Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature: The Grand Illusion

Written by Harold McNeill on April 24th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Nuttall and Korody

December 19, 2018  In a unanimous decision released Wednesday morning, the Appeal Court sided with a B.C. Supreme Court judge who stayed proceedings in the terrorism trial of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody on the grounds that the police investigation was a “travesty of justice.”  Read more background at Entrapment

January 6, 2016 UPDATE:  More information about police misconduct continues to be aired following the conviction of the above couple on terrorist charges.  Read more in the Times Colonist

November 18, 2015 UPDATE:  A BC Supreme Court Judge has ordered the RCMP to release documents related to legal advice they obtained during the investigation of the above couple.  This is part of the hearing related to the subject of misconduct (or entrapment) by the RCMP.  Full report in The Province

June, 2014 UPDATE:  While Nuttall and Korody have been convicted of some charges by the jury in their case, the conviction has not been entered by the Judge pending a “Judge Only” follow-up trial to consider whether ‘entrapment’ played a role in the alleged crime.  Several Mr. Big Operations have been tossed by various Provincial Superior and Appeal Courts in recent years, and in one case that made it to the Supreme Court, the court upheld a lower court decision to toss the conviction.  (Link to Game Changer)

Photo (Web Source): As you read this post consider whether you think John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were latent terrorists just biding their time or whether they were drug induced dreamers targeted to play a lead role in the Government’s War on Terror. After nearly five months of work by a squad of 250 RCMP security personal and with just three days to go before Canada Day 2013, this couple still had no idea they would be planting fake bombs in the bush around the B.C. Legislature.

Also, consider (and compare) as you read this post and the next, link below, how much could be accomplished if you assigned 250 RCMP members with a multi-million dollar budget and the latest in crime technology to take down some serious criminals who have already committed a crime or a long series of crimes, rather than chasing a couple of potentially dangerous airheads for five months.

(Link here to Part 1: Oversight of Police and Security Services)

(Link here to Part III: Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay)

Part II

Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: Introduction

This post continues the discussion about whether oversight of police and security services is as important today as it was in the 1970’sAfter reading and watching over four-dozen media, video and web reports covering the ongoing trial of Nuttall and his partner Korody, it was astounding to learn of the extremes to which the RCMP Security Service went in order to envelop the couple in a terrorist plot. It was as if we were back in the 1970’s when security agencies could act with impunity (Oversight).

The five-month Nuttall/Korody ‘investigation’, ended mid-afternoon of July 1, 2013, when the couple were taken down by an RCMP SWAT team at a motel in the Fraser Valley. They were then charged with “knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity, conspiracy and making or possessing an explosive device.” (CBC). The RCMP had actually taken the couple into custody earlier in the morning (probably around 9:30 am) at the BC Legislative grounds, but from there they were transported back to the Fraser Valley to make it appear as if they were arrested several hours later.  In the intervening hours, those two ‘dangerous terrorists’ were driven to the BC Ferry terminal, escorted on board and while having brunch, chit-chatted with the RCMP members who had befriended them.  After being planted in the motel, the arrest was then staged for the media. Without being to cynical, the entire case was a Grand Illusion from beginning to end.

If convicted they could spend the next 25 years or more in a federal prison. For those who chance to read this post or any of the linked news reports, you might well be left to wonder who actually facilitated this ‘terrorist plot ’ and who ‘conspired with whom to make and possess an explosive device’?

The crown case was based almost entirely upon intercepted communications introduced by two RCMP officers posing as “Arab businessmen with jihadist sympathies” whose identities remain cloaked in secrecy (Vancouver Sun). Clearly the crown ‘cherry picked’ the most compelling video clips to demonstrate guilt, but once the defence team took centre stage, dozens of other clips were aired that presented a deeply troubling dimension to this case.

The Vancouver Sun and a half dozen other media outlets are to be commended for sticking with this trial when most media, including national outlets, pretty much skipped the case except for the sensational parts which showcased guilt of the accused. Almost every day the arrests of Nuttall and Korody as well as those involved in the VIA Rail conspiracy, were cited as examples of how “terrorism” has become the #2 threat facing Canada. (CBC).

Apparently those in Ottawa responsible for setting terrorist threat levels never heard about gang activity such as that which has plagued Surrey, B.C., and many other cities across Canada. As an example, in the first four months of 2015 there have been nearly two dozen shootouts between rival youth gangs in Surrey, B.C., right next door to the $billion RCMP E Division HQ with all that ultra high tech crime tracking equipment.  But, then again, ‘terrorism’ seems to trump all other crimes. (Reference discussion point #3 in footer)

Because the referenced media reports was written by different reporters, each of whom reviewed different aspects of the Nuttall/Korody case, it was necessary to meld the reports into a cohesive chain of events that flowed from February 2013 through to the arrests on July 1, 2013. Each referenced item is linked to the original media report or other source. If you notice a link error, please let me know and it will be corrected.

Regards
Harold McNeill,
Detective-Sergeant, Retired

Note: If you wish to skip the background editorial of why I think this Grand Illusion seemed so essential to the government and police, start at Section 3, Mr. Big Joins the Game.

