Right-wing group la­belled ter­ror­ists

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Jim BRONSKILL

OT­TAWA — For the first time, Canada has placed right-wing ex­trem­ist groups on the na­tional list of ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Blood & Hon­our, an in­ter­na­tional neo-Nazi net­work, and its armed branch, Com­bat 18, have been added to the ros­ter, open­ing the door to stiff crim­i­nal sanc­tions.

They join more than 50 other or­ga­ni­za­tions on the list in­clud­ing al-Qaida, the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant, Boko Haram and the Lib­er­a­tion Tigers of Tamil Ee­lam.

A group on Canada’s ter­ror­ist list may have their as­sets seized, and there are se­ri­ous crim­i­nal penal­ties for help­ing listed or­ga­ni­za­tions carry out ex­trem­ist ac­tiv­i­ties.

Blood & Hon­our, founded in Bri­tain in 1987, has es­tab­lished branches through­out Europe, ex­e­cut­ing vi­o­lent at­tacks there and in North Amer­ica.

In its list­ing no­tice, Pub­lic Safety Canada says mem­bers of Blood & Hon­our and Com­bat 18 fire­bombed a build­ing oc­cu­pied mostly by Ro­mani fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing chil­dren, in the Czech Repub­lic in 2012.

In ad­di­tion, four Blood & Hon­our mem­bers in Tampa, Fla., were con­victed in 2012 of the 1998 mur­der of two home­less men who were killed be­cause the group con­sid­ered them “in­fe­rior,” the de­part­ment says.

The listings are recog­ni­tion of the grow­ing con­cern about the pres­ence and in­flu­ence of far­right groups in Canada.

In its lat­est pub­lic re­port, the Cana­dian Se­cu­rity In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice said it is in­creas­ingly pre­oc­cu­pied by the vi­o­lent threat posed by those look­ing to sup­port or en­gage in vi­o­lence that is racially mo­ti­vated, eth­nona­tion­al­ist, anti-gov­ern­ment or misog­y­nist in na­ture.

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment also added three or­ga­ni­za­tions aligned with the Ira­nian regime – Al-Ashtar Bri­gades, Fatemiy­oun Di­vi­sion and Harakat alSabireen – to the ter­ror­ist ros­ter.

“What­ever the source or the ori­en­ta­tion of vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism, it is all the prod­uct of the same depraved men­tal­ity,” Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale said in Regina.

Goodale an­nounced up to $1 mil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing to cre­ate a dig­i­tal repos­i­tory meant to help smaller on­line com­pa­nies pre­vent dis­sem­i­na­tion of ex­trem­ist con­tent.

Ter­ror­ists and other extremists are mis­us­ing cy­berspace for their causes, he said.

“They are ex­ploit­ing so­cial me­dia and other on­line plat­forms to spread dan­ger­ous pro­pa­ganda, re­cruit new mem­bers, and pro­mote and incite vi­o­lence and ha­tred,” Goodale said.

“More and more on the in­ter­net, toxic rhetoric is break­ing into the main­stream. It’s open and it’s brazen.”

Canada will also sup­port a youth sum­mit on coun­ter­ing vi­o­lent on­line ac­tiv­ity.

The event will bring young peo­ple to­gether to learn about vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism on­line, and de­velop tools to push back against this con­tent and dis­cour­age its shar­ing, Pub­lic Safety Canada said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, Mi­crosoft and Google, will help shape the event and work di­rectly with young peo­ple to de­velop ideas.

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