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FTR #1073 Azov on Our Mind: Ukrainian Fascism Extends Its Tentacles (Return of the Prodigal “Black Sun”)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Nazi Black Sun sym­bol.

Emblem of the Ukrain­ian Azov Bat­tal­ion

 

Intro­duc­tion: We have cov­ered the ori­gin, activ­i­ties and expan­sion of the Ukrain­ian Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion in numer­ous pro­grams. Part of the Ukrainain armed forces, this Nazi unit:

  1. Has spawned a civ­il mili­tia which achieved police pow­ers in many Ukrain­ian cities. . . . . But Ukraine observers and rights groups are sound­ing the alarm, because this was not a typ­i­cal com­mence­ment, and the men are not police offi­cers. They are far-right ultra­na­tion­al­ists from the Azov move­ment, a con­tro­ver­sial group with a mil­i­tary wing that has open­ly accept­ed self-avowed neo-Nazis, and a civ­il and polit­i­cal fac­tion that has demon­strat­ed intol­er­ance toward minor­i­ty groups. . . .”
  2. Has as its spokesman Roman Zvarych. In the 1980’s, Zvarych was the per­son­al sec­re­tary to Jaroslav Stet­zko, the wartime head of the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment in Ukraine. Stet­zko imple­ment­ed Nazi eth­nic cleans­ing in Ukraine dur­ing World War II.
  3. Wields influ­ence with in the Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or through Vadim Troy­an, the for­mer deputy com­man­der of Azov who is now deputy min­is­ter of the inte­ri­or. ” . . . . The deputy min­is­ter of the Interior—which con­trols the Nation­al Police—is Vadim Troy­an, a vet­er­an of Azov and Patri­ot of Ukraine. . . .  Today, he’s deputy of the depart­ment run­ning US-trained law enforce­ment in the entire nation. Ear­li­er this month, RFE report­ed on Nation­al Police lead­er­ship admir­ing Stepan Bandera—a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor and Fas­cist whose troops par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holocaust—on social media. The fact that Ukraine’s police is pep­pered with far-right sup­port­ers explains why neo-Nazis oper­ate with impuni­ty on the streets. . . .”
  4. Com­bat hel­mets of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

    Gets arms and train­ing from the U.S., despite offi­cial restric­tions on such activ­i­ty. ” . . . . The research group Belling­cat proved that Azov had already received access to Amer­i­can grenade launch­ers, while a Dai­ly Beast inves­ti­ga­tion showed that US train­ers are unable to pre­vent aid from reach­ing white suprema­cists. And Azov itself had proud­ly post­ed a video of the unit wel­com­ing NATO rep­re­sen­ta­tives. . . .”

  5. Is ful­fill­ing their strat­e­gy of net­work­ing with Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments abroad, includ­ing the U.S. ” . . . . FBI Spe­cial Agent Scott Bier­wirth, in the crim­i­nal com­plaint unsealed Wednes­day, not­ed that Right Brand Clothing’s Insta­gram page con­tained a pho­to of RAM mem­bers meet­ing with Ole­na Semenya­ka, a lead­ing fig­ure with­in the fas­cist, neo-Nazi scene in East­ern Europe. In Ukraine, Semenya­ka is an impor­tant voice with­in the Mil­i­tant Zone and Nation­al Corps orga­ni­za­tions and the Pan-Euro­pean Recon­quista move­ment, all of which have ties to the noto­ri­ous Azov Bat­tal­ion. Bier­wirth said Azov Bat­tal­ion, now a piece of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard, is known for neo-Nazi sym­bol­ism and ide­ol­o­gy and has par­tic­i­pat­ed in train­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing U.S.-based white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tions. . . . .”
  6. Is net­work­ing with mem­bers of a group called RAM, some of whom were arrest­ed by the FBI upon their return from Europe. vio­lence.
  7. Is uti­liz­ing Ukraine’s visa-free sta­tus with the EU to net­work with oth­er Euro­pean fas­cist groups. ” . . . . ‘Their Eng­lish has got­ten bet­ter,’ Hryt­senko said, refer­ring to Azov mem­bers behind the group’s West­ern out­reach. . . . . Anoth­er thing that has helped, Hryt­senko not­ed, is that Ukraine’s break from Rus­sia and move toward the Euro­pean Union has allowed Ukraini­ans visa-free trav­el, mak­ing Azov’s out­reach eas­i­er logis­ti­cal­ly. . . . .”
  8. Is look­ing to con­nect with more “respectable” Euro­pean right-wing groups than they have in the past, this as a pos­si­ble vehi­cle for Ukraine’s entry into the EU. ” . . . . Skillt, the Swedish nation­al who fought as a sniper in the Azov Bat­tal­ion, is one of them [crit­ics]. ‘I don’t mind [Azov] reach­ing out, but the ones they reach out to… Jesus,’ he told RFE/RL, in an allu­sion to RAM. He added that he had recent­ly dis­tanced him­self from Azov because of that asso­ci­a­tion and oth­ers with far-right groups in Europe. Skillt, who runs a pri­vate intel­li­gence agency in Kyiv and said his clients ‘real­ly don’t enjoy bad com­pa­ny,’ argued that the group has made a mis­take by not reach­ing out more to right-wing con­ser­v­a­tives who could help with ‘influ­en­tial con­tacts in Europe [so] you don’t get brand­ed a neo-Nazi.’ But Semenya­ka described praise of Azov from for­eign ultra­na­tion­al­ist groups who are increas­ing­ly wel­com­ing it as evi­dence that the orga­ni­za­tion is tak­ing the right path. And she said it isn’t about to let up. Next, she said, Azov hopes to win over larg­er, more main­stream far-right and pop­ulist West­ern polit­i­cal forces who ‘can be our poten­tial sym­pa­thiz­ers.’ ‘If crises like Brex­it and the refugee prob­lem con­tin­ue, in this case, part­ner­ships with nation­al­ist groups in Europe can be a kind of plat­form for our entry into the Euro­pean Union.’ . . . ”
  9. Azov Bat­tal­ion Spin Off Nation­al Mili­tia, served as elec­tion mon­i­tors in Ukraine.

    Was award­ed the job of elec­tion mon­i­tor­ing by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment in their recent elec­tions. ” . . . . They are the ultra­na­tion­al­ist Nation­al Mili­tia, street vig­i­lantes with roots in the bat­tle-test­ed Azov Bat­tal­ion that emerged to defend Ukraine against Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratists but was also accused of pos­si­ble war crimes and neo-Nazi sym­pa­thies. Yet despite the con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing it, the Nation­al Mili­tia was grant­ed per­mis­sion by the Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to offi­cial­ly mon­i­tor Ukraine’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on March 31. . . .”

Sup­ple­ment­ing dis­cus­sion about the Azov milieu net­work­ing with for­eign fas­cists, we note that alleged Christchurch, New Zealand, shoot­er Brent Tar­rant had appar­ent­ly net­worked with Azov dur­ing a vis­it to Ukraine:

  1. Brent Tar­rant, allege Christchurch, New Zealand, Mosque shoot­er, had appar­ent­ly vis­it­ed Ukraine. ” . . . . His man­i­festo alludes to vis­its to Poland, Ukraine, Ice­land and Argenti­na as well. . . .”
  2. Tar­rant may have been a ben­e­fi­cia­ry of the afore­men­tioned visa-free trav­el that EU asso­ci­a­tion has for Ukraine. “. . . . Three quar­ters of them say the coun­try is head­ed in the wrong direc­tion, despite the fact that Ukraine has moved clos­er to Europe (it now has visa-free trav­el to the EU, for instance). . . .”
  3.  Even The New York Times not­ed the pos­si­ble con­tact between Azov and Tar­rant. . . . . The Ukrain­ian far right also appears to have ties in oth­er coun­tries. Aus­tralian Bren­ton Tar­rant, accused of slaugh­ter­ing 50 peo­ple at two mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand, men­tioned a vis­it to Ukraine in his man­i­festo, and some reports alleged that he had con­tacts with the ultra-right. The Soufan Cen­ter, a research group spe­cial­iz­ing on secu­ri­ty, has recent­ly alleged pos­si­ble links between Tar­rant and the Azov Bat­tal­ion. . . .”
  4. A pri­vate intel­li­gence group–the Soufan Cen­ter–has linked Tar­rant to the Azov Bat­tal­ion. ” . . . . .In the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks, links have emerged between the shoot­er, Brent Tar­rant, and a Ukrain­ian ultra-nation­al­ist, white suprema­cist para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion called the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Tarrant’s man­i­festo alleges that he vis­it­ed the coun­try dur­ing his many trav­els abroad, and the flak jack­et that Tar­rant wore dur­ing the assault fea­tured a sym­bol com­mon­ly used by the Azov Bat­tal­ion. . . .”

Con­clud­ing with a piece of grotesque, unin­ten­tion­al com­e­dy, The New York Times cit­ed the fact that Mr. Zelen­sky, the new Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent, is a non-prac­tic­ing Jew as proof that Russ­ian state­ments about Ukraine being dom­i­nat­ed by Nazis and anti-Semi­tes is noth­ing but pro­pa­gan­da. The fact that the Azov’s Nationa Corps mili­tia served as elec­tion mon­i­tors was not men­tioned. ” . . . . the near total silence on his Jew­ish back­ground has demol­ished a favorite trope of Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da — that Ukraine is awash with neo-Nazis intent on cre­at­ing a Slav­ic ver­sion of the Third Reich. . . .”

1a. The elec­tion of a non-prac­tic­ing Jew as pres­i­dent of Ukraine is being hailed as proof that the obvi­ous return of fas­cism to Ukrain­ian pow­er struc­ture is just “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.”

