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

Barcelona fits a pattern – there is no pattern

What recently happened in Barcelona has taken some interesting twists and turns. A heinous act that we all thought was yet another quasi-random example of ‘vehicular terrorism’ (Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Charlottesville…) has become a carefully planned albeit badly executed plot. We thought that the use of a van was the original intent but have learned that the ...

Yet another unhelpful stab at why people become terrorists

When I was in grade 13 – which in my day was the last year of high school in the province of Ontario, which I suppose just underscores how old I really am – I remember taking an exam in functions and relations, one of three mathematics options at the time (calculus and algebra were the other ...

What have we learned from the Aaron Driver case one year later?

A year ago Canada dodged a terrorist bullet when the almost 25-year old Muslim convert Aaron Driver climbed into a cab outside his sister’s home in Strathroy, a small town not quite 40 km from London, Ontario, set off an explosive device that didn’t do a lot of damage to either himself or the taxi, ...

How is the terrorist threat level determined?

One thing we have all gotten used to in the post 9/11 era is the question: at any given time how at risk are we from terrorism? In an effort to answer this query for a nation’s citizenry a number of methods have been proposed. One of the more famous ones was the US Department ...

Terrorism and mental illness make poor bedfellows

Most people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the sanity behind terrorism. Surely those who knowingly and willingly kill themselves by detonating a bomb strapped to their waist or driving a booby-trapped car into a crowd of people cannot be psychologically normal, can they? It is probable that we also have a hard time ...