August 05, 2005

Security, Calgary Gangs, Islamist Extremism and Student Visa Waiver Program

Gov't to launch transportation security review CTV

CTV News has learned the following measures are under consideration:

Surveillance cameras on all subways and buses in major cities

More dirty bomb detection devices at ports

Biometric or eye scans of frequent airline travellers

Stronger monitoring of hazardous cargo moved by rail or truck.

[. . . . ] Ottawa will also initiate steps to screen all air cargo -- including mail.

"No one is checking the mail that is going on our aircraft in Canada today," Kenny noted.

[. . . . ] If the government was serious about confronting terrorism, it would create a foreign spy service, set up a ports police force and beef up the coast guard, he said.

Other items on the CTV site:

Official rebuts MacKay's claim Nfld. port unsafe [Scroll down]
Canada considering cameras on transit systems
McLellan says no threat on Canadian soil
Critics say new Great Lakes Patrols not enough
Canada is potential terrorist target: Hillier

All bluster and spin -- on Calgary Chief Constable Jack Beaton and on the drug gang problem -- the gangs which the police won't name for some strange reason July 31, 2005

Reference: National Post, Aug. 5, 05, A8, Calgary police refuse to name violent gangs Why? Why? Why?

[. . . . ] Calgary has had a "gang" problem for a number of years now. Ask any police officer. Indeed, ask any police officer involved in organized crime investigation in either Edmonton or Vancouver and they will tell you of the triangle of organized crime between those cities.

It' s all about drugs and it's all about the power and money that go hand in hand with drugs. To suggest, as Beaton does in the story, backhandedly that the police will easily handle the problem is naieve in the extreme. To further claim that they will do it as they handled the Hells Angels is frighteningly ridiculous. [. . . . ]

One of the people commenting on the article suggests: "Calgary needs to put more front-line officers in high-crime areas to hammer these thugs; not create more special "gang-enforcement teams" that . . . . "

I have posted before that the gangs are moving into the North, particularly trying to hook people on drugs in the diamond mining area. (I posted this some time in June 2004; Do a search using the searchlets from Technorati or Pico for the post.)

The question of how best to secure Canada's coastline is an extremely complex issue. MacKay called into question the dissolution of the Ports Canada Police in 1997, when security of Canada's ports was handed to the port authorities. Jul. 28, 05

Search: Port Authority President and C.E.O. Sean Hanrahan

CRS Report for Congress -- Islamist Extremism in Europe -- pdf Order Code RS22211, July 29, 2005, Kristin Archick, Specialist in European Affairs (Coordinator), John Rollins, Specialist in Terrorism and International Crime, Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division


Although the vast majority of Muslims in Europe are not involved in radical activities, Islamist extremists and vocal fringe communities that advocate terrorism exist and reportedly have provided cover for terrorist cells. Germany and Spain were identified as key logistical and planning bases for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The March 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid have been attributed to an Al Qaeda-inspired group of North Africans. And UK authorities suspect four young British nationals with possible Al Qaeda ties of carrying out the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks on London. This report provides an overview of Islamist extremism in Europe, possible terrorist links, European responses, and implications for the United States. It will be updated as needed. Also see CRS Report RL31612, European Counterterrorist Efforts: Political Will and Diverse Responses in the First Year after September 11.

[. . . .] Some U.S. officials and Members of Congress, however, remain concerned about the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), despite steps taken to tighten passport requirements for participating countries. The VWP allows for short-term visa-free travel to the United States from 27 countries, most of which are in Europe. Critics point out that Islamist terrorists who hold European citizenship have entered the United States on the VWP (UK-born Richard Reid and French citizen Zacarias Moussaoui being two notable examples).


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