By Joe Fernandez
On 16, January 2018, the CBC’s French-language 24-hour service RDI ran a story “Des soldats canadiens tissent des relations avec des motards criminalisés” (“Some Canadian soldiers are weaving links to criminalised bikers.”) The story reported that the “Canadian Armed Forces police” has been investigating links between soldiers and Veterans who form or join Motorcycle Clubs (MCs) since 2012 under Operation NIGHTHAWK, confirmed in English to be an investigation of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal Report—January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. The story quoted an “officer commanding of military information of the CAF” as saying that a) very few of the troops and Veterans who form and join an MC are actual causes for concern, and that b) the main concern is that “1%ers” MC’s (often referred to as “outlaw bikers/outlaw motorcycle clubs” by tabloid journalists and police desk jockeys) will exploit their friendly associations with these troops and veterans to gain access to ordnance and tactical expertise. The story further quotes a retired Colonel, a military lawyer who once commanded a unit in Germany during the Cold War, (though bereft of operational experience), as deploring this situation for allegedly bringing a bad name to the Canadian military.
The fact that elements not under government control might access ordnance and expertise is indeed worrisome because innocent civilians in Canada could die as a result. Nevertheless, the tone of the RDI story elucidates Canada’s and Canadians’ general naiveté when it comes to warfare-other-than-Fulda-Gap.
Many books have been written about the Allies’ conventional campaign in Italy during the Second World War, but very few of them highlight the centrality of FDR’s alliance with the Mafia to these Allied operations. Likewise, many books have been written about the French resistance during the war, but not all of them mention that prominent Résistants included the Guérini “family” of the Corsican underworld and North African gangster Jo Attia, who was deported to Mauthausen by the Nazis. The Guérinis and Attia also figure prominently in François Audigier’s Histoire du SAC, about the Service d’action civique (SAC), the paramilitary arm of Charles de Gaulle’s Rassemblement du Peuple Français party in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As part of the SAC, the Guérinis worked with French foreign (SDECE) and domestic (DST) intelligence in combating FLN terrorists and militant OAS conservatives. Jo Attia kidnapped the OAS’ Antoine Argoud from his German sanctuary, as described by West German intelligence chief Reinhard Gehlen, and then took part in neutralising a Moroccan renegade on French soil.
If one looks at Canadian authors Yves Lavigne’s and Jerry Langton’s books on 1%ers (who got the name after the American Motorcycle Association said that “99% of motorcyclists are well-behaved” in response to the 1947 Hollister riot), two things stand out from a military point of view: a) these are organisations whose ability to precisely surveil and neutralise specific targets of interest is generally far more precise than that of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle piloted from thousands of miles away, b) these are organisations that readily transcend borders undetected in ways that uniformed personnel, and personnel with diplomatic passports, do not. As well, Mr.Lavigne gives an explanation as to why, despite decades of effort, no law enforcement organisation and no prosecutor has been able to shut down any of the major international 1%er MC’s. Law enforcement personnel and prosecutors work for the government and have a government bureaucrat’s mentality, which means that they stop thinking about work at Close Of Buinsess (COB.) 1%ers, by contrast, are private sector entrepreneurs, which means that they think of business 24-7.
Succinctly, in wars where the enemy does not oblige us by wearing a uniform, 1%ers have the ability to effect substantial direct action in a manner that an infantry or armoured division, an artillery battery and an entire wing of bombers/Combat Air Support planes cannot. The experience of FDR with the Mafia in Italy during the Second World War, of the French Resistance, and then of Charles deGaulle and French foreign and domestic intelligence, with the Guérini “family” and Jo Attia demonstrates that using 1%ers does not constitute a threat to democracy.
After 9/11, the pedantic Robert Mueller told President Bush “We are going to get evidence to try them.” Attorney-General John Ashcroft said “No, the priority is to stop them from doing this again.”