Toronto (July 24, 2020) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is demanding answers from Canada’s defence minister after a member of Canada’s military has returned to active duty following revelations of his extensive involvement in violent neo-Nazi groups and attempts to sell military-grade weaponry to other white supremacists.
Last fall, a hacker broke into a neo-Nazi website called Iron March and dumped the site’s data on the internet. The data revealed that a member of the Royal Canadian Navy named Boris Mihajlovic was an administrator of the site and that he was also an active member of the armed branch of a neo-Nazi group called Blood and Honour, which is considered a terrorist organization by Canada. The data also showed that Mihajlovic had used the website as a platform to offer to sell weaponry to other white supremacists, including AK47s, grenades and RPG rocket launchers. In December, the Navy announced that it had placed Leading Seaman Mihajlovic on restricted duty pending a full investigation.
In a video leaked this week by an anonymous source, Commanding Officer Joseph Banke of Mihajlovic’s Calgary-based division, HMCS Tecumseh, can be seen telling his sailors that Mihajlovic was now returning to active duty following the Navy’s investigation. Banke did not provide specific reasons for this decision but said that he believes in “rehabilitation over retribution.” The Navy has confirmed to FSWC that the video is legitimate, that the Navy had indeed decided to retain Mihajlovic, and while it noted that the Navy has a range of disciplinary tools at its disposal for members who violate codes of conduct, it did not state that any specific disciplinary or rehabilitative measures were taken against Mihajlovic.
FSWC has written to Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan to convey its outrage over this decision, demanding an urgent investigation and that Mihajlovic be held to account.
“We are supposed to believe that a committed neo-Nazi who pledged himself to a ‘race war’ against Jews and others, who tried to traffic illegal weapons and explosives to other neo-Nazis, has magically rehabilitated himself in a matter of months and is now fit to serve in our armed forces?” asked Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism at FSWC. “By participating in violent antisemitic and neo-Nazi groups as a member of Canada’s Navy, this individual brought shame on Canada’s military and betrayed our veterans and all citizens of Canada. A slap on the wrist is unacceptable. This person is in no way fit to be part of our armed forces and must be brought to justice.”
“Before we can even begin to discuss the rehabilitation of a leading neo-Nazi, we must first address the issue of justice,” said Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “This person spread violent hatred towards Jews and other groups. This person engaged in marketing illegal weapons. He has never publicly divulged the full extent of his neo-Nazi involvement, he has never issued a full public apology for his actions and we have not seen him make amends for the harm he has done. ‘Rehabilitation’ can not be a guise for simply giving a person like this a pass.”