Animal Rights Groups, the KKK, and ISIS—the RCMP’s New Guide To Extremism

Everything you need to know about who your government is worried about.

by Justin Ling
Nov 4 2016, 6:09pm

Photo by AP/Yorgos Karahalis

For the past few years, the Canadian government has faced accusations that it's been asleep at the switch when it comes to stopping youth from being programmed by violent extremist groups.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are striking back at that notion with a 140-page guide to radicalization, extremist groups operating in Canada, and terrorist groups abroad.

The agency's Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide, which was officially unveiled in October, "is intended for first responders, parents, colleagues or friends of persons at risk alike and is meant to help the reader to better understand and recognize the growing phenomenon of radicalization to violence."

A large chunk of the report is just compiling resources on radicalization, offering different models that try to explain how someone might come around to violence and extremism based on their social, religious, and political beliefs.

But the report also sheds light on exactly which domestic groups the RCMP are keeping an eye on. The report's language borrows heavily from internal security and intelligence assessments prepared by groups like the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre.

The federal police break those organizations down by three groups: right-wing extremists, left-wing extremists, and "sole motivation" ideologies.

When it comes to right-wing radicals, the RCMP has picked up on some new and recently-resurgent white supremacist organizations—including some details that have not been widely reported—but misses some others.

The report names Heritage Front, a mostly-defunct far-right paramilitary group; the Calgary-based Aryan Guard; and the skinhead movement, which the RCMP calls "well-established in Canada."

The report also names the Ku Klux Klan as "a concern for the security services because of its paramilitary tendencies," but reports that it has "almost disappeared." This, despite the fact that KKK leaflets have popped up in British Columbia, seemingly the start of a recruitment drive. The RCMP does say, however, that the group remains of "symbolic significance."

The RCMP also looks at Golden Dawn, the Greek-based political party that, at least as of 2012, boasted Montreal and Toronto chapters.

The report warns Canadians to be on the look out for the symbol "4/20," which, according to the police, "refers to the birthday of Adolf Hitler."

The report does not name the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right European anti-immigration group which has sprung up in recent months in Canada.

Under the 'left-wing extremism,' section, the RCMP notes that these groups "tend to be more discreet."

The report specifically mentions the black bloc protester movement, the entire anarchist ideology, and the hackivist group Anonymous.

The RCMP also warns about the Internationalist Resistance (IR), which it describes as an "extremist anti-capitalist group."

The classification is interesting, because the RCMP has spent the better part of a decade investigating a small group of Quebec Communists, accusing them of making up the central cell of the IR, and for carrying out three bombings throughout Quebec from 2004 to 2010.

A VICE Canada investigation raised questions about that investigation and whether the RCMP really has the right culprits.

The RCMP report also names Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice and Red and Anarchist Skinheads, both committed to anti-fascism and anti-racism, as being two radical groups.

The third section of the report names the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front, and the Freemen On the Land movement as other radicalized groups.

The report doesn't get into what actual national security threat is posed by the Freemen On The Land, an ideology that "encourages different forms of rejection of the state, including by refusing to use driver's licences, to register or insure their vehicles and to pay taxes."

Beyond the domestic groups, the report also looks at the Islamic State; the Colombian Marxist group FARC; the separatist Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK); and a range of other international violence and extremist groups.

The report concludes by encouraging the reader to recognize signs of radicalization, and report them to the authorities as soon as possible.

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