Canada Day bomb plot in Victoria (July 1, 2013)

On this day in 2013, two converts to Islam convicted of a pressure cooker terrorism plot to occur in British Columbia on Canada Day. They were later acquitted.

Sometimes stopping a terrorist attack is easier than gaining a conviction.

VICTORIA, CANADA — OK, for some of you out there this is going to come across a little strong, a little like a whiny complaint. The non-event I want to feature today was one on which I worked from start to finish, and even one where I provided ‘expert’ testimony at a terrorism trial. In the end, however, the original guilty verdict delivered by a jury was overturned on appeal by a judge who stated that the terrorists had been ‘led’ to plant bombs in what is known as a ‘Mr. Big’ operation by the police.

First, some background. John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were recovering drug addicts who converted to Islam on Canada’s west coast (Vancouver to be more precise) and who developed an interest in Islamist extremism. They came to our attention at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) in early 2013 if memory serves me correctly and we began to hear of all kinds of grandiose attack plans (including one at the Esquimault Naval Base on Vancouver Island).

We at CSIS advised the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in the spring of that year, as we are authorised to do, and when all was said and done the pair, inspired by the Boston Marathon pressure cooker attack, placed three of the devices on the grounds of the British Columbia Legislature in the provincial capital, Victoria, timed to detonate in the afternoon of Canada Day. The whole operation had been infiltrated by RCMP agents and when the couple failed to explode their bombs they were arrested.

Guilty, then set free

As noted, they were charged and brought to trial, later found guilty of conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism. Upon appeal by the defence, a judge ruled they had been entrapped and set them free. I have no idea where they are now or what they were doing.

Clearly I am biased in this regard but I nevertheless think this was a huge miscarriage of justice. What the RCMP did in fact was run a counterterrorism operation perfectly, maintaining control of the situation at all times. Neither Nuttall nor Korody had any real chance of carrying out their ‘mission’ but that did not deter their desires. They wanted to kill and maim as many Canadians as possible out celebrating our nation’s birthday.

The whole operation had been infiltrated by RCMP agents and when the couple failed to explode their bombs they were arrested.

What the judge failed to understand is that the couple were intent on carrying out a terrorist attack. If the RCMP, following our lead, had not gotten hold of the operation the two wannabe terrorists could very well have turned to someone else for assistance or, yes even in their ineptitude, done it themselves. Terrorists do not have to be, and in fact seldom are, rocket scientists.

This case demonstrated the Canadian legal system’s immature appreciation of terrorism. We thankfully suffer very rarely from this scourge, meaning that our courts have few cases on which to learn how to prosecute them. I hope this continues.

I also hope that I will not have to weigh in at some point in the future when the acquitted Nuttall and Korody get their shit together and effect an attack. I don’t believe in ‘I told you so’ but I will most definitely weigh in if that tragic day comes about.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

One reply on “Canada Day bomb plot in Victoria (July 1, 2013)”

These two obviously, easily convinced ‘people’ will probably get collared by antifa or some shit, so yeah, probably should be worried.

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