Poster: Fire to the Cybernetic Prison

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Sep 172020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

PDF to print (11 x 17)

Poster text:

Fire to the Cybernetic Prison

It’s never too late to resist

Artificial Intelligence
AI labs, recipients of several $100M in government funding, are working to put “machine learning” algorithms in the service of a long list of industries. Under an “ethical” facade, some applications will simply allow well-placed capitalists to further enrich themselves. Others aim to reinforce repression, whether detecting shoplifters at the supermarket with automated video surveillance, developing facial recognition tools that work even on partly covered faces, or “predicting” crime or the probability of a prisoner re-offending.

5g Wireless Networking
The unprecedented bandwidth of 5G technology enables the deployment of AI on the scale of a city in real time. Every movement becomes trackable thanks to thousands of cameras integrated into a centralized surveillance apparatus. This vision is already in practice in more than one European “smart city”. Countless sensors dotting public spaces, in businesses, cars and public transit, and worn on our bodies aim to make every action the object of calculation, prediction and control, all under an eco-friendly label. By its pervasiveness, a web of algorithms is made invisible and therefore impossible to resist.

Robotics and Automation
Self-driving cars. Robotized warehouses. Cashierless stores. Delivery robots that call the cops when they are attacked. An infrastructure is being deployed that will change the world of work and our living environment permanently. We don’t mourn the disappearance of back-breaking and boring jobs. A dehumanizing pace is imposed on the remaining workers, who must keep up with the machines and productivity software or be shown the door. Meanwhile, what measures of social control and what exploitative schemes await the new excluded masses of an age of technological unemployment?

Life in Front of a Screen
Possibilities for authentic relations between humans and with our surroundings are increasingly erased in service of a virtual hyper- connectivity. Understanding, discovery, and the search for meaning are reduced to production of data. Attention deficit, memory problems, loss of emotional skills and imagination, disrupted sleep, musculo-skeletal pain, anxiety, loneliness, depression: the symptoms of addiction to online technologies are worsening as the proportion of the population that has spent their entire lives immersed in touch screens grows.

For free and full lives, open to the unknown

Be the outage in their network!

#FreeThemAll: Email campaign to release Federal prisoners

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Apr 122020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

SUPPORT ALL PRISONERS NOW! NO ONE SHOULD SPEND A PANDEMIC IN PRISON!

The situation facing prisoners during the COVID19 pandemic is terrifying. It is widely understood that prisoners are in a dangerous position during this pandemic due to the close living quarters, lack of health care, and lack of access to sanitary supplies. Correctional Services Canada has done little to address the risks inside, aside from cancelling all visits, temporary work releases, and trailer visits. Predictably, COVID19 has already started to spread in the federal prison system with prisoners and staff testing positive in more and more institutions.

Calls for the release of prisoners have come from many different people and groups around the world and many mainstream news publications in Canada have published articles detailing the reasoning behind releasing prisoners now. We would like to add our thoughts to this conversation.

At the federal level, there are many tools that Correctional Services Canada and the Parole Board of Canada can use to release prisoners. These include: the extension of unaccompanied temporary absences, the use of Section 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), expedited hearings for suspension and revocation cases, and using section 121)1.b) of the CCRA, which states that ‘parole may be granted at any time to an offender […] whose physical or mental health is likely to suffer serious damage if the offender continues to be held in confinement.’

The use of existing provisions to release prisoners to protect their health is not unprecedented. Indeed, as Jane Philpott and Kim Pate explain in an article in Policy Options, “sections 29, 81, 84, 116, and 121 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act were specifically created to move people out of prisons to address health issues, for other personal development, for compassionate reasons or for work. Sections 81 and 84 provide for the transfer of Indigenous prisoners to Indigenous communities but could be applied to others as well” (emphasis added).

In this context, we demand immediate action to protect the health and safety of federal prisoners. Specifically, we demand the following:

1. IMMEDIATELY RELEASE ALL VULNERABLE PRISONERS: Anyone who is over 50 years old, immunocompromised, pregnant, sick, or who has a preexisting condition that makes them at high risk of dying from COVID-19.

2. RELEASE ALL OTHER PRISONERS, STARTING WITH THOSE IN MINIMUM SECURITY PRISONS AND HALFWAY HOUSES: According to Correctional Service Canada’s own logic, those in minimum security prisons and halfway houses are considered the lowest risk to public safety, so start there. Let those with homes go home, provide safe physical distancing in halfway houses where people choose to remain, widen access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit funding to include people getting out of prison, and open up vacant housing for those with no homes.

3. TAKE IMMEDIATE SANITARY AND PREVENTATIVE ACTION TO PROTECT THOSE WHO REMAIN IMPRISONED: Provide soap, hand sanitizer with proper alcohol content as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), water, bleach, cleaning supplies, and self assessment tools (like thermometers) to every prisoner at no cost, and transfer prisoners in maximum and medium security into the empty minimums to allow for proper physical distancing.

4. NO MORE PUNISHMENT. PRIORITIZE CONTINUED ACCESS TO COMMUNITY AND FAMILY FOR THOSE WHO REMAIN IMPRISONED: Provide free phone calls and video visitation, allow phone calls and video visitation for volunteers and non-family supports, access to cell phones to limit use of communal phones and so that access to the outside continues if medical isolation happens, and stop using lockdowns to inhibit access to community and family supports. The World Health Organizing, stressing the importance of communication with the outside, has said that “decisions to limit or restrict visits need to consider the particular impact on the mental well-being of prisoners … The psychological impact of these measures needs to be considered and mitigated as much as possible and basic emotional and practical support for affected people in prison should be available.”

5. MEDICAL SERVICES FOR ALL: Ensure medical services are fully funded, accessible 24/7, and extra health care practitioners are hired. Provide training, PPE, and regular testing. Waive the need for guards to accompany prisoners to the hospital. No sending prisoners to special military hospitals.

Who should you contact?

At this point you could call or email:
1. Anne Kelly – Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada: anne.kelly@csc-scc.gc.ca, 613-995-5781
2. Angela Connidis – Deputy Commissioner for Women, Correctional Service Canada: angela.connidis@csc-scc.gc.ca, 613-991-2952
3. Jennifer Oades – Parole Board of Canada, Chairperson: jennifer.oades@pbc-clcc.gc.ca, 613-954-1154
4. Bill Blair – Minister of Public Safety: Bill.Blair@parl.gc.ca
5. Kim Pate – Senator pushing for decarceration: Kim.Pate@sen.parl.gc.ca
6. Marilou McPhedran – Senator pushing for decarceration: Marilou.McPhedran@sen.parl.gc.ca
7. Jack Harris – NDP Public Safety Critic: jack.harris@parl.gc.ca, 709-772-7171

You can use the graphics at this link (demandprisonschange.wordpress.com) on social media! Tweet at @csc_scc_en AND @csc_scc_fr with the hashtags #FreeThemAll AND #FreeThemNow.

in solidarity,
the Termite Collective

#HungerStrikeLaval

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Apr 012020
 

From Zola

Let them all go

#hungerstrikelaval

To Settlers, by Settlers: A Callout for Rail Disruptions in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

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Jan 142020
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-Info

It’s important to know that settlers have written this. We don’t have the lived experience of any Indigenous person, including the Wet’suwet’en. We do write from a place of heart and affinity within this struggle – personal, political, and/or relational. In that we feel responsibility to act against the systems and corporations that harm the people and land within it. We acknowledge our settler responsibility and complicity in this, and look for opportunities and strategies that align politically as a way to enact solidarity. This does not mean we speak for them, or should be closed to critiques.

First, let’s address that for various reasons there has sometimes been a lack of clarity around what is being asked for by folks out west.

We want to gently remind friends reading this that some individuals have been restricted in providing any kind of direction or encouragement – or even speaking against the project. The gag is set by court orders which wield the threat of financial ruin and the loss of a ten year land-based healing project for an entire community. We remind ourselves that the people we may put into “leadership” positions may not want to be experiencing the pedestalization and fetishization of expectant settlers wanting firm answers – at great risk – on behalf of many.

Within and outside of this struggle, settlers are consistently directed to take responsibility for their fellow settlers and the ongoing processes and harms of colonization. As settlers hearing that, we are compelled to act in defiance of – and take an offensive position against – the state and industries that are willing to kill for profit, and pretend to be doing so in our interests.

We also want to acknowledge the lingering hopeless feeling that some of us felt when, after a decade of affirming a hard line, chiefs allowed for the Unist’ot’en gate to be opened. We know you know that compliance under threat of violence is not consent, but consideration exists even beyond that, like the RCMP delivering veiled and not-so-veiled threats to Chiefs at their homes in the middle of the nights.  We encourage curiosity about whether hopelessness and disappointment went both ways here; to what extent did the low numbers of supporters who couldn’t or wouldn’t make it out after a decade of promise have impacts on positional outcome and aftermath? The writers of this personally take action when we feel at our strongest – rested, fed, grounded, encouraged, and supported. So what is our complicity – as settlers or allies or supporters who weren’t there or weren’t taking action from afar – in that gate opening?

Despite all of this the Wet’suwet’en never stopped asking for support and solidarity actions, and never stopped occupying their territories.  And earlier today, the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters have again taken a physical stand to protect the Yintah, their way of life, and living for generations to come. They defend their very existence against the imperialist violence and colonialism of the Canadian state on behalf of private entities, and reject Canada and CGL’s authority and jurisdiction over their unceded lands.

We stand with them and are prepared to enact solidarity.

Further, we aim to inspire you to act friends & comrades!

Anarchists, comrades, radicals and likeminded folks in so-called Ontario have a longstanding history of solidarity actions with, for, and inspired by indigenous blockades and land projects.  The enactments of support have been beautiful and courageous moments that have built lasting networks and relationships.

Dream big and help make it happen again!

The last year  on the territory has seen large swaths of trees clear cut, wildlife displaced, a man camp established, artefacts and trap lines  moved and destroyed, and the installment of an RCMP staffed “industry protection office” on unceded lands. The year also unveiled to all that the RCMP is prepared to kill Indigenous peoples to carry out the will of corporations.

Further, in a move that deliberately continues a legacy of genocide against all Indigenous peoples, justice Marguerite Church recently approved an interlocutory injunction against the Wet’suwet’en making it illegal for them under colonial law to defend their own lands against industry or Canada, as an invading Nation. Her decision states that “Indigenous law has no effectual place in Canadian law.” The injunction will allow for the destruction of Gidimt’en camp, cabins throughout the territory, and presents risk to the healing lodge.

