The far right in Canada and the United States is pocketing fortunes by broadcasting hate speech and violent events live, like the attack on Capitol Hill last week.
The Washington uprising has thus become a real telethon for extremists and conspirators on the DLive website, a platform used by video game enthusiasts to broadcast games live.
“DLive has paid extremists hundreds of thousands of dollars since its founding [en 2017], largely through cryptocurrency donations, ”says the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Atlanta-based organization.
Financing yourself with lemons
Users earn lemons, DLive’s virtual currency, by spending as much time as possible on the site. They can also buy them by credit card.
These lemons can be converted into real money or used to reward content creators on the site. To do this, just tap on a batch of lemons, as you would click “like” on Facebook.
Neo-Nazi conspirator Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet raised more than $ 2,000 by broadcasting his entry into the Capitol live for 20 minutes on DLive, said Megan Squire, a researcher at Elon University in North Carolina.
Alexis Cossette – Trudel
Extremists also collect donations by credit card, PayPal or even on the GoFundMe or Patreon crowdfunding platforms. The latter is used by Quebecer Alexis Cossette – Trudel, who popularized here the QAnon conspiracy theories and who was kicked out of the social network Twitter.
The far right has also adopted the encrypted messaging platform Telegram. Used by the Islamist terrorist organization Daesh, it allows the exchange of messages, but also the broadcasting of live events. It shares its advertising revenue with its users who create content.
In the attack on the Capitol, the Proud Boys drew 6,000 users to their Telegram channel in just four hours, argues Mr.me Squire.
This far-right group founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes was at the forefront of the assault. He is one of some 200 extremist entities including Mr.me Squire is chasing online funding.
Since 2016, she has noted a number of them that are “worrying”. In particular, the group’s leaders exchange funds to finance logistics related to violent protests, such as bus rental, for example.
According to their statutes and bylaws, the Proud Boys have eight chiefs called “elders” scattered across North America. One is Ontarian Timothy Kelly, who hosts a podcast spreading conspiracy theories and misogynistic and anti-Semitic diatribes.
The Proud Boys know no borders
The Canadian and American Proud Boys are united in a single organization that has a capacity for influence and action on both sides of the border.
For Yannick Veilleux-Lepage, of the Institute on Security and International Affairs at Leiden University in the Netherlands, it is “a transnational organization”, whose members “are influenced and participate in events in their local ecosystem, but also beyond ”.
Following the attack on Capitol Hill last week, the New Democratic Party called for the Proud Boys to be placed on Canada’s list of banned terrorist entities in the country.
Former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officer Jessica Davis says this would allow all the assets and assets of group members to be frozen in the country. They would no longer be able to hold bank accounts or cross borders.
In addition, law enforcement agencies across Canada would be motivated to come after them, as it is much easier to obtain a warrant against members of designated terrorist groups.
In the crosshairs of spies
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s office has said the Proud Boys are under intelligence and it is up to them to produce a report detailing the reasons for banning the group.
Mme Davis indicates that a number of activities in which the Proud Boys were engaged could be considered “terrorist” within the meaning of the Canadian Criminal Code.
Ten of them, for example, carried out homophobic attacks in the streets of New York in 2018. One of their leaders, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested in Washington two days before the assault on the Capitol, in the possession of two chargers high capacity firearms illegal.
For ex-Agent Davis, the intelligence services should also crack down on other dangerous extremist groups. Among them, there is in particular the III%, an armed militia originating in Finland well established in Quebec.