Skip to content

Sudbury probably not terrorists? target

BY BILL BRADLEY [email protected] Since the London bombings, citizens in other major cities are wondering who may be next.
BY BILL BRADLEY

Since the London bombings, citizens in other major cities are wondering who may be next.

Last week Prime Minister Paul Martin told Canadian Press that he believes the threat of terrorism in Canada is a real one.

CP said reports indicate an extremist Jihadist website was alerting al-Qaeda fighters about Canada?s increased military presence in Afghanistan.

Italians are becoming more nervous about terrorism after one of those who attempted the London bombings was arrested there recently.

In Italy, a poll published last week by the daily Corriere della Sera found 85 percent of Italians think a terror attack could be imminent, within weeks.

Is Sudbury a terrorist target because the city sits on one of the world?s largest supplies of nickel?

Mary Powell, the new chair of Laurentian University?s political science department, said she thinks Sudbury is not in danger of a direct attack by
terrorists.

But Sudbury could suffer if other cities are hit, she added.

Though not a terrorism expert, Powell said she speaks as an informed observer of international affairs.

?There are easier nickel mine targets in Indonesia than the Sudbury operation. After all, Sudbury has a fairly homogenous population of French and English ethnic groups ? a typical terrorist from the Middle East would have a hard time fitting in here.

?In Indonesia, Inco has already been threatened by an al-Qaeda affiliate there,? she said.

In May 2004, Inco evacuated Canadian employees from its mine at South Sulawesi, Indonesia, after terrorists issued death threats against company officials.

The terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, linked to al-Qaeda, was thought responsible according to the Indonesian and Australian governments.

Powell said she does think Sudbury could be hurt indirectly by a major terrorist attack elsewhere, especially in southern Ontario or the northeastern United States.

?Our society is very tightly linked, due to the interconnectedness of modern infrastructure, like energy and communications. Attacks elsewhere will hurt us too,? she said.

Powell cited the work of Thomas Homer-Dixon, an academic from the University of Toronto, who spoke at Laurentian University in May 2003. He will be publishing a new book in 2006 on the susceptibility of modern nations to breakdown.

Homer-Dixon, in the Foreign Policy Journal in 2002, cited the increased complexity and interconnectedness of modern society where, for example, security problems at the Canadian/American border would have severe consequences for the movement of goods, including food. Secondly, the increased geographic concentration of wealth, human capital, knowledge and communications has made Canada susceptible for attacks.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service agrees.

?A large segment of Canada?s critical infrastructure is directly linked with similar infrastructures globally, particularly with the United States. The August 2003 blackout demonstrated the economic, physical, and psychological impacts resulting from a critical infrastructure failure. The effects of a terrorist attack on the critical infrastructure of Canada, or an associated country, could have profound repercussions,? stated CSIS?s 2003 Public Report.

Terrorists could strike soon according to some experts. The federal government has identified 50 terrorist groups present in Canada.

?Terrorism is in Canada, and it is a very real threat to our national security?We also know that pre-operational planning reconnaissance has been
undertaken in Canada on a number of possible targets in some of our largest metropolitan centres. Successful terrorist actions against any one of them could potentially take a terrible toll on human life,? said Jim Rudd, director of CSIS speaking to a Senate Committee on Canada?s Anti-Terrorism Act in March.

American officials are now concerned about nuclear terrorism.

?I am also very concerned with the growing body of sensitive reporting that continues to show al-Qaeda?s clear intention to obtain and ultimately use some form of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high energy explosives in its attack against America,? said FBI director Robert Mueller to the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence on Feb. 16, 2005.

According to nuclear experts such as Jon B. Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., nuclear proliferation means more opportunities await terrorists.

He has said, ?there is mounting evidence that al-Qaeda has every intention of using a nuclear weapon if only it can get its hands on one.?



Comments

Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.