Canada designates more U.S. extremists as terrorists


On Friday, the Canadian government added more American neo-Nazis to the list of banned terrorist groups, another sign that the country is going beyond the United States in recognizing these white supremacist extremists as threats.

Additions follow Canadian designation of the Proud Boys and other far-right extremist groups based in the United States as terrorists in February.

Recently banned groups include:

  • The Three Percenters, an American anti-government militant group with a growing presence in Canada. The group name, according to the Antifamation League, is born of the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American settlers fought the British in the war of the revolution. At least six members of the group have been charged with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Citing materials delivered to journalists at a press conference, said the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation the Canadian government referred to the functions of two members in the conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year.
  • James Mason, a Colorado-based neo-Nazi who does defended attacks from lone actors against the U.S. government for fomenting a white revolution. Mason has also shared tactical instructions on how to lead terrorist groups and is the author of a handbook from the 1980s that is popular with extremists around the world. The Canadian government also noted Mason’s links to the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, whose members have been linked to several murders.
  • The Aryan Strikeforce, a white supremacist group based in the United Kingdom with chapters in Canada and the United States that advocates violence to overthrow governments and start a racial war.
  • ISIS affiliate based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said in a statement designations are an important tool to help authorities keep pace with evolving global threats and trends.

“Recent events should remove any doubt about the grave threat posed by violent ideologically motivated extremism,” Blair said. “Intolerance and hatred have no place in our society and the Government of Canada will continue to do everything possible to protect Canadians from all threats, including terrorism and violent extremism.”

Designating a group or person as a “terrorist entity” under Canadian federal law makes it illegal for people to join and collaborate with groups. It also gives the government the power to freeze the assets of the people involved in the groups and charge anyone who gives them financial or material support. It can also make it easier for authorities to remove online content posted by banned extremists.

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Following the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, Canada decided to declare four far-right or white supremacist groups as terrorist entities, marking the first time it lists these groups. Among them was the Atomwaffen division, the neo-fascist street fighting group Proud Boys, the white supremacist accelerationist dressed as La Base and the far-right Russian nationalist imperialist movement. About two dozen people associated with the Proud Boys have been charged in the FBI investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

President Joe Biden and has said that the violent extremists of white supremacism today pose the most urgent threat to the U.S. and has called them a “stain on America’s soul.” Earlier this month, the White House launched one plan to combat domestic terrorism, which calls for strengthening analysts, prosecutors and agents, but fails to suggest the creation of new laws to help them.

The absence of specific laws explaining domestic terrorism is one of the reasons why the United States has not gone as far as Canada in designating American and foreign extremist groups as terrorist entities. Another is that the bar for this designation is extremely high. The United States has designated only one far-right extremist group, the Russian Imperialist Movement, as a terrorist group.

In a call with BuzzFeed News and other reporters earlier this month, a senior Biden administration official, who spoke about the background, said discussions on any new internal terrorism law were ongoing and that no no decision had been made prior to the publication of the new White House plan.

“We concluded that we did not yet have the evidence to decide whether we wanted to continue in that direction or whether we have sufficient authority, as it currently exists at the federal level,” the official said.

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