1. The search is on for a terrorist plot

In the seven years leading to 2013, the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET) lead by the Commissioner of the RCMP, was under intense pressure to produce results in the governments anti-terror program, a program in which terrorists both foreign and domestic were targetted by the RCMP as being the #2 threat to public safety in Canada. (The Hook)

Budgets for the security agencies grew exponentially from September 2001 (The Hook, CP24) and, as well, over two billion dollars spent buildingRCMP "E" Division HQ in Surrey, BC state of the art offices for the RCMP “E” Division HQ in Surrey, British Columbia and CSIS and CSEC in Ottawa. These buildings housed the latest in technology including “Real Time Intelligence Centres” (RTIC – B.C.) and other high tech systems designed to track and share information on emerging criminal and terrorist threats. (The Tyee)(Fusion Centres).  The upcoming budget for 2015, will likely allocate billions more to the national security agencies as the fight against terror knows no bounds.

Photo (Web Source): It seems appropriate this ‘terrorist’ case should be centred in Surrey, B.C. just a short distance from the new billion dollar HQ.  You can rest assured there were high level briefings every day of the week as this case slowly progressed through the early months of 2013. (Link to more photos)

But the downside for the spy agencies, even after doubling by experts using modern technology and with unlimited budgets, is that little if anything was produced by way of meaningful warnings about terrorist plots. The killers of two soldiers who tragically died at the hands of those deranged individuals in Ottawa were never on the radar and it is acknowledged that ‘lone wolf’ attacks cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. Granted, a few ‘terror tourists’ floated out of the country and around the Middle East were identified, but none had caused much of a problem and a few of those misguided souls even managed to get themselves killed (CBC) (TRAC) (Discussion point #3).

The real concern of the security agencies was the fact the last terror plot uncovered in Canada occurred in 2006, some seven years
earlier. That case concluded when eighteen hapless individuals (later tagged as The Toronto 18) were rounded up during an early morning planning session at Tim Horton’s (Curio.ca). Some of eighteen were no doubt dangerous and deserved to be arrested and charged, but many were wannabes caught up in the moment and a few, well, just plain innocent. That case was largely built by an “agent provocateur” as well as a second witness who was paid millions for his testimony (McNeill Life Stories).

The arrest of the Toronto 18 played extremely well in the media as it was Canada’s first foray into taking down a terrorist conspiracy. The news flashed around the world and for a short time the government and security agencies glowed (and crowed) in the spotlight. More importantly it provided the impetus to keep terrorism as the #1 or #2 danger being faced down by the Government of Canada and its various security agencies.

But, after several years with nothing significant on the domestic front to report, the RCMP Commissioner and other security agency leaders on the hot seat. (The Tyee) The Government wanted something (anything) to justify renewing the ‘anti-terror legislation’ that had lapsed some years earlier, so the agencies were digging to the bottom of the barrel when in early 2012, they came upon a couple of guys planning to derail the VIA train in Ontario (VIA Rail). That trap sprang shut simultaneous with the Boston Bombing then, just days later the Government tabled, then passed the long lapsed Terror Bill S7 (Effects of Bill).  Around the same time, in February 2013, as the RCMP were pushing for terror related cases, they came upon a pair of drug addicts living in Surrey, B.C. suspected of demonstrating ‘jihadist’ sympathies. It is upon that investigation this post will focus.

It is somewhat ironical the drug addict’s who were targeted lived in a community that continues to have some of the worst youth and adult gang violence in British Columbia, violence the Surrey RCMP Detachment has struggling come to terms with partly due to a lack of manpower. (Discussion Point #3).

Note:  Jihad is an Arabic word meaning to struggle or exert an effort. It does not mean blanket use of force against enemies or those with whom you disagree. However, Islamic extremists often use jihad as an excuse to commit atrocities. (Definition)

2. Zeroing in on two suspects

Specific information that lead to the identification of Nuttall and his partner Korody as potential terrorists was never revealed, but seems likely to have involved a tip from CSIS as well as other sources including members of local Mosques the couple tried to join. At each Mosque it was not long before the couple were asked to leave due to their aberrant behaviour. For example, at one point after converting to Islam Nuttall said in a taped conversation: “How do I pray and where’s my gun, ‘let’s jihad’” (Vancouver Sun). It seems likely one or more persons from those Mosques may have phoned police.

In addition, Nuttall, an avid paint baller, made several posts on a paintball forum called Outlaw Paintball where he used various aliases including “Ana Nimity” and “Mujahid” when making posts such as “I am a Mujahid and inshAllah. I will die a Shaheed.” (2) which is reported to mean: “I am a Muslim who believes in the jihad, and God-willing, I will die a martyr.” (Huffington Post).

While his posts were benign compared to many easily found on the Internet, his references to “insults to Muhammad” and other statements could be interpreted as his being involved in a personal “jihad” of some sort.  Also, it was later revealed that in his early life while growing through his teens in Victoria, B.C., he periodically dabbled in anti-social ideologies.  Of course this singled him out, as very few young people in Victoria or Canada for that matter, would consider ‘dabbling in anti-social behaviour!’

