2009 issue [current-page:url:args:value:2]


Suicide Terrorism as a Tool of Insurgency Campaigns




World Disasters Report 2014 - Early Warning




Assessing Canada's "No-fly list" Safeguards


(Nov 2009) This audit report by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada examined whether the Department of Transport Canada has adequate controls and safeguards to collect, use, disclose, retain, dispose, protect and ensure the accuracy of personal information under the Passenger Protect Program. The core of the Passenger Protect Program is the Specified Persons List, otherwise known as Canada's "No-fly list."



Counter Extremism: Lessons for Australia


(June 2009) In the preparation of the new Australian white paper on counter-terrorism, this policy analysis, authored by Anthony Bergin, recommends a wide array of policy measures.



Security for the Next Generation


(June 2009) The security of the UK and its citizens remains the highest priority for the Government. Since publication of last year?s National Security Strategy, substantial work to strengthen our national security framework has been driven forward. This report updates an assessment of the threats faced in the UK and the underlying drivers of insecurity. It also announces plans for addressing changing security threats in long-established environments and tackling challenges in new and evolving domains such as cyberspace.



Climate Change and Economic Growth
The World Bank

(Jan 2009) Grim descriptions of the long‐term consequences of climate change have given the impression that the climate impacts from greenhouse gases threaten long‐ term economic growth. However, the impact of climate change on the global economy is likely to be quite small over the next 50 years. Severe impacts even by the end of the century are unlikely. The greatest threat that climate change poses to long‐term economic growth is from potentially excessive near‐term mitigation efforts.



The Changing Landscape of Communications Intelligence
Research Institute for European and American Studies

(May 2009) Recent conflicts have featured innovative approaches to communications intelligence, which include utilizing civilian telephone networks to achieve tactical and psychological objectives. The 'cell war' between the IDF and Hamas is indicative of an ongoing global struggle between asymmetrical insurgents and state actors to control large-scale telecommunications structures.



WHO Phases of Pandemic Alert


(2009) The World Health Organization has retained the use of a six-phased approach for easy incorporation of new recommendations and approaches into existing national preparedness and response plans.



EMS Education Standards Gap Analysis Template
By the National Association of State EMS Officials

(July 2009) This Gap Analysis Template is intended for use by governments, educators and others as they begin to define the specific differences at the state and local level between current and future EMS education delivery. It is useful to consider gaps between an existing scope of practice compared to what may be implemented under the new SOP model and the Education Standards. This document can be used to begin identifying educational content that will need to be accounted for in the transition of existing EMS personnel as well as the delivery of future programs.



Evaluation of the Pandemic Preparedness
By Canadian Institutes of Health Research

As part of the Government of Canada's Avian Influenza and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Strategy, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Infection and Immunity was charged with developing and supporting pandemic influenza preparedness research programs. The CIHR supports research intended to improve Canada's ability to prevent and/or respond to an influenza pandemic. This document presents the findings of a formative, midterm evaluation of the research initiative.



Vulnerability of Energy Infrastructure to Environmental Change


(April 2009) A Chatham House Briefing Paper by Cleo Paskal on environment-related disruptions to hydroelectric installations, offshore oil and gas production, pipelines, electrical transmission and nuclear power generation.



Remote Sensing Can Predict Coastal Storm Impacts
By the College of Marine and Earth Studies

(Nov 2009) To predict the path and landfall of a hurricane or other coastal storm and assess the damage, emergency managers and scientists need continuous information on the storm?s path, strength, predicted landfall, and expected damage over large areas. Satellite and airborne remote sensors can provide the required information in a timely and reliable way. The lessons learned from hurricane Katrina are helping optimize future approaches for tracking hurricanes and predicting their impact on coastal ecosystems and developed areas.



Liquefied Natural Gas Infrastructure Vulnerabilities

(May 2009) The global LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) shipping, handling and storage infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to a terrorist attack which, if successful, could have catastrophic results – both in terms of lives lost and economic impact. Securing this infrastructure is quickly becoming a top national security priority.



Correlational Examination of Oil Resources and Armed Conflict
By the Centre for Contemporary Conflict

(Dec 2009) The capability for global resource competition to serve as a driver for conflict has established the need to more fully examine the relationship between energy resources and conflict. In particular, oil resources have emerged as a potential driver for both internal and external conflict. By James E. McGinley.



Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010
By the World Economic Forum

(Sept 2009) Issued by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, this year's Report profiles a total of 133 economies, providing the most comprehensive assessment of its kind, with an extensive section of data tables and global rankings covering over 100 indicators.



Medical Response to a Radiologic/Nuclear Event


(February 2009) Although the consequences of a radiologic dispersal device are substantial, and the detonation of a modest-sized (10 kiloton) improvised nuclear device is catastrophic, it is both possible and imperative that a medical response be planned. To meet this need, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration within government and with nongovernment partners, has developed a scientifically based comprehensive planning framework and Web-based 'just-in-time' medical response information called Radiation Event Medical Management (http://www.remm.nlm.gov).Although the consequences of a radiologic dispersal device are substantial, and the detonation of a modest-sized (10 kiloton) improvised nuclear device is catastrophic, it is both possible and imperative that a medical response be planned. To meet this need, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration within government and with nongovernment partners, has developed a scientifically based comprehensive planning framework and Web-based 'just-in-time' medical response information called Radiation Event Medical Management (http://www.remm.nlm.gov).



Investigations of radioactive/toxic releases from Los Alamos


(June 2009) Conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this report summarizes the relative importance of identified releases in terms of potential health risks at Los Alamos. The Los Alamos facility had a single mission – perfection of the design and manufacture of the first atomic bombs.



People Screening Markets and Technologies Outlook 2009-2015


(May 2009) The report covers in detail existing and evolving markets and products in the following segments: Weapons detection; Explosives detection; Multi-Threat detection including portals and standoff solutions); Biometrics; Profiling; and Behavior Tracking.



Rising to the Arctic Challenge: the Cdn Coast Guard
By the Senate Standing Committee

(May 2009) Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans calls for a stronger Coast Guard to assert Canada?s presence in the North.



Envisioning Disasters and Framing Solutions

(January 2009) This report provides a qualitative analysis of risk factors for five potential marine incidents likely to happen as shipping, tourism, exploration and development of natural resources (e.g., oil, gas, minerals) occur with the retreating Arctic ice cover.



The Coast Guard in Canada's Arctic
By the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans

(June 2009) Fourth Report from the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans calls for more attention to the future role and capability of the Coast Guard.



Arctic Northern Strategy Report for Canada
By the Government of Canada

(July 2009) Canada's Northern Strategy focuses on four priority areas: exercising our Arctic sovereignty; promoting social and economic development; protecting the North's environmental heritage; and improving and devolving northern governance, so that Northerners have a greater say in their own destiny.



Editor's Corner
Emergency Preparedness
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

First, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones, provides a ­snapshot of his current challenges, reflects on pandemic preparedness, and gives sound advice on our individual responsibilities with H1N1 on the immediate horizon.

Jennifer Giroux from the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich, highlights the importance of community involvement in preparation for a pending natural disaster. She notes that, with proper training,  we can all have a local role to play.

Greg Oulahen of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, alerts us to the need for personal preparedness – the fact is, we don’t necessarily follow through with our own individual plans.

Emergency Preparedness at the municipal level is faring better, as Lauren Walton describes the efforts underway in the town of Perth, Ontario.

No community can be fully prepared without trained search teams at the ready. Roland Hanel adds to this by offering sound notions of resiliency from the perspective of Ground Search and Rescue.

As we all face increasing incidents of severe weather, we realize, once again, that climate change is resulting in a multitude dangerous situations. We are wisely reminded by Alan Burke of the accelerating importance of dealing with this somewhat un-natural threat to our safety and security.

At the international level, K. John Morrow gives us a glimpse at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the ­challenges in response to disasters and pandemic planning… saving lives in great numbers.

Cyber security expert David Gewirtz advises us on how to reduce risks present at massive events such as the Olympics.

On the matter of physical security, Ron Moran of the Customs and Immigration Union brings us up to date on the necessity and recent progress of the Secure Border Action Plan that was submitted to government committees in 2006.

Blair Watson outlines progress along our border (and one might muse on the expansion) with the cooperative Shiprider program between the U.S. and Canada.

On crime prevention, André Fecteau offers us, and no doubt all social workers, police forces and support agencies, and certainly Canada’s new First Nations Chief, Shawn Atleo, a fresh look at initiatives dealing with native youth crime reduction that should be pursued.

Jez Littlewood reflects on the real challenge to Canada and its laws and ­institutions of dealing with the potential dangers of terrorism following recent well-publicized events and the testimony of heads of CSIS and the RCMP before the parliamentary and senate security ­committees.

No less pertinently, David Gewirtz provides sound advice on the potential cyber threats to participants, visitors, VIP’s and organizations that might occur at the 2010 Olympic.

For those who shy away from dealing responsibly with immigration issues in a security context, Scott Newark offers his Last Word reflections on Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney’s latest actions in respect of international policy initiatives to eliminate safe country shopping for refugees and other broader issues.  

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2009



Editor's Corner
Protecting Yourself
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

The flu season is upon us and the new ­vaccine is arriving as we go to press. We are grateful again to Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, (whom we interviewed in our last edition), for his hard work and calm preparation. We also salute the public health workers across the country for their dedication and help in keeping the effects of this pandemic to a minimum in our communities.

Based on the intense experience in Toronto and his expertise in assessing the lessons of SARS, Dr. Jim Young’s submission offers some final reflections on H1N1 as the flu season progresses.

In a recent conference on the H1N1  pandemic, I was interested in the presentations by several large pharmaceutical companies and wondered what new leaps in biotechnology were on the horizon. We listened to the ­makers of our vaccine and antivirals, but I was interested in knowing what other major innovations were being made. An interesting and informative ­article is presented by Dr. K. John Morrow Jr. on the Evolva approach in searching for solutions. It seems a most promising and logical ­evolution.

Identity theft, personal security and our individual and corporate vulnerability continues to challenge the digital society.
As author Fran Hawthorne explains, some new technologies exist to help us reduce the technical risk, such as the OVD-Kinegrams that are visible on some of our new government documents.

Blair Watson examines the work of authorities in thwarting the threats of credit card fraud and theft, and David Gewirtz is with us again and looks at some seemingly innocuous but ever risky practices that are prone to and encourage identity theft. The vulnerabilities are clear and increasing and it behooves us to be ever more aware and cautious.  

However it is our reaction to such things as an apparently innocent call or a “wonderful” offer that counts. I received one from what appeared to be my IP support agency asking me  to confirm my security password over the air without proper ID other than stating that they were from my IP support network and that they wished to fix access to my personal vault – and which I had indeed complained about.  What would you have done?

Dr. Wayne Boone analyses a recent work on security accountability in Canada and offers his reflections on the challenges that this poses to government agencies as they balance the dual challenge of transparency and secrecy in intelligence and security work. In these days of vulgarly large amounts being paid out for compensation and the increasing frequency of home-grown terrorism and illegal immigration, this is indeed an issue that needs to be reigned in and where common sense must be seen to prevail when our security is a risk. Your comments on this topic are most welcome.

Dave Aspden, the Mayor of the City of Barrie, talks to FrontLine about how that municipality has been fine-tuning its emergency preparedness plans. In a follow-on piece,  Edward R. Myers also looks at the need for a Partnership Towards Safer ­Communities which has gained much support by first responder associations. This program is exemplified by the efforts made in Barrie, Ontario.

I have added an article on the rescue and potential repair of a Canso aircraft from its Arctic Circle resting place to Fairview Alberta by Angela Burns of Grand Prairie Alberta. It is a good read and reflects on how many people from different walks of life care about our ­history. Note how many communities, agencies and entrepreneurs (even my age) took time and effort to help. It is that wonderful western community spirit that struck me in the years I lived and served out there… nice to see it alive and well!

I hope you will find our latest Industry Showcase entry of some interest. Intergraph presents us with integrated solutions that minimize risks by maximizing the available information to security personnel in a very comprehensive command and control software system. Contact the author for further information.  

Finally, as is our habit, we are pleased to let our Associate Editor, Scott Newark have the “Last Word” again. In it he deals with the timely issues of security certificates and the pursuing of terrorism.

Get your flu shots and keep your hands clean!!!   

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2009



Editor's Corner
Time's Up!
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

We need a National Security Policy with teeth, now. Particularly its Emergency ­Preparedness and Critical Infrastructure ­Protection elements, and one which allies, neighbours, businesses, provinces and municipalities can, with confidence, know is indeed protecting our citizens and resources reliably… as most, incorrectly, expect we now do.

In 2004, three years after 9/11, Canada welcomed the creation of the new federal department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. Today, nearly six years later, with a streamlined name (Public Safety Canada) and governed under another party, we have seen the rotation of people and promises – but little in terms of real action. Policy documents have been couched in the small print vocabulary of dubious codicils to specious warranties, making politically-correct promises to consult with the ever-vague “stakeholders,” and doing so with gravity and urgency in some undefined future. Action and deadlines seem but unnecessary impediments to the process of deliberation. The very title of “Working Towards a National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure,” still the only guidance (June 2008) in one of these two realms, speaks to this lack and attitude.

As we “work through” the Swine Flu pandemic and approach with great gusto the upcoming Winter Olympics, it will be more than time to garner our experiences and expertise and assess our ability to ­coordinate, at all levels, security preparedness in these predictable fields. Following from such a coordinated examination, hopefully next spring, (do you want to mention anything about parliament being prorogued?) might the federal government be induced to produce the effective guidance and concrete procedures for these and future less predictable threats?

It is encouraging that the new Deputy Minister at Public Safety Canada has a reputation for asking the right questions and recognizing and rejecting inaction when he sees it. His department has massive subject area responsibilities but inadequate internal subject expertise. That of itself is an enormous challenge, but it is felt that he has the qualifications and attitude to correct this. It is time then, for the federal government’s national coordinating department for Safety and Security to deliver on promises it has made since 2004.

There is cause and urgency to get this right. Derek Burney summed up the major reasons in his Global Brief at Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, York University, Toronto on 17 November 2009. “Canada is the largest foreign supplier to the U.S. of all forms of power – oil and gas, electricity and uranium – exporting more than CDN $125B annually across its southern border,” he began. “In terms of pipeline products alone, Canada exported 2 million bbls/day of crude oil to the U.S. in 2008, worth US $64 billion and another 500,000 bbls/day of refined products… Canada will remain, by far, the largest ­foreign supplier of natural gas to the U.S.

“The Canada-U.S., or continental, electricity grid operates in a similarly integrated fashion to satisfy peak demands on either side of the border. The blackout that hit central Canada and much of the American Midwest corridor in 2003 highlights the extent to which Canada and the U.S. are integrated in terms of power generation, and should therefore be jointly committed to measures that will enhance the security of energy transmission facilities. It also, incidentally, points to the need to upgrade that grid – a challenge that still remains.

“The extent of cross-border integration between the U.S. and Canadian economies is not unique to the energy sector,” continued Burney. “It is the dominant characteristic of the North American economy, including in automobile manufacturing, as was more than ­evident when the U.S. and Canadian governments acted together to rescue and restructure that industry. The agriculture, integrated rail and aviation sectors are other examples. There is, in fact, a high degree of mutual economic dependence that grows with each economic cycle.” Might I add that disease and weather know no borders and respect no sovereignty, internal or external.

John Hay, in his 2006 study for the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University, observed that, despite the reorganization, “More than four years after … 9/11, it is still not altogether clear who in the (Canadian) federal government does what in terms of responsibility for the protection of infrastructure.” As Groucho Marx would say: “I resemble that remark.”

Though it is recognized that government agencies and departments have a reasonable ability to respond with most actions needed in the face of a serious disaster, when time is available, experts have expressed concern that there is serious lack of known actions to restore things to normal once the disaster is over… particularly from less predictable events.

To truly “deliver on the fundamental role of government to secure the public’s safety and security,” as it states is its role, Public Safety Canada must provide the leadership through a clear strategy and plans that will ensure the Business Continuity of Canada and the safety of its citizens. We will continue to watch Public Safety Minister Van Loan and his Deputy Minister, Mr. Baker in the hopes that they will urgently address this gap.

Surely the amount of process undertaken over the last six years can generate a strategy and business continuity plan in short order. This must be done if Public Safety Canada is to meet even a few of the most generic timelines published in the 2008 “Working Towards” document. “Tempus Fugit”… which, I believe, is Latin for “Get off your @..!”

This winter edition of Frontline Security deals with surveillance and we believe that we have only touched upon its scope, technology and the many realms it affects. I thank all contributors and welcome readers’ comments.  

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2009



Editor's Corner
Domestic Security
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Much has been occurring in the world of FrontLine Security this spring… some fresh, some less. We are pleased that the federal government has awakened to the seriousness and broad scope of Cyber Security threats and is preparing a policy (hopefully P-3) on this matter, as recently announced by Minister Peter Van Loan. We wish him well with this, and trust that it won’t fall into the “never-ending-meeting-resolve-nothing” route of the “Working Towards” strategy on Critical Infrastructure Security released last year.

It is also refreshing to know this month that, after seven-plus years since 11 September 2001, a recently announced information exchange agreement between the RCMP and Transport Canada might result in more accurate security clearances for personnel working in critical secure areas of our airports.

FrontLine Security is expanding its Web Site to receive comments and dialogue from readers and companies about new products, policies and developments in the Security realm. We encourage all to participate. See also all of our past issues. (www.frontline-security.org/Sec)

We begin this issue with the interview of Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer of the RCMP who will shed light on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Security coordination and preparations following two major exercises recently. Edward Vinciguerra brings us up to date on some interesting CBRN simulation work conducted by Lockheed Martin that should interest our First Responders and Emergency Preparedness audience at all levels. On preparedness, André Fecteau presents us an interesting preview of the medical work and organization for 2010 in Vancouver.

We are pleased to bring a follow on to the work of the Red Cross last year in support of the New Brunswick floods. We hope that the lessons learned will not need to be repeated this year on the St. John River or in Winnipeg.

Our keynote article is sure to generate feed-back. This excellent work by Angela Gendron entitled “When Faith becomes a Political Force” sheds a very bright light on the issue of fundamentalist Terrorism. Canada is well advised to heed the potential of this non-state world-wide intolerant threat, as underlined by U.S. President Obama in his address to NATO, and to coordinate its immediate mitigation and eventual elimination. Recent blunt testimony on this by the Commissioner Bill Elliot of the RCMP and the recently tabled report to the House of Commons by Jim Judd, the Director CSIS reinforce this state of urgency.

We welcome also another interesting submission by Peter Avis on the very applicable security policy model of Gateways and Corridors.

An opinion follows on the aftermath of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Kosovo in 2007 by Christopher Bobyn. It bears reflection as our concern with failed states and with international terrorism and crimes, such as drugs and piracy, demand we pay special attention to the results and need for responsible follow-up of our international help and interventions. Afghanistan after 2011?

Vincent Dunn, an experienced American firefighter and Deputy Fire Chief, gives us a taste of “sizing up” a major fire and suggests some hints from his recent book on this matter. We then get the latest developments from Cpl Jacques Brunelle of the RCMP on Airport Watch, the trained volunteers that augment the security and safety of our major airports through responsible and organized surveillance.  

David Gewirtz, who we interviewed in our pages last summer, submits a provocative commentary on the potential dangers of social networking.

Finally, Scott Newark’s Last Word goes after the “politically over-correct” and drives home what he views as our responsibilities as citizens of a secular democratic country, based on the realities outlined earlier by Angela Gendron.

We look forward to submissions on Emergency Management by the governments of British Columbia and Ontario for our summer edition.

I thank all contributors and welcome new submissions from experts on all ­matters of security and safety. We also encourage sponsorship of your products and services. Have a good read.

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2009



Dr David Butler-Jones
Improving the Public Health
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

In our Spring 2006 issue, Dr. David Butler-Jones, then recently appointed Public Health Officer of Canada, expressed to FrontLine Security, the goals and aspirations of his newly minted agency.  Since then, many public health issues have come to the fore, such as the ongoing H1N1 swine flu and the recent Listeriosis outbreak, to name but two. He very generously agreed to give us, once again, his personal perspective on the agency, its achievements and ongoing challenges.

Q. What do you view as your key challenges and achievements at the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada over the last three years?

Well, as you recall, we went rapidly through the avian flu (H5N1) scare, the major Listeriosis outbreak, and are now dealing with the effects of swine flu (H1N1). In other words, what was a threat is now a pandemic and we have fortunately been hard at work preparing for just such an eventuality. We try to maintain in place the right and effective relationships, connections, resources and capacities to respond to plans which we constantly examine and review. I remember some four or five years ago, having said that we should not put all our eggs in one basket when dealing with a theoretical pandemic originating in North America… well here we are.

Where, when and how it will occur is usually unpredictable. We must be as ready as possible for everything, and capable of determining the threat as soon as possible after it shows up. Take for instance the cases of Listeriosis through poisoning of meat. Though there is indeed much to improve upon, since 22 people died, my own take on this is that, five or so years ago, we did not have the technical and human links in such a broad network to so quickly pinpoint, from only five or six cases a week across Canada, the ­common strain of these illnesses and to rapidly identify and correct the source. I also know that this ability has already improved since then, as it should!

From SARS to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, it is the progress in the kinds of thinking – the ‘what ifs’ and the resulting coordination, planning, communication from these discussions at all levels – that it has been my pleasure to witness over my tenure. The ­forming and maintaining of trusted relationships at home and abroad to handle the responses to these theoretical situations has paid great dividends when actual challenges arise. This ongoing process allows us to monitor, warn, respond and act ever more quickly and effectively to all types of health threats. For instance, our web site includes some 23 Major Health Issue Networks ­providing daily or slightly less regular updates on specific and more general public health issues. I have also benefitted greatly from the sage advice of my Scientific Committee, both individually and ­collectively as required, throughout all of these events.

We have regular meetings with Deputy Ministers of Health from across Canada, and I am in regular contact with Chief Medical Officers throughout our country at most levels. We exchange valuable information to increase our awareness of possible threats and update our planned responses and review shared and potential resources. Within North America we have similar outstanding ­relationships and do similar exchanges as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership framework. Our own Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkag, joined colleagues recently at a swine flu preparedness summit in ­Cancun. We also partake in international exchanges and help those less fortunate. These are enormous improvements that have proved most helpful to our national well-being.

Q. How prepared are we for a pandemic in Canada? There have been reports in the press of not enough beds and respirators and of lacking sufficient time for a safe vaccine to be distributed? What is your perspective on our level of preparedness?

As you know, we must plan for and learn from all eventualities and, in this particular event, we learned much from the SARS (H5N1) experience. We were very much involved in the North American identification of the H1N1 (swine flu) strain and ­seeing the likely spread pattern.

The President of Mexico’s own plane was used early to fly samples to our lab in Winnipeg to analyze the strain. We identified the strain and its characteristics early. We could thus start focussing our own ­planning early. These outbreaks usually start slowly and slow down even more, before what is the normal flu season when major illness strikes many.

Our vaccine development is on track to provide an effective prophylaxis by November, and to have a large portion of our most vulnerable population inoculated before Christmas.

We are, of course, preparing to use anti-virals, such as Tamiflu and others, to treat those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and lung disease, even before this if necessary. In essence, these measures reduce the number of vulnerable people.

There are of course, for each of us, our own personal measures that can and should be implemented to slow the spread and reduce the burden on our public treatment facilities in case of major needs. Not going out in public when sick, effective use of personal hygiene around our eyes, nose and mouth, and the washing of hands all help enormously. We must each do our share.

This particular flu virus [H1N1] seems to attack the elderly less than have others, and the normally healthy and younger sector of our population appears particularly targeted. As well, the vulnerability of pregnant women is also recognized. We are planning to make much more use of general hospital beds and not solely the ICU facilities in our concept. Plans are evolving, and I am comfortable that good work is going on at all levels to mitigate the eventualities outlined in recent reports. It is indeed through this free-flow of information that we achieve the early identification of such challenges, and these in-turn result in other mitigating strategies to reduce the number of those that will need close and isolated treatment. Though we can never be 100% sure, I am most reassured that we have developed and continue to refine excellent contingencies to minimize the effects of the potential H1N1 flu for this coming winter.

Q.You have championed the aspects of prevention and healthy living throughout your tenure, what challenges do you see in this domain?

I am very worried about the issue of childhood obesity. As I have said so often, if trends continue, the next generation will fall victim to childhood obesity and will be the first ­generation in our history that does not live longer than its predecessor. Our eating habits and life styles have to adjust to this possibility and change for the better.

In recent meetings, I am getting some satisfaction that we are getting political focus at the provincial and territorial health minister and Chief Medical Officer levels on the seriousness of this issue, but I am less sure that we are getting the public awareness, understanding and concern about the pervasiveness and danger that this state of affairs poses to our individual and collective well-being and precious health resources.

This colorized negative stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicts some of the ultrastructural morphology of the A/CA/A/09 swine flu virus. (Photo: C.S. Goldsmith and A. Balish)

This idea of prevention and promotion must go beyond an advertizing ­campaign, it must capture the parents, teachers and leaders at all levels because it is through education and better habits being inculcated early in our lives that we can reduce the potential of this self-inflicted public health tsunami.

There are of course the challenges of our ageing population and our first nation public health challenges and ensuring that we have the resources and plans to look after them, but it is our future generation and their obesity that most concerns me.

Q.What do you view as the most challenging public health threats from a potential climate change perspective and what measures in respect of dangerous vectors in health should we be watching?

As you know, in Emergency Preparedness we deal on an all-hazards basis. We have seen the forests of BC depleted due to the pine beetle and we are witnessing variable parasite cycles in Muskox in the North. These are some vectors that we have already witnessed and I would expect that the concern about water will lead to environmental emigration that will challenge our entire public health system.

For the moment, we must learn from what we know, and can predict, to mitigate the effects of climate change. For instance, we have an obvious need to ensure that our potable water supply is protected and that sewage and other pollution do not ­further impede our most precious resource.

For the moment, seniors are a most vulnerable sector when it comes to weather extremes. We saw this a few years ago when, unknown to family and neighbours, elderly people dehydrated in their apartments during an extreme heat wave. We initiated our Friendly Cities program at that time which seems to be going well. It is based essentially on being concerned for our own neighbours. Such cultural change is important as we face the kinds of challenges we can foresee with climate change. The state can neither provide all, nor alone, the assistance we all need.

It is interesting in this context that, when I first began addressing these issues with Climate Change experts, I found after a while that we used the word ‘mitigate’ to mean different things. In the public health domain, we try and eliminate the effects by mitigation, whereas the climatologists mean reducing the impact in time, space or intensity to survive with the change. Again, as communication and connectedness are so important to our working effectively together, such nuances can prove important in emergency management.

Climate Change is a major issue that requires serious and detailed discussion from anyone involved in the public policy field.

Q. What improvements in federal-provincial-territorial-municipal public health standards and preparedness coordination have you witnessed? Are you satisfied with it?

We have been through periods, such as at the outset of the Public Health Agency and during the H5N1 virus scare, when we had daily Deputy Minister-level and even ministerial-level meetings. These were repeated recently as we determined together what we had in store with H1N1. We have since reduced the number but maintained the free-flow of information, reinforced, as I stated, with excellent input from my scientific committee and friends in North America and around the world, so that we might share as timely and accurate a picture as time and technology permit.

I am quite pleased but certainly not self-satisfied at our mutual progress. I note, in that vein, that the recently elected First Nations Chief, Shawn Atleo, was elected on a platform that included dealing with H1N1 on reserves high on his list. I applaud this, and I agree that he and all chiefs must deal with these serious public health issues. Our agency stands ready to assist in any way we can.

Q. We have dealt with our own public health… what is our ability and experience with helping others?

We are a very active member of the World Health Organization and many other international public health dialogues and organizations. It is very difficult to provide help if we concentrate on what divides us – but how do we address what divides us?

Belonging to groups like the International Public Health Institute helps. We assist the WHO [World Health Organization] and other like-minded nations to help less fortunate ones to set up public health organizations and emergency planning and response.

We deploy our very unique portable lab world-wide to work in spartan conditions to track such things as the Ebola virus. It was also loaned to China for the Olympics.

We have an exchange officer in Beijing for instance to help with their Centre for Disease Control and act as a liaison with ours, and we maintain liaison in the U.S. and Australia. We have helped in many emergencies providing resources in North America, Asia and Africa.

We help whenever we can – and we are often asked. Our centre in Winnipeg frequently answers requests for scientific help and assistance. We are very much involved internationally.  

Clive Addy is the Executive Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Learning From SARS
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

The H1N1 virus is here in Canada and it is a pandemic. Given these facts, it offers us the opportunity to see if we have learned some key lessons from our experience with severe acute ­respiratory syndrome (SARS).

A pandemic, by definition, is the global spread of a new virus by human-to-human contact and for which humans have no resistance.

SARS was a new corona virus, which went from spreading occasionally from animals to humans to a virus that spread human to human. We had no resistance and it was a very serious virus in that it made people very ill and killed 10-15% of people who caught it. It did not however spread well in the community and for this reason it did not spread around the world and thus never became a pandemic.

H1N1 has formed from four other viruses and have already spread by human-to-human contact around the world. Currently, however, it is an example of a mild pandemic because, though it spreads easily and affects large numbers of people, to date, its mortality rate has been low. Similar to the 1918-1919 avian virus, which caused very large numbers of deaths worldwide, the H1N1 virus does affect special groups beyond those normally at risk from flu. For instance, it affects young persons in late teens and early twenties and pregnant women; this will change some of the strategies normally used to combat the pandemic.

The elderly and those with chronic disease are still most at risk from the seasonal flu we see every year and which kill several thousand Canadians every flu season.

Given that the H1N1 virus has been mild to date, some are suggesting that the publicity is an over reaction. We reacted aggressively in SARS once we realized the size and magnitude of the problem we faced. I believe the vigorous actions taken substantially reduced the number of cases in Ontario and ultimately saved lives. Therefore the H1N1 virus also must be taken seriously. It has been stable to date but, like any virus, it could mutate at any time and pose a much more serious threat with higher mortality. Even if it does not mutate further or become more lethal, we face challenges over the next months. This article is being prepared in mid-September and changes and new problems may arise by the time of publication. At this point, it is easy to predict at least three potential problems, even if the virus remains mild.

The first predictable thing is that people will die of the virus. We can try to slow the spread of the virus and the operative word is slow, while a vaccine is produced. We cannot stop the spread, no matter what we do, even if large numbers of us try hiding in our homes until the pandemic was over. We must recognize that some disease and death is inevitable, and take sensible precautions to slow the virus down, but we cannot paralyze our society through panic, fear and inappropriate actions. Hand washing, cleaning surfaces and staying home when sick will remain the key elements of slowing the spread. Withdrawing from society and hiding from the virus will not be a key strategy.

In fact, overcoming the urge of people to try to avoid the virus and keeping them working is the second challenge that even a mild pandemic will pose. The federal finance department did some excellent modeling post SARS, using absentee data. They showed that during a pandemic the number of people absent from work with the pandemic flu and other illness during the peak two weeks of a flu wave should be about 15-20%. This means that any absenteeism greater than this probably reflects people trying to hide from the flu. A pandemic, even a mild one, needs to be compared to a war effort. We need everyone possible at work contributing to the society. We need manufacturing to be producing the obvious things such as medicines, masks and gowns but we also need food, electricity, transportation, communications and all other goods and services. The more people are away, the greater the disruption and the greater the social and economic effect of the pandemic.

Illness like the flu (influenza) and colds are caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu and colds usually spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. (Photo: James Gathany)

SARS showed us at least three important ways to minimize the tendency of people to want to hide from the virus. The first and obvious way to do this is with proper planning. Generally, I feel that governments and large industries have done a good job of learning this lesson from SARS. However, many smaller businesses, many of whom may be key suppliers to large industry, seem to be minimizing the potential of the pandemic to disrupt their activities and could face serious challenges starting this fall when they try to play catch-up. The second way to minimize overall impact is through aggressive communication. Some would argue that you wait to communicate much of the information until the pandemic is an obvious problem – when people are listening and absorbing, however SARS showed us that the public is very capable of grasping complex disease concepts such as quarantine.

The key concepts in a pandemic (even a mild one) are to minimize panic and keep people working while slowing the spread of disease. Information is the way to do this, and it needs to be detailed – beyond the correct but simple advice of washing hands and staying home when sick.

People need to understand both what a pandemic is and what it is not. They need to know who is at risk and why it is important that they keep working if they are not sick. Governments are starting to get this message out, but more needs to be done. A large public education campaign has been run in Britain and we are beginning to follow. The Ontario government recently sent an informational brochure to every household in the province and governments are beginning to do public information advertising. This detailed advertising worked in SARS and needs to be done before and during an outbreak.

The responsibility to inform and educate is not that of government alone. It seems to me that it is in the best interests of any company to use the time before an outbreak to educate workers about what to really expect and to minimize the chances of massive absenteeism.

The third way to minimize the effects of a mild pandemic is for governments, industry and the general public to minimize the unintended consequences of taking inappropriate actions. During emergencies – and pandemics in particular – there is a strong pressure on governments to be seen to be doing something. During SARS in 2003, this was illustrated by the well-meaning but ­misguided attempt to put travel advisories in place. They were intended to try to slow or stop the spread of disease to other countries, particularly those in the developing world. It turned out that the nature of the SARS virus did not do well in these environments anyway, and there is no evidence that the measure had any positive benefit. Millions of people were screened for fever in airports with no benefit whatsoever. The unintended consequences of these actions served to cause greater anxiety and panic, interfered with the flow of necessary goods and services needed to battle the outbreak, and imposed unwarranted economic punishment on some countries.

Electron micrograph of the matured SARS-CoV (coronavirus) particles (arrows). (Photo: Dr. Mary NG Mahlee.)

We have done a little better during the early stages of H1N1, but we have still seen inappropriate travel advisories placed. Additionally, as the disease spreads around the world, there is confusion about what level the pandemic has reached,. The present classification system considers the spread but not the severity of the illness.

In our current situation, an example of a policy which may have an unintended consequence is the WHO advice on school closures. Currently they are advising that schools close when 1% of students have the H1N1 virus. This is, in part, recognition of the higher risk that young people face from this virus and also recognition that schools are great breeding grounds for disease to spread. The problem is that there is no evidence that this will work and certainly if children, especially young ones are at home, then parents will need to stay home as well and increase absenteeism in the workplace. This is especially true with younger children and, in fact, they are not the higher risk group with this virus, the older young adults are.

We had limited experience in closing schools and classrooms during the SARS outbreak, and it was a disaster at a high school or university level. Students need their social contact and, if schools close, they visit each other or go to the malls. Wisely, Canadian authorities seem to understand this, and are currently saying they do not intend to close schools with such low levels of disease.

The same caution is necessary in other areas, such as not over-using antiviral medicines for what is currently a mild disease, and not over-using masks outside of medical settings. Again our public health leaders in Canada to date have shown that they are aware of and sensitive to these common sense issues.

The final problem that we will face this flu season, even if the pandemic remains mild, is the stress that it will put on our health care system. Even on its best days, the health care system operates above capacity. Large numbers of people with flu could overburden the system and cause serious consequences. Part of their answer is to divert flu patients away from hospital emergency departments and doctors offices. This was done during SARS, when we ran special clinics that paid special attention to infection control. The health care system is gearing up for such a delivery system and the public will need to be educated about how to use it.

Operating such a system does divert resources, creating consequences in overall delivery of health care. Even during a mild pandemic, there is potential of serious pressure on hospital beds in general, and ICU beds specifically, due to greater numbers of people getting very ill, This could involve difficult decisions such as who gets hospitalized and who does not. Criteria are being developed, but they must be ethical, consistent across the country, and transparent. The public needs to be informed ahead of time of the problem we face, and how the beds will be allocated.

Electron micrograph of H1N1 (Photo: C. Goldsmith)

Finally, a few words about the potential good news. Work is well underway to produce the specific vaccine for the H1N1 virus. Vaccines take time to develop and test but we are in better shape for an early vaccine in this pandemic then ever before. Canada is in a particularly good position. We have a first-rate vaccine manufacturing facility in Canada, and a government contract to produce it.

A decision has been made in Canada to produce the vaccine in a manner that requires less vaccine and so will result in greater supply. This will take slightly longer to produce but, given the current nature of the disease, is the correct decision in my mind. The important thing for all of us is to take advantage of government programs and get both the H1N1 vaccine and the regular seasonal flu vaccine.

I am often asked if I and my family will be rolling up our sleves to get the H1N1 flu shot. The answer is an emphatic yes and we will get the seasonal flu shot when available as well.

Dr James Young is Medical Director of Pandemic 101™. He was Chief Coroner for Ontario and Commissioner of Public Safety and Security during the 2003 SARS crisis.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Scanners: Connecting the Dots
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

While the term “War on Terror” has been causing “political correctness” controversies of late, the situation needs to be defined, if only to have all parties on the same page. If it’s not a war, then what is it? Because these terror tactics will not stop, it is in some respects far worse than a conventional war, as we all know too well. We thought we had the air transport security threat under control – then along comes the “Underpants Bomber,” who, almost completely and ­single-handedly, wrecked the calm of our holiday season.

On 5 January 2010, in response to this near catastrophe over our airspace, Canada announced that 44 full-body screening machines; with a price tag of $250,000 each, would comprise Canada’s response to the near destruction of Flight 253. Some will question whether the $11-million fix will reassure the travelling public, and  instill some confidence in travel safety measures.

New Threats vs. New Technology
The new technology for full body scanning, described in the information with Minister John Baird’s Press Release, sounds thorough enough: “The technology detects “anomalies” on a passenger, including metals and non-metals of all types, sizes and shapes; ceramic type threats such as knives and sharp instruments; liquids of all types; and explosives of all types.” 

The good guys are finally putting some money on the table, but it goes without saying that terrorists (can we still use that term?) will simultaneously focus their resources on finding ways to thwart this new technology. A quick web search will find a video of a “modern binary explosive” bomb where an undetectable substance the size of a match head could blow a passenger aircraft to smithereens. Post 9/11 screening technology (at what cost?) did not stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and post-Underwear’s full body imaging technology, alone, will not prevent the next radicalized person from carrying and successfully detonating a modern binary explosive on an aircraft.

Yet, it now appears that 100 percent of Canadian travellers bound for the United States will be subjected to secondary screening. This means that, because this screening process will take a minute or so, it is possible that airline travel from Canada to the U.S. may grind to a halt – even if we are not one of the 14 countries on the special watch list created by the United States. So, while this may not unearth the truly stealthy terrorist bent on defeating new screening systems, it will doubtlessly create a lot of angry businessmen and vacationing travellers.

In an interview with the CBC, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Canadians “may arrive at different conclusions” than the Americans on determining security requirements for U.S.-bound travellers. Huh? Why can’t we all agree on the basics? It has been shown, in other countries, that security measures must focus on detecting the human link – the potential terrorist – and not primarily on finding a weapon; the efficient dissemination and collation of all sources of intelligence are vital to doing this.

President Obama called the situation a massive breakdown in intelligence, and is now determined to get it right. Undoubtedly, he’s been assessing Israel’s security which has long understood that it’s virtually useless to conduct security checks at international airports where the focus is on finding explosives or weapons. For the Israeli buck, concentration on identifying terrorists will bring far better and measureable returns that are far less disruptive to legitimate travel in terms of public safety.

Israel uses extensive technology, but it puts more emphasis on passenger profiling and behavioural analysis. Also, checkpoints and questioning begin outside airports. Over time, according to the Israelis, people just get used to some privacy intrusion on the intelligence side. As with all serious matters in this world, the limit of one’s personal rights and privacy must be balanced with the risks that these very rights impose upon the safety and security of others… like shooting arrows in the woods.

Common Sense Should Prevail
It was encouraging a few years ago to see the airports in the U.S. and Canada introduce the NEXUS program. Integrating identification technology with relatively extensive personal background checks made the cross ­border air travel experience less frustrating for both the frequent traveller, and security personnel could focus on the ‘unknown’ potential in the other lines. Consumer confidence may regenerate through expanding the program to include more travelers.

The recent case at the Ottawa International Airport, where an 85-year-old woman was reportedly required to unzip her pants so a security officer could poke her abdomen for potential threats, serves to underline the need for a greater emphasis on logic and profiling rather than blind adherance to search numbers.

We will still need to train quality personnel in behavioural observation to screen effectively, and the proper collation and assessment of good intelligence to identify the terrorists is critical… however, all is for naught if we do not act on it.

© FrontLine Security 2009



Commissioner Bud Mercer
Safe & Silent Security
Vancouver 2010
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Q:As Chief Operating Officer responsible for the security 2010 Games, what is the scope and role of your challenge as you see it since your arrival in November 2007?

Well, the first thing that struck me was the enormity of the file as compared to past functions for which I have been responsible. It was big when I arrived and every day it gets bigger. It touches all levels from local, municipal, provincial, and federal to the international. It is also probably the greatest occurrence of bringing so many organizations with varied cultures under an integrated security framework ever seen in Canada. They are all different, from their language and acronyms, their operational or battle rhythms and even their differing expectations of accountability frameworks, decision making and relative effectiveness. Police, military and private safety are the largest components of the ISU but by no means the only areas in the group. Getting all of this diverse and interested expertise together in the main office of the ISU is positive, and the level of collegiality and cooperation is indeed what I would qualify as a great success. An integrated approach is key to meeting the enormous challenge of coordinating 60 days of security operations for the 2010 Winter Games.

I am directly responsible for security for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I report to the Deputy Com­mis­sioner for the Pacific Region, Gary Bass. Of course I do not do this alone and nor does the RCMP. From across Canada, I am getting an enormous amount of support and assistance to ensure that the games are responsibly secured, while never forgetting that the Olympic Games are about sport, culture and sustainability

Q:What is your organization of the ISU, how did you arrive at it, how does it operate?

The V2010 ISU planning unit represents about 370 people at this time, and will surge to 500 before the start of the games.

Our planning structure has four major operational cells overseen by four Superintendents (3 RCMP and 1 Vancouver Police). The four operations officers (Tactical, Venues, Operational Support and Integra­tion) report to myself the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and there is also an Advisory NCO, Public Affairs, an Executive Assistant and Legal Services that form the core of the ISU planning org chart at the Executive Level.

For resilience and coordination reasons all planning falls under the four operations officers and anything of significance that one cell does must be signed off by the other three, and then the COO, so that the impact of one on another is really appreciated and catered for. This may seem bureaucratic, but with the collaboration and collegiality that has blessed us to date to get the job done properly and without hassle, it has proved to be very workable. In addition and importantly, it provides a resilience of command and superb awareness of the entire operation such that each can take over one another’s position.

There are of course far more people involved in securing the games when we become operational. Creating the operational security model was itself a unique process. First, the Vancouver Winter Games presented a particular complexity for which there was no truly corresponding model. For instance in Beijing, they chose to isolate part of the city to build most of venues in. Torino’s model was also not a natural fit to our unique geographic challenges and diversity. We had to build our plans from the ground up. In fact there are two major geographical game regions to be considered: one in Metro Vancouver and one in Whistler.

We did a risk and vulnerability assessment of the 186 venues and the ones that require a full security package will be the responsibility to the ISU. These venues include places like the Athlete’s Village and Canada Hockey Place. In the fall of 2008 the planners entered the detailed venue phase of the planning cycle. They are evaluating feedback and input we’ve received and are starting to fine tune details of security perimeters for example.

The unit has completed its Strategic Planning and is still finalizing advanced Concept Planning and Detailed Functional Planning. Once operational, the venues will be overseen by what we call a “Bronze” Commander. Their job will to run the security operations at that location on site. The multiple Bronze level venues are then grouped under one of two “Silver” Commanders, based on geography. So, there is a Silver Commander who oversees Metro Vancouver and then one for Whistler. They are the regional support, in place to assess resources and specialized unit needs, while having situational awareness of their overall area.

February 2009 - Exercise Silver is the second of three government-wide security exercises designed to integrate the security team for the Olympic and Paralumpic games. More than 100 municipal, provincial and federal agencies, including 500 CF members, are in the air, at sea and on the groud this week in support of the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit (ISU) exercise.