Unsurprising and absolute imperialist bullshit.

Do you need more reasons? We didn’t think so.

Which leaves us with what we do.

As geographically distant allies the logical conclusion is that we will likely never get explicit, widespread permission or an “official” thumbs up (and we should certainly strive to understand our inclination to ask or want for those things), but with a few considerations we can get a fair sense of what’s needed, and wanted.

1) The intensity of the current situation. Today, Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership have gathered to take a final stand and remove industry from their territory as a way to prevent further destruction of the land and water, ensuring their safety and livelihoods. Legal challenges have failed, and this is perhaps “it” – the final possibility of protecting their Yintah.

2) With this development will come new, increased and incensed calls for solidarity actions.

3) Actions that have received support or excitement previously include large militant disruptions such as highway and port blockades, occupations and attempted shutdowns of pipeline facilities, and the closure of a Shell terminal. No actions have yet been denounced.

4) Previous requests have included guidance to respect the agreements and responsibilities of the territory you are on, to respect the land, water, and life of it, and to honour and centre Indigenous messaging.

There is no shortage of existing opportunities, but thinking back to what we’ve seen work in this area, what is relevant, and what is strategic and what can embrace many tones and tactics, we think of rail disruptions.

Rail traffic creates excellent opportunity for state and economic disruption; infrastructure is so sprawling it’s relatively indefensible – particularly outside of cities. Geographical features create thousands of natural bottlenecks across Turtle Island which lend themselves as targets for maximum effectiveness using a broad range of methods. Historically even short disruptions – by actions or rail strikes – have had large economic impacts. After just two days of a recent rail strike the Federal government started drafting emergency legislation out of concern for the economy. In 2012, a 9 day disruption dropped the local GDP by 6.8%.

Imagine allies disrupting and damaging rail infrastructure and bottlenecks in Northern BC between Kitimat-Chetwynd-Houston-Stewart; it would orphan pipe stockpiles in ports, preventing their delivery to construction areas.

There is no need to chase the frontline; we can fight where we stand.

Rail sabotage works as both a tactic and a strategy, and so we’re calling for ongoing rail disruptions in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who are currently defending their unceded territory from industry and police invasion.

Our suggestions include using copper wire to trip signal blocks, and the destruction of signal boxes and rail tracks – but even large public NVCD groups stopping essential rail lines is better than no action at all. Read on for details, safety tips, and links.

As always, we encourage folks to think about your heart, as well as the longevity of these actions and overall struggle; a gentle reminder that you are being careful with yourselves, fingerprints and DNA – for everyone’s safety – and that repression often follows action.

Prints

Fingerprints can be removed from hard surfaces with isopropyl alcohol. Wipe each item thoroughly in case something gets accidentally left behind or discovered. Store in a brand new, clean bag and only remove if wearing gloves.

DNA

DNA can be transferred in a number of ways. Ensure you’re being diligent; don’t touch your face and cough you’re your hands while wearing gloves. Keep your hair brushed (to remove loose hair) and tied back. Don’t smoke or spit anywhere near your target area. Don’t leave anything behind. Be careful not to injure yourself. Properly dispose of masks, hats, gear, or clothing (bleach, heat, or burn). Rainy days can be messy but good; they can help wash away, displace and contaminate fibre and DNA evidence. Bleach can destroy DNA by keeping it from being replicated in a lab for analysis. Heat and fire also destroy DNA well.

If you’re not sure, be sure.

Copper Wire Method
– DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON SUBWAY TRANSIT LINES; they carry electricity.
– You can use this method when engaging in group NVCD to immediately send a signal to stop all train traffic.

The steel rails of tracks act as part of a track circuit for something called “automatic block signalling” (ABS). A very low voltage is sent through the rails to track sensors to create a loop in sets of geographic blocks. When a train moves along them, the train axle disrupts or shortens the circuit and sensors pick that up to indicate the block is occupied, automatically closing traffic in that area to other trains.

By using a high gage (thick!) copper wire and wrapping it around and then across the rails one can replicate the tripping of the circuit sensors. Note: you don’t need to locate and connect the actual block sensors.

TIPS: the copper needs to be touching areas on both rails that are NOT rusty/oxidized and still conducting. HIGH gage copper wire is necessary. Have a lookout for trains and security patrols. Have a plan before you start wrapping. You may need a small tool to clear some crushed rock under the rail before wrapping the wire.  Find a good spot, dig out both rails, and wrap one rail first. Remember as soon as you trip the circuit by connecting the wire to both rails the ABS will be tripped indicating something is up. Get out as soon as you can. Burying the cable with crushed rock, snow or dirt will make it harder to find/spot within the block.

Destroying Signal Boxes

Signal boxes are part of rail circuits. If you walk railways, you’ve probably seen them as large grey shed like structures, or small grey boxes affixed to poles. These boxes are the receptors and interpreters of ABS circuit signals. The casings are metal and typically secured closed somehow, and the small boxes on posts have cables that emerge, trail to the ground and run to the tracks. Since these wires have electrical components we would advise against simply cutting them unless you have a fair handle on electricity. Another method to damage wires and electrical circuits is hot fire. This means more than just dousing the cords in a fuel and walking away – it means building and ensuring a hotter, longer lasting fire.  On good way to extend the burn of fibre tinder (cotton fabric or cotton balls are favourites with us) is to add petroleum jelly and work it in. You’ll be able to just light that, which acts as a wick. To increase the heat of a fire you can add rubber from bicycle inner tubes or tires. Getting a small established fire like this going either in the circuit box/house or where the cord enters the ground should take care of the circuits and do a fine job delaying rail traffic by activating the ABS system in a longer-lasting way.

Notes: Practise building this kind of fire to see what’s possible. Burning rubber creates toxic fumes. This is arson – which authorities will investigate more seriously than the copper wire method. Be careful: find a good spot, have lookouts and an entry/exit plan that doesn’t expose you to people, ensure you’re being careful with fingerprints & DNA, properly dispose of any equipment used, have EXCELLENT security culture & practises with your crew.

Destroying Steel Rails

How do you destroy steel rails that hold a lot of tonnage every day? The same way they put them together: thermite.

Thermite is a fuel/oxidizer ratio that can be adjusted to burn hot enough to destroy car engine blocks. It’s not particularly dangerous to mix BUT it does burn very hot, and very brightly so take precautions. This method requires very little on-site time: just place, light and walk away. It also provided maximum physical property damage as the rail or signal box will need complete replacement.

The simplest fuel to use is aluminum powder. This can be collected from older etch-a-sketches or manufactured with (real) aluminum foil in a coffee grinder.  The finer the flakes/powder the faster the burn.

The simplest oxidizer to use with aluminum powder is iron oxide – red iron rust. Again, you can collect this and turn it into a fine powder, or easily manufacture it by soaking ‘0000 grain’ steel wool in bleach. Let it sit for a day to create a paste, which can then be dried and used.

You will also need an ignition wick. It takes a hot burn to ignite metal fuel so a lighter won’t work, and a firework fuse likely won’t either. Use either a common fireworks sparkler, or a homemade wick of match heads rolled into aluminum foil. Sparklers may present some risk of early ignition if the sparks coming off them hit the thermite before anticipated.

Thermite Powder

Mix a ratio of 3 parts iron oxide to 2 parts aluminum powder. Cut or puncture a small wick hole on the side of a container (i.e. tin can). Insert your wick a couple inches so that there will be contact with the mixture in the can, and then fill the container with powder. Place and light where needed.

TIPS: unless the powder mix is fine and compacted, the burn will be less efficient and produce less heat!

Hard/Cake Thermite

3 parts iron oxide, 2 parts aluminum powder, 2 parts plaster of paris. Mix the powders together, mix with plaster of paris. Pour into mold (can, etc.), insert wick into cake a couple inches on an angle. Let dry and remove from mould.

Mouldable Thermite

8 parts aluminum powder, 3 parts iron oxide, 4 parts clay. Mix the powders well then add to clay. Insert wick a couple inches. Place where needed and light.

Notes:  Because this method damages the rail itself it presents a risk of derailment. To avoid this risk you may want to trip the ABS circuit by applying copper wire across the rails as well (method one). Again, this is a method police are likely to investigate thoroughly. Make sure all items you’re leaving behind are free of fingerprints and DNA. Have lookouts and careful off-camera approaches.  Dispose of or destroy clothing and boots. Thermite burns hot and bright – do not stare after ignition. Very fine aluminum powder is reactive to oxygen and can ignite easily. If water (rain, snow, puddles) is added to burning thermite it will cause an explosion that sends molten iron flying outwards. DO NOT try to extinguish burning thermite with water.

Alexander Liberio : Metalhead, Nazi… Christian Orthodox Seminarian

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Nov 242019
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

Using the pseudonym “Neuromancer,” Alex Liberio was one of the neo-Nazis active on the Discord server and in the Iron March chatroom, as well as an engaged participant in the activities of Montréal’s alt-right from early 2017 until January 2018.

In May 2018, the tenacious efforts of Montréal antifascist militants led to the exposure of a an alt-right chatroom on a Discord server meant to serve as the launching pad for the “real-life” activities of a group of militant neo-Nazis in the Montréal area.[1] A series of articles published in the Montreal Gazette forced two of the key organizers of the group into exile: Gabriel Sohier Chaput, alias “Zeiger,” and Athanasse Zafirov, alias “Date” (also sometimes “LateOfDies” or “Sam Houde/Hoydel”). Zeiger was not only a central figure in this little Montréal-based group but was also part of an international network that developed from 2015 to 2018; notably as a prolific producer of content for The Daily Stormer website, as a moderator of the Iron March chatroom, and as a key propagandist for the explicitly National Socialist and accelerationist tendency of the alt-right movement. There is a warrant for his arrest in Québec, and he is currently in hiding. Meanwhile, “Date” (or “LateOfDies”), who seems to have been gradually radicalized,  beginning in the “Pickup Artists” scene personified by the misogynist Roosh V, was a key organizer in the local and national alt-right milieu; exceptionally as a leading organizer of the pan-Canadian gathering held in Ontario in July 2017. He relocated to California in 2018, where he is comfortably ensconced in the doctoral program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, in spite of our article that exposed him and his new life.

