November 12, 2009
from People's Voice: WHO ARE THE HATEMONGERS IN CALGARY?
(The following article is from the November 16-30, 2009, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St., Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)
A recent report for the Southern Poverty Law Centre sheds important light on the hate group which is spreading its violent message in southern Alberta. The Intelligence Report by Sonia Scherr begins with a brief account of a clash last March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racism:
"Wielding `White Pride Worldwide' flags and wearing black combat boots, about 40 members of the Aryan Guard and their supporters strode through the heart of Calgary... to broadcast their message of hate at City Hall. But they never got there. Instead, they encountered several hundred anti-racist protesters, some of whom threw rocks, water bottles and even cans of vegetables at the group as traffic came to a halt and police called for backup. Police eventually herded the neo-Nazis onto a bus that returned them to their vehicles on Calgary's outskirts. Though no serious injuries were reported, the melee snared headlines across Canada and prompted Aryan Guard spokesman Kyle McKee - who has `Kill Jews' tattooed on his shins - to declare victory."
The Aryan Guard have spread fear and anger among Calgary's 250,000 immigrant and minority populations.
"Essentially a racist gang," writes Scherr, "the Aryan Guard is the most public hate group to appear in Calgary - which, like much of western Canada, has a history of such activity going back to the Klan of the 1920s - in the past two decades. These Nazi look-alikes have clashed with counter-protesters at rallies in the city's downtown, handed out white-power music CDs to teenagers in an attempt to bolster their membership, and perpetrated attacks on minorities despite espousing non-violence."
The Aryan Guard was founded in late 2006 with help from two former teachers: Paul Fromm of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, who lost his teaching certificate because of his white supremacist activities, and National Socialist Party of Canada leader Terry Tremaine, a former part-time university lecturer who in 2007 was fined $4,000 by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal because of his racist and anti-Semitic Internet postings.
"They were the main catalysts behind bringing these young fellows here," said Constable Lynn MacDonald, hate crimes coordinator for the Calgary Police Service.
MacDonald says the Aryan Guard now has roughly 20 full-fledged members, and another 20 to 30 supporters, including those belonging to the Valkyrian Legion, or woman's wing of the Aryan Guard, which consists mostly of the girlfriends of male members. The majority are in their early 20s.
The group began to draw attention in 2007, when members began distributing hate literature in Calgary and Lethbridge.
In August 2007, the Aryan Guard began disrupting anti-racism rallies. Two months later, they rallied outside City Hall to denounce Muslim women who wear burkas while voting. Since then, they have conducted sporadic demonstrations, including "White Pride Day" rallies held on the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
As Scherr notes, "the Aryan Guard has found itself vastly outnumbered by anti-racist protesters, including members of Anti-Racist Action Calgary." While police say both Aryan Guard members and counter-protesters have been arrested for assaults, ARA spokesperson Jason Devine says no member has been charged in connection with any incident at an Aryan Guard rally.
Meanwhile, the Calgary Police Service admits that Aryan Guard members have been linked to several assaults, including one against a cab driver from North Africa.
Writing about this attack on the neo-Nazi Stormfront website, McKee boasted about getting the case dismissed: "The reason being was that they couldn't make a positive ID because apparently everyone there was all dressed in combat boots with white laces [and] black flight jackets and all had shaved heads. So let this be a lesson to anyone who wonders why on earth all us skinheads dress so similarly. [T]his is another great reason. lol [laughing out loud]".
In July 2008, a 17-year-old Aryan Guard member who had been making anti-Asian remarks followed a young Japanese woman as she left a bar and kicked her in the back of the head with steel-toed boots. He was wearing red laces - a skinhead symbol indicating he'd spilled blood for the movement.
ARA members believe that the Aryan Guard is responsible for the violent attacks against Jason and Bonnie Devine's home. Aryan Guard members have taunted the couple about the firebomb attack. "Is it hot in there?" they have asked during protests, according to Devine. "How are the kids? How's the house?"
And in yet another ugly case, four Aryan Guard members were charged with disturbing the peace after vandalizing a shopping mall and using racial slurs on a First Nations reserve near Calgary.
Scherr reports that two of the group's most prominent members, McKee and Dallas Price, faced assault and weapons charges in connection with a September 2006 confrontation in which one victim was hit with a wooden club and another was stabbed with a knife. Guard member Robert Reitmeier was charged with attempted murder in connection with a November 2006 assault on a man who suffered skull and facial fractures. Member Bill Noble was convicted in 2008 of posting hate material on the Internet that primarily targeted non-whites, Jews and gays. A judge sentenced him to four months in jail and imposed limits on his computer use for three years, though Noble continues to post frequently on Stormfront.
COMMUNIST PARTY CONDEMNS CALGARY POLICE INACTION
The failure by the Calgary Police Service to seriously investigate neo-Nazi violence against anti-racist activists is a reckless and shocking dereliction of duty which endangers lives. On October 3, the family home of Jason and Bonnie Devine and their four young children was the target of yet another such attack, in which windows were smashed and Neo-nazi graffiti was spray-painted on the front door: a swastika and "C-18", an obvious reference to the violent British fascist organization known as "Combat 18." In February 2009, the house was firebombed with molotov cocktails.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt in either incident, but the long history of email and telephone threats against the Devine family is ample warning that they remain in serious danger. The most likely suspects are in plain view - the Aryan Guard group which has been actively promoting racism and neo-Nazi ideology in Calgary for several years. Jason and Bonnie Devine have been in the forefront of community activists calling attention to the Aryan Guard. Both have campaigned as candidates for the Communist Party, and their courage has clearly angered the local fascists.
Despite its motto, "To maximize public safety in Calgary with vigilance, courage, and pride," the Calgary Police Service has ignored repeated public appeals to take action. Aryan Guard members are suspects in various other crimes, including the beatings of a homeless man, a gay community member, and a cab driver from North Africa, but no arrests have resulted. In the view of the Communist Party of Canada, this pattern has gone beyond neglect, into the territory of tacit encouragement of criminal activity. If serious injury or death results from further attacks, innocent blood will not only be on the hands of the perpetrators, but also on the hands of the Calgary Police Service which hides behind the feeble claim that "both sides are equally responsible" and that the Aryan Guard is simply "exercising its right to free speech."
The time has come for the City of Calgary and the Alberta provincial government to intervene in this crisis situation. Strong political leadership is required to replace Chief Rick Hanson with a police chief who is willing and capable of ensuring that swift action is taken to bring an end to these racist attacks. In the meantime, we extend our ongoing full solidarity to anti-racist activists and all democratic-minded citizens of Calgary who are standing up to the violent neo-Nazis in their community.
It should be noted that a redwatch* style website targeting communists, anarchists and jews in Canada has a link to the recent violent attacks.
* [from wikipedia]...Redwatch is a British neo-Nazi website that publishes photographs and personal information of alleged left-wing and anti-fascist activists. There also used to be a British magazine of the same name, and with similar subject matter. The website's slogan is "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes", a quote from neo-Nazi musician Ian Stuart Donaldson.
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