July 2, 2019
IntelBrief: Canada Lists Radical Far-Right Wing Groups as Terrorist Organizations
Just last week, Canada listed two radical far-right wing groups as terrorist organizations. Both of the newly listed terrorist groups—Blood and Honour and Combat 18—are global in nature and adhere to a Neo-Nazi ideology while advocating for the use of violence and intimidation to achieve their objectives. In the past, both of these groups have sought to recruit new members on the Neo-Nazi website Stormfront. Blood and Honour is an organization with global connections and its armed wing, Combat 18, has a demonstrated record of murders and bombings. A German member of Combat 18 was arrested in relation to the murder of Walter Lubcke, a pro-refugee German politician, in early June. Combat 18's motto is 'Whatever It Takes!' and advocates for moving beyond just slogans, pushing its members to take action against a range of targets.
Blood and Honour was founded in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and spread throughout the world, including in Europe and North America, during the 1990s. Its network brings together racists, skinheads, and Neo-Nazis from all over the world and often promotes its ideology through music festivals and rock concerts. Combat 18 members have been accused of murder and arson in the United States and Europe. Canada is not alone in identifying the international connections that radical far-right wing groups maintain. After the Christchurch massacre, governments worldwide, from New Zealand to Ukraine, have been forced to confront the growing linkages between radical far-right wing extremists.
Canada has publicly announced its intentions to allocate more resources to fighting the scourge of radical far-right wing violence. This includes more funding for police and intelligence services, in addition to funding for think tanks and academic institutions that study radical far-right wing violence. Other countries, including Germany, Spain, and Russia, have taken steps previously to ban the activities of Blood and Honour. Also, by listing Neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations, the Canadian government is able to more easily prosecute the group’s members and supporters for a range of terrorist-related activity, including fundraising. Being included on Canada's list of designated terrorist entities allows the government to seize the property of individuals belonging to these groups. It is also illegal to associate, 'directly or indirectly,' with any group that has been officially designated.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is seeking to adopt a more aggressive posture in combating radical far-right wing groups that pose a direct threat to the safety, security, and stability of Canada and its citizens. Like many other Western countries, Canada has spent the better part of the past two decades of the post-September 11th era focusing on the threat posed by jihadist terrorist groups and has only recently officially recognized that radical far-right wing groups are also a highly destabilizing force. The United States government has been extremely slow to move toward enacting legislation that would limit radical far-right wing groups, even in the face of violent incidents perpetrated by individuals and groups connected to the far-right. From Charlottesville to Pittsburgh, the U.S. has struggled to effectively combat radical far-right wing violence, where political sensitivities have frequently interfered with, and often prevented, any real progress in this area.
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