Three other notorious militants from this little group were also unmasked by the antifascist community, including Shawn Beauvais MacDonald, alias “FriendlyFash” (or “Bubonic”) and Vincent Bélanger Mercure, alias “Le Carouge à Épaulettes” (or “BebeCoco”), both of whom participated, alongside Sohier Chaput and other Canadian far-right militants, in the Unite the Right demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11 and 12, 2017. The third, Julien Côté Lussier, alias “Passport,” who was once the spokesperson for ID Canada (an effort to legitimize the “ethno-nationalist” movement among the public at large) recently garnered attention as a candidate in the 2019 federal election in southwest Montréal. Antiracists in his riding revealed that in spite of his militant fascism, Côté Lussier is still employed by the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Another extremely active member of the “Montreal Storm,” chatroom is the subject of this article–the user who went by the code name “Neuromancer;” and, as the recent leak of the Iron March forum’s logs proves, also participated in the latter under the pseudonym “iamneuromancer.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “iamnueromancer,” introduces himself on the neo-Nazi forum Iron March.

Alexander Liberio, alias “iamnueromancer,” introduces himself to the neo-Nazi forum Iron March.

 

At this point, Montréal Antifasciste can positively confirm that “Neuromancer” is Alexander Liberio, a Montréal metal musician and a student of Cognitive Science at McGill University up until last year. Possibly feeling the heat after Zeiger was doxxed and the contents of the Montreal Storm forum were published, Liberio made his way down to the U.S. and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Theology at the Holy Trinity Orthodox seminary in Jordanville, New York. His move is entirely consistent with his vision of Christianity as both synonymous with “white culture” and “inherently fascist”, and in being the best vehicle for achieving the goal of the 14 words (the white nationalist credo formulated by the neo-Nazi terrorist David Lane).[2]

///

 

Alex Liberio (b. August 6, 1989), known as “Neuromancer Wintermute” in the Montréal metal scene, has been part of a number of music projects since the early part of the current decade, most recently with the group Vehemal.

Profile of Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromance Wintermute,” on metal-archives.com.

Profile of Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromance Wintermute,” on metal-archives.com.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer Wintermute,” is Vehemal’s guitarist.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer Wintermute,” is Vehemal’s guitarist.

It seems that he was the president of the student council at Vanier College in 2012–2013, after which time he focused on his music and entered the Cognitive Science Program at McGill University. It is difficult to say exactly when he turned Nazi, but he complained on a number of occasions about being betrayed by a friend and being “fully doxxed” in 2016,[3] after a white nationalist intervention at a public antiracist event. Oddly, we know nothing about this alleged doxxing and can find no trace of it.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” claims he was doxxed in 2016.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” claims he was doxxed in 2016.

 

We first noticed Liberio at La Meute’s “coming out” demonstration in Montréal, on March 4, 2017. He was hovering around the PEGIDA Québec contingent in the company of several individuals who were likely the original core of the Montreal Storm group, aka Alt-Right Montreal, among them, Vincent Bélanger Mercure and Athanasse Zafirov. On this occasion Liberio was  interviewed by Global TV, which allowed us to put a face to his pseudonym.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” at the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” at the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” claims on Discord to have been interviewed by Global News.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” claims on Discord to have been interviewed by Global News.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” talks to Global News at the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” talks to Global News at the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017.

 

On Iron March, Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” talks about participating in the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017.

On Iron March, Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” talks about participating in the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017.

 

A few weeks later, on March 26, he joined both the Iron March forum and the Montreal Storm chatroom on Discord.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” joins the neo-Nazi Iron March forum on March 26, 2017.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” joins the neo-Nazi Iron March forum on March 26, 2017.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” joins the Montreal Storm chatroom on Discord on March 26, 2017.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” joins the Montreal Storm chatroom on Discord on March 26, 2017.

 

Uncompromising Nazi

By participating in the Iron March forum, “Neuromancer”/Alex Liberio got to rub shoulders with some of the most influential and dangerous neo-Nazis in the world, including the creator and main administrator of Iron March, Alexander Slavros, and other members of this “accelerationist” community, who went on to create the Atomwaffen Division, an underground neo-Nazi network connected to a series of murders and planned attacks. His proximity to Sohier Chaput and his willingness to engage in “real-life” activities led to his enthusiastic participation in the endeavours of the “Montreal Storm Book Club” (in Daily Stormer parlance, or “Pool Parties” as they were called by users of the alt-right forum The Right Stuff), including the ID Canada project launched by Athanasse Zafirov, Julien Côté Lussier, and others.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” follows Gabriel Sohier Chaput, alias “Zeiger” on Iron March.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” follows Gabriel Sohier Chaput, alias “Zeiger” on Iron March.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” says he lost old friends but developed new friendships on the basis of a shared interest in fascism and Adolph Hitler.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” says he lost old friends but developed new friendships on the basis of a shared interest in fascism and Adolph Hitler.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” criticizes Gabriel Prévost-Mathieu, alias “Canadian Übermensch,” on Iron March for his lack of seriousness.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” criticizes Gabriel Prévost-Mathieu, alias “Canadian Übermensch,” on Iron March for his lack of seriousness.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” chastises Gabriel Prévost-Mathieu, alias “Canadian Übermensch,” on Iron March.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” chastises Gabriel Prévost-Mathieu, alias “Canadian Übermensch,” on Iron March.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” complaining that antifascists were out of line when they protested a Black Metal festival in 2016, because Graveland “isn’t even nazi.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” complaining that antifascists were out of line when they , because Graveland “isn’t even nazi.” protested a Black Metal festival in 2016, because Graveland “aren’t even NS/neo-nazi Black metal.”

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” makes a direct connection between this Alt-Right crew and ID Canada, an fledgling organization attempting to legitimize white “identitarian” nationalism in the eyes of the Canadian public at large.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” makes a direct connection between this Alt-Right crew and ID Canada, an fledgling organization attempting to legitimize white “identitarian” nationalism in the eyes of the Canadian public at large.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” mentions the “extreme vetting” measures observed by the group Alt-Right Montreal.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” mentions the “extreme vetting” measures observed by the group Alt-Right Montreal.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” argues that 2017 is the year for members of the alt-right to meet in person (and develop a strategy to “take the White House” in 2020!)

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” argues that 2017 is the year for members of the alt-right to meet in person (and develop a strategy to “take the White House” in 2020!)

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” considers Jews “satanic,” “genocidal against [our] people,” and “worthy of hate.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” considers Jews “satanic,” “genocidal against [our] people,” and “worthy of hate.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” to nobody’s particular surprise, is also a homophobe.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” to nobody’s particular surprise, is also a homophobe.

 

Christianity as a prized tool of fascism

“Neuromancer”/Liberio is part of a not insignificant tendency within the alt-right/neo-Nazi movement that identifies with the Orthodox Christian tradition. He makes no effort to hide his belief that Christianity is the best vehicle for Nazism.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” believes that Christianity is the best vehicle for realizing the White Nationalist credo of the “14 words.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” believes that Christianity is the best vehicle for realizing the White Nationalist credo of the “14 words.”

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” believes that Nazi ideology is “applied biblical law.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” believes that Nazi ideology is “applied biblical law.”

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” explains that the Bible is the best synthesis of “Western/European/white culture and history”,(...) without which the concept of a “pan-White European race” wouldn't exist.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” explains that the Bible is the best synthesis of “Western/European/white culture and history”,(…) without which the concept of a “pan-White European race” wouldn’t exist.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” explains that Christendom “means whites.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” explains that Christendom “means whites.”

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” believes that Christianity is “inherently fascist.”

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” believes that Christianity is “inherently fascist.”

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” trumpets the merits of the Orthodox Church.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” trumpets the merits of the Orthodox Church.

 

He enrolled in his first year as an undergraduate student in the Fall of 2018, at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, in Jordanville, New York, under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Amercian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. As far as we know, he is still there today.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” enrolled in the Holy Trinity seminary of the Russian Orthodox Church in Jordanville, New York, in the autumn of 2018.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” enrolled in the Holy Trinity seminary of the Russian Orthodox Church in Jordanville, New York, in the autumn of 2018.

 

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” still attends the Holy Trinity seminary of the Russian Orthodox Church in Jordanville, New York, in 2019-2020.

Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” still attends the Holy Trinity seminary of the Russian Orthodox Church in Jordanville, New York, in 2019-2020.

The seminary’s disciplinary code stipulates that “The Seminary reserves the right to withhold a degree from a candidate when there is compelling evidence of serious moral misconduct.” It remains to be seen whether or not the seminary considers participating in a variety of neo-Nazi actions and organizations “serious moral misconduct” . . . or if the Russian Orthodox Church actually is an appropriate vehicle for realizing Adolph Hitler’s vision and that of the contemporary adherents of his ideology.

Disclosure of the Evidence

Examining the e-mail address “iamneuromancer” posted the Iron March forum (iamneuromancer@gmail.com), we found a 2015 online announcement to recruit a bagpipe player for a folk metal group (probably Bibracte, which Liberio led for a while with his partner).

This announcement included a telephone number. Deeper research into the number turned up an announcement on a Chinese forum for an apartment sublet in Hochelaga. Not only do the photos of the apartment published in this announcement show exactly the same décor as seen in a number of videos on the YouTube channel Icon Iconium, in which we see Liberio and his rats, but we also found the e-mail address: alexander.liberio@mail.mcgill.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

A search for Alexander Liberio confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt his ties with the Orthodox seminary in Jordanville, New York.

 ///

 

What does this mean for these nazis? And what are the implications for our communities?

From Charlottesville to El Paso, by way of the Atomwaffen Division attacks and the Christchurch massacre, the online activities of Alexander Liberio’s generation of neo-Nazis have repeatedly crossed over into real life, delivering death and terror in countries across the world. For all that, what stands out about them is how fragmented and fragile their connections were and are; it takes relatively little to disrupt and scatter the networks in the various online chatrooms. But with what consequences? New Iron March revelations have come out every day since the original leak, allowing us to see just how easy it is for “regular” white men to go about their nondescript middle-class lives as students, civil servants, hipsters, etc., while fantasising about race war and genocide, “white sharia,” and “boots on the ground.” The question that we once again face is: What can we concretely expect from these wannabe race war space marines?

