On May 4, 2018, the Montreal Gazette published the first of a series of articles exposing the identity of an important international neo-Nazi propagandist residing in Montréal, an individual only known up to that point by the pseudonym “Zeiger.” The journalists at the daily made public the results of an investigation conducted over many months by Montreal-area antifascists to identify and expose “Zeiger,” who had long been active in the most extreme wing of the alt-right fascist movement, notably as an editor and administrator of the Daily Stormer website, widely considered the most influential international platform for neo-Nazi propaganda of the last decade.
“Zeiger,” who turned up at the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11–12, 2017 (where he was videoed shouting the slogan “Gas the K***s! Race war now!”), and who has led various neo-Nazi organizing and mobilizing efforts, as well as information campaigns, is in fact Gabriel Sohier Chaput, an “information technology consultant” who was then living in the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood in Montreal.
Sohier Chaput disappeared into thin air the day after the first article was published. An arrest warrant was issued for him in November 2018, and almost two years later, the Gazette revealed that Sohier Chaput had finally come in from the cold to face charges of inciting hate. His first appearance will be at the Palais de Justice in Montreal, on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.
Oddly, unlike their anglophone counterparts, the major francophone media have paid very little attention to the entire affair. Whether this is a matter of indifference or an expression of frustration at having to pick through the crumbs dropped by their anglophone colleagues, the limited coverage means that the francophone public hasn’t heard much about it. The original French version of this article is an attempt to fill this lacuna for posterity.
The main purpose of the exercise, however, is to guarantee that Sohier Chaput can never shake off the stink and pestilence of his statements and actions.
If he pleads guilty, there will not be many lines of defense open to him. He might claim that his neo-Nazi period represented a moment of personal confusion and act contrite, but the length (2012–2018) and, above all, the depth and sophistication of his engagement would potentially raise serious doubts about the sincerity of such excuses. Another possibility is that he could argue that the whole thing was nothing more than a misunderstanding and claim that his political engagement in numerous Nazi propaganda projects was nothing more than one big joke. That, after all, was the lame defense he and his comrades presented the day after his doxxing. Unfortunately for him, the defense of irony or that he didn’t really mean it won’t stand up to the information presented in this article, and we hope the prosecution finds a way to debunk this defense if it is proffered.
On the other hand, he could seek to avoid a trial by pleading guilty and accepting the legal sanctions, which would be relatively light if he has no previous criminal record. A judge could oblige him to apologize before the court for the negative impact of his past actions and allow him to return to a relatively normal life once he pays a fine and makes a symbolic donation to, for example, an organization that advocates for the rights of the Jewish community.
This would leave him at his leisure to quietly reintegrate into Quebec society and the Montreal community. We cannot allow him to return to a normal life that easily.
The hate speech formulated and promoted by Gabriel Sohier Chaput led to equally hateful actions that had serious consequences in the real world. For example, the Iron March forum that Sohier Chaput moderated laid the basis for the terrorist network known as the Atomwaffen Division, whose members have been involved in a series of murders and violent crimes driven by the ideology Sohier Chaput and his collaborators put forward.
Let’s be perfectly clear: Gabriel Sohier Chaput applauded the murder of homosexuals and trans people and openly yearned for the subjugation of women, the elimination of Jews, and the systematic segregation of non-white populations. Not only did he yearn for all of that, he devoted all of his intellectual energy to the development of a fascist political culture and a mass movement that could achieve his “final solution.”
There must be consequences for that sort of crime, and we find those proposed by the justice system far from satisfactory. We have frequently said, and we repeat here: real justice is not to be found in the courts, and, for us, forgiveness is not an option.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput should have to carry the weight of his online footprint for the rest of his life, and we truly hope that our actions help ensure that that is the case.
The articles in the Montreal Gazette asserted that Sohier Chaput was “a major neo-Nazi figure and one of the most influential white supremacists in North America”; here, we will demonstrate that this is true, using his own writings and interventions. What follows is a detailed overview of this person, his ideas, his actions, and the political milieu he comes from. We have included a certain number of links to supplementary resources for those who want to dig a little deeper.
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