A Tunnel to Nowhere

Back in January, after receiving a tip from a local resident, Toronto police discovered a mysterious tunnel in a wooded area in the middle of the city. It was situated in Black Creek Parkland, near York University’s Keele Campus, and a short distance from the Rexall Centre, one of the venues that will be used in this summer’s Pan Am Games. It was about thirty-three feet long, ten feet down, and high enough for a man to stand in.

The construction of the tunnel showed some engineering sophistication. The walls and ceiling were carefully braced and reinforced. A generator and wires provided electricity for water-resistant lighting, and for a sump pump to draw off the water that seeped into the lower end of the tunnel. At least two people were involved in the digging of the tunnel. There were indications that the unknown persons involved in the construction were trying to conceal their work: a separate hole equipped with sound-muffling foam was dug to contain the generator, excavated dirt was removed from the immediate vicinity of the holes, and both entrances were covered and camouflaged.

After the police completed their on-site investigation and sent off all the material for forensic examination, they filled in the hole and made the existence of the tunnel public. The first news about it was published by the CBC early last Tuesday (February 24). The Toronto Police held a press conference later that day to release relevant information about the public to the assembled media.

There’s something more than a little strange about that press conference. Watch for yourself what Deputy Chief Mark Saunders of the Toronto Police says about the tunnel next to the Rexall Centre, and pay particular attention to which items of evidence he chooses to reveal, and which ones he withholds:

It makes sense that the police declined to display all the items found at the site. As Deputy Chief Saunders said, the specifics of such evidence could be used to test the bona fides of any witnesses that come forward claiming knowledge about the tunnel. Their familiarity with the details of soft drink bottles, food wrappers, gloves, etc. might prove that they had really been familiar with the site.

Inexplicably, the only piece of such evidence that the police chose to reveal was also the most unusual and unexpected: a set of rosary beads with a Remembrance Day poppy attached, which they say had been hung on a nail hammered into a timber in the tunnel.

Why showcase that particular item? Surely a rosary and poppy would be much more likely to uniquely identify the excavation than a McDonald’s wrapper or a Pepsi bottle…?

The following photo accompanying the Reuters article on the tunnel is telling indeed:

The only piece of actual physical evidence that was brought to the press conference was the string of rosary beads with the poppy medallion attached. Everything else was in big glossy photos or diagrams propped up on the easel.

The juxtaposition of the poppy and the rosary seemed unnatural and discordant, but I was raised a Protestant, so I asked Dymphna to look at the photo. Here’s what she said:

The uneasy conjunction of a poppy and rosary is passing strange, with the emphasis on “passing” — that is, they are echoes from previous generations and from groups of people who probably never had much to do with one another during their stay here. Is this some kind of cross-cultural contamination assembled by an outsider who understood the significance of neither image beyond the fact that they seemed important?

Poppies are Anglo commemorations of dead soldiers we are honor bound to remember so they will not have died in vain. Rosaries, on the other hand, are an ethnic Catholic (think Irish or Italian) veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious practice dating back centuries but fading fast in the modern Church.

Yes, the poppy — which is common during Remembrance Day season in both Britain and Canada — is understood as a secular symbol of an important national event. It has a spiritual aspect, but it is not directly religious.

And it is not Roman Catholic. I would expect to see lots of Canadian Catholics wearing poppies on their lapels on Remembrance Day, but not attached to their rosary beads. There is something hinky about that rosary-and-poppy combination.

So what was really going on at that press conference?

As you can see from the photo, the people who staged the event deliberately made a media circus out of their sole piece of physical evidence, placing it on a tabletop of exactly the right diameter and height and then inviting the assembled photographers to push in close and take as many photos as they liked.

Now I’ll take a little walk out onto a paranoid limb: what we see on that table is a conjunction of symbols that could be interpreted as the paraphernalia of a patriotic right-wing Christian terrorist.

Lots of other things about that tunnel are not quite right. According to the police, it could not have made it all the way to the Rexall Centre. It was too shallow — it would have had to have been dug much deeper underground. As constructed, it would only have punched through the hill and come out the other side, still outside the perimeter fence.

Why be so competent and resourceful in the engineering and construction, while being so strategically foolish as to place the tunnel in such a way that it could never accomplish its purpose? Assuming, of course, that the purpose was to make something nasty happen at the Pan Am Games.

The operation was elaborate, technically sophisticated and cost quite of bit of money. Yet it was totally incompetent when it came to achieving its purported goal.

The only possible conclusion is that it was all for show. Dig a bit of tunnel, abandon it with the “clue” left behind, and wait for someone to find it. Or send one of your own people to “find” it. Then wait for the investigation to proceed, feeding in appropriate clues when required.

Someone shows up at police HQ and says he knows something. Police quiz him to see if he knows the secret details the public doesn’t know. When he does, they listen to him. He points them towards the poor deranged neo-Nazi schmoe who’s been set up to take the fall, and whose DNA is undoubtedly on shovel handles and whatnot at the site. And whose fingerprints are on the poppy.