In particular, we invite our readers to consider the implications for our communities if the Nazis are left to pursue their activities with impunity.

We intend to redouble our efforts to make sure that these guys can’t simply get on with their lives and continue fomenting hatred as if it’s business as usual. Above all, we will work not only to disrupt their networks but to prevent their reconsitution. The steady stream of attacks and mass murders make it clear that even if these networks are strategically precarious, the tactics they push can lead to disaster.

That said, an effective counterattack necessarily requires a far more vigorous response from antiracist and antifascist communities, a response whereby our ways and means of action reflect our desire to eradicate the Nazis once and for all and secure a viable future for all children.

 ///

 

 

 


[1]  Discord is a software developed to facilitate vocal communication between on-line gamers. Its features, including the private nature of communication, drew the attention of numerous members of the alt-right movement, who began heavily using it between 2016 andt 2018.

[2] David Lane’s infamous credo is: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” He coined this phrase while in prison for his activities with The Order, a terrorist neo-Nazi organization active in the 1980s and responsible for a number of murders and armed attacks, including the assassination of outspoken Jewish radio host Alan Berg.

[3] Doxxing is a tactic that consists of publicly releasing an individual’s personal information to do them harm in one way or another.

Confidence Courage Connection Trust: A proposal for security culture

 Comments Off on Confidence Courage Connection Trust: A proposal for security culture
Nov 082019
 

From North Shore Counter-Info

There are two version of this text for printing and sharing. The first is a Full version of this text laid out as a printable pamphlet. The second is A short excerpt of the text laid out on two sheets to distribute widely

When we talk about security culture, people tend to have one of two kinds of experiences. The first is of building walls and keeping people out, the second is of being excluded or mistrusted. Both of these come with negative feelings – fear and suspicion for the former and alienation and resentment for the latter. I would say that they are two sides of the same coin, two experiences of a security culture that isn’t working well.

I want to be welcoming and open to new people in my organizing. I also want to protect myself as best I can from efforts to disrupt that organizing, especially from the state but also from bosses or the far-right. That means I want to have the kinds of security practices that allow me to be open while knowing that I’ve assessed the risk I face and am taking smart steps to minimize it. Security culture should make openness more possible, not less.

This proposal for security culture is based on reframing — on shifting our focus from fear to confidence, from risk-aversion to courage, from isolation to connection, and from suspicion to trust.

It makes sense to feel fear – the state is very powerful, repression is common, and it has the power to crush us and all our projects. But I don’t want to stay in that fear, and with accurate information and good plans we can begin to transform fear into confidence, knowing we have security practices that are up to the risk we face. In fact, without transforming fear, it’s hard to imagine how we could manage to take action at all in face of the power of our enemies.

I don’t want to be risk-averse. I want to decide on my actions based on effectiveness, appropriateness, my analysis, and my ethics. Good security culture lays the groundwork for us to show courage in our tactics collectively, since we know we can handle the risk. When we don’t transform risk-aversion, we self-police and stay narrowly in the space for symbolic opposition that is provided to us.

Repression functions by isolating people. I don’t want to contribute to  isolation through the things I do to keep myself and my friends safe. I want a security culture rooted in deepening our connection with each other. When we don’t transform isolation, organizing can feel no different than work and we don’t build the kinds of relationships that truly transform us, such that we can begin to feel the world we wish to create.

I don’t want to feel suspicion when I meet people, that’s toxic and erodes the spaces of struggle we create. Rather than feel suspicious of someone, I want to ask myself “what would it take for me to trust this person?” I want to go towards people and try to transform suspicion into trust.

I would like to offer a definition of security culture to frame this conversation. Security culture refers to a set of practices developed to assess risks, control the flow of information through your networks, and to build solid organizing relationships. There are countless different possible security cultures, but the important thing is that they come from clear, explicit conversations about risk that are ongoing and respond to change. In the following example, the ongoing conversation about risk reacts to changes in our actions and in how we are being targeted. The various security culture practices mentioned will be explained further down.

In a pipeline campaign where I live, we wanted to emphasize mass direct actions targeting oil infrastructure. We decided that our risk for the early stages of that campaign as we focused on outreach and research was very slight and that we could safely involve many people in that work and share information about it openly on any platform. As we began planning symbolic protest actions, this consideration didn’t significantly change, but when we began planning things like blocking roads or picketing a police station, the element of surprise became a larger consideration. Regardless of possible criminal charges, our actions would simply be less effective if they were known in advance. So we stopped using public or easily surveilled means to communicate and began asking that people only share details to trusted individuals who intended to participate.

Soon after this phase of the campaign began, a national-level policing apparatus called a Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) came together around defending pipelines, involving many levels of police and intelligence services. JIGs and configurations like them are a specific threat to struggles of all kinds, since they aim vast resources directly at disrupting organizing. So even though our actions didn’t change, we revisited our conversation about risk and decided to insulate the organizers of actions from possible conspiracy charges by doing the planning in a small, opaque group. We could invite people to participate who we trusted, and we might take steps to build up that trust, like doing identity checks of each other. But we would no longer plan actions openly in the larger network of people interested in the education and outreach work. This shift meant that when we moved on to shutting down critical infrastructure, we just had to scale up from this organizing node we had formed and encourage other crews to organize similarly, coordinating through a meeting of representatives from vouched groups to take on different roles.

(Of course, this organizing model, like all such models, comes with drawbacks as well as strengths. It’s not my intention in this text to advocate for one particular way of organizing, though inevitably I have more experience with some than with others.)

Before digging more into specific ideas and practices, I want to speak to a common objection people have to discussions of security culture in their organizing: “I’m not doing anything illegal so I don’t need to think about security.” This could come up in a more specific way, like “I’m not discussing anything sensitive, so I don’t need to worry about it being surveilled,” or “I’m not usually stopped at the border, so I don’t need to worry about the stacks of anarchist journals in my car,” but the underlying objection is the same.

The choice to repress or to disrupt organizing belongs only to the state – it doesn’t necessarily have very much to do with the actions being criminalized. Personally, I have a number of criminal convictions, have spent about a year in jail, two years on house arrest, and something like five years on various kinds of conditions. All of these convictions are for routine organizing tasks that the state chose to target with repression for its own reasons. I was sentenced to eight months in jail for facilitating meetings and for writing and distributing a callout for a march in the context of a big summit; some years later, I was sentenced to a year for distributing a leaflet announcing a march and then being in attendance at the march. In both of these cases, there was property destruction during the demonstration, but I was never accused of it. Rather, the state chose to use conspiracy charges to target people doing visible, routine organizing of the kind I have done many times. Similar dynamics have played out in other conspiracy cases in both the US and Canada, my experience was not exceptional.

I don’t tell these stories to position myself as a victim – I want my organizing to be threatening to power, it makes sense to me that it would be targeted. The important part is that the state chose to criminalize leafleting and facilitating meetings in order to intimidate or to make an example. Even if this kind of repression were to occur only 1% of the time (though it seems somewhat more common), we need to be aware of it and organize with forms of security that are adapted to it, otherwise the only option is to restrict our own activities preemptively, to internalize that repression and integrate timidity and weakness into our work.

However, security culture is not only about resisting criminal charges. It’s about preventing our activity from being disrupted. Criminal charges are a particular threat, but they’re far from the only one.

During the big summit where I caught conspiracy charges, only two of the JIG’s 16 undercovers were involved in the case. Other undercovers changed passwords on websites and email addresses, directed buses to the wrong locations, stole medical supplies, spread harmful rumours to aggravate social conflict, and even attempted to entrap youth in a weird bomb plot. All of these police actions were immensely disruptive, without ever needing to rely on the power of the courts, and we will probably never have a full picture of their impact.

We already saw that often maintaining the element of surprise is an important security consideration – an example in our area is organizing prison demos to support people who are locked up: organizing them quietly means we can have freedom of movement and action for a period of time before the police are able to mount a response. Or consider an IWW chapter trying to do a reclaim your pay campaign against a boss – they will need to take steps to protect themselves from civil lawsuits or from being targeted by private security. Or consider the work antifascists do to identify the far-right – they need to be mindful to avoid having their own personal information become public and targets of violence in the street. There are also private security companies that are increasingly hired to defend private interests in ways that the police can’t or won’t, which has come up repeatedly around indigenous-led land defense struggles in recent years.

Security concerns are already integrated into much of the organizing we do. Building a security culture involves being explicit about assessment of risk beyond just specific actions and adopting clear practices designed to keep us safe and our actions effective across all the forms our organizing takes. Good security culture means doing this while emphasising strong connections, building trust, and feeling confident.

Here are a couple of general principles that underline security culture as I understand it.

The Two Nevers. These points are somewhat well-known, but also quite inadequate. Their most basic framing is “Never talk about your or someone else’s involvement in illegal activity. Never talk about someone else’s interest in illegal activity.”

The most obvious inadequacy is that a lot of what we do doesn’t involve obviously illegal stuff. We could reframe the Two Nevers like this: “Never talk about your or someone else’s involvement in activity that risks being criminalized. Never talk about someone else’s interest in criminalized activity.”

This is still inadequate, since we aren’t only concerned about criminal charges. But having a clear rule that is widely agreed on about not running your mouth about illegal stuff is a good idea no matter what space you’re in. This includes things we might feel are jokes — loose talk about fighting cops or attacking property might not seem harmless when entered into a snitch’s notes.

One of the most common reasons people become suspicious of someone is if that person is trying to take people off to one side to discuss illegal tactics. Rather than saying, “this person is a cop trying to entrap me”, we can reframe and say, “I need to clarify my understanding of security culture with this person if we are going to work together”. The rephrased version of the Two Nevers can be one simple way of doing that. It also reminds us to not try to figure out or speculate about who pulled off actions happening anonymously around us — that’s the cops’ job. If others ask about anonymous illegal actions, you can gently remind them the action was done anonymously, it doesn’t matter who did it, and it speaks for itself.

(A less recognized form of bad security culture is how callouts around security culture can reinforce negative power dynamics. We should absolutely talk to each other about interactions we have security concerns about, but this should always be mutual and done privately when possible – describe what you heard, present your idea of security culture, ask if they think that’s a reasonable boundary, be willing to hear them disagree. The goal is to build shared understandings to widen the range of organizing we can engage in together, not shut people down or make them feel ashamed (or to make ourselves seem more hardcore). An extreme form of this is snitch-jacketing, where people are falsely called a snitch, which can have huge consequences in peoples lives and were a part of eroding revolutionary movements in the 70’s, but a smaller example could be a more ‘experienced’ person shutting down others in front of a group for talking about actions they found inspiring or for who they are talking to.)

Another point is to privilege face-to-face meetings. Regardless of the platform or how secure or insecure it is, we build better trust, stronger relationships, and come to better decisions when we take the time to meet in person. When electronic means of communication replace the face-to-face, our conversations are easier to surveil, misunderstandings come up more often, and they can be disrupted by decisions or problems at far-away companies. For all the uses of electronic communication in your organizing, ask yourself if it’s replacing face-to-face meetings, and if it is, ask if it really needs to. Consider reducing your reliance on these things and begin trying to shift more conversations back to in person. (More on tech stuff in a bit…)

An objection to this is that many people have social anxiety and prefer to communicate using their devices; another is that physically traveling places is a barrier for some. Like other sensitive issues that come up around security culture, I encourage you to deal with them head on and dig into other ways of accommodating those needs while still attempting to prioritize meeting in person. After all, these technologies are very new and people with disabilities of all kinds have a long history of finding each other to organise around the issues that effect them.

Repression is inevitable, or avoiding it at all costs isn’t worthwhile. Regardless of the struggle, if it’s taken far enough it will become a struggle against the police, those defenders of the world as it is. If we take as a starting point that we will avoid repression at all costs, then we will only use forms of struggle approved of by the police, which makes it pretty much impossible to build collective power capable of transformative change. If we don’t accept these limitations, then we need to be prepared to face repression.

One way of preparing is to centre police and prisons in our organizing from the beginning. In this, we can learn from anti-racist movements who almost always keep in mind the physical, racist violence of those institutions, even as they might choose to engage in a wider range of issues. The advantage is we already build up a politic that isn’t shocked by police violence and that is realistic about prison. We can take it a step further and incorporate practices of solidarity into our organizing. We might be organizing in a labour space – look at labour struggles elsewhere and find practical acts of solidarity to do towards those facing repression. We might be organizing around queer stuff – find and support queer prisoners, this way you’ll know how to navigate prisons in your area if and when you need that knowledge. If you’re interesting in environmental struggles and land defense, there are land defenders in jail, fighting charges, and facing the physical violence of the state all across the continent — incorporating practices of solidarity with them into your work can give some powerful inspiration for creative, courageous resistance.

A further benefit is that you are more likely to receive solidarity in turn, since prisons are a great unifying force, linking all the various struggles against domination and oppression. Being in a resistance culture that shows active solidarity in the face of repression can go a long way towards keeping yourselves safer. And again – we combat fear with accurate information. The more we know about how police and prisons work, the more we can shift from fear to preparation and confidence.

With these points in mind, let’s look in more detail at what it means to assess risk. The important thing here is to do this openly and consistently, and to focus on how it makes possible the actions you think are effective and appropriate. It can be easy to get into a risk-averse mindset and self-police more than the state has the power to control us. Being explicit about risk can make it easier to focus on courage and possibility.

If you’re sitting down to plan a demo, think about tone. Are you anticipating it to be calm and orderly? Or combative and uncontrollable? If the police try to block you, will you go along with it or will you try to push through? Are there actions you would be excited to see happen in the demo that risk being criminalized more than the act of taking the streets? This could be as simple as stickering or could be spraypainting or breaking windows. Will your plans be jeopardized if you lose the element of surprise? Who do you not want to find out? How will you reach the people you want to reach without risking the wrong people catching wind? Communicating clearly about the tone of an action can help others come with autonomous plans that are suitable.

It’s important to avoid complacency or taking too much for granted. Here’s an example from 2018:

The organizers of an anarchist bookfair decided to call a night demo for after the event. They were putting much more energy into other aspects of the day and were complacent about risk at the demo, because they’d organized a hundred demos before. However, the demo ended up being much more combative than others and a lot of property destruction occurred – they hadn’t assessed risk explicitly and hadn’t taken the time to consider it in an ongoing way as the start time got closer. As well, they hadn’t taken into account that a JIG focused on a G7 summit in a different province that summer might have meant there were additional police resources aimed at them during this period. This meant that their security practices in the lead up were not adapted to the level of risk the action ended up having, and all of the bookfair organizers were charged with conspiracy.

This is an extreme example, but there will always be unexpected things that happen, and that’s generally a good thing, since we can’t fully plan our way to an insurrectional situation. Staying active in our risk assessment can mean we are less likely to be caught by surprise, and having strong security culture practices that we always use can reduce the harm when situations like this occur. In this case, good data security, a culture of non-cooperation with police, active and persistent solidarity, effective masking, and a refusal to give up or submit meant that this unexpected situation was much less harmful than it could have been and people got through it with their heads up.

Another example could be developing a mass organization, say an antifascist organization. What kinds of questions about risk should we be asking even in the absence of planning any particular mobilization? What level of trust do we need in each other for the kinds of things we want to do? It might be that we are at risk of undercover police infiltrattion, so knowing that we all are who we say we are could matter. We could also be concerned about infiltration by the far-right, in which case understanding each others politics and building trust gradually through slowly escalating actions could be key. Our principle around face-to-face organizing above online activities will likely make it easier to achieve both of these goals.

If the intention is to build towards street action, then a part of the security conversation could be about discipline and how to plan. What are our expectations of each other in tense situations? It’s hard to honour expectations when expectation are vague, and it’s easier to act smart when have a clear plan for what you’re there to do and can tell if it’s working or not. Building good organizing habits about what to consider as a group has major consequences for safety in the streets – it’s not the same as security culture, but the conversations are closely related. For instance, risks around antifascist mobilizations might include ending up outnumbered, getting ambushed or separated, being followed or being identified by the far-right or by police, or suffering unnecessary injuries or arrests.

Some organizing practices for mobilizations that address risk include: cut-off numbers (a number of participants below which the action is either canceled or shifts to a lower intensity back-up plan), exit strategies (when will you leave, how do you tell people, where do you separate, how do you avoid being followed, how do you check people are home safe?), meet-up points (gathering as a group before heading together to an action site), appropriate street tactics (positioning in two lines with complementary roles, for instance), clear communication practices (How will you communicate in the streets, will you bring phones, what names will you use for each other?), and scheduled check-ins (How will you check in with each other after leaving to make sure everyone is safe, getting together soon after to debrief an offer support).

There are many different security culture practices that groups have experimented with and I’m not going to try to be exhaustive. Rather, I’d like to share a few that I and the people around me have had success with. These are ID checks, vouching, circles of trust, flexible organizing structures, and proactively addressing bad dynamics.

ID checks are for establishing that someone is who they say they are. In the pipeline campaign I described above, when we wanted to shift towards more intense direct actions, we needed to deepen the trust and collective strength among those we’d been organizing with. Because we were talking about risk regularly, we understood that the security practices we had used for protests, rallies, short-term occupations, and educational events weren’t appropriate for this. Since we were concerned about infiltrators, we decided to ID check each other. This would look like taking a person out for coffee and, without advance warning, producing my ID and maybe a family photo or school yearbook. I would tell the person I wanted them to be able to trust I was I said I was, because I wanted us to be able to take riskier actions together. We then discussed what that person could show me. Sometimes this involved phone calls to work or to family members on speaker phone, so I could hear the person on the other end provide details of someone’s life or employment. Other times ID was enough. Sometimes we would go back to each others’ apartments. The idea was to be as mutual as possible (which is hard since in practice someone is initiating it) and to keep the focus on building trust.

It’s not useful to incorporate ID checks with people you don’t trust or with whom you won’t feel comfortable taking riskier actions regardless of how they go. This is not about finding cops, it’s about deepening trust and confidence. Checking each other in this way should be a sign of respect.

There are a lot of factors that can come into play to make this less straight forward. For instance, people who immigrated to the country might not have family nearby or have the same kinds of documentation. Queer and trans people often don’t use the names on their documents and might not be comfortable sharing legal names or old pictures. However, these are things to take into account and to adapt to, not reasons to skip getting to know someone. One undercover cop in my area claimed to be escaping an abusive relationship and used our politics around supporting survivors to shut down any conversation about her past. Our discomfort around complex and sensitive issues creates blind spots that people who wish us harm can walk into – we need to be brave and find ways of addressing this complexity, not avoid it.

One friend with experience doing this added there might be moments where its OK to be less mutual, where you might not want to give people as much control over what proof looks like. They also emphasised that this wont necessarily help with snitches (as opposed to undercovers) who are who they say they are but have bad motives. You also need to have a clear sense in advance of what you will do if someone can’t or won’t go along, or if you turn up something that requires you to rethink your trust in the person.

Vouching is a practice for bringing new people into an existing group or organizing space. Like our other practices, it is best when it is explicit and done consistently. The first step is to have a clear basis for trust within your group. Perhaps your basis is just that someone has politics compatible with yours and is reliable. Perhaps you need to know people are who they say they are, that they stay solid under pressure, that they have certain kinds of organizing experience, and are comfortable with certain kinds of action. Whatever it is, vouching involves one or more people introducing a new person and stating explicitly that the person meets the basis for trust. Others present should explicitly accept or reject the vouch. Being explicit in this way avoids some of the risk of implicitly trusting people for superficial reasons, like for fitting certain subcultural norms or being read as having a certain identity.

Here’s an example of a vouch: “I have known this person for five years. During that time, we’ve worked closely together on public projects and I trust them to have my back when things get tough. I went for dinner at their dad’s house one time and I’ve picked them up from work frequently.” Here’s another example: “I met this person last year at a public event about climate change and we’ve seen each other around at environmental events regularly since. We’ve talked a lot about the issues and I like them a lot. I know they’re looking to gain some experience organizing actions and I think they’d be a good fit with us.”

An exception to being explicit about why you trust someone is that you shouldn’t breach the Two Nevers. If you are organizing clandestine actions, bringing in new people or introducing crews to each other is tricky, and the concerns are different. Vouching is still a good idea, but you also don’t want to increase risk for anyone by talking about past actions. Since there needs to be a strong basis of trust to be doing those actions in the first place, it could be possible to take a vouch on someone’s word without details about specific activities.

