Only anarchists are pretty

This is now a no-laugh zone. Not even this space I usually reserve for laughing. Consider this a content warning for violence and Islamophobia.


In April the country was horrified to see news that an asshole in Nova Scotia was on a rampage. He had a cache of weapons and was killing people in broad daylight for hours. For many, it was another in an endless string of spree killings painting a bloody path across the headlines since we all learned about a town in Colorado called Columbine. You nod your head, inured, and think, “oh, again”. 

But then we scratch the surface of this latest one the weird starts pouring out. The shooter had connections to Mexican cartels. He had a replica of an RCMP cruiser, a current model, not some classic. He had an incident with the RCMP where he boxed them onto some land he owned with his car and berated them for some time. He lived to tell the story with nary a slap on the wrist. 

He withdrew almost a half-million dollars in a manner consistent with undercover RCMP operations less than a month before the shootings. He received a traffic ticket in the middle of nowhere for an incident no officer would care about from an officer records say is dead. The RCMP refused to send out an alert to the public during an attack that resulted in 23 deaths. The province would not have a public inquiry into the incident. The premier was going to suddenly resign in the aftermath. All the hinkiness and half-answers lent the stink of unaccountable RCMP shenanigans. It was obvious to everyone, from the most ardent blue lives sap to the most rabid abolish cops smart/attractive person. I nodded my head, and thought “oh shit, again?”

Everyone has their favourite RCMP cock-up, so let me take you through mine. It was a pretty big story in Vancouver in year-of-our-lord 2013 when Amanda Korody and John Nuttall were arrested on terrorism-related charges. It was a smaller story when a judge threw out their charges in 2016. These days, not many people talk about the case. I think about it constantly because the judgements in the case are some of the most brutal lashings of the RCMP in recent memory.

Nuttall and Korody had Al-Qaeda sympathies and weren’t shy about saying so. But multiple judges concluded that the undercover investigation of the couple was a “travesty of justice” as the Mounties “pushed and pushed and pushed the two defendants to come up with a workable plan”. The B.C. Appeals Court went so far as to say that the people we rely on to investigate crime went “far beyond investigating a crime”. 

Nuttall, a convicted domestic abuser and drug addict once arrested for assaulting pharmacy staff who refused to fill a methadone prescription, was a new Muslim. An anonymous tip said he tried to buy potassium nitrate, an explosive precursor, from pharmacies in full view of CCTV cameras. Even with the video investigators couldn’t corroborate the tip. This major piece of probable cause was silent video of a man in a store. They kept “pushing” until they put real explosives into his hands.

When Nuttall was banned from multiple Vancouver mosques and prayer rooms for loudly discussing extremist jihad, he left messages for Islamic leaders saying they were traitors to the cause. The RCMP’s criminal genius kept telling anyone who would listen that his wife wanted to blow up a synagogue and he was a “mujahid”. Around this time one of the constables on the investigative team warned everyone that they probably had no means to carry out an attack and the team was probably moving toward issues of entrapment. Who cares, was the apparent response. They gave him some money to buy a USB hard drive and he nearly failed to make a London Drugs purchase. Nutall talked about building a fake train on which to practise mass shootings. 

As time went on it became clear that Nuttall had no desire to attack innocent people and wanted to attack infrastructure, like submarines at Esquimalt naval base. The RCMP convinced him not to talk to a moderate imam that might calm him down, and said he was “past the point of no return”. Nuttall soaked the RCMP for thousands of dollars he spent on groceries and bus tickets. He talked big game about shooting rockets at soldiers, and making C-4 with jars of Vaseline, like an embarrassed teen boy fuming at a party. You don’t even know bro, if they come anywhere near me bro I will totally end them bro, I know karate man, I’m a fuckin’ black belt. 

The couple, with the endless suggestion of the RCMP, decided on pressure cooker bombs, but Nuttall had no access to any kind of explosive. He gave undercover agents his wishlist. C-4 would be best. The RCMP said no problem. He couldn’t focus on planning and played video games with his wife to procrastinate. The RCMP convinced the couple to spend their rent money on shrapnel. 

In private, John and his wife worried about taking lives, and talked about wanting to back out. The undercover went with John to buy more materials and said in notes it was a frustrating experience. Nuttall was so scattered he would forget what he was there to do and they would have to go to another store. They fretted and couldn’t sleep with guilt and shame about the plan, wondering aloud if they should even bother. The undercover brought a superior, also incognito, who was to determine if Nuttall had come to this plan himself. Nuttall insisted the main undercover officer was the chief planner as “Corporal A”, as the police point man is labelled, protested that Nuttall was the mastermind. The sergeant testified that the plan was “going sideways”. His meeting with the couple reads like an episode of Police Squad.

The RCMP bomb squad wired up the bombs with some real C-4 and fixed some of the wiring Nuttall botched. John took his morning methadone and they drove to the B.C. Legislature in Victoria. The RCMP officer picked them up and drove them to the target. Asked one last time if they wanted to go through with the plan, Nuttall said “I don’t want to hear that question again”, as if responding to being implied a coward. 

They planted the fake bombs and Nuttall started panicking about having killed people. They scanned the radio for news of the bombing and were arrested shortly thereafter, hiding in a hotel room not far from the fake bombing location. 