“Ukraine Elec­tion: Come­di­an Dis­missed by Pres­i­dent Is Poised to Get the Last Laugh” by Andrew Hig­gins; The New York Times; 4/20/2019.

. . . . A few far-right nation­al­ists have tried, in vain, to make an issue of the fact that Mr. Zelen­sky is Jew­ish. But the near total silence on his Jew­ish back­ground has demol­ished a favorite trope of Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da — that Ukraine is awash with neo-Nazis intent on cre­at­ing a Slav­ic ver­sion of the Third Reich. . . .

2. The milieu of the Azov Bat­tal­ion is net­work­ing with fas­cists and Nazis from oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S. Four mem­bers of a group called RAM (Rise Above Move­ment) were arrest­ed by the FBI fol­low­ing their trip to Europe, dur­ing which they net­worked with ele­ments from the Azov Bat­tal­ion and asso­ci­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions.

Mem­bers of RAM have been charged in con­nec­tion with the 2017 vio­lence in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia.

Note than Ole­na Semyana­ka, who met with the RAM con­tin­gent, is promi­nent in the “Azov Move­ment.”

“Three mem­bers of Rise Above Move­ment arrest­ed in Cal­i­for­nia, fourth sought as fugi­tive turns him­self in” by Brett Bar­rou­quere; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; 10/29/2018.

A vio­lent white suprema­cist gang known as the Rise Above Move­ment and two oth­ers trav­eled to Europe to cel­e­brate Adolf Hitler’s birth­day and lat­er met with a para­mil­i­tary chief there, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors say.

Robert Run­do, a 28-year-old Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, res­i­dent, 29-year-old Michael Paul Mis­elis, of Lawn­dale, Cal­i­for­nia, and 25-year-old Ben­jamin Drake Daley of Redon­do Beachwent to Ger­many, Italy and Ukraine in spring 2018 not only to cel­e­brate, but also to meet with Euro­pean white suprema­cist groups, pros­e­cu­tors said in a crim­i­nal com­plaint against Run­do unsealed this week.

FBI agents arrest­ed Run­do on Sun­day at Los Ange­les Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, said Kather­ine Gulot­ta, a spokesman for the agency in Los Ange­les. He had been arrest­ed in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca before being returned to the U.S.

Two oth­ers, 25-year-old Robert Boman of Tor­rance, Cal­i­for­nia, and 22-year-old Tyler Laube of Redon­do Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, were arrest­ed Wednes­day.

A fourth RAM mem­ber, 38-year-old Aaron Eason of Anza, Cal­i­for­nia, sur­ren­dered to the FBI over the week­end.

The four are charged with a series of vio­lent attacks dur­ing events in Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Berke­ley and San Bernardi­no, Cal­i­for­nia, in 2017.

Pros­e­cu­tors said the four men used the inter­net to coor­di­nate “com­bat train­ing,” recruit mem­bers and orga­nize riots.

“Every Amer­i­can has the right to peace­ful­ly orga­nize, march and protest in sup­port of their beliefs — but no one has the right to vio­lent­ly assault their polit­i­cal oppo­nents,” U.S. Attor­ney Nick Han­na said in a state­ment.

The arrests and charges are the sec­ond batch filed this month against mem­bers of RAM, a vio­lent white suprema­cist group that prac­tices mixed mar­tial arts and has been accused of show­ing up for ral­lies pre­pared to attack peo­ple.

Pros­e­cu­tors in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, charged four oth­er Cal­i­for­nia men with trav­el­ing to that city on Aug. 11–12, 2017, to take part in and attack peo­ple at the “Unite the Right” ral­ly.

Michael Paul Mis­elis, a 29-year-old Lawn­dale, Cal­i­for­nia, res­i­dent, 34-year-old Thomas Wal­ter Gillen of Redon­do Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, 24-year-old Cole Evan White of Clay­ton, Cal­i­for­nia, and Daley are await­ing a court hear­ing in Vir­ginia. They are also charged with riot­ing and con­spir­a­cy to riot.

Run­do is the own­er of Right Brand Cloth­ing, which pro­motes white suprema­cist themes and logos. The FBI believes he ran RAM’s now-sus­pend­ed Twit­ter account.

RAM has been mak­ing entreaties over­seas, includ­ing in Italy, Ger­many and East­ern Europe. The FBI said Run­do, Mis­elis and Daley met with Euro­pean white suprema­cy extrem­ist groups, “includ­ing a group known as White Rex.”

FBI Spe­cial Agent Scott Bier­wirth, in the crim­i­nal com­plaint unsealed Wednes­day, not­ed that Right Brand Clothing’s Insta­gram page con­tained a pho­to of RAM mem­bers meet­ing with Ole­na Semenya­ka, a lead­ing fig­ure with­in the fas­cist, neo-Nazi scene in East­ern Europe. In Ukraine, Semenya­ka is an impor­tant voice with­in the Mil­i­tant Zone and Nation­al Corps orga­ni­za­tions and the Pan-Euro­pean Recon­quista move­ment, all of which have ties to the noto­ri­ous Azov Bat­tal­ion.

Bier­wirth said Azov Bat­tal­ion, now a piece of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard, is known for neo-Nazi sym­bol­ism and ide­ol­o­gy and has par­tic­i­pat­ed in train­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing U.S.-based white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tions.

Run­do was filmed recit­ing the “14 Words” pledge pop­u­lar in white suprema­cist cir­cles.

“I’m a big sup­port­er of the four­teen, I’ll say that,” Run­do told fel­low RAM mem­bers on the video.

The riot­ing and con­spir­a­cy charges stem from a “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” ral­ly on March 25, 2017, in Hunt­ing­ton Beach. The FBI said RAM mem­bers split from the main ral­ly and attacked counter-pro­test­ers, and Run­do, Boman and Laube hit a num­ber of peo­ple, includ­ing two jour­nal­ists.

Daley, who is not charged in Cal­i­for­nia, was also at the Hunt­ing­ton Beach ral­ly, Bier­wirth not­ed.

The vio­lence was lat­er cel­e­brat­ed by RAM mem­bers online, not­ed on neo-Nazi web­site the Dai­ly Stormer, and used in solic­i­ta­tion for oth­ers to attend the Berke­ley ral­ly and com­bat train­ing to be held in a park in San Clemente.

“Front page of the stormer we did it fam,” Daley texted anoth­er RAM mem­ber on March 25, 2017.

At the Berke­ley ral­ly, on April 17, 2017, Run­do, Boman and Eason attacked mul­ti­ple peo­ple, Bier­wirth wrote. Run­do was lat­er arrest­ed after punch­ing a “defense­less per­son” and a Berke­ley police offi­cer.

Again, Bier­wirth not­ed, the attacks were cel­e­brat­ed online, with Boman post­ing pho­tos of him­self attack­ing peo­ple and RAM mem­bers tak­ing part in com­bat train­ing.

Bier­wirth also wrote that Run­do and oth­er RAM mem­bers par­tic­i­pat­ed in an “Anti-Islam­ic Law” ral­ly in San Bernardi­no on June 10, 2017. The ral­ly was part of a nation­wide demon­stra­tion put on by anti-Mus­lim hate group ACT for Amer­i­ca. Accord­ing to Bier­wirth, RAM mem­bers took part in vio­lent attacks at the ACT event. . . .

3a. Accord­ing to the fol­low­ing RFE/RL report, Azov has ambi­tions that go far beyond train­ing Amer­i­can neo-Nazis. The group wants to cre­ate a coali­tion of Euro­pean neo-Nazi groups, with Azov at its core.

As Ole­na Semenya­ka, the inter­na­tion­al sec­re­tary for Azov’s polit­i­cal wing, the Nation­al Corps, told RFE/RL, “We think glob­al­ly.” Expand­ing the “Azov move­ment” abroad is one of the group’s goals.

The train­ing Azov is pro­vid­ing these for­eign neo-Nazi groups goes beyond mil­i­tary train­ing. It also includ­ed train­ing in the pro­pa­gan­da tech­niques used to main­stream Azov, includ­ing set­ting up youth camps. When Amer­i­can neo-Nazi Greg John­son recent­ly gave a speech at an Azov gath­er­ing he declared that, “this is not a speak­ing tour, it’s a lis­ten­ing tour. I real­ly want to learn how maybe we can do things bet­ter in the Unit­ed States and West­ern Europe.” Semenya­ka also assert­ed that when the RAM mem­bers recent­ly vis­it­ed, “they came to learn our ways” and “showed inter­est in learn­ing how to cre­ate youth forces in the ways Azov has.” Semenya­ka denies any mil­i­tary train­ing was pro­vid­ed.

The arti­cle also points out how Azov has been con­scious­ly attempt­ing to down­play its over neo-Nazism with­out com­pro­mis­ing its core neo-Nazi ideals for the pur­pose of expand­ing its pop­u­lar appeal and bring­ing the move­ment into the main­stream.

Inter­est­ing­ly, Michael Skillt, the Swedish white nation­al­ist sniper who was one of the first for­eign fight­ers to join Azov, appears to have soured some­what on the group, argu­ing that it should have avoid­ed the overt neo-Nazi image and attempt­ed to find com­mon cause with more main­stream right-wing Euro­pean move­ments.

Skillt is cur­rent­ly run­ning a pri­vate intel­li­gence agency in Kyiv.

Omi­nous­ly, Semenya­ka asserts that Azov cozy­ing up to Europe’s main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties is next on Azov’s agen­da, with the plan of turn­ing these main­stream Euro­pean con­ser­v­a­tives into poten­tial sym­pa­thiz­ers for the pur­pose of get­ting Ukraine allowed into the Euro­pean Union. As Semenya­ka puts it, “If crises like Brex­it and the refugee prob­lem con­tin­ue, in this case, part­ner­ships with nation­al­ist groups in Europe can be a kind of plat­form for our entry into the Euro­pean Union.”

