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The Criminal Code list of terrorism entities now includes Blood and Honour, an 'international neo-Nazi network'
OTTAWA , Ont. — Canada’s official list of terrorist organizations now includes a white supremacist neo-Nazi organization and its “armed branch,” marking the first time that right-wing extremist groups have appeared on the list.
The move comes as the country’s national security agencies have increasingly identified right-wing extremism as a threat to Canadian security in their public reports. The updated list also includes three new groups described as Iranian-backed Shia militants.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced the updated list on Wednesday in Regina, along with new measures to help prevent the spread of extremist content online.
“At the same time as the internet has helped to build a more open, connected world, it has also increasingly become a tool for terrorism and violent extremism,” said a Public Safety Canada news release. “We must take coordinated action to prevent social media and other online platforms from being used as tools to incite, publish and promote terrorism, violence, and hatred.”
The Criminal Code list of terrorism entities now includes Blood and Honour, “an international neo-Nazi network whose ideology is derived from the National Socialist doctrine of Nazi Germany,” according to Public Safety Canada’s website. “Through their armed branch, Combat 18 (C18), the group has carried out violent actions, including murders and bombings.”
The listing says the group was founded in the United Kingdom in 1987 and established branches throughout Europe by the end of the 1990s. It says attacks have occurred in North America and Europe, including a February 2012 firebombing in the Czech Republic that targeted a building occupied by Roma families. It also says four Blood & Honour members in Tampa, Florida were convicted of murdering two homeless men they considered “inferior.”
Blood and Honour is active in Canada, and its members and events are closely monitored by anti-hate activists. In 2011, two B.C. men identified as Blood and Honour members were charged over an alleged series of attacks on visible minorities, including setting a Filipino man on fire, but the charges were later stayed or resulted in acquittals. In 2012 and 2013 there were numerous court cases in Calgary and Edmonton involving Blood and Honour members, some of whom were convicted on weapons and assault charges.
The RCMP identified both Blood and Honour and Combat 18 as right-wing extremist groups in its 2017 Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide, and said they were active in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. “The various divisions of Blood & Honour organize concerts and white pride rallies that bring together skinheads and other neo-Nazi supporters,” the guide says. “Many acts of violence are attributed to members affiliated to the group.”
Officially listing a group as a terrorism entity allows authorities to seize the group’s property, prevent financial institutions from doing business with the group, and prosecute people who “knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, any activity” of the group. “This participation is only an offence if its purpose is to enhance the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity,” Public Safety Canada’s website says.
The other new entries to the official terrorism list announced on Wednesday are the Al-Ashtar Brigades, Harakat al-Sabireen and the Fatemiyoun Division. All are Shia militant groups supported by Iran, according to Public Safety Canada, and operate in Bahrain, the Gaza Strip, and Syria, respectively.
Goodale’s announcement also included a $1-million grant to the United Nations’ Tech Against Terrorism initiative “to create a digital repository that will notify smaller companies when new terrorist content is detected, which will support them in quickly removing it.” He said the government will also help organize a youth summit to “bring young people together to learn about violent extremism and terrorism online, and develop effective tools to push back against this content and discourage its sharing.”
The commitments are part of Canada’s response to the Christchurch Call to Action, a vow to take action against the spread of extremist content online. It was made at a meeting of world leaders in Paris last month in response to a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 51 people.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019