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National Post Staff : “La Meute”, LOL CIA or What, LOL, How the violent Charlottesville rally unmasked key players in Montreal’s alt-right- Calling Alex Jones

May 14th, 2018 | by Richard Paul
National Post Staff : “La Meute”,  LOL CIA or What, LOL, How the violent Charlottesville rally unmasked key players in Montreal’s alt-right- Calling Alex Jones
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How the violent Charlottesville rally unmasked key players in Montreal’s alt-right

On August 11, the Montrealers joined a torch march through Charlottesville, blending into a crowd that chanted ‘Blood and soil and ‘Jews will not replace us’


Demonstrators of a right wing group, “La Meute” demonstrate in silence in front of the legislature, Sunday, August 20, 2017 in Quebec City. Quebec City police say they’ve arrested two people in connection with an August demonstration that saw protesters clash with riot police.Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS

They didn’t want to show up to the white nationalist rally empty-handed.

The Unite the Right march in Virginia would be the largest white supremacist gathering in a generation and the small, militant crew of Quebecers were eager to make an impression.

A few days before the long drive south, one of their leaders logged onto an American alt-right forum with a request.

“We are about 20 guys driving through the border from Canada and we obviously will not be able to bring protective gear like shields and so on through the border agents,” wrote Date, a prominent Montreal white nationalist. “If you’ve got extra ones, some of our members are interested in buying them from you over there.”

The following night, on Aug. 10, 2017, one of the group members withdrew $850 in Bitcoin to help cover expenses. Activists in the alt-right use the online currency because it’s unregulated and difficult to trace.

Anti-ASC

They left for Charlottesville a few hours later.

On Aug. 11, the Montrealers would participate in a torch march through Charlottesville, blending into a crowd that chanted “Blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.”

The next day, they faced off with a crowd of anti-fascists in the southern college town. As the rally wound down, a white supremacist drove his car into a mass of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer.

By exposing them, we contain them. By driving them off these platforms, we contain them. They never fully go away but we minimize the damage they do

Within an hour of the attack, users of an encrypted white supremacist chat room in Montreal began posting memes congratulating the attacker and describing his vehicle as a “car of peace.”

Last month, the Montreal Gazette obtained roughly 12,000 closed messages from the closed “Montreal Storm” server on Discord, an encrypted chat service. Those documents, combined with information from sources close to the group, indicate that the initial thrill of Charlottesville quickly gave way to a culture of paranoia within the group.

Those days in Charlottesville were meant to be a sort of coming-out party for the alt-right. The torch march, the shields, the clubs, the guns, the beatings — these were meant to show the world that the white nationalist movement was a force to be reckoned with. Charlottesville was going to be their Kristallnacht.

It didn’t go as planned.

In the backlash that followed Heyer’s death, the alt-right began to implode. Waves of men who participated had their identities revealed, lost their jobs and friends, and dropped out of the movement.

Previously small anti-fascist demonstrations suddenly numbered in the thousands, in Boston, Berkeley and elsewhere. Heyer became a martyr, a symbol of resistance against the forces of hate.

It was in the days after Charlottesville that Montreal’s Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald and Vincent Bélanger-Mercure would become public figures.


Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald (in red helmet), a key figure in the alt-right movement in Quebec, at a protest at the Lacolle border crossing from the U.S.. On Facebook, he described himself as the “friendly neighbourhood fascist.” Photo from the Facebook page of Anti-Pégida, an organization dedicated to combating anti-immigrant and xenophobic hate groups. For use on Monday, May 14, online and print about alt-right groups in Montreal. Montreal-Gazette

VICE News released a 20-minute documentary about the march six days after Charlottesville. It quickly went viral.

The opening scenes show American white supremacist Christopher Cantwell talking in a park to a handful of sympathizers, one of whom has a Quebec accent, and another who is wearing a T-shirt associated with Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. The man with the accent was introduced in a separate live-stream of the event as Zeiger.

An investigation by the Montreal Gazette revealed last week that Zeiger lives and recruits in Montreal. It also linked Zeiger — one of the most prominent neo-Nazis in North America — to local IT consultant Gabriel Sohier Chaput.

In the Montreal Storm chats, Zeiger shares his home address with the other members. Sohier Chaput lives at that same apartment in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. The men also share similar facial features and biographical details from their respective online profiles appear to intersect.

“In Canada, post-Charlottesville, Zeiger was the first real big catch,” said Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “If Zeiger hadn’t appeared in that VICE documentary, we wouldn’t have caught him. When leaders in hate groups rise to a certain profile, inevitably they are caught for their activities.”

Once word started to spread about Quebecers participating in the rally, anti-fascists in Montreal sprang into action. They began tracking down the identities of the locals who had participated in the violent demonstration. It didn’t take long to identify two of them: Beauvais-MacDonald and Bélanger-Mercure.

If Zeiger hadn’t appeared in that VICE documentary, we wouldn’t have caught him. When leaders in hate groups rise to a certain profile, inevitably they are caught for their activities

“I got doxxed by going to Charlottesville and then irresponsibly letting myself be filmed by VICE during their Cantwell interview,” FriendlyFash said in the Montreal Storm chat. Bélanger-Mercure was “the other guy that got doxxed with me.” Doxxing is when a person’s identity is revealed publicly, and is a tactic the anti-fascists and far-right use against each other.

After posting about being unmasked, FriendlyFash shared links to VICE and Montreal Gazette articles about Beauvais-MacDonald.

“No regrets. I went full [fascist] and posted the 14 words with my profile picture [on Facebook],” FriendlyFash said. He was referring to the 14-word white supremacist slogan “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

The slogan was coined by American white supremacist David Lane while serving a 190-year prison sentence for the murder of a Jewish talk show host. On Facebook at the time, Beauvais-MacDonald described himself as the “friendly neighbourhood fascist,” mirroring the username on the Discord encrypted chat.

“I’m in now with no going back,” FriendlyFash wrote.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Bélanger-Mercure said he was not a white supremacist, but went to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville “for the lulz” and to be entertained.

Among rank-and-file members of Montreal Storm, the fear of having their identities uncovered was so significant that Zeiger wrote and distributed a guide on how not to get doxxed.


Vincent Bélanger-Mercure, whose connection with the alt-right in Quebec emerged after the violent rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. Photo from the Facebook page of Anti-Pégida, an organization dedicated to combating anti-immigrant and xenophobic hate groups. For use on Monday, May 14, online and print about alt-right groups in Montreal. Montreal-Gazette

When Beauvais-MacDonald was outed, his connections to a network of Quebec far-right groups began to surface. Behind the scenes, he’d already told the Montreal Storm members that he was head of anglophone recruitment at La Meute, the largest far-right organization in Quebec.

In public, La Meute distanced itself from Beauvais-MacDonald, suspending his membership and denouncing the rally in Charlottesville. But he still marched alongside them during a rally in Quebec City that summer, wearing the group’s trademark wolf iconography.

During another rally to protest the arrival of asylum seekers at the Canada-U.S. border in Lacolle, Beauvais-MacDonald marched next to members of the far-right group Storm Alliance. Most covered their faces with bandanas and sunglasses but he made no effort to conceal his identity.

Years earlier, Beauvais-MacDonald had been an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter. He competed on an amateur card at Bar Skratch in Laval in 2009, losing his first and only bout by unanimous decision.

A photo from the Lacolle protest shows that while his fighting days may be behind him, Beauvais-MacDonald remains an imposing figure. His neck bulges from a black T-shirt and his short stature seems only to emphasize a pair of wide, muscular shoulders.

He strikes a menacing pose in the photo, staring down a group of counter-protesters with his fists wrapped in black leather gloves. Bélanger-Mercure was also at the Lacolle protest, sporting a baseball helmet with a crucifix etched into it.

Before Beauvais-MacDonald’s public split with La Meute, FriendlyFash privately heaped abuse on the group’s older demographic. During chats with Montreal Storm, he called them “boomers” and “baby f***ers.” He claimed his involvement with them was, among other things, part of a strategy to prevent the Jewish Defence League from gaining influence in La Meute.


Signage unfurled from an overpass that reads “Unmask the enemies of the nation.” It appears on the Facebook page of Atalante, a fascist organization based primarily in Quebec City. For use with a feature on the alt-right in Quebec to be published in print and online May 14.Montreal-Gazette

The JDL is a far-right Jewish organization whose American branch was alleged by the FBI to be a terrorist group in a 2000-01 report. The Canadian branch is independent of its American counterpart.

FriendlyFash acted, it appears, as a bridge between different far-right organizations. In the lead-up to last summer’s failed anti-immigrant demonstration at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, he wrote that the protest was cancelled because “a very blatant neo-Nazi” and “close acquaintance of mine” had organized it. He then posted a photo of Philippe Gendron, an organizer with the Soldiers of Odin.

Beauvais-MacDonald maintains ties with another extremist group: Atalante Quebec. On that group’s Facebook page, Beauvais-MacDonald is sometimes the only person with his face uncovered in photographs.

He also appears to have participated in a January 2018 action with Atalante branding. That night, a group of people dropped banners targeting Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, CEGEP professor Xavier Camus, activist Jaggi Singh, and others. The targets were called “parasites” if they were people of colour and “traitors” if they were white. Each banner featured Atalante’s lightning-bolt logo.

When the Montreal Gazette asked Beauvais-MacDonald to clarify his political views, he said that accepting an interview would be “as useful as trying to stay dry by pissing in the wind.”

“Traitors like you often go on about wanting to prevent radicalization, but you do nothing but foment it,” he wrote. “I’ve actively dissuaded young men from violence. … When successful in your witch hunts you’ll create men with nothing to lose.”


A poster calling CEGEP professor Xavier Camus a traitor. The photo appears on the Facebook page of Atalante, a fascist organization based primarily in Quebec City. For use with a feature on the alt-right in Quebec to be published in print and online May 14. Montreal-Gazette

Another key Montreal player goes by the username “LateOfDies.” He first appears in the Montreal Storm chat a few weeks after its creation and remains a moderator throughout the duration of the logs.

In late December 2017, another user describes how LateOfDies acts as the gatekeeper for the crew’s secret Facebook group, which requires in-person vetting by LateOfDies, FriendlyFash or Zeiger in order to enter.

Unlike Zeiger, the name LateOfDies does not appear in forums outside the Discord server. There is, however, a person who uses the pseudonym “Date of Lies,” or sometimes simply “Date” who regularly appears on white supremacist podcasts and in neo-Nazi literature connected to Montreal and Quebec.

It was Date who had asked to buy shields and gear from American users ahead of Charlottesville. Date has also appeared on podcasts with Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald — who used the alias Friendly Fash (two words, rather than one), just like in Montreal Storm.

Date identifies himself as a leader within Generation Identity Canada in a white supremacist podcast from October 2017. That group, which recently rebranded itself as ID Canada, has posted propaganda around Concordia and McGill in the past. Date also claimed to have been involved in the “Make Canada Great Again” posters that went up around McGill shortly after Donald Trump’s election.

In an interview with Harfang, the secret newsletter of the neo-Nazi group Fédération des Québécois de Souche, Date says that Generation Identity was formerly called Alt Right Montreal.


A poster that reads: “Valérie Plante = Traîtresse.” Plante is the mayor of Montreal and the poster was mounted at Montreal City Hall in January 2018. The photo appears on the Facebook page of Atalante, a fascist organization based primarily in Quebec City. For use with a feature on the alt-right in Quebec to be published in print and online May 14. Montreal-Gazette

During the same interview, he also claims to have marched in Charlottesville.

The evolution of Generation Identity Canada’s branding is reflective of a shift in strategy for various alt-right groups. As the term “alt-right” became toxic after the violence in Charlottesville, the groups which organized under its umbrella attempted to rebrand.

The switch from Generation Identity to ID Canada reflects the push, exemplified by Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer, for groups to adopt “patriotic” positions as cover for their white supremacist ideology.

ID Canada, whose membership seems to be mostly drawn from the Montreal Storm crew, appears to be an attempt to bring such a strategy to life. The group refers to itself as “identitarian,” drawing on the European far-right theory. They frame their actions specifically in the language of patriotism, and reverence for (white) Canadian history.

On its frequently asked questions page, ID Canada even denies harbouring racist views. “We do not see ourselves as superior to others on the simple basis of our skin colour. … We are an identitarian movement that seeks to preserve our culture, customs, traditions and values etc.”

One of the lasting effects of the violence in Charlottesville was its blow to the far-right’s ability to raise money and spread propaganda online. In late August 2017, PayPal began cracking down on groups that use its site to fund hate groups. The Daily Stormer, one of the largest white nationalist news sites on the internet, was kicked off American, Chinese and Russian servers before being pushed onto the dark web, a network of websites that are only accessible through a special internet browser.

“Charlottesville marked the beginning of a sharp downturn for the [far-right],” Balgord said. “Their ability to move money around was severely constrained. Their ability to operate on social media and use chat platforms was severely constrained.”

Shutting down the alt-right’s main platforms of communication hampered its ability to recruit, spread propaganda and radicalize new people, Balgord said.

“By exposing them, we contain them. By driving them off these platforms, we contain them. They never fully go away but we minimize the damage they do.”

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