Terrorists turn to web to fund travel
A vehicle passes a sign outside the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) headquarters in Ottawa November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Some Canadians, intent on joining jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria but low on funds, have taken to the web to raise cash.
The turn to crowdsourcing online has netted potential terrorists as much as $10,000 each. It's a worrying trend, according to Michael Peirce, a deputy director at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
Peirce recently raised the issue while testifying before the Senate's standing committee on national security and defence.
"When we're talking about individuals, for instance, individuals who are raising money for terrorist purposes within Canada, they can be relatively moderate sums, up to $10,000," he told the committee.
While that figure is what can be expected for an individual, the amount that an organization can raise can reach six figures.
The groups and individuals are able to raise such large amounts by obscuring where the money will actually be going, Peirce explained, which also makes it difficult to prove wrongdoing.
"They won't necessarily direct the full purpose of raising funds," he said. "Again, they might do it under the cover of humanitarian aid."
While crowdsourced terrorism is a threat according to Peirce, others say that there is no evidence that this is a widespread phenomenon.
"We have heard nothing about the campaigns like this from Canadian jihadists," said Diana Yazidjian, who is the president of DFY Consulting, a company that advises startsups on how to use crowdsourcing.
"I have not seen any evidence of that, either."
Yazidjian notes that most crowdsourcing sites would remove any campaigns where the proceeds go towards terrorism."