The two Silver Commanders report to a Gold Commander in the Integrated Command Centre (ICC) at the ISU. The Gold Commander has the task of overseeing the entire “theatre of operations” and they will have a core group of commanders, liaisons, and personnel along side them to provide that last level of support to the security workforce. The Gold Commander, who deals with operations and policy, then reports to me, the Chief Operating Officer. I will then work with the various levels of government and organizational stakeholders.

In this latter vein, I have been greatly served by the recently appointed Ward Elcock at the Privy Council Office. His expertise in government and its workings as a former head of CSIS and Deputy Minister at National Defence is invaluable. He has been able to bring various federal and other players to the table quickly and helped me resolve many matters of resources and policy coordination.

The Integrated Command Centre (ICC) is in Richmond and we “pipe-in” Whistler by redundant means. The ICC itself integrates Air, Maritime, Canadian Forces Joint Operations Centre and the major policing, public safety and Intelligence agencies input as needed. There are also a number of standing agreements and other safety and security partners that we will take advantage of and enhance were necessary during the games. Existing agreements with agencies like NORAD are being integrated into the overall security plan.

Our overall security plan will see approximately 7,000 police, 4,000 private security officers. The Canadian Forces will deploy another 4,000 personnel to help secure the games.

Q:Recently, much has been said about the rising costs for security. Even the UK committee for the 2012 Olympics foreseen for London recently upped their budget to US$1.3 billion – more than double the original bid announced in March 2007. Athens spent a reported US$1.5 billion on security. Our PM recently said in relation to security that ‘Security will cost what security will cost’ in respect to the increase from the VANOC bid forecast of CA$175 million. Can you shed some light on these figures?

On February 19th, the overall Olympic Security Budget was announced by the BC and Federal Government and is estimated to be around CA$900 million dollars. A portion of that money CA$491.9 million dollar has been allocated to the V2010 Integrated Security Unit to lead, develop and deliver the integrated security plan for the 2010 Games.

Our portion of the budget is based on the security plan. The ISU planners had to define what the security would look like before we could determine the budget required to provide it. We determined the security requirements and then planned to those needs – taking into consideration VANOC operations and the urban domain policing requirements. In November 2007 the ISU completed a 3-month process which validated our security plan. This security plan and the accompanying financial requirements were submitted to the BC/Canada Security Committee and the budget was approved.

The Vancouver 2010 ISU budget breaks down as follows:
➢    $177.5 M for personnel. This includes regular pay, secondments pay, overtime and benefits;
➢    $306.3 M for operations. This includes areas such as accommodations, meals, travel, and fuel;
➢    $8.1 M for capital expenditures such as radio communications equipment and vehicles.

The CA$491.9 million dollar ISU security budget includes a number of significant “cost drivers” that we had to acknowledge. First, there are the pure costs directly attributable to the games for areas such as personnel salaries, the need for a Command Centre, radio communications, equipment and logistics like accommodations, travel and meal for the security workforce.

Second, there are the costs for what I call “Policing in the Urban Domain.” These are costs incurred by police forces of jurisdiction within the host municipalities that exceed the baseline of normal and surge capability designed in any force and that can be directly attributable to the Olympic Games. This could include personnel, equipments and operations and maintenance costs.

Thirdly there is also a requirement for us to have a team on hand after the games to handle the demobilization of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. They will need to look after the post-games administrative services, equipment inventory and the after action and financial reports to name but a few.

The additional money within the overall $900 million (CDN) includes a $137 million (CDN) dollar contingency reserve that the Government of Canada has set aside and then there is funding allocated for other government departments including DND, CSIS, Transport Canada, Industry Canada, Citizenship and Immigration, Public Safety Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Q:How much training has gone on to test the organi­zational structure and its components?
We have an extensive exercise program in place to test, practice and validate our comprehensive security plans. We have also just finished two of the three larger scale exercise called Exercise Bronze – which had a regional table-top exercise that involved 500 participants from over 70 public safety and security partners. Exercise Silver coincided with the one year countdown and was a national command centre functional and “live-event” exercise involving over 1000 participants from over 100 agencies. These two exercises tested the entire command structure, information flow and interoperability. We have learned very much from each and have adjusted our structures and procedures accordingly.

Our last will be “Exercise Gold” scheduled for November 2009. It will be the final opportunity to confirm our plans and allow us to be ready to go for the Games. Deputy Minister Ward Elcock and Privy Council, as a neutral body, oversee these large scale exercises. Their purpose is to prepare the whole of government response to Olympic related scenarios. They provide a believable and realistic environment and will test our relationships and organizational limits.

In addition to the exercise program, we also have on-going training for the various Bronze, Silver and Gold Commanders and individual initiatives for our specialty areas like Emergency Response Teams, Police Dog Services, etc.

Q:Do you have any last thoughts or comments that you would like to add?
Indeed I do. These are normally called the “Vancouver Winter Olympics,” but I would like to stress just how much they are truly Canada’s Games and are being accepted as such right across our nation. A prime example for me has been the response from our policing partners across Canada, who accepted the invitation to help us to secure the Games. Our original estimates were for 750 partner police officers from across Canada. In the end, 1800 municipal and regional police officers will be part of the security workforce. That means a police officer from Calgary, Saanich, and the OPP and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, to name a few, will be policing along side the RCMP and Vancouver and West Vancouver Police. This kind of interest and support really makes us proud and makes it worthwhile coming into work every day.

I thank you, Assistant Commissioner Mercer, for sharing so candidly what you can, and I wish you continued success and enjoyment in your mission. I feel our security at 2010 is in very good hands indeed.
© FrontLine Security 2009



OCHA: UN Fighting Catastrophes
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

The United Nations is well known as a stage for international power struggles and as a constant source of opprobrium by right wing conservatives. It provides the backdrop for clashes that receive heavy coverage in the media. Virtually ignored by the press, however, are its myriad humanitarian and scientific agencies.

Members of the Jordanian battalion of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MJNUSTAH) carry children through flood waters after a rescue from an orphanage destroyed by Hurricane "Ike". (UN Photo: Marco Domino.)

OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) is a small but critically important UN mission that, according to their website, seeks “to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors.”   Its current mandate charges it with the provision and management of aid in disasters and emergencies and the support of human rights, while promoting preparedness and facilitating sustainable solutions.

Headquartered in both New York, USA, and Geneva, Switzerland, the approximately 1,800 OCHA staff are sprinkled around the world in 30 regional and field offices. The UN contributes $12M of its $239M budget that is strongly supported by member states (scaled according to their financial situation).  

This combined sum seems a miniscule figure (equivalent to approximately one day for the American Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan) when compared to the mind-boggling task of taking the world in for repairs. As Vladimir Sakharov, the Chief of the Emergency Preparedness Section in Geneva explains, “In New York, the UN confronts complex civil strife, but here in Switzerland OCHA must be able to respond to natural disasters. We do not duplicate the activities of WHO and UNICEF, rather we work as a coordinator of disaster response. But our ultimate goal is to prevent them from happening in the first place and mitigate their consequences through preparedness.”

Whereas some natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, can be predicted, the time to react is either short or non-existent. In many cases, however, adverse effects can be minimized through advance planning and coordinated action. “What might be a routine accident in one country may be a disaster in another,” Sakharov states.

OCHA’s coordinated efforts, funneled through the affected governments, run the gamut from distribution of food and material aid, protection of human rights, facilitating access to clean water, and medical care. These activities mobilize and prevent duplication of effort from a variety of organizations, including UN agencies, non-governmental agencies and the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Vladimir Sakharov heads the Emergency Preparedness Section in Geneva.

A wide range of industrial and technological accidents are confronted by the agency – including chemical spills, forest fires and other conflagrations and combinations of natural and technological events such as earthquakes. “Natural and technological events” refers to the confrontation of phenomena such as earthquakes and floods with the quality of the infrastructure and the rapidity and effectiveness of governmental response.  In fact, Sakharov asserts that there is no such thing as a “natural” disaster. “All of these events are an intersection of inadequate planning, such as faulty building construction, resulting in great loss of life during earthquakes,” he explains.

Since 1993, OCHA has carried out 183 missions around the world. In North America, the agency’s most memorable action was the provision of aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. On September 3, 2005, the United Nations mobilized three inter-agency teams to work on logistics and coordination in conjunction with US authorities, following acceptance of OCHA’s offer of assistance.  This system was instrumental in reducing the risk of over-supply and provided implementation for tracking international donations to the distribution point.

Has OCHA improved the global response to disasters? A base of solid evidence points to the affirmative. For instance, in Southern Africa, improvements in contingency planning over the years have saved many from floods. “The situation in Mozambique remains critical (as of a 2008 report), as rains continue to fall, but whereas flooding in 2002 “killed hundreds, and in 2007 dozens, in 2008 only three people died.” The report goes on to explain that “contingency planning by nine countries in the region in 2007 meant they were much better prepared for the floods.” It should be noted that the first floods of 2009 boded ill for this year’s flood season.

OCHA’s records indicate that 2008 saw the Southern Africa region experience its third year in a row of flooding that displaced nearly 100,000 people. They coordinated relief efforts of numerous aide groups such as FAO, WFP and UNICEF.

Crop damage and property destruction has been widespread. Reduced fatality figures in Bangladesh, however, attest to the use of early warning systems for cyclones. A lessening of the flooding impact in Ethiopia has been attributed to contingency plans adopted following the 2007 floods.

UN staff join hands to aid Huricane Katrina victims.

OCHA’s activities can go a long way to lessen suffering. But some natural disasters require tremendous long term commitment, much more than OCHA can provide. Earthquakes can be incredibly destructive, but in regions such as New Zealand, Japan and California, which have had effective building codes in place for years, the amount of death and property damage is a tiny fraction of what occurs in similar magnitude quakes in underdeveloped countries. So while OCHA can provide guidance, it cannot remake a social and political order. For this reason, it aims to strengthen its disaster response preparedness programs for the high risk, low capacity countries that will always be most severely affected by an earthquake or other similar catastrophe.

In the final analysis, Sakharov asks, “Can we really be prepared?” The answer depends on a number of factors, both scientific and political. Different scenarios, earthquakes, floods and industrial failures all present a variety of disruptive challenges. But there is a common thread running through a successful response – there must be a strong level of political commitment, combined with a willingness to fund preparedness needs.

It is important to bear in mind that OCHA supplies scientific and managerial expertise, but the region touched by these disasters must supply the minimum resources. Yet today, in a period of economic downturn, it is difficult to convince Third World governments that they should commit resources to counter events that they pray may never happen.

Finally, perhaps the most cogent question is whether past history enables us to predict the future. This, of course, is the basis of any preventive program, but, with the certainty of climate change currently being experienced, the possibility of successful prediction is clouded. Already, massive changes in weather patterns ­are occur­ring through the world, and these events threaten to impinge on every type of ­natural disaster. Floods, fires, droughts and epidemics are all exacerbated by climate change. According to Sakharov, 70% of disasters are now classified as “climate-related,” up from 50% two decades ago. Equally worrisome is the fact that the cost of responding to disasters has risen 10-fold between 1993 and 2008.

School building lies in ruins.

Whatever the level of global climate change, it is clear that in the future OCHA’s skills will be tested as never before.  

Dr. K. John Morrow Jr has held faculty positions at the University of Kansas and at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Evolva: Evolving New Drugs
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

Darwinian principles today constitute the driving intellectual force behind the technology of a number of biotech companies, guiding a wide range of clinical applications that have already been developed or are on the drawing boards. On the forefront of this technology is Evolva, a Swiss company that seeks to use the ­principles of natural selection to propel their drug discovery program.

According to CEO Dr. Neil Goldsmith, “as many as 61% of the world’s most important drugs derive from nature.” Since the earliest days of medicine, natural compounds, mainly from plants, have been the principle source of pharmaceuticals. These substances evolved over the course of eons to protect the plant from various environmental insults, so their beneficial effects for humans were purely serendipitous. Thus, a pivotal step in traditional drug discovery is to take a promising compound and subject it to a series of chemical modifications that will lessen unwanted side effects and increase its disease fighting capability. This may frequently turn out to be a laborious and frustrating task, calling on hundreds of hours in the chemistry lab, and large expenditures of resources. The conventional path used by the big pharma companies is to start with a molecule that has promise, because an academic institution or private company has found that it inhibits a critical step in some disease process. Then an army of analytical chemists will close in on the molecule, making a series of modifications based on their knowledge of its physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology. Many different substitutions are made, adding and subtracting groups from the framework of the molecule. These slightly modified molecules will be subjected to tests using tissues culture cells, then moving to various species of lab animals, and finally the really promising candidates will enter ­clinical trials.

So the time required to produce a successful pharmaceutical product may be measured in years, which eliminates the possibility of the potential drug being brought in for crisis management during disease epidemics.

The Evolva process is quite different, and seeks to find a shortcut around this sisyphean task. It is based on building complex genetic libraries (huge collections of genes), that can carry out the synthesis of families of low molecular weight compounds with anti-viral or anti-bacterial potential. These genes, that code for various biosynthetic enzymes, can be taken from nature or developed artificially. The goal is to arm the yeast cell with the potential to escape the killing effects of exposure to the pathogenic agent. In one permutation, the yeast cells are modified in such a way that a critical protein can be “hijacked” by agents such as HIV and Ebola virus. Those yeast cells that evolve a low molecular compound that kills the virus can survive. The survivors are subjected to additional rounds of selection so that stairstep-wise, a better and better protective compound is produced.

Scientist Thomas Tange analyzes the molecular mating step in growth media. (Photo: Chris MacLean)

The company has contracts for designing antivirals, immunomodulators and antibacterial compounds. These molecules could be used as protective agents against bioterrorism, or for natural epidemics. Four other collaborative programs are underway in the area of cancer therapeutics, glycosylation and production optimization.

Another program that the company has been pursuing is the development of immunomodulators, that is, drugs that work by stimulating the immune system so the host is provided with a generalized level of protection. Yet another effort is aimed at developing anti-fungal drugs. Pathogenic fungi are particularly deadly for individuals with compromised immune systems, and currently available drugs offer only limited protection.

Evolva’s program is beginning to pay off as the candidates move into pre-clinical evaluation. In animal studies, an anti-Ebola compound referred to as EV-063-4321 provided mice with 90% protection against a lethal infection. An immunomodulator, EV-009-1440, protected 50% of mice against a lethal bacterial dose. Yet another candidate, EV-075, was shown to have efficacy against influenza, Ebola and Marburg virus. These viruses, members of the family Filoviridae, are responsible for a deadly and untreatable hemorrhagic fever.

Although confined to Africa, these viruses are a source of constant concern because of their lethality and their potential for adoption for bioterrorism purposes. Indeed, in 1992, members of Japan’s psychopathic cult Aum Shinrikyo traveled to Zaire in a failed effort to obtain samples of the Ebola virus.

In preclinical studies, Evolva has demonstrated that EV-075 works synergistically with Tamiflu, and could be used in flu epidemics. Thus the Evolva technology could greatly speed the process of drug development and serve as a rapid response strategy for moving against arising worldwide health threats.

Senior Scientist, Markus Schwab assembles yeasts for screening. (Photos: Chris MacLean)

While Evolva’s approach is cleverly engineered to take advantage of a Darwinian survival program tied to the development of new small molecule compounds, a number of biotechs are using comparable strategies to isolate large protein molecules with beneficial qualities.

Cell Biologist Julia Yakovela checks for activity on human cell compunds. (Photo: Chris MacLean)

The most widely used approach relies on very large antibody gene libraries carried in bacterial strains. In this case, the goal is to isolate synthetic antibody molecules that bind to a target (disease-associated) protein. The genes are transferred into special viruses and their protein products expressed on the exterior of the virus. If any of these virus ­particles attach to a protein target, the viruses can be rescued, their population expanded and subjected to round after round of selection. During this process, the genes are heavily mutagenized to introduce new variability into the system and make the evolutionary process move even more rapidly. By moving step by step, a large protein with more and specific binding abilities can be obtained. This approach has resulted in the discovery of a number of antibody-based drugs over the years.

For centuries drug discovery has been a random, hit or miss proposition. In the 20th century it acquired the mantle of science, but was still based on a search for exotic substances, a combination of Indiana Jones-style exploration and serendipity. One of the most famous of these discoveries was the anti-cancer drug Taxol, isolated from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree. First noted in 1964, years passed before it finally became part of the chemotherapy repertoire. We may now finally be witnessing an entirely new vision in drug development; faster; cheaper and more powerful.

New screening techniques and protocols could carve years off the current daunting timelines. We may finally be witnessing an entirely new vision in drug development – faster, cheaper and much more powerful – that may reveal an undiscovered universe of disease fighting agents.

Biotechnology consultant Dr. K. John Morrow Jr has held faculty positions at the University of Kansas and at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Canada-U.S. Border Surveillance
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

For six generations, approximately 95 percent of the Canada-US border was undefended; official crossing points were the chief exception. The boundary between our nation and the United States spans 6,416 kilometres – 2,878 km on land and 3,538 km on water – and includes terrain that is flat, hilly, and mountainous, vast tracks of prairie and forests, and lakes, rivers, creeks, and marshes. For decades, governments on both sides have tried to curtail smuggling and human trafficking. Since 9/11, American politicians and homeland security officials have been concerned that terrorists would enter the U.S. across the porous northern border.

Shiprider patrols involving RCMP and U.S. Coast Guard personnel and vessels patrol the Canada -U.S. marine boundary to thwart illicit activities.

The 9/11 Commission expressed its concern in late 2002 that getting into the USA illegally from Canada was not difficult. Nearly five years later, in September 2007, US government investigators were able to cross into the United States from Canada carrying a duffle bag with contents made to look like nuclear material. According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), they encountered no one. “Our work clearly shows substantial vulnerabilities in the northern border to terrorist or criminals entering the United States undetected,” said GAO investigator Gregory Kutz.

Very Lucrative “Businesses”
During the past decade, an estimated $35 billion worth of “BC Bud,” a popular type of marijuana, has been “exported” to the United States. According to police estimates, the “BC Bud” industry has grown from $1.5 billion in 2000 to $7 billion in 2008. South of the border, the cannabis sells for $3,000 to $10,000 per pound, depending on the potency of its psychoactive drug. People have been paid up to $7,500 to transport ­several kilograms of “BC Bud” on foot in a backpack across isolated sections of British Columbia into Washington State. On the U.S. side, they have been met by drug ­traffickers at pre-arranged Global Positioning System coordinates and swap their ­marijuana load for cocaine, cash, and light weapons. Helicopters and small airplanes have also been used for smuggling.

In eastern Canada, contraband cigarette smuggling on the Mohawk Akwesasne reserve near Cornwall, reportedly makes millions of dollars each year for organized crime. The reserve encompasses land and rivers in a corner of Quebec, Ontario, and New York State. According to one study, “As much as 50 percent of the smoke filling Canadian lungs comes from smuggled cigarettes.” Ten illegal factories on the US side of the reserve make an estimated 50 million cartons of cigarettes each year, and about 45 million cartons are smuggled to Canada annually.

Sergeant Michael Harvey of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ­Cornwall detachment told the Toronto Star in November that an arrested cigarette smuggling “kingpin” revealed that he made $250,000 per week and paid his ­couriers $6,000 weekly to meet smuggling boats on the Canadian side and deliver contraband cigarettes to retailers. The “smokes” sell for as little as one-eighth the price of legal, taxed cigarettes. Cigarette smuggling is costing Ottawa and provincial governments $2 billion in lost tax revenues each year.

The Review, a community newspaper serving eastern Ontario and western Quebec, reported in May that “Every day – year round – it’s estimated that about 60 trips happen across the border near Cornwall Island. In the summer, smugglers use speedboats across the St-Lawrence. In the winter, they use snowmobiles.” Sergeant Harvey told the Toronto Star reporter, “The public just think it’s a way to buy cheap cigarettes, but this is a breach of our international border, and drugs and firearms and people are being brought across this border daily. It’s illegal and it’s a big public safety issue.”

High-tech Border Surveillance
When asked for information about the technologies used by the RCMP to monitor the Canada-U.S. border, the force’s media relations in Ottawa replied in an e-mail: “The RCMP uses a variety of technologies to secure the northern border. To protect the safety and security of investigators and the public, and to protect the integrity of operations, the RCMP does not disclose details of technology used to monitor illegal border activity (such as location or how many).” However, online RCMP video of a speedboat laden with cases of contraband cigarettes making a daytime dash across a river on the Akwesasne reserve and a smuggler’s boat moving at night proves that video ­surveillance is used.

In April, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) issued a press release stating that “Accipiter Radar Technologies Inc. [of Fonthill, Ontario] will lead a study to examine the feasibility of using radar networks for surveillance on the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.” The DRDC webpage lists the RCMP as a project partner. The Accipter website says the company “provides affordable, high-performance radar target information solutions for homeland security applications including border enforcement, interdiction, critical infrastructure protection, harbor and port security, coastal surveillance and search and rescue.”

Accipiter’s security radar systems can be deployed on towers, rooftops, trailers, and trucks, and provide day-night situational awareness in all types of weather with automated, advance warning of user-defined threats. Each system is “network-enabled to facilitate continuous, wide-area radar surveillance, remote target information distribution and remote operation” and “supports integration and fusion of multiple radars and other sensors such as cameras and automatic identification systems.”

Across the border, the Washington Post reported in September 2006 that “Aerospace and defense giant Boeing Company has won a multibillion-dollar contract to revamp how the United States guards about 6,000 miles of border in an attempt to curb illegal immigration. Boeing’s proposal relied heavily on a network of 1,800 towers, most of which would need to be erected along the borders with Mexico and Canada. Each tower would be equipped with a variety of sensors, including cameras and heat and motion detectors.”

Boeing executive Wayne Esser said that while most of the company’s experience involved aircraft, it wanted to keep its border surveillance systems on the ground because “The aerial platform just goes off the map from a cost standpoint.” In March 2009, an Associated Press (AP) report said, “The U.S. Border Patrol is erecting 16 more video surveillance towers in Michigan and New York to help secure parts of the U.S.-Canadian border, awarding the contract to a company [Boeing] criticized for faulty technology with its so-called virtual fence along the U.S.-Mexico boundary.”

“The government awarded the $20 million project to Boeing for the towers designed to assist agents stationed along the 4,000-mile northern stretch. Eleven of the towers are being installed in Detroit and five in Buffalo, NY, to help monitor water traffic between Canada and the United States along Lake St. Clair and the Niagara River. At present, Border Patrol agents are posted along the river to keep an eye on water traffic.”

Mark Borkowski, executive director of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) at U.S. ­Customs and Border Protection (CBP) explains that cameras are used to zoom in on a boat that left Canada, for instance, to watch where it goes and what it does. “So the idea is to have cameras watch, and then agents are freed up to respond,” he says, adding that the surveillance cameras will reduce agents’ response time by minutes.

Boeing was responsible for a 28-mile stretch of surveillance equipment erected along the U.S.-Mexico border near Tucson, Arizona as part of the Secure Border Initiative. According to the AP report, “the company was widely criticized for delivering an ­inferior product. Last year [2008], the government withheld some of the payment because technology used in the test project near Tucson did not work properly. Boeing also was late in delivering the final product.”

Borkowski is confident that the Department of Homeland Security, which ­oversees SBI, will not continue to experience the same problems it had in the past on the northern ­border surveillance towers project. Boeing spokeswoman Jenna McMullin says the company “learned quite a bit from our previous SBInet experience and demonstrated how to implement lessons learned.” Steve Oswald, vice president of Boeing’s Intelligence and Security Systems, added, “We’re committed to providing (Border Patrol) agents along the northern border with improved border security capabilities to enable them to do their jobs even better. At the same time, the lessons learned from this deployment will ­contribute to even greater enhancements in the future.”

A prominent critic of SBI has been Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, who insists the program has been a disaster from the start. “The technologies don’t work, they’re not weather-resistant and they’re certainly privacy invasive. Putting them in America’s backyards only invades the privacy of Americans, it doesn’t add to our security.” Borkowski responds that the video resolution of the surveillance cameras is not good enough for residents living near the border to be concerned about privacy issues.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Pilatus surveillance and tracking airplane flies near the western Canada-US border.

CBP has about 1,500 agents along the Canadian border. In 2008, they arrested 7,925 individuals involved in smuggling or trying to enter the U.S. illegally. The agency has 11 times as many officers on the southern border, where 705,005 people were arrested in 2008.

Despite the significantly lower arrest rate along the northern border, U.S. officials still worry about the ­vulnerable northern flank. “What we don’t know, is how often that vulnerability is exploited,” notes Borkowski. “If, in fact, there’s a lot more going on than we thought, then this [surveillance] technology will help us identify it and it will help us respond and apprehend those people in ways that we haven’t before.”

“Eyes” in the Skies
When asked for information about federal aerial patrols on this side of the border, the RCMP response was brief: “The RCMP uses helicopters and fixed wing aircraft as part of its aerial border patrol duties,” said an e-mail from Ottawa. CBP information about its operations is more replete. There are five Air and Marine branches at bases in Great Falls, Montana; Bellingham, Washington; Plattsburg, New York; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Detroit, Michigan. The Bellingham and Plattsburg branches opened in 2004, the Great Falls and Grand Forks units in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and the Detroit branch began operations in August 2008. Each branch is equipped with as many as 11 aircraft, including Sikorsky Blackhawk interdiction and apprehension helicopters, Eurocopter observation rotary-wing aircraft, Cessna Citation interception jets and ­Stationair piston-engine surveillance and training airplanes, and Pilatus surveillance and tracking turboprop aircraft.

U.S. Blackhawk interdiction and apprehension helicopter flies over northwestern Washington State near the Canadian Border.

The CBP Northern Border Air Branch at the Grand Forks International Airport began border surveillance, in February 2009, with a $10-million unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with sensors capable of detecting people and vehicles from 10 kilometres away. The Predator B drone from General Atomics can fly as high as 50,000 feet (higher than jetliners), stay airborne for up to 28 hours, and cruise at 300 kilometres per hour. Using electro-optical/infrared sensors and its multifunction synthetic aperture radar, the UAV relays what it sees to a ground station. The radar can detect moving vehicles and persons, and the sensors can track heat sources – including humans – and transmit video imaging in real-time to CBP agents. If suspicious activity is detected, officers are ­dispatched to investigate and apprehend intruders.

At the August 2008 opening of the fifth Air and Marine Branch, near Detroit, Assistant Commissioner Michael Kostelnik said, “With the expansion of our air and marine operations in the Great Lakes-Canadian border region, Customs and Border Protection is helping to assure the American people of our dedication to secure the nation’s borders. Working closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and our Canadian leadership in the north we can bring added law enforcement resources and a greater sense of border security to the Great Lakes region.”

Unmanned U.S. Customs & Border Protection Predator drones patrol near the Canada-U.S. border searching for smugglers, illegal aliens, and possible terrorists.

A related CBP press release said, “Once fully operational, the Air and Marine Branch will consist of over 75 Air and Marine Interdiction Agents, Air Enforcement Agents, and mission support staff, in addition to 29 contractor employees.” Congresswoman Candice Miller was present at the opening and said, “The decision to place the Great Lakes Branch of the Northern Border Air Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was an important strategic decision because of the proximity to some of the busiest ­border crossings in the country; one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world and the center of the domestic automotive industry. This air and marine wing is a great asset in securing our borders from smuggling, illegal border crossings and ­terrorism.”

Eric Rembold, Director of Aviation Operations for the branch, added, “during the last four years CBP has been enhancing the security of the northern border by increasing its air and marine presence. Today, we are commemorating the establishment of these operations to secure the last 863 miles of the border.”

Randolph Gallegos, Chief Patrol Agent, Detroit Border Patrol Sector, commented that, “the new CBP Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch here at Selfridge will bring tremendous capability to our border enforcement efforts moving us closer to operational control of our nation’s borders.”

No government or law enforcement source could definitively say whether new detection capabilities are needed right now. While Canadian and American authorities have made considerable progress since 9/11 to guard what was once the world’s longest, mostly-undefended border in the world, it remains to be seen how they will deal with unorthodox methods used by criminals to enter the United States such as tunnelling (detected along both north and south ­borders), and the use of underwater craft. Protecting the vast Canada-U.S. border is an unfinished and evolving story.

Blair Watson is a freelance writer based in British Columbia.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Medics Prepare for Olympic Crowds
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Vancouver will undoubtedly be swarming with people in February and March 2010. In addition to the 2.1 million existing residents in the metropolitan area, an additional 1.2 million athletes, media and spectators are expected to find their way to the lower mainland for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

This sudden influx will put pressure on the city’s infrastructure, and emergency teams will have to be ready for anything – from mass protests to ruthless weather and possible terrorist attacks. And with the Games being held during one of Vancouver’s high flu periods, hospital staff may run out of gas before the Flame.

Dr Jack Taunton, chief medical officer for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is mandated with the challenge of handling the public health of Vancouver’s Olympian population – and with preventing the event from disrupting the daily medical service of Vancouverites.

Approximately 1,200 non-residents were hospitalized in Turin during the 2006 Olympics, and Salt Lake City’s hospitals received about 450 Olympic-related patients for the duration of the 2002 Games.

However, despite the huge influx of people to the host city, patient populations don’t seem to increase during the Olympic Games. Hospitals in both Turin and Salt Lake City observed a decrease of 20 to 25% in elective procedures (surgeries and investigations) when they hosted the Winter Olympics. Other Olympic host cities have noticed a similar pattern. “People want to see the Games,” explains Taunton, noting that the opportunity of having the Olympics in your backyard doesn’t come twice in a lifetime. Residents often delay their elective medical interventions until after the Games are over. “This allows hospitals to accept the surge of millions of spectators.”

In Vancouver, “our job is to triage individuals (…) to ensure that we have absorbed them,” explains Taunton, “we’ll try to do as much as we can inside the polyclinics.”  Such facilities (complete with technology such as imaging, digital X-ray, and dental, eye and ear-nose-throat equipment) will act as mini-hospitals.

Random screening of the athletes for diseases such as oral cancer (a routine activity at every Olympic event) will also be done at the polyclinics.

Vancouver and Whistler, where the alpine events will be held, will each have such a facility. Smaller complementary medical stations will be set up in hotels and at every sports venue throughout Vancouver and Whistler.

A fleet of 55 brand new ambulances from the British Columbia Ambulance Service will be leased to VANOC for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Vancouver Organizing Committee will incur the running costs of these ambulances during the Games, and they will be redeployed around British Columbia afterwards.

There will be no net increase in cost for taxpayers, since the ambulances are part of the annual replacement cycle, says Les Fisher, executive director of provincial programs at the British Columbia Ambulance Service. The organization normally replaces about 60 to 65 of its vehicles every year.

“It’s a way that we can make use of our regular resources for such an important event for the province,” notes Fisher.  Rather than buying the vehicles throughout the year as usual, they’ll be bought all at once prior to the Games. VANOC will pay for the amortization cost as well.  

Speedier patient transfers from one medical facility to another will be made possible thanks to an electronic patient system. The patient’s condition will be recorded and used by nurses and doctors at polyclinics and other Olympic medical stations.

The system, designed by French information technology provider, Atos Origin, was used at the Turin Olympics and during the Beijing Olympics.

If a patient must be transferred to one of Vancouver’s hospitals, the information recorded on Atos’ system will be communicated to CareConnect, the electronic patient record used in Vancouver, says Dr Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. Atos and her team are currently working on making the two systems interoperable with each other.

The electronic patient system will play an important role in disease surveillance, since the situation created by the Olympics and Paralympics of massive crowds within small areas will most likely affect the evolution of diseases that spread easily, such as influenza and meningitis.

“It’s a matter of having eyes and ears in different places,” says Dr Bonnie Henry at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). “We need to be able to find people rapidly.”

Data such as the patients’ symptoms, where they have been, where they sleep, what they ate, and with whom they have been in contact, are the type of information that will be aggregated and transferred to Vancouver Coastal Health, VANOC’s main partner in public health.

The challenge is to determine what will happen, but in February and March, “there’s likely to be influenza during the Games,” says Daly. If Vancouver Coastal Health notices an increase in the number of flu cases, it could treat the patients with an antiviral agent, better known under its commercial name, Tamiflu, to reduce the spread of the virus to other people.  “It is being used all the time in Vancouver,” claims Daly.

Flu shots are not effective in outbreak conditions as they only become active two weeks after their administration. In order to reduce outbreaks, “we’ll make recommendations to all Olympic teams to receive flu shots (before coming to Canada),” says Daly. She says the World Health Organization sanctions flu shots used in Vancouver, so the 2010 version should be available to all countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

As for visitors, “the opportunity to fight the flu is limited,” she says, especially if they don’t receive a shot before coming to Vancouver. Health messages will be put at strategic locations to remind visitors to wash their hands, for example.

The Norwalk virus (or norovirus), a highly contagious virus that causes gastro-enteritis, is also in the line of sight, says Daly. Vancouver Coastal Health will target the hospitality industry and teach them how to recognize the spread of the virus.

If things do get out of hand, VANOC will be able to rely on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), which is mandated to act only upon requests from the government of British Columbia, according to Dr Theresa Tam, director general for the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response at PHAC.

PHAC will deploy more quarantine officers at the international border and in Vancouver for the duration of the Games. “We’ll have to pay more attention to travelers (for infectious diseases),” says Tam.   

She says PHAC can provide a vast array of services, such as extra laboratory facilities and experts. A level-3 biosafety laboratory will be available in case of chemical or biological incident, including terrorist attacks.

The National Emergency Stockpile Supply – a reserve of medical supplies ranging from water decontamination tablets to generators – will be open in case of natural disaster.

The size of the city of Vancouver is a major advantage when it comes to emergency preparedness. “We have more experience than maybe other cities… it will help us manage the Olympics,” notes Daly from Vancouver Coastal Health.

Vancouver is not foreign to special summits and conferences drawing large influxes of people either. Successful annual events such as the Celebration of Light, a fireworks festival with attendance peaking at close to half a million people, show that Vancouver can overcome the people-factor.

André Fecteau is a freelance writer.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Updating the Secure Border Action Plan
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

On June 22nd, the Customs and Immigration Union (formerly known as CEUDA) testified before the Senate Committee on National Security and Defense (SCONSAD) in Ottawa. As anyone familiar with border security will appreciate, these are two of the most active and influential groups in this important security area.

A CBSA officer and a traveller at an airport primary inspection line.

FrontLine Security presents edited extracts from the CIU Brief to the Committee. Readers will find these observations and insights from the front lines both enlightening... and somewhat worrisome.

Progress on the seven issues identified in the original Plan has been mixed. Additionally, the manner in which action is being taken on some matters bears scrutiny to ensure the intended results are achieved in the most cost effective manner. The CIU continues consultation with CBSA management on these issues and, is pleased to report, directly with the Minister as well. CIU remains willing to assist in achieving the goals of the Plan to ensure enhanced border and domestic security for Canadians.

The original Brief, presented to Government in November 2006, ­entitled ‘Updating the Border Security Action Plan,’ is a detailed document prepared by the Union.

Based on a member survey (with 100% response from all land Ports of Entry (POE)), it covered these seven areas: ports of entry connectivity; look-out system; port runners; the need for a border patrol; pre-border clearance; the arming initiative; and ending work-alone situations. The more recent CIU Brief reported the progress, or lack thereof, in these areas, and ­identified four new areas for the Committee’s consideration.

As noted earlier, the SBAP was provided to the Minister’s Office in November 2006, and it is fair to say that it and the work of SCONSAD on connectivity has prompted a reaction. Following a recent field operations survey, the National President confirmed that there are no longer any land POE reporting a lack of connectivity. Based on initial responses, CIU can report some infrequent instances of delayed log on and signal strength which must be corrected in some parts of the country, including Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan.

It is our intention to ensure that CBSA builds on this enhanced access capacity to upgrade the nature and quality of information available to front-line Customs and Immigration Officers. Officers report needless lack of required full access to the database at primary post coupled with unjustifiable policy-based, and not technology driven, restrictions on Officer access to required information. These require correction, particularly since U.S. counterparts have full database interface capacity every time they run a name; interestingly, state-side verifications include full access to ­Canadian data such as CPIC.

The CIU has identified deficiencies in the CBSA ‘lookout’ system for a decade. These deficiencies jeopardize officer safety since potentially dangerous individuals are not properly identified. Concurrently, since CBSA restricts some information, persons who should be identified as inadmissible to Canada, including on grounds that ­represent a danger to the Canadian public, are not adequately identified and are allowed to enter. Canadian taxpayers then bear the cost of criminal investigation, ­prosecution, incarceration and removal of persons that a proper and modern lookout system could preclude from entering Canada in the first place.

The SBAP recommended the immediate deployment of a lookout system using name based information and modern face recognition biometrics to apply lawful authority at a POE to detect persons who are inadmissible to Canada, especially on grounds of security and criminality, and who have been previously removed from Canada. Both SCONSAD and CIU have raised this public safety deficiency…(This deficiency has also) attracted negative comment from domestic law enforcement who have to deal with its failures, as well as from the Auditor General and the media.

In November 2006, CIU engaged in discussions with CBSA on revisions to the policy which to date have, unfortunately, (proved) “unproductive”…

At the root of the disagreement is CBSA’s continuing insistence on substituting their judgment based on subjective inclusion of an imminent arrival criteria, rather than using the objective criteria( such as criminal deportees) of authorities like RCMP, Interpol, FBI… and others in determination of danger. Whether this is due to institutional ego, lack of enforcement expertise in senior management, or both, the result has been a needless and unjustifiable public safety deficiency.

Traveller uses iris recognition camera.

Following several especially egregious cases underlining this CBSA lookout deficiency, the CIU communicated directly with the Minister’s office. [We] are pleased to report that… despite initial CBSA claims of impotence, following inquiries of systemic flaws, a response appears to have been undertaken which ultimately may lead to tangible improvements.

Specifically, in 2008, the Public Safety Technical Program (PSTP) launched a series of requests for proposals to deal with deployment of face recognition biometric identification systems at POE as recommended in 2006 . In December 2008, CBSA, under new senior management , filed a proposal to lead such a study in partnership with the RCMP… It is recommended that the Committee pursue this issue with CBSA to confirm the contemplated content of the database, its deployment locations and whether this is intended as part of its ongoing video analytics activities.

CIU recommendations regarding the lookout system go beyond deploying face recognition biometric technology. It is our clear and continuing position that the interface among relevant databases must be improved and that analytical information linkage and foreign language name recognition software be included. Since 2008 CBSA has access to this technology through inter- departmental arrangements.

Port Runners
The fact that persons are failing to stop at ports of entry (known as “port runners”) was included in the SBAP as a result of the Northgate Report detailing the frequency of this activity, and the fact that CBSA refused to permit pursuit. This revelation was ­significantly exacerbated when CBSA ­management under-reported its volume and misdescribed the extent of agreements with contiguous police agencies in its evidence to SCONSAD.

Some modifications are underway that fall within these recommendations especially with regard to camera installation and barriers. We would urge the Committee to seek specific details from CBSA as to progress in this area including plans, allocations and timelines. Officers across Canada have reported cameras pointed in the wrong directions and with patently insufficient resolution for appropriate evidentiary purposes. There has been installation of gates at some limited remote locations.

The subject of pursuing port runners and having a border patrol was aggravated in 2007 when the former CBSA President told the Commons Security Committee that no lawful pursuit and apprehension authority existed for CBSA officers under the Customs Act. CIU also appeared at Committee and subsequently provided the Committee, and CBSA and the Minister with material that corrected the record. This off port enforcement authority issue appears to linger within CBSA in response to which CIU prepared a briefing note this year… Though the wording of the current Act is not optimal, justifying inaction on pursuing port runners or participating in a border patrol is without merit.

Border Patrol
CIU is concerned that CBSA’s historical resistance to enforcement actions combined with the RCMP’s demonstrated human resource shortage for national enforcement activities could create a politically acceptable model that would be operationally inadequate. Our information, for example, indicates that the RCMP has actually closed eight detachments in Quebec near the U.S. border and that the national policing section has returned tens of millions of dollars originally allocated to it because of lack of capacity over the past two years.

Having finally taken steps to ensure that Border Services Officers are better trained and equipped and increased in number, the Government will, hopefully, follow through on those investments by ensuring CBSA plays a prominent role in border patrol enhancement. With the release of the May 26, 2009 Shiprider Agreement, deliberately excluding CBSA, this will necessitate an amendment to the agreement if joint marine cross border action is to be provided on a scale agreed to with the U.S.

Ion scanner, used to detect trace amounts of narcotics and explosives.

As noted in the original SBAP, the domestic benefits to Canada go beyond common security with the U.S. and extend to the interdiction of illegal entry of guns, drugs and people into Canada. Further, this modest investment for a mobile joint force capacity contrasts very favourably with previous estimates supplied by CBSA for fixed interdiction, which we understand to have been in the $3-4B range. As has been the case with many scenarios, this concept put forward by the CIU will do an exponentially better job at a fraction of the price.

The Secure Border Action Plan of 2006 was produced after the Government announced the initiative, but before actual training of officers. The CIU was, understandably, highly skeptical of the good faith commitment of both the CBSA and the RCMP, as they had been the two bodies most opposed to its occurring… The CIU recommended a dramatically lower cost with shorter timelines. Although a reduced cost estimate resulted, CIU’s recommendations for how the arming initiative should be accomplished were largely ignored and, under RCMP and CBSA ‘leadership’ costs and success rates have raised legitimate questions.

These submissions detail a spectrum of issues CIU has raised with respect to the initiative including CBSA’s continuing approach of advising of decisions after the fact rather than prior consultation. The CIU has monitored the training sessions closely, including interviewing officers who have completed the training (successfully and unsuccessfully). In fairness, after some denial and delay, positive changes to the methodology of training have occurred, especially since the arrival of new senior management in June 2008.

The original commitment was to complete the arming of 4,800 officers in ten years which included existing and new employees. To date approximately 1200 officers have been trained, armed and deployed over two years. The delays we predicted because of the exclusivity of sites and training have occurred. These factors have also contributed to higher costs than we believe should be the case. As the Committee will appreciate, there is a view that the difficulties and excessive costs to date are a direct result of assigning responsibility for the arming initiative to organizations institutionally opposed to its success…

The arming initiative is now entrenched and improving. CIU remains wholly committed to its success concurrent with the workplace accommodation of officers who either choose not to participate or who, having been given a fair opportunity, have failed to qualify. We suspect that completing this initiative will continue to pose challenges, but we are unwavering in our support of this activity that will enhance officer and public safety.

Ending ‘Work-Alone’
Both CIU and SCONSAD have raised this issue repeatedly over the years. The Government of Canada followed up in 2006 with a welcome commitment to accept the CIU and SCONSAD recommendations and direct the end of work-alone situations. During highly effective questioning before SCONSAD in June 2006, then CBSA President confirmed that Budget 2006 had provided the funding for the additional 400 officers required, and that the hiring process would be completed in three years.

CBSA classroom training.

Three years after that statement was made, CIU is aware of only approximately 100 new officers being hired to end work-alones. Unfortunately, there seems to be a slow down in recruitment by CBSA. CIU voiced concerns in 2006 about CBSA discharging its instructions in this regard.

Some modifications to work-alone POE sites is required, but it is hard to imagine why this should have interfered with the direction given to and an undertaking from CBSA to hire the requisite officers and end this most dangerous practice. Of the 119 land Ports of Entry, our information shows that 56 sites now have been upgraded, another 17 are in-process, and the target set for the end of FY 09-10 is 92. CIU will resurvey its members on this issue and we urge the Committee to raise it with both the Minister and CBSA senior management.

Pre-Border Clearance
Despite what appeared to be a basis for progress, some two and a half years later the issue, to our knowledge, remains stalled. We are advised that the primary reasons for this is the U.S. insistence on an ability for their officials to arrest persons in defined ­circumstances and to have the discretion to fingerprint persons who, for whatever reason, decide not to seek entry into the United States. These persons, known as ‘turnarounds’ are very few in number but are acknowledged by both Canadian and U.S. officials as a potential security concern in that their actions may, in fact, be part of ­border surveillance by persons or groups posing criminal or security risks.

