Ottawa- According to CTV News, an estimated 130 people who have connections to Canada are suspected to be fighting alongside the Islamic State in Syria. Canada’s fight against terrorism may soon include tools such as revoking passports and citizenship of identified extremists and utilizing “exit controls” that track people who leave the country.
“We are committed at increasing the level of tools we are providing our law enforcement so that they are able to track those individuals not only here, but abroad,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told CTV. “It is important to make sure that we keep track of those, to just to know who, when they leave, where they are going.”
The United States and Canada have been sharing information through the “Beyond The Border” Initiative since 2012 regarding the movement of third party nationals and permanent residents who cross the US/Canada border, with the exception of American and Canadian citizens.
Blaney implied that exit controls may extend to documenting travel of Americans and Canadians that cross the border; an additional phase of the Beyond The Border plan was supposed to expand to include information exchange of all travelers crossing the border by the end of June 2014.
Anil Kapoor, a barrister from Toronto, said that exit controls were popular in authoritarian regimes seeking to restrict citizens’ travel and “foreign influence on domestic populations.” Kapoor said that exit controls would require all Canadian citizens to obtain exit visas.
Kapoor suggested that exit controls are currently too broad to effectively track known terrorism suspects.”It seems to me though, that isn’t really what the government should be doing,” said Kapoor. “It seems that the government should be targeting those individuals against whom they have intelligence to control or determine where they’re moving,” rather than enforce exit visas on all Canadians.
The State Department has released a graphic video called “Welcome to the ‘Islamic State’ land” marketed to would-be terrorists in hopes of thwarting future recruitment to extremist groups such as ISIS by using gruesome imagery and footage of violent acts.
The video, age-restricted on YouTube, is an imitation recruitment video itself, beginning with the words “Run do not walk to Isis land.” Following are clips of people being shot, thrown into ditches, whipped, beheaded, and crucified. “Come over for as Syria is no longer for Syrians and Iraq is no longer for Iraqis. Where you can learn new skills for the Ummah! Blowing up mosques! Crucifying and executing Muslims…plundering public resources,” reads the video.
The video was created for a State Department project titled “ThinkAgain TurnAway”. The campaign also created accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. On its Facebook page, the project stated that its mission is “to expose the facts about terrorists and their propaganda.” On its Tumblr page, its description is “some truths about terrorism”. The State Department considers social media to be an important tool in intercepting possible terrorists before they join extremist groups.
The “Welcome to the ‘Islamic State’ land” video is the most macabre example of the campaign showcasing terrorism; their Tumblr and Facebook pages and Twitter account provide reported examples of ISIS members changing their minds about joining the group and wanting to return home. The campaign has also shared photos of acts that they report to be ISIS members mistreating civilians.
Buzzfeed described the effort as “trolling terrorists” because the campaign uses social media to jeer the extremists; one example includes a tweeted photo of female Kurdish soldiers targeted toward ISIS. One unintended consequence that major media outlets have yet to discuss is the possibility of the satirical recruitment video becoming lost in translation.