All posts by Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting. He worked as a strategic analyst in the Canadian intelligence community for over 30 years. He specializes in radicalization and homegrown Al Qaeda/Islamic State/Islamist-inspired extremism. He has spoken to audiences about terrorism around the world. Email: borealisrisk@gmail.com

No, mental health does not explain away terrorism

Here we go again. Another terrorist attack, this time in Melbourne, Australia, another chorus of ‘he was mentally ill’ and, I guess, not responsible.

When to call an act of mass violence terrorism?

To repeat: if the violence is motivated by ideology, it should be labelled terrorism (I realize that defining ‘ideology’ is a challenge as well).

Why intelligence services need access to your phone

We, as a society, have to decide what the balance is between giving our security intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need and safeguarding the privacy and immunity from eavesdropping we crave.

Terrorists are not lonely, even in wolf form, and neither are counter terrorism practitioners

Is there a clash of opinion between counter terrorism practitioners and academics about the sharing of classified information?

How to determine the terrorist threat levels

Why terrorism threat levels rise in the days, weeks and months before an attack, not after. The risk level is determined by what we know, not what has just taken place. And what we know is usually determined in large part by intelligence.

Terrorism was down in 2017. That’s good right? Yes, but…

The total number of terrorist attacks worldwide in 2017 decreased by 23% and total deaths due to terrorist attacks decreased by 27%, compared to 2016.

Isn’t propaganda great? But it can be misleading!

This is the third claim connecting the deadly Canadian attack to IS, but there is still no evidence that the gunman acted on behalf of any organizations.

Terrorism and citizenship

What is a citizen? Well it depends. The concept appears to date back to city states in ancient Greece, but in the modern era each state decides what the rules are. 

Does the fear of terrorism outweigh the actual threat level?

Can we really put a dent in those who radicalize to violence and execute terrorist acts?

How much airport security is too much?

Why we are not going to get less airport security and may even get more, as hard as that may be to believe.

How to prevent vehicular terrorist attacks – maybe

One thing that is confounding police and intelligence agencies the world over is what to do about car rammings/vehicular terrorist attacks.

Terrorism in Africa 20 years after the Nairobi/Dar es Salaam bombings

We tend to associate significance to anniversaries and in that light I’d like to weigh in on terrorism in Africa today. Are things any better? Any worse? Let’s look at what is happening across Africa.