Canadian Armed Forces’ Counter Intel Unit Facing “Limited” Ability To Combat Threat Of White Supremacists In Its Ranks

Calling the existence of white supremacists in the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces an “active counter-intelligence threat,” the country’s national security watchdog details uncertainty inside the military’s counterintelligence department.

Peter Smith
Canadian Anti-Hate Network


National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, ON. Source: Wikicommons


The agency in charge of monitoring how Canada deals with its national security has released a report calling white supremacists in the military a threat within its ranks.  

In the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency’s (NSIRA) annual report white supremacy and Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism (IMVE) are listed as posing an active counterintelligence threat to the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence.

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“The presence of white supremacy within the Canadian military has been well documented,” the report reads. “White supremacist groups actively seek individuals with prior military training and experience, or conversely, encourage individuals to enlist in order to gain access to specialized training, tactics and equipment.”

Interviews with investigators and studies into cases handled by the Canadian Forces National Counter-Intelligence Unit (CFNCIU) led to concerns in the report that the unit “may not be fully utilized to proactively identify white supremacists across DND/CAF.”

Adding that the CFNCIU’s mandate to “proactively identify this threat is limited,” despite requiring the unit to address a “broad range of security intelligence concerns.” It does not investigate criminal matters nor is it responsible for security screenings. 

NSIRA found that CFNCIU and other aspects of the CAF’s security apparatus has been organized into “narrowly focused vertical silos” and “do not work in an integrated manner.” 

“While CFNCIU adhered to internal policies used to initiate investigations, it did not have a formalized process to help guide investigation prioritization based on relevant criteria,” the report said. “It was also evident that CFNCIU required clarity on its legal authorities, to ensure the proper sharing of information in support of administrative and criminal processes.”

The document identifies a need for DND/CAF to empower its counterintelligence unit to make “full use” of its investigative capabilities, while also stating that the CFNCIU “did not adequately consider” the effect of its counter-intelligence activities in relation to an investigation subject’s privacy, while its methods of information-sharing are not compliant with policies that safeguard information.

The military has, according to the report, agreed to take action, noting that some of the concerns raised by the watchdog are already being addressed, specifically as they relate to personal privacy. 

Founded in 2019, NSIRA covers the national security and intelligence activities of departments and agencies across the federal government. This is the second report released by the agency and the first one to encompass an entire year of operation.

 

An Ongoing Problem 

 

The CAF has been public about recent attempts to deal with the problem of extremism in its ranks after a series of high-profile incidents involving members of the military being linked to various hate groups and movements. 

Most notably, Patrik Mathews was exposed by the Winnipeg Free Press as a member and cell leader of the accelerationist Nazi terrorist organization known as The Base. Mathews and another member were sentenced to nine years in prison for their role in planning a violent attack during a gun rights rally in Virginia. 

Calgary man Boris Mihajlovic was an active duty member of the Royal Canadian Navy while also being an administrator of the Iron March internet forum, a former online gathering place for explicitly pro-terror, white power enthusiasts. Iron March was brought to life by Alisher Mukhitdinov, a Russian man who briefly attended Moscow State University, and is better known to the world as Alexander Slavros. Mukhitdinov’s Iron March would be the online space where modern day neo-Nazi accelerationism was cultivated. The neo-Nazi terrorist group Atomwaffen Division, which has been responsible for many murders, terrorist plots, and arrests, traces its origins to the site’s bookclubs.

While active on Iron March, Mihajlovic claims to have been affiliated with long-time white power gang Blood & Honour and appears to have attempted to facilitate arms sales in Bosnia with another forum user who claimed to be from Marseille and was looking to buy handguns, assault rifles, and an RPG-7. Mihajlovic was retained by the Navy after an initial investigation, though this file was eventually reopened, resulting in his discharge

In 2018, Vice News found substantial evidence to suggest that a former reservist, Brandon Cameron, was both an Iron March user and a Canadian member of Atomwaffen. Earlier this year, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network also connected William Condie, a reservist serving at an army regiment in Hull, to an Iron March account who began posting on the site shortly before it would disappear from the internet.

It was also first reported by the CBC that both Erik and Jodi Myggland, members of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group in British Columbia, were linked to two extremist groups – the Soldiers of Odin and the now designated terrorist entity, the Three Percenters

An internal military investigation reportedly found that the Patrol Group had failed in addressing concerns of extremism among its members. Going as far as to say some members were “vulnerable” but denied there was any extremism problem within the 4th CRPG.

Despite this, Corey Hurren, a sausage maker from Manitoba best known for crashing a truck full of ammunition and firearms through the gates of Rideau Hall in Ottawa in a bid to arrest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a variety of alleged crimes. Social media posts by Hurren indicate that he was steeped in the QAnon conspiracy subculture. Hurren was also a member of 4th CRPG in Manitoba, but is not believed to be connected to the Mygglands at this time. 

Canadian Anti-Hate Network has reached out to the Canadian Armed Forces for comment and will update accordingly.

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