Author Topic: May 2010 Attack on Ottawa Bank: Arson or terrorism?  (Read 70036 times)

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May 2010 Attack on Ottawa Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« on: May 19, 2010, 22:02:35 »
This from CTV.ca:
Quote
Terrorism charges may be levelled against those responsible for the firebombing of an RBC bank branch in Ottawa once investigators determine the motivation behind the attack, police said Wednesday.

An anarchist group claimed responsibility for the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning, moments after witnesses saw a group of three or four men fleeing from the scene in Ottawa's trendy Glebe neighbourhood.

Within hours, a video was posted online that showed shadowy figures inside the bank's foyer at about 3:30 a.m. on the morning of the blaze. As the two people dash out the door, a wall of flames flashes inside the bank.
( .... )

Acting inspector Don Sweet of the Ottawa police told CTV's Power Play Wednesday that for now, authorities are conducting an arson investigation into the blaze.

But when asked why the attack is not being investigated as an act of terrorism, Sweet said the investigation could very well head in that direction.

"When we get further at the intent, or if we can get to that, that's when we may expand this and look at other criminal charges when we get to that point in the investigation," Sweet said.

"Clearly based on the target that was hit, the posting that was put out there, the other information we're working on, we are looking towards that part of it. But at the time right now we are in an arson investigation and when we get to that next level, if we do, then we will expand it to include other charges if applicable." ....

Here's where the anarchist statement claiming responsibility is:
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,92495.msg935487.html#msg935487

And here's the Criminal Code's definition of "terrorism" - highlights mine:
Quote
“terrorist activity” means
(a) an act or omission that is committed in or outside Canada and that, if committed in Canada, is one of the following offences:

(i) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2) that implement the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, signed at The Hague on December 16, 1970,

(ii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2) that implement the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, signed at Montreal on September 23, 1971,

(iii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3) that implement the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 14, 1973,

(iv) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.1) that implement the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 17, 1979,

(v) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.4) or (3.6) that implement the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, done at Vienna and New York on March 3, 1980,

(vi) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2) that implement the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, signed at Montreal on February 24, 1988,

(vii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2.1) that implement the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, done at Rome on March 10, 1988,

(viii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2.1) or (2.2) that implement the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, done at Rome on March 10, 1988,

(ix) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.72) that implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 15, 1997, and

(x) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.73) that implement the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1999, or
(b) an act or omission, in or outside Canada,

(i) that is committed

(A) in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, and

(B) in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the public or the person, government or organization is inside or outside Canada, and

(ii) that intentionally

(A) causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence,

(B) endangers a person’s life,

(C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public,

(D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), or

(E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private, other than as a result of advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work that is not intended to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C),


and includes a conspiracy, attempt or threat to commit any such act or omission, or being an accessory after the fact or counselling in relation to any such act or omission, but, for greater certainty, does not include an act or omission that is committed during an armed conflict and that, at the time and in the place of its commission, is in accordance with customary international law or conventional international law applicable to the conflict, or the activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties, to the extent that those activities are governed by other rules of international law.

All are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

That said, for me, it FEELS like terrorism, but a lawyer may be able to say, "although there was substantial property damage, the intent was NOT to kill or hurt anyone, therefore it doesn't fit the whole bill - arsonists, yes, terrorists, no".
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 15:40:34 by milnews.ca »
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Offline krustyrl

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 22:10:42 »
bottom line is it was wilful destruction with the possibility of fatalities.?        :rage:

Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 23:22:27 »
Hmmm. Not much different than what is going on in Caledonia, but McSquinty, Fantino and the liebrals would rather bury their heads in the sand than call that exactly what it is. Domestic terrorism.
Corruption in politics doesn't scare me.
What scares me is how comfortable people are doing nothing about it.

Offline Remius

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 09:06:09 »
I'm inclined to agree that it's terrorism.

They caused substantial damage and I would argue that they did endanger lives by putting response teams at risk of injury or death as well as diverting ressources.  Diverting ressources puts the public at risk as well.  They intended to cause damage and section D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), clearly covers that.

The fact that they supported the whole thing with political and ideological propaganda seals it.  Plus they are threatening to do it again.  Can we realistically say they aren't a danger to the public and lives are not at risk?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 09:13:33 by Crantor »
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 09:11:21 »
Both the Minister of Public Safety and the Ottawa Chief of Police were interviewed separately on CFRA Radio this morning re this incident. The Minister described the incident as "terrorism," while the Chief called the perpetrators "domestic terrorists."

