CSIS, Canada's leading neo-Nazi organization
I am sympethetic to CSIS these days. They have an enormously challenging job to keep Canada safe from real threats -- such as those being plotted continuously by foreign jihadis and their domestic agents. It is partly to CSIS's credit that the acts of terrorism Canada has endured in recent years have been low-level activities, difficult to detect in advance -- such as the fire-bombing of a Jewish synagogue by a Muslim radical in Edmonton; or the fire-bombing of the Jewish school library by Muslim radicals in Montreal; or the assault on a Jewish teenager by a Muslim radical in Calgary.
Perhaps it's precisely because CSIS is now engaged in a real battle against real threats that it no longer -- as far as we know publicly -- spends government time and money building up neo-Nazi organizations like the Heritage Front.
During the 1980s and 1990s, CSIS -- that is, the taxpayers of Canada -- helped organize and build Canada's leading group of white supremacists. Funding, strategy, organization support -- all of it came from the government.
Their point man was Grant Bristow. He was one of Canada's neo-Nazi leaders, who worked as an agent for CSIS. Without Bristow, Canada's neo-Nazis would have been less-organized, less prominent and more poorly led. Thanks, CSIS.
Now, I understand the need for undercover police work to stop some tough-to-fight crimes. And there might even have been a few cases where the other neo-Nazis that Bristow met were genuine threats of violence. They probably were. But there's an important moral and practical difference between sending in some infiltrator and building up the biggest neo-Nazi group in the country. At what point is the cure worse than the disease?
CSIS and Bristow didn't just track potentially violent criminals. They engaged in political dirty tricks. They attempted to take over the Reform Party when it was in its formative years. The "discovery" -- funny how that leaked out, eh? -- that CSIS's front organization was trying to take over the Reform Party was a political embarrassment for that party, and the unfair legacy of that accusation continues even to this day. That wasn't crime-fighting; that wasn't even the more nebulous "hate-fighting". That was using a government agent and a government front to smear a political opponent that both the Tories and the Liberals of the day hated. No wonder CSIS got the green light. (The fact that Warren Kinsella's "definitive" "history" of Canada's "hate organizations" strategically omitted mention of Bristow, adding him in only to later editions once Bristow was outed, is simply more proof of the partisan infection of Bristow's mission.)
I mention all of this because that key CSIS neo-Nazi organizer, Grant Bristow, had an Op-Ed in yesterday's National Post, defending... the Canadian Human Rights Commission, its patron the Canadian Jewish Congress and even Bernie "Burny" Farber. Besides a modest recitation of how brave he was, and how brave Burny is, Bristow gave his opinion that:
The Canadian Human Rights Commission has been at the forefront of the war against hate in this country for decades. I personally believe it played a key role in eviscerating Canadian hate groups in the 1980s and 1990s.
But that's simply not true. The CHRC didn't have the mandate to go after real criminals. And it certainly didn't shut down the Heritage Front -- that would have meant arresting Bristow, a CSIS agent himself. The Heritage Front unwound party because of its own incompetence, and largely because Bristow abandoned his leadership role there when his cover was blown. The CHRC really had nothing to do with it.
That's an obvious point to anyone who looks at the Canadian Human Rights Act itself. It doesn't deal with real acts of violence -- such as street fights, or death threats. It deals with "hate speech" on telephone lines and the Internet. That wasn't the problem with the Heritage Front -- indeed, it has never been the real "hate" problem in Canada, but a placebo for the human rights industry to noisily and showily deal with, while ignoring real threats.
Bristow knows nothing about the CHRC -- he was never a complainant under its sections; he never worked for it; in fact, the only possible relationship he has with it is as an offender of its thought crimes provision, he himself having generated an enormous amount of "hate", while undercover.
Bristow's Op-Ed -- besides being a self-serving piece of revisionist history (revisionism being something that the Heritage Front was always good at) -- conflates real crimes, crimes of violence, with "thought crimes" that the CHRC seeks to police. Whatever grains of truth lie at the bottom of Bristow's autohagiography apply to matters for real police to solve. The CHRC has no role in stopping violence. Bristow can marshall whatever "authority" he has towards discussions about policework, but his experiences in thought crimes policing are nil. If Bristow has any credibility, it's in regard to street crime, of which he has plenty of experience, not thought crimes.
But Bristow popping his head up now -- in a clearly ghost-written Op-Ed -- serves to remind us of some of the lessons of that awful CSIS experiment in neo-Nazism. Even with CSIS's police oversight, in the form of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Bristow got out of control, and the Heritage Front started to engage in political adventures. Imagine how much worse it is at the CHRC, which has no oversight committee.
No need to imagine, actually -- you can see how contorted the CHRC has become, how self-righteous, how it violates its own laws constantly, how it has become a political weapon. Like CSIS creating Canada's biggest neo-Nazi group -- creating it, instead of fighting it! -- the CHRC has become Canada's largest disseminator of hate speech itself -- creating it, instead of fighting it. Richard Warman himself has admitted, under oath, to posting hundreds of messages on neo-Nazi websites, and other CHRC staff have also admitted to joining those neo-Nazi groups, under codenames like "Jadewarr". That's one of the reasons why the B'nai Brith renounced HRCs today -- the cure has become worse than the disease.
CSIS created Canada's biggest neo-Nazi group. The CHRC has generated more neo-Nazi hate than any other entity in Canada. You can even see examples of one "covert" neo-Nazi talking to another, each "investigating" the other. Anytime I see a conveniently-timed outburst from some racist group, especially if it's online, I immediately think of Bristow and Warman and the rest of them. (Example: the white pride "rally" of two dozen misfits in Calgary on the eve of the spectacularly embarrassing March 25th human rights tribunal hearing in Ottawa. Frankly, even Fred Phelps' looming visit to Red Deer smacks of an act of an agent provocateur.)
And Burny? He's at the heart of it. Because he need hate groups to be big and strong, if his anti-hate obsession is going to remain valid and important. (Correction: He needs impotent "hate groups", like the Heritage Front to be big and strong. There really are big and strong hate groups out there, like the Canadian Islamic Congress, but they're a little bit too big and strong for Burny to, well, do anything. When was the last time the CJC filed a "hate speech" complaint against a Jew-hating Muslim?)
There is a grotesque symbiosis between the Canadian Jewish Congress and the hate groups; they need each other, actually. The hate groups need a Jewish demon, who lives down to their worst stereotypes and prejudices. The CJC needs Nazi caricatures, to play on old wounds about the Holocaust -- not troublesome threats of a Muslim jihad.
I have copies of an old Maclean's magazine article from the 1960s in which the Grant Bristow of that day was hired by the Canadian Jewish Congress to help build the Canadian Nazi Party. Jewish money was actually used by the CJC to start a Nazi party. I'll get those scans in a useable form and try to upload them shortly. It's 40 years later, and Burny is still doing the same thing -- except that CSIS is paying the freight today.
I believe that going undercover to fight real criminals is sometimes appropriate -- subject to proper internal controls, to make sure the cure isn't worse than the disease. Those checks and balances weren't strong in Bristow's case, which is why he was able to smear the Reform Party politically. And the fact that CSIS actually built up the biggest neo-Nazi group in the country is another ethical problem. But at least SIRC, CSIS's Internal Affairs oversight committee, realized that (here's their report).
The CHRC doesn't have an internal affairs department, and as I've written before, it doesn't even have a code of ethics. That's the problem -- or one of them at least. The fact that a long-time neo-Nazi organizer like Bristow speaks out in the CHRC's defence isn't persuasive. Rather, it only points out the problems with government provocateurs like the CHRC.