So Azov clear­ly has big ambi­tions for the main­stream­ing of its move­ment across the West:

“Azov, Ukraine’s Most Promi­nent Ultra­na­tion­al­ist Group, Sets Its Sights On U.S., Europe” By Christo­pher Miller; Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty; 11/14/2018.

Robert Run­do, the mus­cly leader of a Cal­i­for­nia-based white-suprema­cist group that refers to itself as the “pre­mier MMA (mixed mar­tial arts) club of the Alt-Right,” unleashed a bar­rage of punch­es against his oppo­nent.

But Run­do, a 28-year-old Hunt­ing­ton Beach res­i­dent who would be charged and arrest­ed in Octo­ber over a series of vio­lent attacks in his home­town, Berke­ley, and San Bernardi­no in 2017, wasn’t fight­ing on Amer­i­can streets.

It was April 27 and Run­do, whose Rise Above Move­ment (RAM) has been described by ProP­ub­li­ca as “explic­it­ly vio­lent,” was swing­ing gloved fists at a Ukrain­ian con­tender in the caged ring of a fight club asso­ci­at­ed with the far-right ultra­na­tion­al­ist Azov group in Kyiv.

A video of Rundo’s fight, which was streamed live on Face­book (below), shows that the Amer­i­can lost the bout. But for Run­do, who thanked his hosts with a shout of “Sla­va Ukrayi­ni!” (Glo­ry to Ukraine), it was a vic­to­ry of anoth­er sort: RAM’s out­reach tour, which includ­ed stops in Italy and Ger­many to cel­e­brate Adolf Hitler’s birth­day and spread its alt-right agen­da, brought the two rad­i­cal groups clos­er togeth­er.

For the Ukraini­ans, too, the ben­e­fits extend­ed out­side the ring. It marked a step toward legit­imiz­ing Azov among its coun­ter­parts in the West and set in motion what appears to be its next project: the expan­sion of its move­ment abroad.

“We think glob­al­ly,” Ole­na Semenya­ka, the inter­na­tion­al sec­re­tary for Azov’s polit­i­cal wing, the Nation­al Corps, told RFE/RL in an inter­view at one of the group’s Kyiv offices last week.

The Run­do fight has received fresh scruti­ny fol­low­ing an FBI crim­i­nal com­plaint against him unsealed last month that pre­ced­ed his arrest. In it, Spe­cial Agent Scott Bier­wirth wrote that Azov’s mil­i­tary wing is “believed to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in train­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing Unit­ed States-based white suprema­cy orga­ni­za­tions.”

Wash­ing­ton has armed Ukraine with Javelin anti­tank mis­sile sys­tems and trained its armed forces as they fight Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratists in the east.

But it has banned arms from going to Azov mem­bers and for­bid­den them from par­tic­i­pat­ing in U.S.-led mil­i­tary train­ing because of their far-right ide­ol­o­gy.

It was Azov’s Semenya­ka who host­ed Run­do along with fel­low Amer­i­cans Michael Mis­elis and Ben­jamin Daley, RAM mem­bers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in last year’s “Unite The Right” ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, that was the back­drop for the death of 32-year-old coun­ter­pro­test­er Heather Hey­er.

This month, in Kyiv, she host­ed and trans­lat­ed for Amer­i­can Greg John­son, a white nation­al­ist who edits the web­site Counter-Cur­rents, which the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter describes as “an epi­cen­ter of ‘aca­d­e­m­ic’ white nation­al­ism.”

Over the past year, she’s made sev­er­al out­reach trips to West­ern Europe to meet with far-right groups and spread Azov’s ultra­na­tion­al­ist mes­sage.

And when she’s not doing it her­self, Semenya­ka said, that task is some­times giv­en to Denis Nikitin, a promi­nent Russ­ian soc­cer hooli­gan and MMA fight­er who found­ed the white nation­al­ist cloth­ing label White Rex and has a gar­nered a large fol­low­ing across Europe and the Unit­ed States. In Novem­ber 2017, the two trav­eled togeth­er to War­saw and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Europe Of The Future 2 con­fer­ence orga­nized by Pol­ish white suprema­cist group and “ally” Sztur­mow­cy (Stormtroop­ers), where they were meant to speak along­side Amer­i­can Richard Spencer, Semenya­ka said. But Pol­ish author­i­ties barred Spencer from enter­ing the coun­try and he was unable to attend.

Often in Kyiv when he’s not trav­el­ing through Europe or vis­it­ing fam­i­ly in Ger­many, Nikitin oper­ates as a sort of unof­fi­cial Azov ambas­sador-at-large and orga­nizes MMA bouts at the Recon­quista Club, the ultra­na­tion­al­ist haunt where Run­do fought. A com­bi­na­tion restau­rant, sports cen­ter, and fight club, Semenya­ka said Run­do and Nikitin met there and “exchanged ideas.”

In the cur­rent cli­mate, with an appar­ent shift toward nation­al­ism in parts of Europe, “it’s pos­si­ble for far-right lead­ers to come to pow­er now and — we hope — form a coali­tion,” Semenya­ka told RFE/RL. And Azov, she added, “wants a posi­tion at the front of this move­ment.”

From Bat­tle­field To Polit­i­cal Are­na

The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed in May 2014 in response to the Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratist advance sweep­ing across east­ern Ukraine. Com­prised of vol­un­teers, it has roots in a group of hard-core, far-right soc­cer fans, includ­ing many vio­lent hooli­gans, com­mon­ly known in East­ern Europe as “ultras.”

With Ukraine’s weak mil­i­tary at the time caught flat-foot­ed, Azov and oth­er such bat­tal­ions did much of the heavy fight­ing in the ear­ly days of the war, which has killed more than 10,300 peo­ple.

But it was Azov that attract­ed those of far-right per­sua­sion, includ­ing at least three Amer­i­cans and many oth­ers from West­ern nations. One such fight­er was Mikael Skillt, a Swede who trained as a sniper in the Swedish Army and pre­vi­ous­ly described him­self as an “eth­nic nation­al­ist.”

The Azov Bat­tal­ion flaunts a sym­bol sim­i­lar to that of the for­mer Nazi Wolf­san­gel. (The group claims it is an amal­gam of the let­ters N and I for “nation­al idea.”) It has been accused by inter­na­tion­al human rights groups, such as the Office of the Unit­ed Nations High Com­mis­sion­er for Human Rights (OHCHR), of com­mit­ting and allow­ing seri­ous human rights abus­es, includ­ing tor­ture.

Fol­low­ing a 2015 deal known as the Min­sk Accords that was meant to be a road map to end the fight­ing but did lit­tle more than turn down the inten­si­ty, the Azov Bat­tal­ion was offi­cial­ly incor­po­rat­ed into Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard and its lead­er­ship shift­ed focus from the bat­tle­field to the polit­i­cal are­na.

The Azov Nation­al Corps entered the polit­i­cal fray in Octo­ber 2016, appoint­ing bat­tal­ion com­man­der Andriy Bilet­sky to lead it. Bilet­sky was pre­vi­ous­ly tied to oth­er far-right groups and, in 2010, report­ed­ly said that the nation’s mis­sion was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen [sub­hu­mans].”

The par­ty incor­po­rat­ed two oth­er far-right orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Patri­ot of Ukraine, which accord­ing to the Kharkiv Human Rights Group “espoused xeno­pho­bic and neo-Nazi ideas and was engaged in vio­lent attacks against migrants, for­eign stu­dents in Kharkiv, and those oppos­ing its views.”

As RFE/RL report­ed at the time, the Nation­al Corps’ inau­gur­al cer­e­mo­ny arguably had pomp more rem­i­nis­cent of 1930s Ger­many than of post­war democ­ra­cy. It includ­ed nation­al­ist chants, raised fists, and a torch­lit march through cen­tral Kyiv.

In Jan­u­ary, in anoth­er flashy cer­e­mo­ny, Azov intro­duced a new para­mil­i­tary force that it calls the Nation­al Mili­tia. On a snowy evening, some 600 of most­ly young men in match­ing fatigues marched from Kyiv’s cen­tral Inde­pen­dence Square to a light­ed fortress on a hill­side in the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal, where they swore an oath to clean the streets of ille­gal alco­hol, drug traf­fick­ers, and ille­gal gam­bling estab­lish­ments.

While not offi­cial­ly part of the Ukrain­ian Inte­ri­or Min­istry or any oth­er gov­ern­ment body legal­ly autho­rized to enforce the law, the Nation­al Mili­tia has more often than not been allowed to estab­lish what it con­sid­ers “Ukrain­ian order” on the streets of cities across the coun­try. In many cas­es, that has meant attack­ing LGBT events and Romany camps, actions for which mem­bers of the group have not been pros­e­cut­ed.

Com­bined, these groups are known as the “Azov move­ment,” which includes more than 10,000 active mem­bers, accord­ing to Semenya­ka.

‘State With­in The State’

But Azov’s suc­cess in grow­ing the move­ment so far has not trans­lat­ed into much polit­i­cal suc­cess at home.

While the par­ty has not yet been test­ed in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, less than 1 per­cent of eli­gi­ble vot­ers said they would vote for Nation­al Corps or its fel­low far-right group Right Sec­tor, accord­ing to June polling by Kyiv-based Razumkov Cen­ter.

Those groups didn’t fare much bet­ter in July, when GFK Ukraine asked whether vot­ers would sup­port an alliance of Nation­al Corps, Right Sec­tor, and a third far-right par­ty, Svo­bo­da, and only 2 per­cent respond­ed pos­i­tive­ly.

At the same time, how­ev­er, Azov believes its influ­ence has grown. In an Octo­ber 29 post on Face­book, Semenya­ka went so far as to say that “just with­in 4 years, the Azov Move­ment has become a small state in the state.”