We have been advised that the rationale for the U.S. seeking to fingerprint is to match to a specific database of latent fingerprints the relevance of which is acknowledged by Canadian authorities. This renders the U.S. request to fingerprint neither arbitrary nor capricious but rather for a specific legitimate purpose.

The Supreme Court of Canada has specifically recognized the unique nature of points of entry to Canada as justifying a wide array of personal intrusions including search, frisking, clothing removal, etc. based on the importance of the state controlling activities at the border. The Court specifically noted that there is a lower expectation of privacy at any border crossing.

Section 13(2) of the Canada Border Services Agency Act, section 105 of the Customs Act, and section 7 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act all contemplate some kind of international agreement authority for the Minister so as to carry out the Agency mandate or enforce the Acts in question. Further, cross-border enforcement authority, in defined circumstances, has already occurred in the Shiprider program.

The U.S. authorities apparently also wish to continue their discretionary action of checking laptops or electronic device of persons seeking entry to check for data relevant to admissibility. This is an action already undertaken in the U.S. and search of persons or goods in their possession prior to departure is authorized in Part VI of the Customs Act in broad circumstances.

New Issues

Without question, the current border security priority of government has created a highly challenging environment for the CBSA in terms of its ability to manage the multiple personnel-related projects it has been assigned.

Though new funding will be required for initiatives like a border patrol, our ­concern today is whether funding already allocated to the Agency is being properly used to achieve the staffing level enhancements for which it was intended. Accordingly, we urge the Committee to explore the program areas listed above with regard to the following performance criteria:

  • what was the original hiring goal and timeline for accomplishment?
  • what was the funding allocated for that purpose?
  • what is the current status of hiring to meet the goals on a year-to-year basis?
  • what is the explanation for any shortfall in hirings?
  • are other program initiatives, such as phasing out students, interfering with operational deployments?

Based on information available to CIU, we would also urge the Committee to examine staffing allocations within CBSA including where new Agency hires have been assigned on a yearly basis since 2001 when personnel was increased. It is our sense that, contrary to the intention of government, a disproportionate percentage of new personnel have been provided to non-operational responsibilities including within national headquarters.

We are also concerned that the new hires by CBSA are inadequate to both fill the expanded programs and replace the numbers leaving the agency. We are unclear, for example, as to why the Rigaud Training Facility has not been more significantly expanded to accommodate additional hires and, as an example, to expand the availability of firearms training facilities which would accelerate that program.

The 2008 AG Report (42,000 “missing” removals/deportees)
On May 6, 2008, the Auditor General (AG) released a series of reports, one of which (Chapter 7) dealt with a comparison in detention and removal actions from 2003 to 2007 undertaken with respect to inadmissible persons in Canada.

The Report offers some comparative performance analysis and suggests improvements. CBSA “agrees” with the observations and criticisms, which in no way means corrective action is underway or will be taken in the absence of Ministerial direction.

The CEUDA review of the AG’s ­Report focuses on the entry, tracking, and removal of inadmissible persons rather than the administrative arrangements for detaining such persons except where it relates to the decision to release, and generally lose track, of the person.

Seaport Security Issues
Two Bills, S-2 and C-26, currently before Parliament, directly impact CBSA enforcement activities at marine ports of entry.

The former deals with advanced passenger and cargo screening as well as expansion of powers in Customs Controlled areas, while the latter deals with clarifying authority for CBSA to check cargo containers on export for stolen automobiles. In both instances, the CIU wishes to emphasize that prior to enacting enforcement related matters permitted by regulation, it should be made clear that CBSA is expected to directly consult with onsite law enforcement and intelligence agencies so as to reach a consensus, if possible.

Further, these new powers, while welcome, must be supported by appropriate legislative authority that permits full ­information sharing with law enforcement, intelligence and private sector parties so as to give effect to the intended purposes of these enactments.

The experience of our membership in regard to the artificial constraints on information sharing created by CBSA management was specifically detailed in the 2006 Northgate Report. This resistance to enforcement action was repeated in the initiatives launched by the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the RCMP in the same year with respect to checking cargo containers to prevent the export of stolen automobiles from Canadian seaports. These new Bills are opportunities to increase POE security and enforcement, but they will be functionally neutered if the supporting measures are not in place. Success should not be measured in the simple passage of the Bills.

Corporate CanPass Air Program
CBSA runs various low risk traveler identification programs, collectively known as the CanPass program. The concept is based on the premise that certain travelers who are pre-screened by CBSA (or linked law enforcement agencies), and determined to be low risk, can be exempted from the ­normal reporting requirements under the Customs Act.

This results in either expedited border clearance or, in the case of air and marine travelers who report their pending arrival to a special Telephone Reporting Center, entry to Canada at unmanned designated locations. Officers can be deployed to such remote airports or marinas for inspection following arrival or the traveler is simply ‘trusted’ based on their pre-determined low risk status.

The cornerstone to this system is obviously having a public agency make the determination in advance of entry that ­the individual in question seeking the privilege is not a security/criminality risk to Canada.

Clearly, this program was never intended as a means for anyone willing to pay the fees to avoid the legitimate scrutiny mandated by the Customs Act and the ­public security of our country. Unfortunately, this appears to be exactly what has developed.

Several of our members assigned to the reporting centers (there are only four for the entire country: Victoria, Hamilton, Windsor and Landsdowne) have identified the Corporate CanPass Program operating so that a person, or company, that has received an authorization to enter via a corporate aircraft without reporting can, in effect, sponsor up to four persons per flight for entry without risk assessment pre-clearance or reporting. Literally, CBSA has downloaded the qualification of pre-entry security risk assessment to avoid inspection to a private individual or corporation.

It appears, however, that a highly restricted, reliable, low-risk determination program has evolved into an unreliable ­system where authorities are unable to properly protect officers or the Canadian public they serve.

The only rationale for the current ­unrestricted Corporate CANPASS system would seem to be to permit people that are willing to pay to avoid scrutiny on entering Canada.

Ron Moran is the National President of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU).

The full original text of the Secure Border Action Plan and the newest CIU Brief can be accessed on the CIU website www.ceuda.psac.com
© FrontLine Security 2009



Barrie Tames the Monster
Emergency Preparedness in Barrie
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

Catastrophe struck on 31 May 1985, in the form of a devastating blast from Mother Nature. A tornado ravaged the busy community of Barrie – providing what current Mayor Dave Aspden describes as his city’s wakeup call. The CBC later tallied the devastation to this city of 128,000: Eight lives lost, 155 injuries, 300 homes destroyed, and more than $100 million in damages.

When storm clouds gather, Mayor Dave Aspden checks the weather forecast for Barrie – concerned about another tornado. Since the Great Barrie Tornado of ‘85, Aspden and other civic officials here have worked to ensure that the Barrie community has a capable response system against natural disasters.

To understand Barrie’s commitment to a resilient community, go back to that time, 24 years ago.

Immediately following the storm, a public safety revolution took place. As reporter Doug James of the CBC described it, “local residents are transformed from terrified victims to a unified army bent on rescue, restoring order and providing comfort.” (CBC, June 3, 1985)

Dave Aspden is a former police officer. In fact, in 1985, he headed up police operations for Barrie, so he had a hands-on view of the situation. “The police department took the lead from the Fire Department at the time of the tornado, and that command structure allowed us to work closely together to respond to the effects of the storm.”

This was the mindset that constable Dave Aspden took away with him as he moved from the beat to City Council. Now, today, after two and a half years as Mayor, Dave looks back on the situation they faced in Barrie in 1985 and he shakes his head. “If we had then what we have today in terms of a working emergency planning and preparedness system, who knows how much loss we could have avoided!”

Immediately after the storm, Aspden gained a voracious appetite for learning how to prepare for emergencies. He heard about the Canadian Emergency Management College in Ottawa, and enrolled. The future Mayor of Barrie completed all levels of specialized training for emergencies and demonstrated leadership qualities that had him being invited back as a guest lecturer.

What makes the Barrie model of Emergency Planning and Preparedness work today is the like-mindedness of the civic leadership. The Mayor, Fire Chief and the Community Emergency Planner all speak of the same conviction. And that is a need for community involvement – that safety is the purview of the whole community, not just the first responders.

When Mayor Aspden talks about the difference between then and now, you can tell he’s on top of the situation. “The basic problem back then was that the Emergency Plan for the municipality was in place, but it was useless because it was incomplete and out of date. So we fixed that!” he pauses, “but as simple as it may seem, the ‘fix’ was tough.”

As seems to plague many a valiant municipal effort at protecting the community, the Barrie City Council of the day did not have a great tornado in mind when key requirements for the City were being drafted! Nor was there a budget line item to cover the cost of a disaster mitigation plan – let alone funds to equip 1st Responders. It looked is if the real needs of the responders for training and equipment to safely and effectively protect the lives and property of its citizens was not – and could not – have been realized. But Mayor Aspden’s perseverance would pay off – because it was built from a “needs” perspective.

Emergency Operations Centre
Current capabilities revolve around two key components. First, Barrie’s civic fathers have a coordinated and committed attitude that is consistent with safety and security. Second, and equally important, they are acquiring the assets needed to optimally protect the community from a natural or criminal disaster. It is becoming evident – as Barrie has discovered – that an emergency operations centre is required for coordinated responses to emergencies.

Since taking over the Mayor’s Office in November of 2006, the reality of a Barrie Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been put in place. In June of 2009, the city was able to announce a funding package that is devoted to developing a new Fire Hall and EOC. The total cost of new ­facility is $14.2 million; the Federal Government and Ontario split on $8.5 million and Barrie covered the remaining $5 plus million. Along with the bricks and mortar portion that the government stimulus funding ­covered, Barrie itself saw the priority of the EOC as a municipal investment. Enshrined in Barrie’s by-laws now is the EOC wherein “the Emergency Control Group, Advisory and Support Teams and other support agencies will work together at the Emergency Operations Centre to make decisions, share information and provide support as required to mitigate the effects of the emergency.”

Emergency Planning
Committed civic leaders like Mayor Dave Aspden, Fire Chief John Lynn, and Community Emergency Planner, Bruce Griffin all speak the same emergency preparedness language. They understand the importance of documenting emergency planning and response procedures as well as the value of training and communications – these are modern city managers with the grit and practical experience of weathered cops and fire fighters.

All Barrie civic personnel learn that emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility. Also, they are prompted to communicate to residents and businesses that they too have an important role to play in making Barrie resilient to emergencies. The City of Barrie Emergency Management Plan outlines the City’s comprehensive emergency management arrangements, which underpin Barrie Council’s determination to ensure the resilience of the community and to protect the lives, well-being and property of the people of Barrie. According to the Mayor, “It is important that we do not view implementation of this Emergency Plan as the end of our preparedness but continue to review and refine it in an effort to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors and keep the City of Barrie the best community in which to live, work and play.”

Flash flooding in downtown Barrie. (2005 Photos: Courtesy City of Barrie)

Curiously, the community leaders in Barrie all credit their colleagues – not themselves – for working together to make the community as resilient to disaster as possible. That’s the kind of teamwork across sectors, departments and public/private responsibilities that will sustain Barrie’s resiliency into the future. This is a model all Canadian communities need to adopt.

Barrie's Model Can Benefit Canada
Barrie’s developments to date in civic emergency preparedness are the result of local initiative and experience, and also of provincial mandate. Barrie has followed Ontario rules for establishing community emergency preparedness plans. Those provincial laws were initially developed by the Major Industrial Accidents Council of Canada (MIACC) which, at the time, was spearheading Canada’s role in establishing the Partnership Towards Safer Communities (PTSC). The PTSC was established in response to a known gap in the ability for communities across Canada to respond most effectively to a natural or industrial disaster in the community. When federal funding inaction led to MIACC being disbanded in 1999, the Intellectual Property of the PTSC was transferred to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC).

The Barrie by-laws that enshrine this model fully support the Ontario regulations which, in turn, come from the recommendations of the PTSC.

Barrie’s ability to develop what appears to be a robust and resilient community, with a well thought out and structured emergency preparedness system, is due to a number of factors. First, after the ‘85 tornado, Dave Aspden clearly understood the need for a community-wide response capability. Second, the Ontario Government seems to have adopted many of the recommendations of the Partnership Toward Safer Communities program regarding how to set up a municipal emergency plan (complete with integrated services from all sectors) – and made this mandatory for all Ontario communities. Third, the Federal Government has contributed with co-funding for the Barrie Emergency Ops Centre and has a well established program at the Emergency Management College that brings relevant training to first responders.

When issues are as critical as community safety and resiliency against disasters, it is important to keep the IP in the hands of organizations that understand the risk. Obviously, the federal decision-making that disbanded the PTSC is not an acceptable mindset for entrusting our very safety and security! What is chronically uncomfortable is wondering if similar short-sighted decisions are being made today. The problem is that funding decisions are being made by bureaucrats rather than people who really understand community safety.

Federal Action
The need for a Public Safety ­Policy must be recognized (and let’s get it right by tailoring it to the requirements of the first responder community). Another priority is a tax policy that will propel all parties to get serious about helping communities prepare for and mitigate future disasters.

It is time to resurrect the PTSC – in the hands of people who know what they are doing. Thankfully, the Association of Fire Chiefs has the foundational documentation and a catalytic interest in making sure it can rebound and flourishes.

The federal government can make a significant impact by supporting the Fire Chiefs in supporting this new, revitalized PTSC. Taking a page from Barrie’s emergency preparedness model and ensuring it gets replicated across the country would be an effective step in strengthening Canada’s overall emergency ­preparedness.

One can’t help but wonder why the Public Safety department doesn’t do something easy, clever, strategic, or even basic to help communities get to the state of preparedness that exists in Barrie. There are now enough precedents for the Feds to do something innovative, effective, and efficient to advance community resiliency to disasters. On the training side, it may be that the Public Safety College is a good basic introduction to the role that the Federal Government can play in providing citizens with resilient communities – so expand that program both in terms of reach and content!

Because we are talking about community resiliency, why not consider more stimulus money for community safety and security projects. It seems that a community EOC, for example, is as much of a contributor to infrastructure resiliency as any structural developments.

Experience confirms that throwing money at a problem seldom produces the desired result. Instead, let’s reconsider what was working and get back to it! The greatest opportunity for contribution to the other communities in Canada can come from the Federal Government. So, what can be done? First, it needs to support initiatives that are working. It’s too late to resuscitate the MIACC, but Public Safety can find a way of extending programs like the PTSC across the country. Generated from a model of collaboration and teamwork, it spreads the costs to all the stakeholders, so even if the Federal Government is called on to pick up most of the hard costs, many of the soft costs are borne by the participants. Sounds like a no-brainer!

Edward R. Myers is an Associate Editor of FrontLine-Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Camera Surveillance Impacting Crime?
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

Video surveillance cameras have been used widely for two or three decades and are now so prevalent that almost every Canadian living in an urban environment is captured on camera at some point in their day.

Video cameras have been widely used for two or three decades and are now so prevalent that almost every Canadian living in an urban environment is captured on camera at some point in their day.

Private closed-circuit, or CCTV, cameras in convenience stores, shopping malls and banks, along with cameras on buses, subways, taxis and in airports are numerous and proliferating. It has been estimated that on any given day, in the Calgary downtown core, a person will probably appear on surveillance devices 20 times in some fashion – out for lunch, in their own office setting or going to and fro on the C-Train.

“We already live in a surveillance society,” asserts Tom Keenan. Keenan, a professor at the University of Calgary and an expert on technology and its social implications, has engaged in an urban “spot the camera” game to illustrate his point. “We do a little exercise every year at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference where we walk from the conference venue until we can find 100 video cameras, and then we go for a beer,” he told the Calgary Herald. “In New York City, it took us 12 minutes.”

Studies confirm the exploding use world-wide, especially since the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States. Britain, for example, now has an estimated 4.2 million cameras, the most extensive network in the world. In Canada, one of the most significant developments has been the emergence of open-street cameras in many of the larger cities. The use of CCTV in open, public places such as streets and parks are most often police-sponsored camera systems established in conjunction with municipal governments.

The Beginnings in Canada
Public or open-street camera surveillance in Canada can be traced back to 1991, when Sherbrooke, Quebec, became one of the first Canadian cities to install a surveillance camera in a public space to curb delinquent or criminal behaviour. A single camera was introduced by local police to watch a ­specific area in the downtown bar district. Following this pioneering effort, the concept actually took several more years to become established. CCTV then gained popularity in the Canadian crime control culture circa the mid-1990s.

Today, criminologists and security experts credit the city of Sudbury for ­establishing the first successful open-street camera system – paving the way for the expansion of such technology as a crime-fighting tool in Canada. Former Sudbury chief of police, Alex McCauley, initiated the project in response to concerns from business owners and seniors regarding safety in the downtown area. Plans for a video monitoring system were initiated in 1994 after Chief McCauley became aware of the CityWatch program in Glasgow, Scotland – a surveillance system consisting of 32 ­cameras. McCauley visited Scotland in 1995 and formulated a proposal for CCTV in Sudbury. In December 1996, ­Sudbury became the first Ontario city to implement an open-street camera system. The project became known as Lion’s Eye in the Sky, as the Lion’s Club was a major funding partner.

Using the Lion’s Eye in the Sky as a prototype, numerous other municipal governments and police forces chose to either explore or adopt such crime fighting technology. According to the first independent study of video surveillance in Canada, at least 14 Canadian municipalities currently use surveillance cameras in public spaces and another 16 are considering them or have considered them. The report was published in 2008 by the Camera Surveillance Awareness Network (SCAN), which operates under the banner of the Surveillance Project at Queen’s University.

Security and Deterrence?
The Surveillance Project researches ways in which personal data are processed. It explores why information about people has become so important in the 21st century as well as the social, political and economic consequences of this trend. Questions of “privacy” and of “social sorting” are central to their concerns. Defining surveillance as “any systematic attention to a person’s life aimed at exerting influence over it,” the Surveillance Project studies everything from supermarket loyalty cards to police networks searching for suspects.

Security cameras are currently used for many varied applications, from office security and perimeter visuals, to traffic surveillance such as red light cameras, and a myriad of other law enforcement requirements.

Managed by a group of Queen’s University academics, the SCAN research is funded in part by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which has concerns that the use of surveillance cameras is growing without sufficient oversight or public debate. Nevertheless Queen’s sociologist, David Lyon, maintains that SCAN has no pre-determined agenda. “We’re not grinding axes,” he told the media, “we’re raising questions and trying to set out the way things are. We really do want to give the Canadian public a better sense of what’s going on.”

Perhaps the most vital question is: “Does camera surveillance deter crime, and if so, to what degree?” According to the SCAN research, the majority of public ­camera surveillance in Canada has been introduced since 2000. Many cities have installed camera systems following widely publicized violent incidents, with the expectation that they would play a role in preventing serious crime. For example, the 1999 murder of Michael Goldie-Ryder, in London, Ontario’s downtown core, culminated in the formation of Friends Against Senseless Endings (FACE). This citizens’ group against community violence was instrumental in raising over $200,000 for London’s surveillance camera initiative.

A similar high-profile crime also led to the establishment of Hamilton’s surveillance camera project. In January 2001, an 18-year-old figure skater named Alexandre Hamel was accosted in downtown Hamilton and robbed of $100. The episode spawned a series of local news stories regarding the risk of crime in the inner city. It wasn’t long before the Hamilton Police Service joined forces with the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area – launching an open-street camera system to monitor perceived trouble spots.

More recently, Toronto witnessed a push for public camera surveillance fuelled by the Boxing Day 2005 shooting of 15-year-old Jane Creba. A pilot project installed cameras in the same downtown area where the Creba shooting had occurred.

Historically, a major argument for camera surveillance has been its assumed deterrent effect. However, new studies – including the SCAN project – seem to indicate that open-street cameras may have little power to prevent crime or to act as a deterrent. “There may well be more evidence that cameras have little or no deterrent effect, since crime rates and other indicators used to measure deterrence fluctuate greatly after camera surveillance installation,” the SCAN report concludes. “At best, deterrence can be achieved only in select locations like parking garages.” The Canadian researchers also cite a University of Leicester study from 2005 that showed camera surveillance decreased vehicle theft from parking garages, but did little to deter criminal activities on city streets and open areas.

Calgary chose to introduce a one-year pilot project in early 2009. However, Calgary Police Service and city council remain realistic about what they hope the cameras will achieve. “The expected primary benefit of CCTV will be as an investigative tool, allowing police and bylaw officers to collect evidence for their investigations,” says Bill Bruce, Director of Bylaw Services for the City of Calgary. “CCTV is not a cure-all for stopping crime. As always, the public still has a vital role to play in ensuring their ­personal safety.”

Cameras started scanning Calgary streets on 12 March 2009, when the City of Calgary activated 16 closed-circuit television cameras to help police monitor crime at three trouble spots located in the downtown core. The three camera deployment areas are in the inner city community known as the East Village as well as along the Stephen Avenue Mall. According to Bruce, the camera locations were chosen through the review of multi-agency incident data, expert opinion and officer experience. During the pilot project, the camera locations may change based on new crime trends or operational factors. The system is wireless, which allows for easy and inexpensive relocation.

What about Privacy?
Predictably, some citizens remain wary of these initiatives – they cite the potential for intrusion into people’s private lives. A crucial issue being explored by the Camera Surveillance Awareness Network is the potential for open-street camera systems to threaten privacy and civil liberties. “Some cameras are already powerful enough to read cell phone text messages from 250 metres away,” the SCAN report notes. “Newer cameras – especially those used in airports and by police in investigations – are equipped with infrared and other sensor technologies that can literally ‘see’ through walls, clothes and flesh.”

Nevertheless, those involved in law enforcement, as well as the majority of ordinary Canadians, emphasize the positive potential for better quality images to fight crime. According to Bill Bruce, the outdoor cameras that are being tried in Calgary are more powerful and technologically advanced than most private security systems set up in stores or banks. The cameras, supplied by Bosch Security Systems, are designed to produce extremely high-resolution images for identification and investigative purposes. Their ability to capture facial features or to record fine details in low light conditions is far superior.

Authorities with the City of Calgary were careful to make privacy concerns a major consideration when designing and implementing the downtown CCTV pilot project. Since council approved the undertaking in 2008, the city administration has been working with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta to ensure the project is in compliance with privacy legislation and safeguards. Signage has been posted at the camera locations since January 2009 to alert the public about the cameras. In addition to signage, the privacy of individuals in windows of buildings is being protected through image masking technology.

Bruce explains that the cameras in the Calgary pilot project are being randomly monitored by the city’s Corporate Security staff on a 24/7 basis. The monitoring is done in a secure facility not accessible to the public and recordings from the cameras are retained for 14 days. During the two-week retention period, by law officers and police are able to access the footage to help combat drug use, graffiti, assaults and other crime. The digital images are also accessible to police on their laptop computers.

Canada maintains strict protocols for how video data may be accessed and retained for investigations. Complaints about unwarranted viewing of camera footage or illegitimate access to personal information are rare. The most vocal complaints often come from those involved with criminal subcultures or those with ties to radical fringe groups such as the Anarchist Black Cross League. On the other hand, there is a legitimate argument that certain individuals in our society lacking wealth or power might be more at risk of having their privacy rights violated. Some research has suggested that public housing zones in poorer neighborhoods are increasingly being targeted by camera surveillance. Furthermore, the cameras have on occasion been used for inappropriate personal voyeuristic purposes independent of the camera system’s security aims.

When Calgary’s 14-member council, approved the city’s camera project, the decision wasn’t unanimous. At the time, one alderman, Brian Pincott opposed the initiative. He still isn’t convinced video cameras act as a deterrent or are beneficial in fighting crime, and is eagerly awaiting the ­program’s initial findings, which will be reported to city council in early 2010. “If you take a look at municipalities that have had cameras in place for 20 or 30 years – like London for example – they still haven’t figured out if they are successful or not,” Pincott told the Calgary Herald. He also believes more thought should have been placed on issues of privacy and civil liberties. “It’s a slippery slope and I think we need to be clear what we are doing when we go down that path,” he argues.

The debate lingers as the technology and its use advance. In October 2008, the province of British Columbia announced $1 million in funding targeted for cameras in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver suburb of Surrey and the city of Kelowna. In January 2009, the city of Winnipeg began a one-year pilot project, introducing 10 cameras in 6 downtown locations. Meanwhile, Calgary city council is scheduled to evaluate the successfulness of its $500,000 pilot ­project in January or February of 2010. Like many Canadian police forces, Calgary’s is eager to adopt new technologies that prove useful in addressing crime or promoting public safety. For years, police have used tape from security cameras in businesses to identify culprits after a crime and as ­evidence in criminal proceedings. If used properly, many in law enforcement hope that public or open-street camera surveillance will be an extension of this.

Jacqueline Chartier is a freelance writer based in Calgary.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Interest Soars in Airport Watch Program
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Aircraft enthusiasts watch from behind the runway fenceline as Emirates airline flight EK207 touches down on runway 24L at Toronto-Pearson airport, ending its 15-hour nonstop run from Dubai. For these enthusiasts, however, watching aircraft is more than just a hobby. These uniformed volunteers are also contributing to the safety and security of a major Canadian airport.

Volunteers of the Toronto Airport Watch chapter are briefed by National Coordinator, Jacques Brunelle at the National Aerospace Museum at Downsview Airport.

With roots at the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa, Canada, the Airport Watch (AW) program has evolved into a major crime prevention program with more than 400 community volunteers donating 15,000 hours a year at seven airports across North America.

In this era when airports are viable targets for terrorist groups and other criminal elements, the volunteer-based AW groups have assisted their respective airports by reporting suspicious activities and potential aircraft safety hazards to the airport authorities. The concept is similar to a neighbourhood watch initiative, in which volunteers are the essence of the program.

The AW national co-ordinator provides guidance and information to local startups, which are initiated by volunteers, the ­airports or airport police. Each chapter is independent and operated by the volunteers in close co-operation with the airport authority. Uniformed airport security ­officers, airport police, or in some cases plainclothes RCMP national security teams liaise with AW volunteers at each airport.

The program is flexible to accommodate the unique situation of each airport. In Montreal, for instance, the airport authority set up the program and airport police provided background checks on all the volunteers. AW volunteers are professional and highly motivated by their passion for aviation. They have passed police background checks, and their observations – often described as “community intelligence” – can be very effective. The Montreal airport authority, Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), was quick to capitalize on valuable information supplied its AW volunteers by starting the first airport suspicious incident reporting system. The system allows AW volunteers to submit information to a secure website for assessment by ADM security.

Every AW volunteer is briefed by local police or expert guest speakers on the general threats that any major airport faces, including illicit access through perimeter fencing, vandalism, theft, and possible information-gathering activities by criminal organizations. Even surface-to-air-missile awareness is provided. Volunteers are briefed about potential hazards to themselves through their own volunteer health and safety representatives.

Ottawa chapter volunteers enjoy a hanger tour of the National Research Centre's Uplands flight test facility.

AW members normally report any suspicions to the airport operations centre by mobile phone or by a secure link on the airport’s website. As they drive to and from the airport, they also watch for suspicious vehicles parked within 15 kilometres of the runway approaches, as well as non-routine events occurring outside the airport’s perimeter. Because of this program, more and more airport authorities are aware of what goes on outside their perimeter fencing.

The AW program has many reported successes to date, including the discovery of cut perimeter fencing, unlocked gates, and wild animals or birds on or near aircraft operating areas; the observation of possibly faulty equipment on aircraft; and the provision of leads for police or national security investigations. AW volunteers do not take any direct action with regards to their observations. They report events as concerned citizens and have no additional authority. Their motto is “observe, record and report.”

Forward-thinking airport authorities appreciate the benefits that AW groups ­provide – both for airport officials and local communities. Many airports have put the program into operation with little expense, and a new launch creates a flurry of media interest, with the focus on positive community participation and innovative airport security. The latest airports to become partners in the AW concept are Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau; Montreal Mirabel; and Minneapolis St. Paul international airports. Across North America, AW volunteers have become an important part of airport security networks. Airport authorities work with the volunteers to devise appropriate reporting processes, and airport police often stop and chat with volunteers during patrols. Internationally, in Sydney, the Australian Federal Police in co-operation with the local airport authority, are providing for all the set up with plans to operate the program at the 11 largest international airports. In addition, the International Assocation of Airport Seaport Police (IAASP) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are making this program a U.S. Best Practice and expand it to dozens of major American airports with an eye on some seaports where ship enthusiasts are known to frequent. Clearly, this program has many potentials which surround the close cooperation of community members near these transit points making partnerships in security a sought after, effective commodity.

On a visit to the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Ottawa Airport Watch volunteers observe the arrival of an Airbus A380, and chat with the local media about their role as observers. (Photo: Patrick Cardinal)

The AW program is supported by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and has been formally recognized with awards from the RCMP in 2000, the Minister of Transport in 2002, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) in 2003.

Corporal Jacques Brunelle is the National Coordinator of the Airport Watch program. He can be reached by email at jbrunelle@frontline-global.com
© FrontLine Security 2009



RCMP/USCG: Shiprider Program
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

Since before Confederation, the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and other waterways through which the Canada-U.S. border runs have been maritime freeways used by smugglers. Booze, weapons, cigarettes, drugs and other cargoes such as illegal aliens have been transported between Canada and the United States for decades.  

RCMP Photo

Because of the smuggling trade, governments have lost billions of dollars in tax revenues, including an estimated $300 million annually in Quebec alone – where as many as four cartons of cigarettes out of ten sold are illicit.

Quebec’s Public Security Minister, Jacques Dupuis, said in April that Quebec police know that organized crime has taken control of tobacco smuggling in the province and uses boats to transport product between Canada and the USA.

On the west coast, “BC bud” is a $7 billion per year industry, and marine vessels are one of the forms of transportation used to move shipments of the popular marijuana across the Straight of Juan de Fuca into Washington.

Back east, shipments of illegal immigrants from Ontario into the U.S. have occurred across the Niagara and St. Clair Rivers, and from Quebec into Vermont and New York via Lake Champlain.

Since 9/11, the possibility of terrorists entering the U.S. by marine craft from Canada has been a significant concern of American authorities. Monitoring boats as they traverse the 3,600-kilometre-long ­maritime boundary (equal to one-seventh of the Earth’s circumference at the Equator) has been a major challenge for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and United States Coast Guard (USCG).

Evolution of Shiprider
In 2003, RCMP Chief Superintendent (now Assistant Commissioner) Mike McDonell and Brad Kieserman, Chief, Operations Law Group at USCG Headquarters in Washington, DC, decided to expand Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs) to include joint marine operations.

There are 15 IBETs coast to coast, involving five agencies: RCMP, U.S. Coast Guard, Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Office of Border Patrol, and U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (US-ICE). IBETs have law enforcement responsibilities for areas at or near the shared border, and are charged with protecting Canada and the United States from potential threats of terrorism and impeding human and contraband trafficking.

In 2005, between 12-23 September, the RCMP and USCG conducted a proof-of-concept in the Windsor-Detroit area. It was deemed successful, although more training and a longer trial period were considered necessary. Consequently, from 31 January to 6 February 2006, an Integrated Marine Security Operation in support of SuperBowl XL in Detroit was carried out. The RCMP detachment at Windsor, Ontario provided 12 Mounties and 16 USCG officers came from the agency’s Ninth District, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. The Shiprider program was born.

Shiprider is an initiative of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which directed Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officials in June 2007 “to assess the threat and risk of criminal and terrorist activities on the St. Lawrence Seaway-Great Lakes systems and develop coordinated maritime law ­enforcement programs with a specific interest in interdicting smugglers/traffickers and ensuring border security.”

In July 2007, 25 officers from each ­country participated in two weeks of joint training at the USCG Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, South Carolina. A special curriculum developed by the RCMP, USCG and US-ICE was used and officers attended lectures and participated in practical exercises. Interacting with each other in a professional capacity allowed Canadian and American officers to compare their respective authorities, tactics, techniques and procedures and develop trust in preparation for combined operations on the water.

Upon completion of their training, RCMP members were cross-designated as U.S. customs officers and USCG officers as RCMP supernumerary constables. The officers then reported to one of two IBET locations: Blaine, Washington-Vancouver, British Columbia or Cornwall, Ontario-Massena, New York. After arriving in their operating areas and conducting area familiarization on the water, they started daily patrols on RCMP and USCG vessels.

In early August 2007, a Shiprider pilot project began from the east and west IBET bases. Over the next 52 days, teams of RCMP and USCG officers boarded 187 ­vessels and seized 214 pounds of marijuana with a street value of approximately $330,000. More than one million contraband cigarettes, six vessels and $38,000 earmarked for smuggling activities were also confiscated. Shiprider teams made six arrests and contributed to 41 arrests during 39 separate incidents.

In addition to smuggling interdiction and arrests during the summer of 2007, Shiprider teams provided maritime security for the meeting of the national leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico at Montebello, Quebec, performed search-and-rescue missions, and collected intelligence for shore-based investigators on both sides of the border.

26 May 2009 - Signing of the Shiprider agreement in Detroit by Canadian Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

In March 2008, then federal Minister of Public Safety, Stockwell Day, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Rob Nicholson, spoke at the Canada-U.S. Cross-Border Crime Forum in Quebec City about the importance of ­continued cooperation with American law enforcement agencies. The proof-of-concept and pilot project were praised as successful initiatives involving both countries.

“The Shiprider pilot projects are an excellent example of our joint efforts to tackle cross-border crime,” said Minister Day. “In keeping with this theme, it gives me great pleasure to announce today that our countries will begin negotiating a framework to govern the conduct of joint cross-border maritime law enforcement operations in shared waterways along the Canada-USA border.”

“The Government of Canada has made the security of our people, and the safety of our streets and communities, a priority,” added Minister Nicholson. “Together, Canadian and U.S. efforts are helping to ensure that our shared border and waterways are closed to criminal organizations and their activities, but open for legitimate travel and trade.”

Not Entirely Smooth Sailing
After the Integrated Marine Security Operation got underway in early 2006, some of the Mounties involved in the patrols were not adequately prepared for winter marine operations and only two of them were qualified boat operators. There were equipment failures and the RCMP had no marine mechanics on-site. Notwithstanding the ­setbacks, four vessels conducted 45 patrols and officers boarded 173 pleasure craft.

In March 2008, the Council of Canadians expressed concern about the lack of public hearings and parliamentary debate on the Shiprider program.

The Ottawa-based organization insisted that the federal government explain why Canada’s previous security arrangement with the U.S. Coast Guard was inadequate and justify “this radical and unprecedented arrangement.”

Three months later, Chief Cheryl Jacobs, the District Chief on the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, complained to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that the RCMP was not consulting with the Council about Shiprider operations. The Akwesasne Reserve includes land and waterways in Ontario, Quebec and New York, and the Mohawk Council regards policing activities within the Reserve’s boundaries as part of their ­jurisdiction.

While Mohawk Police Service (MPS) members have worked with the Cornwall IBET since 2000 to combat smuggling in the area, at present there are no plans to involve MPS members in the Shiprider ­program. Chief Jacobs told the Standing Committee, “again, we are part of the solution [law enforcement on land and the waterways]. Along with everybody ­sitting here at this table, we are part of that solution.”

Shiprider Framework Agreement
On 27 May 2009, Canadian Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signed a major Shiprider agreement, formally known as the “Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada,” in Detroit, Michigan.

The agreement aims “to provide the Parties additional means in shared waterways to prevent, detect, suppress, investigate, and prosecute criminal offences or violations of law including, but not limited to, illicit drug trade, migrant smuggling, trafficking of firearms, the smuggling of counterfeit goods and money, and terrorism.”

Shiprider operations in Canadian waters, where the laws of Canada apply, are supervised by the on-board RCMP ­officer. In American waters, the USCG officer provides direct supervision to enforce U.S. laws. Through this arrangement, the international maritime boundary as a barrier to policing has been removed and a force multiplier has been created, according to the RCMP and USCG. Shiprider teams are reportedly able to patrol the boundary waters of the two countries, using fewer vessels than if they operated separately.

Following the signing of the Framework Agreement, the USCG 9th District Commander expressed these thoughts on his USCG blog: “We have great respect for the work and professionalism of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and this agreement establishes the authority for the USCG to work together with them to enhance our ability to protect the Great Lakes.”

The Seattle, Washington-based USCG 13th District is involved with the Shiprider program on the west coast.

A Shiprider boat partols off the coast of British Columbia, near U.S. waters.

Technological Assets
Shiprider vessels are equipped with a variety of surveillance, navigation and communication equipment. GPS provides officers with precise location data and aids in navigation on the water. Marine radar allows boat captains to avoid collisions with other vessels, islands and other objects in limited visibility. Radio communication gear is ­standard on RCMP and USCG vessels.

The RCMP would not confirm for this article if any of its aviation assets such as helicopters equipped with FLIR (thermal imaging) have been used in support of Shiprider operations, but the possibility certainly exists. “Aviation assets are another tool in the law enforcement response to trans-national crime,” acknowledged the RCMP media relations member in Ottawa. FLIR equipment allows sources of heat such as people or running boat engines to be tracked in low visibility conditions such as a fog-covered waterway. Night vision ­goggles have also been used by the RCMP and USCG and may be part of the equipment on Shiprider vessels.

Shiprider is another example of the enhanced integration of Canadian and American law enforcement and counterterrorism measures since 9/11. One wonders if this concept could also be applied to simplify procedures at land ports of entry. Some Canadians disagree with this path, but the fact remains that if we want to do business with the United States, cross-border ­security concerns must be cooperatively addressed. A big step in the right direction, Shiprider is here to stay.  

Blair Watson’s professional writing includes aviation and airport security, firefighting and navy manuals.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Saving Ourselves
Partnerships for Safer Communities
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

Internationally, Canadians considered progressive, compassionate, smart, careful, etc. – all positive accolades for sure. But we’re also thought to be a bit naive which isn’t so good when it comes to getting prepared for natural disasters and catastrophic events. Global events over the years have taught us that large scale industrial accidents and super storms can hit without much if any warning.

One such event was the Bhopal, India chemical accident of 1984. More than 4,200 people were killed when, by accident, a chemical factory released large volumes of toxic gas into Bhopal’s pipelines. People either suffocated or were trampled to death.

Back then, Environment Canada stepped in and took leadership of Canada’s role in preventing further, similar events from happening again. In 1984 there was no federal department of Public Safety to take a natural leadership role. What happened then was a very positive initiative that may provide a vision of the future of public safety and security.

The future safety and security of Canadian communities is not the job of government alone. Really safe and secure communities cannot be imposed. Instead, Canadians will only be able to be confident that their communities are protected as best as possible from the potential ravages caused by natural disasters if there is a ­collaboration of interests from public and private institutions and people. This was the model that was embraced by the originally inspired Major Industrial Accidents Council of Canada (MIACC).

According to the leading newsletter of the day, “… the MIACC’s stakeholder, non-governmental approach succeeded in driving home the message to both ­communities and the various industrial groups about the importance of prevention, preparedness, and emergency response. As a result, Canada is seeing a reduction in the number and the impact of industrial accidents. However, just like regulated nations, this is just the beginning, and many experts acknowledge that there is still a long way to go.” (AcuSafe News™, 1999)

At the end of the last decade, the MIACC spearheaded Canada’s role in establishing the Partnership Towards Safer Communities (PTSC). The PTSC was established in response to a known gap in the ability for communities across Canada to respond effectively to a natural or industrial disaster in the community. When the MIACC was disbanded in 1999 due to the funding inaction by the Federal Government, the Intellectual Property of the PTSC was transferred to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC).

Recently, the CAFC expressed an interest in reviving the PTSC. The new partnership, like the old one, is based on a model where all participants – governments at all levels, industry, and local officials such as First Responders – engage in making the community a safe place for Canadians. The original mission statement has survived: “To address increasing public safety risks by developing improved community emergency management programs based on international best practices and the four components of emergency management: mitigation/prevention; preparedness; response; and, recovery.”

By the time the initial report of the PTSC Working Group in 2001, all provincial Emergency Management Organizations (EMO), all federal government departments involved in safety or security, and many associations and other national bodies had indicated a willingness to work with the PTSC in a cooperative way and implement a cross-Canada program that would result in safer and more secure communities. As the PTSC report said in 2001, and it still holds true today, the PTSC “is the only national forum that facilitates cooperation between major private and public sector stakeholders to improve community emergency management in Canada.

Now is the time to revive the PTSC. The Federal Government has a mandate and capability now to support the emergency management capacity at the community level. Most of this capability now resides, since 9/11, in the Centre for Security Science and its 3 program areas: the  CBRN, Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI);  Public Security Technical Program (PSTP); and the Canadian Police Research Centre (CPRC). A recent canvassing of many of the organizations that originally signed up for the PTSC program indicates they still support its full development and implementation.

Under the terms of the new charter, the PTSC will present a proposal for government funding to get the Program re-started. Once funded, however, the long term viability of the concept is dependent on the support of all partners and the ability of the partnerships to supply high quality safety products and services to the community. To put this initiative back in the hands of government control would likely doom it to failure in the long term. What will be required now is an analysis to determine exactly the business relationships that need to be set up to drive the future viability of the channel of service an products to the responders..

Finally Forward?
Twenty five years ago, the Canadian Government determined the need to set up something like the MIACC to deal with natural and industrial disasters. Ten years ago, the CAFC saw that the PTSC had something going for it that was unique, national in scope, and sustainable in scope and time, and workable as a safety system. Now, it’s time to put some meat on the bones and make a good idea work.

The wisdom of the CAFC in keeping the PTSC alive all these years should be used as the basis for developing it into an all hazards, totally interoperable system of community safety based on input and participation of all components of public and private organizations. The original partnership structure should work for the future of the PTSC. All originally identified partners plus others that were not active 10 years ago should be approached immediately. There are many important aspects of the project that dictate that a sequence of steps or project phases be set out and followed in order to be ultimately successful.

The exact nature of these “To-Dos” need to be decided by the stakeholders. The CAFC leadership is strong and capable of executing the plan from a management point of view. Now is the time to put it all together because we don’t know when next we will really need it!

Edward R. Myers is an Associate Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2009



MDA: Why is it Important?
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

In a way, the “Brampton 18” is also an indicator of the change we have seen since 9/11. In one corner, we have seen civil liberties be reaffirmed with the demise of the vague and damaging security certificate; in the other corner we see the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Anti-Terrorism Act in triumph with the pleas of guilty to terrorism charges that three of the 18 have made.

The Canadian government has recognized the vulnerable position the western world finds itself in, and legislation, policy, and funding have progressed to close gaps and reduce vulnerabilities revealed since 9/11.

Unfortunately, the threat has not disappeared. The fact that the “Brampton 18” existed at all is cause for reflection. Thankfully, our law enforcement teams prevented these plans from being realized. We see, in the most recent of Dr. Martin Rudner’s papers, “Protecting Canada’s Critical National Infrastructure from Terrorism,” that in February 2007, the Al-Qaeda publication Voice of Jihad not only proclaimed that Osama bin Laden’s directives “are clear and explicit to target the oil interest,” but that Al-Qaeda assessed Canada as a leading source of ­supply to the American dependency. Al-Qaeda’s targeted oil interests include oil fields, pipelines, oil loading platforms in maritime ports, and the ships carrying petroleum.

The Voice of Jihad’s Al­-Qaeda manifesto is quoted again in 2008 stating “strike at petroleum interests in all areas which supply the United States… like Canada.”

Although Canada had previously been identified by Al-Qaeda on its list of targeted countries – this is the first time that Canadian oil and natural gas facilities were explicitly referred to and targeted for attack.

While being primarily land-based, oil and natural gas facilities, pipelines, infrastructure, and vessels are also major parts of Canada’s maritime domain. Therefore, one must conclude, for this and other reasons, that the national security effort must continuously strive to improve its capability in maritime security and respond to evolving marine ­security threats.

In another benchmark event half-way around the world, Ms. Caroline Alexander of Bloomberg Inc. writes, in March 2009, that 10 heavily armed terrorists from the group Deccan Mujahideen (affiliated to Al-Qaeda) slipped, completely undetected, into central Mumbai harbour in a fishing boat, and wreaked havoc on the alerted but unsuspecting financial hub port city.

Two defining facts stand out on the security front: 1) the change from suicide bombing to a commando-style attack; and 2) the approach, and apparent exit, via the water – this was a maritime security event.

