… back in 1995 a clandestine organization in Canada calling itself the Anti-Fascist Militia / Militant Direct Action Task Force carried out a series of mail-bombings targeting, as they put it, “imperialists, fascists, military weapons producers and eco-destroyers” … what follows is (some, not all) material from the Arm The Spirit files … newspaper articles, statements, communiques and analysis …
1. Cops Scurry To Get Handle On Bombers. Anti- Fascist Militia A Riddle, Toronto Sun , July 21, 1995
2. Group Tells Media Why It Mailed Bombs. Letters Outline Militant Direct Action Task Force’s Anger Over Genetic Tampering, ‘Corporate Fascists’, The Globe And Mail, July 27, 1995
3. Local Anti-fascist Group Denies Parcel Bomb Role. Vancouver Sun , July 22, 1995
4. Anti-Fascist Info Statement Regarding Mail Bombs Sent To Fascists, Press Release, July 20, 1995
5. Left Wing Group Claims To Have Sent Mail Bombs.Details In Letters To Two Newspapers Point To Direct Action, A Group That Carried Out A Series Of Terrorist Bombings In Canada in The Early 1980s, Montreal Gazette, July 26, 1995
6. Letter Defends Blast. ‘Militant’ Group Writes To Province, The Province, Wednesday, July 26, 1995
7. Who Is To Blame For Recent Letter Bombs? Communiques claiming responsibility were signed by left-wing fanatics, but some say the senders might be far-right groups in disguise, The Gazette, July 29, 1995
8. Ex-Terrorist Decries Wave Of Mail Bombs. Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 1995
9. Anti Fascist Militia. Communique. April 4, 1995
10. Militant Direct Action Task Force. Communique No. 1
11. Militant Direct Action Task Force, Communique No. 2
12 Militant Direct Action Task Force, Communique No. 3
13. The Anti-Fascist Militia – Premature Anti-Fascists? Antifa Forum, No. 2, Fall 1997
Cops Scurry To Get Handle On Bombers
Anti- Fascist Militia A Riddle
Toronto Sun , July 21, 1995
Who are the Anti-Fascist Militia?
For police across Canada and in several U.S. states, a wave of deadly pipe bombs has given the question an increased urgency.
Unfortunately little is known about the group that sent shrapnel-packed pipe bombs to four targets in the last eight weeks.
But people who are shocked, or’ puzzled, just haven’t been paying attention to the struggle extremists have waged on our streets for the last several years.
Police are being close-mouthed about their investigation, but RCMP Sgt. Peter Montague admitted his force had not heard of the group until the first wave of threatening letters worked its way through the mails in April.
And while Montague expressed some bewilderment about the group’s choice of mail-bomb targets (two white racist leaders, the director of a right-wing think tank and an executive in a hi-tech cattle-breeding company) the target choice is in keeping with the broad base that anti-racist activists have been drawing from for the past three years. .
Gay and lesbian advocates; aboriginal associations; animal rights activists; feminist, black, Jewish, Asian, South Asian and South American communities; anarchists, socialists and hard core communists – have joined forces to fight recent upsurgence in organized white-racist groups.
And in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver the anti-racists have demonstrated time and again that they are not shy about using violence to fight racists.
When Nazi propagandist Ernst Zundel’s Toronto home was hit by an early-morning arsonist May 7, leaders of some grass-root anti-racist groups chortled with glee.
And a week later, when Zundel received the first of the AFM pipe -bombs, many in the anti-racist movement speculated that he had sent it himself. A representative from Anti-Racist Action here refused to condemn the arson attack, saying it was a response to racist violence unleashed by Nazis against gays and lesbians, youths and people of color.
Very similar language is found in the AFM communique sent to the Vancouver Sun in early April.
The communique warned of a wave of letters – rigged with a mousetrap and razor blade – that were a declaration of war against fascists. It listed 10 high profile targets among the leadership of white racist movement.
“For those who do not under stand why we are willing to use violence to fight these bigots, we draw an analogy to Nazi Germany,” The Vancouver Sun quoted the AFM as writing. “It is our responsibility, as citizens of these countries, to do what we can to put an end to the reign of terror.”
They then embarked on a reign of terror, sending deadly packages to Zundel, Aryan Nations member Charles Scott, the right-wing MacKenzie Institute in Toronto and Alta Genetics of Alberta.
Group Tells Media Why It Mailed Bombs
Letters Outline Militant Direct Action Task Force’s Anger Over Genetic Tampering, ‘Corporate Fascists’
The Globe And Mail, July 27, 1995
The Militant Direct Action Task Force has claimed responsibility for mail bombs sent this month to Alta Genetics Inc, a Calgary cattle-breeding centre, and to the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute which does research on crime and terrorism.
In two letters received by The Globe and Mail and other media outlets, the group gives details about the parcel bombs to verify its credentials and outlines its reasons for mailing the explosives.
The groups responds in the unsigned correspondence to media reports about the dangers to postal workers who unwittingly handled the mail bombs. “We have tested our devices and found that only extremely rough mishandling [or opening them] would cause them to detonate. All packages have been labeled PERSONAL to keep unauthorized people from opening [them].”
The group previously claimed responsibility for bombs mailed in June to Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and white supremacist Charles Scott.
The four bombs were sent a few months after a group called the Anti-Fascist Militia claimed responsibility for sending mousetraps primed with razor blades to Mr. Zundel and nine others.
In a letter to the media in April, the Anti-Fascist Militia said the mousetraps were “a declaration of war” and it intended to take further actions if its targets did not stop their “fascistic activities.”
The RCMP in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver have launched a coordinated investigation into the four mail bombs and have issued a nation-wide alert to all Canadian to show extreme caution when receiving unexpected packages or letters.
RCMP Sergeant Peter Montague said yesterday that police had anticipated someone would eventually claim responsibility for the bombs sent to Alta Genetics and the Mackenzie Institute.
The police have not confirmed that the Militant Direct Action Task Force and the Anti-Fascist Militia are the same. However Sgt. Montague said “an irresistible inference” could be drawn from the common themes throughout the two group’s communiques. “That’s all we’re prepared to say,” he added.
Sgt. Montague also declined to comment on the police investigation. “We’re not going to say anything that will impact the investigation.”
The Globe and Mail gave the letters to the RCMP in Toronto.
In an undated, unsigned letter described as “Communique #2,” the Militant Direct Action Task Force says the bomb addressed to Alta Genetics vice-president Ted Mitenko was “against the fascist bio and gene-technology industry.” That bomb exploded, causing damage to an office, but no one was hurt.
“We chose them because of their work in live cattle and reproductive techniques through their use of bull and cow semen [sic] and because agriculture is the fastest growing of all genetic-technological areas,” the letter says.
Alta Genetics, a publicly traded company, is involved with work designed to increase the efficiency of milk and meat production. The company specializes in production and marketing of bull semen, cow embryos, live cattle and reproductive technologies.
Company president Douglas Blair has said that the company had never been the target of protests and had never received threats.
The Militant Direct Action Task Force describes genetic tampering as a product of nazi Germany. Genetic tampering in agriculture will lead, it says, to starvation in poorer countries that rely on income from harvesting natural crops such as sugar cane.
Proclaiming its opposition to all human, animal and plant genetic and reproduction technology, the group says the bomb sent to Alta Genetics was the “first step in stopping this exploitative industry.”
The letter also includes a transcript directed to media outlets. “If you choose to blackout our actions or our reasons for such actions in the mass media, it won’t stop us.”
An undated, unsigned letter described as “Communique #3,” says a bomb was sent to John Thompson, executive director of the Mackenzie Institute, as a person “who hide[s] amongst the upper crust of corporate fascists, capitalists and imperialists.”
The Mackenzie Institute is a non-profit body that does research on organized crime, radical ideologies, propaganda and terrorism.
The Militant Direct Action Task Force charges that the institute supports neo-Nazis and multinational corporations and is “pro-American, supporting the likes of the CIA and NATO.”
The group also accuses the institute of being against bilingualism, of being pro-apartheid, homophobic, anti-feminist and anti-choice on abortion, and of favouring money for military spending over social programs. The group also says the institute is spreading lies, support right wing hatred towards certain groups and attacking natives and immigrants.