Much of the suc­cess has come from recruit­ing new, most­ly young, mem­bers, who it hopes will come to the polls in next year’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

Azov has done so with youth camps, includ­ing some that teach chil­dren as young as 9 years old mil­i­tary tac­tics and far-right ide­ol­o­gy, recre­ation cen­ters, lec­ture halls, and far-right edu­ca­tion pro­grams.

It has also uti­lized the reach of social media, par­tic­u­lar­ly Face­book and Telegram, where the group recruits and pro­motes patri­o­tism, nation­al­ism, and a sport-focused lifestyle. Much of that effort caters to Ukraini­ans com­ing of age in a time of war and as illib­er­al gov­ern­ments rise on the country’s periph­ery, said Ukrain­ian soci­ol­o­gist Anya Hryt­senko, who research­es far-right groups.

“Azov has made far-right nation­al­ism fash­ion­able, and they have been strate­gic in how they por­tray them­selves, shed­ding the typ­i­cal neo-Nazi trap­pings,” Hryt­senko told RFE/RL. “This has helped them to move from a sub­cul­ture to the main­stream.”

Explain­ing that strat­e­gy, Semenya­ka, who has been pho­tographed hold­ing a flag with a swasti­ka and mak­ing a Nazi salute, said that “more rad­i­cal” lan­guage was used pre­vi­ous­ly, such as dur­ing the height of the war in 2014, when the Azov Bat­tal­ion need­ed fight­ers, “because it was required by the sit­u­a­tion.”

Now, she said, the strat­e­gy is to “mod­er­ate” in order to appeal to a broad­er base in Ukraine and abroad. But only to an extent.

“We are try­ing to become main­stream with­out com­pro­mis­ing some of our core ideas,” she con­tin­ued, adding that “rad­i­cal statements…scare away more of soci­ety.”

And in its recal­i­bra­tion, Azov is not only think­ing of Ukraini­ans but of like-mind­ed groups abroad. Hence the addi­tion of mem­bers like Semenya­ka and col­lab­o­ra­tion with Nikitin, who lit­er­al­ly speak the lan­guage of their coun­ter­parts abroad.

“Their Eng­lish has got­ten bet­ter,” Hryt­senko said, refer­ring to Azov mem­bers behind the group’s West­ern out­reach.

Nikitin, who could not be reached for an inter­view, is a Russ­ian and Ger­man speak­er.

Anoth­er thing that has helped, Hryt­senko not­ed, is that Ukraine’s break from Rus­sia and move toward the Euro­pean Union has allowed Ukraini­ans visa-free trav­el, mak­ing Azov’s out­reach eas­i­er logis­ti­cal­ly.

Mak­ing Friends In The West

In recent months, Semenya­ka and oth­er Azov mem­bers have tak­en advan­tage of that, mak­ing sev­er­al vis­its to EU coun­tries to meet numer­ous Euro­pean coun­ter­parts, accord­ing to inves­ti­ga­tions by RFE/RL and the open-source inves­tiga­tive group Belling­cat.

Semenya­ka par­tic­i­pat­ed in and blogged about the Young Europe Forum in Dres­den in August along­side far-right sym­pa­thiz­ers from groups in Ger­many, Italy, and Aus­tria. Specif­i­cal­ly, she said she has met with those from groups that Azov con­sid­ers close allies — for instance, Greece’s Gold­en Dawn, Italy’s Cas­a­Pound, Poland’s Sztur­mow­cy, and Germany’s Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and Alter­na­tive For Ger­many.

Oth­er Azov mem­bers have trav­eled to meet coun­ter­parts in Baltic states and Croa­t­ia, she added.

Asked about the FBI alle­ga­tions in the crim­i­nal com­plaint first report­ed by The New York Times — that Azov was “train­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing” Amer­i­can far-right groups — she said it was not and dared U.S. author­i­ties to “pro­vide real evi­dence of this.”

In the case of Run­do, Mis­elis, and Daley, Semenya­ka said, “they came to learn our ways” and “showed inter­est in learn­ing how to cre­ate youth forces in the ways Azov has.”

On the vis­it, the three Amer­i­cans also attend­ed a con­cert by the white-nation­al­ist met­al band Sokyra Peruna, where con­cert­go­ers made Nazi salutes and waved Nazi flags. They also posed for pho­tographs to pro­mote Rundo’s The Right Brand cloth­ing line at Kyiv’s Inde­pen­dence Square, joined Azov mem­bers at Kyiv’s famous out­door gym, Kachal­ka, for a weight-train­ing ses­sion, and fought at the Recon­quista Club. Run­do even got White Rex’s Viking war­rior logo tat­tooed on his left calf.

“But there was no mil­i­tary train­ing,” Semenya­ka insist­ed.

Counter-Cur­rents’ John­son was per­haps the most recent Amer­i­can to ask for Azov’s help. In a rare pub­lic appear­ance, the alt-right ide­o­logue vis­it­ed Kyiv at the invi­ta­tion of Semenya­ka to lec­ture on Octo­ber 16 about his Man­i­festo Of White Nation­al­ism. Semenya­ka trans­lat­ed for John­son, who spoke to a small but crowd­ed room at Azov’s Plomin (Flame) cul­tur­al cen­ter.

In a video of the event pub­lished on Azov’s Plomin YouTube chan­nel, John­son, whom the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC) describes as “one of the lead­ing voic­es of the far-right” and “an inter­na­tion­al fig­ure for white nation­al­ism,” doesn’t hide his motive for the trip: to learn from Ukraine’s ultra­na­tion­al­ists and their suc­cess­es.

“This is not a speak­ing tour, it’s a lis­ten­ing tour. I real­ly want to learn how maybe we can do things bet­ter in the Unit­ed States and West­ern Europe,” John­son said, lament­ing the state of the alt-right in the Unit­ed States.

“It was a very, very influ­en­tial and pow­er­ful move­ment for a very short time,” he said of America’s alt-right move­ment, with­out pro­vid­ing a pre­cise time frame.

“And at the peak of it, we had a net­work that extend­ed all the way to the office of the pres­i­dent,” he con­tin­ued, in what appeared to be a ref­er­ence to Steve Ban­non, the for­mer White House chief strate­gist and alt-right fig­ure.

“There were very few degrees of sep­a­ra­tion between peo­ple who were mak­ing ideas…and peo­ple who were in a posi­tion to make polit­i­cal pol­i­cy, and that was total­ly destroyed,” John­son added.

He praised Ukraine’s far-right groups, who he said were capa­ble of “real street activism.”

Asso­ci­a­tions Too Much For Some In Azov

While Azov’s coop­er­a­tion with groups like RAM has been large­ly wel­comed by the group’s mem­bers, some have found it uncom­fort­able.

Skillt, the Swedish nation­al who fought as a sniper in the Azov Bat­tal­ion, is one of them.

“I don’t mind [Azov] reach­ing out, but the ones they reach out to… Jesus,” he told RFE/RL, in an allu­sion to RAM. He added that he had recent­ly dis­tanced him­self from Azov because of that asso­ci­a­tion and oth­ers with far-right groups in Europe.

Skillt, who runs a pri­vate intel­li­gence agency in Kyiv and said his clients “real­ly don’t enjoy bad com­pa­ny,” argued that the group has made a mis­take by not reach­ing out more to right-wing con­ser­v­a­tives who could help with “influ­en­tial con­tacts in Europe [so] you don’t get brand­ed a neo-Nazi.”

But Semenya­ka described praise of Azov from for­eign ultra­na­tion­al­ist groups who are increas­ing­ly wel­com­ing it as evi­dence that the orga­ni­za­tion is tak­ing the right path. And she said it isn’t about to let up.

Next, she said, Azov hopes to win over larg­er, more main­stream far-right and pop­ulist West­ern polit­i­cal forces who “can be our poten­tial sym­pa­thiz­ers.”

“If crises like Brex­it and the refugee prob­lem con­tin­ue, in this case, part­ner­ships with nation­al­ist groups in Europe can be a kind of plat­form for our entry into the Euro­pean Union.”

3. Check out Ukraine’s new col­lec­tion of poll-watch­ers for the upcom­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on March 31st: Azov Bat­tal­ion. Or, rather, Azov’s street vig­i­lante off­shoot, the Nation­al Mili­tia. They’ve seri­ous­ly been grant­ed per­mis­sion by the Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to offi­cial­ly mon­i­tor the elec­tions.

But the elec­tion com­mis­sion is appar­ent­ly rethink­ing that deci­sion fol­low­ing Nation­al Militia’s the threats of vio­lence. Accord­ing to Nation­al Militia’s spokesman, Ihor Vdovin, the group will fol­low the instruc­tions of its com­man­der, Ihor Mikhailenko, “if law enforcers turn a blind eye to out­right vio­la­tions and don’t want to doc­u­ment them.” So what were Mikahilenko’s instruc­tions? “If we need to punch some­one in the face in the name of jus­tice, we will do this with­out hes­i­ta­tion.” Yep, the com­man­der of the Nation­al Mili­tia is already open­ly declar­ing that the group’s mem­bers will punch peo­ple if they see elec­tion vio­la­tions. Which is obvi­ous­ly attempt­ed open intim­i­da­tion of the elec­torate. Mem­bers of the Roma or LGBT com­mu­ni­ty are going to be a lot less like­ly to vote if they see one of the peo­ple who pre­vi­ous­ly vio­lent­ly attacked them stand­ing there as a poll mon­i­tor. And that’s all why the elec­tion com­mis­sion is rethink­ing the grant­i­ng of Nation­al Mili­tia this observers sta­tus. Rethink­ing, but not actu­al­ly rescind­ing.