Moreover, it appears that the Indian authorities were alerted by the U.S. about possible maritime attacks prior to the event. However, after a week of high-alert, security forces were relaxed – a big mistake, as that is when the terrorists struck.

Multi-jurisdictional confusion was apparent when the act was finally perpetrated. Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) was incomplete both in surveillance and in maintaining the urgency of actionable intelligence.

Before 11 September, it seemed a simple matter to separate military from civilian security concerns. It will never be so again.

Considering some key events – both natural and man-made – of the first nine years of this century (Rita, Katrina, Madrid, 9/11, London, Bali, Tsunami, SARS, H1N1), it must be noted that a consequence of all-hazard experiences has been the need to cooperate more effectively among various branches of government as they react to ‘threats without a flag.’

Included in this trend toward greater cooperation, is the notion that maritime surveillance, intelligence, and their new technologies must dovetail into a system of intergovernmental collaboration so that information on maritime threats can be ­useful for national aims. This notion lies at the heart of any discussion concerning ­governance, law, and policy in this sphere.

Policy, Framework or Plan?
The National Security Policy, introduced in April 2004 as a framework for a national security strategy – not a national security strategy in itself – highlights a six-point marine security plan. Of note, this plan gives broad strategic strokes of responsibility to government partners: Transport Canada; Public Safety Canada; and National Defence. The main problem with this document is that it was published by the Privy Council Office (PCO) as a national policy and, though endorsed by Cabinet, it was not legislated and therefore remains only useful as a guideline – not as a directive to force compliance or justify resource planning and future funding considerations.

In a cabinet document of 2002, drafted by the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG), the Canadian Marine Security Plan was written based on a concept of four concentric circles that expand outwards from Canada.

Each circle has specific security activities associated with it – responsiveness, safeguarding, collaboration, and domain awareness. In this matrix of the concentric circles with four security activities, one sees that security requirements are increasingly information-based the farther one is from Canada, while closer to Canada the requirements are more physical and reactionary.

The overarching goal of the plan is to use information as efficiently as possible in order to be able to react to a threat before it arrives in Canadian territorial waters.

We want to prevent these events. The strategic focus was purposely aimed at the two coasts first, then expanded to the great lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and finally is honing in on the Arctic.

Transport Canada and the interdepartmental security community undertook to further enhance marine security through identifying security priorities and outlining an action plan for the following 5 to 7 years. This strategic document establishes the ­formal recognition of the requirement for a national maritime domain awareness strategy, and includes references to R&D projects to assist in the selection of realistic, informed technological options to enhance MDA. It also includes short-term options for enhancing surveillance in the arctic, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and on the two coasts.

MDA & Common Operating Picture (COP) Defined
Maritime Domain Awareness has been described as the effective understanding of everything on, under, related to, adjacent to, or bordering a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime-related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, ­vessels, or other conveyances.

The world’s oceans have historically provided protein and transportation, and served as a source of security and vulnerability. Maritime activities have steadily moved from land out to the littoral seas – a fact exemplified by the advent of oil platform clusters on continental shelves around the world. In more recent times, we have developed a growing appreciation of the significant role the oceans play in sustaining our ecological system. Given the increasing importance of these activities, it is not surprising that there has been a steady effort to extend the jurisdiction of bordering states and to establish international regimes.

National interests include safety, security and stewardship. Relating regimes and interests across cultural and political boundaries is difficult.

Characterized by intersecting mandates and actors, the Maritime Domain is inherently complex. Jurisdictional regimes, established via international and national declaratory law, exist – and overlap. The “open oceans” lying beyond exclusive zones have been likened to failed states lacking governance authority and capacity.

These vast swaths of ocean are seen to require a “whole of government” approach to ensure order on the seaward frontiers of the world.

The stakeholders of MDA include civil society, all three levels of government, and of course, private industry. Domain Awareness is used to support diverse and dispersed options-analysis and operational decisions. Many are based on a range of factors that outstrip formulaic rules. Internal organizational demands and relationships of authority also influence and shape decisions. The dynamics of the environment and the lack of behavioural predictability require that practitioners of MDA utilize a combination of continuous and pervasive attention as well as agility.

MDA is sub-set of shared situational awareness (SA) which promotes identification of common interests and facilitates vision cohesion, policy alignment and implementation coordination. As Endsley and Garland point out in their book, Situational Awareness Analysis and Measurement, SA is a continuous process and, primarily, a cognitive activity which encompasses:

  • Perception: developing a fundamental understanding of what is going on;
  • Comprehension: integrating and determining its relevance to personal or ­organizational goals; and
  • Projection: anticipating future events.

While SA is a cognitive activity, the sharing of information and collaboration are business processes. Related activities include data collection, collation, interpretation and distribution. Subject matter experts evaluate and integrate information inputs progressively building and drawing from a recognized “common operating ­picture” or COP.

The COP provides a departure point for SA and MDA. An appreciation of what is transpiring in the maritime environment itself is a necessary but not sufficient ­condition for enabling decision advantage/ superiority. Both Policy and Operational communities rely on information that is relevant, accurate and timely; the requirement for sharing and collaboration appears self evident, but is often complex.

Typically, policy issues are messy problems, usually nested; shared awareness is required to ensure that the import of cascading effects (i.e. second and third implications) is fully understood. Operationally, connectivity “empowers”  – but also comes at a cost. Increased interdependency has both broadened our perception of security and increased the speed at which emergencies can escalate in scope and severity. A common operating picture – graphic or virtual – is key to coordinating the planning and response to incidents. It is important to distinguish between the intelligence and information communities as these two distinct groups tend to proceed at different operational tempos.

This century has seen many improvements in the area of Maritime Domain Awareness. Canada has worked hard at the regional levels on the four activities of maritime security, and we have made good progress in legislation and policy towards national security goals at the federal level.

It may not be possible to go much further without a Canadian National Security Strategy to guide follow-on strategies in transportation and maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

The research and analysis that is focused in these areas will no doubt increase the capability of Canada to achieve the long sought after “effective understanding” of all things maritime.  

Doug Hales, a former naval officer and DRDC analyst, is currently a Senior Consultant with CAE Professional Services. He can be reached at doug.hales@cae.com

Peter Avis, recently retiring as a Naval Captain after a 33-year career in the Canadian Forces, is now a Senior Consultant at Lansdowne Technologies Inc. in Ottawa. He is the author of the book “Comparing National Security Approaches to Maritime Security in the Post-9/11 Era.” (avispca@hotmail.com)

Editor’s Note: Our next issue will explore important areas of legislation and policy that will be needed in a new era of Maritime Domain Awareness for Canada.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Red Cross: St. John River Flooding
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

After a record snowfall during the 2007-2008 winter in New Brunswick and in the neighbouring province of Quebec and the state of Maine, the St. John River swelled to levels not seen in decades. Flooding forced the closure of major roads, uprooted trees and resulted in the evacuation of many residents living along the St. John River.

Photo: Communications New Brunswick

The Disaster Management team of the Canadian Red Cross immediately swung into action to provide assistance, taking registration information by phone and in person to help emergency authorities keep track of evacuees; helping to equip and manage shelters and comfort centres; and arranging food, transportation and other essentials. More than 2,000 residents affected by the flooding registered with the Canadian Red Cross in late April and early May.

The Red Cross was heavily involved in planning with all levels of government well in advance of the flooding that began in late April 2008. In the days leading up to the worst of the flood and throughout the operation, the Red Cross maintained contact with key stakeholders from communities in every county along the St. John River system from top to bottom. From the moment the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre in Fredericton was activated, the Red Cross maintained a presence and contact with officials as all agencies prepared for rising water to break the previous record of 1973. Thankfully this record was not broken.

Photo: Carol Wakeham

The Red Cross activated three EOCs to help support and coordinate activities; one in Madawaska County, Fredericton and Saint John as these were the hardest hit areas of the province. From the Saint John operations centre, a central registration and inquiry bureau was developed to coordinate and streamline our response.

Red Cross shelters were established in communities spanning the more than 500 kilometres from Edmundston to Saint John, and close to 300 people were assisted with temporary accommodations, many of them elderly. Volunteers operated a registration desk at Burton Bridge Command Post, assisting by issuing car passes and comfort kits. Volunteers at the UNB reception centre/shelter offered snacks and information to evacuees. People with disabilities were accommodated at hotels and supported with a Friendly Visit by volunteers. UNB Student Union Building set up as Mass Reception Centre/Shelter set up (cots, blankets) in preparation for the threat of further evacuees. Maritime Rangers Institute opened as reception centre/shelter set up and opened.

By the end of the crisis, 331 Red Cross ­personnel, including 282 volunteers and 49 staff came from across New Brunswick, throughout Atlantic Canada, and as far west as Calgary assisting New Brunswickers over the course of nearly a month and a half. “During that time, we registered 2,214 people, provided direct lodging for 485 people, distributed more than 800 cleanup kits and thousands of other items – everything from bottled water to information packages,” said Bill Lawlor, Red Cross Director of Disaster Management and International Programs for Atlantic Canada.

Among those deployed to assist were employees of RBC Financial in Fredericton. Under a program called Ready When the Time Comes, the Canadian Red Cross has trained RBC staff members in several cities throughout Atlantic Canada to augment its disaster response capabilities when needed. These employees are trained and ready to respond in large scale disasters where personnel requirements are often at the highest levels at the beginning of the operation.

Photo: James Whitehead

According to Don Shropshire, National Director, Disaster Manage­ment, “mobilizing these ‘reservists’ through its corporate partners provides the Red Cross with an essential force multiplier in times of crisis.”

Corporations and individuals from New Brunswick and across Canada donated more than $300,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to assist its flood relief efforts. As such, the Red Cross distributed cleaning and disinfecting materials to home owners; assisted many financially to offset extraordinary fuel, food and telephone costs; and established eight recovery centres from which its teams assisted with the delivery of water testing kits, clean-up kits and application packages and guides on the disaster financial assistance program established by the province of New Brunswick.

© FrontLine Security 2009



Hope for Aboriginal Youth
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

Programs created by the federal, provincial and municipal governments have proven inadequate and a sense of hopelessness reigns both in Ottawa and on every reserve across the country.

Hobbema Cadets visit RCMP Training Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The numbers on criminal activity highlight the problem. A 2006 study from Statistics Canada on victimization and offending among the Canadian Aboriginal population describes “being young” as one the factors contributing to criminality.

Statistics Canada’s own 2004 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey found that 14% of Canada’s population is aged 15 to 24, but that the same age group accounts for 43% of alleged property crimes (theft, arson, vandalism) and 32% of alleged violent crimes.

Male Aboriginals of all ages are nine times more likely to be accused of homicide than non-Aboriginals. In 88% of the cases, the accused was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the homicide, according to the 2006 study.

On-reserve crime, whether committed by adults or youth, is three times higher than elsewhere in the country, and young offenders living on reserve are 11 times more likely to be accused of homicide than those off-reserve, all ethnicities mixed.

Aware of the trends, and faced with poor relations with Aboriginal communities, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) joined forces and created the Integrated Support Services Unit in 2003.

Forget about car patrols or sitting in offices to plan new strategies to chase crooks and hooligans. The 12-officer unit (six from the RCMP and six from the OPP) works with Ontario’s 134 Native communities in organizing events and programs to promote role models and educate Aboriginal youth about making enlightened lifestyle choices.

There had always been OPP and RCMP liaison officers working with First Nations, but they were only doing so on a part-time basis. The Integrated Support Services Unit has a full-time commitment to Ontario’s First Nations.

“We’re here whenever they need us to be here,” says Cpl Paula Rogers, an RCMP officer who has been part of the unit since its creation.

When she visited her community partners for the first time, they asked her when she would be back. She says it was a bit of a surprise when she answered, “I’m here tomorrow.”

The idea behind the unit is simple, says Rogers: in making the kids active, there is a lesser chance that they will wander the streets and look for trouble. This leads to happier communities and brings down the crime rate.

She spends her time organizing basketball tournaments, bike races, youth conferences, culture camps and even girls’ retreats, where, along with pampering and watching movies, girls aged from 11 to 16 learn about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, drug education, discovery dating and sacred medicine teachings.

The Integrated Unit’s members go from school to school with First Nation police officers to promote the Aboriginal Shield Program, a drug education course targeted at Aboriginal youth from Grades four through nine. The program supplements the existing school curriculum, and draws from spiritual teachings and cultural aspects specific to First Nations.

All partners involved must agree on the proposed ideas, which are coming from the community, and not only from the OPP or the RCMP, says Rogers. If someone doesn’t commit fully, the project is abandoned.

With Rogers’ involvement, a Chippewa reserve on the shores of the Georgian Bay in the southern half of the Bruce Peninsula, Cape Croker, Ontario, now has its very own annual mountain bike race. The idea was put forward by cycling coach Laura Robertson.

A resident of Port Elgin, Ontario, Robertson wanted to introduce Aboriginal youth to the world of cycling. Knowing that not every kid would want to go for a bike ride, she had something better in mind for them.

“They definitely think (mountain biking) is cool,” she says.

She met Rogers in 2003, and since then, the two women have worked together for the annual event targeted for Aboriginal youth, but where every young person present can participate, says Robertson.

Besides the Chippewas of Nawash in Cape Croker, the event brings together youth from the seven other Aboriginal communities Rogers works with: the Oneida Nation of the Thames, the Chippewas of the Thames, the Munsee-Delaware Nation, the Delaware Nation, Walpole Island First Nation, the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point, and the Chippewas of Saugeen. Aboriginal youth from Manitoulin Island also participate.

During the winter of 2008, Robertson (who is also a cross-country skiing coach) and Rogers coordinated an Aboriginal cross-country skiing camp in Lake Louise, Alberta, for 12 youth from different First Nations.

Robertson says these programs wouldn’t be possible without a resource like Rogers and her unit, because it takes time to put events together and it is a scarce resource for a majority of First Nation police service.

Spending time in schools is really good in terms of crime prevention, but more often than not, regular duties take over, says Sgt Wayne Stevens from Cape Croker Police Service.

His staff of five (including himself) ­covers an area of almost 64 km2 and a ­winter population of about 900.

The assistance from the Integrated Unit has been helpful and officers from the OPP and RCMP bring a certain level of expertise, says Stevens.

For example, undercover agents in the RCMP drug unit have a knowledge that his staff doesn’t have, he says. One agent has come to Cape Croker to give a talk to a group of 50 to 60 parents about drugs, the signs given away by drug users and what to look for if parents have suspicions about their children.

“And [the youth-based programs have] had a pretty good bearing […] in keeping kids occupied,” says Stevens.

It’s difficult to really judge if the unit is helping to reduce crime, because “you don’t know what you’ve prevented,” says Rogers. “And there will always be work to be done.” But as an indication of progress, she describes relationships built with her Native partners as stronger than she ever thought possible when she joined the unit. “When I go to a community, people come and hug me,” she says.

Such initiatives are necessary to police services and the RCMP, says Ronald-Frans Melchers, professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa. “If [the RCMP and OPP] don’t do it, they have to deal with the consequences.”

On the other side, Melcher believes it is necessary to give hope to the youth.

According to the 2006 study from Statistics Canada, age is not the single factor instrumental to crime rates. An intricate web of situations not unfamiliar to Aboriginal communities plays an important role: lower education, unemployment, low income, single-parent families, crowded living conditions, and high residential mobility.

The crime problem is not only a threat to our society, but also to the economy, says Melchers.

Young offenders with criminal records or in jail have limited employment opportunities, and when left with nothing to do, but maybe dangerous activities, perfect conditions are created for criminality.

André Fecteau is a freelance writer.
© FrontLine Security 2009



OVD Kinegram
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

The array of neon colors, glittering on a flimsy strip of foil, is almost blinding. The colours illuminate a vertical row of five 5s, each in a unique set of pastels – green on purple, green on orange, coral on purple, and so on. Tilt the foil 45 degrees, however, and three of the 5s become the symbol for the euro, in different colours than before. Tilt again, and the strip is solid silver, with no colours or neon, with the 5s and euro symbols barely visible.

The glittery foil strip is attached to a 5-euro note, but it isn’t merely a beautiful decoration or trompe l’oeil gimmick. It’s an anti-counterfeiting feature called a kinegram – a souped-up cousin to the hologram. Canada and the U.S. rely on this little piece of fancy foil to protect their borders, government officials, and a wide variety of official documents.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and OVD Kinegram, the small, Swiss-based company that makes the complex foils, the Canadian government uses these features on visas, permanent resident cards (required by those with permanent resident status to re-enter the country), so-called “generic documents” (officially called IMM 1442 and used for various temporary purposes), and Certificate of Indian Status Identity Cards.

When U.S. citizens use passport cards instead of regular passports to cross by land or sea into Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, they are­ flashing kinegrams.

The U.S. government also puts these security foils on the “trusted traveler” cards (NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST) that Canadian and American citizens who go undergo pre-clearance can use when travelling between the two countries; special border crossing cards for Mexican citizens; employee identification cards for Congress and several federal agencies; and congressional police IDs.

The states of Georgia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina have the foils on their drivers’ licenses. And some of the passes to President Barack Obama’s inauguration were protected by these ingenious gizmos.

Outside North America, OVD Kinegram claims its foils can be found on 17 national currencies besides the euro and on various government ID cards, passports, visas, drivers’ licenses, car registrations, alien documents, and residence permits in more than five dozen countries, from Albania to Yemen – including such major clients as Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the 24-nation Schengen border zone in Europe.

It may seem surprising enough that one small, privately-held company would do all this work. What’s even more amazing is that – in the post-September 11 world of ­terrorism concerns, and with tremendous pressure on U.S. politicians to “Buy American” when it comes to homeland security – Washington DC, Ottawa, and state governments have been willing to entrust so much official protection to a foreign company. OVD Kinegram merely had to set up two plants in North Carolina to perform a minor part of the manufacturing process.

The company says this is because the complex, proprietary technology – layered with a range of security devices – is “virtually impossible to counterfeit,” yet easy for security guards to authenticate.

“Law enforcement officers examine hundreds of government-issued IDs or travel documents each day,” points out John Peters, OVD Kinegram’s head of marketing and sales for government and ID products. “They have typically less than 10 seconds to make an accurate judgment on the authenticity of each document. It is clear that the security features need to be easy to verify.” At the same time, he says, “it’s just as important that the optical effects are unique and extremely difficult to copy.”

A spokesperson for CIC agrees that the kinegram “is highly resistant to forgery and counterfeiting.” She adds, “It produces optical movement effects with crisp and brilliant images and unique security features.”

OVD Kinegram is a subsidiary of a ­German firm, Leonhard Kurz & Company, which began life in the 1890s making decorative gold leaf. Kurz manufactures the security film for financial products – mainly credit cards and banknotes – in a plant in the Bavarian town of Fuerth, while OVD Kinegram produces the foil for government documents in the picturesque, 750-year-old Swiss town of Zug. Since the manufacturing process is the same, each plant can backstop the other. The company also makes protective seals for nongovernmental, nonfinancial products such as watches, medicines, CDs, and alcoholic beverages.

As a private business, Kurz won’t reveal its sales in dollars or volume. Officials will say only that there are 16 subsidiaries – including a U.S. manufacturer of polymer film, Hastings Company of Philadelphia, Penn., which Kurz acquired in 1972, plus the special company that was established to run the North Carolina operations – and 10 manufacturing facilities.

The first North American products were U.S. passports in 1993 and the Canadian generic document in 1994.

The product starts with what’s called a hot-stamping foil. Company officials say this is built up in ultra-thin layers, somewhat the same way a semiconductor is created: first a removable polyester layer, then a protective coating, then an embossing layer with optical security inlays (more on that in a minute), then a metallic layer, and finally an adhesive coating. The foil is attached to the passport, banknote or other end-product by heat and pressure – the part of the processing that’s done in the U.S. for the American government clients. If someone were to try to pry off the foil, the company says the tampering would be obvious.

Such foil is hardly revolutionary. Indeed, hot-stamp foils are often used as decorations on greeting cards, book covers, and cell phones, among other consumer products, and are combined with ordinary holographic images in packaging materials to protect sensitive goods like auto parts, pharmaceuticals, DVDs and computer software from counterfeiting and tampering.

It’s the second part, the OVD portion of the company name, that provides the real protection. OVD stands for “optically variable device” – that is, the optical inlays in the embossing layer of the hot-stamp foil, which Kurz began making nearly three decades ago. (Kinegram is the brand name for these devices.)

In essence, OVDs involve a variety of high-resolution, vector-graphic designs and special effects, usually engraved on the foil with lasers. For instance, one feature can make the image seem to move or even switch shapes entirely. On the North Carolina drivers’ license, there’s a biplane – symbolizing the first flight by the Wright Brothers, which took place on the North Carolina coast – that appears to fly across the card. Another feature, the “180° diffractive watermark,” reverses the light-dark contrast when the card is tilted. Then there’s the “surface relief effect,” which makes the image seem to protrude off the flat surface of the document. Other protective elements might include microtext, readable only with a magnifying glass; nanotext, readable only with a microscope; and demetalization, which removes individual parts of the kinegram surface.

Peters, the marketing chief, claims that standard holograms can’t encompass the same advanced technology. “The kinegram distinguishes itself due to its high brilliance – the image literally jumps out at you,” he says. The company also asserts that its complex technology is impossible to photocopy, imitate with holograms, or strip off.

Customers can use the kinegrams for different parts of their documents. For instance, according to the company, the devices are used to protect the photos on the U.S. passport and trusted traveler cards, while the Massachusetts drivers’ license has a demetalized kinegram patch and the North Carolina license takes yet a third approach, putting a transparent kinegram overlay on its cards.

Even so, all that high-tech brilliance would do little g



When Systems Break Down
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

What happens when one or more of the complex systems that keep our civilization running break down? As unpleasant as it is to contemplate, this question dominates the thinking of Dr. Wolfgang Kröger, ­Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Safety Analysis of ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). Kröger recently discussed the discipline of disaster analysis to a group of journalists focusing on Swiss emergency ­preparedness technology.

According to Kröger, “we seek to help avoid systems collapse through the application of high quality technical and organizational tools; the goal being to prevent minor incidents from expanding into catastrophic failures.”

Modern Systems
Modern industrial societies are ruled today by highly complex, interlocking technologies which, although man made, may be poorly understood in the aggregate. In order to preserve the integrity of such systems, it is necessary to map their interactions, which become increasingly fragile as their complexity expands. The mitigation of disaster consequences must be based on the deep understanding of systems' behavior as a whole and a willingness to become aware and to be prepared. This in turn requires a definition of targets and acceptability criteria.

Failure to follow such a mapping program can exact a high price. Kröger cited the catastrophic failure of the wheel assembly at 250 km/hour on the ICE high speed German train on the 3rd of June 1998. This incident resulted in 101 fatalities, huge financial losses and the cancellation of train construction contracts throughout the world.

The effects of this incident reverberated throughout German society. To prevent a reoccurrence of such events, it is necessary to design a risk and vulnerability analysis, including maintenance issues and to have available a scientific support structure capable of strategic decision making.  

Information systems exacerbate the risks
The study of complex systems has grown into a major discipline in the last decade, and it encompasses both man-made and natural systems. Indeed, systems biology seeks to understand such complex pheno­mena as cancer, thought processes and aging, using the same tools as those applied to complex human constructs, including the power grid, transportation and communications networks.

Kröger emphasizes that, today, a broadened set of hazards and threats is arising throughout the world, exacerbated by a pervasive use of modern information and communication technology, a growing number of malicious attacks, as well as changing weather patterns that accompany global warming.

All complex systems display features which put them at risk for catastrophic and unpredictable failure; these include inadequate information regarding their constitutive elements, non-linearities and feedback loops, each of which tends to create ugly surprises. Nowhere are these features more in evidence than in the control of the electric power grid. Kröger describes the UCTE, the Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity, which controls the trans-boundary flow of electrical energy, serving 450 million people within the European Union and continental Europe.

In recent years, there have been major failures due to different causes which resulted in a domino effect and a collapse of a large part of the power grid. One of the most dramatic was an outage in 2003 that shut down most of Italy’s electrical power.

Domino effects occur within electrical grids when they become overloaded, with resultant heating and sagging of the power lines, in turn causing flashovers (too short distances to obstacles like trees) and line cut-offs.  Mitigation of these events include technical devices, improved topology and, most importantly, adequate load shedding.  Much of Kröger’s work involves modeling of these events to better understand them.

More than the Sum of its Parts
Kröger and his associates have learned some important lessons from their analyses. Causes of systems malfunctions include operation of the structure beyond its original design parameters, unexpected response of critical equipment and protective devices, lack of emergency preparedness, poor cross border coordination, and failure to adequately implement security criteria. In order to understand these breakdowns and redesign the operational regimes responsible for them, the Kröger team has built an object-oriented modeling approach describing the behavior of the components and their interactions.  This includes stochastic or “Monte Carlo” simulation in order to investigate the macro-behavior of the system, i.e. no longer as the sum of the micro behavior of its parts. This modeling allows the emergence of scenarios and states that are not predicted or pre-defined. A robust model will then allow the prediction of frequencies and moreover the consequences of these events.

The application of these tools has yielded significant benefits. A study on vulnerability of the drinking water system is now an integral part of the review of legal recommendations for the protection of the water supply system in Switzerland against sabotage. The study focuses on the potential risk of cyber attacks and poisoning of the water after the point of last control.

Critical Infrastructure Warnings
“The work on other infrastructure components including the electrical grid, the Internet and rail lines, as well as interdependencies and couplings between them will provide input to the ongoing programs on critical infrastructure protection and hazard analysis,” Kröger states. These include two studies, “Risk Switzerland” and “Stressing issues of complexity and importance of SCADA-risks,” both undertakings of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Protection.

One of the most important conclusions that Kröger draws from his investigations is that “until current research efforts to develop a much more secure internet are successful, the Internet should NOT be used for any function which is vital to the supervision, operation or control of any ­critical infrastructure.”

Taking into account the constant reports of security breaches in both the public and private sectors, this may be the most important and difficult recommendation for large organizations to adopt. Kröger counsels that to avoid such breaches, governments should rely on dedicated (their own fiber cables, non-commercial or diverse hard-and software) systems for data and command transfer rather than using commercial open access ones.

Kröger drew a sobering conclusion, a sort of Murphy’s Law, that given the complexity of the systems that run our society, “Even in the best of circumstances, preventive measures may fail, and severe problems occur.”  

K. John Morrow Jr, is a scientific writer and technical consultant and sits on the editorial board of several biotechnology journals.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Fire: Size-up Strategies
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

As a new battalion chief, I wondered how I was supposed to size up a burning building if I had to stay outside at the command post. I was to set up a command post at the front of the fire building and be there if the deputy chief responded to the fire. My orders were to stay at the command post to give incoming units orders and to brief the deputy responding to the fire. At the command post I would be required to brief him on progress, have a face to face transfer command, and then I would be given orders by the deputy  to enter the building and operate as a sector chief wherever the need was determined. Staying at the command post was difficult for a new battalion chief. Just recently being a company officer, I was used to being inside the burning building, close to the action. This was a dramatic change. However, over the years, and after being promoted to deputy chief, I learned how to size-up a fire from the command post. Here are two important size-up strategies I learned over my 42 years in the FDNY. They helped me to direct a fire operation from a command post in the street.

Wind size-up: If you are denied the close up approach of going inside a burning building for a (micro) size-up, you can get important (macro) size-up info from the very beginning of the response. Be aware of the weather when responding to an alarm. Put on your turnouts outside the firehouse on the apron. Check flags blowing in the wind. Are people on the street bundling up and buffeted by the wind?  A windy day could mean trouble. Wind effects firefighting more frequently than any other weather condition. It spreads fire and sometimes blows fire and heat from a burning room back into the path of firefighters advancing a hose line. Conflagrations occur when the wind is over 30 miles per hour. In addition to stopping the advance of a hose attack team, wind can also blow smoke and burning embers toward exposed buildings. A strong wind speeds the spread of fire and smoke inside a common roof space, and fire will spread across an attic or cockloft more rapidly on a windy day. The strategy of coordinating venting and hose line advance was a high priority on a windy day.

Temperature size-up:  I would want to know if the temperature is below freezing – and how many days has it been below freezing. One cold day is not as bad as a cold spell of 4 or 5 days. The longer the temperature is below freezing the more things start to freeze, nozzles have to be kept open to flow water and ­prevent freezing hose lines. Aerial ladders cannot be kept in the raised position for long periods or they freeze up and require mechanics from the shops to heat and retract the metal ladder sections. On a below-freezing cold day after water is used, the steps sidewalks and streets will become a sheet of ice. Firefighters will be injured sliding and falling on the ice. Apparatus can skid and collide with other autos responding to the fire or emergency. You may not get the full assignment of apparatus and firefighters at the scene. Booster tank water may freeze and freezing water in gas lines will cause apparatus to stall. This may not occur frequently in most States, however, that can also be a problem if we are not prepared. Cold weather is not as much of a handicap to firefighters in Canada. They know how to fight fire in freezing weather. They have experience working in freezing weather. The strategy is to tell engines to keep the nozzles “cracked” slightly to keep water flowing. Pump operators would be directed to spread salt or sand to reduce fall injuries, and ladder company chauffeurs would be directed to lower unused aerial ladders before they freeze. 

Note: For more information on firefighting size-up strategy, read chapter 3 of Chief Dunn’s latest book, Strategy of Firefighting, How to Extinguish Fires published by Fire Engineering. 
© FrontLine Security 2009



We All Have a Role to Play
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

The 21st century has kicked off with a bang and opened the gates to an interconnected world where domestic and international borders are increasingly blurred. The last decade has witnessed the rise of transnational security threats posed by violent non-state actors, pandemics, climate change, ballooning economies, strains placed upon strategic, non-renewable energy resources, and significant technological advancements.

Schoold in Fargo, North Dakota closed so that students could volunteer in the sandbagging effort to hold back water from the rising Red River.

The recent global economic crisis only adds to this decorated milieu. In all, the collective nature of modern day challenges, encouraged by globalization, is a key characteristic of this era.

The reality is that we can expect risks to continue to multiply as the world becomes more complex due to ever-growing developments in information exchange, burgeoning populations, and stressed supplies – be it energy, food, land, water, medical or others. Confirming this complexity, Alex Evans and David Steven, authors of a report entitled “Risks and resilience in the new global era,” call this “a potentially toxic combination of unfamiliar stresses and demand constraints, with growing numbers of shocks of greater intensity.”

Furthermore, the impacts of today’s events are largely uneven. Community violence aimed at the oil industry in one country may result in higher global oil prices for all and supply disruptions for some. A virus that emerges in a remote part of the world ­suddenly becomes a pandemic – for which some will have access to vaccines while others go without. Climate ­pressures have led to changing weather patterns – resulting in more frequent, and at times ­catastrophic, flooding, hurricanes tornados, and other storm ­systems that disproportionately affect communities. In the face of such volatility and uncertainty, the probability for unforeseen emergencies will increase and be largely felt at the local level.

The question then becomes: How can we cope with it? In such a turbulent system, the concept of resilience has emerged and is gaining traction. Jamais Cascio, a senior fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, defines resilience as “the capacity of an entity – such as a person or an institution, or a system – to withstand sudden, unexpected shocks, and (ideally) be capable of recovering quickly afterwards.” This definition, in fact, fits within an orchestra of positions on resilience where the ability to absorb, withstand, and remain flexible are key components to surviving major disruption caused by nature or individuals.

Recognizing the daunting and frankly impossible task of preparing for all emergencies (especially sudden shocks that carry maximum damages, or ‘black swans’ as author Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls extreme events), countries are increasingly searching for ways to enhance the resilience of not only critical infrastructures and technical systems but also their societies as a whole.

While emergency responders such as police officers, medical personnel, and others, are pillars to response and recovery efforts, governments often overlook the capacity and opportunities to engage and inform the individuals who populate a community.

Technology, such as mobile phones and the Internet, has ­created new platforms for communication, trust building, and coordination. Not only can such tools be utilized and leveraged by responders and government officials but they can also be used to create relationships and information sharing portals with civilians. Delving deeper into the world of societal resilience, this article examines how technology and the components of a resilient system can be used in planning and response.

Begin Locally  
In March 2009, images of citizens from Fargo, North Dakota filling sandbags to withstand record-level Red River flooding were circulated throughout every media outlet. These images documented emergency crews working with locals to build levees, assist with evacuations of the elderly and other vulnerable civilians – ultimately helping the community minimize damages and withstand the massive flooding caused by a confluence of heavy rain, snow and a river that was jammed with ice. Mayor Dennis Walaker resisted recommendations from state and federal officials to issue a mandatory evacuation of the entire area, choosing instead to put able-bodied men and women to work preparing sandbags. The end result was a successful, coordinated response and recovery in what was expected to be a catastrophic outcome and devastated city.

Florida Air National Guard troops continue the coordination of resources for the response to hurricane Ivan at the Emergency Operation Center. (FEMA Photo: Andrea Booher)

Working together, National Guard troops and volunteers filled and placed over 3 million sandbags along the river. Miles of rapidly created dikes added to the safety factor. This quick, coordinated reaction to a crisis was a clear an example of societal resilience.

This example brings to light three components found within a resilient community: strength and flexibility, a trusting community ready to act, and good leadership.

A resilient system can be described as a sponge. Rather than turning from an encroaching wave, a sponge prepares, responds and absorbs in a way that maintains its integrity. Fargo’s mayor saw the threat of flooding and the near certain destruction if they did not act collectively. The community rose to the challenge, and though damage was sustained, much was averted due to the response. The flexibility of the individuals to quickly adapt to the grim environment and trust both each other and their leader was paramount to a successful recovery. The element of trust between the public, private and local actors is a significant asset. In spite of recommendations coming from state and federal officials to evacuate, the citizens of Fargo trusted the leadership of their mayor and chose instead to participate in emergency response efforts. They all trusted each other to work collaboratively through this crisis.   

Another component to resilient systems is foresight and planning initiated at the local level. The Golden Phoenix of Los Angeles, California is a disaster training exercise held each year. This exercise involves local, state, federal, academic, nongovernmental, individuals and private sector entities in a simulated natural or human-caused disaster. This event, which is created and led by local stakeholders, provides opportunities for participants to prepare for future emergencies, identify local capacity and resources, develop relationships throughout the community, and enhance trust. Federal officials play more of an outside role by encouraging such exercises and developing strategies to support local and regional responses and recovery.

It must be noted that in many cases the danger can be such that people staying behind presents both a worry for busy first responders and an ethical dilemma when they later need rescuing. A situation can escalate to the point where a rescue presents a grave danger to responders.

Leverage Technology
Technology, such as mobile phones and the Internet, has unleashed a process of communication that promotes the flow, creation, and exchange of information between people. In fact, this trend is accelerating and represents an expanding global resource. By 2008, a reported 23% of the world’s population reported using the Internet and 60% own a mobile phone. As mobile phone technology continues to improve and offer additional cost-effective options (such as Internet access), the number of users will multiply, opening a variety of new doors for expanded access.

Most relevant to building resilience, such communication conduits can be leveraged by local governments and emergency responders to communicate with the ­public before, during and after a disaster. This includes sharing emergency action plans and providing high-quality information to civilians in an efficient and economically favorable way. This also helps facilitate the process of civilian reporting to authorities and relationship building within the community.

March 2009 - Fargo Dome in North Dakota. The city launched a massive volunteer sandbagging effort to hold back flood waters.

Looking first at mobile phones, the Los Angeles Fire Department offers a text message service called “LAFD Alert.” Given the frequency of wildfires in California, not only does such a service provide a rapid way for the LAFD to communicate fires but it also allows civilians to alert authorities to new fires or other related events. Such alerting systems provide an opportunity to engage the public before a disaster occurs and/or limit damage and casualties. Camera phones and video options also provide a tool for civilians to document emergencies (especially when journalists and responders don’t have access). Due to the limits placed on journalism in Iran, for example, much of the recent protests have been documented via personal mobile phones, and groups were able to get to safe areas via texting with family and friends. Thus, we are now seeing how this small device is moving from being an object of convenience and luxury to being a valuable asset in building community resilience and coping with crisis situations. In many cases, how well a community responds to a disaster will dictate the speed of recovery.

Communication is central to response efforts, and the Internet offers a wealth of tools to support this fundamental shift in how people communicate. Email, websites, blogs, podcasts, web 2.0 platforms (social media), etc. have become powerful tools that public and private sectors alike can utilize and create common virtual meeting grounds. Government websites, such as the United Kingdom Resilience website, increasingly offer web-portals tailored towards providing information to individuals and businesses on preparedness, pandemics, community resources, and other topics. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has also moved in a similar direction by producing video segments to be shown on their website, highlighting disaster stories, briefings, and vignettes of ordinary citizens who have lived through disasters. This broad array of approaches and information is to provide the public with a variety of opportunities to be informed and engaged. The goal ultimately is to get people involved earlier so that they are better prepared to weather a crisis and, hopefully, rebound quickly.

Social media sites like Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flicker and many others have proliferated at a rapid pace as they offer a virtual gathering space for individuals to connect with family, friends, colleagues, or others with similar interests. While such platforms are largely used for general consumer purposes, the emergency management community is now incorporating such affordable instruments into planning and response activities. As it has done with mobile phones, the LAFD has also begun using the micro-blogging site Twitter to post quick information about fires and a blog to discuss fires and other emergencies in greater detail. This local fire department recognizes the importance of tapping into all available channels with the community. FEMA’s regional offices also use Twitter and podcasts to communicate with the public about potential emergencies. But it also works both ways – Twitter users can notify FEMA about encroaching storms, giving authorities an early opportunity to communicate safety tips and mitigate potential injuries. In sum, these tools create bridges of communication and trust where individuals become a necessary component in the resilience cycle.

Public-private ventures to build social platforms around emergency planning are also in progress. In another example, Microsoft has been working with emergency management personnel to create “Microsoft Vine,” a local platform for cities to use and create synergies in communication during various situations, especially emergencies. Current beta-testing is occurring in Seattle, Washington, where users can share messages and utilize mapping functions and notification features. While the success of this venture is yet to be assessed, the effort is a step in the right direction. Indeed, more cities should explore the role of online community platforms, and technology as a whole, in their local preparedness plans. The numerous free platforms such a Facebook or Ning offer many simple tools to facilitate real exchange, partnerships, and relationship building between all stakeholders.

July 2009 - Some residents of the Kelowna, BC area refused to evacuate. Police have resorted to taking names of their next of kin and their dentists in case dental records are needed for identification.

All Hands on Deck
While we are in the global age, the role of the individual – or rather all actors - has never been more important. Powered with technology, and challenged by the variety of current and future threats to come, civilians and public and private entities all have a significant stake in ensuring the resiliency of their community. The main challenge, however, lies in engaging and organizing such capacity. The tools and guiding principles are there.

To prepare for the road ahead, local, regional, and national governments should begin discussing how to strengthen, if not integrate, the components of resilience system into society. Start from the base and leverage the information and collaborative revolution underway to create 21st century emergency preparedness and response strategies – we all have a role to play.  

Jennifer Giroux is a Researcher for the Crisis Risk Network at the Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich. She currently manages the targeting energy infrastructure project while also carrying out research on violent non-state actors, resilient systems, and critical infrastructure protection.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Effective Security Accountability
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

In an excellent paper entitled “Accountability in and for National Security,” Professors Reg Whitaker and Stuart Farson address the “complex system of accountability that applies to ­government departments and agencies responsible for Canada’s National Security.” From this, we can distill some key thoughts on accountability that are applicable to security practitioners, who by their profession are both contributors to, and consumers of, intelligence.

Not a review or critique of the Whitaker and Farson paper, I offer these additional considerations for policy makers and implementers who are focused on mission success. Security practitioners at all levels remain accountable for the security advice and recommendations that they make to their superiors.

Reg Whitaker and Stuart Farson are eminently qualified to write on the topic of accountability. Dr. Reg Whitaker is a distinguished research professor emeritus at York University and adjunct professor of political science at the University of Victoria. He served on ­advisory panels into Commissions of Inquiry regarding Maher Arar and the bombing of Air India Fight 182.

Dr. Stuart Farson is an adjunct professor of political science at Simon Fraser ­University and acted as research director for the parliamentary committee that reviewed the CSIS Act. He was called as an expert witness in the Commission of Inquiry regarding Maher Arar, as well as in other cases of national security litigation.

Accountability in and for National Security
Whitaker and Farson identify the difficulty defining and framing the concept of accountability, its challenges in the face of secrecy, the reluctance to share information, and the complexity arising from the myriad of security agencies and accountability bodies to be overseen and coordinated.

From its origins as “a constitutional convention in Westminster systems of government” and how this begat ministerial responsibility, the authors provide an interesting historical perspective of accountability. They guide the reader through several timeframes of Canadian national security accountability, from Confederation until 1970, during which “Canadians by and large appeared to accept that national security agencies should work in secret.”

The 1969 Royal Commission on Security (the Mackenzie Commission) was launched to address shortcomings of the Official Secrets Act, described by the Commission as “an unwieldy statute, couched in very broad and ambiguous language,” as well as to investigate a security lapse in a federal institution. The commission recommended improvements to security procedures and greater accountability mechanisms for security agencies including the formation of a civilian security agency.

The change in emphasis from external to internal threats in the 1970s led to the 1981 McDonald Commission recommendations for a “new institutional architecture to achieve a greater degree of accountability” over the national security apparatus.

The CSIS Act of 1984 also provided legislative support to accountability (including internal controls), as did the enhanced role of the Inspector General and the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

The authors note the end of the Cold War era was replaced by Canada’s commitment to Washington’s “war on terror” after 9/11. Commensurate with this, oversight positions were established in the Communications Security Establishment  (CSE), and ad hoc review bodies as part of public inquiries were increasingly used.

What is Accountability?
This seemingly straight-forward concept is the subject of much discussion among security policy makers and authorities. At its essence, the concept of accountability demands both justification of an action or inaction, and the acceptance of responsibility for any repercussions that may ensue.

Figure 1: Accountability in support of national objectives.
Figure 2: Approaches to security oversight

Security or intelligence practitioners, especially in management, should not shy away from accountability. When accepting this, however, they must  ensure that they know to whom, and for what they are accountable, and that they are given the authority and resources to exercise their responsibilities.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) notes that their Management Accountability Framework (MAF) was developed to provide “a list of management expectations that reflect the different elements of current management responsibilities [and] focuses on management results” Thus it may be suggested that, if the accountable individual is provided with a clear set of expectations (typically a job description or terms of reference), that are divided and presented in a manner that ­promotes mutual understanding, then accountability can be established.

Perhaps the greater question is, why have accountability at all? The answer, lies in the more practical and linear concept of mission success. Figure 1 (below) illustrates that the mission requirement to protect Canadians imposes the need to develop intelligence and security processes, as well as to derive the operational authority and methods to implement those processes. Such actions must be permitted by law, which itself must provide the requisite freedom to the security practitioner to implement the processes necessary to achieve the mission. This process should be unencumbered by “political” interference (such as for reasons other than mission success) but constrained by an accountability framework based on Canada’s principles of openness and respect of differences, “attachment to democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and pluralism.” (what is being quoted here?) “Since there is no conflict between a commitment to security and a commitment to our most deeply held values,” (what is being quoted here?) presumably the controlled implementation of intelligence and security processes will result in mission success, that is, the protection of Canadians in support of national objectives.

A common thread through this linear model is the trust that is instilled into and maintained by the public both as individuals and through their elected officials. Accountability provides the framework and the basis for this trust.

Accountability is Individual
Wendi Peck and William Casey, in their article entitled Why accountability still counts in corporate America, note the example of the Soviet Union where “everyone was accountable for the output of the farm … that left no one truly accountable – and everyone hungry. Collectivist accountability didn’t work.” Many large organizations continue to hold executives collectively accountable, with no one person provided with the required authority and resources to meet his or her often unspecified portion of the business goals.

Peck and Casey suggest that it is laziness on the part of the managers in not assigning goals and expectations to individuals rather than instituting “single-point accountability” where individuals are held responsible for their performance and that of their subordinates.

