Tag Archive | SOO

FIREARMS, GANGS, EXTREMISTS AND THE INTERNET

About

This blog article is the first known publication in Canada related to Firearms, Gangs and Extremists that specifically comments on the intersections of gangs, extremism, firearms law and Internet in Canada.

This article is written with knowledge (of the author) that national security teams across Canada have failed to address the alarming fact that para military extremist training camps have emerged all over western Canada in the last two years. These training camps use both firearms and improvised explosives.

Also, gang units and national security teams are aware of the connections between gangs and extremist groups throughout Canada but choose to not address the interplay between gangs and extremists.

This article is written with the intention to contribute to a momentum of  ideas for addressing a real problem: Firearms, Gangs, Extremists and the Internet.

The Back-drop

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In Canada there are stringent licensing requirements for issuing firearms licenses and buying firearms. Canadian governments (federal, provincial and municipal) started a national discussion on banning all handguns, along with other changes to existing firearms laws.

In recent years, extremism and terrorism has become a concerning reality in Canada. There have been numerous attacks, and depending upon who you talk to there have been more attacks than we are able to count and track. Some extremist and terrorist attacks in Canada have included firearms, however, I have yet to see any data on whether these firearms were legally owned or not.

Gangs have also wreaked havoc with gun violence in communities across Canada for decades. There is little data, to my knowledge, that evidences legal firearms are used in these attacks, rather, it appears that the majority of gang gun violence is perpetrated with illegal firearms. That being said, there seems to be a growing trend that somehow active gang members and extremists are able to acquire gun licenses; none of the proposed changes to firearms law address this matter.

Recent Media Coverage

Vice media has recently covered a story of Vernon resident Kaz Nowlin who has been a member of several right wing extremist organizations, including Soldiers of Odin (“SOO”) and III% (“3%”). Kaz and others openly advertise online that they are legal firearms owners and demand that their membership engages in training to protect Canada from, primarily, Muslim terrorists. Kaz and his crew have been engaging in combat training, while attempting to deceive media into believing they only use ‘air soft’ guns. SOO and 3% are not the only ones engaged in para military training in western Canada; and there are groups that are even more concerning (this will be saved for another day).

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The SOO have garnered fame within media as being debated as a community interest group. The first Canadian SOO President was an employee of the Manitoba Provincial-Government who was publicly known to be connected to the Hells Angels. SOO is a right wing extremist group that has gained permissions to fly gang colors by the Hells Angels. Other members of SOO are known to have close affiliations with Hells Angels as well.

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Journalists have contributed to recruitment campaigns of the SOO and similar groups. Since then, SOO has experienced a high turnover in members. Many SOO members have defected and became 3% members in western Canada. The 3% is an American right wing militia group that now intends to stand as a vanguard against Islam; both SOO and 3% are groups rooted within a movement that targets and promotes hate against an ethnic and religious minority in Canada.

Extremist groups and gangs now recruit and advertise online. The Internet is the primary tool to access mouldable minds, and is often an effective recruitment tool for dangerous people. Social media platformsare riddled with pictures of gangs and extremists in Canada who brandish their illegal firearms (aka weapons) without fear of reprisal.

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While Vice has highlighted an issue with para military training, the article is only meant as a spring board for further enquiry. There are many things that the article does not address, nor expose. It merely ricochets off the target.

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Firearms

There is much to say about firearms law, and this article is not intended to dive into this murky and often nonsensical area of law and regulation.

It is important to highlight that Canadian Governments are intending and hoping to make Canadians safer by decreasing the amount of legal firearms, which in effect does not achieve the governments stated goals. Rather than approach the issue by speaking to real experts in the areas of gangs, extremism and firearms law to determine how to best prevent further gun violence and attacks, the governments are targeting legal firearms owners. This is wholly unfair and seems to be motivated by the political aspiration of optics, to make it appear that the government of the day is sufficiently upholding public safety.

There are more effective methods to approach gang gun violence, extremism and terrorist attacks than by taking measures against law abiding firearms owners.

Ancillary Issue

Across Canada, both federal and provincial governments have sanctioned the legitimization of gangs and extremists by allowing them to take forms byway of incorporated companies and societies. Several of these legitimized criminal and extremist groups are known to be engaged with gun violence or para military training, yet authorities do not act on this. Some examples of government sanctioned gangs include groups mentioned herein: Hells Angels and Soldiers Of Odin.