It’s all a pret­ty big exam­ple of why the rel­a­tive lack of elec­toral suc­cess­es for the Ukrain­ian far right aren’t an accu­rate reflec­tion of the grow­ing pow­er of these groups. For starters, part of the rea­son for the lack of elec­toral suc­cess of the far right par­ties is the suc­cess­ful co-opt­ing of their agen­da by the rest of the more main­stream par­ties. And that main­stream co-opt­ing of the far right includes moves like dep­u­tiz­ing Nation­al Mili­tia and giv­ing them elec­tion observ­er pow­ers. In addi­tion, as the arti­cle notes, while Azov’s polit­i­cal wing, Nation­al Corps, isn’t win­ning over the sup­port of the broad­er elec­torate (polls put Nation­al Corps sup­port at around 1 per­cent), but its slick­ly pro­duced videos are win­ning over grow­ing num­bers of young men to the far right cause. Recall how Nation­al Corps advo­cates that Ukraine rearm itself with nuclear weapons.

So Azov’s Nation­al Corps may not be win­ning elec­tions, but win­ning elec­tions isn’t real­ly their path to pow­er. Grow­ing in num­bers and rely­ing on a mix of naked shows of force and threats of vio­lence is Azov’s path to pow­er. And that strat­e­gy is clear­ly work­ing, as evi­denced by the fact that they’re cur­rent­ly empow­ered to mon­i­tor elec­tions despite their inabil­i­ty to win them:

“Dep­u­tized As Elec­tion Mon­i­tors, Ukrain­ian Ultra­na­tion­al­ists ‘Ready To Punch’ Vio­la­tors” by Christo­pher Miller; Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty; 03/07/2019.

They patrol the streets of the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal in match­ing urban cam­ou­flage and march in lock­step through Kyiv with torch­es.

They attack minor­i­ty groups, includ­ing Roma and LGBT peo­ple. And some of them have trained with vis­it­ing Amer­i­can white suprema­cists.

They are the ultra­na­tion­al­ist Nation­al Mili­tia, street vig­i­lantes with roots in the bat­tle-test­ed Azov Bat­tal­ion that emerged to defend Ukraine against Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratists but was also accused of pos­si­ble war crimes and neo-Nazi sym­pa­thies.

Yet despite the con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing it, the Nation­al Mili­tia was grant­ed per­mis­sion by the Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to offi­cial­ly mon­i­tor Ukraine’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on March 31. . . .

4a. Brent Tar­rant, allege Christchurch, New Zealand, Mosque shoot­er, had appar­ent­ly vis­it­ed Ukraine.

 “Sus­pect Trav­eled World, But Lived on the Inter­net” by David D. Kirk­patrick; The New York Times [West­ern Edi­tion]; 3/16/2019; p. A15.

. . . . His man­i­festo alludes to vis­its to Poland, Ukraine, Ice­land and Argenti­na as well. . . .

4b.  Tar­rant may have been a ben­e­fi­cia­ry of the afore­men­tioned visa-free trav­el that EU asso­ci­a­tion has for Ukraine.

“Tragi­com­e­dy;” The Econ­o­mist; 3/16/2019; pp. 44–45.

. . . . Three quar­ters of them say the coun­try is head­ed in the wrong direc­tion, despite the fact that Ukraine has moved clos­er to Europe (it now has visa-free trav­el to the EU, for instance). . . .

4c. Even The New York Times not­ed the pos­si­ble con­tact between Azov and Tar­rant.

   “Ukraine’s Ultra-Right Increas­ing­ly Vis­i­ble as Elec­tion Nears” [AP]; The New York Times; 3/27/2019.

. . . . The Ukrain­ian far right also appears to have ties in oth­er coun­tries. Aus­tralian Bren­ton Tar­rant, accused of slaugh­ter­ing 50 peo­ple at two mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand, men­tioned a vis­it to Ukraine in his man­i­festo, and some reports alleged that he had con­tacts with the ultra-right. The Soufan Cen­ter, a research group spe­cial­iz­ing on secu­ri­ty, has recent­ly alleged pos­si­ble links between Tar­rant and the Azov Bat­tal­ion. . . .

4e. A pri­vate intel­li­gence group–the Soufan Center–has linked Tar­rant to the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

“Intel­brief: The Transna­tion­al Net­work That No One Is Talk­ing About;” The Soufan Net­work; 2/22/2019.

In the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks, links have emerged between the shoot­er, Brent Tar­rant, and a Ukrain­ian ultra-nation­al­ist, white suprema­cist para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion called the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Tarrant’s man­i­festo alleges that he vis­it­ed the coun­try dur­ing his many trav­els abroad, and the flak jack­et that Tar­rant wore dur­ing the assault fea­tured a sym­bol com­mon­ly used by the Azov Bat­tal­ion. . . .

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #1073 Azov on Our Mind: Ukrainian Fascism Extends Its Tentacles (Return of the Prodigal “Black Sun”)”

  1. It’s that time again. Time to note that a neo-Nazi went on anoth­er mur­der spree. This time it’s two sep­a­rate mur­der sprees involv­ing three appar­ent neo-Nazis:

    First, there was the mass shoot­ing event at the Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val in Cal­i­for­nia yes­ter­day. The 19 year old shoot­er, San­ti­no William Legan, did­n’t give a clear rea­son for why he attacked the fes­ti­val, but when some­one asked him why he was doing it dur­ing the shoot­ing, Legan report­ed­ly replied, “Because I’m real­ly angry.”

    But it’s pret­ty unam­bigu­ous­ly that Legan was moti­vat­ed by a far right ide­ol­o­gy. Short­ly before the shoot­ing start­ed, Legan post­ed a pic­ture on Insta­gram with a cap­tion that told peo­ple to read Might Is Right, a 19th-cen­tu­ry pro­to-fas­cist book con­sid­ered a key text in the white suprema­cy move­ment. In addi­tion, on his last social media post, he com­plained of paved-over nature and towns “overcrowd[ed]” with “hoards of mes­ti­zos and Sil­i­con Val­ley white twats.”

    It’s not known if Legan had ties to any groups but there were also reports of a of a sec­ond sus­pect that author­i­ties are still inves­ti­gat­ing. So this may or may not have been a lone wolf neo-Nazi attack, but it was def­i­nite­ly an attack by some­one who want­ed to pro­mote far right ideas:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val Shoot­ing Sus­pect Post­ed About Far-Right Book Moments Before Shoot­ing

    San­ti­no Legan alleged­ly told an eye­wit­ness he was “real­ly angry” and rant­ed in white suprema­cist fash­ion on Insta­gram from the event.

    Kel­ly Weill
    Reporter

    Audrey McNa­ma­ra
    Reporter
    Updat­ed 07.29.19 1:51PM ET / Pub­lished 07.29.19 12:57PM ET

    The gun­man who mur­dered three peo­ple at a food fes­ti­val in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Sun­day post­ed about a far-right book on Insta­gram moments before the attack.

    Law enforce­ment on Mon­day iden­ti­fied San­ti­no William Legan, 19, as the shoot­er who opened fire at the Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val. Police said Legan dodged secu­ri­ty at the festival’s entrance by cut­ting through a fence to gain entry. Once inside, wit­ness­es said he sprayed gun­fire on the crowd with an “assault-style rifle” before police killed him.

    Author­i­ties said Mon­day they were still inves­ti­gat­ing reports of a sec­ond sus­pect and whether Legan had ties to any group.

    Short­ly before the shoot­ing around 6 p.m., Legan post­ed a pic­ture from the fes­ti­val on his now-delet­ed Insta­gram account reviewed by The Dai­ly Beast. “Ayyy gar­lic fes­ti­val time,” he wrote. “Come get wast­ed on over­priced shit.”

    Soon after, he post­ed a pic­ture with a cap­tion that told fol­low­ers to read a 19th-cen­tu­ry, pro­to-fas­cist book. The book, which is repeat­ed­ly rec­om­mend­ed along­side works by Hitler and oth­er fasic­sts on forums like 8chan, is full of anti-Semit­ic, sex­ist and white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy. The book glo­ri­fies “Aryan” men, con­demns inter-mar­riage between races and defends vio­lence based on bogus eugeni­cist tropes.

    Ide­o­log­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed killers will some­times ref­er­ence man­i­festos before car­ry­ing out attacks, in a bid to draw atten­tion to those works.

    In his last post, Legan also com­plained of paved-over nature and towns “overcrowd[ed]” with “hoards of mes­ti­zos and Sil­i­con Val­ley white twats.” Some fas­cists, par­tic­u­lar­ly those who fol­low the hyper-ego­ist school of thought laid out in Legan’s rec­om­mend­ed book, crit­i­cize indus­tri­al­iza­tion and Sil­i­con Val­ley lifestyles as “degen­er­ate.”

    The pop­u­lar annu­al fes­ti­val was wind­ing down its third and final day when the first pops of gun­fire were heard. Jack van Breen, a singer in the rock band Tin­Man, was just begin­ning an encore as the hor­rif­ic scene broke out around 6 p.m. local time.

    Van Breen told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press some­one in the audi­ence shout­ed: “Why are you doing this?” and the gun­man replied, “Because I’m real­ly angry.”

    Wit­ness­es say the gun­man was wear­ing a green shirt, a hand­ker­chief tied around his neck, and fatigues. Police said Legan legal­ly pur­chased his assault-style rifle in Neva­da this month.

    The shoot­ing killed three peo­ple and injured more than a dozen oth­ers. One of the vic­tims was a 6‑year-old boy named Stephen Romero. “My son had his whole life to live and he was only six,” his father, Alber­to Romero, told KNTV. “That’s all I can say.”

    ...

    ———

    “Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val Shoot­ing Sus­pect Post­ed About Far-Right Book Moments Before Shoot­ing” by Kel­ly Weill and Audrey McNa­ma­ra, The Dai­ly Beast, 07/29/2019

    “Van Breen told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press some­one in the audi­ence shout­ed: “Why are you doing this?” and the gun­man replied, “Because I’m real­ly angry.”