Offline Petamocto

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2010, 09:17:06 »
bottom line is it was wilful destruction with the possibility of fatalities.?        :rage:

I would agree to the first of your criteria but not the second.

Yes, of course to be literal any act of violence has the potential to kill people, but I can not see them choosing 0330 hrs if they had an intent to kill people.

If fatalities were their intent it would have been done at 1230 hrs.
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 09:21:54 »
- edited to add Ottawa Citizen bits -

Both the Minister of Public Safety and the Ottawa Chief of Police were interviewed separately on CFRA Radio this morning re this incident. The Minister described the incident as "terrorism," while the Chief called the perpetrators "domestic terrorists."
Interesting - here's what CTV Ottawa is sharing with the world:
Quote
.... Police call it an act of domestic terrorism .... A former senior intelligence officer with CSIS told CTV News Channel the group's actions will likely heighten security at the upcoming international meetings.

"It reveals the vulnerability of society in general and this is what is so shocking for the general public, this is what is so worrisome for the authorities," said Michel Juneau-Katsuya.

"These guys have crossed a line now and the Anti-Terrorist Act can be used against them because they basically did an act of terrorism and that is taken very, very seriously."

However, police insist their case remains an arson investigation. Police say they need to look at the motivation behind the attack to determine if any other charges will be laid.

"We have limited information right now that we are prepared to release in regards to the suspect," said Acting Insp. Don Sweet of the Ottawa police. He added the tech unit is now looking at the video.

The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies says the next step is to determine if the attack can be considered a possible terror threat.

"If it can be shown through the writings or through the individuals involved, once they've been identified that they were intending to just act out their anger against the Royal Bank, then that's a criminal activity and it's arson," said senior researcher Tom Quiggin.

"If however, their intent is to create a larger atmosphere of fear and intimidation in an attempt to change what the policymakers think at the G20 or the G8 conference or to change the direction that the Royal Bank is taking, then that rises to the level of terrorism." ....

And more from the Ottawa Citizen:
Quote
.... Ottawa police and the RCMP are confident that the homegrown terrorists would be captured.

Chief Vern White said Wednesday night police have some good leads, but catching the suspects won’t be easy.

“I understand the public’s concern,” he said. “It’s as scary for us as it is for them. This is a city that is typically untouched by this type of activity.

I will argue these are domestic terrorists.” ....
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 09:32:05 by milnews.ca »
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Offline Remius

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 09:37:16 »
I would agree to the first of your criteria but not the second.

Yes, of course to be literal any act of violence has the potential to kill people, but I can not see them choosing 0330 hrs if they had an intent to kill people.

If fatalities were their intent it would have been done at 1230 hrs.

Yes, but the law clearly states that if the act causes serious damage that is likely to cause harm or death, whether they intended to kill or not is irrelevant.  The intent is to cause damage that can lead to likely harm and or death.  They fire bombed a bank in an urban environment.  A fire that could have spread.  If they had taken baseball bats to the windows or thrown paint bombs through the windows it would be a different story.  And again they are spouting ideological propaganda and are threatening to do it again.  Public safety is at risk.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 09:56:36 by Crantor »
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 10:37:47 »
One oldish fart's breakdown, for discussion from the CCC definition:

Quote
an act or omission, in or outside Canada,
Check

Quote
(i) that is committed

(A) in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause
At least one statement suggesting this - check

Quote
(B) in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the public or the person, government or organization is inside or outside Canada,
Good case to be made for intimidation - check.

Quote
and (ii) that intentionally

(A) causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence,
Not THIS time, but note the word "intentionally" - I'm not a lawyer, but I read that as needing intent to kill/hurt (1st degree murder vs. manslaughter sort of distinction).  I'm thinking a lawyer can point to the fact that it was late at night and (I'm guessing) recce'ed to minimize chances of collateral damage.  This would likely be the biggest wedge the defense could drive into the terrorism case - watch for it when these folks face the music in the courts.

Quote
(B) endangers a person’s life,
There's a case to be made others were endangered in the building, but same as above - intent needed.

Quote
(C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public,
Same as above - intent needed.

Quote
(D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C)
Intent to damage looks like it can be proven (given the statement and others like it out there), but given the hour of the attack, and if a recce was done, how "likely" is it that there would be death or injury?