Solutions

Governments should be addressing the root of gun violence and extremist/terrorist attacks by responding more diligently to the behaviors of those responsible for much of the gun violence: gangs, extremists and terrorists. Legal firearms owners are not the root of the gun violence.

There are accessible, tangible and practical methods to curbing gun violence in Canada. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Regulation and Rules may be established to prevent and revoke registration of federal and provincial incorporated companies and societies that are gang and extremist affiliated. Governments need to cease the sanctioning and legitimizing criminal and extremist organizations.
  2. Deny or revoke licenses to anyone who engages in any para military training with extremist groups (whether right wing, left wing or religious) for activities contrary to Canadian social policy including human and civil rights.
  3. Create Firearms Act Regulation that prohibit intimidation, threats or appearance of taking arms, or engaging gun violence, against any other citizen, group or nation; apply this to both community and cyber spaces.
  4. Create an effective reporting system for the Chief Firearms Office (“CFO”) and RCMP online that allows users to provide links and photo uploads of identifiable extremists and gangs who are brandishing weapons online; if not an online system, one that is more effective than the mere telephone system operated by CFO, as it is too logistically complicated to report online activity via telephone.
  5. Empower communities to effectively and legally respond to gangs and extremists. Create Canadian Internet Regulations that will deter gangs and extremists from using cyber spaces as recruitment and promotion because these groups pose dangers to our communities. Provide citizens, communities and incorporated non-government organizations with legal mechanisms to pursue injunctions and torts where gangs and extremists are brandishing firearms and other threatening behavior online.
  6. Develop checks and balance system to report police and authorities who refuse to investigate or take action when credible reports of gang or extremist activity are not acted upon. This can include tort liability, or any other mechanisms available to legislators.

Conclusion

If the root of the gun violence problem in Canada are criminals, gangs, extremists or terrorists, we should not be taking punitive measures against legal firearms owners, we ought to be focussing on those who are the problem.

I am one of a few people in Canada who have collected a small database of known extremists and gang members who do advertise para military training and brandish weapons online. To date, interest of authorities related to firearms brandished online by gangs and extremists is nil. This needs to change.

If the governments are serious about tackling gun violence they ought to address the roots of the problem.

Anti-Immigration group poses threat to Canadian society: Soldiers of Odin

Bio

Daniel Gallant is a registered social worker based in British Columbia, who is currently a law student at Thompson Rivers University. Daniel had spent ten years in the far right movement in Canada for ten years, until he left fifteen years ago.

The Soldiers of Odin are not an Idle Threat to Canada

In Canada, we are starting to see the spread of a new right wing extremist threat: the Soldiers of Odin (SOO).

The SOO were founded by white supremacists in Europe, and the group has reportedly murdered members of the global Muslim community. The group’s general purpose is to object to immigration of Muslims and to express civil disobedience towards government, law enforcement and communities by imposing community patrol watches.

In Canada, the SOO brand has been sold to Canadians as being a charitable organization that intends to uphold Canadian laws. The obvious logical fallacies become apparent when observed mindfully in the context of their own declared purpose, structure and function. Rhetoric and propaganda are merely stated to garner public support.

The name of the group itself is revealing. Norse neo-paganism in itself is not problematic. However, odinism is a by-product of Nazi Germany that has flared up in North America with the rise of violent far right extremist groups. Odin is the god of war, a war that is fought for blood, soil and honour. And members are soldiers of this doctrinal ideology.

The SOO’s online discourse includes the threat of condemnation of the Canadian government, who are accused of failing to protect Canadians from the ‘Muslim hordes’ who are bringing ‘jihadi-terrorism’ into our communities; thus, the SOO currently imposes foot patrols and a gang like presence in at least 12 cities across the country, with a reported membership that reaches alarming numbers.

The media and law enforcement have questioned the group’s leadership, and the National President is reported to be affiliated with convicted organized crime members, who are said to have shown support for the Soldiers of Odin.

Additionally, the SOO declares they do not have any white supremacists in their affiliations, networks and ranks, which is categorically false. The groups memberships include active white supremacists and other far right extremists. Moreover, the SOO reproduces right wing extremist rhetoric pertaining to their opposition of anyone who declares, or is deemed by the SOO to be, anti-fascist or seen as a potential terrorist threat (of course with the exception of white supremacists who are in their ranks).