Circles of trust are mostly for informal networks and affinity-based organizing (which, to be clear, is most of my organizing experience). It involves writing out the names of people in your network in a circle, and then drawing different kinds of lines between them to represent the kinds of relationships people have. A solid line could mean a strong, trusting relationship with a lot of capacity. A dashed line could mean some trust, and a dotted line means you don’t know each other well. This collaborative process will reveal a lot about group dynamics and also show where there is work to be done in building more trust.

It might show that only one person has strong relationships with everyone and that other peoples’ relationships are less solid. This means there is work to do in making that more balanced, which makes groups more resilient (in case that one person gets arrested or even just gets sick or burns out) and also more egalitarian, since the ability to initiate projects is tied to the amount of trust people have in the person initiating them. The exercise might also reveal that some people are trusted by no one. This shows that work needs to be done to get to know that person better and see if trust can be built there.

Oftentimes, infiltrators will first approach one community, then use the contacts from there to name drop their way into a different scene. Vouching and circles of trust are great defenses against this. But more than finding hostile people, circles of trust encourages us to build strength in our networks by trying to turn as many of those dashed lines solid as we can.

Flexible organising structures refer to the ability of our organising to adapt to reflect the needs of various kinds of activity. The practice of informal, affinity-based organizing is one that has developed to respond specifically to this need. In an informal (as in, without a fixed form) network, individuals communicate about their ideas and intentions, and affinity groups form around a specific project or around a shared desire to intervene on a common basis. The strength here is that it’s very easy to initiate projects of various risk levels with security culture practices adapted to each. As well, there is an element of need-to-know incorporated automatically, in that only those involved in the organizing know its details or who is involved, unless those people decide otherwise.

Similar flexibility can be incorporated into other organizing models. The key is to respect and legitimate individual initiative, by not for instance demanding that all activity pass through some sort of central body (this can happen as an unspoken norm in loosely structured activist groups as well, not just as a rule in groups with fixed decision-making process).  As well, respect for voluntary association, meaning it’s seen as normal for people to work together in smaller, chosen groups alongside larger, more open structures. In a formal way, this can look like the use of committees or working groups that have the ability to set their own standard for participation. It can also just look like being open to elements of affinity-based organizing as described above, or by being explicit about what kinds of information are need-to-know.

Finally, proactively addressing bad dynamics is just a good habit to have in general, but it’s so important to security that it should be emphasized in every conversation about security culture. There are a lot of dynamics that erode trust and can make organizing harder. Bullying is one example. Another is oppressive behaviour rooted in patriarchy or white supremacy. Yet another is centralizing contacts and resources, which means only certain people can lead projects. Others might be shit talk, boasting, or poor security practices like violating the Two Nevers by asking about people’s involvement in criminalized activity. Anyone who has been involved in an activist subculture for any amount of time won’t have any trouble listing bad dynamics.

Like I said above when talking about complex and sensitve issues related to ID checks, our difficulty in dealing with bad dynamics and issues of oppression in our scenes creates a blind spot that police and intelligence agencies are increasingly aware of. I mentioned the cop who pretended to be a survivor to worm her way into peoples’ lives (she was even brought in as a roommate to someone’s house). Another undercover experience involved a cop who was a middle-aged brown guy who, when people would talk about how he made them uncomfortable (notably for breaching the Two Nevers), he was able to deflect concerns by claiming they were being racist towards him. He found a group of anti-racist activists in a different community from the ones he was most targeting to back him, and he successfully resisted multiple efforts to expel him from organizing spaces. Ultimately, he went on to testify in a case that sent six people to jail. He doubtless experienced racism in our scenes, and this and his cynical manipulation of anti-racism should also cause us to examine the weakness of our anti-racist politic. Having clear politics about race, gender, and other oppressions (meaning that you are comfortable saying in detail what your analysis is around them and why) as well as practices of addressing those issues head on when they come up can make it less likely that plays like this will work.

There are many reasons why someone might be untrustworthy and many kinds of predatory behaviour that aren’t being a secret cop. We don’t usually need to be asking ourselves if people are cops. An example is Brandon Darby. In the text “Why Misogynists Make Great Informants”, the authors make the point that people should have tried to do more  to deal with Darby’s awful sexist behaviour before he ever began cooperating with the FBI, ultimately entrapping several people. He is an extreme example, but it’s very common in our scenes for people to be made uncomfortable by patriarchal behaviour from men. Sometimes people will develop suspicion towards those making them uncomfortable in those ways, and this is understandable, but it’s a mistake to begin looking for infiltrators when there is sexism right before our eyes.  Destructive behaviour is worth dealing with in its own right, and if it helps us avoid informants like Darby too, all the better.

A note on formal, mass-membership organizations. Such kinds of organizing are often very resistant to conversations about security culture, since these discourses are most common in forms of organizing that look different than what they aspire to. Security culture can sound like a more general critique of their organizing than a proposal for how to strengthen it. Some of the practices above might not apply to formal, mass-membership organizations, but I would argue that all the general principles do. In fact, I think if such organizations look closely at how they operate, they will see that security practices already exist.

For instance, in branches of the IWW, it’s not uncommon to attempt to keep workplace organizing drives secret. People involved in supporting the shop floor organizers might use code names with those not directly involved, or might make public only general information. As well, it’s common for such organizations to strike smaller committees to take on specific tasks, like organizing a demonstration, and their conversations might not be open to those not involved, or they might communicate through different channels, for instance avoiding large mailing lists or social media.

All I would suggest is that explicit conversations about risk and security be incorporated into the different kinds of work such organizations take on, since they have different needs. Empowering committees to decide their own security practices and basis of unity is a great step, as is welcoming individual initiatives by members associating on the basis of affinity, meaning the organising structure is flexible enough to accommodate different ways of organising for different kinds of activity.

In practice though, such objections to security culture come up most these days around the use of social media, of which Facebook remains the most common. To that end, I would like to offer a few critiques of Facebook organizing and offer a proposal for how large organizations that depend on it could respond.

A crucial point is that corporate social media reduces the field of possibility for organizing. Since it’s about as private as organizing in the lobby of a police station and at this point almost everyone knows it, there are stark limits to what can safely be discussed there. Which means if we are dependant on Facebook as our primary organizing space, the limits of what can be thought or planned are taken on as our own. This kind of preventive disarmament is a real position of weakness.

Such platforms are also vulnerable to being swamped by hostile reactions. We can’t control how our actions will be received, and sometimes things we do will be unpopular – we are afterall seeking a world without capitalism that is organized on a radically different basis. The online aftershock from an unpopular action can be destabilizing. In a recent antifascist mobilization in my town, the far-right and mainstream media successfully provoked a backlash against antifascists that flooded social media with threats and anger. Antifascists were heavily dependant on Facebook for their organizing and so were presented with a choice: either stay offline and avoid the backlash but be isolated from your comrades, or go online and talk with people, but have your conversations dominated by stress and hostility.  This dynamic makes organizing much less resilient and means our work can essentially be disrupted by bad press.

An extension of this is the corporate control of the platforms. Facebook is an enormous, rich corporation whose interests are utterly opposed to ours – what’s good for us is bad for them. If we depend on their infrastructure, they have the discretion to shut us down at any time, for any reason. Companies like this are very susceptible to public pressure and we don’t have to think hard to find examples of projects that became unpopular and lost their pages, and along with it most of their ability to reach their base. This can be a disaster if we are over dependant on these companies. Ask yourselves what you would do if all of your pages and accounts dissappeared tonight — how would you organize tomorrow?

There is also the issue of surveillance, which shouldn’t be controversial. Everything that is typed into Facebook is saved forever in a database that police can access any time. Facebook software (like Google and others) tracks you and spies on your device, information that is also available to security and intelligence agencies. This is not a theory, it has been proven over and over again, and cases against activists relying on such information have only become more common across Europe and North America in recent years.

My proposal for social media is as follows. Privilege in person meetings and have them regularly if possible, so the next meetup is already set in case online communication is disrupted. When we’re using social media, let’s ask ourselves if it’s really necessary and see if we can shift that conversation to another platform. I would encourage you to think of social media as a megaphone, a way of amplifying your voice, and not as a living room, for discussing and getting to know people. Use it to promote, to announce, to disseminate, but move conversations elsewhere. In my own organizing, we delete almost all comments from pages we manage and shift most messages to other platforms as soon as we receive them. We use shared accounts wherever possible and reduce our reliance on accounts tied to personal information. Perhaps you don’t want to go this far, perhaps you want to go further, but this is one way of making use of social media’s strengths while avoiding its massive drawbacks.

A transition in our use of social media can happen gradually, looking critically at our use of it and shifting these uses firstly to in person meetings and secondarily to other platforms, piece by piece. It took a long time for so much of our lives to be captured by these disgusting companies, and it might take us a while to build new organizing habits and cultures that are resistant to them.

Finally, a word about tech security. This topic is complex and it’s easy to get bogged down on. However, there are a few simple steps we can take to greatly improve our data security. Here are three quick points.

One: Use end-to-end encryption unless you have a reason not to. This technology can be tricky, but at this point many applications exist that make it exactly as easy to use as conventional messaging. I recommend Signal, from Open Whisper Systems, though WhatsApp also uses similar encryption protocols, but without the metadata protection. The drawback is that these are not cross platform, while something like PGP, since it can work as just copy-pasteable blocks of text, can be used anywhere – any different email client, facebook and twitter, even text message. But it’s harder to get started, and experience has shown that people aren’t willing to put much work into their tech.

Two: Encrypt data where it is stored. Unless you have a reason not to, you should immediately encrypt your cellphone (Android has an option for this, many iphones are encrypted by default). For data stored on computers, external hard drives, USB keys, or online, I recommend VeraCrypt. It allows you to make encrypted ‘boxes’ that you throw your files into. This won’t help you if your encryption is unlocked when your device is captured though. If you think you might be arrested, avoid traveling between places with your (encrypted) phone turned on. Consider getting an old-school alarm clock so you can turn your phones and computers off at night (which enables the encryption typically removed at startup), especially if you might be at risk of a house raid. Make encrypted backups of your data and store it somewhere else.

Three: Hide your online identity whenever possible. Your IP address is visible to every website or service you use and links your activity together in the eyes of your service provider and the state, even if you take steps to protect your privacy like using private browsing. I recommend using Tor for any browsing or research. Corporate social media usually blocks Tor (reddit is an exception, and Twitter will let you Tor if you ask them), so if you are trying to have an anonymous account, an option is to use a VPN – a free one for use by anarchists and activists is available at riseup.net.