Quote
or (E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private, other than as a result of advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work that is not intended to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C),
Multiple banks being put out of commission by a hack?  Maybe.  One branch closed?  Hard to make a case for "serious interference (or) disruption of an essential service, facility or system".

That said, if you can't legally pin "terrorist" on them, I'm OK with high-end sentence for arson:
Quote
Arson — damage to property
434. Every person who intentionally or recklessly causes damage by fire or explosion to property that is not wholly owned by that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 434; 1990, c. 15, s. 1.
Hell, if you want to be a stickler, what about any jerry cans of gas found in ANY accomplice's car, van or garage?  ;D
Quote
Possession of incendiary material
436.1 Every person who possesses any incendiary material, incendiary device or explosive substance for the purpose of committing an offence under any of sections 433 to 436 is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

1990, c. 15, s. 1.
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Offline Remius

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 11:06:54 »
So then how would you classify the pipeline bombings out west?  Vandalism?  Mischief?  I think it's pretty clear what it is even if the "intent" isn't to kill anyone.

This goes beyond simple arson or vandalism.  I applaud the police labelling this terrorism.  These people need to be dealt with harshly and with the full force of the law.  I'm pretty sure this group didn't go in there with the intention of being labelled terrorists.  Other groups seing the kind of attention this is drawing might think twice if there is the fear of being labelled a terrorrist group.
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 11:21:03 »
Crantor,

I don't think anyone is questioning your assertion that worse things could have happened here had the fire spread or if people had walked by, etc.

However, while I am by no means defending the people who did it I do believe that upon their sentencing it should be noted that killing a large group of people was not their intent.

If you convicted everyone for things that could have gone wrong due to their actions, just about all of us would be in jail.  You could make the argument that someone driving 110 in a 100 km/h zone could have lost control of their  car and taken out a bus full of kids, but it didn't actually happen.

Obviously fire bombing and speeding aren't in the same ball park, but I for one am very happy that they "only" did what they did and that they didn't do it when the bank was full.
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 11:30:02 »
So then how would you classify the pipeline bombings out west?  Vandalism?  Mischief?  I think it's pretty clear what it is even if the "intent" isn't to kill anyone.
What do I call it?  Terrorism, plain and simple, just like this incident.  I agree with you.

What will the courts call it?  One can hope, but I'm not confident.
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Offline Remius

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 11:44:52 »
Petamocto:

Well the question is whether it is arson or terrorism.  This isn't some guy angry with his neighbour and torches his shed.  It was a criminal act with political and ideological overtones designed to send a message to the "establishment".

I'm not saying charge them with crimes they didn't commit.

But don't call it arson when it's something far more serious.
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Offline N. McKay

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 12:56:17 »
So then how would you classify the pipeline bombings out west?  Vandalism?  Mischief?  I think it's pretty clear what it is even if the "intent" isn't to kill anyone.

An argument could probably be made for calling it sabotage.

Quote
This goes beyond simple arson or vandalism.  I applaud the police labelling this terrorism.  These people need to be dealt with harshly and with the full force of the law.  I'm pretty sure this group didn't go in there with the intention of being labelled terrorists.

But isn't that at the core of what a terrorist is -- someone who intends to be known as one?  After all, terrorism is one of the few crimes for which anyone even claims responsibility.  Most criminals deny responsibility.

For me, as a layman, terrorism is something that is intended to cause terror.  Slamming airplanes full of people into buildings in a densely populated city is an easy "yes".  Bombing a remote pipeline isn't so clear-cut.  Setting fire to an empty building seems like a tougher argument.

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 13:09:06 »
As noted in "The Views of Canadian Scholars on the Impact of the Anti-Terrorism Act," available here, you'll end up chasing your tail without result trying to find an agreed definition.
Quote
2.2.3 Defining Terrorism
The definition issue has proved to be the black hole of terrorism studies. Terrorism is a political issue, and many definitions (there are hundreds) have taken on a political or normative, values laden character. As a result, experts have conceded that there is no single definition of terrorism, and have fallen back on a description of common features. Regardless of identity of the perpetrators, the reason for their actions, or the merits of their cause, there is general agreement that their actions could be classified as sub-state terrorism if they meet the following criteria:
1) The actions are undertaken as a form of warfare or violent politics;
2) The objectives are political, not for personal gain, and the impact is societal;
3) The actions include violent criminal techniques, such as murder, arson, bombing and
extortion, for instrumental or punitive purposes, and/or to create a climate of extreme fear
(i.e., terror) to induce compliance with the terrorists' objectives;
4) The attacks usually are selective in intent and objective, but appear to be indiscriminate
in effect to enhance the surprise and shock factor that creates the climate of fear;
5) The attacks are conducted in a manner to send messages to a number of targets and
audiences regarding the intentions and goals of the terrorists - a violent form of political
communication;
6) The attacks project an image of power and omnipotence for states, groups, or persons
whose real power is actually very limited; and,
7) The perpetrators are organized and operate secretly, both to ensure their security and to
enhance the surprise/shock - and terror - effects of their actions.
By focusing upon common features of terrorist acts, rather than a textbook definition, this bombing certainly meets the criteria.

