Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bigots and Hate Groups Lie About Toronto Tragedy

On April 23, 2018, a van swerved onto the sidewalk in Toronto in what appears to have been an intentional act. When the carnage was over, 10 people were dead and more than a dozen injured. The people killed and injured were men and women, young people and old, people of different faiths, Canadian citizens and tourists.

Very little was known about the accused (for example, while Canadian law enforcement has said he was unknown to them, some have suggested American law enforcement was aware of him though I've come to consider this claim to be rather dubious), however as time went on we learned more about him. We learned his name was Alek Minassian, a 25 year old from Richmond Hill who had recently graduated from Seneca College having attended from 2011 to 2018. Accounts from those who knew him in high school and during his post-secondary studies paint a picture of a socially awkward individual who might have had special needs; in a 2009 article in the "Richmond Hill Liberal," his mother expressed concern that an unnamed son who was said to suffer from Asperger syndrome would no longer have access to a program called Helpmate:
“My son would spend afternoons working with Helpmate. They were sensitive to his needs and now he has a job at Compugen here in town,” she said, referring to an IT company in Richmond Hill. 
“He was able to take the experience provided by Helpmate and apply it. This kind of service for my son wasn’t available elsewhere. I am convinced that if we didn’t have Helpmate, my son would not have had such an opportunity.”
It was also reported that Minassian had tried to join the Canadian Armed Forces in August of 2017, however after 16 days of the 13 week basic training schedule, he asked for and received permission to leave.

Initially there wasn't any information regarding a motive for the Minassian's actions, however eventually his Facebook page was discovered and though it has since been removed by Facebook administrators Minassian posted the following status update just prior to the horrible events that were soon to take place:

Initially this post was met with skepticism as it had not been verified when the media started reporting on it, however Facebook acknowledged the authenticity of the profile:

Fun fact: Ezra Levant had to roll back his mockery of the "fake news":

If this is true, it seems that Minassian may have been inspired by Elliot Rodger:
Elliot Rodger, of course, refers to the 22-year-old who, motivated by his self-professed hatred for women and frustrated by his status as a virgin, murdered six and injured over a dozen before killing himself in Isla Vista, California, in May 2014. The “incel rebellion” refers to the involuntarily celibate community—people, though almost exclusively men, distraught with their lack of sexual experiences, and often expressing this disappointment as anger towards women writ large. For violent-minded incels, Rodger is thought of as a hero, and it’s believed Nikolas Cruz—the shooter responsible for the massacre in Parkland, Florida—also idolized Rodger. 
“Chad,” for those unaccustomed to the Neanderthalic corners of the internet, is a reference to a meme that contrasts the qualities of a “virgin” with his confident, well-endowed opposite, Chad Thundercock. The opposing, poorly drawn men of the meme are applied to everything from character picks in Overwatch to astronomy; but true to the meme’s origin’s on 4chan—another radicalizing force Minassian mentions—the subject matter tends to veer towards subjects of traditionalism, ethno-centrism, and misogyny. 
00010 is the trade number for the Canadian infantry, and C23249161 appears to be a military service number. Minassian joined the CAF for approximately 2 months, and requested a voluntary discharge without completing his recruit training, Vice reports.

There are still a lot of unknowns. One thing that doesn't matter at all is the religion of the accused. Since his name is of Armenian origin, it suggests that he MAY be a Christian, but really it doesn't matter if he's a Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, or other.

But damn is some people really, REALLY, want him to be a Muslim:

Almost all of what Myatt posted here is not true. The accused appears to have been in the country for close to a decade at least and may have been born in Canada. He did not arrive from Aleppo six months ago and his Facebook profile never made that claim. No where is there any evidence of his religion and the there is no indication that Trudeau has ever said or written any of the statements that are attributed to him in the picture Myatt provided.

Steven Myatt is a liar, and I believe he know's he's a liar because he has since removed this post and the accompanying comments. He has not acknowledged that he was wrong and continues to stoke religious and ethnic hatred however. This post was also shared hundreds of times and resulted in whipping his fans into a frenzied rage that is potentially very dangerous:

There were some who did question the accuracy of Myatt's claims:

Myatt's response then was to both double-down and to state something incredibly stupid:

"Armenia doesn't exist anymore"

Yeah, he actually wrote that:

Steven Myatt is an idiot.

But he's a dangerous idiot with a fairly large following of increasingly radicalized anti-government racist and Islamophobes whose violent rhetoric is reaching a fevered pitch and seems ready to explode.

He of course isn't alone:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Calgary and Vancouver Island Northern Guard Members' Ties To Racists and Antisemites

Looking through the photos taken of the anti-Muslim "Christian freedom" protest at Calgary City Hall from last Saturday, I couldn't help noticing some familiar patches on some of the participants. For example, this one comes from fundamentalist nutbar Larry Heather's Twitter account:

Yep, those would be Northern Guard members.