Fortunately the TBS Management Accountability Framework, and Canada’s new Policy on Government Security (PGS), contribute to individual accountability. Its security program indeed “begins by establishing trust in interactions between government and Canadians and within ­government.” The PGS identifies Deputy Heads, Ministers of the Crown, Ministers, and ­Ministers of State as being individually responsible for the protection of personnel and assets under their control, and threatens consequences (“measures deemed appropriate”) for non-compliance with the policy.

This enhanced accountability requirement should focus senior decision-makers on ensuring that their departmental security programs are staffed with knowledgeable security practitioners and strong security governance.

At the highest levels, Whitaker and ­Farson have postulated, as one of their two key recommendations, the enhancement of Parliament’s role in the accountability process, “in close coordination with existing and enhanced review and oversight bodies. An important caveat is that increased accountability should not hinder the operations of those engaged in protecting Canada’s national security.”

Accountability is More than Compliance
The shift from rules-based security to threat-risk-based security in the government of Canada recognizes the “one size does not fit all” premise when implementing security safeguards.

The new Treasury Board Secretariat PGS rules stress the requirement for continuous risk assessment and adjustment of controls (safeguards) as necessary, based in part on support and advice from lead security agencies. Simply adhering to and demonstrating compliance with security baselines or minimal standards is inadequate within the current dynamic threat environment. Those who are individually accountable for protecting valued assets, typically through the establishment and maintenance of an effective security program, will require adequate numbers of properly-trained security practitioners in order to effect their accountability.

It follows (see Figure 1) that a failure to recruit, train and develop effective staff who can conduct true security risk management (including the implementation of appropriate security safeguards) would be inconsistent with demonstrating accountability to the Minister, to the government at large, and to Canadians.  

Accountability is complex
Emanuel and Emanuel from the Harvard Business School suggest that there are three essential components to accountability: its loci, or the parties that can be held accountable; its domains, or activities for which parties may be held accountable (also outlined in the TBS MAF); and its procedures for determining compliance and for disseminating evidence to the appropriate parties.

Complexity, with respect to the intelligence and security apparatus itself, is a real challenge. One needs to peel the myriad layers of vertical and horizontal governance and relationships among government ­entities, including operational relationships (some formal, some not), and, in some cases, the idiosyncrasies of key participants.

Whitaker and Farson lament a lack of a “system or network of accountability procedures [due to] poor linkages between many of the key elements” (most notably Parliament). Their other key recommendation, which would address this shortcoming, is to integrate accountability mechanisms “across institutional boundaries.”

In this manner, the scope of oversight and review would parallel the various intelligence and security agencies. Since information sharing, integration and fusion into useful products is a goal of both intelligence and security, it follows that accountability could be similarly integrated. Economies of scale, consistency, as well as complete review and auditing could be achieved to improve upon the current state of accountability for national security, which has been disparagingly described as “an ad hoc, piecemeal and uncoordinated fashion, resulting in a complex patchwork that defies easy rationalization around coherent principles.”  (to whom can we attribute this quote?)

While accountability is demonstrably complex, it need not be complicated. Effective accountability should be both singular and linear. The trick is to find the key recipients and work back until each accountable person is identified. The next step is to ensure that each has clearly written accountabilities, and is accountable to only one person for each operational function. In the case of uncertain or conflicting accountabilities, gaps in accountability will likely emerge and will constitute a serious breach in the overall security posture.

Once effective accountability is established, validation can be conducted by the integrated entity responsible for an operational function (for example, provision of national security, intelligence-gathering, or maintenance of an integrated departmental security program). This would be consistent with the fundamental security principle of centralized control and decentralized execution. Integrated accountability would establish new accountability baselines that better reflect the wishes and expectations of our political leaders and of Canadians.

Accountability Requires Competence
In its overview, the Management Accountability Framework describes competence as “essential… choices made by public service managers… assigning clear accountabilities, with due regard to capability.”

Competence takes many forms when addressing accountability. First and foremost is the technical competence in one’s security or intelligence specialty. Security and intelligence practitioners are expected by their superiors to provide reasoned security advice. In return, these practioners should expect to receive timely training, education and opportunities for professional development, primarily through a succession of more demanding assignments, aimed at enhancing their technical competence.

Operational competence, in this context, is the ability to adapt to circumstances in a dynamic threat environment and adjust the security posture to meet changes in risk. This requires an in-depth knowledge and continuous professional reading and learning of likely threats, vulnerabilities, and, perhaps most importantly, the most current technical or non-technical safeguards that can be applied.

Another aspect of competence and accountability is the maintaining of mutual trust. Superiors must be able to trust subordinates and gain their trust respect of handling ­sensitive information upon which security recommendations are made.

Similarly, internal and external reviewers conducting oversight activities must be trusted with this sensitive information. This requires a complete understanding of asset valuation, criticality assessments, sensitive data collection methods, and risks to intelligence operatives should there be a security breach. An extensive background check and granting of a security clearance is the first step, but as critical to mission success are continuous supervision of and assistance to new participants in intelligence and security activities, by experienced reviewers and security specialists, to ensure that no security or intelligence activities are compromised.

At the highest levels, accountability must lead to the public’s trust in its security and intelligence institutions. Security and intelligence practitioners can add greatly to this trust through their continued and demonstrated technical and operational competence.

Accountability is Achieved by Effective Oversight
Whitaker and Farson distinguish between oversight and review as a security practitioner distinguishes between monitoring and audit (Figure 2). The security practitioner considers oversight to be more general and continual within a program, while the authors define oversight as including “some degree of before-the-fact scrutiny.”  They consider both efficacy and propriety of security and intelligence entities subject to accountability requirements. They consider that efficacy (doing the right thing and doing things right) should be ensured both before and after the fact while investigating accountabilityfor propriety (doing things for the right reasons and not doing the wrong thing) is typically conducted after the fact. Efficacy also includes compliance with policy and regulation, but accountability is far more than simple compliance. The authors cite circumstances where scrutiny bodies did not have control over both efficacy and propriety, or where one or the other did not extend to all domains, and this is a limitation to effective security oversight.

Investigating accountability for propriety after an incident becomes public is reactive. It can be costly to strike and maintain the investigative body. It is a fundamental principle that security is much more costly to retrofit (especially after a breach), so the emphasis should be on properly designing security into programs. This holds true as well for accountability in that, if investigative and oversight bodies spend more time in prevention by reviewing efficacy in security and intelligence agencies, then there will be fewer requirements to investigate for impropriety. Effective security oversight ensures accountability, and vice versa.

A recent incident of lack of accountability in the realm of security (in this case personal security) concerned the Ontario government’s eHealth program. The President and CEO, Sarah Kramer and her group of senior bureaucrats, were found guilty of misappropriating $5.6-million in sole-sourced contracts and also found delinquent in providing documentation to justify the spending through circumventing procurement policies at eHealth Ontario. This program is designed to provide centralized electronic access to health records, thereby reducing errors, improving diagnosis, and saving lives. According to the province’s Auditor-General, there were no checks and balances exercised over spending. “The report identified numerous eHealth Ontario projects that were behind schedule or over budget. The total cost of Ontario’s eHealth strategy is $2.133-billion between 2009-2012. $1-billion of that budget was deemed wasted over the last six years by the province. Other reasons for the lack of accountability included a complete lack of upfront strategic planning, as well as a lack of properly functioning systems for approving and monitoring expenditures. Another example in July of this year was that of a “low-earning provincial bureaucrat” in Ontario’s Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee who bilked 52 mentally ill, homeless and even dead people of between $1,000 and $400,000 over a 12-year period for a total of $1.23M. This bears witness to the obscene degree to which a lack of personal accountability, combined with an absence of procedural and professional accountability, can lead.  

Question to Ponder
The foregoing represents some contemplations of one security practitioner on the topic of accountability for all security practitioners. Hopefully, these will elicit some discussion among professionals, and encourage readers to skim the source paper by professors Whitaker and Farson. It will be time well-spent.

Accountability may be said to be somewhat like security itself, in that it is imprecise to determine when there is “enough.” Security practitioners walk a fine line between meeting credible threats and vulnerabilities on one hand, and applying excessive controls on the other. A failure on the low side may result in a successful attack, while a failure on the high side typically results in excessive costs, inconvenience and distrust in the organization’s security program. Like security, accountability must in the end be measured by the qualitative feeling of trusted security instilled in senior managers, political leaders, and Canadians at large who feel that they are being protected adequately and with minimal impact on their liberty, freedom of movement, and human rights.  

Dr. Wayne Boone, CD is an Assistant Professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and a retired senior military police officer. His research interests include security program management and governance.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Emergency Medical Training
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

With a syringe, Tostaine inflated a bulb at the end of the tube to open the trachea wider. Then he attached a valve mask – a sort of manual ventilator – and pumped it as Ken lay on the hospital stretcher. Ken’s chest visibly moved up and down.

SWAT Paramedic Training.

“That helped,” a voice said.

What? Was Ken able to talk already?

Actually, no. The voice was only a simulation coming from a laptop hidden behind a green-and-white emergency-room curtain. Then again, Ken himself is also a simulation, a mannequin with squeezable rubber limbs and 70 sensors that provide a “pulse,” a “heartbeat,” the “breathing” that was restored by the tube, and other ostensible signs of life. People who are learning emergency medical techniques can practice on Ken before hitting real emergencies, ranging from fires to car accidents to terrorist attacks. (To understand why he’s called Ken, think about the physiology and missing organs of Barbie and Ken dolls.)

Ken is one small part of a 1 ½-year-old, super-high-tech, $1.2 million training center for emergency responders on the tenth floor of the Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers complex in New York City.

The hospital has trained more than 6500 paramedics and other responders since it began its program in1981, but this center, which opened in September 2008, brought together functions that had been scattered throughout the hospital’s eight buildings into a set of permanent, dedicated rooms.

Ken is one of six mannequins (plus a few scattered limbs) in a special simulation room designed to resemble an emergency room, with realistic touches like five stretchers, an electrocardiogram monitor, and the curtain around Ken’s bed.

John Bray, the hospital’s coordinator of paramedic education, says a special room like this – which took three years to design and build – is rare in training centers. “A lot of programs store the mannequins in a closet and bring them out into a classroom” when needed, he says.

From a tile-floored terrace running along one side of the building, across from Ken’s room, the students can look out at what used to be the World Trade Center site. That’s appropriate, because the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center are a major reason this center exists.

During the first chaotic hours after the attacks, the few hundred injured survivors were sent to Saint Vincent’s, the closest trauma center to the site. Meanwhile, 4,000 miles away in Zurich, Switzerland, at the headquarters of the Swiss Reinsurance Company, Andreas Beerli, head of the company’s Americas Division, was frantically – but unsuccessfully – trying to reach his 100 New York-based employees. Luckily, all were safe, but the experience prompted the company to donate $1.2 million to Saint Vincent’s to help prepare – if necessary – for the next emergency.

A Swiss Re spokesman points out that the company has been providing insurance coverage for disasters – including the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 – for nearly 150 years. “Our grant to establish the Swiss Re Center [at Saint Vincent’s] is an extension of that work,” he explains.

(Ironically, the two institutions share another disaster connection: Saint Vincent’s treated Titanic survivors after they were rescued and brought to New York City.)

According to Bray, the center trains would-be responders from “all walks of life.” A recent class of 40 included an unemployed financial consultant, a retired police officer, four active-duty members of the military, an 18-year-old technician who’d been helping the local ambulance corps since she was 14 and was now seeking higher-level certification, and various police and firefighters, all ranging in age from the 18-year-old tech to age 57.

Student learns to clear airways at St. Vincents' training facility.

Clearly, the emergency system needs all these graduates, and more. The arrest in September of a shuttle-van driver from Denver, Colorado, named Najibullah Zazi, suspected of being part of a bombing plot, shows that terrorism remains a threat, along with more traditional disasters like multi-car accidents, fires, and chemical spills.

Yet Bray estimates that there’s a consistent 30% shortage of trained personnel, in part because of high turnover: The typical emergency services employee stays on the job only five years. “It’s a very stressful job,” he points out. “It’s physically demanding, and you’re always moving.”

“After September 11,” Bray adds, “there was a big increase in people interested in going into emergency preparedness,” inspired by patriotism and a desire to help. That “kind of waned” after a while, but the recession spurred a renewal of applications from people like the unemployed consultant; after all, any paycheck looks good when the unemployment rate nudges 10%. “Being a paramedic is a recession-proof ­profession,” Bray quips. Still, that interest is expected fade as the global economy picks up.

Moreover, as the definition of “first responder” evolves, it means that more ­people need training. It used to refer only to professionals – police, firefighters, and paramedics. “After September 11, the term was broadened to anyone who responds first to the scene,” says K.C. Jones, a board member of the U.S. National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and also director of the emergency medical services program at North Arkansas College in Harrison, Arkansas.

The new, wider definition might include police, fire, paramedics (sometimes known as emergency medical technicians in the U.S.), doctors, nurses, hospital staff, hazmat ­specialists, and even ordinary civilians.

Along with the wider range of people to be trained has come a wider range of training possibilities – along with some confusion.

In the United States, the Department of Transportation mandates a set of standards for training professional paramedics and emergency technicians, which the Saint Vincent’s program follows. Depending on the level of the job, there are different curriculums. For instance, the lowest level – emergency medical responders – includes 48 hours of training in areas such as basic anatomy, lifting and carrying, how to maintain an open airway in a patient, how to evaluate a scene for potential hazards, and how to deliver a baby.

However, that’s merely the first step. Each U.S. state can add training requirements to those standards. Then there’s specialized training in topics such as weapons of mass destruction, and less-specialized training for the broader mass of non-professionals. Some might want a more macro view of the disaster scene, in addition to the Transportation Department’s focus on medical care.

Unfortunately, there is no consensus as to where these classes are taught or how much to charge. Sensing a growth area, some for-profit companies have jumped in.

Simulation Room at St. Vincents' Hospital - Dr. Legome describes the benegits of training with "Ken" during the dedication tour of the new Swiss Re Center for Emergency Education.

The situation is even less structured in Canada. According to Jones, training for the least-experienced level of paramedics (equivalent to the Department of Transportation requirements), “is all over the spectrum, from a low of eight hours to a high of 16 hours.”

“The entire matter of preparedness and response training is very much in a state of flux,” says Jack A. Horner, executive director of the National Disaster Life Support Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit based at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia – one of many groups offering training programs in North America.

To get an idea of what the confusion can lead to, consider the question of triage.

Trying to decide who gets priority for treatment in a mass emergency is a touchy topic in itself. But in addition, there is no agreement on how to communicate the priority levels. According to Horner, there are at least eight different systems for labeling patients. Some paramedics use color-coded tags, some use numerical ranking, some use an alphabetical system, and others use words like “serious” or “minimal.”

“The issue came to light as a real deficiency in response to Hurricane Katrina,” Horner adds. “Teams were coming from multiple states to help, but they were trained differently.”

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website lists a whole alphabet soup of training organizations. Some have clear-cut, specific functions – such as the Center for Domestic Preparedness, which is the only federally chartered facility for teaching responders how to handle weapons of mass destruction. But there seems to be a significant overlap between the Emergency Management Institute (“emergency management training to enhance the capabilities of federal, state, local, and tribal government officials, volunteer organizations, and the public and private sectors to minimize the impact of disasters”) and the groups listed under Training and Exercise Integration/ Training Operations (to serve “the Nation’s first responder community, offering more than 125 courses to help build critical skills that responders need to function effectively in mass consequence events”).

What about non-professionals who want some training in order to pitch in? While the Transportation Department curriculum is aimed at professionals, Jones says that “any person who might find themselves in any emergency situation, any ­reasonable person, could take this class and pass.”

Or they could turn to Horner’s organization. Horner says his foundation was created after Hurricane Katrina by four colleges in Texas and Georgia, working with the American Medical Association and with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Their aim is to create a standardized curriculum that would augment the Transportation curriculum by helping professionals and nonprofessionals understand the broader issues of disaster management, such as “the health professional’s role in incident management systems” and what to do at an accident scene.

The foundation established three levels of courses. Community officials, business owners, and other laypeople, along with health workers, social workers, police, and firefighters, can take a four-hour introductory class. The next level class, which runs seven and a half hours, is aimed at a wide range of medical personnel, including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, and medical students. Doctors, nurses, physician assistants and paramedics can then move up to the two-day, 15-hour advanced class, which includes practice drills in emergency tactics like decontamination.

Horner says 80 training centers so far have used the program to train 79,000 responders – including, in Canada, an Ottawa-based for-profit training company, Disaster and Emergency Management Solutions Inc. In addition, according to Horner, a consulting company in Vancouver is considering the program.

Joining the fun this past spring, a nonprofit called the Board of Certified Hazard Control – which already had certification programs for healthcare safety professionals, product safety managers, patient safety officers, and hazard control – announced a new credential program for certified healthcare emergency professionals, aimed at emergency preparedness officials.

The 4821 sq. ft. Swiss Re Center for Emergency Education - including two classrooms and a 200-seat, wood-paneled auditorium is wired with all the latest gizmos such as touch-screens, WIFI, videoconferencing and Webcam capabilities to stream guests' speeches onto the Saint Vincent website.

In its announcement, the board, based in Helena, Alabama, said that it “received input from practicing healthcare emergency and disaster professionals when developing this designation” and that it relied “on information, standards, and best practices from reliable sources,” including the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, American Society for Testing and Materials, American Society for Healthcare Engineering, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, and FEMA. To gain the new certification – which comes in three levels – applicants must pass a multiple-choice test of at least 100 questions. Private firms immediately sprang up to offer classes to prepare for the test.

Such a wide plethora of sites for all this training leads to another question: Where should training ideally take place?

The majority of programs now are offered by colleges and universities. Horner says that 42 of his 80 training centers are educational institutions such as medical, nursing and dental schools, which often give hour-for-hour college credits. Jones’s campus, North Arkansas College, teaches the Transportation Department class.

Even Bray of Saint Vincent’s agrees that there are benefits to learning at a college rather than a hospital like his. “At a college, it’s more of a formal education,” he says. “You have better instructors, and you can have a degree path.” Or, as Jones puts it, “I feel that education is best provided at an educational facility.”

Yet Bray argues that medical facilities have their own advantages. “You can come to a state-of-the-art training center, and then you can take your skills and work inside the hospital,” he says. “A student can go up to a doctor and follow a case throughout the hospital. You can do clinical rotations in the emergency room and practice IV access. All the people that teach also work here.”

Firefighters and police, of course, can train in their own academies, plus the U.S. Fire Administration, under FEMA, runs the National Fire Academy. However, many end up at places like Saint Vincent’s because there aren’t enough spots in their own academies.

Less common are for-profit institutions like Disaster and Emergency Management Solutions in Ottawa. A total of six teach Horner’s program, but Jones says he hasn’t heard of any others doing the Transportation Department training.

“Where you take the program doesn’t matter,” Horner sums up. “Properly done, the courses can be anywhere.”

Of course, the best situation of all will be if there is never again a mass disaster to test the $1.2 million training donation that Swiss Re provided to Saint Vincent’s. However, with natural disasters occurring with increased frequency, we’re better off if we are well trained.

A freelance writer for The New York Times and other publications, Fran Hawthorne has covered medical and security issues for over 20 years. She is the author of the books “Inside the FDA: The Business and Politics behind the Drugs We Take and the Food We Eat” and her latest, the award-winning “Pension Dumping.”
© FrontLine Security 2009



Simulation: CBRN Detection
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Public transportation systems offer significant potential targets for terrorist attack, as the large numbers of people in enclosed environments would contribute greatly to the devastating effects of biological and chemical weapons. However, there are options available to address this type of threat.

One possible option includes a network of sensors for early detection and warning of chemical, biological or radiological agent release. In configuring such a system – in a subway station, for instance – it is critical to position the sensors and configure the alarm system in a way that provides the earliest-possible warning yet avoids false alarms.

Accomplishing this task requires an understanding of how an agent is dispersed through air currents affected by the motion of trains, ventilation and air conditioning systems, along with other secondary influences. It is difficult to obtain this information from physical testing because of the time and cost involved in using an actual subway station. Engineers have found a way to overcome this challenge by using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to reliably simulate the release of an agent under a wide range of conditions.

Network of Linked Sensors
An effective system would link a network of remote sensors to a command and control station. Designed to detect the presence of a potential biological, chemical or radiological aerosol, each sensor counts particles present in the air to compare with real-time background information. No single sensor can generate an alarm; but, when one sensor alerts, others are signaled via a sophisticated software algorithm to determine whether the ­signature of an agent release is present.

This approach provides for high sensitivity while reducing the potential for false alarms. The system is modular and highly adaptable to meet a wide range of deployment scenarios. The greatest challenge in deploying the system is determining the locations for the sensors and tuning the algorithms used to evaluate the sensor readings and to determine whether an attack may have occurred. To optimize this placement and tuning, engineers need to determine how a released agent will be dispersed through the subway station environment.

Many variables are involved in contaminant dispersion, including the release location and factors that affect air currents in the station. Using experiment to understand the release signature under various conditions would require many physical tests requiring operational time at the ­station and significant manpower. There are also environmental limitations on the volumes of non-toxic simulants that can be released and on how well simulants can represent the characteristics of the real-threat materials.

Air currents in a subway station are primarily influenced by the motion of trains and operation of the ventilation and air conditioning systems. Additional effects include factors such as varying weather conditions at passenger entrances, ventilation shafts and tunnel entrances. Air currents pass numerous corners and obstacles such as structural columns, stairwells and elevator shafts – all of which generate turbulent eddies of varying sizes. The transport and mixing of dangerous gases and airborne particulates is strongly affected by both the bulk motion of the air and the larger turbulent eddies.

Modeling an Agent Release with CFD
Engineers can employ specialized software to perform a Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis to predict dispersion in a subway station. Using technology such as FLUENT from Ansys, Inc., an engineering team can develop a multi-species model that enables them to track two or more gas species as they disperse throughout the computational domain. CFD was used to model releases under a wide range of conditions and to generate the information needed to optimize the deployment of the detection system. CFD provides the ability to capture both bulk flow and turbulent eddies; it also can handle the complex geometries involved in subway stations and other real-world applications.

Figure 1: Cloud spreads slowing with air conditioning turned off.

Figure 2: Cloud spreads more rapidly with air conditioning on.

Figure 3: A train passing through the station increases dispersion.

State-of-the-art modeling software can create the model geometry. The example here shows one subway station containing two tracks at the center, a two-sided platform on each side of the center tracks, and a single track on each side of the double platforms. The station contains stairwells, elevators, structural columns and beams, and service rooms. The platforms included stairwells, elevators and service rooms. Air conditioning re-circulation units above each platform, and a moving train with 10 cars, each with air conditioning intakes and ­outlets, were also modeled.

To minimize the number of simulation cells, and to maximize the accuracy of the solution, the entire station was meshed using hexahedral cells. Ten and a half million cells were produced. A dynamic mesh model was employed so, just as any real train moves through the station, the train in the computer model moves through the meshed domain. As the train moves, layers of cells are removed ahead of it and layers are generated behind it.

In order to resolve the medium and large eddy flow fields, the smallest meshed cells must have about the same size as the medium eddies.

Since turbulent eddies occur in proximity of the structural columns, where Transit MetroGuard System’s chemical and biological sensors are mounted, the columns were resolved sufficiently.

The inlets and outlets of the station’s and subway cars’ air ­conditioning systems were coupled. For example, if a certain mixture of air and toxicant is sucked through the subway car’s air conditioning unit, then that same mixture is assumed to be blown back into the station at the car’s air conditioning exhaust. Similarly, the mixture sucked into the air conditioning units above both platforms at a given track-wise location is blown back into the station at the exhaust end of the air conditioning unit. The platform air conditioners have filters that entrap some of the particles.

Simulation Helps Under­stand Agent Dispersion
Engineers designed a series of typical runs to simulate a release of toxic gas that is ­immediately followed by a train entering the station, stopping and departing. The entire simulation spans five minutes of clock time, including a one-minute stop. Simulations were run with the train’s and station’s air conditioning systems both turned off and functioning.

Figure 1: Dynamic mesh used to model moving trains.

Figure 2: Mesh was sized to resolve Eddies.

The results clearly show that the effects of train motion and air conditioning units on trains and in the station are the major causes of agent dispersion. This is not surprising, considering the train’s speed and volume cause a push–pull effect and that the station and train air conditioning units have very large flow rates. Recirculation zones that further contribute to agent spreading were observed around physical obstructions, such as stairways, columns and rooms throughout the station.

As expected, agent concentration levels at the sensor closest to the release point indicate extremely high airborne particulate counts and toxic gas levels.

During the initial periods after agent releases have started, the matter tends to remain relatively close to the platform floor. But as the train enters the station, agent dispersion is more aggressive in longitudinal, transverse and vertical directions. The agent migrates outside of the station domain, as shown by virtual monitors set up at the tops of stairways leading to the mezzanine, bottoms of stairways leading to a subway station below, and adjoining tunnel sections.

Results show that intake filters for air conditioners located in the station capture approximately 40 percent of the biological particulate matter, as determined at the end of the five-minute simulations. Thus, these filters have a significant beneficial effect on airborne concentration levels, to which the public would be exposed in this attack scenario.

With the air conditioning turned off, the gas cloud spreads slowly before the train passes the release point. The train entrains the cloud, carries it along and spreads it everywhere in its vicinity. The columns, stairwells and booths act as deflectors that generate jets. The wakes of the obstacles also act as turbulent mixers.

With the air conditioning turned on, even before the train arrives, the toxicant spreads across the tracks because of air currents generated by the station’s A/C units. The toxicants are sucked into the air conditioning system through the station’s supply vents.

Agent concentration signatures acquired from the various simulations were used to obtain detection statistics for the Transit MetroGuard System. The information ­contained in these signatures was used to determine agent propagation rate, a key component of the system’s operating ­parameter settings.

Once extended periods of subway station background data were recorded from the various networked sensors and all system parameters were set, system alert thresholds were established.  Signatures obtained from the CFD simulations then were injected on top of the measured background data set, and system level detection statistics were compiled.

When planning for wide-scale system installations, the results analyses such as these can support the generation of system performance predictions for a varied set of subway platforms. CFD simulations significantly contribute to the design planning of the sensor systems, including determination of the optimum sensor placement and quantity along with sensor pickup sensitivity, increasing detection probability while reducing false alarms.  

Edward Vinciguerra is the Equipment Manager for Undersea Systems with Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors in Mitchel Field in New York. For more info visit: www.ansys.com
© FrontLine Security 2009



Be Ready for an Emergency
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

There are people in Ontario who can’t sleep when it rains heavily at night because they have experienced a flooded basement too often. Homeowners in British Columbia are reminded of the fear and reality of ­losing their home and possessions each time they see televised images of uncontrolled wildfires in the U.S. and Australia. Many in the elderly and infirm population are nervous that summer heat waves may strain the electrical power system, threatening another disruptive blackout. Each spring, homeowners and farmers in southern ­Manitoba and North Dakota watch for signs of yet another flooding of the Red River. Inuit in Canada’s North already feel the effects of climate change on their ­ability to live and provide food in their tradition.

June 2002 - West Glenwood, Colorado.

These and other impending emergencies may be on the minds of those who have experienced a natural catastrophe. But do the rest understand the importance of being ready for natural and man-made disasters? Do we realize how personally affected we may very well be by an emergency? Are we actually prepared?

The answers to these and other questions were sought by a recent landmark national survey commissioned by Allstate ­Insurance Company of Canada. The results were released to coincide with Emergency Preparedness Week, as Allstate Canada became the first insurance company to participate actively in this annual event aimed at educating Canadians on personal emergency preparedness.

The survey reveals that Canadians understand the importance of being ready for natural and man-made disasters and recognize that they may be personally affected by them. But it also found that we are not taking the steps necessary to prepare for such potential emergencies. This discrepancy between Canadians’ perceptions and what they are actually doing is alarming. When considered in concert with growing disaster losses and our changing climate, it is cause for a renewed effort to promote a culture of preparedness.

Growing Threat of Disaster
Disaster losses caused by nature’s extreme events are increasing around the world. These events range from flood to drought, hurricane and tornado, heavy snow and ice accumulation, hail, wildfire, earthquake, and other hazards. Each presents the risk of becoming a disaster and an emergency ­situation if we fail to prevent and prepare. Understanding natural hazards and how our risk is changing over time is critical to recognizing that we must prepare ourselves and to knowing how best to do so.

Global economic losses from natural disasters have doubled every five to seven years since the 1960s. According to Swiss Re, 2008 was the third-most costly year for natural catastrophe losses in history, with worldwide insured losses of more than U$52 billion, economic losses of U$269 billion and loss of life totaling 240,500.

The upward trend of disaster losses is expected to increase as climate change causes weather to become more severe and variable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 2007 report, expects climate change impacts in Canada to affect a number of weather factors, including an increase in the number of hot days, greater wind and storm intensity, and more extreme precipitation events.

An increased number of hot days during summer will demand more from our electrical infrastructure system as air conditioners are overworked to keep buildings cool. This strain on the system significantly increases the possibility of a widespread power loss. Sustained higher temperatures also create ideal conditions for forest fire ignition and spread, thus increasing the threat of wildfire. Munich Re reports that the nine warmest years on record occurred between 1995 and 2005.

Haitian Village is devastated by flooding from a tropical storm.

Windstorm activity is expected to ­increase as a result of climate change. Hurricanes, tornados and wind gusts will pose a greater threat to homes, buildings and public infrastructure. In the U.S., seven of the 10 most expensive hurricanes in ­history occurred between August 2004 and October 2005.

An increase in the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events in the future can be expected to exacerbate the flood problem in Canada, causing a rise in both urban flash flooding and riverine flooding. Water damage from flooding is already the greatest cause of damage to homes in Canada. Lehner and other climate experts in the journal Climatic Change have estimated that what we now regard as a 1 in 100 year event may actually be closer to a 1 in 50 year event, and may occur as often as once every 10 to 15 years by 2070.

Recent flood events in Canada demonstrate the effects of increasingly heavy downpours. The August 2005 storm that struck the Greater Toronto Area caused extensive flooding that resulted in over $500 million in insurance claims and stands as the most costly storm event in Ontario’s history. Also in 2005, southern Alberta ­suffered flooding that totaled $306 million in insured damages. A July 2004 storm in Edmonton resulted in $143 million in ­insurance claims for sewer backup alone. That same month, a flood in Peterborough resulted in over $100 million in damages.

Survey findings
With an appreciation of the threat posed by these hazards and the knowledge that disaster risk is changing, Allstate Canada commissioned this national survey in order to understand the level of preparedness of Canadians. Conducted by Leger Marketing, the survey was timed to coincide with this year’s Emergency Preparedness Week.

The survey revealed a number of ­important findings of which members of the public, and those in the disaster ­management community, should be aware. The results indicate that, while many are aware of the importance of being ready for emergencies, most people are unprepared for them.

The survey found that 86% of Canadians feel it is important to be prepared for potential emergencies. More than half (54%) of respondents believe they will personally experience an emergency within the next ten years. Despite the recognition that disasters are possible, few Canadians feel they are very prepared for an emergency, with 42% saying they are not prepared. Only 9% of respondents claimed to be very prepared for an emergency.

The large gap between those who ­believe it is important to be prepared for emergencies and those who are actually prepared must be addressed. Since the community recognizes the importance of preparing for emergencies, education is necessary to help individual members of the public to prevent and prepare for disasters.

While Canadians may recognize the importance of being prepared for a potential emergency, a large number realize they have not done enough to get ready. A number of actions can be taken to prepare for emergencies, as outlined briefly here. Detailed information is available at the sources provided below. In a changing climate with a growing threat of weather extremes, now is the time to promote a culture of preparedness.  
Greg Oulahen works for the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (www.iclr.org)

The survey discussed in this article, commissioned by Allstate Canada, was conducted by Leger Marketing between March 25 and March 29, 2009. It canvassed 1680 Canadian adults, aged 18 years and older, on their opinions of emergency preparedness and the steps they have taken to prepare for a potential emergency. The survey is considered accurate to a margin of error of 2.3%, 19 times out of 20. For more information visit: www.bereadytoday.ca
© FrontLine Security 2009



Credit Card Fraud and Security
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

In July, two rookie police officers of the Edmonton Police Service spotted a car with stolen license plates and pulled it over. As they searched the vehicle, the officers found 80 illegal credit cards as well as drugs and fake driver licenses. The occupants, a man and woman, were arrested. A search of their rented condominium turned up more than 1,000 credit cards in various stages of creation, a credit card imprinter, a counterfeit Canada Post key and stolen computer equipment.

The following month, Winnipeg police discovered a million-dollar credit card fraud in the making while investigating a vehicle break-in. The B.C. man who rented the car tried to flee in a taxi but was caught. A search of his hotel room uncovered hundreds of counterfeit credit cards, a skimming device (used to extract account data from the ­magnetic strip on credit and debit cards), laptop computers and thousands of dollars worth of gift cards. The Vancouverite was charged with illegal possession of credit card data and possession of goods obtained by crime.

A lucrative ‘industry’    
The incidents in Edmonton and Winnipeg are recent examples of the multi-million-dollar problem of credit card fraud in this country. According to the Canadian Bankers Association, in 2008 “financial institutions reimbursed to their Canadian credit card ­ more than $400 million, representing the losses these customers suffered as a result of ­criminal activities.”

According to the 2009 Report on Organized Crime in Canada by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), “the bulk of credit card fraud losses are attributed to counterfeiting and fraudulent purchases, suggesting an increase in organized criminal operations.” Comprising a network of some 380 law enforcement agencies, and Chaired by the Commisisoner of the RCMP, CISC “facilitates the timely production and exchange of criminal information and ­intelligence within the Canadian law enforcement community.” The Director General is OPP Inspector John Sullivan.

Hi-tech Bad Guys
People committing credit card fraud use advanced technologies that are generally not difficult to acquire. Electronic swipe units that read the data on a magnetic strip can be bought online for as little as $275, including software and a USB connector cable. For $80 more, a unit that not only reads data but also writes credit or debit card information to a magnetic strip can be purchased. Card printers vary in quality and cost, ranging from $900 to $10,000 or more.  

Detective Bob Watch, of the Newport Beach Police Department in California, explained the process of creating a counterfeit credit card in an interview with Wired Magazine in December. “The first step is to get a high-quality image of the front and back sides of a credit card,” he said. High-resolution scanners are available at electronic retailers for less than $350.

“The images then need to be printed onto a white plastic card,” Detective Watch explained. “Credit card printers use the three primary colours and print each image directly on the card.” Criminals can order sheets of credit card holograms from companies in India, China or other parts of the developing world. Another option is to learn to make holograms themselves – instructions are online, and hologram equipment retailers market their products over the Internet. It’s not too hard to find companies that provide criminals with the ­special ink used on credit cards to pass a blacklight security check.

Stamping machines – used to attach a hologram to a printed plastic card – are available in North America and abroad, as is integrated embossing/foil-application equipment. A print wheel in the embossing part of the machine adds a stolen credit card account number, “valid from” and “good thru” dates (or just the expiry date, depending on the type of card), and cardholder name. The applicator portion adheres silver-coloured foil to the raised characters.

“There are enough people out there who know how to do this that it’s a serious problem,” said Detective Watch, pointing out that criminals with hi-tech card-making equipment typically diversify by manufacturing fake driver licenses and other illegal pieces of identification.

Computer Threats Abound
According to Statistics Canada, “total private and public sector Internet sales [in 2007] hit an estimated $62.7 billion, up 26% from 2006.” Even during the economic decline of the past year and a half, billions of dollars of online transactions have occurred each month. To pay for items and services bought over the Internet, customers use credit cards, transfer funds from accounts via financial institution websites, or pay using online services such as PayPal. Such transactions involve typing in credit or debit card or bank account information.

A type of malicious program, or “malware,” used in credit card and other types of fraud is a “keylogger.” This software installs itself onto a hard-drive without the computer owner’s knowledge and creates files of keyboard strokes. Keylogger software, a type of “Trojan horse” malware, comes from infected program downloads or e-mail attachments, websites containing executable content (as a Trojan horse in the form of an ActiveX control), application exploits (flaws in a web browser, media player, messaging client or other software which can be exploited to allow installation of a Trojan horse), and social engineering (as when a hacker tricks a user into installing a Trojan horse by communicating with him/her directly).

Another type of malware is screen ­logger software, which takes “snapshots” of what the computer user sees (such as the payment webpage of a retailer’s website). Keylogger and screen logger Trojan horses typically contain remote access programming, which secretly transmits data from the target computer to a remote location such as an e-mail address, FTP account, or wireless receiver.

Phishing is yet another illegal method used to steal credit card information. Electronic communications such as e-mails are sent by criminals masquerading as trustworthy entities such as social or auction websites, online payment processors, or corporate information technology administrators. Experienced phishers set up multiple webpages through various website host countries to avoid detection. Their intent is to use one website to capture as much information, such as credit card or personal identity data, as possible in a short period and then move quickly to another site. In many cases, a phishing attack can last for weeks or longer as perpetrators register hundreds of fraudulent websites and quickly abandon them and move on.

According to Kevin Joy, vice president of Toronto-based BrandProtect, detecting and countering phishing threats has become complex and resource-intensive. “It requires sophisticated tracking capabilities,” says Joy. “Many larger financial institutions have the infrastructure and monetary resources to deploy sophisticated fraud detection systems to deal with these attacks. Community banks, however, are finding it increasingly challenging to keep up.”

Data Theft in the Skies
Since last year, major airlines have been offering wireless service on their jetliners, giving passengers Internet access and the ability to send and receive e-mails and use their Blackberry or other digital assistant while cruising at altitude. Payment for the service requires a credit card. Hackers in aircraft, as well as airports, hotels and other locations with a WiFi network, eavesdrop on wireless transmissions looking for ­valuable “nuggets” of information to steal.

Travellers using wireless laptops, smartphones and other electronic communication devices typically do not realize that hackers can monitor such electronic communications with relative ease. In November, Forbes.com reported that “Wireless networks are some of the most easily hacked. A moderately skilled hacker needs only a couple of minutes to crack a network’s key with an off-the-shelf wireless card.”

Even hardwired computer networks of major organizations are vulnerable to hacking. In June 2007, one of the Pentagon’s e-mail servers was hacked and 1,500 military computers had to be taken offline for a week while vulnerable points were identified and extra protection added.

In mid-August, 2009, an American and two Russian computer hackers were charged by U.S. authorities with stealing 130 million credit and debit card numbers. The data was illegally obtained using sophisticated “sniffer” programs installed on the computer systems of Heartland Payment Systems (a bank card payment processor), 7-Eleven, Hannaford Brothers Co. (a regional supermarket chain), and two unidentified national retailers. The criminals hacked into the systems and installed programs to capture payment data, erase files after valuable information was transmitted, and evade detection using anti-virus software. The U.S. Justice Department said the case was the largest hacking prosecution in its long history.

Credit Card Security Features
Credit card fraud has grown enormously since the 1950s, particularly in the past 30 years of increasing corporate and personal computer usage. Credit card companies and financial institutions work hard to stay ahead of new and evolving threats. Part of their work includes new security features to reduce illegal transactions. For example, more credit card companies are issuing “Chip and PIN” cards. A chip on the card securely stores encrypted information such as the cardholder’s account number and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Instead of signing a chit to complete a payment transaction, cardholders enter their PIN, which can be changed.

It has become commonplace for merchants doing online, over-the-phone, or mail order business to require customers to provide their three-digit security code (on the back of the credit card), and verify their address. If the buyer does not provide the code, or the address in the database of the credit card processing company does not match the one provided, the transaction is declined.

Mastercard and Visa recently introduced a holographic magnetic strip on their cards. The holomag shows continuously-linked, 3-dimensional Mastercard globes or 3-D Visa doves that appear to be flying. Visa has gone even further by introducing a new signature panel and micro text on the back of its cards. The panel contains blue and gold horizontal lines and an ultraviolet element that repeats the word “Visa.” On the holomag, “Visa” in micro text is ­displayed in several locations. These new security features are effective when cardholders pay in-person, but not online. ­Vulnerabilities still exist and criminals will no doubt strive to exploit them.

Credit card fraud has been an unfortunate reality for more than half a century and will probably be with us for many years to come. Worldwide e-commerce is expected to reach $675 billion by 2014, making credit card fraud a very attractive source of income for organized crime. Police forces, governments, financial institutions, businesses and individuals must continue to be vigilant to thwart the illegal use of credit card information.  

Blair Watson is a freelance writer based in British Columbia.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Rescuing History
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

A small town in Alberta’s Peace Country, already the site of one of the oldest and most northerly community colleges in the province, is now hoping to make history of a different kind – with a very special ­vintage airplane.

Canso Recovery Crew, from left: Joey Gans, Norbert Luken, Brian Wilson, Won Wieben, Doug Roy and Henry Dechant.

The dream is to restore a derelict Canso PBY5A – an amphibious flying boat that was used extensively by the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Why this particular aircraft? That is where the luck in this particular project began.

Originally built by Boeing and called the Catalina, over 3,000 of the airplanes were built during World War II, 800 of them in Canada, under license to Vickers and Canadair. The Canadian planes were dubbed the Canso. The Canadian Government converted them to water bombers after the war. Only 30 or so now remain in the world, 26 of them flying.

Don Wieben was in Red Deer one day, watching several Cansos being sold by ­Buffalo Airways to out-of-country buyers. Wieben, who had recently restored a Beech 18, remarked that one Canso should stay in Canada for historical reasons. Then, to his surprise, he was told there was one he could buy, if he was interested – sitting on the ground 250 km inside the Arctic Circle. Getting it from its resting place on the shore of a lake near Inuvik – then transporting it 2,200 km south to the town of Fairview – was going to be a considerable challenge, but Wieben was excited by the prospect.

His son found some aerial pictures on the internet of the plane on the edge of Sitidgi Lake. It had been there since 2000, after having sunk in 90 feet of water during a test water pickup. Buffalo Air had lifted it to shore and salvaged the plane’s engines, which could be used on its fleet of DC-3s.

That picture immediately got Wieben’s next door neighbour Joe Gans interested, and he offered to travel north with Wieben to recover the plane. Three other men, Brian Wilson, Doug Roy and Henry Dechant joined the group soon after, followed by Norbert Luken. All but Luken are in their 60s and most had helped Wieben restore his Beech 18 a few years earlier.

Built in 1943, the Canso PBY5A had been used as a patrol bomber during World War II. This particular aircraft, RCAF 11094, was based on the east coast during the war and often flew from Reykjavik, Iceland, seeking out submarines which were threatening convoys sailing across the Atlantic. It carried gunners and depth charges.

Amazingly, one of the pilots of this ­particular Canso lives in Nova Scotia and is keen to see the aircraft restored. John McRae of 162 Squadron flew the plane on three operations, totaling about 33 hours. He is grateful to know that the plane he flew ­during his last operational flight of the war is being preserved. “I’ve tried to keep track of all the Cansos. They’re an important story in Canada.”

McRae has his logbooks and many wartime photos of the Icelandic base and the Cansos which flew from there. He remarked that the plane was heavy on the controls and it took a lot of effort to move the ailerons, but he enjoyed flying the ungainly-looking aircraft. “You get attached to them,” he chuckles.

Wieben confessed that the Canso recovery presented challenges, even before the men began to seriously look at rescuing it. For one thing, the Alberta Aviation Museum had expressed an interest in it. For another, it was in a very remote area and although there were still some spare parts available, they wouldn’t know how much restoration was possible until it was professionally assessed.

As it turned out, the Museum decided the Canso was too expensive to move and pulled out of the running. Wieben then bought the plane “as is, where is” for what he still considers a reasonable price.

Plane on display in Fairview.

With those details out of the way, the “Canso Crew” began their research, locating the lake on Google Earth and examining ­aerial photographs of the plane on the edge of the lake.

Getting it out would not be a simple task, even if the plane had not been 40 km from the nearest road. The airplane 63 feet long, with a 104 ft. single wing mounted above the fuselage.

Described by Wieben as an “ugly duckling,” or a “cross between an alligator and an albatross,” the Canso sits close to the ground on three nitrogen filled tires, so looks less daunting than it might. Since it was without engines or propellers, the plane would have to be towed to the nearest road and trucked the remainder of the way.