I, and others, have collected enough information to establish that the Soldiers of Odin are a threat to the fabric of Canadian society and social order. They are birthed, both conceptually and literally, from the white supremacist movement.

In many countries around the world, the nature of the SOO seems to be better understood. Only in Canada has the media and law enforcement not responded directly to the nature of this organization. This is perhaps due to the fact that most people do not understand who the Soldiers of Odin are, what they do, where they are located, and why they have garnered such a rapid foothold in Canada over the course of a few months.

We need to be examine more closely why some Canadian citizens are prone to openly supporting and condoning groups like the Soldiers of Odin.

Canada has long been complacent to the threat of far right extremism, and has been afraid to look at its own white supremacist past. As such, it is easier to not fully notice the rise of these movements in our society, as they seek to terrorize marginalized communities. While we spend a lot of time and money examining the jihadist threat to Canada, we must not lose sight of the far-right threat, and the real possibility of losing some of our youth to this destructive path.

Soldiers of Odin: Exhibiting covert hatred

INTRODUCTION

In the past I have written and have been interviewed about the Soldiers of Odin (SOO), in response to public statements made by the groups leadership.

For those who do not know me, I do a lot of public work regarding right wing extremist recruitment, radicalization, exiting right wing, de-radicalization, and advocacy so that government heeds right wing extremism. I have been identified as an expert due to my knowledge base that is a result of both lived experience within the right wing, and my exit out of violent extremism, and my research on the topic. My work has garnered attention and consult from the highest levels of law enforcement, security agencies, corporations, governments, world leaders, NGOs, and communities.

I have now become one of the forefront voices in breaking down the Soldiers of Odin’s public statements through logic and reasoning, which brings me to the most recent of issues related to the SOO’s public image as a non-racist charity group.

My Observations

First, it should be noted that factually Soldiers of Odin (SOO) are not an official charity organization, and their members often do support vigilante groups, organized crime and right wing extremist groups.

Secondly, while the SOO claim to not be comprised of racist members, the organization is born out of the neo-nazi movement. It is fair to say that not all members are racists, but it is also fair to say that all members are part of an organization birthed out of racism. Moreover, the SOO are discriminative and do target one particular identifiable group of Canadian citizens, namely Muslims. In my opinion, the general conclusions made about Muslims, by the SOO, are done so through a faulty and dangerous logic system; this type of reasoning and doctrine in what creates terror in our communities.

Police and Media

SOO have been diligent to garner Canadian media attention in order to gain more recruits. Their efforts have got a warm response from media and law enforcement agencies.

Naively, both media and law enforcement have fallen into, albeit unbeknownst, a trap of providing the impression that they support the Soldiers of Odin. Police and media alike need to pay heed to their own conduct in these matters, as both are becoming negligent. This is a dangerous and precarious position that only results in garnering more support for this dangerous anti-immigration group, which was born out of the white supremacist movement.

Claims: ‘We are not racist’

The SOO do claim to NOT be racist. They have appointed non-white leadership as evidence of this, and tout themselves at an anti-racist rally in BC. There are three main faults in these public relations tactics by the SOO.

Claim #1

First, and foremost, is that in spite of the fact that SOO has appointed a President who is of India descent, the highest ranking officers of the organization still maintain close ties to established white supremacists and white power groups. Moreover, the original critique I offered remains true today about the breakdown of the groups name itself. To further exemplify the SOO’s right wing conduct, one needs to note that I previously highlighted that the group’s leadership and members vilify those who oppose fascism. Any group who demonizes those who oppose the threat of fascism and hate groups reveal their own true nature.

Claim #2

Second, a group called Anti-Racist Canada (ARC) has demonstrated through numerous articles that the SOO do indeed have ranking members who are longstanding members of the violent white supremacist movement in Canada. In addition to the work of ARC, I too have collected similar documentation. However, my documentation spills into another point to which I am the only known source, of what some may find confusing, but explains the true nature of the SOO.

A little of Context

As we see here by Life-after-hate, which is comprised of former right wing extremists, the white power movement seeks to embed itself within our multi-cultural society. Moreover, I have written about this in my academic work. This is similar in dynamic as what we see happening in the black metal scene, which I was interviewed about in response to this band’s denial of nazism. I have also written articles in the past about how white supremacists are now going mainstream with their messaging by recruiting non-whites.