Mr. Thompson said yesterday in an interview that the group’s members are more likely in publicizing their politics than in killing him.
Attacks are launched against targets that have symbolic worth, he said. “The actual, real destruction is not that important as a rule. The real object is to communicate with a much larger audience. So media relations is essential when conducting a terrorist campaign.”
Mr. Thompson also said that the group, using a tactic called armed propaganda, has succeeded in tarring the the reputation of the institute, linking it unjustifiably to neo-Nazis.
Media outlets cannot ignore the activities, Mr. Thompson said. But he suggested that the group’s claims should be placed in context and not taken at face value.
The anarchistic left-wing community in Canada has a long history of being interested in violence and spawning several acts of terrorism, he said. “They’re even more prone to violence than neo-Nazis.”
Local Anti-fascist Group Denies Parcel Bomb Role
Vancouver Sun , July 22, 1995
A Vancouver anti-fascist group issued a statement Friday condemning the recent parcel bombs sent by the so-called Anti-Fascist Militia, but also said violence is sometimes necessary to combat hate.
The Anti-Fascist Info – a grassroots organization that gathers and distributes information on the extreme right – said it felt compelled to issue a statement because of all “the media hounds sniffing around for sensationalistic comments from our crew.
“As one of the few anti-fascist groups actively organizing around the B.C. Lower Mainland, we feel the need to make our position on the use of letter bombs clear. Yes, it’s bad to send letter bombs,” the statement said.
But the group said violence, particularly self-defence, is sometimes necessary when dealing with neo-Nazis.
“Something that has been lost in this year, marking the 50th anniversary of the destruction of the Third Reich, is the fact that violence is precisely what it took to topple (Adolf) Hitler’s regime,” the group said.
“From where we are standing, things are being blown out of proportion (no pun intended). The level of violence coming from the left is incomparable to that of the right wing.”
In the last three months, the Anti-Fascist Militia has sent bombs to Toronto neo-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel, B.C.based Aryan Nations leader Charles Scott and the Toronto right-wing think tank the Mackenzie Institute.
A fourth bomb exploded at the office of Alta Genetics, of Cochrane, Alta. last week; no one was injured.
RCMP have said the bombs are linked and are believed to have been mailed from Vancouver.
Zundel and Scott have long admitted publicly they were targets for their high-profile racist views.
But officials of the Mackenzie Institute and Alta Genetics claimed they couldn’t understand why they were bomb recipients.
The institute, which uses the full name the Mackenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism, Revolution and Propaganda, has taken controversial stances in a number of areas since it was founded in 1986.
It was criticized for a report it did on the 1990 Oka crisis – native Indian groups said it distorted Mohawk history.
Institute director John Thompson has said Canada’s spy agency should have more power and that it should make no further concessions to civil rights concerns of many Canadians.
Alta Genetics president Doug Blair said this week that the company – which produces and markets products and services based on cattle genetics – had not been the target of
any form of protest.
Meanwhile, Vancouver police have responded to three calls about suspicious packages in the last two days.
Const. Anne Drennan said all three calls were false alarms.
One man was concerned about a thick envelope left on his doorstep, which ended up being cancelled cheques the bank had couriered to his house. A woman called about a parcel left outside her door which was actually a “welcome to the neighborhood” basket. And Pacific Press called about a suspicious metallic box that turned out to contain chocolates.
Anti-Fascist Info Statement Regarding Mail Bombs Sent To Fascists
While we are extremely honoured to have the media hounds sniffing around for sensationalistic comments from our crew, we have decided to issue a statement in regards to the recent letter bombs sent by the Anti-Fascist Militia. As one of the few anti-fascist groups actively organizing around the B.C. lower mainland, we feel the need to make our position on the use of letter bombs clear. Yes, it’s bad to send letter bombs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, as the police (always on the ball) have pointed out, to realize that anyone in the vicinity of a letter bomb is in danger, from postal workers to secretaries who open mail. There is always the chance, hypothetically speaking of course, that
Canada Post (always on the ball) could send the package to a wrong address.
Concerning violence in and of itself, Anti-Fascist Info understands that the fight against fascism cannot be won with just petitions or the formation of “Hate Crime Units” (which Vancouver still doesn’t have). Something that has been lost in this year, marking the 50th anniversary of the destruction of the Third Reich, is the fact that violence is precisely what it took to topple Hitler’s regime. From where we’re standing, things are being blown out of proportion (no pun intended). The level of violence coming from the left is incomparable to that of the right wing.
Considering that in light of the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis in the 1940’s; in light of the rise of right wing extremism throughout the Western world and a frightening shift to the right in mainstream politics; in light of racist immigration policies; in light of the Oklahoma City bombing and, closer to home, the attempted assassination of Dr. Garson Hornalis, we cannot at this point simply condemn the use of violence. Or, more to the point, the use of self-defense by those communities targeted by racism and injustice, including the Zapatistas in Chiapas or the Mohawk Nation in Oka.
To quote from one of our leaflets, “Anti-Fascist Info is a group with the aim of gathering and distributing information on the extreme right in Canada. Our goal is to raise consciousness about the extreme right and fascist organizations, their activities, perspectives and ideologies. Through this, we want to enable anti-fascists- from youth to elders, trade unionists to Canucks fans- to better organize against the extreme right, particularly in times of growth and action by fascist groups.”
Tony McAleer, Vancouver’s wannabe fuhrer and ‘professional’ cock .roach exterminator- how he can kill his own kind we still don’t know- was quoted in the Province newspaper as saying, ” I have a list of people who would want to do bad things to me.” We at AFI would like to see that list grow, and suggest a petition to be signed by all those who would like to do something “bad” to Tony be made up immediately.
… always on the ball
Left Wing Group Claims To Have Sent Mail Bombs
Details In Letters To Two Newspapers Point To Direct Action, A Group That Carried Out A Series Of Terrorist Bombings In Canada in The Early 1980s.
Montreal Gazette, July 26, 1995
Police are investigating whether a known left-wing terrorist organization is behind the letters to The Gazette and a Vancouver newspaper claiming responsibility for recent mail-bombing attempts in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
Law-enforcement sources have confirmed that specific details about the bombs, mentioned in letters sent to The Gazette last month and the Vancouver Sun two days ago, are accurate and point to the sender as the true culprit.
Named on the masthead of both letters is the Militant Direct Action Task Force, a group whose name and modus operandi have police checking for links to an organization that carried out terrorist activities in Canada in the early 1980s.
In 1984, five B.C. residents belonging to a group calling itself Direct Action were convicted of a series of bombings in that province and Ontario and given prison terms ranging from 10 to 22 years.
The bombing took place in 1982 at a B.C.Hydro substation, three Vancouver video stores and a Litton Systems factory in Mississauga, Ont., that manufactured cruise missle components. Ann Brit Hansen, Brent Taylor, Gerald Hannah, Douglas Stewart and Julie Belmas – dubbed the Squamish Five – have all been paroled and are living in the Vancouver and Kingston, Ont., areas.
In the recent mail-bombing attempts neo-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel was sent a pipe bomb on May 10 and a similar explosive designed to be set off by a mousetrap, was sent June 12 to a post office box rented by BC. Aryan Nations leader Charles Scott.
Zundel’s bomb did not go off. The one sent to Scott was turned over to police.
On July II. a package bomb exploded at the Alberta Genetics cattle-breeding centre near Calgary hurling debris into the walls of an office, but injuring no one. Days later another bomb was delivered to the Toronto offices of the Mckenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism. Revolution and Propaganda. but didn’t explode.
The letter received by The Gazette claims responsibility for attempted bombings of Zundel and Scott while the Sun’s takes credit for the bomb sent to the McKenzie Institute. Both letters had a Vancouver postal code on them .
In the letter sent to the Gazette there was a dedication to Wolfgang Grams, a slain member of the terrorist Red Army Faction in Germany formerly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang .
Direct Action was said to have close ties in the 1980s to the Baader-Meinhof Gang. ln a 1986 speech in Levis, Toronto lawyer Peter Shoniker, an international consultant on terrorism, said Direct Action had provided a safe haven in Canada for 14 of the German group’s fugitives.