    So the shoot­er, who is now dead, was “real­ly angry” about some­thing. What was he angry about? We don’t know at this point, but the fact that he was pro­mot­ing a far right book short­ly before the shoot­ing gives us an idea:

    ...
    Short­ly before the shoot­ing around 6 p.m., Legan post­ed a pic­ture from the fes­ti­val on his now-delet­ed Insta­gram account reviewed by The Dai­ly Beast. “Ayyy gar­lic fes­ti­val time,” he wrote. “Come get wast­ed on over­priced shit.”

    Soon after, he post­ed a pic­ture with a cap­tion that told fol­low­ers to read a 19th-cen­tu­ry, pro­to-fas­cist book. The book, which is repeat­ed­ly rec­om­mend­ed along­side works by Hitler and oth­er fas­cists on forums like 8chan, is full of anti-Semit­ic, sex­ist and white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy. The book glo­ri­fies “Aryan” men, con­demns inter-mar­riage between races and defends vio­lence based on bogus eugeni­cist tropes.

    Ide­o­log­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed killers will some­times ref­er­ence man­i­festos before car­ry­ing out attacks, in a bid to draw atten­tion to those works.

    In his last post, Legan also com­plained of paved-over nature and towns “overcrowd[ed]” with “hoards of mes­ti­zos and Sil­i­con Val­ley white twats.” Some fas­cists, par­tic­u­lar­ly those who fol­low the hyper-ego­ist school of thought laid out in Legan’s rec­om­mend­ed book, crit­i­cize indus­tri­al­iza­tion and Sil­i­con Val­ley lifestyles as “degen­er­ate.”
    ...

    Giv­en the bewil­der­ing nature of the attack, at this point the mes­sage the shoot­er appeared to be try­ing to send was just a gener­ic pro­mo­tion of the far right ide­ol­o­gy he was clear­ly tak­en up with. And the guy was clear­ly sui­ci­dal. But he may not have been oper­at­ing alone:

    ...
    Author­i­ties said Mon­day they were still inves­ti­gat­ing reports of a sec­ond sus­pect and whether Legan had ties to any group.
    ...

    But whether or not he was work­ing alone or as part of a group, Legan was def­i­nite­ly try­ing to pro­mote an ide­ol­o­gy through the pro­mo­tion of the book “Might Makes Right”. A book that is wild­ly pop­u­lar with neo-Nazis:

    The Rolling Stone

    The Gilroy Gar­lic Fest Shoot­er Plugged a White Pow­er Man­i­festo on Insta­gram

    ‘Might Is Right’ book dates from the late 1890s, but it’s become a sta­ple in the white suprema­cist canon

    By EJ Dick­son
    July 29, 2019 12:40PM ET

    On Sun­day after­noon, a gun­man opened fire at the Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val, an annu­al sum­mer fes­ti­val in the qui­et city of Gilroy, Cal­i­for­nia, locat­ed about 30 miles south of San Jose. The gun­man killed three peo­ple, includ­ing a six-year-old boy, and injured at least 12 oth­ers. Police said the gun­man had been shot and killed and that author­i­ties sus­pect­ed he may have had an accom­plice, who was still at large.

    Although author­i­ties ini­tial­ly did not reveal the iden­ti­ty of the shoot­er, local news sta­tion KPIX 5 report­ed he was a 19-year-old man named San­ti­no Legan. Police recov­ered a back­pack filled with ammu­ni­tion at the scene, and they lat­er searched his home and a sec­ond loca­tion.

    Lit­tle is cur­rent­ly known about Legan: Though wit­ness­es claim to have heard him say he was “real­ly angry” while he was open­ing fire on the crowd, there’s not much indi­ca­tion as to his poten­tial motive for the shoot­ing. While his social media plat­forms appear to have been delet­ed as of Mon­day morn­ing, one post on his alleged Insta­gram read: “Ayyy gar­lic fes­ti­val time. Come get wast­ed on over­priced shit.” Anoth­er post on the now-delet­ed Insta­gram includ­ed a pic­ture of a Smokey the Bear sign advo­cat­ing for for­est fire pre­ven­tion, with Legan writ­ing in the cap­tion: “Why over­crowd towns and pave more open space to cater to make room for hordes of mes­ti­zos and Sil­i­con Val­ley white twats?” then plug­ging the text Might Is Right by Rag­nar Red­beard.

    A 19th-cen­tu­ry text of unknown author­ship (its ori­gins have been attrib­uted to every­one from British author Arthur Desmond to Call of the Wild nov­el­ist Jack Lon­don), Might Is Right has long been con­sid­ered a key text in the white suprema­cist move­ment, says Kee­gan Han­kes, a senior ana­lyst for the South­ern Pover­ty Law Center’s intel­li­gence project. “It’s wide­ly pop­u­lar and present among eth­no­cen­tric white nation­al­ists of all lev­els, from suit-and-tie white suprema­cists to neo-Nazis,” Han­kes tells Rolling Stone.

    The text, which has been banned in mul­ti­ple coun­tries, essen­tial­ly advo­cates for social Dar­win­ism, or the idea that mem­bers of cer­tain races or eth­nic­i­ties are inher­ent­ly bet­ter equipped for sur­vival than oth­ers. The author argues that true egal­i­tar­i­an­ism does not and can­not exist, and that the “white race” is inher­ent­ly bio­log­i­cal­ly supe­ri­or to oth­er races.

    Although the social Dar­win­ist argu­ments in the text were not con­sid­ered all that rad­i­cal in the 19th cen­tu­ry, when the eugen­ics move­ment was at its height, it has since been embraced by every­one from not­ed satanist Anton LaVey to Kat­ja Lane, the wife of white-nation­al­ist-orga­ni­za­tion The Order founder David Lane, who wrote the pref­ace for its 1999 reprint­ing. It is also avail­able on the white suprema­cist web­site Counter-Cur­rents, and the PDF ver­sion has become a sta­ple of white suprema­cist dig­i­tal libraries and forums.

    “The most impor­tant thing [about the text] is this belief in eth­no­cen­tric­i­ty and bio­log­i­cal deter­min­ism that is get­ting pulled from the late 19th cen­tu­ry to this cur­rent day,” says Han­kes. “The ideas are ubiq­ui­tous today in white suprema­cist cir­cles.”

    ...

    ———-

    ” The Gilroy Gar­lic Fest Shoot­er Plugged a White Pow­er Man­i­festo on Insta­gram” by EJ Dick­son, The Rolling Stone, 07/29/2019

    “A 19th-cen­tu­ry text of unknown author­ship (its ori­gins have been attrib­uted to every­one from British author Arthur Desmond to Call of the Wild nov­el­ist Jack Lon­don), Might Is Right has long been con­sid­ered a key text in the white suprema­cist move­ment, says Kee­gan Han­kes, a senior ana­lyst for the South­ern Pover­ty Law Center’s intel­li­gence project. “It’s wide­ly pop­u­lar and present among eth­no­cen­tric white nation­al­ists of all lev­els, from suit-and-tie white suprema­cists to neo-Nazis,” Han­kes tells Rolling Stone.”

    So that’s what we know about one of the recent neo-Nazi shoot­ings. It’s also worth recall­ing how the Azov Bat­tal­ion was coor­di­nat­ing with the Cal­i­for­nia-based RAM neo-Nazi group. It’s a recent exam­ple of Azov net­work­ing with peo­ple in North Amer­i­ca. Giv­en that this shoot­ing hap­pened in Cal­i­for­nia it would be inter­est­ing to know if the shoot­er was at all in con­tact with RAM...or Azov.

    It’s the next sto­ry about a neo-Nazi mur­der spree that makes the ques­tion of whether or not Legan was in con­tact with RAM (or Azov) such an inter­est­ing ques­tion.

    Here’s what we know about the two neo-Nazi teens still on the run from author­i­ties in Cana­da after they killed three peo­ple last week dur­ing a road trip. Inter­est­ing­ly, it appears that at least one of the two may have been inspired by the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

    The teens, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bry­er Schmegel­sky, 18, were orig­i­nal­ly report­ed miss­ing after their burned out camper trust was found. It turns out the teens left a trail of far right chat­ter on the online forums for Steam, the video game plat­form. One Steam user

    The two have Face­book pages that are asso­ci­at­ed with an “Illu­sive Game­ing” account. The ban­ner image on that accoun­t’s pro­file fea­tures a mod­i­fied Sovi­et flag, but the pro­file pic­ture is the heraldic eagle of Nazi Ger­many. So there’s a strange Soviet/Nazi blend­ing going with these two.

    As we’re going to see, it turns out that Bry­er Schmegel­sky’s grand­par­ents fled from Ukraine dur­ing WWII and, accord­ing to his father, the fam­i­ly always thought of them­selves as eth­ni­cal­ly Russ­ian the the Nazis were the ene­my. The father is express­ing dis­be­lief that his son could have been a neo-Nazi based on that fam­i­ly his­to­ry, although he does acknowl­edge that his son thought Nazi para­pher­na­lia was “cool”.

    In addi­tion, one of the online Steam accounts asso­ci­at­ed with the two teen’s Steam accounts uses the logo of the Azov Bat­tal­ion. There’s an online Steam account asso­ci­at­ed with the two teens that claims to be locat­ed in Rus­sia, near Moscow, and belongs to sev­er­al groups for fans of sex­u­al­ized Japan­ese ani­ma­tion. That account also used the heraldic eagle of the Nazis. So these two teens were poten­tial­ly chat­ting online with peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with the Azov Bat­tal­ion and Russ­ian neo-Nazis:

    The Globe and Mail

    RCMP con­tin­ue search for sus­pects in three B.C. slay­ings

    Ian Bai­ley , Mike Hager and Justin Ling
    Sur­rey, B.C., and Port Alberni, B.C.
    Pub­lished July 23, 2019
    Updat­ed

    Two teens miss­ing after the road­side slay­ings of three peo­ple in North­ern British Colum­bia over the past week have now been named sus­pects and are believed to be on the run through West­ern Cana­da.