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2010, 13:16:32 »
"An anarchist group claimed responsibility for the blaze"

It's been about forty years since the "Anarchist Cookbook" came out. I never read it, but I think there were instructions for booby traps. That would be on my mind if sent on such a call.

This is some legislation regarding traps. It seems to have been written for drug dealers. But, perhaps it would also apply to anarchists.:
http://www.iaff.org/canada/archive/c14_enacted.htm
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 19:33:52 by mariomike »
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2010, 13:37:25 »
Interestingly enough Friitz Fun Food was a frie joint two blocks north of this bank in on Bank Street.  It is now a Starbucks.  Makes me wonder if a crew of Yuppies may have been frequenting this community for some time and decided to do some after hours acitivities.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 13:55:07 by George Wallace »
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2010, 13:44:50 »
I consider it Arson/Vandalism. I hope they are not connected to one of the groups I am familiar with in Ottawa.

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2010, 13:53:59 »
bottom line is it was wilful destruction with the possibility of fatalities.?        :rage:

Considering they did it during a part of the night where is there no other people around inside or out, it is safe to say their intention is not to harm anyone. The glebe around 3am is pretty deserted with only the occasional car going by.

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2010, 14:25:26 »
A raging fire in an older section of the city doesn't care if it is the middle of the night or the middle of the day.  Had the fire spread to other buildings nearby, the outcome could have been quite tragic.  The fact that these people took a practice used by jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan and other locations, of video taping their act, tells us that they are some really sick puppies.  It also tells us that there are three or more persons involved.  If you go to Google Maps and Street View, you can walk throught the neighbourhood and see the layout of the land.   As a small group, they could be quite unpredictable, and perhaps quite fanatical.
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Offline krustyrl

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2010, 14:46:21 »
I consider it Arson/Vandalism. I hope they are not connected to one of the groups I am familiar with in Ottawa.


And you would be making this "consideration" in which capacity.? 

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2010, 22:25:37 »
Considering they did it during a part of the night where is there no other people around inside or out, it is safe to say their intention is not to harm anyone. The glebe around 3am is pretty deserted with only the occasional car going by.

And how do you know what their intention was?  There still could have been alot of people hurt.  If you are going to comment at least try and say something intelligent
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2010, 22:27:23 »
- edited to add CBC.ca story -

It's been about forty years since the "Anarchist Cookbook" came out. I never read it, but I think there were instructions for booby traps.
Gee, shame there's so many mistakes in that book - or so I hear.....

Meanwhile, police are picking up the electronic crumbs on the trail - this from CBC.ca:
Quote
Ottawa police are "extremely confident" they will make arrests in the recent firebombing of a Royal Bank branch, says Chief Vern White.

"When a community is terrorized by activities of a group based in ideology, that's terrorism and that's what I believed happened here - this is domestic terrorism," White told CBC News on Thursday. "And we'll treat it as such."

He added that police have strong leads already, partly because the purported arsonists posted a video of the incident online.

"We do have strong leads...I'm extremely confident that we're on the right path and that we will make arrests," White said, noting he doesn't say that very often ....
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 22:57:35 by milnews.ca »
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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2010, 23:12:13 »
Riggermade,

Mellian probably said that for the same reason a lot of other people have:  Because they did not do it in the middle of the day when there were people there.

Have we interviewed the people involved to get their motive?  Of course not.  Could their actions have hurt someone if they fire had spread?  Of course.

However, the fact that they did it at 0330 instead of 1200 hrs speaks volumes to their intent.
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Re: Alleged Anarchist Attack on Bank: Arson or terrorism?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2010, 23:41:37 »
However, the fact that they did it at 0330 instead of 1200 hrs speaks volumes to their intent.

I think it shows their intent was not to be seen by using cover of darkness.
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