Tag Archive | Stephen Harper

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.

soothompson-timeline-2

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.

Reflections about misuse of Terrorist Legislation and ‘Indigenous Extremism’ from a Canadian Former Violent Extremist: “Picking fights will likely get you punched in the face”

Bio:
Daniel Gallant is a BC writer, researcher and social worker. Gallant is identified as an expert media consultant and has presented both nationally and internationally to national security teams relating to extremism and terrorism. As an identified expert on deradicalization from violent extremism Gallant bridges his personal experience as a former violent extremist, professional counselor/social-worker and academic researcher. Gallant now has undertaken the study of law to compliment his activism and academic work in order to identify possible issues pertaining to terrorist legislation and indigenous rights in Canada. Daniel Gallant has been described as a fierce advocate who frequently and passionately writes and speaks about topics relating to his research and scholarship that others tend to shy away from.

Terrorism

In the last week there have been two Canadian terrorist attacks. The first on a military base in Quebec where two armed forces members were run-over with a car driven by terrorist, Martin Roleau, who was then subsequently shot and killed by RCMP. The following day soldier Patrice Vincent died as a result of the attack.

Within 48 hours later there was a tumultuous attack on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. A gunman jumped from a car then shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo where he stood on guard at the War Memorial grounds. There are a lot of questions being asked in media reports about the past investigations on these particular terrorists, who they were and why there was not extra measures taken to ensure public safety.

As security and law enforcement have stated repeatedly these attacks are different because they are ‘lone wolf’ attacks and these types of attacks are harder to track due to the fact that people are allowed to think and say what they want without impingement of those inherent rights in Canada. However, this response from Canadian leaders and security teams opens up other lines of inquiry that seem to be put on the backburner as our nation is mourning these horrific terrorist attacks.

The same day that Martin Roleau attacked a Quebec military base the Aboriginal People’s Television Network reported that Clayton Thomas-Muller, a First Nations activist with the Idle No More movement has been put under surveillance by Canadian national security teams. The same national security team that indicated they could not infringe upon the rights of Martin Roleau who was arrested and questioned last summer. Yet, it seems that government and national security teams are drawing their focus to First Nations groups without the same restraint that they are offering real terrorist threats.

Research

I, the author of this article, also wear the hat of an academic researcher. In my research at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) I initiated an exploration into the question if there was an inappropriate application of terrorist legislation being evoked by government and national security teams against indigenous peoples in Canada. We must remember that Louis Riel, the leader of an indigenous rebellion who is now been recognized as a leader, was once labeled a terrorist and was convicted and sentenced to death for what was labeled “treason”. Legislation is consistently applied to indigenous peoples in an abusive and oppressive manner. The misapplication of terrorist legislation against indigenous peoples could be said to date back to the 1885, and likely even before that.

Oct. 23, 2014, BC’s Provincial Premier Christy Clark has publicly addressed an exoneration of six Tsilhqot’in war chiefs who were hung in the interior region of BC. In 1864 the Tsilhqot’in demanded that a road crew who were building pathways to the gold fields were attacked and killed over 20 people non-aboriginal people. The attacks were in response to the non-indigenous invaders who initiated a racist attack upon Canada’s first peoples, which included a purposeful use of biological warfare in the form of smallpox. Canadian Supreme Court Justice David Vickers acknowledged that the landmark land title case of the Tsilhqot’in, which ruled in favor of indigenous land title rights, was attributed to the stance that these war chiefs took and were later hanged. Premier Christy Clark made a speech that in BC’s legislature that these men were not treasonous traitors and exonerated them for the crimes they were hung for. These war chiefs are historical hero’s, not terrorists.

I was able to identify reports from 2012 that indicated many First Nations people, groups and communities were added to terrorist watch lists. Moreover, it was reported to me by an RCMP superintendent that local officers were being trained by national security teams in order to deal with local First Nations extremists and their anti-industry allies. It was this conversation with RCMP that flagged initial concerns about the possibilities of the misapplication of terrorist legislation by the Canadian government that would, at minimum, synthesize attributes of further systemic racism and suppression of indigenous rights.

It also became apparent in this research and noteworthy that the federal government had put indigenous scholar Dr. Cindy Blackstock under surveillance as well due to her vocal and substantiated and valid Human rights claim against the federal government for it’s mistreatment of indigenous children in child welfare care. According to the 2006 wen;de research report the mistreatment in question has resulted in nearly an average of 400 child deaths each year. Historical oppression and genocidal programs have happened in Canada, and according to experts and scholars it is evident that it is still happening. Justice Murray Sinclair indicated that in recent years Canadian governments were involved in genocidal program against indigenous peoples in Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being openly chastised for his failure to respectively act on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. With a not-so-distant past we know that the Canadian legal system was forced to respond when a BC Judge was convicted and later died in prison for his abuse against vulnerable indigenous women. More recently RCMP are being openly scrutinized due to a report issued by an international Human Rights group that alleges RCMP members are raping and abusing aboriginal women in northern BC. The same region of the province where national security teams were training local RCMP members to respond to what they are labelled as extremists and potentially terrorists in the area.

This can be a very troubling dynamic for any person who understands systemic racism, oppression and human rights. The United Nations have recently reported that Canada is falling short in regards to issues relating to levels of trust with all levels of government. The reasons for the mounting distrust with our current government is due to the systemic abuse and ongoing disregard for indigenous rights to land title, indigenous education and a lack of response to systemic racism which does include the mass amounts of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

When looking to the historic track record of government and law enforcement in Canada there is insurmountable evidence of violence, systemic racism, oppression and genocidal programs launched against indigenous peoples. This is still continuing today. According to indigenous scholar Bonita Lawrence First Nations peoples are the only group in Canada who face a constant threat of military force for asserting their inherent rights. With all of these issues in consideration is it really appropriate to apply terrorist legislation to indigenous peoples who are merely attempting to assert their legal rights?

It appears that terrorist legislation is likely to start being applied and abused as another form of systemic abuse against indigenous peoples. There are practical and real ways that we can resolve political issues rather than attempting to utilize terrorist legislation as a colonial weapon against indigenous people, groups and community.

Concerns with Terrorist Legislation
It seems there is substantiated evidence to facilitate a conclusion that this is already in process. Clayton Thomas-Muller is but only one of many concerned citizens asserting indigenous legal rights in Canada while the government is attempting to label him as an extremist and or terrorist. Muller is not alone in these seeming misapplications of terrorist legislation. The BC Civil Liberties Association, which is a team of legal professionals who advocate against systemic abuse, have indicated the blanket investigations by CSIS and RCMP against normal citizens include First Nations and anti-industry protestors violates Constitutional Rights of Canadians. This is becoming an increasingly contentious issue since the attacks on Parliament Hill.

Twenty minutes after the attacks Prime Minister Stephen Harper purported that national security teams will soon receive expanded powers. Security specialists are now criticizing this response. Professor Roland Paris at the University of Ottawa said that Canadians should be on guard when it comes to their own government after the recent attacks.

Reflections of a Former Extremist

What has become concerning for me as a former extremist engaged with counter-extremist-narrative initiatives, as an academic and a current student of law is that our government may utilize terrorist legislation in an inappropriate manner, and perhaps even abusive application of terrorist legislation.

Researchers indicate that aggressive tactics will result in further entrenchment of extremist mindsets and this may result in the opposite effect than what was originally intended. If we want to decrease violent attacks the solution to further the tensions between government and active extremists, according to experts and critics, would be foolhardy and contradictory.

One thing to consider is that if we begin to utilize Canadian terrorist legislation against indigenous peoples and their socio-political allies there is a possibility of breeding extremists. Indigenous peoples have been under attack by colonial governments since European contact. They were imposed upon by a government entrenched in racial, religious and legal supremacist doctrines that are still in place today. Yet, it seems the collectivity of First Nations only intends to rightfully walk towards healing for all Canadians.

First Nations have proven to be respectful cultural groups that are more than willing to share land and resources. First Nations peoples have not declared war, nor does that seem to be an intention of any indigenous group. Indigenous peoples are participants in Canadian government, universities and law as professionals and human rights advocates. First Nations are also teaching Canadians how to heal, even in the most extreme cases such as myself.

Entire First Nations communities have embraced my path as a former white supremacist simply because healing is possible. I believe it is time for Canada to consider that the perhaps our government and national security teams should consider:

  • a) that First Nations are at the heart of Canadian society and we need not attempt to criminalize nor be threatened by their inherent legal rights, which result in illegal surveillance and misapplication of terrorist legislation
  • b) that perhaps First Nations culture holds a key to what the government considers to be counter-violent-extremist initiatives
  • c) reconsideration of aggressive national security tactics and to consider safeguards of misuse of terrorist legislation against indigenous peoples

Perhaps First Nations culture should be embraced by the Canadian government as it is inherently non-violent, unlike the insurmountable evidence that suggestions Canadian government is abusive and violent. Perhaps First Nations could teach Canadians how to develop strategies against a violent abuser or terrorist. I do not suggest that First Nations should be leading national security, what I am suggesting is that we as a nation should consider our own actions and behaviors especially in regards to First Nations issues and national security. What can we do as a nation to offer our own citizens what they need in order to decrease the violence that is surely going to erupt if we continue down an aggressive path, do we really need to create enemies within our own borders?

I believe that Canada’s relationship with our First Nations peoples reflects and represents the direction that we are going as a country. The first relationship to exist in Canada was the European colonizers and indigenous peoples. This state of this respective first Canadian relationship will determine the direction of our national identity. The world is watching and the UN has responded. If we as a nation decide to apply a fear mongering approach and reject the inherent rights of indigenous peoples and remain determined to make them feel like an enemy within, then it is unlikely that the Canadian government will not be able to treat any citizens in a manner that is conducive with Canadian values. We do NOT need to create enemies. It is time our government works on improving relationships by listening to the people they are in relationship with. Grievances that violent extremists have will become more legitimate if Canada continues to trample on the inherent rights of Canadians, and this is especially true for First Nations.

Picking fights will likely get you punched in the face.