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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Ezra Levant Not Entirely Certain Soldiers of Odin Are A "Thing"

While we were working on our commentary yesterday on Mack Lamoureux's CBC story covering the  activities of the Soldiers of Odin in Edmonton, we were also following an interesting exchange between Mr. Lamoureux and Ezra Levant on Twitter. Sadly, as Ezra isn't a fan of ours....

.... we may have been only able to see one side of the discussion.

Unless we had a second Twitter account. Which, of course, we do.

Now, from this part of the exchange, Ezra seems to be suggesting that the Soldiers of Odin are actually a figment of Mr. Lamoureux's imagination. However, Ezra does clarify his position that he believes the SoO are exist, but only as a vehicle to entrap poor, dumb, disenfranchised, "old stock" Canadians:

As opposed to the stories from "The Rebel" of the Muslim hordes invading Canada and forcing the White folk
of the country  to adopt Sharia Law and, we're guessing, forcibly consume halal shawarma?
Before we continue, we have to address a bit of hypocrisy here. Ezra  doesn't seem to have a problem lumping Muslims together when a member of that community says something repugnant or acts on extremist views, further suggesting that it is acceptable to malign the entire community due to the actions of a few. When a right-wing racist group emerges, Ezra dismisses the danger posed by the group and claims that it is at best irrelevant, and at worst a government ploy to entrap "real" Canadians.

Ezra in fact sums up this view in his response to two events resulting from extremist views. See if you can spot the reasons for his differentiating the two?

Considering the dangers posed by right-wing terrorism, one would think Ezra might at least show a little bit of concern about the presence of this particular extremist group:

In this case though, there is a actually an element of truth to Ezra's claim. The Heritage Front was arguably the largest and "most successful" hate group to emerge in Canada since the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Though the Heritage Front would have existed without his involvement, the presence of CSIS asset Grant Bristow made the group more influential and dangerous than it might otherwise have been due to his work as the hate group's intel and security chief. However, the Heritage Front itself was not a creation of the government which is what Levant and others (such as the defunct Free Dominion) claim. Part of the effort to blame the government for creating the Heritage Front involved an effort to rehabilitate early Heritage Front member and the group's final leader Marc Lemire as merely a free speech advocate unfairly maligned by his detractors; Ezra himself had Lemire on his old Sun News programme where he uncritically allowed Lemire to claim that he was really only briefly associated with the HF as a teenager (see here and here):
The Heritage Front was active back in the 90s and I was a young kid at the time. I had some interest in some of the things that they were doing in particularly thing like opposition to employment equity, things like reducing immigration. So I listened to some of what they were about and I went away from it. I mean I was involved with them peripherally in my teenage years.

ARC completed a series of articles debunking the efforts to rehabilitate Marc Lemire. Anyone interested in that series are directed to the following link:

In any case, Mr. Lamoureux replied providing evidence that the group exists and the discussion continued:

"Blue collar chavs???" Ezra, how elitist of you. 

We're sure Soldiers of Odin Canada would be disappointed to know that Ezra views them as a much of dumb marks easily manipulated and manipulated by the police considering "The Rebel" is one of their favorite.... well.... lets be generous in writing,"news media" sources.

Life is full of disappointments I suppose.

Ironically enough, had Ezra really been interested in whether or not this group existed, he could have actually turned to his own website as Rebel contributor and Canadian alt-right gadfly Lauren Southern published a glowing account of the group's good work in Finland:

Here are a few selected comments from "The Rebel's" loyal reader whom Ezra might derisively refer to as "blue collar chavs":

Interestingly, Ms. Southern actually had a little bit of push back from some of her readers when she linked to her Rebel article on Facebook:

Oh, she spoke to them and they told her they don't support Nazism.

Well, that clears things up.

As any good journalist for "The Rebel" would do, Ms. Southern accepted their statement uncritically and decided further digging into the claim that the Soldiers of Odin were sympathetic to the ideology of National Socialism was unnecessary. BUT if it turns out they sympathetic to Nazism, she will be quite cross with them.

That's how it works, right?

That Ms. Southern claimed the SoO were not extremists did disappoint those readers who WANT them to be extremists:

Thankfully, Ms. Southern wasn't the only person to examine the Soldiers of Odin. A month after her fluff piece, Finnish media reported on the links between the SoO and far right and neo-Nazis.... 
Soldiers of Odin’s secret Facebook group: Weapons, Nazi symbols and links to MV Lehti
Screenshots acquired by Yle show how senior figures in the Soldiers of Odin group pose with weapons and display Nazi symbols in their private Facebook group. The material also shows links between the founder of Soldiers of Odin and MV Lehti, a popular racist website distributing misinformation online....
.... and later the conviction of SoO founder Mika Ranta for assault, referencing his long time involvement with a Finnish neo-Nazi group:
Nazi street patrol leader convicted of assault
Mika Ranta, the neo-Nazi who founded and runs the Soldiers of Odin street patrol group, has been convicted of assaulting several people and handed an 18 month suspended jail sentence.
Another article noted that Ranta had been convicted in 2005 of a racially-based assault, as well as the criminal histories of a number of prominent Finnish SoO members.

Hell, even "The Daily Mail" was able to uncover the SoO links to extremist views:
EXCLUSIVE - Nazi daggers, SS hats and a hangman's noose: On night patrol with the 'Soldiers of Odin', neo-Nazi led vigilantes vowing to 'keep Europe's women safe from migrant sex attacks'
  • Notorious Finland-based group Soldiers of Odin is at the forefront of a fierce vigilante movement sweeping Europe
  • MailOnline gained exclusive access to the anti-migrant group's patrols and its secretive 'Nazi-themed' headquarters
  • Founded by a self-confessed, violent neo-Nazi, 'Odins' are one of increasing number of anti-migrant groups
  • Vigilantes claim the police can't control migrants by themselves, following spate of sex attacks that shocked Europe
We suppose the women the SoO will protect won't include the ones that Ranta decides to assault.

Speaking of Ranta, we at ARC decided to do a quick check on a couple of individuals mentioned in, "The Daily Mail" article. Guess what we found?

Let's start with the founder:

Finding recent evidence of his extremist views was like shooting fish in a barrel:

Another person mentioned in the article was this guy:

Not a big fan of Greek banks apparently.

So, what can we learn from a brief examination of his profile

Classy, though it might also be of interest to our readers that not only is SoO founder Mika Ranta a fan of a swastika rising like the sun, but so are the president of the Ontario and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan chapters of the Soldiers of Odin:

Both took all of 10 minutes to check out:

Yeah, let's just say we won't be holding our breath on Lauren Southern being critical of the Soldiers of Odin any time soon. We'll especially not hold our collective breath when the extremism of the Soldiers of Odin appeals to a significant number of "The Rebel's" readers:

Which brings us back to the dialogue between Mr. Lamoureux and Levant in which these two fellas who joined in the conversation will get the last word:

So, to be clear.

Ezra Levant, founder of "The Rebel" believes the Soldiers of Odin are a false flag operation by the government that is trying to entrap gullible thugs.

Lauren Southern, contributor to "The Rebel" believes the Soldiers of Odin are the front line vanguard protecting Western civilization from the barbarians at the gate. 

We would argue that the folks at "The Rebel" should perhaps get their story straight, but then again 
ideological consistency and fidelity has ever really been a defining feature of the alt-right.


Anonymous said...

Even if they ARE a CSIS false flag crew, so what? Are we supposed to say, "oh well, I guess the government created them so let's just allow them to do their thing unopposed"?? No, we oppose and fight them just the same, maybe even harder! Government sponsored racists or not, they're still racists.

Darryl R Taylor said...

In the early stages of a rise in the far extremist right, direct action and confrontation can play to their benefit.

Their patrols target areas where they are likely to find sympathetic ears, typically with real social ills that are magnified through the lens of the right wing hysteria, the tribal threat detection reflex running wild on a social vector with the boost of modern media adding to the litany within people's heads.

Part of the self fulfilling delusional logic is that there is a weak Left wing that wants our society to fall prey to ravening hordes of rapist Muslims as part of some obscure plot to eliminate their own ethnicity, and that illusion is fed equally by silence as it would by a small group of unarmed people kicking a SOO's butts all over the place.

This is the danger of the extremist, be they the arbitrary "Right" or "Left" ideologically, if someone is punching you because they believe that you are their enemy, most people will strike back out of their instinct to survive proving that they are an enemy while those who do not perish or are left bleeding, confirming their "weakness".

Short of the point where full on fascism is ascendant and resistance is required that must assume that there is no longer a friendly government that will intervene at any time at all (and in fact may be the enemy by that point), there are two ways in which meeting "like with like, but better" can prevail.

Studied manipulation of the target group in order to get them to make a dramatic and public mistake, such as misdirecting their target acquisition when they progress to the blatant property damaging, "burn the shop" phase, or provoking/entrapping them in actions that clearly belie their professions of benevolent intent, is one such option that carries with it high risks.

The other is to show them up as ridiculous by literally ridiculing them, systematically running through the gamut of inconsistencies, incongruities, and generally comic nature that is only mollified by their very real danger.

They rely on fear in some form or another to draw people to them, or keep them pacified, and laughter is the counter to such.

The Soldiers of Choda need to be laughed out of Canada, ironically enough almost proving the statements of Ezra "the Deceiver" Levant.

He is someone who would be very pleased to see the only choice available to Canadians being one between courteous fascists and the Canadian Jihadis that the right is determined as always to manufacture.