For those who knew Nuttall and Korody, including a personal friend whose son recognized Nuttall after his arrest, stated the man was a talented guitar player and had made a bit of a name for himself while playing with various Victoria Punk Rock bands back in the 1990’s. (Vancouver Sun) It seemed clear to many who knew him that drugs and alcohol would eventually do the young man serious damage.

As Nuttall grew through his twenties, he racked up several criminal convictions including crimes of violence for which he served various
periods of time in prison. (National Post) In short, Nuttall was on a downward spiral that was not likely to end anytime soon and when it did would most likely be in the form of an overdose in some back alley or skid row hotel room.  Instead, after leaving Victoria, the two
became targets for a large-scale terrorist investigation that would stretch over five months in early 2013.

Methadone bottlesBy the time Nuttall and Korody arrived in Surrey, both were heavily addicted and while Korody turned to methadone to help reduce her withdrawal systems, Nuttall remained on hard and soft drugs as well as alcohol. In addition he chipped away at Korody’s methadone to keep his demons at bay. During this time the couple were living in a sparsely furnished basement suite with Nuttall’s 90-year grandmother, the woman who raised him in Victoria after his family ties in Kamloops were broken.

Photo (Web Source): Empty methadone bottles were strew about the couples basement suite. Several photos of the suite were taken by one news agency that was given privilaged access shortly after the arrest. The RCMP denied any responsibility for the intrusion (The Tyee).

The couple eked out miserable existence on the dollars provided by social assistance and likely dabbled in petty crime to keep the drugs flowing and a little food on the table. It was at this point in their downward spiral the RCMP targetted them as “homegrown terrorists inspired by al-Qaeda.” (The Tyee)

Their Surrey, B.C. landlady, Shanti Thaman, painted a portrait of a very simple couple who had very little furniture and lived on social assistance. She said she sometimes gave them food. “He didn’t even have a bed to sleep on. Amanda and him slept on the floor,” she said. “I don’t know why they would be plotting something. Someone was brainwashing them.” (National Post). The question was, who?

3. Mr. Big Joins the Game

To get things rolling the RCMP used a Mr. Big operation of the type refined in B.C. back in the 1990’s (The Tyee). For the operation the force planted RCMP members, a Corporal and Sergeant, as two “Arab businessmen with jihadist sympathies”. (Vancouver Sun) The Corporal assumed the name Abdul and his Sergeant became known only as “Big Brother”. The Corporal, then later the Sergeant, began the process of inserting themselves into the lives of Nuttall and Korody. While the identity of the Corporal and Sergeant is protected, it seems likely the two had a cultural background that added credibility to their roles. This Mr. Big operation was slightly different as it did not target an individual(s) who was believed to have committed a serious crime and evidence (confession, physical, etc.) was needed, but, instead, guided the targets towards setting in place the makings of a crime in the future that was deemed most suitable by the RCMP.  (Mr. Big) (Tyee, third para ff)

As the days stretched to weeks then months, the Corporal became a father figure to both and took over looking after much of their daily needs by providing them with “cash, cigarettes, groceries, transportation, hotel rooms when staying out town during planning sessions and short holidays, cell phones, logistical supplies(Vancouver Sun, near end) and, of course, some months later, the components necessary to build the pressure cooker bombs (4, 6 and 11). As for daily living expense, the defence suggested this was done in order that the couple could save enough money to purchase the supplies needed to mount an attack. (CBC)

While both Nuttall and Korody occasionally assumed Muslim dress, nothing could cover their tendency to look like those one might see wandering the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Nuttall with his long scraggly hair and beard as well as general scruffy appearance and Korody, looking more like a whipped puppy than a terrorist when wearing her Muslim garb.

At one point Corporal bought Nuttall a pin stripe suit (Vancouver Sun) so he could clean him up when going on retreats to Whistler andPaintball Target Practice Kelowna.  Left to his own devices Nuttall cared not a whit about his appearance and as the days slipped by would spend hours sitting on the floor of his apartment playing video games or shooting at the TV screen with his paint ball gun. When feeling particularly adventuresome, he would wander down the street to play paintball with a few friends (Vancouver Sun among others).

Photo (Taken by a news outlet shortly after the arrest).  Nuttall held regular target practice in his living room in preparation for some future terrorist plot.  BB likely stands for Big Brother.

As the operation evolved, an RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rideout stated: “In order to ensure public safety, we employed a variety of complex investigative and covert techniques to control any opportunity the suspects had to commit harm,” Rideout said. “These devices were completely under our control, they were inert, and at no time represented a threat to public safety,”(The Tyee). At another point Rideout explained the force considered 28 scenarios but never explained further. One could assume 27 were tossed aside in favour of #28, the one that pushed Nuttall and Korody towards building pressure cooker bombs of the type used in Boston (McNeill Life Stories).