Their first challenge was to move the plane from the north shore of the lake. The easiest way to do that was to tow it along the length of the frozen lake in winter, and then pull it overland to the Dempster Highway.

The men soon discovered that any extraction process had problems they had never considered. Regulations required them to use machinery that would not damage the tundra. Luck was with them, however, as the owner of a seismograph service company in Fairview offered them the loan of a special light track machine used in the north, called a Yanmar, in exchange for a future favour – a ride in the restored aircraft.

At 10,000 lbs, the U.S.-made Yanmar was almost the same weight as the stripped down Canso. Would it be up to the task? They had to find a way to move the plane across the frozen lake in winter. They couldn’t move it on wheels across deep snow, and they didn’t want to remove them. Skis or a sled seemed the most logical means. Don Wieben had the perfect skis. He called on the welder of the group to connect two sets of his Beech skis together into 16 foot units that could be attached to the wheel assembly of the Canso.

Part of the crew headed north to Inuvik and hired an Inuit guide to take them to the lake. For two weeks they camped out in temperatures which dipped to –35°C.

Two more of the team arrived and their biggest concern was moving the plane over the frozen lake before it began to thaw.

The snow was deep and they discovered they needed more pulling power. They borrowed a local Snow Cat from Inuvik – and again the owner asked for no more than the promise of a ride in the restored Canso.

No one seemed worried that the full restoration might not be possible. Although at first the move had been deemed impossible, once the Canso Crew arrived, the local tribal council gave ­permission to cross their lands and were very helpful, Wieben remarked.

Moving the plane was difficult, even with the Snow Cat. Fortunately, as Wieben explained, the wings were set high and vegetation that far north was low and sparse, so they didn’t have to cut many trees.

Video footage of the old airplane being towed across the ice – then finally arriving at the other end, is impressive. It was an emotionally-charged success. The crew is seen cheering and giving each other well-deserved pats on the back.

They reached their goal, the Dempster Highway, just ahead of the thaw. More good luck came into play when a local transportation company offered them yard storage for a few months – if they could tow the plane to the Mackenzie River. They did so, but had to trim a damaged part of the wing off so that the plane would clear the hydro poles on either side of the highway. The Department of Highways shut down portions of the road as they traveled. In April 2008, after rolling it onto a river barge, the plane was transported to the yard. Six months later, the plane was rolled back onto a barge again and taken to Hay River – and the men began to plan how they would transport the plane the rest of its journey to Fairview, in the spring of 2009.

Once again, they received a great deal of support. A Grande Prairie oilfield company offered a special extensible, double drop trailer – and a driver for as long as they needed him – to carry the plane’s fuselage. Wieben’s son was to drive a flatbed truck carrying the long wing section.

However, the journey south was an unusual one. Since the plane was still wider than 30 feet, they needed pilot cars, and once again, sections of highway had to be closed all the way to Fairview. “Everyone we met was phenomenal.”

With the plane now safely in Fairview, the real work begins. There are spare Canso parts in Buffalo Airways’ yard in Red Deer, and the group has a shopping list with about $19,000 worth of parts.

The big remaining challenge, according to Wieben, is damage to the number 4 bulkhead in the pylon area. It was damaged in the accident and finding parts and expertise to repair it will be very difficult. He feels that if it can’t be repaired, they might be able to restore the plane to be a static display only. And even if the repairs can be done, the total cost of restoring the plane to flying condition could be as much as $400,000. Collecting that kind of money will need more than luck and moral support. The size of the aircraft – and its engines – is daunting, Wieben admits.

However, when it’s completed, no matter to what level, Fairview’s airstrip will become the new home for a very unique plane. If it can be restored to flying condition, the Canso will travel between air shows in the west, as another already does from Ontario’s Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. The Fairview Canso Crew also want their aircraft to make one historic flight – as yet undetermined.

Wieben feels the plane can contribute something to the current concern over Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. “This plane has the ability to fly from one side of the Arctic to the other without refueling.”

Although it has a relatively low cruising speed of just 201 kph, the Canso had a range of 2,500 miles. It could stay in the air for up to 25 hours before having to refuel, a quality that made it excellent for patrolling the dangerous seas of the north Atlantic. Most patrols ranged from 14-16 hours, according to McRae. That’s plenty of time to traverse the length of Canada’s Arctic, Wieben notes.

Recently, the sight of that historic, somewhat worse for wear old bird, sitting on an old railway right-of-way in Fairview, was priceless. It has galvanized the town and the college – and attracted attention far and wide. The CBC conducted a radio interview, as did the local Peace River radio station.

The aircraft’s fuselage has now been moved into a hanger and will be worked on by the Canso Crew over the next months and years. The wing is being stored and restored ­separately.

It is perhaps no accident that the men involved in the Canso project have lived in Fairview all their lives, and all have attended Fairview College at one time or another. Although most took agriculture-related courses, the main reason the college was opened in 1951, some have also taken night courses, which are offered in great variety.

If farmers can become aviation mechanics – or anything else, the college can help make that happen. It offers a range of programs for a new or second career – or upgrading of existing skills. The college is fortunate to have the support of many equipment manufacturers, ensuring that its instructors have well-stocked workshops and up to date equipment for students to practice on. That expertise may yet be useful for restoring the Canso.

Community cooperation and participation has always been important to the college, so the Canso was an honoured guest at a recent celebration marking the college’s merger with Grande Prairie Regional College.

Was anyone in Fairview surprised to see six local men haul a historic plane into town from the Arctic Circle? Perhaps, but now that it’s in Fairview, its progress will be eagerly followed.

And you can bet that whatever challenges remain will be met head on by the town, the college and the citizens – together.

Beverley Candy, Coordinator,
Fairview College Campus
Box 3000
Fairview, AB T0H 1L0
© FrontLine Security 2009



When Faith Becomes a Political Force
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Muslims should be prepared to kill "every single person on earth, in order to eradicate shirk." (idolatory)

These are the words of Abu Sulayman, one of Britain’s lesser known radical website preachers. The most pressing threat from terrorism is the risk of attack from those who accept violence as a legitimate tool for bringing about what they believe to be a divinely ordained end. The more insidious threat from Islamist extremists, however, is that which arises from political activities within Western democracies which aim to transform them into components of an Islamic empire. This is a threat which has largely gone unchecked by counter-terrorism strategies ­hitherto focused on those who preach and participate in militant jihadism. As extreme as this sounds, there is no denying the fundamentalist message which drives the ambitions of Islamists.

Iraqi Shia Muslims walk with their families to Najaf, Iraq as part of the Arba'een pilgrimage.

"… we one day want to see in the UK the black flag of Islam over Ten Downing Street."

While the threat is particularly acute in the UK because of demographic factors, no secular democracy should underestimate the threat to its institutions and values posed by a fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran and the political and militant activities it enjoins. Believers are called upon to restore Allah’s sovereignty on earth and achieve final victory in the historic struggle between the ‘Party of God’ and the ‘Party of the Devil’ (those who are not followers of Islam). The path to this victory is the practice of a puritanical form of Islam which Islamists claim accords with the pious ways of the Salaf – the first generations of Muslims.

The real threat in this absolutist view of human history and its vision for the future lies in the idea that the man-made laws of nation states should be subservient to an historical interpretation of divine law, or Shari’a. While there are strategic differences in the variants of Salafist ideology … militant, political and apolitical … they share the same ambition: the demise of any the supremacy of God’s law in the world.

When believers are convinced that their acts are sanctioned, if not demanded, by the highest authority, there is no room for accommodation or debate with others. The fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, with all its certitude and zealotry, has led some to perceive the religious ideology of Islam as totalitarian and fascist, with practices, the treatment of women for example, as contrary to the cultural traditions, if not the laws, of secular democracies. The term Islamo-fascism has come to be associated with such views and is used, both by the populist right and sections of the liberal left, to denote intolerant if not fanatical actions and behaviour.

The term also alludes to the disposition of Muslim extremists to believe in conspiracies, in particular, that the Jews are plotting to achieve world mastery. The irrational fears and the tendency to victimhood, which feed such distorted views of world events, have recently found expression at York University and in other campus demonstrations, ostensibly held to ‘debate’ Israeli/Palestinian issues. These have escalated into ideologically-driven opportunities to express hatred of the Jews under the guise of opposition to Zionism. Dangerous new alliances are forming such as that between anti-Israel evangelical Christians and radical Muslim groups.

The threat to secular democracies is clear but should not be overstated. The most effective means of countering it is to give support to Muslims whose interpretation of Islam is more tolerant and less ­confrontational. Although recent legislation has had the effect of curbing the jihadists’ ability to incite violence in many countries, a new generation of ­political extremists, widely dispersed and infiltrated within Muslim communities, have been doing their best to stifle any doubts or criticism of the fundamentalist narrative. How much comfort can we draw from the fact that the ‘vast majority’ of Muslims reject this narrative?

The reluctance of orthodox or mainstream Muslims to condemn the activities and behaviour of extremists no doubt stems from ambiguities and divisions within Islam itself which can expose moderates to the charge of being critical of the Salaf and disloyal to the Muslim ummah. Nevertheless, Islamists, whose creed is that no society is legitimate unless it imposes shari’a, will continue to draw strength from their silence just as Sinn Fein and its armed wing, also a ‘small minority,’ once did in Northern Ireland.

On the other hand, when moderates do condemn violence or proclaim their commitment to peaceful coexistence and the rule of law, some counter-jihadists ­suspect that they are merely practicing “taqiyah” – a policy of dissimulation to hide their real feelings.

The suspicion is that mainstream Muslims are merely choosing a pragmatic expedient until such time as they are no longer a minority living among the ‘infidel’ majority in the West. Whereas the fundamentalist agenda requires the populations of Western states to convert to Islam or accept subservient or ‘dhimmi’ status, the longer term ambitions of moderates are more obscure especially as they become majority populations in many European cities. Will peaceful coexistence continue to be their modus vivendi?

Melanie Phillips, author of ‘Londonistan,’ fears that multiculturalism is leading the slide into ‘dhimmitude,’ while highly respected Middle East scholar, Bernard Lewis, claims that government policies, vis a vis the extremists, amount to an ‘appeasement’ comparable to Chamberlain’s deal with Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Programmes designed to combat violent extremism have empowered and paid extremists on grounds that only they have the credibility to speak for and influence militants. Critics suggest that such anomalies, which undermine the Muslim majority, arise from misguided political correctness and multicultural policies which constrain how officials describe, monitor and engage in issues concerning minority ethnic communities. As a consequence, in countries like Canada, political Salafists have been free to pursue their subversive agenda unchecked – an agenda which includes encouraging believers to distance themselves from their infidel secular hosts and to refrain from participating in democratic ­organizations and institutions. They argue that the requirements of Islam are incompatible with democracy and undermine policies designed to build social cohesiveness.

Last year, Fatima Houda-Pepin, Canada’s first elected Muslim woman politician, expressed dismay at the spread of the fundamentalists’ interpretation of Islam and its harsh ideology. She referred to the indifference of Canadian authorities to extremism and to the vulnerability of moderate Muslims who were scared to confront the “Islamists.” That indifference and the ignorance of authorities, she claimed, is allowing militant radicals the freedom to impose religious and cultural apartheid on their communities while presenting themselves as their representatives. It was, she said, the perceived failure of authorities to recognize and combat this subversive influence which was giving rise to the concerns of counter-jihadists.

Sleep-walking to Segregation
The lack of a fundamental understanding of the factors which lead to ethnic enclaves led Trevor Phillips, the UK Commissioner for Racial Equality, to suggest that the UK was “sleep-walking its way to segregation.” He was not speaking principally about Muslims, but they have become the most dominant ethnic minority in British society and there is concern that such enclaves are rapidly being defined and isolated by Islamic values, education, politics, religious practices and law. A multitude of shari’a councils and courts exist to deal with family issues, and are creating an unofficial parallel legal system. Critics argue that multi-culturalism has indirectly facilitated separatism, thereby assisting extremists in their aim to transform the UK into part of an Islamic empire.

Influence which the Muslim lobby exercises over government policy-making, and demands by activists that Islam be accorded a special place within mainstream secular society, has given rise to unease on several counts. Ontario’s recent flirtation with the notion of where Sharia Law might apply, and statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the same matter are examples. Another is the public funding of Muslim organizations which often lack accountability and turn out to be supportive of extremist views. Tareq Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, has highlighted the dangers of funding groups that, under the guise of multiculturalism, promote a foreign policy agenda which is detrimental to Canada.

Free Speech
A liberal society by definition enshrines the right of dissent, and the freedom of speech and assembly. Curtailing those rights in order to counter threats to public safety, secular values and the rule of law entails a compromise yet the liberal impulse is to acknowledge that freedom of speech cannot be an absolute right but must be tempered by criminal law where the lives and well-being of people are at stake and there is a ‘clear and present danger.’

While extremists are assiduous in claiming the protections of free speech and human rights for themselves, they are unwilling to extend the same rights to others. The stridency of their demands and their refusal, within a free society, to allow any criticism of Islam has often been expressed through organized demonstrations and threats of violence rather than ­traditional democratic channels. This has polarized the issues and inhibited serious political debate.

The following snapshot accounts illustrate types of actions labeled as ‘Islamo-fascist’ and correspond­ing responses which have given rise to concern.

In 2005, Islamist fundamentalists orchestrated world-wide riots in response to a satirical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. Claiming that the images were blasphemous, they ­successfully organized mass Muslim support despite threats to bomb the paper’s offices and kill the ­cartoonist.

In 2007, Cambridge University Press destroyed unsold copies of the book ‘Alms for Jihad’ after being sued by Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi-Irish business­man whom the book accused of financing al-Qaeda.

In February 2009, the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), an organization supported by federal and provincial funding, was accused of promoting hatred of Israel, defending terrorist groups and engaging in propaganda for one side in the Middle East conflict – branding anyone backing a ‘two-state’ solution in Palestine a traitor to the Muslim cause. Rather than serving as a voice for Arabs of all nationalities and ideologies within Canada, it appears to be a mouthpiece for Hamas and Hezbollah. Among other unacceptable comments, CAF’s president has called Canada’s Immigration Minister a “professional whore.” The government may now carry out a review of the federal funding which supports such venomous views, but any back-pedalling will be seen as weakness.

That same month, the exclusion of Dutch MP and film-maker Geert Wilders from the UK on grounds that his admission would “threaten community harmony and therefore public security,” has disturbed both pundits and public alike. Wilders had been invited by members of the House of Lords to give them a private showing of his short film entitled Fitna. The film, tracing a direct link between certain verses of the Quran and violent acts of terrorism, is available on the internet. This censorship of a message critical of Islam through the abrogation of the right of free speech was seen by many to be detrimental and clear evidence of the power of the Muslim lobby which had threatened demonstrations. In other words, the government-caved in to a form of blackmail. A less critical interpretation sees the exclusion as a pragmatic move aimed at establishing consistency against a future need to debar Islamist extremists.

To call the Quran “fascist” as Wilders has done, is needlessly offensive, but to say that some of its teachings, taken literally, are unacceptable in the UK or any democracy, is merely to report a fact. There is no denying that certain verses in the Quran advocate violence and that these contradict earlier verses which are tolerant and peaceable. The real issue, and one that is consequential to social cohesiveness, is the basis on which moderate Muslims choose to interpret Islam.

British Government policy in the Wilders case has been contrasted with its robust defence of free speech in 1989 when the publication of the book ‘The Satanic Verses’ led to violent demonstrations against Salman Rushdie and his publisher and the issue of a fatwa authorizing Rushdie’s murder. These actions were justified by Muslim extremists and moderates alike on grounds that they deemed the book to be offensive to the Prophet Muhammad.

In March, Islamist demonstrators in Luton, a city in southern England, barracked a parade of soldiers returning from Iraq. Their banners carried slogans such as “Muslims Rise Against British Oppressors,” “murderers,” “butchers” and “Soldiers go to Hell.” While Muslims have defended their right to conduct what they describe as an ‘anti-war’ protest, the real purpose of the demonstration has been called into question, not least because it was organized by a group linked to al-Muhajiroun banned for ‘glorifying terrorism.’

Muslim extremists used the guise of an anti-war demonstration to further their own agenda – waging a political war against an open secular society which is antithetical to its view of the world. Mainstream British Muslim opinion is not represented by the Luton demonstrators, but it has been evident from subsequent interviews and commentary that the nuances of acceptable legitimate protest in a democratic country and the grossly offensive nature of these protests were little understood.

The right to protest is a precious one, and there is general agreement that the police had little option but to allow the demonstrators to picket the parade and express views, provided they did not cross the line of criminality. The only people arrested at Luton were members of the public that had turned out in support of the soldiers and who, in their rage, had thrown objects at the pickets.

As The Times pointed out, the disaffection felt by groups that seek the overthrow of the State, and campaign for the defeat of Western forces in battle, is more than dissent and the liberal State is entitled to defend itself.

In February this year, following violent demonstrations by a group of Muslims, the editor and publisher of a major Indian newspaper ‘The Statesman,’ were arrested for “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims after they reprinted an article from the British Independent newspaper entitled “Why should I respect oppressive religions?” The editor stood by his decision saying that he would rather cease publication with honour than compromise the basic principle of upholding secular values and providing space to all viewpoints, even contentious ones. The author, Johann Hari, said he believed the right to criticise any religion was being eroded around the world.

Demonstrations are clearly designed to stifle any criticism but the readiness of Islamists to avail themselves of human rights protections to silence opposition is also a cause for concern. Critics maintain that such provisions are being deliberately exploited by Islamists and that court rulings on human rights cases are out of touch with this reality.

The Canadian Islamic Congress brought a human rights complaint last year against Mark Steyn, a Canadian journalist, on grounds that an article he wrote for Maclean’s magazine in 2006 entitled ‘The Future Belongs to Islam’ contributed to Islamophobia and promoted societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. Steyn denounced the ruling against him as comparable to that of an apparatchik in a police state finding a citizen guilty of dissent from state orthodoxy.

A blow was struck for free speech in March when the Supreme Court at The Hague acquitted a man of insulting Muslims although he had dubbed Islam “a tumour.” In deciding that “insulting Islam is not insulting Muslims,” the Supreme Court found that people expressing themselves offensively about a religion are not automatically guilty of insulting its followers, even if the followers feel insulted.

In March, Islamist demonstration in Luton, southern England baracked a parade of soldiers returning from Iraq.

The ruling will have consequences for all future court cases which concern alleged insults to followers of a faith or ideology, including that of Geert Wilders. Islamists will take comfort from the fact that whereas the Public Prosecutor’s Office originally stated that none of Wilders’ statements constituted a punishable offence and therefore prosecution was not warranted, in January an Appeal Court in Amsterdam reversed that decision on grounds that his film was an incitement to hatred and discrimination. Public figures and private citizens who hold views which some Muslims deem to be ‘offensive’ are on notice that they leave themselves open to mass protests, prosecution on human rights grounds and possible violent retribution. The concern is that the net effect of self-censorship in response to such threats will be to enhance the power and influence of extremists.

Drawing the Line
Those who speak of the fascist nature of Islam are referring to attempts by extremists to impose their perverse ideology onto mainstream Muslims and intimidate critics in Europe and across the Western world into a passive acceptance of their demands. Governments stand accused of appeasing if not promoting political extremists as a counterweight to the influence of militants. Many perceive that excessive ­concern for political correctness and public safety constrains officials from defending secular values at the very time when fundamentalists are aggressively seeking to undermine them.

The perceived failure of governments to respond effectively to this threat is fueling potential extremism from the counter-jihadist lobby which views Islam as an ideology, and all Muslims as a threat to Western societies. Islamophobia is on the rise, and with it the risk that Muslim extremists will win further tacit ­support from the moderate majority.

At the recent Quebec trial of a propagandist for al-Qaeda, the defence claimed that in making available online ideological and recruiting materials, his client was merely exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion. Mr. Said Namouh was said to have been driven by a fervent faith to portray as enemies Christians, Jews and other Muslims who did not share his desire for pan-Islamic rule. Accepting that Mr. Namouh’s activities might appear repugnant to some, the defence nevertheless posed the question, “where do you draw the line?” Where indeed! Somewhere, it is to be hoped, between the extremes of Islamo-fascism and Islamo-phobia.  

Angela Gendron was a former intelligence professional in the UK. She is now a Senior Fellow at the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, and is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Buckingham in England.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Perth is Prepared... Are You?
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

An Awakening
The town of Perth was spared the ­devastating ­destruction of the 1998 Ice Storm that damaged many surrounding communities. However, significant ­damage to Stewart Park and the heavily treed ­properties around town required an ­investment of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours to clean up and remove debris. Aside from a power outage that lasted three days, Perth recovered from the storm in a relatively short amount of time. Citizens were thankful their town was back to ­normal very speedily, but they were also aware that a more dangerous  ­scenario could have easily played out.

A heritage worth saving.

Eleven years after the Ice Storm, damage to trees in and around the town has been repaired by nature’s course. The ice storm itself is a distant memory and Perth’s beauty has been restored. But, aware we are that the sky could fall again in the guise of potential emergencies: a water emergency, a black out, a train derailment, a major highway accident or another ice storm. The municipality ­remains vigilant.

Within Canada, municipal is the most visible, accessible and responsive level of government to its citizens. In ­Ontario, it is the responsibility of ­municipal government to take the lead when an emergency occurs. They may ­subsequently be supported by the county, province and federal governments, ­depending on the need. It is incumbent upon municipalities to safeguard their own critical ­infrastructure. In Perth, this includes the ­vital services such as water and sewer, garbage and sanitation, roads and bridges, police and fire services, as well as its governance and municipal administration. In the advent of a municipal emergency (flood, hazardous goods spill, natural disasters, power failure, etc.), it is essential to maintain these services in order to keep the town running as smoothly as possible during, and following, the emergency. It must also rely on other infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and communication facilities. If neighbouring areas are affected by an emergency and an evacuation is necessary, the municipality must be prepared to accommodate an undetermined number of neighbouring evacuees. If the town’s roads and bridges are not operational, emergency ­vehicles will not get through and evacuation to or from Perth cannot take place.

Perth’s New Emergency Plan
Perth’s previous emergency plan was est­a­blished under the province of Ontario’s Emergency Measures Act in which it was stated municipalities “may” develop their own Emergency Plan. In response to the ice storm of 1998 and other major events, the province of Ontario amended the Act in 2003 to become more prescriptive. Municipalities now “shall” have an Emergency Program. Regulations were added to the Act in 2004, and was revised once again in 2006 to become the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (for more info, visit www.e-laws.gov.on.ca).

In compliance with this new act, Perth, like  all municipalities in Ontario, is required to have a designated Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC) on staff, an Emergency Management Program  Committee (EMPC), a Community Control Group, and an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC – both primary and ­alternate). Annually, it must conduct training and an exercise. To develop an effective, viable emergency plan within the emergency management program, it is the responsibility of the EMPC to conduct a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) in order to identify the potential risks most detrimental to their community.

These risks are then plotted on a graph based on probability and consequence. Probability is based on the historical occurrence of the risk, such as: no history in the last 15 years; five to 15 years since last incident; or multiple/recurring incidents in the last five years.

Consequence is determined by the impact on public and property, for example: negligible; limited (injuries, minor or localized damage); substantial (widespread ­injuries; severe damage and temporary disruption of basic services); or high (fatalities, disruption of essential services, and long term disruption of basic services).

Once hazards are identified, plans are developed to mitigate each one, beginning with the most probable.

Fixing ice storm damage in 2003.

The Community Control Group (CCG) is made up of the municipality’s Mayor, the CAO, the Chair of the EMC, various ­department heads and representatives of emergency services, and community ­organizations.  Each member has a defined role to perform. Under the Emergency ­Management and Civil Protection Act all ­members of the CCG and supporting staff must participate in annual training and an exercise to ensure they are prepared for a potential emergency.

The municipality must also take into account current trends and threats such as climate change (floods, power outages), possible acts of terrorism, and possible new hazards. Continuous planning remains at the forefront to ensure the health and safety of public and to be ready should a municipal emergency arise.

The differences ­between a personal emergency and a ­municipal emergency should be understood.

A personal emergency could, for example, be a house fire, flooded basement, a fall at home resulting in injury, a car accident, or other calamity impacting an individual and/or members of their household. In these instances, a 9-1-1 call will result in help from the appropriate service: fire department, paramedics, or police.

A municipal emergency, on the other hand, has the potential to impact a large segment of the population. It can pose a threat to infrastructure that the municipality is safeguarding and potentially impede business continuity in both the private and public sectors.

It is important to note that many not-for-profit institutions and non-government organizations also deliver vital services. Municipalities are heavily dependant upon such private organizations to deliver ­products and services, particularly during emergencies. They should also have business continuity plans in place.

Personal Responsibilities
Emergencies can happen at any time, and utilities, roads and crucial supplies can suddenly become unavailable. Individuals must be prepared to survive on their own for at least 72 hours (three days), at home and at work, while the ­municipality ­attends to the emergency and the protection of critical municipal ­infrastructure.

A 72-Hour Emergency Kit can easily be put together and kept at home and at work. While many of the items are common sense (non-perishable food items and water for family members, pets and staff) other items may not come to mind as easily. The kit(s) should also contain cash (as bank machines may be disabled), personal identification, medications, and contact phone numbers. Full details on suggested kit contents and emergency plans can be found at www.ontario.ca/emo. Citizens of Perth are informed periodically by mail to be aware of the Emergency Response Plan that is available on our web-site, www.perthcanada.com.

Critical Infrastructure, such as hospitals and bridges, must be secure during a crisis.

Parents should also be aware of the emergency plan at their child’s school and instruct their child accordingly. At work, in the event of a major emergency, ­employees should know what will be expected of them and how the employer will work with them.

Perth has developed an emergency management program to safeguard its citizens. Keeping the public apprised of updates and factual information prior to, during and following the emergency is also part of Perth’s emergency management ­program. Different media (radio, TV, internet, and others) will be used to communicate with the public during an event. Perth is doing its part to be prepared, are you? Can we help?

Lauren Walton is Clerk and CEMC for the Town of Perth. She can be contacted at: lwalton@town.perth.on.ca
© FrontLine Security 2009



Who is Putting You at Risk for ID Theft?
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

When it comes to protecting their identities, consumers are being threatened and pressured from all sides. It’s not just scam artists who are doing everything they can to separate you from your birth date and social security number, it’s often the online Web sites you choose to use, and – most troubling – those in authority as well.

Let’s look at that last item in detail. In their interest to protect themselves or provide some level of public transparency, many authorities with whom we’re forced to entrust our information don’t trust us back, and in doing so, they’re putting our financial and physical security at risk.

Take, for example, a first visit to a doctor’s office. Nearly all doctors will insist on a copy of your medical insurance card. Then you’re asked to fill out a medical ­history form. Finally, almost every doctor’s office in the United States insists on taking a photocopy of your driver’s license. Whether you’re sick or not, if you refuse to provide all the information requested, you’re usually turned down for care.

So your choice is putting your identity at risk or seeing doctor.

How is that information protected? In most cases, it is put into your “file,” which is just that, a paper file. Hundreds of those files litter most doctors’ offices or live in unlocked file cabinets, just waiting to be stolen or copied. Do doctors’ offices perform background checks on every single employee and temp worker they hire? Of course not.

What about schools? The University of Central Florida automates all stages of the application process. If you want to go to school there (or many others in Canada and the United States), you need to get online and upload everything from ­application essays to references. UCF is extremely careful about online security, so every three months, without fail, you’re required to change your online password. If you don’t change your online password, the school simply deletes it.

To get back in is a simple process, though. Your identifying number for the school is your social security number. And your password is your birthdate. These are items, along with a scan of your driver’s license, that you’re required to provide to the school as part of establishing your account and filling out your application. If you choose to protect your identity and not provide a scan of your driver’s license or give them your SSN or birthdate, you don’t get to go there.

So your choice is putting your identity at risk or going to college.

Once a company “goes public,” meaning it can trade stock with the general ­public, there’s some expectation of public disclosure. But in most American states (and some provinces), if you incorporate even a small private company, your incorporation documents are stored online for all to see.

These documents include not only the home addresses of all the board members (a serious personal security risk), but scans of the actual signatures of the key individuals. As you might imagine, if you don’t sign your state forms, your application to start a company is going to be denied. And if you don’t sign your yearly state reports, you’re liable for fines and other punishment.

So your choice is putting your identity at risk or having your own company.

Sadly, when confronted with the risk to identity theft they’re subjecting you to, most state/provincial officials, school bureaucrats, and medical office clerical staff neither seem to understand the problem, nor care. Their interest is in getting what they need from you, and your need for self-protection is often way down on the list.

In today’s mostly virtual world, it’s not a physical lock or key that safeguards your life savings, your financial data, your most closely guarded secrets, and your potential for increased indebtedness – it’s your “account.” It could be your email account, your online banking account, your credit card account, your frequent flyer account, your online stock trading account, your insurance account, or even your World of Warcraft account.

Virtually all your wealth, your savings, your thoughts, your plans, and your history is “locked up” in one online account or another. With the right “keys,” all of that information is ripe for the taking.

Many levels of Hacking
In July, 2009, a Frenchman in his early 20s who goes by the handle “Hacker Croll” conducted a penetration attack of the Twitter company. He started by searching online for lists of Twitter employees and what public information he could find: information about their birth dates, their email addresses, names of pets, family members, etc. Once he compiled a large enough list, he was able to begin his attack.

It began by using the “I can’t remember my password” feature of Google’s Gmail. If you can’t remember your password, most online services will offer to give you access to your account if you can provide some other “secret” information – like your mother’s maiden name, your date of birth, your pet’s name, and so forth. Hacker Croll had compiled such a list, and was able to guess his way into the email account of a Twitter employee.

There, he found information that helped him guess and derive other passwords, and gain further access. Within a short time, he had access to a treasure trove of confidential information about the ­Twitter company and its employees – from corporate strategies and deals in progress to credit card numbers of employees and founders. Hacker Croll then packaged all this information up, and sent it to an online news site, which (although they should have known better) chose to publish some of the more juicier bits of news.

In September, 2008, shortly after having been nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the U.S. Republican Party, Sarah Palin found the contents of her Yahoo email account published widely on the Internet. Using her birthday published on Wikipedia, a young hacker named “Rubico” published information on her Yahoo account to a site called Wikileaks. The FBI investigated and linked Rubico to one David Kernell, who was later indicted.

Both of these incidents were made possible because email accounts are often the “gateway accounts” to much more confidential information. Many of our more financially secure accounts use email as the ultimate way to reset passwords and gain access in case login information is forgotten. So if a hacker can get into your email account, he has a much better chance of getting into your financial data.

More than 10,000 stolen Hotmail logins and their associated passwords were recently posted on the sharing site Pastebin. Two days later, the BBC reported that the same site contained more than 20,000 stolen account names and passwords for Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, EarthLink and Comcast. Although the exact method of ­acquisition for these lists is still unclear, authorities have indicated that it was likely through a combination of phishing schemes and trojans (programs hosted on unsuspecting computers, sending information back to a master database).

So why were the passwords posted online? They were mostly accounts beginning with “A” and “B” and were probably a deranged form of advertisement. The posting effectively said, “Look, we have the A’s and B’s. Don’t you want the rest?”

This was followed by a surge in spam related to a fake Chinese electronics shopping site, where the overall goal of the scheme was to separate consumers from their credit card numbers. And that’s really the most common goal of all identity theft: to separate you from your money. Oh, sure, sometimes there’s a “Hacker Croll” out there who wants to show off what he can find, or a David Kernell who has a twisted political motivation, but the primary reason your identity is stolen is money, pure and simple.

Lately, there has been a surge in medical ID theft, particularly in the United States. Medical ID theft occurs when your personal information is stolen and used to gain access to medical care and drugs. In addition to the potential for financial ruin, use of your identity for medical procedures and drugs can “jeopardize your own future treatment,” according to notices from the American Association of Retired Persons.

In solving the identity theft problem, we have created something of a Gordian Knot of inter-entangled interests. Many of our authorities (schools, governments, doctors, hospitals) insist that we provide more and more proof that we are who we claim we are. Online services and even financial institutions want to make our lives easier, making it possible for us to recover account information when we inevitably lose our passwords – and crooks want to take advantage of it all.

According to the nonprofit Indentity Theft Resource Center, consumers now spend an average of 600 hours (about $16,000 in equivalent work time) to recover from a single instance of identity theft. As far back as 2003, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said that more than 10 million customers were victims of identity theft every year (and you know that’s increased a lot over the past years).

So what do we do about it? Consumers need to become more diligent. Instead of using obvious passwords, you should start to use random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. I know it’s a lot harder to keep track of those passwords, but there are a many free password tracking programs that can help. Change your passwords regularly. You should also get regular credit reports and check all your accounts at least monthly to make sure there’s no unexpected activity.

Banks and online services are constantly working on improving security. Many banks now require users to choose a picture password, as well as an alphanumeric one. If you can’t pick the correct picture, you’re not allowed into your account.

But the real improvement needs to be with those in authority who seem to think their own security is more important than that of consumers.

Governments, agencies, schools, doctors, and hospitals need to be trained on identity theft risks and they need to understand that they are potentially hugely liable if their records, often containing thousands of pieces of confidential information, fall into the wrong hands.

It’s not enough just to improve the security of record keeping. More, they need to stop putting citizens at risk, stop posting confidential and identity information to the Internet, and stop collecting copies of thousands of drivers’ licenses and other ID that could then fall into the wrong hands.

Bottom line: identity theft is a huge mess. We need to be on the same side, and we need to do everything we can to make sure consumers’ identity information is ­protected.

David Gewirtz is the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, a member of the FBI’s InfraGard program, and a member of the U.S. Naval Institute. He can be reached at david@ZATZ.com.
© FrontLine Security 2009



One Last Thing
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 4)

The purposeful monitoring of activities and actions of persons or things of specified interest has been with us from cavemen watching neighbouring tribes to Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride to chain smoking cops with binoculars on stakeout. What’s changed, and always will change, are the tactics, technologies and targets the ‘good guys’ use in the identified service of the common good. What’s also changed is the sophistication of the ‘bad guy’s’ wilful surveillance of the ‘good guys’ or what’s known in criminal and security circles as counter surveillance.

Although I’m sure that someone somewhere concluded that the invention of the telescope was a game changer for surveillance and the right for citizens to be free from it, the sheer explosion of technologies deriving from ever evolving mechanized computing capacity truly has created a capacity… and a vulnerability… that is unprecedented. Quite simply, the state (and the bad guys) now has the ability to remotely, and with pre-set analytical specification, monitor, record, report, and share the most minute details of the activities, movements, and communications of persons. How and why they choose to do so and who gets to decide how, when, where and for what purpose they are authorized to do so, is a profound societal question we ignore at our peril. While the Twitter Generation may not yet appreciate it, there is a direct link between privacy and liberty.

With that overarching caution in mind, it is entirely appropriate to use these modern technologies to confront and thwart those persons who threaten our safety and security. This is not to say that all surveillance technologies should be viewed equally. The RFID surveillance technology favoured by the Americans, for example, may have its value but it is significantly susceptible to inappropriate use through tracking of persons beyond the intended identification purpose.

Canada’s track record of the purposeful, targeted use of modern surveillance technologies suggests that bureaucratic comfort levels are only sloooowly moving beyond telescope deployment. This lethargy isn’t explainable because of a lack of awareness. Indeed, in a blunt acknowledgement of the need for action, RCMP Commissioner Elliott responded to the pointed question from border-savvy MP Gord Brown about “…how (he) would describe the marine border surveillance capacity currently on the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence River?” by saying: “My forthright response is one word, and that is, it’s inadequate.”

When CBSA officials "explain" that deportees like Edmund Esemo, who's been deported eight times from Canada for ciminality and hundreds like him can't be detected sneaking back into Canada (through the front door) it's an admission of failure.

That admission was made on 8 February 2008, yet Canada has still not deployed the available automated analytical marine surveillance technology that can recognize, track and provide real time information for interdiction and intelligence purposes. Could it be that our decision to not seek the surveillance information is because we still don’t have a border interdiction capacity?

The bureaucratic mantra of “no news is good news” comes to mind.

The same bewildering inaction can be seen in our failure to deploy face recognition biometrics at ports of entry or for our name-based No Fly list – which was obsolete on the day it was implemented. When CBSA officials “explain” that deportees like Edmund Ezemo, who’s been deported eight times from Canada for criminality, and hundreds like him, can’t be detected sneaking back into Canada (through the front door), it’s an admission of failure. It’s no different when legions of repeat sex offenders, parolees, gangsters and spousal abusers somehow get ‘lost’ or escape their supervision and commit more crimes despite the availability of electronic monitoring with full GPS tracking capabilities.

On a non technology level, can someone explain why we don’t track and report crimes committed by persons on bail, conditional sentence, parole or subject to criminal deportation? That information is surely relevant to how we might change laws and policies so as to prevent crime by taking proactive measures to deny convicted criminals the opportunity to commit more crimes. It might also provide insight into exactly how well our justice system and those who supposedly run it are performing, which, in turn, might explain why this available data is not reported.

The use of surveillance technologies and techniques is at the core of safety and security strategies as never before. Making the right decisions for the right reasons and getting on with it is one imperative. Another is doing what we do with eyes wide open.          

Scott Newark is FrontLine Security’s Associate Editor.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Gateways and Corridors
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

A Strategic Imperative
The Canadian Gateway and Corridor system is a vast, country-wide network of land, sea, air, and cybernetic interconnections that weaves each of the pillars of our democracy – social, economic, environmental, international, security, and defence – into a national fabric. From a national security perspective, the idea of a gateway and corridor system of systems is a purely strategic notion. Having started with the canals, roadways, ports, and railroads built by the Fathers of Confederation, these trade and transportation systems have evolved, allowing Canada to prosper in a rapidly changing “global village” marketplace.

By positioning ourselves to connect the expanding blocks of international enterprise and trade, Canada’s evolving gateway and corridor system will reinforce our status as a trading nation in the global economy. Security is a critical part of this strategy development – not just to keep Canadians safe, but to remain competitive and assist in marketing our particular attributes to other partners in world trade.

The security threat environment is dominated by the specter of terrorist attacks against western civilian targets – many of which have been perpetrated against transportation targets. Terrorism experts are in general agreement radicals will continue to seek targets of highly symbolic value that would cause either mass casualties and/or major economic disruption.

In the medium to long term, Dr. Elinor Sloan of Carleton University has opined that “terrorist attacks will have an economic focus with transportation and cybernetic systems being among the most attractive targets.” Moreover, Michael D. Greenberg, in his study “Maritime Terrorism: Risk and Liability” for the Rand Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy, holds that maritime terrorism has specific importance to Al Qaeda in that “Osama bin Laden has emphasized that attacking key sectors of the Western commercial and trading system is integral to his self-defined war on the United States and its major allies.”

However, while terrorism captures the imagination, other threats pose challenges to Canada. Devastating natural catastrophes (from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to the South East Asia Tsunami, to SARS) have occurred more frequently in the last decade and have had a huge impact on security systems. Moreover, organized crime is more widespread and more ­powerful than ever before – and may be developing links to ­terrorism through failed states, piracy, and trans-border law breaking. When assessing vulnerabilities and risk levels, an all-­hazards approach is deemed the most thorough.

The terrorist threat, however, remains the foundation of national security thinking and planning. Ongoing assessments of all transportation security sectors keep the process of risk mitigation alive and well. While the USS Cole incident in 2000 and the attack on the French oil tanker Limberg in 2002 alerted the marine security community close to a decade ago, and pirates off the Somalia coast are currently in the news, it is the 26 November 2008 terrorist attack on the Indian port of Mumbai that has renewed vigor in the marine security sector. Western governments, including the US, UK, and Canada, pondered how 10 heavily armed terrorists from the group Deccan Mujahideen (affiliated to Al Qaeda) could slip into central Mumbai harbour in a fishing boat, completely undetected, and wreak havoc on an alerted but unsuspecting financial hub port city. Two defining facts stand out on the security front:

  1. the change from suicide bombing to a commando-style attack methodology; and
  2. the approach, and apparent exit, from the water – this was a maritime security event.

It appears as though the Indian authorities were alerted by the U.S. about possible maritime attacks prior to the event. However, after a week of high-alert, security forces relaxed… and then the attack occurred. Multi-jurisdictional confusion was apparent when the act was finally perpetrated. Situational awareness was incomplete both in surveillance and in reacting effectively to actionable intelligence.

Port of Halifax.

It is lesser known, yet Caroline Alexander reports on the Bloomberg.com website, that Britain’s security services have recently “intercepted up to 100 suspects posing as postgraduate students who aim to acquire weapons material and expertise.” There is a link to Al Qaida here, and security alerts for airlines and airports (among other critical infrastructure) are based on this sort of intelligence and information.

As a result, the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory System warns that the current threat level is HIGH (Orange), for domestic and international flights. The British M15 Security Service website lists the ­present threat level from international ­terrorism to the UK and its overseas interests as “SEVERE.” We have recently (April 2009) seen an embarrassing, but partially successful, ­harvest of 12 Al Qaeda followers in Britain. There seems to be no question that Al Qaeda is alive and planning its next move in numerous countries.

Is it any wonder that governments are trying to understand the challenges of the various national security sectors, and to build a more integrated security system that injects risk-management solutions into threatened areas of national interest? The Canadian government is no exception; our national security agencies and departments are challenged with the task of keeping in step with our allies who are obviously feeling a great deal of discomfort from the present level of threat. We are linked; this threat is ours in Canada as well.

The Emergence of Gateway and Corridor Systems
In the last five years, the world economy has grown more than during any other five-year period since World War II. As one of the most trade-reliant nations in the G-8, Canada is benefiting from this global growth. By the end of 2008, exports and imports of merchandise had both hit record highs, reaching $461.8 billion and $436.7 billion, respectively. At the same time, the global economy is changing significantly. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU) gave rise to trading blocs that have underpinned the new integrated global marketplace. Coupled with the emergence of new economic powers such as China and India, global marketplace integration is driving the distribution of economic activity, as well as the expansion of world trade. The recent global economic downturn can only be a bump in the long road of this trading behavior evolution.

The challenge for federal and provincial governments today is to move ahead of the emerging trade flows to create policies and commercial frameworks that provide Canada with a competitive and secure transportation advantage for the development of trade that flows to and through North America. As Graham Parsons, Barry Prentice, and David Gillen point out in their paper, North American Gateway and Corridor Initiatives in a Changing World, this will undoubtedly involve increased infrastructure investments, inland ports, gateway and corridor designations, improved border clearances, grade separations and competitive, regulatory legislation.

Parsons and his team continue to highlight that the emergence of “Gateway and Corridor Systems” has forced nations to redefine how they organize and develop their trading behavior to match their strategic capabilities and situation.

A gateway city can be viewed, in this landscape, as a transition point or node which separates a barren hinterland on the one side and a well-developed and energetic environment on the other. It acts as a funnel for goods and services to enter a market area. The hinterland side often has a narrow trade corridor with trucking, rail, or maritime transportation services that connect the gateway city to a distant consumer city – another gateway in another market. The well-developed side usually has a thriving multimodal network of transportation services and infrastructure.

When two or several corridors cross, as they exit from the hinterlands, hub cities emerge. Winnipeg and Montreal are examples of hub cities due to their multi-modal connections for east-west and north-south corridors in the central portion of North America. Cargo traffic is funneled through a gateway city or port because it sits at a strategic position at which transportation costs can be reduced along a land corridor or a sea route. Ocean ports like Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Halifax are obvious gateway cities.

Gateway cities that are inland and away from the ocean, like Calgary or Windsor for instance, can emerge due to the hinterland influence of nearby geographical discontinuities such as mountain ranges, deserts, lakes and rivers, and political boundaries such as international borders.

Canada’s G&C Initiatives
Recognizing the change that was upon them, Canada’s Government developed a National Policy Framework for Strategic Gateways and Corridors in 2007, to advance economic competitiveness in the rapidly changing field of global trade and commerce. In the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (2006), the Government had previously indicated that a select number of regions were potential targets for an integrated “gateway and corridor” approach, based on international trade and commerce volumes of national significance. A robust foundation for these initiatives has developed from Canada’s substantial investments on transportation and border security since 2001. Future federal gateway and corridor strategies will be guided by the 2007 framework – focused on transportation systems of road, rail, marine and air infrastructure of strategic significance. Security is a major part of this policy evolution.