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When the story broke last Tuesday night, Vlad immediately said “Hamas”. That’s what a lot of people must have said to themselves when they first heard the news. So, when it turns out to be “radical right-wing Christian terrorists” instead, a whole new equivalence relation is formed in the public mind:

Christian extremists = Hamas

Yes, I know. All this is quite paranoid. But I’ll walk even farther out on this shaky limb and predict a possible future scenario:

The main perp who takes the fall will be a nut case loner Christian white supremacist. He will be a Canadian citizen, but affiliated with an American organization designated as a “hate” group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The shadowy group he is a member of will have no real footprint in the past. Just a rented office, maybe, with some file drawers full of SS memorabilia and copies of Mein Kampf. Good for more glossy prints on a display easel at a press conference — but this one south of the border.

One other person will be caught with him. This conspirator will be like the guy who made The Innocence of Muslims, a convicted criminal who agreed to arrange the set-up in order to obtain a lighter sentence. The other conspirators will remain at large and strangely elusive.

Is it a coincidence that the tunnel incident began to unfold so soon after the “Countering Violent Extremism Summit” at the White House?

And when will the capture and arraignment of the perp take place?

How about just before an attempt to implement UN Resolution 16/18 in the United States via executive order?

Nah, Baron, you say. Don’t be ridiculous — you’re just being paranoid again. Take your medication and go to bed.

Below are more recent news articles about the Toronto tunnel. They don’t provide any significant new information, but make for interesting reading:

I was struck by one quote from a forensic expert, who said that he would not expect that there were many opportunities to lift fingerprints from the tunnel, given all the dirt and dust that covered everything. However, that poppy looked nice and clean — I’ll bet it made a dandy surface for picking up the fingerprints of whoever was down in that tunnel, toiling away with pick and shovel.

23 thoughts on “A Tunnel to Nowhere

  1. So the police could not wait for the diggers because the press was going to report about the tunnel? I find that hard to believe…

    Baron.Something is rotten in the state of Canada indeed.

  2. A better title would have been “The Tunnel that Couldn’t Have Gone Anywhere.”

    I don’t buy into any conspiracy theories with this one, especially given the lack of information. Showing off the rosary seems reasonable from a law enforcement perspective because that’s potentially a personally identifiable item. They are probably hoping that it is unique enough that someone can ID the owner, whereas that would be impossible with a coke bottle.

    It seems most likely to me that this is going to end up having something to do with the usual for-profit organized crime of some sort, but planting something like rosary beads in case of discovery would be in keeping with terrorist misdirection tactics.

    • “They are probably hoping that it is unique enough that someone can ID the owner, whereas that would be impossible with a coke bottle.”

      A soda bottle is an excellent location for DNA retrieval as well as fingerprints.

  3. What got my attention immediately in that video is the Deputy Chief referring to the location as a ‘chamber’. What in that underground construction would infer to the police that it was to be used as a chamber or a room with a height of 6’4″x 2’10″x 32′?

    They are specific measurements but for what purpose?

    Do they base their assessment of the location being a room because logic would dictate that if it was indeed to be a tunnel its positioning would exclude it from actually going anywhere or did they find other things inside the room that suggests to them it was to be used for some other purpose solely as a room?

    The Dutch Patriot has raised the question concerning media involvement – so why couldn’t the cops veto the story from being put out to the public telling the media to hold the press while they did some covert surveillance of the site?

    I would have done that.

    If the location was to be used for some terrorist act why go to the time and expense of building an underground room when an isolated warehouse could be hired or broken into for such an activity?

    As for the rosary and the poppy – a red herring or genuine articles?

    • A warehouse or other city building could be tied to someone specific more easily, would be more likely to have people or cameras around it, etc. Using a building illegally might work for something short term, but a longer term operation would get discovered.

      For someone to dig a spider hole like this, they must have both wanted to be untraceable and wanted to go undetected for a long period of time.

      Not setting up surveilance at the site to await the return of whoever was working on it sounds to me like major incompetence. If some news reporter wouldn’t just keep quiet about it voluntarily long enough for the police to conduct an operation, then that news reporter is a very irresponsible individual.

      • surveilance ? And secretly watching people’s private lives? That would be uncanadian and it would have been inadmissible in a court of law. We can’t encroach on people’s bedrooms and private lives. What do you think we are like Russians and Chinese. .. no freedom …. no values? My goodness this is Canada the home of nice people. Who is nicer and more humanistic Canada or Sweden?
        Canada is so nice that Qadr, who killed Americans in Afghanistan, was released by the Magnificent PM Chrétien. That’s how much Canada loves its citizens, regardless of race , color, balah blah . . .

