Schneier on Security
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July 8, 2010
The Toronto 18
Long and interesting article from The Toronto Star on the Toronto 18, a terrorist cell arrested in 2006. Lots of stuff in this article I had not read before.
Posted on July 8, 2010 at 12:17 PM
• 6 Comments
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Very interesting read.
While they don't go too much into it, the level and intesity of the surveillance was interesting.
It really seems as you can make serious money "infiltrating" and getting info on these guys. I'm Right now on my way to the closest mosque to make some new friends....
$300k and $4M is nothing to sniff at. I don't know the whole story, but it seems these incentives are set up the wrong way. But I guess since the police and prosecutors benefit from the publicity, they as a whole stand to benefit much more than this. When the money isn't yours, you can never waste it.
I noticed some of the usual themes...
- Broken family and eroding nation/state:
"'I used to think that I needed to support Muslims in every act they take,' Amara told the psychiatrist, suggesting that his devotion to the conceptual Muslim world was a surrogate for his disintegrating family. (After a tumultuous few years, his parents underwent a final separation in March 2005"
"youths feel a greater connection to the global community of Muslims, than to Canada"
- Silly mistakes:
"police had searched his luggage at Pearson airport and found a handwritten note of pros and cons to staying in Pakistan. The top entry on the list of pros was: “I can train, fight and get shahada.” (Shahada is commonly used by extremists to describe martyrdom.) "
"About 10 days before their trip to Washago, police monitoring Amara’s car spotted a handwritten note in the back seat that suggested not everyone would know the true purpose of the camp. "
"One time we went to No Frills and people were literally jumping up from the aisles to get a better look at a bunch of brown guys in fatigues buying cans of tuna"
There were definitely terror-clownish elements there as well, for all that their plot might perhaps have worked. I mean, they were plotting to behead the Prime Minister but *didn't know who he was*, and something like the third person they recruited was a police spy. The latter is unavoidable, but the former takes talent.
>> The latter is unavoidable,
Well it is when apparently the Islamic community at large feels these people don't belong and/or are in the wrong.
That's what disintegrated the FLQ, too. All sides rejected the path of violence and ostracized anyone didn't. That's the type of environment where you get very well placed informants early on.
$300K over a number of years for work with inherent danger and stress isn't exactly the motherload, either. As for whether it is "waste" or not, it is going to be chump change in comparison to the overall bill for a large scale investigation like this. In this case, at least, it would seem they got good value for services provided.
from the article:
>“If you want to defeat malaria, you have to drain out the swamps, not shoot down individual mosquitoes. In the Toronto 18 case, you’ve shot down the mosquitoes, but the swamp is still there.”
What if you use lasers, Bwahahahah?
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