Although some political activists say Direct Action died when the Squamish Five went to prison, others insist the group still exists and has links with other anarchist factions – specifically in the extreme animal-rights lobby.
Police sources said one such group is the Canadian wing of the Animal Liberation Front, whose activists have been convicted in Canada in recent years of bombings and other vandalism.
The letter to The Gazette says “it’s time to fight fire with fire” and warns the group will target “imperialists, fascists, military weapons producers and eco-destroyers,”
A bootlegged Animal Liberation Front publication obtained by The Gazelle yesterday from a St. Laurent Blvd. bookstore uses the same “fight fire with fire” slogan on a page explaining how to make an incendiary device. The book, written this year, also mentions in a section titled “The ALF and Direct Action” that the group should use a “direct action” strategy to achieve its objectives.
Alain Dufour. head of the World Anti-Fascist League in Montreal, said police here had discussed Direct Action as being a possible suspect in the attempts. But Dufour warned against jumping to too quick a conclusion that a left-wing group was behind the attempts.
“I’m very skeptical,” he said. It would be too easy for a right-wing group to do the same thing and try to say it was Direct Action,”
In a May 6, 1993, speech in Saint John, N.B., to the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. a managing director of the McKenzie Institute singled out the Animal Liberation Front and activist David Barbarash when warning of impending terrorism in this country by Marxist groups.
Maurice Tugwell drew a link between the group’s activities and the 1980s terrorism of Direct Action, specifically the Squamish Five truck bomb at the Litton plant, which injured four people.
“The Litton bombers came from anarchist backgrounds,” Tugwell warned, “and several had engaged in well publicized protests.”
Tugwell also said Barbarash has an extensive criminal record,
In 1987, Barbarash and four other: activists vandalized several businesses, including a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Toronto that had “Meat is Murder” spray painted on its front entrance.
The vandals were dubbed “the Kentucky Fried Five” by followers, an apparent reference to the Squamish Five.
In July 1992, a warrant was issued for Babarash’s arrest for vandalism and a raid on the University of Alberta’s animal laboratories in which 29 cats were set free, He was arrested in California, convicted and and given a suspended sentence.
Both The Gazette and the Vancouver Sun are owned by Southam. The Gazette received its letter a month ago, but co-operated with a police request not to publish the contents immediately.
The Sun had received another letter in early April. that one in the name of the Anti-Fascist Militia.warning that a wave of mail bombs would be sent out and listing 10
Letter Defends Blast
‘Militant’ Group Writes To Province
The Province, Wednesday, July 26, 1995
A letter sent to The Province purportedly by a terrorist group claiming responsibility for a mail-bomb campaign is being probed by the RCMP.
“We have to send it for testing. We can’t say for sure it’s from the same people, but we take this very seriously,” Const. Tim Forstell said yesterday.
The letter, which says it’s from a group called the Militant Direct Action Task Force, outlines why it sent a bomb in a parcel that exploded July 11 at a genetics lab in Calgary.
“The Nazis are not dead,” the single-spaced, typed letter reads.
“They are in the lab, wearing their white coats and eliminating any ‘defective genes’, so as to produce the master race.”
The letter goes on to say that “genetic tampering” is a product of Nazi Germany and must be stop.
Its says the group chose Alta Genetics as a target because “this company is responsible for many crimes, namely, through its abuse of technology in its attempts to create higher levels of cattle and their wish to have greater control over more species. We chose them because of their work in live cattle and reproductive techniques through the use of bull and cow semen [sic], and because agriculture is the fastest growing of all genetic-technological areas.
“This company alone exports to over 50 countries and last year made $23 million through their genetic-tampering. This type of technology constitutes a manipulation of nature simply so as to suit our ever-growing greedy appetites for bigger and better versions of unnecessary items.”
Ted Mitenko, Alta’s vice-president, received the parcel two weeks ago. He hid behind a door and opened the parcel with a rod. It exploded, destroying the office. No one was hurt. The company wouldn’t comment on the latest letter.
Bombs were also mailed to white-supremacist Charles Scott in Chilliwack and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel in Toronto, but they did not explode.
Forstell said the police are getting tips from the public, but have nothing to report on the investigation.
The Vancouver Sun received a similar but different letter yesterday, which the RCMP also collected. A third newspaper, the Montreal Gazette, also received a letter from the group, claiming responsibility for a mail bomb.
Who Is To Blame For Recent Letter Bombs?
Communiques claiming responsibility were signed by left-wing fanatics, but some say the senders might be far-right groups in disguise.
The Gazette, July 29, 1995
Recent letter-bombing attempts in Canada have. stirred debate about whether left-wing fanatics are behind the plot or are being set up by their much- maligned counterparts on the far right.
Police sources close to the investigation into a group calling itself the Militant Direct Action Task Force. told The Gazette yesterday the frame-up theory has been ruled out and certain known left-wing extremists’ are being probed.
But that hasn’t stopped the debate by activists and. academics about the true motives of the group, which this week sent letters to The Gazette, the Vancouver. Sun and the Toronto Star claiming responsibility for the mail bombs.
“What reason could there be for these type of groups to be coming out at a time like this?” asked Martin Theriault, head of the Canadian Centre on Racism and Prejudice.
Theriault said groups on the far right, like Aryan Nations and the Heritage Front, have been receiving a tremendous amount of negative exposure in the media.
That intensified, he said, after the bombing in April of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, a blast blamed on members of right-wing militia groups.
Of the recent mail bombs, he said: “It’s very strange that it comes at a juncture where the right is in really, really bad shape.”
“Maybe they figure that by making the left look bad they can stir up lots of action against groups that historically have been able to put a stop to their activities.”
Alain Dufour. head of Montreal’s World Anti-Fascist League, echoed those comments in an interview this week. Both men say the views espoused by the group in its communiques are left-wing, but add that they also are scattered in a reckless, general way.
But others experienced in dealing with extremists say that kind of talk is nonsense and leftist terrorist organizations internationallv have held similar views for years
The letters by the group call for a revolution against the current government structure, “right-wing fascists,” technological industries, “eco-destroyers”and big business.
“I could see a small left-wing sect picking out targets and doing it (sending bombs),” said Stephen Scheinberg. a Concordia University history professor who works mainly at exposing extremists on the far right for B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights.
“Extremists of any persuasion can hit.”
Scheinberg said he understands why some might want to believe the right is behind the letter-bombing attempts. but doesn’t see evidence to support the claim.
“People who consider’ themselves persuaded by the left, or whose sympathies lie somewhat to the left – and I don’t discount myself in that vein – tend to say, ‘It couldn’t be someone on our side.’
“To heck with that, I say. You have, crazies everywhere.”
The MacKenzie Institute for the Study-of Terrorism, Revolution and Propaganda, a conservative Toronto think-tank, received one of four mail bombs delivered in
Canada. John Thompson, director of the institute, said he’s seen the type of message found in the letters before.
“What we’re talking about is the extreme left – this is when you’re getting way out there,” he said.
In addition to the Mackenzie Institute, the group has sent letter bombs to neo-Nazi publicist Ernst Zundel, Aryan Nations leader Charles Scott and a cattle breeding laboratory near Calgary, called Alta Genetics,
Only one of-the four bombs delivered exploded, causing extensive damage to an office at the cattle-breeding lab.
RCMP in.British Columbia this week refused to confirm a Gazette report that investigators are seeking links between the most recent attacks: which occurred from May to July this year, and bombings committed in 1982 by a far left extremist group catting itself Direct Action.
But police sources have confirmed a’ second time to The Gazette that these links are being explored.
The similarities are there,” one source said; “It could be that a person who was involved with that group, or was on its periphery, is doing it.
It could also be a bunch of other people with very similar goals and ideas who are running around calling themselves Direct Action.
Police sources say the communiques sent to the media by the group bear striking resemblance in style and content to those written by Direct Action in 1982. They are also exploring links to other bombings carried out by extreme leftist groups in Alberta in recent years.
