinet seat and expelled from the Conservative caucus.

Lawyers for the federal Justice Department and Sgt. Merrifield declined to make any comment on the process surrounding the sealed documents, but sources say they were filed as part of a legal struggle over whether Mr. Snowdy can testify in support of Sgt. Merrifield.

Justice Mary Vallee last Thursday unexpectedly adjourned the legal proceedings in Newmarket until May.

Sources say the sealed affidavit is accompanied by four letters sent by Mr. Snowdy to assistant commissioner Stephen White, who serves directly under Commissioner Bob Paulson.

Those letters contain allegations about RCMP wrongdoing, alleging repeated information leaks that threaten the safety of confidential informants, and the leak of private information about the Harper family.

Mr. Snowdy declined to comment on the sealed affidavit on Monday.

“I am not a party or involved in the proceedings currently before the court in the matter,” he said. “I cannot offer any comment.”

He confirmed, though, that he had written to Mr. White to express concerns about the safety of confidential informants, and included information about evidence of a leak of information from the prime minister’s protective detail for security reasons.

‘The issues raised in the Sgt. Merrifield trial should be of great concern to all Canadians when it resumes in May 2015′

“The issues raised in the Sgt. Merrifield trial should be of great concern to all Canadians when it resumes in May 2015,” he said.

Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for the prime minister, said in an email, “While I haven’t seen the documents/allegations of leaks, I can tell you this: The prime minister has complete confidence in the RCMP and in the professionalism of the Protective Detail.”

Commissioner Paulson declined to comment on the affidavit. A spokesman said the RCMP would not comment on affidavits sealed by the court.

One information leak is alleged to have taken place in 2012, and is believed to be linked to a series of complaints and investigations that year, in what was a stressful period for the detail.

“I realized at that point we were leaking with a sieve,” said one RCMP officer, who spoke on condition that he not be named because he is not authorized to speak about the leak.

Sources say the circumstances under which RCMP officer Pierre Briere was transferred from the unit contributed to a tense workplace environment that resulted in a series of media leaks about the management style of RCMP Supt. Bruno Saccomani, the head of the unit.

‘I have reason to believe that great lengths were taken to investigate a leak of information from the prime minister’s protective detail’

RCMP officers on the unit provide 24/7 protection to members of the Harper family, both at the official residence in Ottawa, in their daily lives around the city, and on trips around Canada and abroad.

It is inevitable that members of the detail interact closely with the family, and they are sworn to protect the privacy of family members.

In 2012, members complained to RCMP management about Supt. Saccomani. He was criticized in a management-review report containing “disturbing” allegations of harassment and intimidation, which was leaked to Radio Canada in June of that year.

The report, dated Jan. 26, 2012, said that “the overwhelming majority of employees indicated that there are conflicts and perceived favoritism” in the unit. They complained of a “toxic” atmosphere, with inappropriately harsh reprimands. Members told the officers conducting the review that their fear of Supt. Saccomani “adds risk to the safety of the prime minister.”

Supt. Saccomani fought back at the charges. Officials in the prime minister’s office publicly praised his work modernizing and professionalizing the unit, and his deputy, Insp. Alain Petit, filed a request for an investigation under the Canada Labour Code, which was obtained by Postmedia News.

Insp. Petit wrote that Supt. Saccomani’s improvements to the unit were being resisted by some members, and that they had “placed the safety of the PMPD employees, and the prime minister and his family at risk.”

Insp. Petit complained that the leak of the management review “knowingly endangered all the PMPD members and the people we are dedicated to serve.”

As officials investigated the leak of that report, sources say they also looked into the leak alleged in the sealed affidavit.

“I have reason to believe that great lengths were taken to investigate a leak of information from the prime minister’s protective detail,” said an RCMP officer who spoke on condition that he not be identified.

Mr. Harper appointed Supt. Saccomani as ambassador to Jordan in 2013, which the NDP criticized as a patronage appointment.

Postmedia News, with files from Doug Quan

Ottawa ISIS fighter who threatened Canada probably had identity crisis, not mental illness, professor tells parliament

File

OTTAWA — The Ottawa man who appears in an ISIS video encouraging attacks on Canada likely had an identity crisis rather than a breakdown, a radicalization expert has told parliamentarians.

File John Maguire’s yearbook photo from the NGDHS Yearbook, 2005-2006.

Jocelyn Bélanger, a psychology professor at L’Université du Québec à Montréal who studies deradicalization, advised the Senate national security committee Monday not to rush to label as mentally ill.

“I assume at one point that man was fed up, perhaps bored of our society and felt he didn’t perhaps fit in with our society,” said Dr. Bélanger. “That would be my hypothesis. And that led to a quest for personal significance.

“I think the evidence is very clear about mental health and terrorism: there’s actually no link,” Dr. Bélanger said, noting that foreign fighters with mental health issues are normally “weeded out of these organizations.”

Dr. Bélanger pointed out that domestic attacks “always occur in waves; it’s incremental” whereas mentally ill attackers tend to act regardless of other attacks. Portraying terrorists as mentally ill is problematic, he said.

“We know that people that have mental illness are stigmatized in our society. And now to, on top of that, say that they may be radicals or future terrorists, imagine the label we’re putting onto those people,” Dr. Bélanger said.

Dr. Bélanger also said Maguire’s reported family abuse may have helped pushed him to extremism, but it’s not a “common trait among those people.”

Maguire, a University of Ottawa dropout whose parents had divorced, disappeared a year ago, his friends said. He converted to Islam and bought a one-way ticket to Syria in January 2013.

‘[Maguire] just got rid of everyone on Facebook and kinda disappeared,” says one former classmate. “He never told us why.”

The 23-year-old appeared in a video Sunday encouraging fellow Canadians to either join him fighting abroad with ISIS, or commit attacks on Canadian institutions.

Dr. Bélanger said the video could inspire others.

“When we publish or show the video in newspapers, it’s certain the video becomes more accessible, so people who weren’t aware of him now become aware.” There’s an instructional effect that could happen, he told reporters.

On the other hand, people who have disengaged from radical causes could be “beacons of change” for others, Dr. Bélanger told the committee.

“That triggers a doubt in their mind, to see someone who has been deradicalized,” he said. “All of a sudden they see that person very differently, then that creates uncertainty about their beliefs and that perhaps stimulates the possibility of change.”

Postmedia News