  4. The whole thing reeks, somebody put a lot of planning, time and money into it, not to mention manpower. This was certainly not the efforts of the merely unhinged.

  5. Regarding the depth of the tunnel, its entirely possible that they planned to have the tunnel start to fall in depth once it got to a certain point so as to hit the intended target. As an engineer, I would not want it to go too far below the water table until it was absolutely necessary. Not only is the overhead saturated ground harder to support, an entire tunnel that deep would require constant pumping to keep the water out. Having most of it shallow would allow for less pumping and less water and noise at the surface. Once you get close in, then the tunnel can fall at the appropriate rate to get to the depth needed to clear the perimeter.

  6. The authorities were quick to fill in the tunnel. A bit like the rapidity of dumping bin laden at sea and disposal of the 9/11 evidence. Why couldn’t the media have been given a tour of the site first?

  7. I listened closely to the first seven minutes of this press conference by Deputy Chief Mark Saunders. I would also have watched his face closely, but here we have another case of white people not knowing how to photograph a black man: except for shiny patches on his skull, his head is in darkness, not illuminated clearly enough to make out facial expressions. (And this on the last day of Black History Month — talk about microaggressions!)

    Listening to his speech for Canadianity, he pronounces the word “been” with a long “e”. He says “out” four times in these first seven minutes, with the proper Canadian accent (or a reasonable approximation to it) at 4:20, 5:06, and 6:00, but at 4:30 he slips up and pronounces “out” Americanistically. The significance of this, I do not know.

  8. So have the Christian fundamentalist crusaders allied themselves with Hamas? The tunnels built look just like the ones in “Palestine”…

    Perhaps those mythical, elusive radical Christian terrorists, saying their Hail Marys and praying on their Rosaries before setting off bombs, actually exist?


    Or is there another twist to this story?

  9. Seems odd to me dimensions were in English measure. Canada went metric some 40 years ago? Just a observation.

  10. Sadly, speculation of this sort is the natural result of the authorities having lost all credibility with the public they are supposed to serve.

  11. There’s nothing particularly Irish or Italian about rosaries. They are “Catholic,” period. And, they don’t come with poppies attached.

    One possible reason for the police display: possible interpretations from the public as no one is sure of what it means.

    If there was no expectation of the tunnel being found, the “poppied” rosary might have been hung there as a reminder or inspiration to people in the tunnel as to why they were there.

    Since the poppies originated out of the first world war, that may be the reference to the poppy. And, it might be noted that the “Catholic” soldiers of the first world war included those allied to Austria. Of course, poppies are also the source of drugs.

    As for the tunnel…. Perhaps it was to be a place to hide AFTER some event.

    • It has occurred to me that this might actually be a hiding place for someone to quickly disappear after a bank robbery or anything that immediately gets police attention and requires a getaway plan. All someone has to do there is hide until the police give up looking for the perp and then quietly leave. Though unless you have a large team of bank robbers it seems a bit oversized.

      Based on the news articles, it sounds like the police think the hole has been there for for quite some time (months?) so perhaps it’s already been used for this purpose and they’ve failed to connect the dots.

      • Whatever its reason for being constructed, it was one elaborate bolt hole that was obviously constructed with longevity in mind – if indeed that was its purpose.

        But why 32 feet long, why not 20 or even 10 feet in length that would have sufficed for one or even two, at a pinch?

        Maybe its purpose was to store something? As to what that could have been is really doing what we are all now doing – guessing.

  12. Isn’t it interesting though that whenever there is an actual, real, terrorist attack carried out by a devout mohammedan, the press aren’t invited to study or photograph his koran; it’s not put on a table by the authorities: Look! A Clue!

  13. Police report now that the tunnel was just built for fun, by two friends to “hang out” in. And since no charges will be laid, the identity (names, etc.?) of the tunnel builders is not released. Funny that.
    Do they really not understand that in this day and age the public is not totally clueless and naïve any more? Unfortunately your scenario, Baron, makes more sense than this playing down of facts. And why was the tunnel so quickly filled in? It reeks to me a bit like the Jan.1, 2014 Minneapolis ‘gas explosion’ and the almost immediate destruction of all evidence.

  14. This evening on a Toronto news radio station (680 kHz, on which Mark Steyn appears as a phone-in guest on a weekly morning program), I heard a two- or three-sentence report that is was found to be a “man cave” built buy a few guys, and was never intended as a tunnel.
    — Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    • D’oh! That should be “*it* was found to be a ‘man cave’ built *by* a few guys, and was never intended as a tunnel”.

  15. How do you know how to get to this location so quickly.Behind the Hexall Center to the whole in the fence in the rear parking lot.Tthen to the, well one of the entrances to the chamber.I told him to take a picture once then twice.A pic was taken, he said he would show it to the Supervisor.I don’t know if he ever did.He has access to much equipment and the location of the chamber is in his boundries of work.You must have to be a Shoreham to do this.

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