While the Corporal, maintained regular contact with Nuttall and Korody, “there was also a close cover team of 30 or 40 and an overall squad of 240.” This was bolstered by a contingent from “Special “0”, a highly specialized team of operatives used in moving and stationary surveillance, and “Special “I” a team that specialized in installing phone taps and audio/video as well as tracking devices  (Vancouver Sun).(Discussion Point #1)

When the force moved to install audio and video in the Nuttall basement suite, “they declared  a phony crystal-meth haz-mat emergency in the neighbourhood..” (Vancouver Sun), evacuated everyone in the area and Special “I” went to work. It was a large and expensive operation considering the thin grounds upon which it was based. Many rank and file likely felt the operation could come back to bite them, however, once the Commissioner and senior management set their sites on the need to take down a seriously bad terrorist cell, the rank and file were not in a position argue as was demonstrated in many video taped discussions.

4. The Grand Illusion: Creating a Terrorist

Try as they might, the Corporal, Sergeant and skilled support team found it impossible pin down Nuttall as to what his beliefs in jihad actually were and what plan he wanted to use to carry out a terrorist attack. Most things he did seemed designed to please the Corporal rather than in furtherance of his own goals for putting the attack in place. “While the RCMP later reported Nuttall and Korody were “self-radicalized” and were “inspired by al-Qaeda” (The Tyee), there was not a shred of evidence to support the “al-Qaeda” contention. The Corporal once confided to his partner, “I think this is just a bunch of crap, just a bunch of stuff he’s seen on CNN.” (Vancouver Sun) As far as “al-Qaeda inspired” the crown distanced them selves by saying “Two people can be a terrorist group. We don’t say they are members of al-Qaeda.”  (CBC) On the contrary, there was plenty of evidence they were in fact inspired to commit a terrorist act by the RCMP.

Three and half months into the investigation with the clock ticking, money flowing like the water over Niagara Falls and not single piece of hard evidence of a conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, the Corporal and team leaders were under intense pressure to produce something. At that point the Corporal jumped on Nuttall. “As Nuttall wiped away tears the officer stated: ‘Sorry I had to talk to you like that, but brother, we have to get going’. The following day Nuttall phoned the Corporal as if nothing had happened and told him he (Nuttall) had a new hobby “model rocketry.” He asked the Corporal “if he’d like to get into it with me – we could shoot off some model rockets and have some fun.” (Vancouver Sun)

It was a dizzying ride for the Corporal who was stymied at every point when trying to get Nuttall to focus on a specific means of carrying out a terrorist act. For example, “at one point Nuttall proposed seizing a ‘Vancouver Island Train and taking hostages’, not knowing such a train did not exist. At that point the Corporal ‘realized it was all nonsense’.” The following is taken from the same media report (Vancouver Sun):

Corporal: “I’m here to make what you have in your head come true, what you want in your heart to be a reality,” he emphasized. “Brother, trust me for once. Do you understand? Trust me for once. I’m doing this because I want to help you. I see you really want it; I want to help you. Then trust me brother. When I say something … don’t … You’re going to start crying? Don’t please.”

Nuttall: “I’m not crying,” he said, while dabbing his brimming eyes.

“Don’t, don’t,” the Corporal consoled. “But when I tell you something, please, trust me. Okay. Don’t think, I don’t know … Let’s take it step by step. Okay. Baby steps.”

During that May 10th meeting, Nuttall told the Corporal he had hidden a paintball gun loaded with marbles under his jacket because he feared the Corporal and his partners had decided to “take him out.”

Nuttall: “I was afraid of the people you’re hanging out with. Maybe they thought I was a liability,” he said.

Corporal: “You were going to kill me?” he asked incredulously.

“If you tried to kill me, yes,” Nuttall replied.

“You thought I was going to kill you, seriously?” the Corporal repeated.

The two then made up.

“We’re past the return point here,” Corporal said. “We’re past it.”

The Corporal again urged him to come up with a plan:

“Go relax, go relax now. … You have problems. … I’m going to solve your problems.”

Still, the officer’s frustration with Nuttall’s puerile, Rambo-with-a-Qur’an fantasies was evident.

The corporal testified that one evening he just wanted to get his über-loquacious target off the phone.  “I needed to relax,” he testified.

At another point the Corporal assured Nuttall: “I will provide you with material to build a test bomb, a place to test it, a place for you to stay in Victoria, guns for the attack on a nearby military base and perhaps Kevlar bulletproof vests. I’m telling you the explosive, all the expensive stuff, the weapons, I am getting those for you, because I know you need a contact to get those, and you need a lot of money to get those. It’s not cheap. I’m getting those.”  (Vancouver Sun).  At that time Nuttall asked the Corporal for $20.00 for some food. Would it not have been ironical if at some point Nuttall phoned CSIS or the RCMP and reported that Abdul was planning a terrorist attack?