There is of course a lot more than can be done for tech security, but these three steps will already go a huge part of the way. A few years ago, we had a house raid hit us. The police captured something like fifteen laptops and phones, as well as many USBs and hard drives. Out of all this, only one laptop was not encrypted, since it had been left turned on. But out of the rest, not one piece of information was recovered. Similarly, our text and call history that could be accessed through our phone companies revealed nothing, since we use end-to-end encryption on services that protect meta data. We don’t use social media or google to communicate, and so their searches of those platforms also gave them nothing. These tech security practices work when used correctly and consistently. There is a real difference in outcome when we use them and when we don’t. They let us feel confident while connecting with others and contribute to building trust.

Thanks for reading! This text ended up longer than I expected, but I hope it’s useful. I wrote this because there aren’t a ton of good security culture resources out there, so I hope this will inspire people to have conversations about what kinds of practices are right for them, animated by a spirit of confidence, courage, connection, and trust. Let’s us all keep our sights fixed on the world we are trying to create through our actions, instead of fearing the movements of our enemies. Good luck!

A few links to go further:

 The G20 Main Conspiracy: A very thorough account of police using undercovers and surveillance to target anarchists

Damage Control: An activist’s groups experience of staying strong and safe in the face of infiltration

Bounty Hunters and Child Predators: Inside the FBI’s entrapment strategy

What is Security Culture: A list of points for thinking about planning direct action

Why Misogynists Make Great Informants

Need to Know Basis: Reflections from the RNC 8 conspiracy case

Crimethinc’s J20 Zine Series: Several texts analyzing different aspects of the massive conspiracy case following a demonstration against the 2016 US presidential inauguration

Julien Côté Lussier: The Hubris of a Neo-Nazi Who Hoped to Get Elected

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Nov 072019
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

This White Nationalist is Still Employed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Thanks to the diligent efforts of antiracist militants and a local network of antifascist sympathizers, Montréal Antifasciste is in a position to confirm that the independent candidate who ran in LaSalle-Émard-Verdun, Julien Côté (Lussier), is a longstanding white nationalist activist, an active participant in a number of alt-right (neo-Nazi) chatrooms, a key alt-right organizer in Montréal and across Canada… and an employee of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

 

Last October 15, six days before the Canadian federal election, the CBC published an article about the independent candidate in LaSalle-Émard-Verdun, Julien Côté. Until last year, Côté was the national spokesperson for ID Canada, an “identitarian” organization the CBC called “a known white nationalist and xenophobic group” that notably adheres to the “great replacement” thesis that is so very popular with right-wing extremists. (This murky theory has, among other things, motivated a number of fascist massacres in recent years, including those in Christchurch and El Paso.)

We must humbly acknowledge that we had missed Julien Côté’s candidacy until the CBC article was published. Unfortunately for Côté, however, once a national spotlight was shined on his candidacy, we remembered his role in Montréal’s alt-right milieu and were prompted to dig a bit deeper…

In the hours after the article was published, a number of social media posts from Montréal Antifasciste and other antifascists and antiracists revealed his close links with the far right,[1] which put Côté under so much pressure that he felt obliged to engage the services of Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald as “security” for the door-to-door stumping he had planned for Verdun on October 19.

It’s amusing, that after denying being a racist on every available platform, Côté saw fit to engage the services of a notorious Nazi. He probably had good reason to call for reinforcements, given the spontaneous neighbourhood mobilization to directly confront Côté and his henchman, but nonetheless his choice of bodyguard left a lot to be desired if the candidate actually wanted to sanitize his campaign.

A resident of Côté’s riding explained to us why she along with others felt it was necessary to mobilize in the wake of the CBC’s revelations:

“For us, it’s clear that Julien Côté used his campaign as a pretext for recruiting sympathizers. His phone number was on the posters, and he conducted a street-level campaign with invitations for coffee and a chat. He also infiltrated all of the neighbourhood citizen websites, and his own website invited internet users to make contact privately for a detailed explanation of his electoral programme. We moved quickly to expose Côté for what he is and limit his traction. We also contacted Montréal Antifa, because it quickly became clear that this wasn’t just a neighbourhood issue, and it was important that his activity be tracked.”

We can only applaud this grassroots initiative and gladly acknowledge that this article may well never have been written were it not for the diligence and panache of the residents who wrote us so that we could work on it together. That is exactly what a healthy antiracist and antifascist movement looks like.

From there, revisiting some of the info we had previously gathered on Côté, it was soon evident that the CBC’s revelations were only the tip of the iceberg.

 

A Scrubbed Twitter Account (too little too late)

On October 20, the Twitter user @Un_Migrant revealed that the @Mox_Nisi account appeared to be Julien Côté’s account. It obviously wasn’t by happenstance that @Mox_Nisi had begun to promote Côté’s candidacy with great enthusiasm… the very same day he announced his candidacy! Here’s a series of screenshots that illustrate this curious “coincidence”:

 

Confirming the Neo-Nazi Connection

In fact, it was no coincidence that Beauvais-MacDonald was the goon present to protect Côté from the rage of Verdun residents on October 19: if Beauvais-MacDonald represents the moronic and nasty element in Montréal’s alt-right, Côté is obviously part of what passes for the intellectual vanguard of the white nationalist movement. The two likely met in 2016 or 2017 as part of the small group of alt-right activists involved in the Montreal Storm chatroom, which included other ethnonationalists (correctly described as the most recent heirs of the neo-Nazi historical tradition), including Gabriel Sohier Chaput, aka “Zeiger”, Vincent Bélanger Mercure and Athanasse Zafirov, aka “Date”.

Victim of his own ego, Côté was the primary architect of his own demise. By tracking the digital breadcrumbs he left trailing behind him over the years, we were able to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Côté (b. September 22, 1981) used the handle “Passport” in the Montreal Storm chatroom and in other private Discord chatrooms reserved for vouched members of the Canadian alt-right (self-styled “leafs”).

For obvious tactical reasons, we don’t intend to enumerate all of the evidence we’ve collected, but the sum and nature of that evidence makes for a truly impressive dossier. When we compared Côté’s avatar on his Skype account during the interview he gave to CityTV in January 2018 and the avatar chosen by “Passport” on Discord, we couldn’t help but notice that it was the same illustration, Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer, a Romantic-era painting by the German Caspar David Friedrich. That is obviously a truly niche reference. But it was by following a link posted on Discord by “Passport” to a video of a conference with Jordan Peterson in Ottawa, where he was accompanied by Zafirov and where he asked Peterson a question, that we were able to confirm that the voice of “Passport,” which can be heard on the audio track, is without a doubt Côté’s voice.

His participation in various Canadian chatrooms and political projects show that Côté/“Passport” is more than just a key figure in the tiny alt-right scene in Montréal; he is also part of an alt-right community that is attempting to consolidate itself nationally. Notably, he was, according to the CBC report, at the heart of ID Canada, a groupuscule clumsily modeled on European “identitarian” movements like Generation Identity. (It was to defend an ID Canada poster in Edmonton that Côté, as the spokesperson for the organization, gave the interview to CityTV in January 2018. The slogan at the top of that poster read: “You Are Being Replaced.”) But that’s not all. He was also one of the key organizers of a national alt-right gathering held in Ontario in July 2017,[2] as well as one of the organizers of white nationalist professor Ricardo Duchesne’s Montréal conference a month earlier. Côté has also attended alt-right gatherings in the US a number of times, including meetings of Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute.

Both his virtual and practical activity make it obvious that Julien Côté, aka “Passport,” played a primary role, alongside other known neo-Nazis, in an attempt to expand the white nationalist movement in Canada. But that’s not the last surprise he has in store for us.

 

The Curious Story of the Anti-Immigration Activist Who Works for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Numerous internal sources confirmed for Montréal Antifasciste that Julien Côté is an employee of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Not only has Côté crowed about it on Facebook (see screen captures below), but research of the Canadian government’s Canada Gazette shows that the Public Service Commission “granted permission… to Julien Lussier… to seek nomination as a candidate… in the federal election in the electoral district of LaSalle–Émard–Verdun, Quebec.” It turns out that his full family name is Côté Lussier. It would seem that hyphenated family names are a thing for neo-Nazis.

Canada Gazette, Part I, volume 153, number 37 : COMMISSIONS, August 30, 2019

When digging a little further into Côté Lussier’s past, you can imagine our surprise at discovering that he is well-versed in dirty tricks when it comes to anti-immigration efforts.

In September 2012, he and his partner, Magdalena Baloi-Lussier (Madi Lussier, who, among other things, acted as the official agent for Côté Lussier’s electoral campaign) were removed from a list of witnesses invited to testify before a parliamentary commission on immigration when a NDP member of parliament discovered that the couple were responsible for an anti-immigrant website that espouses racist theories. According to a Toronto Star article:

“Sections of the site include one on so-called ‘Chinafication’ and ‘Arabization.’ There is also a video interview with Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm and several from a conference of the ‘racialist’ group American Renaissance.”

The archived version of the “Canadian Immigration Report” website and the content of their YouTube channel confirm the concerns of the committee members who convinced their colleagues to withdraw the invitation extended to the Baloi-Lussier couple.

As it happens, the nature of this website corresponds to another project that Côté Lussier wanted to start with his Nazi comrades from the Discord chatroom (the now-defunct website borderwatch.ca) to identify people irregularly crossing the Canada/US. Border.

Another curious link, to say the least, is that the deputy who invited them to testify, the Conservative Chungsen Leung (who, we might add in passing, was Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism from 2011 to 2015), was described by “Passport” on Discord as a deputy who is “firmly on [our] side,” who “hopes that whites will develop a backbone,” and who “recognizes that [we] are a superior race.”

So, a racist who caused a controversy during official public hearings on immigration in 2012, a controversy that received substantial media coverage at the time, is still employed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as we write this. Could it be that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, one of a number of governmental agencies responsible for regulating and perpetuating an apartheid system based on prisons for migrants and a regime of endless deportations, an organization with a history of racism, sexism, and ableism simply has a high level of tolerance for white supremacy? If you think about it for a moment, it’s not that surprising…

 

///

It is a shame that a man like Julien Côté Lussier has been able to spend years promoting racism without being held accountable. As someone who worked for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, traveled to far-right shindigs in the United States, and occupied important positions in domestic racist organizations, he was well-placed to play a role in consolidating the fragmented and disorganized neo-Nazi milieu in Canada. It is difficult to understand what he was thinking when he decided to run as an independent in the elections, a stupid move that was bound to attract unwanted attention and provoke a strong response from anti-racists in his riding. Be that as it may, we fully intend to ensure that his poor judgement does not go to waste.