The appeals judgement states the obvious - there was “ample evidence by June 2013 that confirmed Mr. Nuttall’s general ineptitude, scatterbrained character, inability to think logically, and his inability to remain focused, which would have been “essential to the articulation and execution of a terrorist plot”.” These people couldn’t have done this without the aid of RCMP detachments from Vancouver and Kelowna, and the offences were “brought about by the police”. An appeals judge found no error in the trial judge concluding that “police manufactured the crime that was committed and were the primary actors in its commission”

The malfeasance being hinted at on the part of the RCMP in the Nova Scotia shooting incident is shocking, but it’s not surprising. The power and opacity of the Mounties is such that these cases and worse, the real Boris and Natasha shit that explodes in their faces, are a frequent occurrence. How often do competent squads get away with similar schemes? Yearly? Monthly? Their ability to create threats and ignore real threats (especially along racial vectors) is as much a product of the modern force as it is of the foundations of their creation. Until that force can be brought to heel we’re all just hoping their gaze looks elsewhere and some judge notices a con-job when one hits their desk.  

-Clinton Hallahan


🕵Ten years after Shaw and other telecoms were chumped hard by a town with only one Tim Horton’s putting in cheap public fibre internet the big boys realize people live outside cities. JayKen was on hand to congratulate them on their purchase of a map.

👒Okay so I guess we are doing this. Forget that almost every jurisdiction that has tried to get kids and teens and adults back into school has had to smash the abort button faster than you can say “dead kids soon”. Teachers know this shit will be a disaster. Hong Kong did okay but they’re an island fortress and also they poured money into the effort, which we absolutely are not doing. I don’t think it’s much easier come kindergarten but I tried to keep a hat, not an annoying-as-hell mask mind you, on my two year-old the other day and it sucked. She threw the hat in a folding dog pool, screamed at me, smacked my hands away with terrible force, then bit my chest fat and drew blood. But okay good luck with your tiny super-spreaders, Alberta government.

🛌🏼Whenever the Alberta government wants to look innovative and foward-thinking they just scream “NEWCLEAR” or “THORIUM” at a PostMedia columnist until their gnarled fingers move across a keyboard in the right pattern. It works for about a year before they do it again despite nothing happening regarding nuclear power in Alberta. The dad of an ex-girlfriend I had was looking forward to suckling off the nuclear pork out of Edmonton back in 2007. Before George W. Bush choked on that pretzel! Wild times.

👨🏽‍🏭Tyler Shandro had a successful procedure and we wish him well in his recovery.

🧙🏽‍♂️We now have data on the most deadly predator in Alberta - the utter dickhead.

🪓Love to see a guy in control of what our kids learn is a big fan of classical aggressive civilization. You love to see it.

🎻Alberta oil and gas sector helps Calgarians carry two jackets in their cars instead of the the traditional three of various weights.

🧇I’ve said it before - Suncor shit is always on fire with short periods of non-conflagration.

🥌I’m sympathetic to Canadian journalists. They get paid like shit, do the work of six boomers in the 70s, and patiently wait to get laid off to increase yields for Postmedia bondholders. That said, you can tell they’re annoyed that news outlets with a perspective (and activism arms, sometimes) keep scooping the fuck out of them in Alberta. Still fucked up to lump PressProgress and Progress Alberta into the same shitpile as The Rebel. Blame your employers who think a phone and subscription to HootSuite should be tools enough to cover an area the size of mainland Europe.


🌬The MyPillow guy is trying to be the huckster YouTube guy from Contagion, complete with a fake drug.

🏊🏿‍♀️Damn, if only there was some sort of organization empowered by the people to prevent private enterprise from engaging in actions that harm the economic well-being of the entire nation. Such an organization could really help right about now!

☃️The Canadian Minister of Finance is now just a few degrees of separation from Joseph Goebbels.

🐙If you would like to help out this flattened city might I suggest releasing your economic hand from it’s throat? No? Okay cool great.

🍵Boomers see a funny story about Toronto dummies going to see the peelers during a pandemic but I just see more millenials who have to pay rent forced back to their workplaces before it’s safe.

🦎California doesn’t have enough slaves to stop being on fire.

🌶Yeah Uber sucks ass but shout out to LIBERAL UTOPIA California for not noticing the obvious problems with their (lack of ) business model and labour relations. Now that a ton of people depend on the repressive pauper corporation for income it’s a perfect time to kick the stool out from under them and let them financially hang during a pandemic. Round of applause to every genius involved in this one as they kick subsistence livery drivers square in the berries.

👩🏾‍🚀Whatever the heck China has planned economically it includes using all the tools invented by G8 countries and UN branches, porting them over wholesale, and just controlling it all internally from the Party outward. Which is interesting.

🐿Dems are chill with oil subsidies. One party two dotards.

🎱Nevada turning Las Vegas in the COVID Normandy Beach has been pretty neat to see. They’re not even conscripted to go die!


🎮Machin­ists Local S6 are kicking their bosses in the wallet with solidarity and seven weeks on the line. We congratulate them.

🐔Mark Meadows went on vacation which means, well, it means people won’t get money for rent and food across the United States. Clever praxis from this group setting up soup kitchens outside the offices of their well-fed representatives.

🛸Reading “Ode to a Scab” to a scab on the picket line is next level shit.


📉Our pod corps welcomed the 1850’s back to Alberta as we kill some birds and trees to burn rocks anew. That’s right, it’s fucking coal time.

🎧Two AA dorks, Sean and Tyler, were on Kino Lefter to talk about painting tiny dolls or something.

🔇Out of Left Field talks about Canadian prisons and taking their money away.

🎚️Problematic fave Behind the Bastards does an hour on Canadian residential schools, which is one hour longer than any Calgary theatre company as far as I know.


☔️The Green Party of Canada is having a leadership election and the deadline to register to vote in it is September 2. This would usually pass notice but this time there appears to be some actual socialists in the running. That seems good!

🦪Those BC Humanists are at it again, this time hosting a panel on why conversion therapy is dumb and awful. Tune in on August 27.

🎶The Pekiwewin prayer camp against police violence in Edmonton is a month old and going strong. Head to Twitter and Instagram for updates and click here to volunteer.


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Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

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