Foiled Victoria attack and counterterrorism tactics pique experts’ interest

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Security analysts are asking serious questions about the relationship between two alleged B.C. terrorists and law-enforcement agents.

Scott Watson, a UVic expert in international security, told the Straight that RCMP statements at a July 2 news conference indicate that officials were likely in contact with John Stewart Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody. The two Surrey residents were allegedly involved in an “al-Qaeda–inspired” plot to set off bombs at the B.C. legislature on Canada Day.

“It sounds as though they [the RCMP] were quite confident that they had control over those devices,” Watson said, “which leaves me to suspect they were quite heavily involved in providing the materials.”

RCMP assistant commissioner Wayne Rideout assured reporters on that the devices were “completely under our control”. When pressed on the question of whether officers had posed as collaborators in the attempted attack, he responded with a short laugh.

“It’s very difficult to discuss the actual techniques,” Rideout said. “I can say that as these devices were constructed, we were in very tight control.”

Stuart Farson, an SFU political scientist focused on security and intelligence, echoed Watson’s comments to the Straight.

“I think it implies that there must have been some sort of human-source involvement or very good interceptions of communications going on,” Farson said. “In terms of the actual control of the bombs, that would suggest human sources.”

Commenting on antiterrorism operations in the United States—which often involve undercover agents impersonating terrorists—Farson said that “entrapment is always an issue.”

In July 2011, the U.S. magazine Mother Jones published the results of an 18-month investigation that examined 508 terrorism charges. It found nearly half of those prosecuted involved the use of informants; 158 could be characterized as “sting operations”; and 49 were “plots led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.”

Pierre-Yves Bourduas, a retired Mountie who spent more than three decades focused on federal and international security, described undercover operations as “nothing new” and “the way it works”. But Bourduas stressed that Canadian citizens are better protected from the kinds of “false flag” operations discussed in the Mother Jones report.

“The checks and balances that we have in place prevent public officials from conducting these types of work where they would more or less lead the suspect into a certain direction,” he said. “There is different case law that clearly shows if you push it too far, then it becomes ammunition for the defence councel.” 

The RCMP’s claim that the accused acted alone and “self-radicalized” has also been challenged on psychological grounds. 

Writing in the Globe and Mail on July 3, Lorne L. Dawson, codirector of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, argued that it is extremely rare for individuals to truly self-radicalize without face-to-face contact with others who purport to share their beliefs. 

“Mr. Nuttall and Ms. Korody could share their enthusiasm, and they could encourage each other. But would this be sufficient?” he asked. “Perhaps, with the assistance of a police informant posing as a collaborator, they were at least able to dream that their ‘heroic’ actions would be appreciated by others.”

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Lex
What a crock of beans. A waste of time and money, air time and ink.
So every despondent welfare recipient who dreams of doing harm to our BC government and has the misfortune of vocalizing it will get his or her personal police collaborator/informant to encourage them along until the plan is almost complete and then sweep in and make headlines. This is efffing bs!!!
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Michael
@Lex, perfectly stated.
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Jungle
Why don't you wait until the trial and all the information comes out before declaring it a crock of beans? I hope the RCMP weren't acting as instigators, and I won't assume that they were until all the evidence comes out. But in the meantime, I think it is a possibility.
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Grannies
I believe that the Singing Grannies are a major threat to National Security we need a Deep Cover Operation Code Name Granny End Zone to infiltrate this very suspicious organization of Singing Grannies.
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I'm mad as hell
@jungle: sure, you're right, but we all need to be skeptical and very vocal or else the truth will never come out and just accepted as reported by most news outlets as a huge win for the good guys; if they were instigators or providing inspiration to a couple of losers, then we should all be outraged, vocal, raise hell, and maybe even vote when the time comes
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Christie's Weird Speech
My first impression of Christies speech/announcement, was that she was putting words into Nuttall & Korody's mouths!

It sounded crafted, and was reminiscent of Bush's. Repeating specific words to change perceptions How would she know what they were thinking or planning at that point? Sounded like she was in on it. Or repeating what she was told

....She didn't mention that they wanted to find out the motive, or ask for public information; but instead focused on diverting attention from widespread public outrage at the way BC and Canada is being pillaged and over-run by profiteers.

Using the electrified words "al-Qaeda", was almost laughable. Although a horrible, vicious method/timing, it sounds more like "copy-cat, easy to access".

It will be very interesting to hear what Nuttall & Korody have to say.... in their own words!
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@Jungle
Because the RCMP has a very recent history of huge lies. outright, blatant, planned, scheemed, truth distorting, purposefuly lies.
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@Christie's Weird Speech
Such is the depth of Christy Clark. BC's own Palin.
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Uncle Jack
Of course, it is a RCMP fabrication.

Two wonderful human beings, just kicked out of a mosque for whatever reason, only trying to blow up innocent bystanders!!

Is this fantasy??

Remember Boston??

Another two nice people, fighting for something!!

Just awaiting the "thumbs down!!

PS. I hope that if it ever happens, God forbid, none of the smart ass sceptics above will be in the affected area, or their love ones!!

Then they will yell:

Where was the RCMP to protect us???
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