By Jim Kouri
With the prospect of the radical Islamist regime in Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and the Iranians’ propensity for supporting, aiding and abetting terrorist organizations, the Canadian government passed legislation that amended its criminal code to specifically include nuclear terrorism, a U.S. intelligence analyst — who requested anonymity — told the Public Safety Examiner on Thursday.
Senator Raynell Andreychuk had written the amendments for the Senate and urged the government to acknowledge that nuclear terrorism is a very real threat to both national and global security.
“This bill would improve our existing approach to counter-terrorism by punishing those who aspire to commit acts of nuclear terrorism,” he said in a statement.
The amendments to the criminal code would create new classifications of offenses related to nuclear or radiological (“dirty bombs’) terrorism and includes:
* Possessing or trafficking nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or committing an act against a nuclear facility or its operations, with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment;
* Using or altering nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or committing an act against a nuclear facility or its operation, with the intent to compel a person, a government or a domestic or international organization to do, or refrain from doing anything;
* Committing an indictable offense for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or to obtain access or control of a nuclear facility;
* And the threat to commit these offenses.
The enactment of these proposed amendments permits Canada to ratify the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Canadian government said in its announcement.
The CPPNM Amendment also provides for expanded cooperation between and among states regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offenses.
Canada’s Nuclear Safety and Control Act and Nuclear Security regulations already outlawed illegal possession and use of nuclear material, but the CPPNM requires these restrictions to be spelled out in criminal law.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that Canada was allocating $369 million dollars to help eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons and so- called “dirty bombs.” Dirty bombs are regular explosives encased with radiological material.
While Canadian officials were discussing nuclear terrorism, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was in the midst of meetings with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in Ottawa, Canada, discussing military and law enforcement cooperation to combat organized crime, drugs and cross-border security operations.