The Government also launched the Building Canada infrastructure plan. With a budget of $33 billion between 2007 and 2014, Building Canada will provide more funding for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure. It includes $2.1 billion through the new Gateways and Border Crossings Fund to improve the flow of goods between Canada and the rest of the world by enhancing infrastructure at key locations such as major border crossings between Canada and the United States.

Three strategic gateway and corridor (G&C) initiatives have been identified: Ontario-Québec Continental; Asia-Pacific; and Atlantic. A fourth initiative may be possible as the northern climate changes over time: an Arctic G&C system which would use rail, sea, and air to handle cargo flows between Asia, North America, and Europe. Once again, Canada could become a linking piece between the U.S. market and other large trading bocks of the world. While security of the supply chain is a significant feature of gateways and corridors, the G&C approach (national policy framework) is also about linking policy and physical infrastructure together with relationships that ­transcend traditional institutional boundaries (public/private; federal/provincial/municipal).

Ontario-Québec Continental G&C
The Ontario-Québec Continental Gateway and Corridor system is the key avenue for international trade between Canada and the United States, as well as to Canada’s other Gateways. It is a fine example of a fully-developed, multimodal, international trade and transportation system.

Ontario and Québec businesses have easy access to 135 million consumers within 1000 km – an easy one-day trip for a trucker. On the Ontario-Quebec Conti­nental Gateway website, it states that the top five Canada-U.S. border crossings are located along the Ontario-Québec corridor. This represents almost 65% of total trucks crossing the Canada-United States border. They each display impressive trade figures: Windsor-Detroit ($1139.8B); Niagara-Fort Erie ($66.2B); Sarnia ($49.0B); Lacolle ($20.5B); Lansdowne ($14.3B).

Port of Montreal

The trans-continental rail system provides access to major markets all across North America. Moreover, the St. Lawrence Seaway provides access from the Great Lakes to trans-Atlantic shipping. Keep in mind that to navigate from one end to the other, one must cross the Canada-U.S. border 37 times. Finally, and impressively, Canada’s busiest airports for freight and passengers are in Ontario and Quebec. They are a key component of just-in-time courier deliveries and multimodal connections.

The Windsor-Detroit Trade Corridor is a key component of the Ontario-Québec Continental Gateway. On 18 June 2008, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced an end-to-end transportation system that will link Highway 401 to Interstate 75 in Michigan. It was also recently announced that the preferred access route on the Canadian side, the Windsor-Essex Parkway, would start construction as early as summer 2009. The new crossing will include state-of-the-art facilities to respond to modern multimodal requirements that this corridor presents.

On 2 June 2006, the Governments of Ontario and Quebec signed a Cooperation Protocol with an agreement on the transportation sector. Among other objectives, it sought to promote the development of the Ontario-Quebec trade corridor and to collaborate on improving the efficiency of all transportation modes within. On the Quebec side, the new section of Highway 30 will create a southern bypass for the Greater Montreal Area. This infrastructure will help integrate highways 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 and 540 into a more efficient network to better connect the Greater Montreal Area, Ontario, the Maritimes and U.S. markets. According to the planned schedule, the new bypass will open in 2012.

Asia-Pacific G&C
This network of transportation infrastructure includes British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their principal road and rail connections through hub and gateway cities on a corridor stretching across Western Canada, connections through major Canadian airports, and then arches south from the Winnipeg hub towards the United States, through key border crossing gateways into the American heartland.

Calgary and Edmonton owe their location and size to the mountain passes that provide smooth access for railways through the Rocky Mountains. They have evolved as inland gateways which distribute goods from British Columbia to the western prairies. Edmonton has a special role in that it houses the CN western rail operations centre. Winnipeg, on the other hand, was founded as an eastern gateway to the prairies and has developed into a central hub for the continent. Calling itself the Manitoba International Gateway, Winnipeg is a major hub for the Asia Pacific G&C System. It brings together Trans Polar Air Flights to Krasnoyarsk, Russia, container hub and multimodal services for the Asia Pacific Corridor through to the U.S. and Mexico (CN lines to Memphis) and, looking forward, the Churchill Maritime Gateway linking Europe and Asia via sub-arctic maritime corridors. Finally, Fort Frances and other border crossing towns are gateways to the U.S. for the Asia Pacific cargo flow – which mostly travels west to east and then south into the American heartland.

Across corridors and through gateways - by air, rail, truck and sea - containers are transported to market.

Atlantic Canada G&C
Future trade patterns and demand for deepwater ports point to growing potential for Atlantic Canada – in particular, rising container trade, increasing use of the Suez route for Asian exports to North America, and the expansion of the Panama Canal. Major shippers are increasingly considering North America’s east coast to balance inbound and outbound logistical flows. An integrated approach to the Atlantic Gateway and Corridor could significantly enhance Canada’s ability to capture a larger share of growing trade flows between North America and foreign markets. A memorandum of understanding from 2007 provides the framework for collaboration between Canada and the Atlantic provinces toward an Atlantic Gateway strategy. In the broader national context, it would include the linking of the Atlantic system with other gateway and corridor strategies.

A Lexicon for National Security Strategy
Canada has embarked on a bold strategic venture by focusing effort and investment on the National Policy Framework for Strategic Gateways and Corridors. The inclusiveness of this project and the fact that these corridors span all regions of the country will ensure strategic “comprehensiveness.”

As we have seen, this venture brings a new lexicon to the national security community. Its foundations lie in the integration of government, businesses, infrastructures, and trade flows, as well as international linkages and domestic stakeholder communities. Practitioners of security will have to become accustomed to this lexicon and this new, integrated way of looking transportation and trade flows. They will also have to adapt their vocabulary to the evolving multi-modal and interlinked movement of cargo and personnel and the effect on the people, environment, economics, international relations, defence, and security of Canada.

The Gateway and Corridor approach brings together traditionally disparate players into a common partnership with a vision linking trade, transportation, and security. It also leverages assets and information. Governments are both setting the rules and investing in infrastructure and technology while the private sector works in partnership, making significant investments themselves.

The need for improved security in the post-9/11 era is evident. The altering of Canadian mindsets about security in both public and private communities challenges future Canadian governments – for it will take years of effort to bring about full-scale acceptance of the notion of security as an integral part of life in Canada.

Just as the British government has published The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Security in an Interdependent World (March 2008), Canada must take formal steps to publish its own National Security Strategy.

Because Canada is known as a trading nation, the strategic notion of secure trade and transportation Gateway and Corridor systems linking Canadian interests to suppliers and markets in the world economy is a major foundation pillar for such a modern Canadian National Security Strategy.

We have Gateways and Corridors, and are working to secure them. It is time for the overarching national strategy to balance the management of scarce resources to improve our management of these national interests in the future.

Recently retiring as a Navy Captain after a 33-year career in the Canadian Navy, Peter Avis is now a Senior Consultant at Lansdowne Technologies Inc. in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Disaster Resilience: GSAR
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

An ice storm strands thousands without access to power or heat. As home temperatures drop, authorities are stretched to the limit and turn to the local volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) team to check on house-bound residents. But some SAR team members are unable to assist because they must look after their own families who don’t have heat in their own homes, and others can’t be reached because the automated pager system is down.

When disaster strikes, communities will rely on GSAR responders to provide surge capacity.

Variations of this scenario could include a flood, cyber-attack, earthquake, wildfire or tornado that storms into town.

What enables volunteer Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) responders to assist their communities under such catastrophic conditions? The answer lies in a high degree of individual, organizational, and ­institutional resilience.

The concept of resilience is used in many disciplines, such as in ­ecology, psychology and emergency management. The federal and provincial governments define resilience as “the capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure.” Generally speaking, disaster resilience refers to the ability to survive disasters with the smallest possible impact, and the ability to recover from them quickly.

Resilience receives much attention internationally. Increasingly, it is also being stressed in Canada, particularly within the emergency management community. Disaster resilience was, for example, the theme of the 2008 World Conference in Disaster Management, sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness. Inevitably, this paradigm shift will come to Ground SAR, hastened by the expanding use of GSAR responders during disasters, and the improved organization of GSAR throughout Canada.

Some disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, are so significant that they overwhelm any response machinery that stands against them. Nevertheless, even in the most severe of cases, increased resilience at all levels will mean reduced impact and faster recovery.

The Importance of Resilience
Why is it important to build a resilient GSAR capability? For one, our society is more interdependent and interconnected than ever before. While this has obvious benefits, disasters can cause catastrophic consequences. For instance, the centralization of critical infrastructure can provide significant financial and efficiency benefits, however, in case of failure, large numbers of people are affected. The heavily networked urban populations do not have the dependable safety net of their rural neighbours, who can depend on wood stoves, generators, wells and individual septic systems – and that country “savoir-faire” with hammer and baler twine. The world’s population is increasing, and so too is the number of people living in hazard-prone areas, such as along the coast or on flood plains.

The number of disasters worldwide is undeniably on the rise, putting us at risk more frequently than ever before. Additionally, communities are sometimes faced with new threats for which they may not be fully prepared, such as tornadoes in areas unaccustomed to them, or the current H1N1 flu pandemic.

When disaster strikes, communities will rely on GSAR responders to provide surge capacity. More and more jurisdictions are tasking GSAR responders to check on house-bound citizens, fill sandbags, assist with evacuations or in shelters, or perform other crucial tasks. The resilience of GSAR teams is, therefore, a vital component of emergency preparedness.

A GSAR system that can assist during emergencies may well prevent a crisis from escalating to loss of life, injury or suffering; property or environmental damage; disruption of utilities; and/or negative impacts on local businesses. Clearly, a strong GSAR team can help to reduce general stress on the community.

Tasking agencies, and the public they serve, expect a reliable GSAR capability. By not responding, or by responding poorly, a team risks not only its reputation, but also the reputation of all volunteer GSAR units throughout Canada.

Challenges to Developing Resilience
The key obstacles to resilience relate to the volunteer nature of unpaid GSAR. Many GSAR teams struggle with attracting the required number of volunteers. Understandably, volunteer work is often prioritized after family or work commitments. Volunteers are usually not pre-screened with respect to leadership and project-management abilities, and are often assigned roles based on enthusiasm and availability rather than experience or personal suitability. Differences in leadership, vision, corporate culture, or risk tolerance may mean that the team’s direction is contested or the team’s activities are inefficient.

Efforts to develop resilience must compete for attention with efforts to support or improve day-to-day operations. It may already be difficult to get members to participate in standard training and fundraising activities. Additional requirements could take away from core activities.

Every team, no matter how well funded, must prioritize its investments according to a number of criteria, resilience being but one. The high cost of robust equipment and redundant systems is often prohibitive. A standard laptop is fairly inexpensive, but demands careful transportation and handling, as well as a sheltered operating environment. Laptops hardened against the environment are available, but cost more than seven times as much.

Disaster-resilient GSAR in interconnected on three different levels: individual, organizational and institutional. All critical systems demand redundancy.

No national consistency in GSAR structure, training, or standards exists. Volunteer GSAR falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories, and for this reason the responsibilities accorded to volunteers differ from one jurisdiction to the next (for example, few volunteer GSAR teams manage searches in Ontario and Quebec, whereas this is the accepted practice in the rest of Canada). There is no standardized team structure or training curriculum, although some jurisdictions are advancing along that path.

Levels of Resilience
Disaster-resilient GSAR is an adaptable system that is interconnected on three different levels: individual, organizational, and institutional.

The individual responder is the backbone of volunteer GSAR, yet shocks are usually most frequent, and felt most severely at this level, since his or her exposure is greatest and resources are fewest. For example, looking after a sick family member or pet, a demanding project at work, or car trouble can quickly prevent an individual GSAR responder from being available during disasters.

The Government of Canada has developed a “72 Hour” emergency preparedness guide to increase the resilience of individuals to disasters (www.GetPrepared.ca ). In a three-step process, Canadians are urged to know the risks of disaster in the area where they live (for example, an earthquake-prone area); to make an emergency plan (such as pre-establishing who would look after the family pets); and to assemble an emergency preparedness kit (including essential supplies like a flashlight, food and water).

At the absolute minimum, GSAR responders should be prepared to look after themselves and their families for this three-day period, so as not to burden a strained system. To ensure that GSAR responders are never part of the problem, seven days of self-sufficiency is a better target for them.

In addition to being able to look after themselves for up to a week, responders will need to arrange their lives so that they are free to leave home or work for days at a time to assist others, and that their families, pets, property and job responsibilities are adequately taken care of without them.

Search and Rescue, First-Aid, Critical Incident Stress and disaster training should be current. Advanced training and experience gained from exercises and incidents has the added advantage of increasing the resilience of responders. The team’s policies and Standard Operating Procedures should be understood by all members.

In addition to the supplies in the emergency preparedness kit discussed earlier, equipment specific to the responder’s GSAR and disaster roles must also be at the ready. This means the volunteer’s SAR response pack, but also work gloves, work boots, safety glasses, hard hat, hand saw, shovel, and so on.

Lastly, responders should ensure that they have multiple ways to connect into their GSAR organization. Do they have a contact list for the other members? Do they know who lives near them? Do they have several means of communication, or are they relying exclusively on cell phones?

Organizational resilience requires adaptability at the team level. The first step to a disaster-resilient GSAR team is proficiency at the team’s primary mandate: GSAR ­incidents. This includes being able to carry out multiple simultaneous or consecutive missions, mid-week deployments, and extended responses.

Team equipment must be robust. It must work reliably in extreme conditions – in the rain, heat, cold, or the dead of night – all without access to grid power. All ­critical systems demand redundancy; for example, if using an automated pager ­system, is there a human-based backup? A complex system that requires special skills will be vulnerable to collapse during a disaster; for example, advanced software or specialized radio equipment will rapidly become useless if the people trained to operate it are not available. Member and resource directories should be created and widely available to the team.

It is vital that team procedures and member roles are kept simple. During a disaster, a lower level of overall functioning must be assumed; people cannot work at their best when physically and mentally exhausted. As in any extended mission, specialty personnel may not be available. It is therefore necessary to assume some roles will be filled by members without specific training. Checklists and instruction sheets should be developed for mission-critical equipment and procedures.

The following five-part test can be used to determine whether a team’s equipment, procedures or processes build resilience:

  1. Is it necessary? Does the equipment or procedure contribute meaningfully to the response?
  2. Will it work in a “worst-case” ­operating environment?
  3. Is it intuitive and simple? Can it be understood or operated by someone with no previous training?
  4. Is it sustainable? Can it be used longer-term without taking away from other important areas?
  5. Is it professional? Does it support GSAR responders as professionals, and inspire confidence in their work by tasking agencies, the media, and the public?

Recruitment and staffing must also consider resilience. Does the team have enough members? Have the right people been recruited? Are they able to improvise, are they flexible, reliable, and available? Are they personally resilient as discussed above? Are their talents effectively employed within the organization?

Training is a major aspect of developing resilient GSAR. More and more disaster-specific content is finding its way into the training program of many teams. The importance of regional exercises, preferably with tasking agencies and adjoining teams, cannot be overstated. Incidents and exercises should generate lessons learned, which need to be shared and followed up on.

Teams need to develop healthy relationships with other volunteer groups, provincial and national associations, tasking agencies, surrounding communities, and the media. Participation in annual meetings, engagement with these groups, and joint training and exercises are helpful to developing these relationships.

Resources of the team may be supplemented by others called upon through both mutual aid agreements and contracts with service providers. While these extended services may, depending on their source, be affected by the same disaster and thus unavailable, strong networks of mutual aid and service providers are a factor in developing resilience. Such agreements or contracts should not be counted on for mission-critical assets – during a true disaster such assets will likely be unavailable. If you don’t own it, you don’t control it!

GSAR organizations do not operate in a vacuum, but rather interact with tasking agencies, communities, and bodies that organize or support GSAR. Collectively, these mechanisms comprise the institutional level.

GSAR teams are now commonly being written into municipal emergency management plans. During disasters, tasking agencies will call upon GSAR teams to provide surge capacity. To use these resources most effectively, knowledge of the benefits and limitations of GSAR, protocols for working together and trust must be established ahead of time. If resources to address Critical Incident Stress are available through these tasking agencies, this needs to be identified.

Strong community support also helps build resilience. For example, if a SAR team is adopted by the community as “their” SAR team, this will help support GSAR responders during an emergency. In the same vein, a good relationship with the media is also essential. Employers also have a role to play in ensuring that GSAR responders are available to help during disasters, by being flexible with work schedules and leave.

More broadly still, the governing bodies of GSAR have tremendous leadership potential in ensuring a resilient capability. The GSAR Council of Canada, the RCMP as the National GSAR Champion, the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS), the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC), provincial SAR associations and provincial emergency programs, could all support disaster-resilient GSAR. This support could take the form of policy guidance; standardized disaster training; the sharing of information, such as best practices and lessons learned; insurance; and equipment.

Given the challenges facing volunteer GSAR, it is rarely possible for responders and teams to become disaster-resilient overnight. Rather, it is necessary for individual responders, GSAR teams and supporting institutions to deliberately choose the resilient option going forward. It’s about creating a culture of resilience to be prepared when disaster strikes.

Granted, a certain amount of resilience is inherent in human ingenuity and in those networks already in place. Most of those affected by disaster will find ways to overcome, as they always have.

Aggressively building disaster resilience in GSAR will, however, reduce ­property damage, injury, suffering, or even death, as well as the burden on the team and its responders. After all, disaster-resilient GSAR ultimately benefits all Canadians as a component of the emergency preparedness of their communities.

Roland Hanel is the Search Commander and Chief of Operations for Ottawa-Gatineau’s Search and Rescue Global 1. In 2008, Roland was awarded a Certificate of Achievement by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat for his contribution to Search and Rescue in Canada. A lawyer by training, he now works in Emergency Management for Public Safety Canada.

This article reflects the personal views of the author and is not intended to represent the views of Search and Rescue Global 1, Public Safety Canada, or the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Integrated Security
Increase Awareness and Decrease Response Times
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

Today’s security environment demands integrated solutions that minimize risks by maximizing the available information to security personnel. Fortunately, software solutions can help to tie legacy systems together into a common operational picture to help you get the most from your investments.

Advanced Detection Capabilities & Accurate Situation Assessment
Detecting security breaches and other ­hazards is critical. An effective software package provides the capability to interface with access control systems, intrusion detection systems, radar systems, and video analytics, allowing operators to both view and control devices. An ideal incident detection application provides comprehensive information to help determine whether a response is appropriate.

Intergraph® offers geospatially enabled technology that provides a framework for interfacing with a variety of physical security systems. The integrated digital map lets operators visualize alarming devices, whether from access control, intrusion detection, or video analytics, in relation to available response forces.

Accurately assessing the cause of an alarm triggered by a detection device is ­critical to determining the appropriate response. Look for a system that supports different video and alarm systems through a common interface to consolidate the data into one operational picture. It should also support contention control, so rules can be invoked to manage how operators and the system control cameras.

Intergraph’s Video Assessment software allows a two-way interface to third-party video management systems. Devices and cameras are associated through the geospatial engine so that alarming devices queue nearby cameras to command-and-control operators. This alleviates the need for operators to rely on video walls and human operation to identify the right camera to assess rapidly evolving situations.

Response and Consequence Management
The ability to respond quickly, decisively, and appropriately to detected threats is essential to your integrated security capabilities. Look for Web-enabled computer-aided dispatch applications, such as Intergraph’s, which has a proven history of reliability; the ability to handle large-scale, multi-agency operations; and the technology to integrate alerts from third-party physical security devices. The most power­ful systems are tightly integrated with an advanced geospatial engine with digital map display, and can provide resource ­recommendations based on incident type, available forces and their locations. Also, seek out systems with an intuitive user interface that can operate on a variety of platforms for greatest interoperability.

Consequence management is critical to minimizing damage and recovering from a major event. Software such as Intergraph’s integrates with your security solution to provide an environment to build and manage response plans to minimize harm to people, property, and infrastructure.

Effective solutions will allow you to define detailed response plans, and then move through a series of pre-planned checklists specific to the incident in progress. The best applications can coordinate responses across all levels of an organization, as well as among agencies, to ensure that no task is unallocated or forgotten. The system should provide feedback on plan compliance throughout the life cycle of each event to enable status checks and course corrections. Action plans should be archived in a common security database and incorporated by the system in real-time as part of the response plans for future situations.

Finding the Right Provider
Your integrated system must be 100 percent reliable and accurate from day one. Choose a vendor with a strong history in the public safety and security market, who has many worldwide customers with various-sized installations. Look for a dedicated team of specialists who can perform your custom system development, installation, and support, and work with you until you have the system you need to meet your security needs. Designing, building, and deploying systems in a complex security environment must be performed with end-users in mind to ensure an effective transition, while maintaining ongoing operations.

Since 1969, Intergraph has been the leading global provider of public safety and security technology. The company offers a security solution that is a single source for the integration and management of detection devices, situational awareness through a common operation picture, and a comprehensive dispatch system for multi-agency response. Intergraph is the choice of defence teams and security agencies in more than 27 countries; with solutions that that protect 1 in 12 people in the world.

Integrating your security system – whether large or small – through appropriate software is an important next step for your organization to take. Look to an integrated software solution to help you to quickly prepare, prevent, detect, assess, respond, and recover from incidents – even in unprecedented circumstances.

Shane Loates is Intergraph’s defence and federal government security expert in Canada. shane.loates@intergraph.com
© FrontLine Security 2009



Kosovo: After Independence
2007/2008 What a Difference a Year and a UDI Makes

© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

Mitrovica is Europe’s most divided city – Belgrade’s last bastion of influence in Kosovo – a thorn in the side of both the newly sovereign Kosovo Assembly in Pristina and the international community overseeing Kosovo’s new status. It is the flashpoint of most post-independence violence and demonstrations, and the seat of power for the illegal ­“parallel-institutions” that divide Kosovo’s internal governance with that of Belgrade’s.

Crossing the Ibar River from South to North Mitrovica, one experiences the veritable partition of the new Kosovar state. This partition is adamantly denied by the United Nations, European Union and Kosovo Assembly despite being all too real.

While Kosovo’s new flag is symbolically emblazoned with what had been Kosovo’s entire landmass as a Serbian province, in practice, partition along ethnic lines has legally taken place. In response to Serbian attacks on national border and ­customs buildings ­following Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), the customs borders (but not “official geographic borders”) of Kosovo were redrawn. Goods entering the country of Kosovo from Serbia are now declared at new customs crossings approximately 30km south of the Serbian/Kosovar border running along the Ibar River. It is only safe for customs agents to carry out their work south of the river (despite being a half hour drive to the Serbian border).

Guarded by KFOR, these new customs structures serve as the true border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia, symbolic certainly, but so too in legal practice. In a region where borders are all important for national cohesion among the young countries of the former Yugoslavia, it took Kosovo mere months to redraw theirs. Worse still, the border division was carried along ethnic lines between Serbs and Albanians, much to the chagrin of the internationals.

The concept of partition is not a new one within Kosovo, but its occurrence for customs purposes represents a loss for UNMIK, KFOR and other in-country international groups. Partition was always avoided by the internationals who wanted to keep the geography of Kosovo intact – if only to symbolize their complete victory for the Albanians. The once minority Albanian population within Serbia held fast to their rights to the entire province, and the internationals secured the province’s borders accordingly.

Those who tended to the ­creation of the Kosovar state therefore scoff at entertaining a partitioned Kosovo, be it now or in the future, official or unofficial. The international community’s denial of partition is rooted in their need to propagate the image of having created a multi-ethnic Kosovo over the past decade. Under the luminescence of Independence Day fireworks, it was the UN and NATO, more so than the Albanians, who smiled at the world’s ­cameras, proudly proclaiming they finally had a success story in the Balkans. In attempting to save face by announcing the construction of a new nation, the international community only served to polarize already bitter and suspicious ethnic groups.

Kosovo-Albanians (and 52 of the world’s other sovereign states) recognize the Kosovo Assembly as the legal government of Kosovo, while Serbs inside Kosovo’s borders respond only to Belgrade and its satellite offices within Kosovo. These offices mirror official Kosovo ministries in areas such as education, justice, infrastructure and telecommunications. For the time being they are funded directly by Belgrade. How long Serbian taxpayers (in “Serbia-Proper”) will pay out to Kosovo-Serbs is unknown, however the reliance of Kosovar-Serbs on Belgrade’s handouts is very much the present reality for Serb communities. Currently Belgrade is happy to bolster its countrymen in Mitrovica with superior-to-Albanian infrastructure like a new sports arena; efficient garbage collection, fiber-optic phone lines, and government salaries double those of the Kosovo Assembly. Should Belgrade’s funding ever cease, the Kosovo-Serbs will face even greater hardships, the ultimate extension of which may well be the disappearance of a Serb minority in Kosovo all together. Despite nationalistic fervor keeping Serb pockets lined for the time being, eventually Belgrade may have to choose between entry into the European Union and relinquishing its rights to Kosovo all together. Faced with such a choice, especially after the initial shock of loosing the province has faded into national memory, the Kosovar-Serb future becomes all the more bleak, with Belgrade likely electing for economy over pride.

The post-war tensions I had seen simmering in 2007 became fully actualized in 2008. The new state is a far cry from the homogenous Kosovo that the internationals would project. Walking the bridges of Mitrovica, one straddles the line between two factions that in a pre-independence Kosovo were at odds, are now truly segregated. Admittedly, Mitrovica has been a symbol of Albanian and Serbian tension since the war’s end in 1999, however, walking the same bridges in a pre-status Kosovo, I was able to move freely and without concern between the two groups. The Kosovo-Serb hatred and exaggerated nationalistic reactions resulting from the UDI are as disheartening and damaging to the reconciliation process as they are disturbing to an outsider.

"Kosovo is Serbia" stickers and t-shirts are sold in markets.

Meandering though the North-Mitrovica streets, one can’t help but be overwhelmed by the Serbian nationalist imagery, much of which was absent in 2007, pre-UDI. Serbian flags hang in every store window and from every traffic light, “Kosovo is Serbia” stickers and t-shirts are sold in markets. Most striking of all in North-Mitrovica are the “death’s head” flags of Serbian regiments, renowned for their involvement in ethnic cleansing campaigns that adorn shop entrances. While frightening in their intent, such symbols reveal the actual insecurity of the Serb population itself within this new Kosovo.

The visible reactions to Kosovo’s independence give way to greater, and ultimately more detrimental, societal and political changes. In 2008, to have an armed Serbian Kosovo Police Force (KPS) officer warn me upon crossing to the Serb side of Mitrovica that, “You need to shoot your pictures and leave quickly. I’m telling you right now that I can’t protect you here,” was a staggering break from the ease and cordiality with which I moved between communities in 2007. Indeed it was a warning I should have heeded. Later I was accosted by Serbian “plain clothes police” from Belgrade who spotted me taking video of nationalistic propaganda at a Serb ­government building. Interestingly, while NATO forces and UNMIK are happy to dissuade Belgrade’s illegal security forces in Kosovo (it is impossible to confirm to what extent such forces operate within Kosovo), they don’t dare stop them outright, for fear of escalation. It was this ­incident that prompted a return visit to North-Mitrovica under NATO guard. I was later told by a local that members of the same police group had attacked Serbian journalists weeks before. For a population that sees itself unjustly painted as a war-mongering, genocidal nationality by the foreign media, journalists are especially hated.

What I took from the Serbian actions against me, and the overall environment of anger and inflated nationalism, was not that the Serbs were playing into an aggressive stereotype, nor that they were proving why they had lost the rights to govern this piece of land. Being showcased were the shortcomings of the internationals to break the climate of ethnic suspicion and escalating aggression that has cursed the Balkans for hundreds of years. The prophetic warning of the KPS officer (the KPS being a creation of UNMIK), represented a failed opportunity, a failed mission, and worst of all, a failed people (both Serbians and Albanians).

The main bridge dividing the Albanian and Serbian sides.

In a region already wrought with the scars of violent nationalism resulting from both perceived and real ethnic attacks, it is the most unwise of climates to have created. Indeed, the internationals too are having to adapt to the new Kosovo they unleashed onto unwilling Serbs and unready Albanians on 18 February 2008. Mitrovica is but the most apparent example of the drastic Serb reactions the international community produced by their irresponsible action of granting Kosovo an immature independence.  

Christopher Bobyn is a video journalist working on a documentary of Kosovo.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Digital Dark Side of the Winter Olympics
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

Highway 99, the Sea-to-Sky Highway, runs from ­Vancouver to Squamish along the Howe Sound on the way to Whistler, and is one of my favorite drives in all of North America. For 17 days this coming February, the Sea-to-Sky Highway is going to be swamped with millions of travelers traversing the 120 miles from Olympic venues in Vancouver to the slopes in Whistler.

Policing crazy drivers won’t be the only security problem at the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics. In fact, traffic is likely to be the least of the many security challenges. More than a million visitors will be descending on British Columbia. With 80+ nations and some 5,500 athletes participating, even a security force north of 50,000 people is likely to have difficulty keeping everyone safe.

And since we’re all intimately familiar with the events of Munich in 1972, all of us want to see the Olympics of 2010 proceed smoothly. There are always threats, of course. They range from overly lubricated sports fans to groups like the ­militant Islamic Uighur separatists, who threatened suicide bombings at Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Reduce the Risk: Go “Lean”
Beyond physical security is the growing issue of cyber-security. Cyber-security concerns are not simply a question of whether a few laptops are getting hacked. In fact, the digital threat ­vector represents issues impacting communications ­confidentiality, identity theft, emergency response, organized crime, and even (perhaps especially) espionage.

Let’s look at the technologies we’re dealing with. Of course, journalists, business people, and most of the security team will be carrying laptops or using desktop computers. All of these connect to the Internet either over a wire-based network or wirelessly, via some variant of WiFi.

When a hacker targets a WiFi connection, he’s usually attempting to gain access to files and personally identifiable information from either the data stream traveling over the network, or by tunnelling into the PC or laptop itself. The other common activity of Internet-protocol hacking over a wireless network, like WiFi, is to introduce some form of spyware or malware to the digital device.

Then there are all those phones. Most Vancouver providers offer GSM service, while a few offer CDMA with somewhat better reception. Most hackers won’t target these mobile telecommunications standards. A much easier (and far more potentially lucrative target) are the Bluetooth and WiFi radios that more and more phones are equipped with.

While many security officials are familiar with WiFi ­hacking, most aren’t quite as familiar with Bluetooth attacks – and these can be particularly troubling.

First, although Bluetooth is intended for close-range networking (within 10 meters or so), Bluetooth devices have been “sniped” from far longer distances – accessed by ­specially modified communications “rifles” from upwards of a mile away or more.

A Bluetooth intrusion can also introduce malware and spyware to the device, although this is far less prevalent than on PCs. More commonly, a Bluetooth intrusion can remove data, notes, contact information, and other personal and private information from the device, most often for later identity theft and other crimes.

However, Bluetooth intrusions have also been used to tap phones, creating a mobile “bug” going wherever the owner goes, as well as a turning the phone into a tracking device, designed to locate the phone’s owner at any time. As you might imagine, with the number of dignitaries at an event like the Olympics, turning phones into mobile tracking bugs opens up a wide world of worry.

It’s also possible to turn a smartphone like a BlackBerry into a bugging and tracking device without Bluetooth. All it takes is a few minutes out of the owner’s hands to launch a Web page and download a software program that hides on the device.

Keep in mind that the typical iPhone and BlackBerry can hold up to about 16GB of data. In 2007, I wrote that a typical phone could hold 64MB, roughly the equivalent of 28,000 printed pages of data (or seven complete sets of all seven Harry Potter novels). But 16GB is 250 times that capacity.

A typical 4-drawer file cabinet holds about 16,600 sheets of paper (trust me, I did the math). 250 times 28,000 pages is about 7 million pages – or 421 file cabinets. That’s what a typical BlackBerry or iPhone can store – the equivalent of 421 file cabinets of confidential information.

If you were so inclined, you could lug those 421 file cabinets onto an Olympic ice hockey rink and you’d be able to fill the entire rink from goalie to goalie – with file cabinets arranged side-by-side. Twice. That’s how much data a typical BlackBerry holds.

It’s easy to see how a hijacked phone can put someone’s safety at risk and how intercepted or stolen data from computers and phones can have a severe impact on privacy, identity theft, and even espionage. People keep extremely confidential information on these devices, and if a phone from a senior government official is hacked or stolen, the information could comprise a motherload of intelligence “take.”

Fortunately, some rather simple practices can reduce the risks of these digital devices measurably. First, turn Bluetooth off. Yes, it may mean you can’t talk on your cute little headset, but I’m sure you’ll survive for a few days. Next, never, ever give your phone to anyone else, and always have a strong awareness of where it’s located. Guard it as securely as you would guard your wallet.

When it comes to your computer, be sure to install a software firewall, keep your virus and spyware definitions up to date, and update all your software before you leave for the Olympics.

When connected to any network at the Olympics, refrain from accessing anything sensitive, especially banking information. If possible, clean your PC of all potentially sensitive files as well – go as lean as you can.

The bottom line is this: a digital intrusion is the easiest way to get inside of all your physical defenses – and the damage done is often orders of magnitude more ­difficult to recover from than all but the most heinous of physical attacks.

David Gewirtz is the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, a member of the FBI’s InfraGard program, and a member of the U.S. Naval Institute. He can be reached at david@ZATZ.com.
© FrontLine Security 2009



One Last Thing
Measuring Success
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 3)

Canadians can be forgiven for wondering which way is up when trying to decipher the flood of news recently surrounding the status of Canada’s actions in security related cases. One day we’re subjected to shrieking headlines announcing the judge ordered “end” of security certificates – complete with a grinning Adil Charkaoui cutting off his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet – and the next it’s confirmed one of the ringleaders from the 2006 Toronto terrorism plots has just plead guilty. Toss in never-ending lawsuits against the Government from self-professed “innocently wronged” terrorism suspects, one-sided, closed door judicial inquiries where the alleged bad guys can’t be questioned, and a growing and impressive track record of terrorism convictions… and the haze thickens.

As is always the case when dealing with government: to get the right answers, you have to ask the right questions… so let’s start there. First the doom and gloom scenario.

What are security certificates, what is their current status and what does that mean for national security?
Security certificates are a decades-old process whereby the federal Ministers of Immigration and Public Safety (then Sollicitor General) could jointly issue a ­’certificate’ that directed the arrest and detention of a non-citizen on the basis that they posed an especially high risk to Canadian security. The grounds for that order had to be reviewed by a Federal Court judge although, unlike regular criminal proceedings and our centuries old historical precedents, evidence could be withheld from the detainee on national security grounds that divulging the full information could jeopardize informants or intelligence gathering techniques. The purpose, as the Chief Justice recently wryly noted in the 2007 Charkaoui case, was to expedite the removal of these persons. When it was legitimately applied to suspected Islamist terrorists, the process came grinding to a halt and the real issue is: why?

A frustrated CSIS officer once explained to me that the security certificate detainees were in a figurative cell with three doors. What he meant was that they were free to walk out of custody at any time… by simply leaving Canada. Guess what? These guys ­preferred Canadian prisons to life in their homelands of Egypt, Algeria, Syria and Morocco. This is an issue because Canada has decided to not deport people who might face the risk of torture back home… no matter what they’d done here or what risk they pose. Think Catch 22. Oh and by the way… all the aforementioned ­countries are signatories to the same UN Convention Against Torture that we’ve decided means we can’t send them home. For some ­reason we just ignore that as they sit next to us at the UN.

When the detainees and their publicly funded lawyers continued to challenge the dysfunctional process itself, it started to crumble. Many commentators today report that the Supreme Court “struck down” the security certificate process in 2007 in the Charkaoui case. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Court did, however, was uphold virtually all parts of the process, including ‘secret’ evidence. It also decided that ­special lawyers, not judges, should review the secret evidence.

This self-serving edit was enacted and the ‘new’ system lurched on until, finally, a few months ago a judge properly acceded to a challenge of the reliability of the ‘secret’ evidence and CSIS was forced to reveal some significant and embarrassing flaws in its ­evidence. The system likely did come crashing down last month when CSIS finally decided that the public risk in revealing their sources outweighed the risk of seeing Charkaoui released. Unless and until we figure out a way to deport these guys, more ‘failed’ cases are on the horizon.

The good news in all of this is that the Government appears to have resolved to implement real improvements to immigration screening and removals that will prioritize Canadian security. They have a strong foundation to build on as, ironically, the same Supreme Court of Canada confirmed in the Charkaoui case that non-citizens do not have a Charter-protected right to enter or remain in Canada. Stay tuned because sensible reforms, long overdue, are coming.

What is the status of terrorism prosecutions in Canada?
In a word… good. After the first terrorism prosecution against Momin Khawaja was successfully concluded earlier this year, the federal Public Prosecution Service has continued with an impressive track record of convictions against Said Namouh in Quebec (a non-citizen who is now deportable) and ­Nishanthan Yogakrishnan (in the Toronto 18 cases), and the largely unexpected guilty pleas from Ali Dirie, Saad Gaya, Saad Khalid and Zakaria Amara (also from the Toronto 18).

The continuing guilty pleas suggest that the bad guys realize that their former jihadi partners might just end up as witnesses against them. Speaking as a former prosecutor, never underestimate the power of self interest. These cases are clearly being well managed by the Public Prosecutions Office. Expect more good outcomes.

Quite apart from the success of these prosecutions, we should never forget the legion of Muslim apologists who expounded at length that these charges were just “anti-Muslim discrimination.” Gee… I guess the ‘woe is us’ crowd were either lying or ignorantly unreliable as the would-be terrorists have now admitted that the allegations against them were correct.

Meanwhile, the extradition proceedings against Abdullah Khadr clearly demonstrates he’s headed to the U.S. although, like others, I confess puzzlement about why we aren’t prosecuting him given his warned, Chartered, inculpatory statements to the RCMP weeks after he returned to Canada.

Speaking of Canada’s First Family of Terrorism, Abdullah’s brother Omar is still in Gitmo thanks to President Obama’s latest rethink of national security.

In summary, outdated laws are on their way to being reformed, and the specially crafted anti-terrorism prosecution sections are working as intended. Our current and future challenge is to prevent rather than just prosecute terrorist crime. We are clearly on the right track.

Scott Newark is an Associate Editor of FrontLine Security.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Cyber Security: Prepare for Attack
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

In the wake of recent cyber security threats such as the Conficker virus scare and reports that the U.S. electrical grid was penetrated by cyber spies earlier this month, a former top U.S. cybersecurity official is sending out a reminder that no one is protected in this new, heavily-interconnected world, and that the best defense to the ever-increasing threat of cyber attack is a comprehensive response plan.

“Even organizations with the best security practices, and tremendous technical expertise and acumen, are susceptible to compromise,” says Amit Yoran, former Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division, and current Chairman and CEO of Herndon, Virginia-based NetWitness Corp. “Gone are the days of protecting yourself by behaving like an ostrich. The real question is how do you adequately monitor, detect and respond when attacks do occur because they inevitably will,” he adds.

According to Yoran, who will be presenting his insights into cybersecurity at the 2009 World Conference on Disaster Management, the use of cyberspace as a means for conducting malicious intent is not only growing at an alarming rate but is also becoming increasingly sophisticated. Recent reports from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicate that more than 100 nations now have formal cyber offensive capabilities in place, including both Western nations and countries such as China and Russia, primarily for the purpose of gathering intelligence.

“Years ago people would broadly scan the Internet looking for vulnerable systems and attempt to compromise them by delivering spam or initiating denial of service attacks,” says Yoran. “What we’re seeing now are far more focused operations where attackers are literally attempting to steal information; they’re targeting individual systems in highly specific ways in order to get the information they’re after.”

Last April, for example, when perpetrators from outside the U.S. wanted to gain access to classified aviation and weapons technology relating to the Joint Strike Fighter program – the U.S. government’s next-generation fighter aircraft – they targeted a specific individual within BEA Systems, the lead contractor on the program. After spoofing an e-mail address from a legitimate source at the Pentagon, they sent an official-looking e-mail containing an exploit that essentially compromised the BEA Systems employee’s computer, establishing a command and control tunnel back to the perpetrators who could then gain access to confidential information. “Even somebody sensitive to cyber security issues would open an attachment like that,” notes Yoran.

Ironically, one of the factors leading to the growing prevalence of cyber attacks is our increasing reliance on technology to deliver critical infrastructure services. People don’t think twice about accessing corporate resources from a home computer, conducting Internet banking or looking at an account statement on-line. But how many of us actually understand what’s taking place behind the scenes.

“We take incredibly complex activities and we basically try to reduce them to a mouse click,” says Yoran. “Any time you ask a computer to do something on your behalf, you don’t really understand what’s happening behind the scenes and that creates a grey zone that leaves you open to vulnerability,” he explains.

Another factor is the increasing level of interconnectivity between systems. By connecting metering and production systems to business processes and business systems, energy companies are able to drive efficiencies for consumers, such as being able to offer on-line access to account statements or perform remote meter readings. At the same time, however, they expose themselves to increased risk by connecting systems that weren’t intended to be connected in the first place, and therefore may not have been designed with the proper levels of security in mind.

While he tends not to be an alarmist, Yoran will be sharing some practical cyber security advice with attendees at the upcoming World Conference on Disaster Management. Building on the premise that “you don’t know what you don’t know,” he will be urging risk management decision makers to gain a better technical understanding of their computer environments as a starting point for preparedness. Secondly, he will underscore the need for a responsible decision process when it comes to managing the interconnectivity of systems.

“You cannot unplug in today’s environment; you cannot disconnect. It’s a ­practical impossibility,” says Yoran. “So the question becomes how can you adequately risk-manage the points where you do ­connect.”

Yoran says he has received too many phone calls at 2:00 a.m. over the years to be optimistic about the likelihood of an event occurring. That’s why he treats a cyber threat like most other threats: you put the best protection in place and then ultimately it comes down to managing the incident when something bad happens.

“Should you shut down access to the compromised system? How should you contain the problem? Do you have the information needed to understand the attack, and engage the help of law enforcement and other experts? These are the types of incident response methodologies and decisions that need to come into play,” says Yoran. “It’s a matter of preparedness and you need to ask yourself, ‘How prepared am I for the kind of unnatural disasters than can occur in cyberspace?’”

Amit Yoran, former Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division, and current Chairman and CEO of NetWitness Corporation.
© FrontLine Security 2009



The Extra 'S' in Arctic SAR - Sovereignty
© 2009 FrontLine Defence (Vol 6, No 2)

SAR and Sovereignty made front pages recently with the announcement by President Bush of U.S. Arctic Policy, and with the miracle on the Hudson – when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, a U.S. Airlines pilot (a former Air Force fighter and nationally rated glider pilot) ­completed a forced approach with an Airbus 320, ensuring the safety of 150 souls.

The United States desperately needed a win, and was handed one on this day. American first responders and civilian mariners in New York, no strangers to difficult incidents, responded in true Bravo Zulu fashion. These two seemingly unrelated events impact Canada’s Arctic SAR capability which I will explore in this article. Canada has neither the time nor the luxury of gliding on the important issue of Sovereignty and the entwined responsibility of SAR (Search and Rescue) capabilities in the north. Like our American neighbours, as ­witnessed in New York Harbour, we need to bring all the players, including Northerners, into an integrated Arctic SAR strategy and incident command system. A true team approach is needed. It is an integral and underlying component of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.

Recent changes in global climatic conditions are rapidly changing Canada’s arctic. How other nations view the Arctic and the potential resources and the geopolitical landscape is also rapidly changing. The story is being written as the future unfolds. In the past, Canada has been reactive to outside forces which potentially have challenged Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic. We have seen the EU, the U.S. and Russia all making claims – the Australians have even gotten into the act. It is time for Canada, as part of an infrastructure investment, to become proactive in the Arctic. As Mary Simon, national leader for Inuit in Canada, and President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) has stated, “sovereignty starts at home.” It is the same way with SAR.