Truth be told, I can't say that I'm especially surprised. The Northern Guard had expanded westward with a chapter in Saskatchewan, however that chapter was shut down by the folks in New Brunswick who also took over the Facebook group, kicking off every member because the vice-president of the Saskatchewan chapter was a neo-Nazi with links to the KKK. At the time the founder and head of the Northern Guard denied any responsibility for the situation and tried to wash his hands of the whole mess and denied the accusations that the Northern Guard was a racist gang, though given his subsequent support of white nationalism one has to question his sincerity.

In any case, it looks like they have decided to give the west another crack and have named an Alberta provincial president.... at least I think that is the title awarded to one Jeremy Clarke:

As noted, Clarke and company participated in Artur Pawlowski's protest outside City Hall in Calgary alongside such luminaries as Bill Whatcott, Sandra Solomon, the Calgary Soldiers of Odin, and Joey Deluca's Worldwide Coalition Against Islam:

Clarke was, and perhaps still is, a member of the Alberta III% militia:

But getting back to the April 14 protest at City Hall, it looks like a familiar face has hitched his wagon to the Northern Guard in Alberta:

Devon Mannix has been a little more quiet than he was when he was hanging out with the WCAI, though he doesn't seem to be big fans of them any longer since they aren't quite racist or antisemitic enough for him:

Still, it might be instructive to read a little bit about what this guy is all about if you are a new reader:

And then there is some of his more recent wit and wisdom to contend with:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ottawa Proud Boy Member Brandon Vaughan Indicted For Assault on Palestinian-American

Evan Balgord has tweeted about this story here:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Far-right Weaponizing the Humboldt Broncos Tragedy For Fun and Profit

The death of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos Jr. A Hockey team, players, coaches, and staff, was a horrible tragedy. The loss of so many lives has deeply affected Canadians and has resulted in an outpouring of sympathy to the families of the victims not only from Canadians but the world as well. I was overseas when it occurred and received updates regularly on my iPhone. I was surprised to see that it was also covered on the local media.

The families deserve every bit of sympathy directed towards them and though I'm not religious as someone who has lost loved ones under tragic circumstances as well, my thoughts do go out to them too.

While the tragedy has brought out the best in people, it has also brought out the worst in some as well.

I've had the very good fortune of knowing Nora Loreto, who has often kindly translated French language articles and intel ARC has received, for a few years now. She is a fantastic journalist and someone with unfailing desire to stand up for those who are oppressed. Ms. Loreto was also moved by the tragedy and wrote as such on her Twitter account. In a brief aside when learning how much money had been raised for the victims' families, she asked whether their youth, gender, and ethnicity might have played a role in how this tragedy was perceived vs. other horrible tragedies in Canada that haven't received the same publicity. She further added that she didn't think that the Bronco's families didn't deserve the support, but that she wanted the victims of other tragedies to receive the same support as fellow human beings.

While this was not at all an unreasonable question, she has since been attacked mercilessly on Twitter and has been the subject of death and rape threats because, you know, that is the best way to honour the 15 men and one young woman who died. /sarc

"The Briarpatch" does an excellent job of providing the chronology of events that resulted from some online sites taking Ms. Loreto's tweet widely and purposely out of context. One of those sites, Era Levant's "Rebel Media" has used the faux controversy to make money by using both the ginned-up rage they've helped to direct toward Ms. Loreto as well as the death of the 16 Broncos members to make money; for some reason, this crass exploitation has not resulted in the same backlash Ms. Loreto has received for her observation or her wish that the victims of all tragedies be treated the same.

I think we could all guess as to what that reason may be.

One further criticism of Ms. Loreto is that she is accused of "injecting race" into the story. The claim is that this is not a racial issue and that anyone trying to make it so is wrong.

Well, perhaps those folks might want to talk to members of the Alberta Threepers and the Canadian Combat Coalition to let them know that this tragedy has nothing to do with race because they, and others, are sure hell-bent on making it so:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Calgary Soldier of Odin Leader Posts Antisemitic Memes and Linked to Overt Racists

It's interesting what one finds when one turns over a few stone.

Now it isn't entirely surprising that members of the Calgary Soldiers of Odin would be present. Though the hate group no longer exists as a national organization, there are still remnants in some cities in the country including Calgary. Truth be told, I haven't been focusing on them all that much lately however one person who participated in both the Artur Pawlowski organized "conference" on April 13 and City Hall rally on April 14 did catch my attention:

Dale Caldwell is a leader in the Calgary Soldiers of Odin group. He both created and acts as one of the two administrators for the Calgary SoO Facebook group:

In the group, one can find the usual sort of posts one would expect to find in an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-government hate group:

"Elvis SoO" with Sandra Solomon and Jesse Wielenga in background
The Calgary SoO also has a pre-existing relationship with Sandra Solomon:

Caldwell has two Facebook profiles. The first is mostly closed down but does contain some interesting content: