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Extremist groups ‘actively recruiting’ military and police, Canadian intelligence report warns

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WATCH: Bernie Farber, chair of the Anti-Hate Network, demanded the Canadian Armed Forces do more to inform Canadians about how its handling of members associated with hate groups – Aug 20, 2019

Far-right extremist groups are “actively recruiting” past and present members of the military and police, according to a declassified Canadian intelligence report obtained by Global News.

The report cited 17 examples in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Germany and New Zealand which “illustrate the intersections and relationships between ideologically motivated violent extremism and uniformed personnel.”

Six of the cases involved members of the Canadian military or reserves.

“IMV extremist groups actively recruiting uniformed personnel,” Canadian government threat assessment said. IMV is the acronym for Ideologically Motivated Violence.

“Several xenophobic and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremist groups openly recruit current and former military and law enforcement personnel.”

It said the groups included the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Boogaloo Movement, as well as the Three Percenters — a so-called patriot group that took part in the Jan. 6 assault at the U.S. Capitol.

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“While there is a small number of members in every province, including members of the military, ex-military, and police, the movement is growing in Canada,” it said of the Three Percenters.

The Nov. 17, 2020, Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre report, marked Secret, was released under the Access to Information Act, although key parts were redacted.

Read more: Neo-Nazis, extremists capitalizing on COVID-19, declassified CSIS documents say

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) said last year it was “cracking down on hateful conduct in its ranks after several members were publicly linked to extremist groups.

“The CAF is aware that hate groups, who pursue racial hatred and violence, actively attempt to recruit CAF members,” Derek Abma, a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson, said in response to questions about the report.

He said members were not allowed to associate with terrorist organizations, and those who did would be investigated and could face disciplinary action and release from the military.

“The CAF is not a pathway to learn skills in order to advance an agenda that is counter to the mission of safeguarding all Canadians and their way of life,” he said.

The Canadians profiled in the document have all been previously identified by news outlets, but the report shows that federal officials are assessing the threat posed by extremist recruitment of soldiers.

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The report said the Canadian Forces members had been involved in extremist ideology, recruitment of others, incitement of violence, disrupted plots and violent action.

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Ex-Canadian reservist accused of neo-Nazi ties arrested in U.S – Jan 16, 2020

Among those named was Boris Mihajlovic, a “prolific contributor” and administrator of the neo-Nazi online forum Iron March.

“He joined the Canadian reserves in early 2016 and indicated that his rationale was to gain combat experience for an eventual race war,” the report said.

He was released by the Navy last year.

Another reservist, Cameron Brandon, “posted extensively in white nationalist chat rooms, celebrating the 2018 targeted killing of a gay Jewish man by members of Atomwaffen Division and expressing the need to take real, violent action against Jews,” the report said.

He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2015 and left in 2018, it said.

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A member of the Canadian Rangers, Erik Myggland, “has shown online support” for the Three Percenters and the Soldiers of Odin, and posted “anti-government/anti-authority sentiments,” the report said.

Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre report on extremist recruitment of “uniformed personnel.”.

ITAC produces terrorism threat assessments that are shared with Canadian and foreign agencies.

“It’s an indication that NATO countries are looking into far-right extremism, and that’s good,” Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said when shown the report.

But he said some of the groups highlighted were only significant to the U.S., while more common so-called accelerationist groups were not addressed.

“It’s one indication that perhaps there’s some expertise and capacity building that has to be done,” he said.

Also named was Patrik Mathews, a reservist and alleged member of The Base who was arrested in the U.S. in January 2020. Prosecutors alleged he had recorded a video calling for racist violence.

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Correy Hurren, a member of the Canadian Rangers who rammed the gates at Rideau Hall to “arrest” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on July 2, 2020, was also named.

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The report also said that, in online chat rooms, a user named Rusty had described himself as a Canadian Armed Forces member.

In discussions about creating a white nationalist state, Rusty was “seen by other members as a leader and his advice on training, weapons and tactics was sought after,” it said.

“He encouraged group members to join the reserves in order to benefit from the training,” it said. “To date, Rusty’s membership in the military has not been corroborated.”

On Friday, the U.S. charged several former Marines who had been active on the Iron March neo-Nazi forum with conspiracy to attack an energy facility.

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The Canadian Anti-Hate Network reported on Aug. 10 that a Canadian reservist had briefly posted on Iron March. William Condie said he regretted it and had changed.

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

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