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The FBI recorded five terrorist incidents and five terrorism preventions in 2004. Domestic extremists were responsible for each incident. Three of the incidents involved possible associates of the Earth Liberation Front environmental extremist movement, who used incendiary devices against car dealerships, construction sites and housing developments. In a fourth incident, associates of the Animal Liberation Front conducted two attacks against an animal science facility on the campus of Brigham Young University, which resulted in more than $75,000 in damages. Another incident involved a white supremacist affiliated with Aryan Nations who firebombed a synagogue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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In the first terrorism prevention, law enforcement officers in Birmingham, Alabama, arrested two men in possession of multiple firearms, bomb-making literature, components of an improvised explosive device, and literature related to the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents, as well as photographs of serial bomber Eric Rudolph. The second terrorism prevention involved the same white supremacist arrested in 2004 for firebombing an Oklahoma City synagogue, and for whom further investigation uncovered his intention to commit additional attacks against minorities. The third prevention involved a plot by extremist members of the Montana-based Project 7 Militia to kidnap and assassinate local judges, law enforcement officers, and their family members. The fourth prevention involved a Chicago-area man attempting to sell ammonium nitrate to an individual purportedly associated with a foreign terrorist organization. The fifth prevention involved the arrest of a man in Tennessee who wanted to obtain nuclear or chemical materials to blow up a courthouse.
On August 31, 2005, a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, California, indicted James, Washington, Patterson, and Samana for their alleged roles in the terrorist plot on charges of conspiracy to levy war against the U.S. government through terrorism and conspiracy to possess and discharge firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. Washington, Patterson, and Samana were also charged with conspiracy to kill members of the U.S. government uniformed services and conspiracy to kill foreign officials. Washington and Patterson were further charged with interference with commerce by robbery and using and carrying a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.
For the decade from 1983-1992, major acts of terrorism against U.S. interests took place overseas. The FBI recognized state-sponsored and autonomous terrorist organizations as the two significant sources of international terrorism. Both types of organizations remain threats today.
Although international terrorism against U.S. interests took place overseas during this period, the FBI began investigations into the use of the United States as a staging area or source of arms for terrorist operations and activities overseas. An example of this is the 1990 conviction in Boston court of two U.S. citizens and a citizen of the Republic of Ireland of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and of conspiracy to injure and destroy foreign property. Until their arrest in 1989, these individuals had engaged in the research and development of an anti-helicopter missile system for use by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in its attacks against British targets in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.
The first priority of the Government of Canada is to protect Canada and the safety and security of Canadians at home and abroad. Building Resilience Against Terrorism, Canada's first Counter-terrorism Strategy, assesses the nature and scale of the threat, and sets out basic principles and elements that underpin the Government's counter-terrorism activities. Together, these principles and elements serve as a means of prioritizing and evaluating the Government's efforts against terrorism. The overarching goal of the Strategy is: to counter domestic and international terrorism in order to protect Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests.
Since some international terrorists are completely focused on conducting violence abroad, Canadian concerns are not solely limited to preventing attacks in Canada, but include the prevention of violent global extremism. Threats are also posed by Canadians who support violent conflicts abroad, or by foreigners in Canada interested in using this country for refuge, financing, recruitment or other forms of support. These threats can be further complicated when foreign states sponsor certain terrorist groups as a means of furthering their own violent objectives. Canadian interests are threatened be it a direct attack against Canada or its allies, or the use of Canada to support terrorism elsewhere in the world.
The Strategy is necessarily comprehensive because the terrorist threat is multidimensional. First, Canada has been and will continue to be a target of terrorists. Second, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are known to have been involved in terrorist activities or associated with international terrorist groups. Third, terrorists may try to use Canada as a base to finance, support or conduct attacks against other countries. The Strategy is directed against terrorism in all its dimensions.
Security is also a human right. Terrorism is an attack against those very rights that are fundamental to Canadian society, such as freedom of thought, expression and association, and the right to life, liberty and security of the person.
Canada's approach to terrorism will be proportionate to the threat, neither an overreaction nor an underreaction. As security is a fundamental human right, the Government of Canada will uphold this right in a manner consistent with other Canadian rights and freedoms. Accordingly, the measures taken must be carefully designed to reasonably manage the actual threat while minimizing interference with the public as people go about daily activities.
Listing an entity is a very public means of labeling a group or individual as being associated with terrorism. Listing under the Criminal Code carries legal consequences such as making the entity's property subject to seizure, restraint or forfeiture and includes entities not necessarily covered by the first two mechanisms. Financial institutions are subject to reporting requirements with respect to the entity's property. It is also an offence to knowingly participate in, or contribute to, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing any terrorist group's ability to carry out a terrorist activity. The UNAQTR allows for the freezing of assets of terrorist entities belonging to, or associated with, the Taliban and al Qaida. The RIUNRST involves the application of Security Council measures and allows for individual Member States to determine the listed entities. It creates a Canadian list of terrorist entities broader in scope than the UNAQTR.
Particular terrorist incidents may involve specified responses from designated agencies. For example, in accordance with the National Defence Act or as an exercise of the Crown Prerogative, the CF can be called upon to support the Government of Canada's counter-terrorism efforts and respond directly to terrorist incidents in Canada. PHAC is responsible for surveillance for diseases and events resulting from the use of CBRNE agents and coordinating a public health response to a terrorist incident. Health Canada also provides monitoring services, hazard assessments, information and advisories and decontamination strategies for CBRNE events. PHAC also maintains the National Emergency Stockpile System, which contains medical countermeasures against CBRNE agents and disaster medical supplies for use in mass casualty events.
Building resilience against terrorism requires a capacity for effective communications between the Government and Canadians in response to a terrorist event. The Government must clearly explain to the public how the incident is being managed in order to maintain public trust and confidence.
The ATA created Part II.1 of the Criminal Code to deal specifically with terrorism offences. It sets out various terrorism offences and their punishments as well as a process for listing an entity as a terrorist group, with the effect of freezing the property of that group.
The Criminal Code has offences relating to the financing of terrorism and provisions relating to the freezing, seizure, restraint and forfeiture of terrorist property. These allowed Canada to become a party to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and assisted Canada in complying with UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and in broadly complying with the Financial Action Task Force Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing.
The largest increase in terrorism was in Myanmar, where deaths rose 23 times from 24 to 521, followed by Niger, where deaths doubled, increasing from 257 in 2020 to 588 in 2021. Mozambique had the largest drop in terrorism deaths, falling by 82% to 93. The success was largely driven by counter-insurgency operations against IS by Mozambican forces, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community.
A final observation is in order, regarding the pressing matter of foreign fighters returning to Southeast Asia. Given how terrorism in Southeast Asia was previously catalyzed by returnees from the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union, it should hardly be surprising that the scenario of hardened militants returning from Syria with ideology, operational knowledge, and frontline experience to mount attacks in the region is one that exercises security planners. This is a potential threat that cannot be taken lightly. But it should also be viewed in context. Three points are instructive in this regard:
ISIS-related activity in Southeast Asia poses no immediate threat to the American homeland. Thus far, there has also not been any indication of any specific desire on the part of ISIS-inspired militants to target offshore American interests such as embassies and/or commercial enterprises. This does not mean however, that there is no need for vigilance. The Jakarta attacks could be indicative of a return to the targeting of foreigners. Meanwhile, U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition successes in Syria and Iraq might elicit a call from ISIS central to its sympathizers and supporters worldwide to strike at the United States. On this score, it would serve U.S. interests to cooperate even more closely with regional partners in the fight against ISIS, and more generally, terrorism, in Southeast Asia.