Canada’s challenges to its Arctic sovereignty are not restricted to the 21st century. They can be traced back to uninvited foreign whalers making use of Herschel Island in the Beaufort Sea in the 19th century. This illegal activity led to the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) patrolling, by dog­sled, from Dawson City to the Arctic coast.

In recent years, many FrontLine ­articles, including my own, have addressed various Arctic issues. Of pressing importance now, is to examine the pressing subject of the ­interaction of sovereignty and Search and Rescue from a broad perspective.

The subject of SAR is very much a real and pressing issue rather than a ­perceived threat. The provision of SAR is a fundamental basis of a state’s control of its lands and waters. Canadians can be proud of its world class SAR professionals in the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard, plus police and firefighters. These groups are backed by experienced and dedicated volunteer professionals.

When it comes to Arctic SAR, whether marine or air, we need to take a functional and practical approach to search and rescue. Canada’s Arctic, including the offshore waters which make up the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), is as immense as the number of challenges this harsh environment can present.

Canada must be prepared for the major incident and increases in the multitude of local incidents occurring as a result of sea-ice changes brought about by climate change. This situation cuts across marine, air and ground SAR.

Canada’s National SAR program has been in place since 1986. The RCAF first commenced dedicated SAR operations in 1947. The Chief of the Air Staff is responsible for strategic Canadian Forces’ SAR Policy. CanadaCommand has operational control of Canada’s SAR resources for marine and aviation incidents. The lead minister is the Minister of National Defence. For most of the recent past, SAR issues have been driven by operational matters. I believe we should challenge that thinking and look at the reasons SAR has become a very important and pressing need for Canada to address – from a sovereignty perspective.

We need to start thinking about SAR broadly, in the policy context, and develop a unified approach to benefit Canada.

The provision of SAR in the Arctic is one of Canada’s greatest challenges. A rescue is a rescue – it makes no difference if the lives saved are Canadian or foreign ­citizens on land, ice or at sea.

As we all know, the height of an emergency is no time for a meet and greet. It is the same with Arctic SAR. Canada and Canadians need to make friends now – long before an incident. This is a fundamental cornerstone to a strong and robust incident command structure, not unlike the Canadian Forces Command and Control System. The National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS), a unique federal agency that coordinates SAR policy across all the federal departments has begun the development of a Northern SAR strategy. This Strategy is aimed at bringing all parties together, and progress has been made.

We saw the benefit of a unified command system during rescue operations after the January landing of a US Airways plane into the Hudson River, and a month earlier, when both engines of a Cessna failed over the Hudson Strait, just south of Baffin Island. The two Swedes scrambled onto the ice as the plane sank, and were reached 18 hours later (in –13°C weather) by a Canadian fishing vessel with ­assistance from the Halifax Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.

Challenges to Canada’s sovereignty are only going to increase with a melting arctic. We see that in the recently announced U.S. arctic policy which has been consistent over the last 50 years. Canada needs to take a proactive approach and deal with real rather than perceived threats.

The Search and Rescue component of sovereignty is often overlooked. Canada has signed a variety of international agreements to provide SAR services, and thus plays a key leadership role at the ­International Maritime Organization (IMO). For example, Canada is a signatory to the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979 , the International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and International Civil Aeronautical Organization (ICAO) agreements which have matured into a SAR blanket that cover the world’s oceans and airspace. In addition, Section 130 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, gives broad power to Marine Controllers to divert civilian vessels and aircraft in searching.

SAR is a key component of the exercise of a nation’s sovereignty and the interaction of alleged rights of transit passage under the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The right of transit through the Northwest Passage (which the United States considers an international strait), is subject to the right of transit passage. The LOSC also covers the right of overflight for aircraft above the strait (Article 38), not just the right of ­surface vessels to navigate through such waters. The responsibilities and legal implications therefore require that SAR requirements be carefully considered and accounted for.

The importance of Search and Rescue to Canada’s sovereign rights has received very little attention in the policy context and international legal debate. The provision of SAR in a state’s territory and area of sovereignty is a central component of statehood. The concept of sovereignty, like that of international law, is not static but evolves in reaction to changing circumstances and world conditions.

One recent developing example of evolving international law and states’ rights is the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia. Customary international law is what is generally accepted by like minded nations and which can be codified into international conventions. Sovereignty is defined in part as:

    “Paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and its administration; the international independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation…”

The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, chaired by Senator Bill Rompkey, summed up the SAR and sovereignty nexus in its 4th Interim Report:

Search and Rescue (page 34)

    “Obviously, more shipping and navigation, resource development activity and tourism will increase the risk of Search and Rescue (SAR) incidents. Witnesses considered the ability to provide SAR to be an important means for Canada to demonstrate its commitment to sovereignty in the vast and sparsely populated region that is the Canadian Arctic.” [Emphasis added]

The development of international law is also fluid. Sovereignty provides Canada with a fundamental basis to control and administer and respond to, for example, a marine or aviation SAR incident. The international community expects that Canada has the ability, will and capability to respond in an emergency. Canada has, as noted earlier, international obligations to provide SAR (in addition to providing SAR generally for its own citizens). For example, with Arctic overflights, ­foreign Airlines are paying Canada (through NAV Can, a private sector company and the country’s civil air navigation services provider), monies to over fly Canadian airspace. It is expected in the international community that Canada can respond adequately to a SAR incident.

 Canada needs to take a functional approach to search and rescue. We need to develop clear thinking around this very important national subject. We need the same skill and expertise and thinking developed on SAR policy as that witnessed daily by our SARTechs, Rangers and the dedicated volunteers that beef up our National SAR response.

Contrary to the current “save money” thinking, one cannot simply look at the geographical distribution of SAR incidents in deciding where to place scare resources. A country is more than a balance sheet or the statistical loci of SAR incidents.

Clearly, Canada’s Arctic is our future. We now need to put in place, and buttress, and strengthen, and invest in Canada’s sovereignty infrastructure. We have seen the wisdom of that thinking. Incidents will and do happen. When they do – all eyes will be on Canada and how it responds.
The exercise of Canada’s jurisdiction does not occur in a vacuum. I would like to focus on specifics, such as building on existing strengths that have been developed and implemented as part of Canada’s Northern Strategy, the evolution of Canada Command, and the 2008 announcement of the Canada First Defence Strategy – these have an important impact on Canada’s Arctic and the exercise of jurisdiction.

The importance of examining Canada’s exercise of jurisdiction in a holistic fashion which will highlight the linkages and interdependencies of a whole of government response, involves issues that cut across government departments.

In an area as vast as the Canadian Arctic, it makes sense to utilize all available assets to develop a team approach through a joint effort which is now happening in marine security as a result of 9/11.

In a recent policy announcement, Admiral Thomas Keating of the United States Navy, the Commander of Pacific Command, said that soft power “underscores the fundamental importance of ­sustained and persistent cooperation and collaboration in times of relative peace to mitigate situations that could lead to conflict and crisis.”

This applies equally to Arctic SAR. Cooperation between all players in Arctic SAR requires a sustained investment in our sovereignty infrastructure and long-term funding to develop a unique Northern based response that is buttressed by our existing SAR infrastructure which is based predominantly in Southern Canada.

It is important to understand that Search and Rescue in the Arctic is directly related to Canada’s claims of sovereignty. SAR is merely one government function of a sovereign nation – a lens by which to view the exercise of jurisdiction.

Arctic SAR is not without its challenges and Canada has pioneered the development of Arctic SAR. We can be proud of our expertise and the heroism of the professionals and volunteers who make SAR work in one of the world’s most hostile environments.

Such expertise and dedication could equally apply to marine pollution response, aids to navigation, enforcement of shipping legislation, salvage capability, marine domain awareness or hydrographic charting to name a few of Canada’s exercise of jurisdiction related to in transit international Arctic shipping. All of these government functions require Canada to take positive steps. Over time, there will be increased marine traffic (including expedition cruises vessels) entering Canadian Arctic waters, and over 300 daily polar commercial flights transiting Canadian Arctic airspace. Many of these, commercial aircraft carrying in excess of 300 passengers. This is happening, and the future is now.

A robust, whole of Government, Arctic SAR response requires the input and assistance of Canada’s First Canadians – the Inuit. We need out-of-the-box thinking and new creative, effective solutions. This is nothing new for Northerners – we need to merge the latest in technology with ­traditional skills to make this work.

There is a great deal of activity in our Arctic. In 2005 there were 114,986 international and 119,505 domestic overflights – and those numbers are increasing. It is the same in Arctic waters.
Approximately 150 large cruise ships frequent the west Greenland coast, with over 120,000 people on board. The M/S Explorer, which sank off Antarctica in 2007, was a frequent visitor to the Canadian Arctic.

At any one time on an average day, there are more people in commercial aircraft overflying Canadian Arctic airspace than the entire population of the North. This is a real situation not a perceived one, and one that likely keeps the Commander of CanadaCommand awake at night.

In a recent issue of the Canadian Naval Review, Spring, 2008, Colonel (retired) Brian Wentzell, a fellow of the Dalhousie Centre for Foreign Policies Studies, set out the differences between sovereignty and security in a comment “A Rebuttal of Defending the Empty North” on an earlier article comparing the Canadian and Australian experience that appeared in the Winter edition which is directly relevant to our discussion. Col Wentzell writes:

    “As Rear Admiral Robert Timbrell eloquently observed in 1979: ‘Sovereignty is not the same as security… [S]ome of the sources that threaten our sovereignty could be our strongest allies for the preservation of security. Whereas our security is bound up with our allies, our sovereignty is our own problem, to be defended by ourselves alone.’

    “The need for the defence of national sovereignty is not a uniquely Canadian requirement; it is the core function of every state. With the emergence of environmental threats arising from the exploitation of fisheries, marine transportation, tourism, and newly accessible minerals and hydro­carbons, the concepts of sovereignty have been extended by international agreement and national legislation to include ­regulation of activities in vast areas contiguous to the territorial sea. Most countries, excluding the United States have signed the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty which legitimizes many of these actions.”

RAdm Timbrell’s comment rings true. At issue here is not our basis for claiming sovereignty but the challenges to exercising lawful jurisdiction over Arctic waters that is at issue. Other nations will challenge our right to exercise jurisdiction. International legal scholars, Faculty of Law Professors Ian Townsend-Gault of the University of British Columbia, and Don McRae of the University of Ottawa, have made similar comments. This is why it is important for Canada to exercise its SAR jurisdiction over the Canadian North in a clear confident manner, and in a holistic fashion, for both vessels and overflying aircraft. We do not need to ask any other nation’s permission. Canada cannot defend its sovereignty solely through military force but must utilize all sovereign powers to control, monitor, regulate and enforce its laws over international shipping in its Arctic waters. In this way, SAR is a cornerstone of ­functional Sovereignty.

The National SAR Secretariat is developing a Northern SAR strategy and bringing all stakeholders together in a ­collaborative manner. This must include innovative solutions, a stable northern ­presence, a variety of airframes, public and private sector input. Most importantly, we need to have input from the North.

We need to get this Arctic SAR Strategy completed. Any landing you can walk (or swim) away from, is a good one. ­Captain Sullenberger might be a good choice to lead a discussion session on Arctic SAR. He has a unique perspective to share.

A robust and broadly-based Canadian Arctic SAR capability – involving the Inuit, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Canadian Forces – backstopped by the latest in space based technology, new airframes and icebreakers, the latest sensors, and a solid underlying policy will be the symbolic flag of functional sovereignty which will be draped across the Arctic, strengthening Canadian Sovereignty.

An investment in SAR sovereignty infrastructure is an investment in Canada’s future. It has to be done. A strong Canadian SAR capability in the Arctic will, like our flag – Stand for Canada. It will ensure that Canada glides confidently into its Arctic century.

Joe Spears has been involved in Arctic SAR, survived an Arctic forced landing, and recently testified before the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on Arctic SAR.
© FrontLine Defence Magazine 2009



Unnatural Disasters
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

A severe tornado ripped through the city centre of Atlanta, Georgia in March 2008.

Paleoclimatology shows extremes of climate change affecting weather. For example, the Milankovitch orbital cycles and solar radiance ­variability change the amount of energy reaching the Earth’s surface. These and other natural effects are measured, understood and included in climate models. But we are now facing weather fluctuations that can only be explained by examining human intervention in our one ­possible test-tube experiment, Earth. If our experiment fails, we’re gone. We know, from scientific evidence that:

  1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, causing a rise in atmospheric temperature of at least 1ºC for every ­doubling of its ­concentration.
  2. In the past 150 years, humans have increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2 from 280 parts per million (ppm) to over 385, an increase of 38%.
  3. Approximately 57% of emissions from fossil fuels have been accumulated in the atmosphere; the rest has been absorbed by oceans and biomass (e.g., trees).
  4. The oceans are becoming more acidic (confirmation of their absorption of CO2) which is having a destructive effect on coral reefs worldwide.
  5. Increased atmospheric water vapour resulting from CO2 warming has a feedback effect that is ­doubling the impact of increased CO2.
  6. Other feedback relationships show that each doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in a global average temperature rise of between 2-4ºC.
  7. Global average temperatures have risen by about 0.7ºC in the past 150 years. We’re almost halfway to the danger mark.
  8. Other factors are having an impact on temperatures but they do not explain the long-term rise.
  9. CO2 and ­temperature have a mutually reinforcing positive feedback relationship, a rise in one causing a rise in the other, both leading and ­lagging.
  10. There is a ­significant risk of reaching “tipping points” after 2ºC, possibly resulting in runaway devastating impact on the Earth’s climate.

Incidents Are on the Rise
Craig Johnstone, the Deputy High ­Commissioner for the UNHCR has ­commented that:

“Mitigating the effects of climate change is not the task for future generations; it is the most pressing task of our lifetime. If we underestimate the humanitarian implications of this threat, the consequences will be profound.”

He bases those comments upon observations of what is happening now. It’s going to get worse.

Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Commonwealth UCL-Lancet Commission, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum and the Ontario College of Family Physicians (among others) have all published studies about the impact of ­climate change on extreme weather and health and how to adapt, here in North America and around the world.

With our intervention, with our habits, we are changing our world. We are exaggerating what used to be called “natural ­disasters.” Where does nature end and ­humanity begin?

How Has Extreme Weather Affected Us?
In Chris Mooney’s book “Storm World,” the renowned science journalist discusses the severity of storms and the politics behind denial of the science. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has documented an increase in tropical high clouds associated with severe storms and rainfall. They have also seen an increase in the severity of Atlantic hurricanes. There is no “smoking gun” to identify global warming as the specific culprit ­behind hurricane Katrina or other cyclones yet there is evidence pointing to increased frequency and severity, with resulting damage and death.

Drought and urbanization were the ­ingredients for Atlanta’s perfect storm. On 14 March 2008, a tornado swept through the downtown area, its 130 mile-per-hour winds ripping holes in the roof of the ­Georgia Dome, blowing out office windows and trashing parts of Centennial Olympic Park. This event was so rare in an urban landscape that researchers immediately began to examine NASA satellite data and historical archives to see what weather and climatological ingredients may have combined to brew such a storm.

Though hundreds of tornadoes form each year across the United States, records of “downtown tornadic events” are quite rare. The 2008 Atlanta tornado – the first in the city’s recorded history – was also unique because it developed during extreme drought conditions.

Europe experienced an historic heat wave during the summer 2003.  Compared to the long-term climatological mean, ­temperatures in July 2003 were sizzling,  soaring above 40°C (104°F). More than 52,000 died. Was that a natural disaster?

Extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme rain or snowfall, extreme drought and severe storms are all “natural” hazards affecting health in Canada and anthropogenic climate change is increasing both the frequency and severity of each. According to a recent report by Health Canada (Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive ­Capacity) the total number of Canadians affected by natural disasters rose from about 80,000 (1984-1993) to 580,000 (1994-2003); and 51% of all Canadian disasters were weather related.

The 2001-2002 prairie drought led to a loss of more than 41,000 jobs, economic losses of $3.2 billion, and for the first time in 25 years, zero or negative farm income.

This year has already seen early drought conditions causing crop and herd loss and severe hardship to prairie farmers. Inevitable climate change, already triggered, will result in more frequent and severe droughts in western Canada and the USA. Yes, it has happened before but it’s getting worse.

Economic losses from the 1998 eastern Canada ice storm totaled $5.4 billion, at the height of an unusually strong El Ninõ Pacific warming, affecting the southern jet stream.

The summertime Arctic sea ice cover is diminishing much more rapidly than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Multi-year ice is down by 40% since 2005 and the total ­volume is down by 19%. We may see an ice-free Arctic ocean by 2030. Glaciers and ice shelves in Greenland and western Antarctica are accelerating their melting into the oceans. Coupled with increased thermal expansion, worldwide sea level is accelerating, threatening lowland flooding. This has already led to a refugee crisis in Bangladesh, with severe destruction of low-lying agricultural land.

Journalist Gwynne Dyer predicted a scary future in “Climate Wars” (available from the CBC “Ideas” series). One of the consequences predicted by governmental security agencies is a risk of regional warfare triggered by overpopulation and food scarcity, a result of climate change. We will see increasing demands from “climate refugees” from affected areas to safer ­ones, like Canada.

An overview of the leaders' final working session on the last day of the GB Summit.

What Can We Do?
The G8 (plus 5) conference held in L’Aquila Italy set a goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the point when severe consequences become obvious, to be achieved by having the G8 reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, with a global goal of 50%. Unfortunately, they defined no baseline, leaving the reduction goals open to a wide range of interpretation and implementation. It had been a goal of the Kyoto accord to use a base of 1990 but several countries, ­including Canada, regard the 80% goal as “aspirational.” The Canadian government has set a goal of 70% from a 2006 base; the nationwide increase in emissions rose by 26% between 1990 and 2006.

Nature magazine published a study on 30 April 2009 which emphasizes the ­urgent need for emission cuts beyond what is likely to emerge, given the L’Aquila “aspirational” goal.

The study stated in part “Recent G8 Communiques envisage halved global GHG emissions by 2050, for which we estimate a 12-45% probability of exceeding 2°C – ­assuming 1990 as emission base year and a range of published climate sensitivity distributions. Emissions levels in 2020 are a less robust indicator, but for the scenarios considered, the probability of exceeding 2°C rises to 53-87% if global GHG emissions are still more than 25% above 2000 levels in 2020.

 One of the stumbling blocks in negotiations leading up to the 2009 UNFCCC Copenhagen COP15 conference in December is the lack of agreement concerning the apportionment of burden concerning greenhouse gas emissions. A research team led by Princeton University scientists has developed a new way of dividing responsibility for carbon emissions among countries.

The approach is so fair, according to its creators, that they are hoping it will win the support of both developed and developing nations, whose leaders have been at odds for years over perceived inequalities in ­previous proposals. “Most of the world’s emissions come disproportionately from the wealthy citizens of the world, irrespective of their nationality” one author (Chakravarty) said, noting that many ­emissions come from lifestyles that involve airplane flights, car use and the heating and cooling of large homes. “We estimate that in 2008, half of the world’s emissions came from just 700 million people.”

Rather than having the “developed” world bear the entire brunt remedial costs, they showed a roughly equal distribution of responsibility and proposed accountability among four groups – the USA, China, OECD countries minus the USA, and non-OECD countries minus China. Let’s hope that the Copenhagen negotiations create an equitable and effective mechanism, now necessary to avoid catastrophic unnatural disasters.

Natural disasters are unavoidable but we can reduce the frequency and severity of these unnatural events.

Mr. Alan P. Burke (B.Sc., RMC) is the President of Orcagis Inc., focusing on zero-defect software development and modelling in the fields of public safety, public health, energy and the environment.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Social Networking: The Dark Side
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

When it comes to social networking, it’s not what you know, or even who you know – it’s who knows you. And that’s pretty much where the trouble starts.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn are the increasingly popular community services that are designed to help people stay in touch. According to Nielsen Company research, more than two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit social networking sites at least once a month, and nearly 10% of all time spent online is devoted to social networking.

In addition, growth in “member communities” is now twice that of any of the other five most popular sectors – and that includes search and email. The total amount of time spent by more than 100 million users on Facebook alone increased by a whopping 556% from December 2007 to December 2008.

With growth this fast, a reach this large, and a community of relatively undisciplined users, social networks are attracting scammers and criminals. The bulk of social networkers are between the ages of 18 and 49 – prime employment years, and ages where a mistake today could haunt them for many years into the future.

Social networking is designed to invite quick, off-the-cuff comments and updates. Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind?” while Twitter asks, “What are you doing?” Unfortunately, many users type in answers without thinking. One bright star “tweeted” the following on Twitter:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Since Twitter is an open network that anyone can read, her prospective employer read her “tweet” and now she doesn’t have to worry about the commute or her level of job satisfaction.

Another rocket scientist took some time off from work, telling her employer she couldn’t work in front of a computer and needed to lie in the dark. Unfortunately, during the time she was supposed to be too sick to use a computer, she was happily updating her Facebook page. After seeing the minute-to-minute updates, her employer decided to give her all the time in the world to update her Facebook page, since she’d no longer be needing to report to her job.

Many employers are also concerned that their employees will leak confidential corporate information via social networks, spend way too much work time playing with Twitter and Facebook, and possibly compromise the company’s security.

What does your so-called “friends list” say about you? I’m not a big social networker, but I maintain a rarely-used Facebook page. Most of my Facebook “friends” are people I don’t know, but felt obligated to accept into my friends list when they told me they were fans of my writing.

I decided to visit the Facebook page of one potential “friend,” only to discover that this European was a member of the Communist party. I work with the American national security apparatus and I can’t be “friending” a member of the Communist party. Then, one day, another “friend” (also someone I don’t know), invited me to his:

“Family Fun Show/Paul’s B-DAY Party – Turning 27 means Party Hats, Heroin, and Dead Hookers”

Even though it’s clear there was an attempt at humor, I couldn’t be involved in anything like this and immediately “unfriended” the guy.

But here’s the thing: what you say on Twitter and Facebook will be archived for years. A search done in 2029 – when Paul is Barack Obama’s age – will likely turn up his party invitation. And while Paul might just be a young, carefree guy now, what if Paul wants an important job or one where his reputation and character are important? Will “Party Hats, Heroin, and Dead Hookers” be his downfall?

Will a log of Twitter or Facebook postings provide future “palling around with terrorists” albatrosses for candidates in 2012 and beyond?

Malware, phishing and identity scams
A recent poll of IT managers by antivirus vendor Sophos indicate that a quarter of businesses have been the victim of spam, phishing or malware attacks via sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.

Because social networking sites are public and reveal to the entire world who your circle of contacts is, con artists are able to use the information to trick unsuspecting users into sending money to foreign nations. Rather than receiving a spam message from an African prince, users are now getting desperate pleas that appear to come from their own friends, apparently in trouble and needing help urgently.

Many of these sites offer “apps” (small application programs that users can install) to run on their social networking sites. These apps are often pushed by friends who are unaware of hidden malware contained in the software. Sophos reports than nearly one third of users have been spammed on social networking sites, while almost one fourth (21%) of users have been the victim of targeted phishing or malware attacks.

Physical security and stalking
Finally, we come to the most scary aspect of social networking — issues of physical security. Kids, women, and other often-targeted potential victims are actively providing almost a complete roadmap to attack. Social networking users constantly post what they’re doing, where they’re heading, who their friends are, and even, using newer networks that show their physical locations... exactly they actually are at any given time.

The potential for horror is enormous. If a criminal can easily find out where you are, what stores you frequent, what your daily habits are, who your friends are, and even what your personal food, entertainment, and beverage preferences are, you can be targeted with a level of ease never before possible.

The bottom line
As a cybersecurity expert, social networks scare the heck out of me. I accept that they’re here to stay and that they’re likely to become even more pervasive. But I worry that there is a deep and dangerous dark side to social networks, and I worry about the potential victims.

Lockdown or lockout will probably never work. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to keep users off these networks. But education might help. Like walking through a dangerous neighborhood, vulnerable, alone, and at night, users of social networks are at great risk. But if we can train them to keep identifying information off the Internet, think about what they say and type, and be aware and cautious, maybe social networking users will be just a little more safe.

David Gewirtz is the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, a member of the FBI’s InfraGard program, and a member of the U.S. Naval Institute. He can be reached at david@ZATZ.com.
© FrontLine Security 2009



Dealing with Terrorism
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

Canada is a safe, stable, secure democracy. That is not to say that Canada faces no challenges to its security, but as the 2007-2008 annual report of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) states, the number of actual terrorist incidents in Canada has been minimal over the last few years. Nothing similar to September 11, 2001 has occurred since that date, and it has been over two decades since the tragic Air India bombing that originated in Canada.

With respect to terrorism, there have been significant developments in Canada since 9/11. The first trials of the Toronto group arrested in 2006 have occurred. A Canadian link to a UK plot was laid bare with the conviction in October 2008 of Mohammad Momin Khawaja on charges of financing and facilitating terrorism and offences related to a device that could trigger bombs. Five individuals remain under effective house arrest through the security certificate process. Furthermore, there have been two successful convictions against individuals under Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation, and other suspected terrorists await trial before the Canadian courts. The RCMP National Security Criminal Investigations Unit was recently investigating over 800 cases with possible terrorist links. Two major public inquiries into the events that led to the torture of four Canadian dual-nationals have been completed, and a third report on Air India is due in the Fall of 2009. Over 125 Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan, yet, there have been zero substantial terrorist attacks against the Canadian homeland.

So far, 2009 has not been a great year in terms of public endorsement of Canada’s counter-terrorism policy. In a recent opinion article in the Globe and Mail of 8 June 2009, Sheema Kahn summarized the grievances various individuals and groups hold against the existing and previous Canadian governments’ counter-terrorism policies and, more broadly, Canada’s foreign policy in today’s world: “One might argue that governments, Liberal and Conservative, have, at times, fallen short in the post-9/11 era. Security has been used as a pretext to justify secret evidence, collusion in rendition and torture, and the defence of Guantanamo Bay. It has led to two-tiered citizenship, in which citizens of Arab and Muslim background are denied rights guaranteed to all Canadians.”

Many of the same grievances and ­complaints were aired at the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee meetings on implementation of the recommendations stemming from the O’Connor and Iacobucci inquiries. Furthermore, SIRC has just released its ­special report into CSIS’ actions in relation of Omar Khadr, and Mr Abdelrazik has returned to Canada on order of the Supreme Court of Canada. Finally, the security certificate system and its management have come under increasing criticism from the Federal Court. For Canada’s security and intelligence community, and particularly CSIS, there was little good news in the press in 2009.

Stepping back from the headlines and day-to-day reports, two inter-linked issues challenge the effective implementation of Canadian counter-terrorism policy: complexity and integration. How these are addressed in the future will largely dictate how effective Canada’s counter-terrorism policies will be in securing Canada and, equally important, how these policies are perceived – necessary or unnecessary, ­sufficient or insufficient, effective or not.

Any discussion of Canada and terrorism, and Canada’s counter-terrorism policies, has multiple jumping off points. Canada has been the victim of many different types of attack over the last 40 years and has also been a target for overseas-based terrorist groups, perhaps best characterized by authors Thompson and Turlej’s book, Other People’s Wars. Testimonies, and previous annual reports from CSIS, as well as arrests and convictions, also indicate that Canada has been a base for logistical or support activities by terrorist groups, be it as a staging ground for the acquisition of materials, or raising financial support from criminal or other sources of income.

Though Canada has not suffered from a sustained, violent series of attacks by a ­terrorist group, as noted in the CSIS 2002 annual report, few observers of national security issues doubt that there is a two dimensional terrorist threat to Canada and Canadian interests. The first dimension is an actual attack or threat of an attack, illustrated by the arrests in 2006 in Toronto.

An issue Justice Iacobucci referred to as the balance between effective counter-terrorism activity and values of freedom that is "easy to describe but difficult to attain."

The second dimension is the provision of material support to terrorist groups or individuals, best illustrated by the Khawaja case contemporaneously, but also including in the recent past, support by sectors of the Tamil community for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers); another is using Canada as a base for attacks against other countries, for example, the involvement of extremist elements from the Sikh community in the Air India bombing of 1985, or the arrest of Ahmed Ressam in December 1999.

This second dimension, Canadians providing material or other support – whether passive or active – to terrorists is as much a problem as the actual targeting of Canada. It has such profound economic and political impacts on Canada’s relations with the United States, and others, that it cannot be ignored. It requires an active day-to-day and strategic management approach.

Canada’s terrorism problem is not going away. In the recent Canadian Security Intelligence Service’ Public Report 2007-2008 the then Director, Jim Judd, stated in the opening message that the terrorist threat is not disappearing and that “to become complacent or to spread a belief that Canada is immune from such threats could potentially have a tragic and devastating outcome.” Even though the report illustrates that ­actual incidents have been minimal within Canada over the last few years, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bob Paulson admits that threats exist and they are conducting on-going investigations into terrorist activity involving Canada and Canadians. Furthermore, contemporary terrorism blurs the boundaries of domestic (national) and foreign (international) activities in counter-terrorism.

This blurring of boundaries results in a  complex problem, and the appropriate jumping off point for a debate about Canada and terrorism is contained within the recent Security Intelligence Review Committee file: CSIS’S ROLE IN THE MATTER OF OMAR KHADR (8 Jul 09).

“The issues brought to the forefront in the matter of Omar Khadr, such as information-sharing with foreign partners, especially in cases where there are human rights concerns, dealing with youth, and interacting with detainees in foreign jurisdictions, do not have easy answers or solutions. It is becoming apparent, however, that finding a solution to many of these complex post-9/11 issues will entail a thorough re-thinking of intelligence work in light of current socio-political and legal realities.”

Canada is not alone in wrestling with the complexity of the issue. American commentator, Michael Sheenan, assessed the situation bluntly with respect to U.S. homeland security: “the real issue lies in aversion to spying at home and in dealing with unsavory intelligence organizations abroad.”

The complexity issue, therefore, has two strands. The first is that of contemporary terrorism itself which is illustrated by the Toronto cases awaiting trial and the Kawahja case that has been settled before the courts: radicals and extremists driven to pursue or support violence against the Canadian state, its allies, or interests that involve cross-border, international, social, and religious dimensions. The second strand is contemporary counter-terrorism that involves an awareness of activities by a small number of individuals within and external to Canada, liaison and cooperation with other countries, and convoluted criminal proceedings which must occur with detailed awareness of national and international legal provisions.

The latest report from the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee of June 2009, addressed the implementation of the O’Connor and Iacobucci inquiries and stated that “without an integrated structure for the full review of national security issues, the government cannot effectively and efficiently protect Canadians from violations of their civil rights and freedoms.” The Commons committee was rightly focusing on a discrete issue in this report, namely what the Government has or has not done with respect to the recommendations and findings of the inquiries into the torture of Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati, and Muayyed Nureddin. However, the issue of integration is pertinent in not only protecting and upholding civil rights and freedoms, but also in preventing attacks against Canada, its citizens and allies, and in prosecuting terrorism cases before the courts.

Toronto-born Omar Ahmed Khadr was captured by U.S. forces at the age of 15 following a 4-hour fight an Afghan village. He has spent six years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps charged with war crimes and providing support to terrorism. The youngest prisoner to be held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has been frequently referred to as a child soldier. In April 2009, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that international law made it obligatory for the government to immediately demand Khadr's return.

Integration of effort across disparate government departments and security agencies is a constant theme in the post-9/11 world and driver for the creation of orga­nizations such as the Canadian Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC) in 2004, the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) led by the RCMP, the UK Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) in 2003. It also encouraged efforts to improve liaison and cooperation between elements of the security and intelligence community domestically, and with international partners, in areas as diverse as intelligence, policing, finance, critical infrastructure protection, and travel.

It is clear that some of the efforts at dealing with the complex problems of modern terrorism have worked, and worked well. The conviction of Mohammad Momin Khawaja is a case in point.

Failure to address the challenges of integration and complexity of today’s and tomorrow’s ­terrorist threats will result in more of the same. We will continue to see Canadians tortured abroad and cases like that of Mr. Adlerazik generating headlines and concerns in civil society, that in turn generate more work for Parliament, Ministers and the security and intelligence community. These can be avoided by sound and well communicated policies developed logically and realistically by federal authorities that address these two issues.

Binding the components of complexity and integration is accountability. Philip Bobbit’s claim that the basic problem for States that must confront terrorism this century “will be to achieve public endorsement and official accountability in the face of largely hypothetical threats that require anticipatory action based on secret intelligence.”

This has salience for all Western democracies, including Canada. Media headlines in 2009 and testimony to SECU suggest that public endorsement in certain communities may be ebbing away. Moreover, ­Parliamentarians, at least, believe official accountability needs further attention – ­Justice O’Connor made such recommendations in his final report.

In June 09 Wesley Wark articulated the issue succinctly: “The Canadian government should know by now that terrorism cases always carry a potential for serious political damage. The only way to avoid that damage is to have a sound, independent policy that you are willing to defend in a substantive way in public.”

The complexity, integration and accountability debate will likely hinge on the tensions between national security and human rights, an issue Justice Iacobucci referred to as the balance between effective counter-terrorism activity and values of freedom that is “easy to describe but difficult to attain.” Parliament and the general public expect perfection: no attacks on Canada or Canadian interests; no errors, mistakes, breaches of law, shortcuts in due process, or incorrect claims about the involvement (or not) of individuals in ­terrorism, no conflict between sharing ­information with international partners in counter-terrorism efforts and the privacy and human rights of Canadians.

Perfection, however, cannot be achieved. Attaining it every day, all the time, without error, would require superhuman insight, care, or skill that is clearly impossible. Because perfection is unattainable, it is all the more pertinent that SIRC recently observed “that finding a solution to many of these complex post-9/11 issues will entail a thorough re-thinking of intel­ligence work in light of current socio-­political and legal realities.”

National security issues rarely feature as predominant political or election issues in Canada. Too often, attention on these issues arises only when problems make front page news. What Canada desperately needs is a non-partisan and measured debate to craft Canadian solutions to the problems SIRC has noted and other terrorism-related events have created in the last decade.

The debate and the solutions should be cognizant of recent failings and successes, but not hostage to any one event. Justice O’Connor laid out some proposals in that vein in 2006; the Government is awaiting the publication of the Major Inquiry into Air India before it finalizes its own proposals. Other thinking, however, is necessary to encompass the full gamut of issues in play.

Taking the long view, Canadians would do well to consider Adam Roberts’ four components for the successful management of terrorism: public confidence in official decision-making; public confidence in ­intelligence; respect for rule of law; and a willingness to address some of the problems or root causes of terrorism.

Terrorism is not going away any time soon. Looking beyond the horizon of Islamic-inspired terrorism, most cautious thinkers would be led to Louise Richardson’s conclusion that, while we do not know what ideology will inspire the next generation of idealists, we can be confident that there will be another generation of ­terrorists willing to commit indiscriminate violence.

Portents beyond Islamic-inspired terrorism are evident: the gas pipeline bombings in British Columbia, the sentencing of a white supremacist in the United Kingdom, the re-emergence of Irish Republican terrorism in Northern Ireland, as well as a foreboding shift to martyrdom of violent Sikh extremists in parts of the Sikh Community in Canada, amply illustrate what has always been known about terrorism: it takes many forms.

Any response to terrorism, current and future, is therefore going to be complex, involve multiple layers of activity, and require extensive liaison and cooperation within Canada, and between Canada, the United States and other countries, with the latter embracing states that are not democracies and/or with a poor record on human rights issues.

This reality can be accepted and policy developed and revised to address such issues… or it can be ignored in the hope that an attack won’t happen here or civil rights abuses won’t occur again. Hope, of course, is not an answer to terrorism in Canada or anywhere.

Jez Littlewood is an Assistant Professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and the Director of the Canadian Centre of Security Studies, Carleton University.
© FrontLine Security 2009



One Last Thing
Tolerating Intolerance in the Name of Toleration
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 1)

I think it was during Day Three of SARS Outbreak Two that the wisdom of what Dr Jim Young had been saying really struck me. “The best strategy to manage an emergency or mitigate a disaster is to prevent it from happening in the first place, beginning with understanding what causes it.” I couldn’t help but reflect on that as I read the intriguing article in this issue of FrontLine entitled. “When Faith Becomes a Political Force.”

On the surface, of course, the emergency is the very real potential for terrorist violence being committed in Canada. We have been specifically named by al Qaeda as meriting that violence, and we are undeniably part of their Dar al Harb (lands of unbelievers), against whom submission or death are uncompromisingly sought. We are also clearly understood by the growing numbers of Islamist terrorist groups to be part of the Western “crusaders” who have a military presence in Muslim lands resulting in the deaths of Muslims. The fact that our presence is saving untold Muslim lives is, of course, beside the point for people whose idea of rationality and courage is convincing children to blow themselves up. In fairness, they are at least aware of our international role, which is more than can be said for the morons at Fox “News.” I digress.

History has shown us, with violent clarity, that terrorist attacks have a multiplicity of delivery methods of which we must be both unrestrictedly aware and comprehensively prepared. The constant feature is the motivation itself. All of the Bojinka plotters, World Trade Center, Embassy and USS Cole attackers, London and Madrid bombers, Beslan child killers, Bali bombers, would be UK plane hijackers, and Mumbai murderers were driven by a single unyielding cause for which murder is an acceptable means to an end.

The same is true of people like the Canadian raised Jabarrah brothers, Ameer el Maati and Momin Khawaja, and literally hundreds of others in Western countries that take pride in their tolerant secular democracies. While some of this latter group received their specialized training abroad, the recruits were persons usually born and raised in the very countries they sought to attack. Some were even converts to the religion they believed that compelled them to attack. Many of them were swayed to their intent by others living openly among us that preach and promote this irrational hatred. As one frantic parent said following the Toronto arrests, “they’re stealing our kids.”

Call it what you want, ‘Islamism,’ Islamofacism,’ ‘Salafist’ or ‘Wahabbi’ Islam, the uncompromising, authoritarian intolerant phenomena we now reluctantly confront is very much an emergency that needs to be ‘managed’ by preventing it from taking hold here in the Land of Roll Up the Rim.

It is genuinely difficult for us to believe that anyone would want to destroy our purposely tolerant societies – but believe it we must – and without prevarication or political correctness. The stakes are high because tolerating intolerance in the name of toleration could get us killed one day.

Central to this recognition is our need to confront the professional ‘woe is us (them)’ crowd who immediately denounce any description of these would-be killers as ‘Muslim’ extremists because “Islam is a religion of peace that doesn’t approve of violence and murder.”

The simple fact is that for these bad guys, who are in fact Muslims, Islam is a religion that not only permits violence and murder but in fact demands it.

Muslims need to work out who’s right or wrong on theological interpretation, but the rest of us don’t have to wait on that before we take the necessary steps to keep our societies safe and secure. Speaking as someone who got kicked out of Anglican confirmation class at the age of 12 for challenging the payer “We are not so worthy as to eat the crumbs under Thy table...”, this is not a religious debate; it’s about preserving a society and culture that cherishes freedom, liberty and the rule of secular law.

This challenge is compounded by the deliberate decision of those, like the Muslim Brotherhood and their multiple front organizations, that patently seek our internal collapse to engage in deception as a tactic in their struggle. They find support for this from the Quran itself, where the concept of ‘al taqqiya’ or lying to infidels is approved for promotion of Islam. The information is readily available and indisputable (have a read of the recent Holy Land Foundation conviction in the U.S. for example) and our intelligence agencies need to point out the truth to political decision makers about who is trying to cozy up to them.  

Preventing indoctrination and radicalization must be our goal. This too will have a spectrum of methods, and will include clear eyed recognition that faith itself is not suspect, and free speech includes political discourse (even from pompous windbags like George Galloway). It doesn’t mean, however, providing financial support to terrorist entities, advocating hatred against identifiable groups, polygamous or forced marriages, repressing women or demanding imposition of shari’a law. Government will have to make hard decisions and choices in support of Muslims who came to this country precisely to get away from the thuggish, self appointed ‘Supreme’ leaders who would rule autocratically over them. As residents of Canada, they deserve nothing less. It’s who we really are.  

Scott Newark is an Associate Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2009



One Last Thing
Immigration: "Welcome to Canada"
© 2009 FrontLine Security (Vol 4, No 2)

Exactly who is getting into Canada and how they get to stay has been in the news recently – and for good reason. As always, the issues behind the headlines less clear than the instant criticism of anyone who tries to change the status quo (which Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, has finally said is on the agenda).

The most publicized move has been the decision to require visas from Mexico and the Czech Republic. The Canadian immigra­tion ‘industry’ complains this will result in economic ruin for our nation that is, apparently, dependant on tourism and business travel from these two locales. Who knew?

So what exactly is this horrendous new barrier, called a visa, and why has Minister Kenney decided to require it?  Basically, it means that before non Canadians from specified locations can enter Canada we want to ask them a few questions. “Ah ha” shout the Bob Rae’s of the nation. “Clearly this must be a racist, colonialist (insert suitable “ist”) move, inconsistent with our cherished traditions of… yadda yadda yadda.”

Actually… it’s a reaction to the undeniable fact that wildly increasing numbers of people from these two specific countries have been telling us they’re coming for a visit but once they get here say “I’ve changed my mind… now I’m a refugee. Honest.” That’s right folks, believe it or not, our Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) permits people to change their story but still claim refugee status while they’re in Canada.

And thanks to the badly drafted IRPA, the process to determine the validity of the claim… and to resolve appeals… and then to consider whether, even if the claim was determined to be bogus, so much time has passed that removing the fraudsters in question would be contrary to humanitarian and compassionate grounds (seeing as how they’ve now got kids)… and then to assess the ‘risk’ of the bogus refugees being dealt with unkindly upon their return. Not ­surprisingly, takes years to resolve – which explains the reported backlogs of 60,000 cases – and the situation is getting worse.

One other minor point. When we actually do make a decision to remove a non-citizen, including because they repeatedly commit serious crimes here, we generally employ an honour system by expecting them to leave voluntarily. This little ­absurdity was referenced last year in the Auditor General’s Report when she pointed out that there are arrest warrants for over 42,000 non-citizens ordered removed from Canada, including for criminality, which we have …uhhh… “lost.”

It gets worse. These inland claims are permissible even when the so-called refugee has arrived here, not from the alleged dungeons of Algeria, but from the more comfy environs of, say, France. I personally can understand not wanting to live in France but they sure as heck aren’t in need of ­‘protection’ there. The truth is that these supposed refugees are in fact choosing where they prefer to be a refugee which is called emigration… so get in line with everyone else. I used the Algerian example purposely. Ahmed Ressam, the Millennium Bomber, followed exactly this path (plus using phony documents) to get into and ­remain in Canada.

In the mid 90’s, some of us proposed changes to create a system that required such persons to seek asylum in the country they entered Canada from if they were safe. Hard as it may be to fathom, in those days more than 50% of our refugee claimants ­actually arrived here from… the United States. Turns out we’re a lot more generous in terms of public assistance, so word got out that Canada was the place to make a refugee claim. We supposedly fixed this in 2003 with the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. whereby we would mutually return refugee claimants that arrived from each other’s territory so their claim was ­assessed where they were arriving from. This sensible approach was even more ­important post 9-11 when the Americans started cracking down on persons illegally in the USA, and the trickle northward risked becoming a flood.

Guess what? The same Canadian ­officials responsible for IRPA, drafted an “exception” that exempts persons from this sensible turn-around policy if they are from a country from which we don’t ­require a visa for entry... like… Mexico. That’s right… we’ve managed to create a loophole that defeats the purpose of the agreement and permits people who are ­illegally in the U.S. to come to Canada ­simply by uttering the ‘R’ word. Word got out about that too… which is why bogus refugees from Mexico have skyrocketed in the past few years.

Requiring visas from Czechs and Mexicans is a help, but it’s not the solution. Measures like eliminating the Safe Third Country non-visa exemption, removing ­inland claims (except in defined exceptional circumstances), denying refugee jurisdiction shopping and streamlining claims ­determination and removals are patently necessary. MPs damning such reforms might want to consider that this broken system has also become a barrier for ­processing the entry and settlement of ­legitimate immigrants and refugees.

Minister Kenney has told Canadians to stay tuned for more changes because he understands and has the courage to admit that this is entirely a problem of our own making.

Scott Newark is FrontLine’s Associate Editor.
© FrontLine Security 2009