Nuttall kept coming up with crazy suggestions the Coproral “told the jury that a number of other phoney “scenarios” and errands were devised by his cover team, in order to “check how good Mr. Nuttall would follow directions. The second thing I asked was, ‘OK, when do we jihad?’ That was my second question. Mr. Nuttall had several cockamamie schemes, later refined to the alleged legislature bombing plot, with input from undercover police. At one point during the RCMP sting operation, on June 6, 2013, Mr. Nuttall told his undercover officer friend that he planned to fire bullets at the Coho, an American ferry that docks at Victoria’s scenic Inner Harbour. “You could get a sniper rifle and sit up top one of them skyscraper buildings,” he told the undercover Mountie.” (24News.ca)

In spite of his entreaties, the Corporal could not get Nuttall to commit to a single plan and as the days slipped by Nuttall came up with dozens of farfetched schemes which included: attacking a strip bar or a gay bar; using rocket propelled bombs to attack the Coho ferry between Vancouver Island and Washington State (Nuttall hated Americans) (6); a US Aircraft Carrier, bombs next to a urinals in men’s room to avoid killing woman and children, etc. (8) “Jurors in the case also heard Mr. Nuttall brag of having access to secret military information. The U.S. military had installed intercontinental ballistic missiles at a tiny Canadian Navy facility on Vancouver Island, he told one of his new jihadist “brothers.” And, “256 Canadian soldiers just returned from Afghanistan in Esquimalt [near Victoria]. They came off submarines that came in here … and [on] a freighter and a battleship.” (National Post)

Four months in and with no plan in site, the Corporal and his support team decided to take the couple on a planning retreat to the Okanagan:  He (Nuttall) was wearing mirrored-rock-star sunglasses and eye-makeup, known as kohl (an ancient eye makeup), as the Corporal drove them to Kelowna on June 16. Nuttall said he intended to launch rockets at the “Parliament Buildings” and if he had any left over he would launch them at Seattle — which he believed was 32 km from Vancouver rather its true distance, 230 km.

“It’s going to take a lot of planning … a year to plan this and build this,” he said.

“A year, holy, that’s…” the corporal said, staggered.

“Starting today, oh yeah,” Nuttall continued. “By this time next year I want to be doing this … maybe sooner, the sooner the better.”

“I thought you wanted to make the pressure cookers?” the officer asked.

“I did, but as a distraction,” Nuttall replied.

Nuttall had told the undercover officer earlier he wanted to arm the rockets with homemade explosive made in part from cow manure. But on the way to the Okanagan, the officer told him: “Don’t worry about explosives. Know what we are going to use? We are going to use C-4.”
“C-4 for the test?”  “For the pressure cooker,” the officer said (National Post)

“At this point police used the Kelowna getaway to persuade him (Nuttall) to abandon a harebrained scheme involving rockets armed with explosives made from cow manure and use pressure-cooker bombs filled with C-4.
“The reason I like the pressure-cooker idea is because we know it works, and it’s doable,” said the Corporal. Later he enthusiastically reiterated the message: “I like that idea (using pressure-cooker bombs) … if you had a bunch of those and you decided you actually wanted to use that … if you wanted to put C-4 in that, like holy shit, how much damage would that (cause)…” As if Nuttall didn’t get the message, it was repeated a third time by the cop: “I like the pressure cooker thing a lot. I think it is feasible. It’s exciting. You know you can do it.”
But, instead of paying attention, surveillance recordings show the impoverished addicts relishing the police-provided corner hotel suite and personal bathrobes. (19)

At some point in Surrey (likely after their return from Kelowna) Nuttall came close to death when he ingested a crystal pesticide sprinkled on some foot stuff that was being used to kills ants that had invaded their basement suite and although he was vomiting blood he refused hospital attention. The Vancouver Sun reports:

“Fearing he was about to die, Nuttall “said a little prayer and held his wife’s hand.”  He asked forgiveness for killing the ants that were running rampant through their basement apartment and said he expected they would “punish” him in the grave crawling up his nose and into his eyes. “I’m never going to kill another ant again,” Nuttall vowed in the telephone call May 21 with the Corporal. “Insha’Allah (god willing), they (the ants) are going to forgive me for what I’ve done.” The bizarre incident underscored Nuttall’s physical and mental frailties in the weeks leading to the alleged terrorist incident in Victoria on Canada Day 2013.” (11). In another video, a barely comatose Nuttall dictated a last will and testament to Korody. “In it he willed his paint ball equipment to the Corporal for use in training jihadi fighters.” (National Post) The video continues to reveal Korody as a silent partner and it appears she is only being included in the charge as there needs to be a minimum of two persons to constitute a plan to commit a criminal or terrorist act.

5. A Race to Finish Line: Canada Day 2013

On Friday, June 28, just three days before the attack was to take place and still without a plan in place, the Corporal struggled to get Nuttall to commit:  “Instead, Nuttall — who had been awake for three days — rambled on about blowing up buildings in downtown Victoria and storming a nuclear submarine.”  More upsetting, Nuttall said another (undercover Mountie who had befriended him) was involved and partly responsible for the date because he (the UC) was going on vacation.  “I’m going to wait in my car, ’cause I’m ready to go,” the Corporal told his undercover partner after the conversation. “I don’t know. I think this is just a bunch of crap, just a bunch of stuff he’s seen on CNN. I’m going to wait in my car and cool down because I’m very angry right now. Come and talk to me when you’re ready. But I’m not fucking happy.” (Vancouver Sun)

With time running out the Corporal and others set up Nuttall and Korody up in a Delta motel room so they could assemble pressure-cooker devices the Corporal had helped the couple round up at Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Walmart. He told the couple that Big Brother was looking after purchasing the C-4 they needed to complete the bombs (CBC). 