In 1982, Direct Action claimed responsibility for the bombing of a B.C. Hydro substation, three Red Hot video stores in Vancouver.and the Litton Systems plant near Toronto, which manufactured cruise-missile components.
Police scoured left-wing activist groups throughout B.C. at the time and eventually arrested five people – whom they dubbed the Squamish Five. The five were convicted in 1984 and sentence to prison terms ranging from six years to life. All have since been paroled.
Part of the problem facing police today, as in 1982, is that a number of groups and activists on the far left use the term “direct action” to describe the strategy’ they employ.
But police sources say that, as in 1982, the investigation is targeting a core group of. extreme “anarchists” who might float from faction to faction, but are tied together by common objectives.
Books and articles published by anarchists suggest common agendas, like the linking of environmental concerns to bigger political issues, emphasis on the oppression of technology and heavy focus on “the state.”
In the latest mail-bombing attempts, the Militant Direct Action Task Force’s communiques echo these themes.
The group says it opposes “all human/animal plant, genetic and reproduction technology,” which is why it .attacked the cattle breeding lab.
It adds that “armed revolutionary action” is needed to overthrow the business and military establishments. It accuses the “right-wing” McKenzie Institute of supporting multinational corporations and, NATO, of being “pro-American” and helping the British army to suppress left wing Irish Republican Army terrorists.
Left-wing terrorist organizations like the Baader-Meinhof gang in West Germany, which
rose out of the anti-war student movement of the 1960s, vehemently oppose the military-industrial complex, NATO and their country’s “establishment.”
The group, now known as the Red Army Faction, perceives it’s role as a stimulus toward world-wide Marxist revolution.
In its communiques, the Militant Direct Action Task Force ex-presses solidarity with the Red Army Faction and’ other left-wing terrorist groups.
In recent years, most of the violence associated with extremism in Canada has come from this country’s cell of the Animal Liberation Front.
The ALF, which positions itself on the far left. is strongly anti-government and big business.
“Government is part of the whole problem,” says a publication put out this year by the group in Canada.
“The whole political system is interwoven with and propped up, by business. Political parties are funded by big business and multi-nationals.”
ALF leader arrested
On ‘Dec. 15, 1991, three trucks at the Billingsgate Fish Co. in Edmonton were firebombed and the acronym ALF was scrawled at the scene. Six months later, activists vandalized the animal laboratories at the University of Alberta,also in Edmonton, stealing 29, cats worth $47,000 in the process.
Darren Thurston, the former, leader of an Edmonton group called Citizens for Animal Liberation, was arrested and charged in both incidents.
David Barbarash, reputed to lead the Canadian cell of the. ALF, was charged in just the lab episode.
Both were convicted and received suspended sentences. Thurston, who had spent 15 months in pretrial custody, had his sentence increased in May 1994 to two years in prison by the Alberta Court of Appeal. He has since been released from prison,
Barbarash and’ four other activists were convicted in Toronto in 1987 with having vandalized numerous businesses, including a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.
Ex-Terrorist Decries Wave Of Mail Bombs
Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 1995
A former Squamish Five terrorist says the mail-bomb campaign now being waged by a Vancouver group is not the way to fight fascism.
Gerald Hannah, who spent five years in prison in the 1980s said the Anti-Fascist Militia is similar to the fire-bombing Squamish Five except for the way it delivers its bombs.
“We never would have done a letter bomb campaign. It’s just far too indiscriminate a way to deal with a problem,” said Hannah, of the punk rock group Subhumans.
“There’s too much of a chance of innocent people being hurt…”
Some terrorist researchers have suggested possible links between the current day militia and the Squamish Five, especially since the recent communiques were signed the Militant Direct Action Task Force.
Hannah’s group called itself Direct Action.
It was dubbed the Squamish Five after the five members were arrested on the Squamish Highway in 1982.
Police say they are not looking at possible links between the two groups
ANTI FASCIST MILITIA
On April 4, the Anti-Fascist Militia sent armed mousetraps, primed with razor blades, to 10 white supremacist organizations:
These 10 groups/individuals have shown in their actions over the years to be totally committed to violent racism, anti- Semitism, and homophobia. They are all actively engaged in recruiting others to their cause. They are at the heart of the neo-Nazi movement.
This brand of fascism is not new. From lynch mobs who murdered black men and women in Amerikkka to neo-Nazi skinheads who murdered a lesbian and a gay man in Portland, individuals who have held this fascist ideology have always sought to use violence to enforce it. Many people have died, and people will continue to die unless the individuals who are totally committed to this ideology of hatred are stopped.
For those who do not understand why we are willing to use violence to fight these bigots, we draw an analogy to Nazi Germany – the state so many of these fascists are trying to bring about in North Amerikkka.
It can’t happen here? Tell that to the innocent men, women, and children who are harassed, beaten, and killed by racist police every day, tell it to the indigenous people of this continent who continue to live under the iron fist of colonial occupation, tell it to the gay men murdered in Toronto by the recruits of the individuals who received our devices.
Tell it to the millions of people who suffer under the boot of racist governments in KKKanada and the United States of Amerikkka. The racist governments we live under will never stop individuals such as Burdi, Long, Butler, Metzger, et al. It is our responsibility, as citizens of these countries, to do what we can to put an end to their reign of terror.
We don’t expect that these organizations will immediately cease their activities in response to our threats. So take this first wave of devices as a declaration of war. Until we see evidence that these 10 organizations have stopped their fascistic activities, they, and others like them, will need to watch their backs, their homes, their cars, their mailboxes, their offices, their food…
This is only the beginning.
No Justice – No Peace
More to come from the Anti-Fascist Militia
Militant Direct Action Task Force
Takes Action Against Fascists In Canada
On Monday, June 12, 1995 a parcel bomb that we made and sent, was picked up from the P.O. Box rented by the Director of the Aryan Nations in Canada, Charles Scott. Scott is at the. forefront of the racist right in Canada, helping recruit, train and distribute hate literature to racists.
Scott, who has previously lived at the Aryan Nations HQ compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, has now moved to BC. He is also the Canadian director of the Posse Comitatus a racist paramilitary group found in the US. Scott has been busy training the racist right in combat training including firearms and explosive training, operating racist telephone hot-lines in BC and is busy expanding into Ontario, Alberta and other provinces.
We narrowly missed executing a Silent Brotherhood (the Order) member Edgar Foth who picked up the package along with Matt Harrison. Foth was one of two Canadian members of the US based Silent Brotherhood who committed numerous crimes including the armed hijacking of an armored car and the murder of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-show host. He is a long time Aryan Nations and KKK member who has trained and supplied weapons to neo-nazi skinheads and been a body-guard for prominent fascists including Ernst Zundel.
We’ve decided it’s time to fight fire with fire. Organizations like the ones Charles Scott coordinates should no longer be allowed to quietly exist in the shadows of our society. As has already been discussed they are not simply a group that exists peacefully amongst themselves. They continue to distribute their hate literature that leads up to the thousands of murders and assaults every year. If they did not insist on spreading their lies, which ultimately are responsible for the continued spread of this kind of violence, then perhaps they could be overlooked. However, the continued damage they cause to our society means we have to step in and take direct action. It’s time for retribution, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
(Verification — the bomb consisted of 3″ length of 2″ diameter pipe, high explosive, a switch, 9 volt battery, 3″ nails, enclosed in a cardboard box)
Ernst Christof Friedrich Zundel, received one of our packages in mid May and unfortunately was a little too suspicious (due to the fact, some comrades set his house on fire a week earlier). Zundel is one of the largest suppliers of fascist literature and radio/video programs in the world and has been funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to violent fascists across the world for over 15 years.
This was only our first attempt to. execute you Zundel. We will try again. So you better watch your back because next time it might be a bullet splitting the back of your skull.