    RCMP say the pair have been spot­ted in North­ern Saskatchewan and Man­i­to­ba, and inves­ti­ga­tors are cau­tion­ing the pub­lic that the fugi­tives are armed and should not be approached.

    A flood of tips since Mon­day has pro­pelled the inves­ti­ga­tion into the road­side killings of a trav­el­ling cou­ple and, more than 500 kilo­me­tres away, the body of a man police have not iden­ti­fied. The teens, Kam McLeod, 19, and Bry­er Schmegel­sky, 18, were orig­i­nal­ly report­ed miss­ing after their burned-out camper truck was found on Fri­day, but police have changed that assess­ment.

    Mr. Schmegelsky’s Insta­gram page shows the two pos­ing for a pho­to, with Mr. Schmegelsky’s arm slung over Mr. McLeod.

    The teens have Face­book pages under their own names and both are linked to an account called “Illu­sive Game­ing.” That user­name, com­plete with the mis­spelling, also shows up on YouTube, as well as video-game net­works Twitch and Steam. The accounts share sim­i­lar imagery and themes, includ­ing the Com­mu­nist icon, far-right pol­i­tics, sex­u­al­ized Japan­ese ani­me and the sur­vival­ist video game Rust.

    The ban­ner image for the Illu­sive Game­ing YouTube account fea­tures a mod­i­fied Sovi­et flag, but its pro­file pic­ture is the heraldic eagle of Hitler’s Ger­many. The page was active as of six months ago.

    Steam accounts linked to Mr. Schmegel­sky and Mr. McLeod were last active a week before their pick­up truck was found on fire on B.C.‘s High­way 37.

    A Steam user con­firmed to The Globe and Mail that he talked to Mr. Schmegel­sky reg­u­lar­ly online. He recalled Mr. McLeod join­ing their chats as well.

    The user, whom The Globe is not iden­ti­fy­ing, pro­vid­ed pho­tos sent by an account believed to be owned by Mr. Schmegel­sky, show­ing him in mil­i­tary fatigues, bran­dish­ing what appears to be an air­soft rifle – which fires plas­tic pel­lets. Anoth­er pho­to shows a swasti­ka arm­band, and yet anoth­er fea­tures Mr. Schmegel­sky in a gas mask. The pho­tos were report­ed­ly sent in the fall of 2018, but the user said he stopped play­ing online games with Mr. Schmegel­sky ear­li­er this year after he con­tin­ued to praise Hitler’s Ger­many.

    One account con­nect­ed to the teens uses the logo of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a far-right Ukrain­ian mili­tia that has been accused of har­bour­ing sym­pa­thies to neo-Nazis. Anoth­er account claims to be locat­ed in Rus­sia, near Moscow, and belongs to sev­er­al groups for fans of sex­u­al­ized Japan­ese ani­ma­tion. That account also used the heraldic eagle of the Nazis.

    RCMP said Tues­day the teens from Van­cou­ver Island were seen in Mead­ow Lake, Sask., on Sun­day – police have pho­tos of them tak­en by a store cam­era. They were also recent­ly spot­ted in Gillam, Man., which is near Hudson’s Bay.

    Wal­ter Spence, chief of the Fox Lake Cree Nation in Gillam, said in a state­ment that a vehi­cle was found burned and dis­card­ed near the nation’s reserve, but that he could not con­firm it was the vehi­cle being dri­ven by the teens.

    He said he had been in touch with the RCMP and the com­mu­ni­ty was being patrolled as a cau­tion, with the Moun­ties con­duct­ing their work with a large pres­ence.

    Sophie Lock­hart, a coun­cilor with the First Nation, said area res­i­dents are alarmed. “Every­body is scared. I am real­ly afraid for the peo­ple at home,” said Ms. Lock­hart, who was vis­it­ing Win­nipeg, but mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion back in the com­mu­ni­ty. ”Most kids are inside. They nev­er went out after sup­per.”

    The RCMP would not say whether the burned car in Gillam matched the one believed to be dri­ven by the sus­pects.

    Instead, RCMP in Man­i­to­ba respond­ed with a state­ment that said inves­ti­ga­tors have rea­son to believe the sus­pects were recent­ly in the Gillam area and the inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing.

    “We do not have any fur­ther infor­ma­tion at this time,” said Cor­po­ral Julie Cour­chaine.

    Dwayne For­man, the may­or of the rur­al Man­i­to­ba com­mu­ni­ty of Gillam, said there’s a police pres­ence in town giv­en reports that the sus­pects have been seen in the area, and that res­i­dents are on edge.

    “It’s def­i­nite­ly qui­eter around town. Peo­ple are hol­ing up in their hous­es and not going out, which is under­stand­able,” he said in a tele­phone inter­view.

    Amer­i­can Chyn­na Deese, 24, and her 23-year-old Aus­tralian boyfriend Lucas Fowler were found dead the morn­ing of July 15 on the side of the high­way con­nect­ing North­ern B.C. with Yukon and Alas­ka. The teens are also being named as sus­pects in the death of the uniden­ti­fied heavy-set man in his 50s with grey hair and a beard, whose body was found on Fri­day a short dis­tance away from the burned camper.

    In the Van­cou­ver Island city of Port Alberni, there was no response at the door of Mr. Schmegelsky’s grandmother’s bun­ga­low, where the teen lived until he depart­ed this month. A neigh­bour said the woman was dis­traught at the media atten­tion after her grand­son went from the sub­ject of a miss­ing-per­sons probe to a man­hunt that now spans West­ern Cana­da.

    Clau­dia Bunce, own­er of the Cas­siar Moun­tain Jade Store in Jade City, B.C., said the teens stopped in on Thurs­day, the day before their burned-out truck and the body of the uniden­ti­fied man was found near­by just off the high­way about 115 kilo­me­tres from Dease Lake.

    The staff mem­ber who saw the young men was too shak­en to speak to a reporter, but Ms. Bunce said they arrived in the truck and vis­it­ed the store for free cof­fee. She said they were on their own and she doesn’t believe they had a con­ver­sa­tion with the employ­ee.

    “I don’t think they stood out any more than any oth­er teenage boys who were just on the road,” she said. “We’re a very busy store.”

    Ms. Bunce said. “It’s very rur­al – beyond rur­al. We’re on a high­way with no cell ser­vice. Most of us don’t have pow­er. So it’s unnerv­ing.”

    RCMP were at the store on Tues­day gath­er­ing hours of sur­veil­lance footage and inter­view­ing staff mem­bers.

    At an RCMP news con­fer­ence in Sur­rey, B.C., on Tues­day, offi­cers declined to dis­cuss why a pair of Van­cou­ver Island teens thought to be look­ing for work in the Yukon might be involved in three killings. Sergeant Janelle Shoi­het con­firmed that police have been in touch with the fam­i­lies of the teens, but did not elab­o­rate.

    ...

    ———-

    “RCMP con­tin­ue search for sus­pects in three B.C. slay­ings” by Ian Bai­ley, Mike Hager and Justin Ling, The Globe and Mail, 07/23/2019

    The teens have Face­book pages under their own names and both are linked to an account called “Illu­sive Game­ing.” That user­name, com­plete with the mis­spelling, also shows up on YouTube, as well as video-game net­works Twitch and Steam. The accounts share sim­i­lar imagery and themes, includ­ing the Com­mu­nist icon, far-right pol­i­tics, sex­u­al­ized Japan­ese ani­me and the sur­vival­ist video game Rust.”

    So the “Illu­sive Game­ing” user­name appears to be their shared online gam­ing group, with accounts being cre­at­ed on var­i­ous social media plat­forms. And it’s on that “Illu­sive Game­ing” Face­book that we find the heraldic eagle of Nazi Ger­many as the pro­file pic. We find that same image on the Steam account of a group that claims to be locat­ed near Moscow. That Steam account was con­nect­ed to the two teens, along with anoth­er Steam account that uses the logo of the Azov Bat­tal­ion. And one Steam users claims Schmegel­sky would repeat­ed­ly praise Hitler:

    ...
    The ban­ner image for the Illu­sive Game­ing YouTube account fea­tures a mod­i­fied Sovi­et flag, but its pro­file pic­ture is the heraldic eagle of Hitler’s Ger­many. The page was active as of six months ago.

    Steam accounts linked to Mr. Schmegel­sky and Mr. McLeod were last active a week before their pick­up truck was found on fire on B.C.‘s High­way 37.

    A Steam user con­firmed to The Globe and Mail that he talked to Mr. Schmegel­sky reg­u­lar­ly online. He recalled Mr. McLeod join­ing their chats as well.

    The user, whom The Globe is not iden­ti­fy­ing, pro­vid­ed pho­tos sent by an account believed to be owned by Mr. Schmegel­sky, show­ing him in mil­i­tary fatigues, bran­dish­ing what appears to be an air­soft rifle – which fires plas­tic pel­lets. Anoth­er pho­to shows a swasti­ka arm­band, and yet anoth­er fea­tures Mr. Schmegel­sky in a gas mask. The pho­tos were report­ed­ly sent in the fall of 2018, but the user said he stopped play­ing online games with Mr. Schmegel­sky ear­li­er this year after he con­tin­ued to praise Hitler’s Ger­many.