In fact, my own story evidences this. I was recruited by a member of the White Aryan Resistance who was a former Hammer Skinhead who himself was ‘half’ Dene (indigenous group from Northern BC). I highlight the word ‘half’ because this kind of speak actually embodies racism by measuring the concept of race, which is a socially constructed fallacy. My point is that the fact that there are people who are not white within the white supremacist movement is not a new phenomena.

Remember that Hitler guy, he did not have pure blood neither. Moreover, the Nazis had non-white political allies, and even had Muslim army allies; as did the Canadian white power group the Heritage Front who were allies with Khadafy in Libya. The Heritage Front had close ties to the Canadian Reform Party Prime Minister Candidate Preston Manning, and his right hand assistant Stephen Harper. This political network quickly becomes complex, which groups like the SOO capitalize on. Most people are not able to identify these issues, and if they do are unable to provide explanation for it. This is where my insights become valuable.

Claim #3

This brings me to the last highlighted tactic by SOO that I want to highlight.

Their touted non-white token President, who was highlighted in this article, has become propelled into the right wing doctrine that synthesizes the conduct of those recruited and radicalization into white supremacist groups. It is likely that this fellow is not even aware of this point. Moreover, he has probably already reached a point of no return. Most people who begin to spew out this sort of hatred and terrorizing propaganda often believe they are righteous in their cause. Unfortunately, it is at this point that they begin to merge their entire identity with the logos on their back. This is precisely how gangs and extremist groups essentially brainwash people. More often than not, these people either begin to alienate themselves from their own families and children, or they begin to radicalize those close to them. Thus, creating an environment of normalization, which is extremely dangerous.

This is where SOO are engaged with the very nature of indoctrination that I highlighted in my research in 2014; the white supremacist movement has morphed into what Dr. Derald Wing Sue refers to as the ethno-centric-mono-culture. This is also very similar to what is referred to as the Trump Effect, which is not a new political issue in Canada.

Tokenism in SOO

SOO’s token non-white President wrote this manifesto.

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One does not have to examine to closely to see that there is a similar tone to that found within white nationalism or alt-right. Moreover, there is an obvious lack of critical thinking skills and utilization of generalized inferences and logical fallacies within this official statement by the SOO’s token President. This is evidence of the dangerous tones spewed by this organization. The underlying tone of this manifesto is discriminative and does target an identifiable group. Even if not racist, it is schismatic at best.

The issue is not whether the SOO President is correct or incorrect, the problem lays within the analysis. The logic and reasoning relied upon in order to get to the conclusion reached in this manifesto is of similar reasoning patterns that is relied upon by the white supremacist movement, which is similar in its conduct to that of most political propaganda.

Political rhetoric that results in communication and messaging that fundamentally relies upon logical fallacy, does not hold up to logic testing, and applies a generalized inference from the correlation of facts that do not offer evidence of cause and effect relationships, is a dangerous doctrine. This is common within right wing extremist doctrine.

Encouraging Dialogue

All of this said, I encourage to the SOO, and its critics alike, to get a better understanding of the points that I highlight.

I should also mention that I have spoke to and invited the Soldiers of Odin’s leadership to meet up with me to engage in dialogue. Both the SOO’s National President Joel Angott, and BC Provincial Leader Bill Daniels refused to engage in this dialogue. In my view this is because they are afraid to meet with someone who has solid and legitimate skill set and ability to breakdown their narratives. If faced with un-refutable facts and logic, they will be forced to respond in one of two ways:

  1. admit they are wrong, or
  2. rely upon the inevitable tactic of right wing extremism, violence, and remain in denial in the face of logic and reasoning.

An organization that is without a solid and sound doctrine is nothing more than a cult, propagandist machine, and potentially dangerous hate group. Through its own conduct the SOO is proving to people, like myself, that they are a threat to Canadian values.

The SOO can cloak itself in good will, but the incongruence of values, words and actions will become transparent eventually. If our communities, media and law enforcement do not act before it is too late this organization will result in unprecedented damage to our national equilibrium.

Any public official who continues to refer to this organization as a benign threat will eventually be forced to fess up to their own foolery.