(Verification — the bomb consisted of a 6″ length of I” diameter pipe, high explosive, a switch, 9 volt battery, 2 1/2″ nails, enclosed in a hollowed out book inside a padded envelope)
Our actions will not be limited to fascists, so beware; Imperialists, Fascists, Military weapons producers, Eco-destroyers, all of our oppressor’s, you’re in our sights. No longer will we take a backseat and be content to hear of demonstrations and other non-violent protests being used as a voice against these people. They have their place in today’s fight against inequalities, but we believe that stronger action is unfortunately needed due to the stubborn blindness and pure ignorance of certain perpetrators. We have decided that the time is right to use armed resistance to overthrow these people who continue to abuse, injure and even destroy their victims for their own power and profit — power that continues to improve their life standings and keep underfoot those who are in their way. They choose direct action, thus do we.
Fighting in solidarity with Rote Zora, AIZ, Red Army Fraction, RARA, Macheteros, FALN, EZLN, FMLN.
This action is dedicated to the memory of Wolfgang Grams; a member of the Red Army Fraction, who was murdered by the GSG-9 (terrorist police) on Sunday, June 27, 1993. Witnesses explained that whilst lying injured on the ground, and clearly utterly defenseless, a policeman bent over him and, from literally centimeters away, shot him in the head. This kind of event has happened numerous times before, but in front of so many witnesses and so blatantly, just highlights once again the violence employed by those guarding the state. Thus, not only do we honor Wolfgang in this action, and our thoughts are with his other comrades in Germany, but all our actions of today, and those to come, are in memory of all freedom-fighters around the world who continue the fight for justice.
Militant Direct Action Task Force
Communique # 2
On Tuesday, July 11/95 at aprox. 10:30 a.m. our parcel-bomb addressed to Terrence (Ted) Mitenko, Vice-President of Alta Genetics went off, causing extensive damage to an office. Our third action this time against the fascist bio and gene technology industry.
(Verification: The parcel, addressed to “Terrence Mitenko - PERSONAL” and contained a 1 1/4″ diameter pipe containing a high explosive, 2″ nails, 9v battery, initiator, and switch)
This company is responsible for many crimes, namely, though, its abuse of technology in its attempts to create higher levels of cattle and their wish to have greater control over
more species. We chose them because of their work in live cattle and reproductive techniques through their use of bull and cow semen, and because agriculture is the fastest growing of all genetic-technological areas. This company alone exports to over 50 countries and last year made $23 million through their genetic-tampering. This is blood money, earned through the exploitation of those things man already controls and yet wants to tighten the reins and control even more. This type of technology constitutes a manipulation of nature simply so as to suit our ever-growing greedy appetites for bigger and better versions of unnecessary items.
Bio, gene and reproductive technology is merely the growth of exploitation into areas which, for a while, were not affected. That will change. Through the use of these techniques, man will create, and thus control, new types of plants, animals and people. People are already born from laboratory test-tubes by men who choose only the greatest genes. The Nazis are not dead. They are in the lab, wearing their white coats and eliminating any “defective” genes, so as to produce the master-race. Genetic-tampering is a product of Nazi Germany. The Allied countries denounced the ideas as “sick” and “evil” and called them “barbaric,” and yet what is the difference between their experiments and the ones of today being carried out by so-called “legitimate” companies?
We cannot disregard the affect genetic technology will have on others as well. We only have to look in our neighborhood for those affects, as smaller companies that can’t or don’t want to take this step will be destroyed; they can’t because unlike the larger companies they do not have the capital for it, or don’t because they respect nature and see genetic manipulation for what it is – exploitation. Farmers and agricultural workers will become superfluous, as the “super seed” no longer needs their support. And once again the poorer countries of the world will bare the brunt of it, as new ways are found to control supplies of energy and food. For an example (just one of thousands), through biotechnology sweetening no longer needs to come from the sugar cane, but can be produced inside the laboratory. But what of the sugar cane workers? Without a job and barely surviving as it is, they will starve to death due to the western world’s need for. unnecessary “super” products. We create new needs in order to sell new products simply so as to support our materialistic lifestyles. Unnecessary items and unnecessary deaths caused by them.
Genetic tampering must be stopped before it is too late. Nature is not there for us to manipulate; it is there for us to live with, together. Thus, we took our first step in
stopping this exploitative industry through Armed Revolutionary Action, and we will continue to do so in our fight against the people who wish to have even more control over the rest of society. DIRECT ACTION is the only way …
Against all human/animal/plant genetic and reproduction
Militant Direct Action Task Force
To Media Outlets: In late June we sent media and other publications our first communique regarding our first two actions: parcel bombs to the fascists Ernst Zundel (Toronto, ON) and Charles Scott (Yarrow, BC). If you choose to blackout our actions or our reasons for such actions in the mass media, it won’t stop us!
Militant Direct Action Taskforce
On Thursday, July 13/95 our parcel-bomb addressed to John Thompson, Executive Director of The Mackenzie Institute was up and opened by a staff member, failed to detonate.
(Verification: The parcel, addressed to “John Thompson - PERSONAL” and contained a 1 1/4″ diameter pipe containing a high explosive, 2″ nails, 9v battery, initiator, and switch)
Our Fourth action against the fascist regimes, this time against the those who hide amongst the upper crust of corporate fascists, capitalists and imperialists.
Just why did employees at the Mackenzie Institute claim they were “investigative reporters” and refuse to give officers investigating the parcel bomb, their home phone numbers or addresses?
The Mackenzie Institute bases its own existence on the spread of lies and hatred within this country, and supports right wing hatred toward certain groups in our society. It attacks Natives, immigrants and groups who see through their lies. Subsequently it is these groups of people who are built up by the likes of the Mackenzie Institute to be construed as the next “threat” to our society. For example, in the July 1994 issue of the Mackenzie Institute Newsletter, it warns:
“Today, it is not possible to avoid confronting the new anarchy. . .. refugees and contaminants (to name a few manifestations) spill across all frontiers.”
The Mackenzie Institute supports neo-nazis, multi-national corporations and is pro-American, supporting the likes of the CIA and NATO. One of its founding members, Maurice Tugwell, was responsible for torture in many countries while serving in the British Army. He found this particularly effective when in Northern Ireland and many so-called Irish Nationalist horror attacks were actually carried out by the British Army who then fingered the IRA — this is, we should point out, a common tactic of theirs. Tugwell also advocates guerrilla warfare tactics against foreign governments who do not agree with them, including assassinations. The Institute’s Board members are just as bad, advocating anything to satisfy their need for a stronger police state. They appeal for less money to go on social programs and more to go on military spending. They’re against bilingualism (Quebec would thus be isolated even further), pro-apartheid, and do not seem even prepared to pretend they are anything other than xenophobic, and they are, of course, blatantly homophobic, anti-feminist and anti choice. Any individual or group who does not fit into their own beliefs is an internal threat, another example being the peaceful community of the New Age movement:
“The growing “New Age” movement is a considerable danger as it is a tacit rebellion against the Judeo-Christian and Aristotelian roots of western society. When leavened with
anarchism and the motherhood causes of animals and ecology, an explosive mixture may be forming.”
Thus they began their disinformation and propaganda campaign against Canadian domestic groups so that their spying activities would be accepted and seen as legitimate.
However, their right-wing outlook on the world meant that anyone who did not agree with their neo-nazi rhetoric should be put under surveillance and intense pressure. Their spying and repression of certain groups of people cannot be justified and will not be tolerated any longer. The spreading of evil lies, propaganda and right-wing hatred will
no longer be allowed. Thus we take the only option left open to us – Armed Revolutionary Action.
In Solidarity with Native resistance world wide and in memory of Anna Mae Aquash, Pedro Bisonette, Tina Trudell and her children, Joe Stuntz Killsright, Byron DeSersa, Buddy Lamont, Frank Clearwater, and Crazy Horse.
Militant Direct Action Task Force
Contrary to police reports in the press that our devices could detonate if mishandled or dropped. We have tested our devices and found that only extremely rough mishandling (or opening them) would cause them to detonate. All packages have been labeled PERSONAL to keep unauthorized people from opening.