We venture that Julien Côté Lussier will regret having plastered his face on the proverbial pole.

 

 

 


[1] During a Q & A session on Reddit Côté was quite literally overwhelmed with embarrassing questions about his platform.

[2] This particular milieu made headlines that same year, in August 2017, when Beauvais-MacDonald and Bélanger-Mercure were identified by antifascists among a group of Québécois who travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to participate in a series of white supremacist demonstrations, the infamous Unite the Right rally. Gabriel Sohier-Chaput, part of the same group,was later identified as a prolific neo-Nazi alt-right propagandist, noteworthy for having re-edited James Mason’s work Siege (one of the main sources of inspiration for the terrorist Atomwaffen Division and most of the contemporary National Socialist movement) and publishing numerous articles on Andrew Anglin’s Daily Stormer website.

In May 2018, Sohier-Chaput was doxxed by Montréal antifascists and forced into exile following a series of Montreal Gazette articles. At the same time, the contents of the Montreal Storm chatroom were made public on the Unicorn Riot server, where Nazi chatrooms on Discord are being archived.

Other members of this milieu, including the main moderator of the national Discord forum and the cohost of the neo-Nazi podcast This Hour Has 88 minutes, Axe in the Deep, whose real name is Clayton Sanford, were identified the previous month by diligent Vice journalists.

Weak Points of Canada’s ‘Resource’ Exploitation Economy

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Jan 142019
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

“Observant individuals can easily identify many such critical bottlenecks across Canada. They share several common characteristics:

  • they are of immediate and significant value to businesses and governments;
  • they concentrate valued resources or essential economic functions;
  • they are located at the intersection of related transportation systems, thus allowing protesters to use their scarce resources efficiently;
  • most are far from major national security resources and forces, thus complicating the deployment and maintenance of these forces;
  • most are close to First Nations communities that would likely be neutral if not active supporters of insurgents and would provide safe-havens and logistical support to main participants;
  • all are high profile assets the disruption of which would attract (for governments) troublesome national and international political and media attention; and
  • all are vulnerable (i.e., value multiplied by the ease of disruption).”
    Canada and the First Nations: Cooperation or Conflict?

For more info on the weak points, check out:

Transportation Infrastructure in Canada

Vulnerable Infrastructure Bottlenecks by Province

20 Worst Traffic Bottlenecks in Canada

The Locke Street Affair (Parts 1 and 2)

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Dec 192018
 

From From Embers



From Embers presents a two-part feature on the Locke Street Affair in Hamilton, Ontario. We sat down and interviewed a defendant in the case who will be in jail when this episode is released.

In March 2018, on the weekend of the Steel City Anarchist Bookfair, about 30 people marched throughthe Kirkendale neighbourhood of Hamilton. Some in the group lit fireworks, attacked luxury cars and smashed out the windows of gentrifying businesses on Locke Street, doing an estimated $100,000 in damage.

In the days, weeks and months that followed there was a massive backlash against anarchists in Hamilton, much of it against The Tower, an anarchist social space in Hamilton. 8 people were arrested and charged with a variety of offences including conspiracy, mischief, and “Unlawful Assembly While Masked”. Last week, a non-cooperating plea deal was struck that will see two people spend some months in jail, one person on house arrest, and a mix of probation and stayed charges for the rest.

In Part One, we discuss the context of gentrification in Hamilton, the Locke Street demonstration, and the initial backlash. In Part Two, we explore the strategies of repression used against Hamilton anarchists, questions about navigating the court system, and the idea that resignation is worse than defeat.

Links:

Hamilton Anarchist Support
Anarchist Texts on Gentrification in Hamilton
Anarchist Texts on the Locke Street Affair

Music: Keny Arkana – Capitale de la Rupture

Tomorrow is far away: An anarchist intervention against the construction of the migrant prison in Laval

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Dec 172018
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Citizenship can only exist and be valued if there is also a category of others, those without status. For this distinction to exist, it must be enforced by the state, which has a number of tools to do so.

Deportation is one such tool. Deportation is a violent process in which the state removes all agency from an individual in order to exclude them from the territory over which it asserts its authority. To accomplish this task, the state uses different tactics, one of which is detention centers or migrant prisons. Migrant prisons are used as holding centers prior to deportation. People without status can be arrested and imprisoned while they wait to be flown out of the country, sometimes to far-away lands that they have no relationship to.

The state has been deporting more people in recent years and is currently expanding its capacity to do so. Hiring more Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) personnel, finding various ways to monitor undocumented folks, and building new detention centers are ways the state is increasing its ability to effectively deport people. In Laval, a city on Montreal’s north shore, the government wants to build a so-called “more humane” detention center next to a detention center that already exists. However, we all know that a golden cage is still a cage. This is a provocation, a confrontational act, an attack on undocumented folks, on our communities, on all of us. The current migrant crisis will only intensify, considering climate change, war, and widespread conflict in many countries. Migrants risk brutal rejection from the western world, which scrambles to reinforce its borders against the others, the barbarian enemy invasion. The media has recently said that the federal government wants to increase the number of annual deportations by 30%. A project of domination like the migrant prison brings the state of Canada closer to achieving its colonial mission of controlling every aspect of people’s lives and the land it is situated on. By reinforcing its own legitimacy and the category of others, the fascistic ideal of “purity” seems ever more possible.

It’s important to note that the authors of this text are white and were born in Canada. That being said, we are not threatened by deportation, or being locked up in the migrant prison. We still choose to struggle against the construction of this new prison in solidarity with those who risk their lives looking for a better life elsewhere. Not only are we against the policing of non-status people and detention centers, but our objective is also to destroy domination in all its forms, including states and borders. Even though we have the privilege of having citizenship, we are not proud Canadians. We have no feelings of belonging to the national identity. The struggle we want to build doesn’t hope to be recognized by the state or get its approval. Instead of asking the government to stop deportations, we choose to subvert our privilege. We have the ability to opt into struggle and throw a wrench into the gears of the deportation machine. Those responsible for detention should sleep with one eye open.

Intervention

We want to try to coordinate our energy in an informal and decentralized way to focus on stopping the construction of the migrant prison. If we focus on this specific struggle, it’s in order to obtain effective results. This prison is one of many tools in the state’s arsenal, an important aspect in the preservation of Canada and its borders. That being said, we are opposed to all prisons, all forms of detention, though this time we choose to focus on this particular element. We hope that others will contribute in multiplying offensive endeavors that cause tension to rise. That being said, we refuse to wait for mass participation to act. The time is now.

What can it look like to fight the state and its projects? There is no single answer to this question and no magic formula for success. However, there are certain principles that can help us make coherent choices and can prevent eventual recuperation by politicians and the Left. For us, these principles are applicable to all of our struggles. Some of them, such as the golden no snitching rule, are more obvious. But let’s dig a little deeper.

First, we refuse to make demands to the state. Making demands is often a reflex for people who struggle against specific projects. Demands put forward a narrative in which only those who exert power over others –those in positions of authority-can create change. This reflex is a negation of our own agency and our capacity to act in the world by delegating our power to politicians and bosses. We want to move away from this method of organizing and towards a struggle that can subvert power dynamics and create change without waiting for permission. We want to destroy the state, not reinforce its legitimacy.

Negotiation can also be tempting when we don’t think we have the power to create change. Liberals would want us to believe that we always have to make concessions, to give in a little. However, in a situation like this one, no alternative is acceptable. No nicer prisons, no friendlier CBSA agents, and no alternative monitoring or policing of undocumented communities should be tolerated.

An alternative to demands and negotiation is direct confrontation. We think that attacks are an integral part of preventing the construction of this migrant prison. Attacking those who want to build the prison, those who are drawing up the plans, those who are pouring the cement, those who are intending to lock people up. Forms of attacks can vary according to people’s abilities, trust, etc.

Direct confrontation does not require centralization or hierarchy. In fact, we think that it is necessary to organize in a decentralized and informal way. This means no formal identity, no membership, no orders. People should organize themselves with individuals they share affinity with, meaning ideas, practice, and trust.

Using these methods, we see a way to better adapt to contexts and the relationships between those who struggle. Informal organizing prioritizes the content rather than container. Not waiting for a party, committee, or group’s approval allows our interventions to be more effective. For trust to be established among those who struggle, a certain level of engagement is necessary. There is a difference between personal engagement and formal organizing in terms of accountability. In the first, one is accountable to their ideas, in the second, they are accountable to a formality that is bigger than them in which the organization becomes more important than relationships and individual analysis. To meet periodically in larger numbers to share information and perspectives without making centralized decisions is desirable to us. We recognize the tendency that people have to engage in a variety of struggles, without continuity, with actions that remain symbolic insofar as they have minimal impact on their targets. This kind of involvement tends to prevent expansive conflictuality. The importance of identifying and targeting those responsible (and their collaborators) for domination and detention, and to share analysis regarding medium to long term perspectives is clear. However, all of these energies must remain in motion and should not be trapped in formal organizations under the pretext of maintaining better continuity.

To create a larger context for struggle, several individuals, identifying as anarchists, revolutionaries, or other “autonomous forces”, have a tendency to fall in the trap of the masses and public opinion by organizing alongside the Left and by communicating with mass media. But at what price? It is already obvious that all reforms, as socializing as they may be, contribute to strengthening the chains that bind us to the state. We want to use our own means (zines, independent media, posters, graffiti, infrastructure that supports undocumented people) and build the basis for our struggles according to our anarchist principles that are in rupture with institutions. To subvert social dynamics and destroy domination, we refuse to follow leftist movements and organizing.

Realistically, the only way that we can stop Canada’s deportations and new prisons, its exploitation, domination, and support for the worst kinds of atrocities, its propagation of authoritarian, racist, and colonial endeavors, is to destroy the colonial project altogether. The state needs to be confronted with insurrection, the sabotage of its structures, and permanent revolt. Cracks are everywhere – let’s find them.