Friday, August 19, 2016

Canadian terrorist killed in back of taxi

Aaron Driver, 24, was shot and killed in the back of a taxi where he had detonated an explosive device.  Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said that Canada needed to step up its counter-radicalization effects. Driver was found to have made a "martyrdom video" in which he said he was planning to launch an attack on an urban center during the morning or afternoon rush hour. 

Driver was well known to authorities and was under a peace bond for communicating with what the RCMP said were well-known Islamic State supporter in the UK and US. Goodale said: The government of Canada has to get far more proactive on the whole issue of outreach, community engagement, counter-radicalization, determining how and in what means the right positive constructive influences can be brought to bear to change what otherwise would be dangerous behaviour." 

However, the threat level for terrorism in Canada still remains at "medium" where it has remained since the autumn of 2014.

As with the ousted Conservatives, Goodale is making political points with respect to government actions against the terrorist threat noting that the government spent a half billion or so in the recent budget for police, national security, and border controls saying: "We've made our first investments in that direction and there will be more to follow." The FBI had come into possession of the martyr video and had tipped of the RCMP who identified Driver as the person in the video before noon.

When Driver called a cab and left his residence in Strathroy later in the afternoon. The RCMP surrounded the cab and "engaged with the suspect who detonated an explosive device in the back of the cab". It is not certain that Driver was killed in the explosion or subsequent shots by police. The cab driver was apparently injured but was at home rather than the hospital.

The US embassy in Ottawa stressed the incident as showing excellent cross-border co-operation between the two countries. Driver's father said he converted to Islam as a teen. He appears to have been radicalized in part on line. He was arrested in June of 2015 and was released on bail and had to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet or undergo religious counselling. 

Under the peace bond this was not required. Goodale said that there were no planned changes to the former Conservative Bill C-51 based on the Strathroy events. 

Liberals had criticized the bill but then voted in favor of it. They have made no changes in it since they took power. With this recent incident any changes will probably add new provisions in spite of criticism of the bill by many human rights organizations.

Driver attended a mosque in London where members had tried to change his perspective, and had kept police informed of his presence. A statement from the mosque noted: "While he had wrong views about the world, at no time did any officials with the mosque know or suspect that Aaron was translating those views into any kind of attack. He did not display any outward signs of aggression."
The Middle East Eye also has an article on the incident.

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