B.C. man, woman charged in Canada Day bomb plot
Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013 11:42AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 2, 2013 9:41PM EDT
A British Columbia man and woman are charged with conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack after police say explosive devices were placed outside the province’s legislature on Canada Day, where thousands were gathered for the national holiday.
The RCMP alleges the pair conspired to detonate explosive devices, which were made out of pressure cookers, outside the B.C. legislature in Victoria.
John Nuttall, born in 1974, and Amanda Korody, born in 1983, are charged with conspiring to place an explosive in a place of public use with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and being in possession of an explosive device.
The pair made a brief court appearance on Tuesday. The case was put over until July 9.
“This self-radicalized behaviour was intended to create maximum impact and harm to Canadian citizens at the B.C. legislature on a national holiday,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Wayne Rideout. “They took steps to educate themselves and produce explosive devices designed to cause injury and death.”
Rideout added that “the devices were completely under our control. They were inert, and at no time represented a threat to public safety.”
Rideout said the suspects discussed a wide variety of targets and techniques over the course of the investigation.
“While these charges are shocking, they are rare,” Rideout said during a news conference Tuesday.
Police said the pair was arrested in Abbotsford, B.C. at approximately 2 p.m. local time on Monday.
The RCMP said the pair was inspired by “al Qaeda ideology,” but added that the threat was domestic and did not have any international links.
“There is no information to indicate that these individuals had the support or were acting at the direction of a terrorist group,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia told reporters.
Nuttall has a profile on the music networking website Reverb Nation, where he posted four heavy metal songs, including “In League with Satan” and “The End of the World.” An image shows Nuttall posing with four guitars.
Local reports say Nuttall was in a relationship with Korody. The pair had been renting a basement suite in a Surrey home for about three years, their landlord said.
The Mounties did not speak to a motive for the plot and revealed few details about the pair.
They said the charges are related to an investigation dubbed Project Souvenir, which launched in February based on information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
“We detected the threat early and disrupted it,” Malizia said.
Tom Morino, who has represented Nuttall in the past, said he was “stunned” by the allegations.
“That’s why I’m anxious to get the disclosure, meet with my clients and discuss it with them,” he said.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said Tuesday she was “shocked” to learn of the alleged terror plot, but grateful that the RCMP successfully intervened.
Clark said she was informed about the imminent arrests Monday morning, just before she headed out to celebrate Canada Day in Kelowna.
Clark said the suspects’ goal was not just to inflict damage, but to “rob us of our sense of security.
“They hate the values that make B.C. and Canada unique in the world,” she told reporters.
“We will not let them win. We will not let them strike fear in our hearts.”
The investigation was co-ordinated by the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams in B.C., the agency said in a new release.
The specialized multi-agency team is made up of employees of the RCMP along with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Service Agency, and other provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies.
The arrests came just over two months after bombers attacked the Boston Marathon with explosives made from pressure cookers. Three people died in that attack, while more than 200 were injured. Days later, RCMP announced the arrests of two men in connection with a plot to blow up a Via Rail commuter train.
Investigators said Tuesday that they had ruled out any connection between the Boston bombing and the B.C. plot.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the “arrests demonstrate that terrorism continues to be a threat to Canada.”