csis is an acronym for
"Canadian Security Intelligence Service." They are a
Federal intelligence service "dedicated to the protection of
Canada's national security interests and the safety of Canadians."
CSIS was created by an Act of the Canadian Parliament in 1984.
Working from unclassified information available in the public domain,
they produced a report on doomsday religious movements which attach
special importance to the year 2000.1The
purpose of their report is to describe "which types of groups
could be prone to violence and which factors indicate a groupís move to
actualize this violence." Some of the points raised by the report
Doomsday religious movements form only a small fraction of
non-traditional spiritual belief systems.
Some groups attach great importance to the year 2000, anticipating
massive, violent events. Other groups view it as the start of a
CSIS feels that a predisposition towards violence is dependent on
the coincidence of three factors:
Apocalyptic beliefs of doomsday "cults":
The world is divided into two camps: one representing good,
the other evil.
A major apocalyptic event is imminent.
Small conflicts could trigger the expected apocalyptic
The cult itself is a persecuted minority. However, they view
themselves as being the ultimate winner.
Cult's organizational factors:
They have a charismatic leadership, which regards itself as
above religious and social laws.
They closely control the beliefs and daily activities of
The group withdraws from the rest of society
The group mobilizes by obtaining weapons (guns, explosives,
chemical weapons, biological weapons) and preparing defenses.
Actions/inactions by authorities
Authorities may not fully understand the cult's belief
system -- particularly the latter's expectation that an attack
by the authorities is an integral part of the scenario that
will lead to a major world-wide conflict.
Hasty action by the authorities might trigger violence.
"Spiral of amplification" where actions by
the authorities reinforce the cult's beliefs. This causes the
cult to escalate their actions, which might trigger the
authorities to take more serious actions. The cycle repeats
and gets out of control.
Little information is available about doomsday groups in Canada.
Millennialist groups could emerge and "pose a realistic
threat to public safety almost overnight."
Some early-warning signs of potential violence include: illegal
procurement of weapons, relocating to a rural area, increase in
violent rhetoric, a leadership struggle. A violent confrontation might
be triggered by a embarrassment by the leaders (perhaps caused by a
failed prophecy or arrest of a leader).
They quote an unidentified source which estimates that there are
1,200 "active cults throughout the world." (They do
not define in their report what they consider a "cult"
to be.) Of these, they estimate that about "400 subscribe to
doomsday philosophies which foresee catastrophe on or around the year
CSIS director, Ward Elcock, said: "The reality surrounding Y2K
is that ... you have a fixed date around which any number of people may
decide that they want to do something...Y2K kind of has an appeal to
everybody, so you have to be concerned and we have to be vigilant and it
will mean that people in the organization are working hard for the next
two or three weeks through to Y2K and slightly afterwards."