For the investigators it was important to bring Nuttall and Korody to the room in part “to establish the Mounties had not planted any ideas in couple’s heads” but Nuttall’s earlier responses suggested otherwise. In one video the Older Brother (the Sergeant) said to the Corporal at the end of a lengthy conversation with Nuttall, “Look, can I talk to your for a sec … look, he’s not ready. And, I don’t know, you’re wasting my time here with this stuff. He’s got just dreams and I’m not ready for this.  You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do here, but it’s just a waste of my time.”

Later when the Sergeant asked Nuttall who the Canada Day plot was, Nuttall responded: “It’s kind of all our plans, we all kind of chipped in,” he said while including the undercover operator (the Corporal).  When the Sergeant asked how much explosives he needed, Nuttall nodded toward the Corporal and stated: “That’s his department, I don’t know.”  Nuttall reiterated that point later when he stated: “Whatever he says, that’s what we need.”  The Sergeant replied: “Your plan seems like a dream,” to which Nuttall replied, “I’ve never done this before. I’m new to all this.” (Vancouver Sun)

While determining whose plan was being used was not resolved at that time, the planning continued as Nuttall and Korody were left alone in the motel room with instructions to assemble the various parts into pressure cooker bombs to which the explosives would be added later by the Sergeant or the Corporal.

“In video recorded on June 28, Nuttall is seen working at a large table in their hotel room in Delta, south of Vancouver. He messes about with glue and pressure cookers, which he is attempting to assemble into bombs. He repeatedly stresses they have no time to waste.

“Soldier, on your feet,” Nuttall tells his wife.  “I need you now. I hope you’re not just sitting on the edge of the toilet or something.” He commands Korody to research buildings around the legislature, suggesting she use Google’s Street View service, which offers street-level photographs, to case the area in Victoria they plan to attack.  Sometimes he paces the room, practicing the pronunciation of Arabic names and words.  “No emailing, no nothing but working,” he says. “If we don’t have these done, there is a good chance we will be killed. … You understand?” (CBC)

For his part, just thirteen hours before the attack was to take place Nuttall was all for pulling out.  Then, on the fateful day and in just a few hours when they expected to drive an hour south to Victoria to plant homemade pressure-cooker bombs on the legislature lawn Nuttall becomes increasingly agitated as he complains that an Arab businessman and his accomplices have pressured them to rush their attack even though they aren’t ready. “Maybe we shouldn’t do it then,” says Nuttall.  “Except now we got two bombs in his (the Arab businessman’s) possession that are attached to timers and something is going to happen to them,” replies Korody. “We have no options,” says Nuttall. “We have no way out. We have to do it.” (Vancouver Sun)

This tape suggests Nuttall and Korody were not in possession of the bombs, that were more likely being transported to Victoria by the Sergeant or the Corporal (it is assumed the RCMP arranged for a car for Nuttall and Korody to use for the trip).  When they arrived in Victoria at a predetermined location near the Parliament buildings, the pressure cookers would be given to Nuttall and Korody at the last moment so the RCMP could be sure there was no real explosive and that they were planted as directed.  In fact one RCMP Assistant Commissioner, Wayne Rideout, took great pains to explain the force, “always had the two under total control.” (The Tyee).

“John Nuttall’s defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford accused an undercover officer in court on Monday of providing John Nuttall with the money, the expertise and the spiritual guidance to enable him to carry out his terrorist act.” (Vancouver Sun)  From evidence presented thus far, the lives of the two suspects were wholly contained within their basement suite or locations provided, paid for and Wayne Rideout and Pressure Cookerstransported to, by members of the RCMP. For the entire five-month period the RCMP essentially controlled every move of the couple until that fateful day when they were lead to the BC Legislature grounds and told where to place the pressure cookers. Of course, they were not bombs as the RCMP made it very clear they were just inert pressure cookers filled with nails and junk along with minute traces of C4 placed there by the RCMP.  The force was leaving nothing to chance.

Photo (Web Source): RCMP Assistant Commissioner Wayne Ridout proudly displays the pressure cooker bombs at a press conference shortly after the arrests. The Assistant Commissioner made it clear a terrorist attack of considerable proportions was narrowly averted.

6. Heading to the Final Roundup

After the pressure cookers were planted, the Corporal picked up the couple, returned them to the mainland and placed them in a Fraser Valley Motel that was to be their ‘safe house’ until they could be whisked out of Canada to a safe haven.   A short while later the Corporal phoned the couple and asked them to meet him at the Burger King across the street.  As soon as they left their room they were taken down by the RCMP.  That take-down was conducted in grand style by using the RCMP tactical team with weapons drawn and making all the usual commands, “Police! Get down on your stomach! Roll over on your front! Roll over on your front!” (Vancouver Sun).