The Anti-Fascist Militia – Premature
from Antifa Forum, No. 2, Fall 1997
A leaked NSIS (National Security Investigations Section) document(1) recently surfaced which details ongoing investigations into ‘armed actions’ of the self-styled “Anti-Fascist Militia” (AFM) and “Militant Direct Action Task Force” (MDATF). In April 1995, at a time when anti-fascist organizing was entering a period of decline, the idea came from somewhere in Canada to send razor-traps and pipe-bombs through the mail to fascist leadership figures across North America. This line of tactic seemed doubly unwarranted seeing as the element of organized fascism was also experiencing a low ebb in strength. In questioning why such actions were even necessary at that particular juncture, many anti-fascists in the area began to wonder whether the actions had ultimately been carried out by a left-leaning group at all! As the recent leak of information lends credence towards the theory that it was, a look into why these actions might have been taken up is necessary. Did they serve to complement the initiatives of the anti-fascist movement or were they merely a blast of desperation from the sidelines? While investigations are still pending, and with the possibility of further raids looming on the horizon, now is the time to provide a background and observation concerning events leading up to the resulting fallout thus far.
On April 4, 1995 the first ever AFM communique was issued stating, “the Anti-Fascist Militia sent armed mousetraps, primed with razor blades, to 10 white supremacist organizations”.(2) These were Ernst Zundel (Samisdat Press), George Burdi (Resistance Records), Dr. E.R. Fields (c/o “The Thunderbolt”), Aryan Resistance Movement (Vancouver, BC), ARM (Mission, BC), Richard G. Butler (Aryan Nations), Tom Metzger (White Aryan Resistance), Skrewdriver Services, Terry Long (Aryan Nations), and Don Black (Stormfront). The enclosed letters read: “SNAP! Greetings racist trash,” and ended with “This is only the beginning … next time it might be BOOM!”(3)
Hot on the heels of this action, the previously unheard of “Militant Direct Action Task Force” came out of nowhere in sending pipe-bombs through the mail to leadership figures of the far-right. It has been widely assumed that the Anti-Fascist Militia and the Militant Direct Action Task Force are roughly one in the same, judging from the style of action and communique. It has been suggested that perhaps a change of name from the former to the latter was prompted by negative exposure in the media of right-wing militias, particularly following the bombing in April of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. But more likely than not, the idea was to create the illusion of an un-associated collection of resistance groups.
The targets of this latest campaign included Ernst Zundel, Charles Scott (Canadian Aryan Nations), Tony McAleer (Canadian Liberty Net), Terry Long (Canadian Aryan Nations), and John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute. As the package sent to the Mackenzie Institute failed to detonate, and while the others were contained by bomb specialists, another one sent to Alta Genetics Inc. – a cattle-breeding company in Calgary – was the only one that caused some damage. Return addresses on the packages were made out to secondary targets in the event that the package was returned to sender, but more likely served to lure the primary target into opening the package. Warning letters received by these organizations in mid-April read:
“Greetings racist trash. You and your organization have proven your self to be true scum. We don’t expect that you will cease your activities in response to our threats … So take this first wave of devices as a declaration of war. Until we see evidence that these 10 organizations have stopped their fascist activities, they and others like them will need to watch their backs, their homes, their cars, their mailboxes, their offices, their food…. This is only the beginning.”(4)
These actions, which at time of writing still remain shrouded in suspicion, coincided with an arson attack on Ernst Zundel’s fortified home along with a number of other homes occupied by fascists. Zundel’s package was received a scant two weeks after his house had been firebombed. The arson, most likely unrelated, had many in the community quite pleased to see his house flame-up in mock tribute to the 50th anniversary of ‘Victory in Europe’.(5)
Despite some of the positive reactions to the arson attack, anti-fascists in the area were slightly taken aback by the mail-bombings. Since militants on the ground had very little idea as to where the attacks might have originated, many chose to put the issue on hold until more became known. While some observers seemed convinced of a plot by the right to undermine the left, others claimed the campaign smacked of something one might expect from the ‘secret police’ to discredit the left. Hopeful guesses in one respect, but unraveling facts are pointing elsewhere.
A KNOCK AT THE DOOR
In the wake of the AFM/MDATF actions, anti-fascists instinctively backed away from an atmosphere of impending repression to wait for the smoke to clear. That smoke never cleared. In fact, the only sign of it lifting has been the revelation of the leaked document from NSIS Vancouver. Since the summer of 1995, it had been rumored that investigations were fanning out from Vancouver to encompass other provinces. This can now be confirmed, although the extent of the scope has yet to be fully realized.
Judging from the document, entitled “Information To Obtain A Search Warrant Canada: Province Of British Columbia”(6), the cops knew where to begin with their investigations. The AFM/MDATF communiques themselves overwhelmingly lend to the theory that they have originated from a section of the left. The politics are all over the map, as are the references they source in claiming inspiration and offering solidarity in the name of. Funnily enough, this is what actually led many to suspect that the action had been carried out by the cops or the extreme-right. All said, the terminology was a bit too laughably lefty for even the likes of your average fascist-in-the-know to pull off. The style of the
actions and communiques bore a resemblance to those of the anarchist/environmentalist-styled Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and ‘Direct Action’ tendency of the early 80s,(7) so it was down these avenues that lines of investigation were opened.
This investigation, as outlined in the document, focused mainly on the targeted suspects and their contacts, in pursuit of the unknown Anti-Fascist Militia (AFM), Militant Direct Action Task Force (MDATF) and a third shadow-group, the “Justice Department”. “Since April 25, 1995, members of Vancouver NSIS, members of the Edmonton National Security Investigations Section, members of the Ontario National Security Investigations Section,
members of the RCMP General Investigations Section in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta and Chilliwack, British Columbia, members of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service Intelligence Services, Edmonton Police Service and members of the Vancouver Police
Department have been involved in the investigation …”(8) It remains unknown to what extent these investigations were hampered by the leak of the NSIS document.
Prior to raids on the homes of the accused, their living spaces had been wire-tapped. Judging from the report and seeing as the suspects discovered the listening-devices early on, a great deal of potential evidence could have been disposed of, theoretically. The most useful information in the report provides a glimpse into what constitutes such an investigative procedure. The level of surveillance before the raids was heavy, and has no
doubt remained consistent since. “During the term of Authorization … there were approximately nine thousand and seventy-three calls intercepted on telephone lines, both audio and facsimile”(9) and e-mail. A monitor room had been established at RCMP headquarters in Vancouver for the purpose of monitoring the intercepted communications. On November 7, 1995, a search warrant was executed on a Vancouver storage locker rented by one of the suspects. Discovering and covertly marking the enclosed contents – contents which were identical to items and ingredients utilized in the mailings – investigating officers installed a hidden video camera to document the comings-and-goings of the locker’s users. Several activists within mainstream anti-racist and anti-fascist groups have also come under scrutiny. Several ‘visits’ have taken place, although no further raids have occurred nor charges laid at time of writing. Investigations are still pending and in all likelihood, the net is still widening.
Since the raids and the subsequent appearance of the NSIS information, things have been extremely quiet. Although a great deal still remains unconfirmed, with an even greater deal unknown, there’s enough to put together the basic who, how, what and when. But why?
THE TIME IS RIGHT?
At the time when the AFM/MDATF actions occurred, the organized far-right across Canada were well into a period of decline. Although the Heritage Front and other strategically- aligned groups across North America were on their last legs, some of the leadership figures took a step back to reassess their work. They soon made a switch from movement-building on the streets, to movement-building via mainstream propaganda. Anti-fascist initiatives were also in a slump, splintered over attempts to adjust to these changing conditions. Times were tense. On April 4, 1995, they got worse.
Regardless of how one views the tactics utilized, and despite the fact that the actions failed in their design, was the time right for these actions in North America? Some might argue that the counterbalance of extreme-right action in this area far outweighs anything coming from the left. True enough, the right- wing are in the ascendancy today, but they’re where they are for a reason. Since the early 80s they have been on a steady rise. The Oklahoma City bombing, an organized action by fascism which created a virtual advertisement for leaderless resistance, didn’t come blasting out from nowhere; and it hardly sprang directly from the pages of a William Pierce pulp novel either. The fascists have done their groundwork. Despite being somewhat marginalized, they were well aware that the seeds had been sown in North America; seeds which would indirectly procure support for actions such as these and beyond.
