By Kimball Cariou,
Peoples Voice Newspaper
The failure - or perhaps refusal would be more accurate - by the Calgary Police Service to take serious action to halt neo-Nazi violence has led to the most serious attack to date. Early in the morning of Monday, Nov. 8, prominent Anti-Racist Action organizer Jason Devine and a friend were brutally beaten by a gang of five thugs, apparently members of the so-called "Blood and Honour" fascist group.
While some early media reports called this a "home invasion robbery," nothing was stolen. The attack was clearly aimed at trying to silence and perhaps even kill the most outspoken campaigner against white power gangs which have terrorised Calgary in recent years.
The first report of the attack circulated on Facebook said that "At 1:30 am 5 males carried out an armed home invasion on the house of Anti‑Racist Activists Bonnie and Jason Devine... The armed assailants overwhelmed Jason and a friend who was visiting. They repeatedly beat Jason and his friend with blunt objects. His friend was bludgeoned throughout the head area and sustained a broken arm. Jason was surrounded as each assailant took turns beating his head, back, body, arms and legs, sustaining stitches and a concussion. Both were rushed to the hospital to receive treatment."
Speaking later that day to the Calgary Herald, Devine said he and his friend were sitting up in the kitchen after entertaining guests earlier in the evening, when they heard a loud noise. Within seconds, five black-clad men rushed into the room and began beating them.
"All of them had metal or wooden weapons," said Devine, who showed the newspaper a deep purple bruise on his midriff and bloody wounds on his back. He also received a large gash on the scalp, and his friend suffered a broken arm. After the attack, the men ran out to a waiting dark‑coloured SUV.
Bonnie Devine remained in her bedroom, phoning for emergency help. The couple's four children were asleep downstairs and did not witness the attack.
Questioned by People's Voice about the failure of the police to act following previous cases of neo-nazi attacks, a respondent at the Calgary police media line said simply that "evidence is required before charges can be brought."
Jason and Bonnie Devine have been the focus of neo-Nazi hatred for several years, in part because the couple are also well-known members of the Communist Party of Canada. Besides receiving death threats, their home has been vandalized on several occasions, including spray‑painting of nazi and white power symbols and slogans. The home was firebombed in February 2009, with their children sleeping inside.
The Calgary Police Service has dismissed these attacks and threats as a "dispute between extremists", even after a key Aryan Guard leader attempted to firebomb the home of one of his own followers.
In November 2009, police accused Aryan Guard member Kyle Robert McKee, and an unnamed 17‑year‑old male, of responsibility for a pipe bomb attack against the apartment of other Aryan Guard members.
In the wake of this incident, a statement was posted on the neo‑Nazi "Stormfront" website, announcing the disbanding of the Aryan Guard following internal disputes. This was denied by others, and the activities of the Calgary neo-Nazis continue unchecked.
Both the police and the Calgary media call the actions of the white power group "expressions of free speech." The Aryan Guard has repeatedly used March 21, the International Day Against Racial Discrimination, as an occasion to rally against so-called "anti-white" racism, marching with `White Pride Worldwide' flags and black combat boots. These marches have been met with massive community opposition, and the police have helped the neo-Nazis flee from protesters.
But this is not a "free speech" issue. Aryan Guard members and supporters in Calgary have been accused of several violent crimes against members of racialized communities, including Aboriginal people and immigrants.
Following an attack against the Devine home on Oct. 3, 2009, the Communist Party of Canada issued a statement warning that "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."
The Communist statement, proven correct by these latest events, said: "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.
"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."
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