This happened even through the Corporal, Sergeant and a cover team of 50 or more officers were in possession of the couple from the time of leaving the Legislature until they were planted in the ‘safe house’. The RCMP could just as easily have arrested the couple and taken them to the Victoria Police Station to be processed, however, there was no glamour in that.  No, they took those “dangerous” terrorists who had just planted bombs at the BC Legislature and drove them to the ferry. They weren’t under arrest, they weren’t handcuffed and they probably bought them a meal and chit chatted in the cafeteria.  No, going to that motel and then calling in the SWAT Team was all about carrying The Grand Illusion to its natural conclusion, a take-down that was video tapped and held for future thirty second clips about the ongoing War on Terror.  Is this what justice in Canada has become?

Harold McNeill
Detective Sergeant, Retired

(Link here to Part 1: Oversight of Police and Security Services)

Part III: Conspiracy to Rob an Armoured Car at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal: The next post will focus upon a real life conspiracy rather than an illusion. It involved real criminals with real guns, real explosives and willingness to use both in order to achieve their goals. The investigation was conducted by real police who put themselves in harms way to arrest and charge bad people before they actually killed or injured someone.

The investigation took place back in the early 1980’s, at a time when police were learning to handle new investigative restrictions suggested by various Royal Commissions and mandated by various court rulings that flowed out of the 1970’s (described in Part I). if the plan to rob that armoured car was allowed to carry to its natural conclusion, or if police had not become aware of the gang’s plans, it would have become one of the more notorious criminal acts in the history of Victoria.  I hope to have the post ready by May 10, but that will depend upon other demands.

Discussion Points

May 5, 2015 (addition).  Yesterday I was taken to task by a former policeman who read this post. His comment:

HaroldI think we are going to have to agree to disagree on your post of the Nuttall issue. Having worked on Nuttall in the late 90’s, charging him with 11 counts including arson, agg(ravated) assault etc and having the jury convict him on all 11 counts in one afternoon of being sequestered gives me some insight into who he is and what is is capable of. He is one of those individuals who can go off at a moments notice. In my investigation he acted how he felt things should be. What occurred at the Parliament Buildings would have occurred there or somewhere else with or without an operator in place. Luckily an operator was in place or people would have died because I KNOW that Nuttall is capable of murder.

My earlier private response was fairly long (in my usual fashion), and should have been more concise.  In essence, just because someone has acted in a dangerous manner in the past and has been charged, convicted and sent to prison to pay the price, does that make that person fair game to be set up by the police as was John Nuttall? If his record was bad enough and he met the criteria, he was certainly eligible for a Dangerous Offender  prosecution, but that is a whole different ball game.  As for Amanda Korody, I don’t recall ever seeing a report that she was convicted of a violent crime, let alone considered a dangerous offender. In the present case she is just a placeholder in the conspiracy charge. In all the reports I read or video’s watched, Nuttall was the target, not Korody.  Using the ‘ends to justify the means” is exactly the sort of thinking that dumped the RCMP Security Service into the scandals of the 1970’s.    hdm

1. General

For five months 240 RCMP officers, a group the size of that policing the City of Victoria and Esquimalt, dogged the footsteps of two hapless drug addicts. But, try as they may, these highly skilled officers were not able to collect one shred of evidence that would stand the test of trial in an ordinary criminal conspiracy case. Instead, they had to create the evidence as they went along. They provided housing and motels, food and daily essentials, they told the suspects what to buy and even searched out stores that could supply the items needed.  They drove their targets from city to city and virtually did all the planning for them.

The actions taken against Nuttall and Korody not only brings the senior administration of the RCMP into disrepute; it also taints the rest of the force who daily dedicate their lives to keeping communities safe. This case was all about a need to bolster the Governments ‘war on terror’ and nothing to do with public safety and certainly nothing to do with justice. All it would have taken was 30 minutes in the Surrey RCMP office reading the riot act to the couple and that would have ended any peripheral thoughts they may have harboured about a jihad.

While some might blame overzealous undercover operators and their team, they were simply carrying out orders that emanated from the office of the Commissioner of the RCMP. Having worked closely with many honest, dedicated, RCMP officers, it was observed time and time again that for a rank and file member to disagree with orders that flowed from Ottawa, was a death warrant as far as that officer’s career was concerned. The next post in this series, a Conspiracy to Rob a Brinks Armored Car, outlines a traditional conspiracy case completed by a joint forces team of RCMP and Municipal members.

Will Nuttall and Korody be convicted?  Most likely, but if they are there is no doubt an appeal will eventually reach the BC Court of Appeal or even the Supreme Court of Canada and that will be the end of Mr Big operations in Canada just as it has already ended, by court order, in England and the United States. To this point in Canadian history, these operations were allowed because, when used in a reasonable manner, they can help snare extremely bad people. But, when police agencies stoop as low as has the administration of the RCMP in this case, the Supreme Court will have no choice but to rule against the practice, as blatant, manufactured entrapment, has no place in the Canadian justice system.  The reason police are now so encumbered in wiretap and search rules, is their having stepped across the line of reasonably justified actions.