For the AFM/MDATF to entertain the notion that they were evoking a similar propaganda victory is a flat-out farce. If the aim was to create a flurry of activity, this was achieved. But was the strategy of creating a front of ‘armies’ really anything more than an unconvincing attempt to somehow prove the existence of a left-wing counter-equivalent to the armed wing of fascism in America? If the mail-bombs had succeeded in doing what they were designed for, would the anti-fascist movement on the whole have been able to sustain a retaliation in kind?
On the surface, it would appear that the AFM/MDATF had decided – perhaps not entirely consciously – to bypass the lengthy process of ‘clawing back’ the conditions from the current rightward drift in North America. Their shortcoming seems to be that they viewed their actions as a replacement – not as a complement – for an anti-fascist movement which had been operating with militant politics and actions complete with a target base of community support. This ‘Task Force’ popped out of nowhere and they, along with the controversy they stirred up for a short time in the press, seem to have gone back there. There is no apparent evidence that their actions had a credible grounding or base of mutual support from within the anti-fascist movement.
CALLING ALL MILITANT ANTI-FASCISTS
The fight against fascism comes down to exactly that; a fight. Militant anti-fascism naturally faces criminalization as a subversive element when it threatens the state’s hegemony over the option of force in countering fascist violence. This is
nothing new to anti-fascists. The physical element in confronting fascism is a crucial component in any successful operation against them. Where they go, you go. If they make known a meeting place or rendezvous point, the idea is to occupy it or smash it up and quite often both. As it goes, a righteous spanking is not the only component to an organized anti-fascist response. By far. But if you can’t back up those other components and defend your own initiatives, then you’ll not be very successful in the long run. When the physical strategy temporarily wins out and the fascists scurry off in all directions, there is always the chance they will resort to underground forms of terror. This sometimes comes from a position of weakness but, as recent history shows, that’s not always the case. Does the left challenge them on this terrain? Where they go, you go. But don’t forget to pack some sense beforehand.
Militant anti-fascists don’t pander to free speech and other liberal definitions of ‘democracy’ touted by the middle class Left and status-quo. The only lively debate with fascists that’s worth having is one which results in them rethinking their argument from a long and hard look at the pavement. But, while no one would have shed too many tears in their drinks over the worldly loss of these fascists, many anti-fascists viewed the actions with raised eyebrows for the suspect tactics utilized. The use of mail-bombs is none too bright. Arguably, this tactic is the easiest and most convenient way of physically attacking one’s political enemies without having to dirty one’s hands. It has come to be known as a tactic of fear; one which places uninvolved parties or civilians into the line of fire. Although it can be argued that other militant actions and tactics sometimes bring an element of ‘risk’, mail-bombs have – by way of tradition – rarely been a weapon in the left’s arsenal. This style of remote attack has become a trademark of the extreme- right everywhere.
Do the AFM/MDATF actions fall under the banner of militant anti-fascism simply because they meet criteria in the ‘violence’ department? Do copycat-Unabomber actions coming from no real grounding reflect a cohesive strategy? The MDATF state in one of their communiques, “… we take the only option left open to us – Armed Revolutionary Action”.(10) Not only is this statement a ludicrous one to make, based on the conditions at the time, but it may speak volumes on their inability to organize in any other capacity prior to deciding it was time to ‘up-the-ante’. Actions carried out on any level require a balance of political direction in order to insure a shot at success. Did the Anti-Fascist Militia activists construct a political blueprint for their actions?
A PLAN FOR ACTION?
Fascism is most effectively fought in the areas of its influence. Many successful campaigns against fascist organizing and recruitment in North America have focused around confronting their “centres of operation”. Sometimes these turned out to be houses in which fascists lived, doubling as organizational facilities or meeting spaces. For obvious reasons these made good targets for anti-fascists; targets which were directly linked to specific conditions in that area where fascism was attempting a bridgehead. In other cases, whereby picketing homes and workplaces became a one-track strategy unto itself, it reflected serious deficiencies.
While it is certainly true that key figures on the far-right orchestrate the direction of fascist ranks, sole emphasis on ‘fascist figureheads’ gives those individuals crusader-like status; in effect, focusing more attention on them then they deserve. Directing every searchlight on these individuals tends to ignore the root cause of their growth. It ignores the field on which they play and in the end, allows them free run on that turf. While it is essential to target the key-players of organized fascism, regardless of how marginalized they may be, it is equally important to counter their influence.
In breaking the cycles of growth for the far-right, putting a stop to their activity is the first stage of action. This involves drawing attention to the source of the problem, and then
taking the steps necessary to effectively deal with it. In Canada, this had been achieved throughout areas that bore the strongest concentrations of fascist activity and organizing. The second stage – one of replacing them in these areas where they recruit and thrive – is the key to long-term success. It’s a step in the right direction to have a fascist organizer sent packing, but what can anti-fascists hope to achieve through a short-term strategy, besides having to go through the whole business again a couple of years later from square one?
Instead of following through with the anti-fascist plan of action that was already in effect, the Anti-Fascist Militia activists seem to have opted for discounting the whole experience. If they took any inspiration, it was the short-term or ‘quick-fix’ vision so prevalent within the mainstream anti-racist/anti-fascist groups who have failed to realign to changing conditions. Based on the misconception that in order to defeat organized fascism all that is required is the ‘silencing’ of its organizers, the short-lived AFM has exposed its own weakness.
“Fascist leadership in North America have made considerable attempts to move their operations off the streets and into the mainstream throughout the past few years; a direct result of anti-fascist strength in the area. These moves on their behalf
are a clear decision against publicly offering themselves up as potential targets for anti-fascists during the present frame. However, on all fronts they are shirking confrontations today in order to build the support they’ll need for the inevitable clashes of tomorrow. Currently, we are seeing a growing convergence of the far-right as various elements are consolidating with the aim of building a mass-based movement. During this phase, anti-fascists should be actively building their own strategies and political relevance to counter the influence of the far right on all levels.”(11)
(1) “Information To Obtain A Search Warrant / Canada: Province Of British Columbia”, posted on Ernst Zundel’s “Zundelsite”.
(2) AFM communique #1 – Arm The Spirit Info-Bulletin #4 – June/July 1995.
(3) The Province, July 20, 1995.
(4) The Georgia Straight, July 21-28, 1995.
(5) Action claimed by the “Jewish Armed Resistance Movement” (see sidebar: “Zundel Bunker Torched On V-E Day”).
(6) “Information To Obtain A Search Warrant / Canada: Province Of British Columbia”, National Security Investigations Section (NSIS), Province of British Columbia.
(7) Direct Action was active in the early 80s, responsible for the bombing of a power line and Litton Systems (Canada) Ltd., a plant that produced guided cruise missiles. The
affiliated Wimmin’s Fire Brigade had simultaneously firebombed video shops which were stocking violent pornography. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) a non-violent but pro-direct action group based in England from 1976, was imported and actively set up here across Canada in the early 80s. The AFM shadow-group, “Justice Department”, bears the same name of a group formed in England in 1993; an offshoot of the ALF. This English-based group claimed responsibility for a campaign of letters containing razor-primed mousetraps and package bombs sent to hunters, farmers, animal
researchers, breeders and meat producers. Another such group, also an offshoot of the ALF, was the “Animal Rights Militia”. These splinter groups had been subject to
intensive surveillance and disruption from the British state. The Animal Rights Militia is said to have been a fake group set up by police agencies to entrap activists.
(8) excerpt from section “Grounds For Belief”, “Information To Obtain A Search Warrant / Canada: Province Of British Columbia”, National Security Investigations Section (NSIS),
Province of British Columbia.
(9) excerpt from section “Grounds For Belief”, “Information To Obtain A Search Warrant / Canada: Province Of British Columbia”, National Security Investigations Section (NSIS),
Province of British Columbia.
(10) Vancouver Sun, July 26, 1995.
(11) excerpt from “An Introduction To Anti-Fascist Forum” leaflet, 1997.
ZUNDEL BUNKER TORCHED ON V-E DAY
At approximately 5:30 am on Sunday, May 7, 50 years to the day the Nazis fell to Allied forces, the home/office “bunker” of Nazi propagandist and holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel was set on fire with a few litres of gasoline, lit in a calm and deliberate
manner. The action has been claimed by the “Jewish Armed Resistance Movement” which apparently comes out of the Jewish Defence League, a Zionist armed group. Up to half million dollars’ damage was done, and the fire destroyed mountains of nazi newspapers and files, as well as printing and duplicating equipment. According to the Zundelites, the building was insured but not the contents.
Zundel first fortified his home after a 1984 pipe-bomb attack, and for the past twenty years he has been fought on all fronts, including at Canada’s Supreme Court level, primarily by the Jewish community. He is linked to authorship and distribution of materials like “Did Six Million Really Die?” and “The Hitler We Loved and Why”. His current propaganda work includes shortwave radio broadcasts, video and publishing, and is rumoured to be behind an “anti-anti-fascist” software database program for sale to European nazis. He is beyond doubt a key player in the far-right – locally, nationally and internationally.
Zundel, who was away on a speaking tour in B.C., is perhaps the most credible-sounding of Canadian nazis, with a polished style and endless smirk, always playing the victim of the Left and Jews. He immediately pinned the blame for the fire on the most vocal of his current opponents, a new neighbourhood-based anti-racist group, and a militant Toronto anti-fascist group which has demonstrated in front of the bunker in the past, tossing rotten fish and excrement. But Zundel’s enemies are many. The action certainly struck a chord in the neighbourhood: many people openly cheered at the sight of the fire’s ravages: a gaping hole in the roof and water damaged debris.
The neighbourhood-based organization, Cabbagetown Campaign Against Nazis in Our Neighbourhood (C-CANON), and Anti-Racist Action (ARA) have publicly stated their support for the action. Both groups believe that it is not the role of anti-racists to
protect Zundel from the wrath of his numerous enemies. However, nearby tenants (who happen to be Asian immigrants) have been made homeless as a result of the attack, and could probably use some financial help.
C-CANON member Bruce Eakin was quoted in the daily Toronto Star, when asked if he condoned the use of violence against Zundel, Eakin answered “Absolutely. If people don’t fight back, then where are we? Back in World War II. You have to stand up.” Eakin went to the Zundel bunker when he heard about the fire, and put up a sign reading “Oklahoma=Zundel=Hate, Out Nazi Out!” Another neighbour pointed out to TV reporters in front of the burned building that Zundel had brought the attack upon himself, and that the fire showed exactly why he is not wanted in the neighbourhood. C-CANON’s immediate goal had been to educate the local community about Zundel’s presence, and this job has now been accomplished rather speedily. It now rests with the neighbourhood group to continue educating area residents about Zundel’s role in the neo-nazi and far-right scene worldwide, and to organize against rebuilding of the bunker.
It is clear to this writer that the rise of overt racism, white supremacist terror and violence, and religious fundamentalism in North America is fuelling a war mentality. And in this context the arson was an act of resistance, a statement on V-E day that cannot be misinterpreted. At no time during the last fifty years since the defeat of Hitler’s Germany, has the need to fight fascism again been so great. It is well to remember that 50 years ago, the under-supported Resistance fighters paid the highest price while setting the stage for the Allied forces’ victory landing. For the sake of those who will come after us, let us remember the dignity of resistance, and use whatever we may need to accomplish it.
Taken from ATS Info Bulletin #4 – June/July 1995
A WORD FROM THE `EXPERTS’
The most entertaining thing throughout the aftermath of the mail-bomb attacks, second only to some priceless reactions from the targets themselves, was the response of the liberal Left. As is usually the case in these matters, the newshounds swarmed the doorsteps of the anti-racist ‘professionals’ to get to their facts. What we heard from the ‘experts’ was a sampling of their gripes concerning the militant wing of anti-fascism. Fists and boots against fascists were suddenly made out to be in the same league as…… mail-bombs! Stand-ups such as the illustrious Alan Dutton of the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society (CAERS), refuted the bombings and stated in the press, “We do not support any acts of vigilantism against hate groups,” “Counter-posing hate against hate is not the solution to the problem.”(Vancouver Sun, July 20/95) Many liberal anti-fascist organizations seem to revel in their use of the word “hate” to describe violence or general nastiness coming from the right or the left. It’s a convenient middle-class coinage used to avoid dealing with the real problem at source; much like the social worker who believes that youth attracted to the fascist violence must be dealt with by sitting them down and analyzing their feelings. We hate that.
Charan Gill, long-time “president” of the B.C. Organization to Fight Racism (BCOFR), when asked by the press about his views on the tactics used, mentioned nothing directly about the bombs. Instead he used the opportunity to state “BCOFR has not had anybody attend its meetings who wanted to fight racism with violence, but said that extremists who want to take direct action against the hate movement occasionally show up at demonstrations.”( Vancouver Sun, July 20/95) His group condemned the actions of militant anti-fascists in January 1993 who had stormed a hotel where White Aryan Resistance leaders and supporters were meeting. Funnily enough, this is the same line of
tact which led the BCOFR into irrelevancy and failure in the early 80s while the Klan was left to fester. Knee-jerk pacifism at its worst.
Not surprisingly, Alain Dufour of the World Anti-fascist League (LAM) was also asked to cobble a few words together for the Montreal Gazette (July 26/95) as an expert on the subject of ‘left-wing extremists’, naturally.
IF YOU GET A KNOCK AT THE DOOR….
Militant Anti-fascism naturally faces criminalization as a subversive element when it threatens the state’s hegemony over the option of force in countering fascist violence. All anti- fascists should be prepared for the inevitability of interaction with the paid agents of the state, the police. That interaction may be the seemingly innocent inquiry about the nature of a low- profile activity, such as flyposting, to an inquiry concerning individuals in relation to an action. We should all be under no illusions whatsoever about these interactions. They are designed to remove our liberty from us. This is a very real threat and should be treated with the utmost seriousness.
Avoid talking to the police. There is no law in this country that says you must talk to the police. Where it becomes unavoidable, forget about obtaining your statutory rights….. the police have already forgot about giving them to you. All the middle class nonsense about they have to do this, say that and behave in a particular way is a theory propounded and set in law by those who never come into conflict with the law because it acts in their interests. On the streets, the general procedure is you will be asked your name and address. This is all you are required to give. Say no more.
Do not answer questions about the names, addresses or intentions of others. Most anti-fascists are understandably cautious about volunteering information about themselves so it is highly likely that you only know people by sight and very little
else about them. Remember, every piece of information you give the state that you are not obliged to is of use to the state, it gives them names, provides a contact network, it places people at events. It may seem insignificant now but at a future date it may be used in a prosecution, for example to prove that a certain group are often together on demonstrations, etc. Often, the police and other agents of the state will approach you and say something like: “Your name has come up in the course of an investigation into a bombing conspiracy. If you can just answer a few questions, we’re sure we can clear this up.” The purpose of statements like this is to catch you off guard, to intimidate you, and to get you to talk. Say nothing.
Some anti-fascists think they can out-smart the investigator, turn their questions around and get information from them. Experience has shown that this is dangerous. Questions often provide insight for them to go on. Do not engage in political conversations with the investigators either. Lying is also generally a bad idea. Statements that can be proven to be false will be followed up. The best thing you can do is convey that you do not know anything, you are not aware of any such individuals, you do not know who they should talk to, and that you are the most thick-headed person on the block. Plain ignorance is not a crime.
Don’t let police investigators into your house. If they get a foot in the door, demand that they leave. You don’t have to let them in unless they have a properly filled-out and valid search or arrest warrant. Don’t allow them to talk their way in. If they enter, call your lawyer and get the lawyer on the phone with the cops. You are still not obliged to answer any questions.
You don’t have to go anywhere with the police or investigators unless you are under arrest. If they invite you out for a ‘friendly’ chat or ask you to accompany them anywhere, don’t go. There is no such charge as “For Questioning”, “For Suspicion” or “For 24 Hours”. If you are arrested and charged, you only have to give your name, address, fingerprints and have your photo taken. Don’t get chatty with your cellmate – the police can use evidence obtained from planted agents and informers. Immediately demand to call your lawyer and do not volunteer for any other police procedures (ie: forensic examinations, etc.)
Whatever you say, Say Nothing!