The UK social media platform where neo-Nazis can view terror atrocities

Of interest:

A UK-registered technology company with British directors is behind a global platform used by neo-Nazis to upload footage of racist killings.

BitChute, which was used in the dissemination of far-right propaganda during the protests in London and elsewhere this month, has hosted films of terror attacks and thousands of antisemitic videos which have been viewed over three million times.

The platform has also hosted several videos from the proscribed far-right terrorist group National Action, now taken down.

Concerns about BitChute have been flagged in a new report, Hate Fuel: The hidden online world fuelling far right terror, produced by the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity set up to combat antisemitism.

In response to the report, the company, based in Newbury, Berkshire, said in a tweet that it blocks “any such videos, including incitement to violence”.

But the platform was still showing the full footage of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings and an attack on a German synagogue until the Observerbrought the videos to its attention.

The far-right activist Tommy Robinson has a channel on BitChute with more than 25,000 subscribers.

When far-right protesters recently descended on London and several other cities, BitChute’s comment facility carried numerous racist postings on Robinson’s channel, many of them making derogatory claims about George Floyd, whose death after being restrained by police in the US city of Minneapolis has sparked worldwide protests.

“Extremists know that they can post anything on BitChute and it won’t be removed by the platform unless they are forced to do so,” said Dave Rich, director of policy at the CST. “Some of the terrorist videos we found on BitChute had been on the site for over a year and had been watched tens of thousands of times.”

He added: “It’s no surprise, therefore, that the website is a cesspit of vile racist, antisemitic neo-Nazi videos and comments. This is why there need to be legal consequences for website hosts who refuse to take responsibility for moderating and blocking this content themselves.”

BitChute is one of several platforms alarming those who monitor the far right.

Another, Gab, created in 2016, has a dedicated network of British users called “Britfam” that has 4,000 members and which far-right extremists use to circulate racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

Last week the chief executive of Gab, Andrew Torba, sent an email to users attacking what he alleged was the “anti-white, anti-Trump and anti-conservative bias” on more mainstream social media platforms.

Source: The UK social media platform where neo-Nazis can view terror atrocities

Trump may have emboldened hate in Canada, but it was already here: Ryan Scrivens

Good overview by Scrivens:

A key turning point, in fact, was during the latter months of 2015. Two important events created a perfect storm for the movement.

First was Justin Trudeau’s pledge, as part of the Liberal party’s election platform, to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015. The second was the terrorist attack on concert-goers in Paris, inspired by the so-called “Islamic State,” on Nov. 13, 2015.

Each of these events were distinct in nature, yet Canada’s radical right wing treated them as interconnected, arguing that Canada’s newly elected prime minister was not only allowing Muslims into the country who would impose Sharia law on Canadian citizens, but that they too could be “radical Islamic terrorists.”

It all sparked a flurry of anti-Muslim discourse in Canada.

The day after the Paris attack, a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was deliberately set ablaze, causing significant damage to the interior of the building.

The next day, a Muslim woman picking up her children from a Toronto school was robbed and her hijab torn off. The perpetrators called her a “terrorist” and told her to “go back to your country.”

Days later, an anti-Muslim video was posted on YouTube in which a man from Montreal, wearing a Joker mask and wielding a firearm, threatened to kill one Muslim or Arab each week.

Similar events continued to unfold in 2016 — all, of course, well before Trump’s election victory. A school in Calgary, for example, was spray-painted with hate messages against Syrians and Trudeau: “Syrians go home and die” and “Kill the traitor Trudeau.”

Edmonton residents were also faced with a series of anti-Islamic flyer campaigns, hateful messages were spray-painted on a Muslim elementary school in Ottawa and man in Abbotsford, B.C. went on a racist tirade and was caught on video.

Canadian chapters of Soldiers of Odin first made their presence known in the early part of 2016 by patrolling communities and “protecting” Canadians from the threat of Islam, and the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), an anti-Islam group who first appeared in Canada in 2015, continued to rally in Montreal and Toronto in 2016.

And so it would be impulsive and short-sighted for us to attribute our spike in hatred solely to Trump and his divisive politics.

Instead, the instances listed above serve as an important reminder that prior to Trump’s election victory Canada was experiencing a rise in hatred.

In responding to hatred in Canada, we must first acknowledge that it exists in Canada, and it becomes ever more present during times of social and economic uncertainty. We must also acknowledge that the foundations of hatred are complex and multi-faceted, grounded in both individual and social conditions.

So too, then, must counter-extremist initiatives be multi-dimensional, building on the strengths and expertise of diverse sectors, including but not limited to community organizations, police officers, policy-makers and the media. Multi-agency efforts are needed to coordinate the acknowledgement and response to right-wing extremism in Canada.

I see signs of us moving in the right direction in building resilience against hatred in Canada. But in the months and years ahead, there’s still much to do.

via Trump may have emboldened hate in Canada, but it was already here

Anti-Muslim hatred has no place in my Canada: Margaret Wente

A rare column by Wente that captures the issues well:

We do a pretty good job of welcoming newcomers to this country. It’s one of our great strengths. I don’t buy the myth, beloved of some, that Canadians harbour deep racist and xenophobic tendencies that are just waiting to be set alight by the likes of Kellie Leitch.

But some days, I have to wonder what’s gotten into people. Who, for example, would want to deny Muslims the right to bury their dead?

It seems that there are more than you might think.

The terrible massacre in January of six worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City revealed a problem: Quebec Muslims have few places to bury their dead. The only Muslim-run cemetery in the province is in Montreal, several hours’ drive away. After the massacre, the small town of Saint-Apollinaire (population 6,000) found some land that would be suitable for another one, and quickly struck a deal to sell it to the Muslim community. It seemed like a neighbourly way to help. But as The Globe and Mail’s Ingrid Peritz found, the plan was met with a storm of protest.

“This cemetery is just the embryo of other projects,” one person wrote in an e-mail to the town’s mayor. “These people are here to grab religious and political power.”

The mayor, Bernard Ouellet, is staunch in his support for the plan, and believes most townspeople support it too. But he’ll have to work hard to quell the fears. As Quebec imam Hassan Guillet says, “If the project is refused and we’re not allowed to be buried in this land, how are we going to be accepted to live in this land?”

Religious accommodation is always a touchy subject, but the opposition to this plan is simply wrong. There is no place for it in my Canada.

Here in Ontario, we have our own hysterias. A strident group of anti-Muslim activists have been waging a noisy campaign to end Muslim prayer at schools in a big district near Toronto. At one school-board meeting, someone tore pages from the Koran and stomped all over them. At others, people leaped to their feet to denounce Islam. A parents’ group launched a petition complaining that “unsolicited exposure to religion” could “create subconscious bias in the minds of impressionable children for or against a faith.” In the latest bit of hate-filled showmanship (as a school-board spokesman aptly called it), a local agitator offered a $1,000 reward to any student who surreptitiously recorded hate speech during a Muslim prayer service.

Needless to say, Muslim prayer in schools has always been contentious. You may believe, as I do, that any type of prayer – including this type – has no place in the public schools. But I also believe it’s not the worst idea. Like it or not, religious accommodation is the law, and the schools are devoted to inclusiveness. Our interest is to integrate new Canadians, not segregate them. We want their children to be educated in the public schools, not religious schools. So we’d better make sure the kids (and parents) feel comfortable there. And if an optional 20-minute prayer session once a week helps them feel more welcome, then why not?

The Peel District School Board, where the current commotion has broken out, serves a sprawling, suburban multiethnic community whose Muslim population is around 10 per cent. Muslim students have been observing Friday prayers for 20 years. Other schools around the province make the same accommodation. It’s been a work in progress. One heavily Muslim school in Toronto faced tough questions a few years back because menstruating girls weren’t allowed to take part in the prayer service. There have been concerns about sexism, as well as worries about just what kind of Islam is being preached. The Peel board has conducted lengthy consultations about whether the students who lead the sessions may write their own sermons, and by whom, if anyone, they must be approved.

To be honest, I have no idea how all this will work out, and neither does anybody else. It will take a generation or more to tell. Canada is not immune from the ethnoreligious tensions that are rocking the world and there’s no way we can avoid them. But we can discourage the fear-mongers and the hate-mongers from poisoning our public discourse. We won’t always agree, especially over symbols that touch our deepest values. Let’s just hope we can keep finding ways to disagree politely. That’s supposed to be the Canadian way, and I don’t want to lose it.

Source: Anti-Muslim hatred has no place in my Canada – The Globe and Mail

‘Hate wave’ could hit Canada, too: Van Jones

Valid note of caution and test of Canadian resilience (Kellie Leitch currently testing the waters):

A high-profile political commentator and former White House policy adviser warned Tuesday that the same class tensions and divisive forces that swept Donald Trump to power could easily take root in Canada, adding it would be “irresponsible” to pretend otherwise.

Van Jones, a CNN political contributor, said the “hate wave” that has stirred vigilante behaviour and prompted gatherings of apparent Nazi-affiliated groups is playing out in all Western democracies, and anyone who thinks Canada will be spared is wrong.

“The working classes, especially the white working classes, feeling rightfully thrown under the bus and left behind, are reacting in ways that are shocking, in ways that I think are unfair, in ways that are unfortunate and sometimes that are xenophobic and racist,” he said.

“It is happening all across the Western democracies and it can happen in Canada, too.”

Jones, who emerged as a strong voice during the U.S. election campaign that ended earlier this month with Trump’s stunning victory, was in Toronto to discuss what a Trump presidency will mean for the U.S. and its northern neighbour.

He was to deliver a keynote address in the city at an event organized by the Broadbent Institute.

Speaking before the event, Jones said everyone, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum, must remain vigilant to keep class and racial tensions from turning into violence.

“Every single part of civil society in Canada, the United States and around the world needs to get very vocal right now, needs to stand up right now,” he said.

“If anybody thinks they can just stand back and hope for the best … if you think that standing back and giving this guy a chance means giving him a pass on stuff you wouldn’t let your kids do, stuff you wouldn’t let your next door neighbour’s kids do, then you’re not paying attention,” he said.

“We are so far now past left versus right, this is no longer a left-right issue. … It is wrong for any political party to get ahead by picking on defenceless groups and small groups and minority groups, and then to turn your head when the violence comes,” he said.

“That is irresponsible.”

Source: ‘Hate wave’ could hit Canada, too: Van Jones – Macleans.ca