    One account con­nect­ed to the teens uses the logo of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a far-right Ukrain­ian mili­tia that has been accused of har­bour­ing sym­pa­thies to neo-Nazis. Anoth­er account claims to be locat­ed in Rus­sia, near Moscow, and belongs to sev­er­al groups for fans of sex­u­al­ized Japan­ese ani­ma­tion. That account also used the heraldic eagle of the Nazis.
    ...

    So it’s clear the two were active­ly engaged in far right activ­i­ty on Steam and oth­er social media mak­ing it high­ly like­ly they were in con­tact with oth­er neo-Nazis. Was that Steam account using the Azov Bat­tal­ion logo direct­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Azov Bat­tal­ion’s neo-Nazis or was it some oth­er ran­dom fan of Azov? That seems like a cru­cial ques­tion to answer at this point.

    Now, here’s a piece where Bry­er Schmegel­sky’s dad express­es dis­be­lief that his son could have been a neo-Nazi because his fam­i­ly fled from Ukraine dur­ing WWII and always thought of them­selves as eth­ni­cal­ly Russ­ian:

    CBC News

    B.C. homi­cide sus­pect Bry­er Schmegel­sky not a neo-Nazi, dad says
    But the want­ed 18-year-old thought Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia was ‘cool’

    Karin Larsen
    Post­ed: Jul 27, 2019 7:00 AM PT | Last Updat­ed: July 27

    A homi­cide sus­pect who alleged­ly sent pho­tographs of a swasti­ka arm­band and a Hitler Youth knife to an online friend was not a Nazi sym­pa­thiz­er, but he did think the mem­o­ra­bil­ia was “cool,” says his father.

    The pho­tographs also show Bry­er Schmegel­sky, 18, in mil­i­tary fatigues, hold­ing an Air­soft repli­ca rifle and wear­ing a gas mask.

    The man is a sus­pect along with Kam McLeod, 19, in two homi­cides in North­ern British Colum­bia.

    Alan Schmegel­sky said that his son took him to an Army Sur­plus store eight months ago in his home­town of Port Alberni, B.C., and that Bry­er was excit­ed about the Nazi items there.

    “I was dis­gust­ed and dragged him out,” Schmegel­sky said. “My grand­par­ents fled the Ukraine with three small chil­dren dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.”

    The teens are charged with sec­ond-degree mur­der in the death of Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia botany lec­tur­er Leonard Dyck and are sus­pects in the fatal shoot­ings of Chyn­na Deese and Lucas Fowler, all in North­ern B.C.

    The search for the two men is focused on the thick and bog­gy forests of north­east­ern Man­i­to­ba.

    Despite his son’s fas­ci­na­tion with the items, Schmegel­sky said he did­n’t believe Bry­er iden­ti­fied as a neo-Nazi.

    “He thought he was Russ­ian. Ger­mans are their ene­mies,” he said.

    But Evan Bal­go­rd, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Cana­di­an Anti-Hate Net­work, won­ders why some­one who relates to Rus­sia and com­mu­nism — as has been report­ed else­where — would cov­et Nazi items.

    ‘Swasti­ka rep­re­sents one thing’

    “That real­ly does­n’t hold water when he’s full-on wear­ing a swasti­ka arm band and has swasti­ka-embla­zoned weapon­ry,” said Bal­go­rd. “There is clear­ly some neo-Nazism thing going on here.”

    “The swasti­ka real­ly only rep­re­sents the one thing today and that is white suprema­cy. It’s hatred tar­get­ing pri­mar­i­ly Jews, but all sorts of oth­er peo­ple. The Nazis did not only tar­get Jews in their geno­cide.”
    ...

    ———-
    “B.C. homi­cide sus­pect Bry­er Schmegel­sky not a neo-Nazi, dad says” by Karin Larsen, CBC News, 07/27/2019

    “Alan Schmegel­sky said that his son took him to an Army Sur­plus store eight months ago in his home­town of Port Alberni, B.C., and that Bry­er was excit­ed about the Nazi items there.”

    The father was dis­turbed by his son’s excite­ment about the Nazi items, but he still could­n’t believe his son was actu­al­ly becom­ing a believ­er in Nazi ide­ol­o­gy:

    ...

    “I was dis­gust­ed and dragged him out,” Schmegel­sky said. “My grand­par­ents fled the Ukraine with three small chil­dren dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.”

    The teens are charged with sec­ond-degree mur­der in the death of Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia botany lec­tur­er Leonard Dyck and are sus­pects in the fatal shoot­ings of Chyn­na Deese and Lucas Fowler, all in North­ern B.C.

    The search for the two men is focused on the thick and bog­gy forests of north­east­ern Man­i­to­ba.

    Despite his son’s fas­ci­na­tion with the items, Schmegel­sky said he did­n’t believe Bry­er iden­ti­fied as a neo-Nazi.

    “He thought he was Russ­ian. Ger­mans are their ene­mies,” he said.

    But Evan Bal­go­rd, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Cana­di­an Anti-Hate Net­work, won­ders why some­one who relates to Rus­sia and com­mu­nism — as has been report­ed else­where — would cov­et Nazi items.
    ...

    And that all makes fam­i­ly back­ground of Bry­er Schmegel­sky an intrigu­ing part of this sto­ry, because if Schmegel­sky real­ly did grow up in a fam­i­ly that saw itself as eth­nic Russ­ian Ukraini­ans who taught the kids that the Nazis were the ene­my it’s a demon­stra­tion of the pow­er of online pro­pa­gan­da that a kid from that fam­i­ly could end up going on a neo-Nazi-inspired mur­der spree. But that’s what evi­dence is point­ing towards at this point.

    So that’s the update on the two recent sprees involv­ing young neo-Nazis. In both cas­es, there’s no read­i­ly dis­cernible motive for the killings. Oth­er than the fact that neo-Nazis appear to feel that mass killings are a great adver­tise­ment for their cause.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 29, 2019, 3:01 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    Yes, indeed, and “Might Is Right” also has links to: Anton LaVey, Katia Lane (wife of David Lane of the Order and 14 Words fame) and Michael Moyni­han.

    This is part of the vile Fer­al House milieu.

    http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-437-counter-culture-fascism/

    Excerpt:

    ” . . .Among the fel­low trav­ellers of LaVey are peo­ple who espouse Odin­ist reli­gion. With­in that milieu, in turn, are peo­ple of a tru­ly mur­der­ous bent. Note the pres­ence in this Satanist/Nazi milieu of the wife of con­vict­ed Order mur­der­er David Lane. (For more about The Order, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 89, 386, 399, and the var­i­ous pro­grams dis­cussing the top­ics of OJ Simp­son case, the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, and Serpent’s Walk. Impor­tant back­ground infor­ma­tion on The Order can be obtained from RFA’s 10–13—available from Spit­fire.)

    . . . LaVey, who is often only seen as a lib­er­tar­i­an mav­er­ick, called for a new kind of fas­cism in a 1994 inter­view with Michael Moyni­han in Sec­onds. Moynihan’s essay, ‘The Faus­t­ian Spir­it of Fas­cism,’ was also pub­lished in the Church of Satan’s mag­a­zine, The Black Flame. LaVey even con­tributed an intro­duc­tion to a new edi­tion of ‘Rag­nar Redbeard’s Might is Right, a Niet­zschean and Social Dar­win­ist tract first pub­lished in 1896 which LaVey had lib­er­al­ly pla­gia­rized in his own book, The Satan­ic Bible. The edi­tor of the new edi­tion of Might is Right is list­ed as Katia Lane. She is the wife of David Lane, an Odin­ist leader of the high-pro­file far right para­mil­i­tary group called the Order, who is now serv­ing a life sen­tence for con­spir­ing to mur­der a Den­ver radio per­son­al­i­ty named Alan Berg

    (Idem.)

    17. The after­word of Might is Right (edit­ed by the wife of con­vict­ed Order killer David Lane) was penned by George Hawthorne, head of the Ra Ho Wa racist musi­cal group. After­word author George Hawthorne is also the founder of Resis­tance Records, now owned by the Nation­al Alliance. (For more about Resis­tance Records and the Nation­al Alliance, see FTR#211.) Before being appro­pri­at­ed by the Nation­al Alliance, Resis­tance Records was dis­trib­uted by the fas­cist Lib­er­ty Lob­by. In charge of this dis­tri­b­u­tion was Todd Blod­gett, a for­mer Rea­gan White House staff mem­ber. (For more about the Nazi under­pin­nings of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 180, 332, 421.)

    The author of Might is Right‘s after­word is, arguably, even more; ‘dev­il­ish’ than LaVey. He is none oth­er than George Hawthorne, head of the white racist musi­cal group Ra Ho Wa (Racial Holy War) and founder of Resis­tance Records, whom Michael Moyni­han inter­viewed for Sec­onds and The Black Flame, Moyni­han is also thanked in the new edi­tion of Might is Right for help­ing make the book pos­si­ble.

    (Idem.)

    18. Pro­mot­ing and extolling Charles Man­son, the Abraxas milieu came into con­tact with James Mason, among oth­er mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty.) “In the mid-1980’s, Adam Par­frey formed Amok Press, the pre­cur­sor to Fer­al House, with Ken Swezey of the Amok cat­a­log. Amok’s first book, Michael, was an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of Nazi Prpa­gan­da Min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels’ sole nov­el. Parfrey’s next book, Apoc­a­lypse Cul­ture was fol­lowed in 1988 by The Man­son File, which was edit­ed by Niko­las Schreck (the boyfriend of LaVey’s daugh­ter Zeena) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Boyd Rice and oth­ers. Rice reg­u­lar­ly vis­it­ed Man­son, and even cam­paigned to get him released from jail through an Abraxas spin-off called the Friends of Jus­tice.” (Idem.) . . .”

    Great stuff.

    Keep up the great work!

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | July 29, 2019, 5:41 pm

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