What has transpired over the past several years in terror-related cases, and what is bound to continue into the future as bills such as Bill S7 (proclaimed in 2013) and C51 (proclaimed in 2015) become law, will be a repeat of that which happened in the 1970’s, as outlined in  Part 1: Oversight of Police and Security Services

The difference today, laws are being written in a manner that allows underhanded tactics, preemptive moves and dirty tricks to stand without oversight.  When that happens the police lose, citizens, immigrants and visitors to our country lose because manufactured terror investigations bring the whole system of justice into disrepute. If two hapless drug-addicted dropouts like Nuttall and Korody can be sent to prison for life for what they were manipulated into doing, no ordinary citizen should feel safe. Let’s hope greater balance will be brought to the system over the coming years.

2. Information to Obtain a Search Warrant and Orders to Intercept

Most well-informed police officers can whip up a search warrant for a private dwelling or other personal space in short order as long as they have developed reasonable and probable grounds. This can be done at any time during the day or night in front of a Justice of the Peace or Judge.

Obtaining a Court Order to intercept private communications is a whole order of magnitude above an ordinary search warrant and it requires specialized knowledge and practice to complete the process.  Any police officer can do it, but they need to complete a lot more background work than that required for a regular search warrant.   As a general standard, the police must unequivocally state they have exhausted all ‘other means’ of investigation before they can move to the level of intercepting private communications. “Other means” would include physical evidence as well as observations made through moving and stationary surveillance.

The danger faced today is that by creating new legislation that allows police to do things that was previously considered illegal in the area of wiretaps and other surveillance of private communications, abuse can easily follow.  Terrorists and would be terrorists deserve to be brought to justice just as do murders, rapists and robbers, but in recent years (since September 2001 at least) the terror card has been played so hard by government, NGO’s and the media. Almost any measure that is set forth (S7, C51, etc.) is promoted by Government and accepted by the public as essential. As the government might state, “if you are not with us you must be with the terrorists”. Perhaps we will eventually reach a balance, but that outcome, it seems, will not be in the offering any time soon.

3. ISIS Sympathizers and Terrorism Tourists

Each day INSET team members are spending thousands of hours trying to identify those who may be thinking of traveling to the Middle East to become part of some jihadist operation.  Only a few cases have come to light, but when they do media coverage is intense. Such was when the three well-healed young woman, “a 15-year-old and two sisters, aged 18 and 19 were intercepted in Egypt,” as it was believed they were headed to Syria to become ISIS brides. Crown recently decided not to lay charges of rendering aid to a terrorist organization (Arrested in Egypt). The 15 year old paid for the travel.  In a second case the tweets of a young woman were following around the world by a private security firm (TRAC follows woman).  Scanning the TRAC website leaves little doubt private security firms have become as big a business as those that are government funded.

More recently, on April 15, 2015, Sabrine Djaermane and El Mahdi Jamali, both 18 and identified as boyfriend and girlfriend, were charged with possessing explosive substances, attempting to leave the country to commit a terrorist act, and planning a terrorist act under the direction of a terrorist organization. No further details have been released other than one Judge, Sylvie Kovacevich told the court that she had received a telephone call at her office last week from a police officer, asking her to make this case a priority. Kovacevich called the phone call “unacceptable” and asked that it not happen again. Giroux called the phone call “bizarre” and said he’d never seen anything like it in 25 years of practicing law. (Teens Charged)

Across Canada each year hundreds of young people, for various reasons, are enticed to join a gang. A 2002 Canadian Police Survey on Youth Gangs and other sources “suggest that youth gang members cut across many ethnic, geographic, demographic and socio-economic contexts.

However, youth at risk of joining gangs or already involved in gangs tend to be from groups that suffer from the greatest levels of inequality and social disadvantage.

At the time of the survey there were 434 identified gangs in Canada with a youth gang being defined as “an organized group of adolescents and/or young adults who rely on group intimidation and violence, and commit criminal acts in order to gain power and recognition and/or control certain areas of unlawful activity.” (Teen Gangs) 

Over my career, I watched as young women and men, many in their teens, were drawn towards gangs and criminal enterprise. Young woman particularly seemed to be drawn to live vicariously on the edge as girlfriends and wives of some very dangerous men as most of those women were not criminals in their own right. The upcoming post of Conspiracy to rob the Armored Car demonstrates just such a case.

4. Secret Witnesses and Files 

Among the other things a terror trial offers is the opportunity for the crown to keep many things secret.  As one example, primary witnesses (mainly police) cannot be identified without any good reason being given. Even the video voices of those officers have been masked.  In the Nuttall/Korody case it seems certain the police officers were glad for the secrecy for no reason other than it would be embarrassing to have their names and faces attached to a case in which their manipulative shenanigans would were broadcast to other members of the force and to the world at large.

The greater question here is why should their identities be shielded at all? Hundreds of police officers across Canada are daily involved in criminal cases in which they give evidence against murderous criminals who may well harbour some resentment against the men and woman who brought them before the courts. Testifying in open court with ones identity revealed is just something police officers expect to do. Veils of secrecy, as the government has recently taken pains to state, are not the Canadian way (Prime Ministers Position). Other Ministers of the Government have been more pointed in their comments.

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Comments

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold