The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Heritage Front Affair
Report to the Solicitor General of Canada
Security Intelligence Review Committee
December 9, 1994

II. Targeting the Extremists

This chapter outlines the reasons why CSIS decided to target the leaders of the white supremacist movement. The general process by which CSIS decides whether to investigate a particular individual is described in Annex A.

2.1 Targeting the Extremists

The targeting of the white supremacist movement, since tie establishment of CSIS, has been reviewed continuously since 1985. The individual targets have changed, and the scope of the investigations has narrowed and then recently expanded again. Over the years, a considerable number of people in positions of authority, both in government and the judiciary, have known of and approved the Service's operations in this area.

The list of those who have scrutinized the targeting of individuals in the white supremacist movement since the creation of CSIS includes: seven Solicitors General; four Inspectors General; twelve members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee; and four Directors of CSIS. In addition, judges of the Federal Court have granted warrant powers to the Service to investigate in this area.

In this section of our report, we examine how the Service targeted the individuals in the white supremacist movement. We review:

* the grounds upon which white supremacists were targeted; and * who was targeted.

CSIS has never issued a targeting authorization specifically against the Heritage Front per se.

CSIS began to investigate members of the white supremacist movement from the creation of the new civilian agency, although targeting took place earlier, under the RCMP Security Service.

The most significant change to the targeting process during the period was that the scope of the investigation narrowed. Recent targeting certificates, however, show that the Service has again expanded its information collection efforts to include those who participate in acts of serious political violence. The Targeting Approval and Review Committee (TARC) minutes of February 1988 state that "although no concrete acts of violence have taken place yet, it is seriously believed that these organizations have the capacity to perform such actions."

After five years of investigating the extreme right, CSIS concluded in the 1990-91 TARC submission, that the "investigations since 1985 have documented the violence and petty criminal activity by skinheads and others but nothing that could be considered a threat to the security of Canada." CSIS continued to investigate the extent to which the extreme-right constitutes a threat, by "focusing on the leadership".

2.2 The First Certificates of the 90's

Targeting the "extreme right" in 1990-91 took place under sections 12, 2(b)[1] and 2(c)[2] of the CSIS Act. In 1991-92, targeting was only under 2(c). Counter-terrorism investigations are, of course, under 2(c), "political violence".

The 1990-91 targeting submission defined the extreme right "as racists, fascists and anti-semites who are prepared to use violence to achieve their political objectives."

The leaders were said to:

"plan and direct the advancement of a white supremacist philosophy which includes the use of serious violence as a tactic to achieve their stated political objective."

CSIS' aim was to provide preemptive intelligence of the

"leaders capabilities in gaining support for their extremist political doctrine in 1990 and beyond. Financing, offshore direction and support as well as the connections to other groups will be included as objectives of our investigation."

The Service also sought to develop human sources close to the extreme-right in order to ascertain the white supremacist strategy. CSIS sought to differentiate its investigation from criminal investigations.

In March 1991, TARC added a significant condition:

"The range of investigative techniques to be deployed under this authorization will be subject to consultation with the Minister."

From this point on, the Service was required to send an aide-memoire to the Solicitor General - prior to implementing the TARC Certificate.

2.3 The Second Targeting Series

The 1992-93 submission to TARC against the white supremacists was approved, pursuant to s.2 (c) of the CSIS Act. The rationale was:

* the increased coordination between extremist groups in Canada and internationally;

* the use of "modern technology to compile data on individuals considered to be threats to their racist ideology"; and

* the operation of three hotlines to "propagate a racist ideology and recruit followers".

The Service stated that the racists had taken "a more pro-active stance to further their political objectives." Proof for the statement was "the increasing presence of hate literature and racist hotlines, as well as a number of high profile criminal cases."

In what appeared to be a return to broader and more preemptive information collection, TARC approved an authorization against "Serious Violence Associated with Racist and Anti-Semitic incidents". The investigation collected information on racist and anti-semitic

"incidents that have the potential to manifest themselves into acts of politically motivated violence. Occurrences, that involve circumstances reasonably suspected of having a politically motivated intent, will be the subject of Service enquiries with local authorities."

The 1993 TARC submission highlighted two developments:

* "a noticeable shift towards more violence-prone groups on the part of a growing number of white supremacists, particularly within the ranks of neo-nazi skinheads[3]";


* the "growing emergence of sophisticated weapons within the white supremacist milieu".

The Service added

"We continue to differentiate hate crimes and incidents of racially motivated violence from activities which are directed by the white supremacist leadership in pursuit of their political objectives."[4]

As in the previous year, the submission expressed concern about the links forged within and between the Canadian white supremacists and their foreign counterparts.

The 1993 submission acknowledged that the Heritage Front had become "the most prominent white supremacist organization in the country," prominent enough to inspire the creation of a counter group called "Anti-Racist Action", The latter was "allegedly preparing to use violence and 'direct action' tactics to counter the white supremacists."

2.4 The Current Certificate

The most recent TARC Certificate sought to show the stronger links between incidents of racial violence and the political objectives of the white supremacists.

"The supremacists, said the Service, have demonstrated an ability to plan and direct groups to carry out acts of violence on behalf of their ideals. More importantly, they had shown a propensity for violence and are prepared to resort to violence to achieve their political objective of establishing a whites-only 'Aryan' homeland."[5]


1. Threats to the Security of Canada, Section 2(b) of the CSIS Act:

"foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person."

2. Threats to the Security of Canada, Section 2(c) of the CSIS Act:

"activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political objective within Canada or a foreign state."

3. * The Leader of the Church of the Creator, George Burdi established a security team for the COTC and Heritage Front. * A COTC member was arrested on weapons offenses.

4. * July 1992 visit of Americans Tom and John Metzger (head of White Aryan Resistance). Deported. * 1993 attempt by Dennis Mahon (Ku Klux Klan Leader from Oklahoma) to enter Canada to support Wolfgang Droege at his Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing. Stopped at the airport. * Fall 1992 - David Irving, British revisionist historian visits Canada. Deported by CEIC.

5. Criminal Incidents cited:

- clashes between anti-racists and the Heritage Front in Ottawa (May 93) and Toronto (June 93); - Wolfgang Droege and several supporters charged with assault, armed robbery, kidnapping and forceable confinement; and - both George Burdi and Eric Fischer face criminal charges.

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