Atomwaffen Divison, The Base, Proud Boys, and Russian Imperial Movement Added to the Canadian Terrorism List

Peter Smith
Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Screenshot taken from Atomwaffen Division propaganda video.

Several organizations associated with the white terror movement have been designated terrorist groups by the Government of Canada. Added to the list are more familiar groups like Atomwaffen Division and The Base, as well as the Russian Imperial Movement.

Announced on Wednesday, the designation of the groups can make life more difficult for members, as any bank accounts will be seized, members can face trouble travelling, and more.   

“It is not a crime to be listed. However, one of the consequences of being listed is that the entity's property can be the subject of seizure/restraint and/or forfeiture,” the ministry writes on its website. “In addition, institutions such as banks, brokerages, etc. are subject to reporting requirements with respect to an entity's property and must not allow those entities to access the property.” 

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It is also an offence to knowingly participate in or contribute to any activity of a designated terrorist group, according to the government, though this participation is only an offence if its purpose is to enhance the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out terrorist activity.

"I want to assure Canadians that this is a process that must follow the law," Blair said during a press conference on Wednesday, adding that the terrorist designation is based on evidence rather than politics.

The current designated list includes 60 different organizations, including the Taliban, the Islamic State, and as of 2019, Blood & Honour and its self-described militant wing Combat 18 were both designated. 

These were the first white terror organizations to ever be ranked in this way in Canada. 


The Iron March Legacy

Screenshot taken from The Base propaganda video.

Most anticipated among the new listings are the Iron March legacy groups Atomwaffen Division and The Base.

Recognizable for their at-times slick propaganda and skullmasks, these groups overtly call for terrorism, mass murder, and genocide. Calls for a Day of the Rope - a term referring to the day in which all race traitors, journalists, and politicians will be murdered in the inevitable race war originating from the white power novel turned manual The Turner Diaries - pepper their online posts. 

Numerous networks make up the Iron March legacy groups, but none have received so much attention as Atomwaffen Division or The Base. Atomwaffen found its start on the now-defunct fascist forum Iron March. The Base was created by American ex-intelligence operative Rinaldo Nazzaro, now living in Russia. 

Atomwaffen is connected to at least five murders in the US, including that of Blaze Bernstein, a gay, Jewish college student from Orange County, California. 

The group’s primary propagandist was a Canadian who went by the name Dark Foreigner. 

The Base found some notoriety in summer 2019 when Base member Patrik Mathews of Beausejour, MB, then a Master Cpl. in the Canadian Armed Forces, postered the city of Winnipeg looking for recruits. Shortly after being exposed by Winnipeg journalist Ryan Thorpe in an undercover investigation, Mathews fled the country, gaining access to the US by hopping the border illegally. 

We learned through extensive FBI documents resulting from a months-long infiltration that after meeting up with other Base members, Mathews hid out in Maryland and Georgia. In January 2020 Mathews was arrested, along with members from Delaware and Maryland, just before the group left to attend a Virginia pro-gun rally. It’s alleged the group had intended to bring heavy weaponry, including a machine gun, to the rally. He is currently facing four charges - two counts each of two weapons charges (transporting a firearm and ammunition) and being in the US illegally. 

Atomwaffen has spawned a number of off-shoots and similar networks, such as the UK's Sonnenkrieg Division and European-North American Feuerkrieg Division.

It was discovered in 2020 that the founder of Feuerkrieg Division was a 13-year-old boy from Estonia. As well, the founder of the UK branch of FKD was also 13 when he started the terror group. He now faces numerous terrorism charges

Prior to the recent news of the UK FKD cell leader, the youngest person to be charged in the UK for terrorism offences was a member of Sonnenkrieg Division, and an adherent of the Order of the Nine Angles


Proud Boys

The Proud Boys are an international fraternity of “western-chauvinist” groups founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes. They have made headlines on both sides of the border for a variety of reasons, few laudable, many violent. 

Canada was first introduced to the group when a small crowd of Proud Boys showed up in Halifax, wearing their now distinctive black and gold Fred Perry shirts, to disrupt an Indigenous demonstration at the statue of colonial figure Edward Cornwallis on Canada Day. 

Cornwallis founded the city of Halifax, while also being responsible for a policy of genocide against the Mi'kmaq people of the area. Since that debut, men in polo shirts have been a fixture in protests around the world, many of which have descended into violence. 

Since then, the Proud Boys have been a fixture at numerous far-right rallies on both sides of the border, but saw its membership take off in the United States, where they have clashed with police and counter-demonstrators on multiple occasions.

Most recently, several Proud Boys were arrested for their part in the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. 

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network previously expressed concern that the definition of a terrorist entity would have to change, or the bar be lowered, to list the Proud Boys -- on the basis that a loosened definition could be exploited to target BIPOC or anti-racist groups in the future. We shared those concerns with the Minister’s office.

This morning, Minister Blair called us about the upcoming announcement, and in part to address that concern. He told us that, based on the information they have, the Proud Boys more than meet the criteria to be designated a terrorist entity.

Russian Imperial Movement

The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) is a nationalist group based in Russia that seeks to create an ethnostate led by a Russian autocratic monarchy, according to the government.

RIM reportedly seeks to build ties to neo-Nazi organizations in both Europe and the United States, offering them paramilitary training and bomb making instructions. After co-founding the World National Conservative Movement (WNCM), a transnational movement ideologically aligned against the Western principles of “liberalism, multiculturalism and tolerance,” RIA leaders intended to use the WNCM to facilitate the sharing of tactical skills across peer organizations -- similar to The Base.

Public Safety also says that RIM has donated money to foreign neo-Nazi groups and provided training to members who have carried out bomb plots in their own countries. 

Four years ago, RIM provided training to two Swedes who then bombed a bookstore-café, a refugee shelter, and a campground that housed asylum seekers. RIM’s paramilitary faction has also been present in conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and Libya. In 2020, RIM was designated a terrorist entity in the United States.

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