Vandals sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti on Holocaust memorials at a former Nazi concentration camp in Poland, desecration that authorities discovered Saturday and are investigating. Words including ''Jude Raus'' -- German for ''Jew Out'' -- and ''Hitler Good!'' in English, were found in red paint Saturday on a large monument at the former Plaszow camp near Krakow. A smaller memorial plaque was also painted with a swastika and ''Jude Raus.'' The vandalism was discovered a day before a planned memorial march marking the 67th anniversary of the liquidation of Krakow's ghetto. On March 13, 1943, German soldiers started a two-day action in which they emptied Krakow's ghetto of its estimated 16,000 Jewish residents, shipping them to Plaszow and to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The news agency PAP quoted a police official, Anna Zbroja, as saying authorities are on the spot trying to determine when the vandalism occurred. The Plaszow camp featured in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning film ''Schindler's List,'' which chronicled efforts by German industrialist Oskar Schindler to save Jews by having them work in his Krakow factory.
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Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.
We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.
We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Police say a man with a gun walked into Great West Chrysler near Stony Plain Road and 178th Street at about 7:50 a.m. MT and started shooting.
It's believed he shot and killed one man, shot and wounded another and then turned the gun on himself.
Sources have identified the shooter as Dave Burns, 55, an employee who was recently suspended for making racial comments.
Co-workers say he didn't get along well with visible minorities, and some went as far as to describe him as a white supremacist.
They also tell CBC News that Burns had a swastika tattooed on his body and had a very hot temper.
Sources have identified the dealership's parts manager, Garth Radons, as the man pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was one of the first police officers on scene and it's believed she found his body.
A third employee, identified only as Mike, is in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Condolences pour in for victims
A Facebook memorial page set up in honour of the victims had more than 200 members and dozens of posts by Saturday afternoon.
One person described Radons as "the sweetest guy ever" whose "smile lit up every one around him."
Co-workers describe him as a fun and outgoing guy, who was passionate about baseball.
Meanwhile, the thoughts of staff at the dealership have turned to whether the worker identified as Mike will survive his life-threatening wounds.
Bart Yachimec, the dealership's owner, said his wounded employee has undergone two operations since the shooting.
"Our prayers go out to the families. We still have one in the hospital that I'm going down to check on. We hope that he makes it, we pray that he makes it. That is the key now," Yachimec said Saturday.
"They operated on him and he came out. They had to take him back in for a second operation."
Yachimec declined to confirm the names of the shooter or the victims because of the ongoing police investigation. But he said the suspect had worked at the dealership for more than 20 years and the fatal shooting victim for 15 years.
"I had known the man for a long time. I just can't figure out what happened. He just snapped. Something went awry somehow. I know he was very attached to this dealership," he said.
"We have talked to a lot of people about it and that is what they are all saying. Not when they worked together for years."
One person who knew Burns from Alberta's four-by-four vehicle community said that when he heard about the shooting he just couldn't believe it.
"This was a guy who snapped for no apparent reason. It was not like he was a monster," said Corey Kruchkowski.
He said Burns helped organize the growing movement in the province to drive off-road vehicles in an environmentally responsible way.
"This guy obviously was an altruistic person in some parts of his personality. If you met him in the years before this happened you would never think that this was someone who could hurt people."
Employees have been offered grief counselling to deal with the violent loss of their colleague. There is already talk of how they will help the families of the victims. A memorial service will also be held at some point, but for now everyone is still trying to come to terms with what happened.
The dealership was to remain closed over the weekend.
Autopsies on the suspect and the victim are scheduled for Monday.
Serguei Serykh, 43, his wife Tatiana and Mr Serykh's stepson died after falling 15 floors at the Red Road flats in the Springburn area on 7 March.
About 200 people, including charities, faith groups, unions and locals marched from the flats to George Square.
They called for an end to the "enforced removal of refugee families".
The BBC understands the Russian family, who will not be formally identified until next-of-kin have been informed, had previously been granted asylum in Canada but left after a dispute with the authorities there.
They first arrived in the UK in 2007 and had been living at the tower block at 63 Petershill Drive, which is currently let to the YMCA, since 2 February this year.
Their application to remain in the UK had recently been refused but they had not been issued with a removal order.
According to a source familiar with the case, the family had been told that they had to leave their flat in Springburn after their application was refused.
No removal order had been issued, however, and they were advised to seek help from the Scottish Refugee Council to find alternative accommodation.
The family are believed to have jumped to their deaths shortly before 0845 GMT on 7 March.
The bodies were discovered by the concierge at the tower block.
The march, which was organised by the charity Positive Action in Housing, is also calling for the immediate return of Stephanie Ovranah and her twin six-year-old sons, Joshua and Joel.
The charity said the family were detained "without warning" on 4 March at Brand Street reporting centre in Glasgow before being moved to Yarl's Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire.
It said the children were "terrified of being returned to Africa, which they do not know or remember".
The rally is calling for them to be returned "to their friends, neighbours and local church in Glasgow's Cranhill where they have lived for past five five years".
Opponents of the anti-Islam group said that it was finished north of the border and cited religious bigotry as one of the main factors behind its failure.
With the organisation apparently in meltdown, the Sunday Herald can reveal the group has only 25 members. Less than 100 SDL supporters attended a recent rally in Edinburgh where they were outnumbered by a coalition of more than 2,000 anti-fascists.
The rally was only the second time they had protested north of the border, and the low turn-out was in stark contrast to the English Defence League, which attracted more than 1,500 people to its last event in Stoke
Amid allegations that some members were police informers, the SDL closed its Facebook page after the capital rally and directed supporters to a members-only website with strict instructions that anyone wishing to join must be known by at least two people in the SDL.
The SDL previously claimed it had 800 supporters but the new site lists only 25 members. One member called Mark1690 uses a picture of King William of Orange on a white horse while another uses the moniker God Save Our Queen. The site has a video of Enoch Powell giving his infamous Rivers of Blood speech in 1968.
In England, the core of the English Defence League is football hooligan firms who have called an unprecedented nationwide truce to support the movement, but in Scotland this collective agreement has failed to materialise.
The Sunday Herald has learned that casuals who follow Hibernian and Celtic football clubs planned to attack the SDL in Edinburgh because it is made up mainly of protestant Rangers and Hearts football fans.
Members of the Capital City Service, a hooligan group that attaches itself to Hibernian, said Celtic fans had contacted them in advance of the SDL demo and asked to join together. “We were already making our own plans to ambush the SDL. The CCS would never support the SDL,” a CCS member said.
Luke Henderson, of Unite Against Fascism, said sectarianism had undoubtedly played a major part in denting support for the SDL. “The Scottish disease [sectarianism] meant that many football casuals refused to support a right-wing SDL comprising mainly of Rangers fans. There has also been a mass mobilisation against the SDL from the outset in Scotland and we have built a strong activist base.”
David Miller, Professor of Sociology at the University of Strathclyde and founder of the politics website Spinwatch, said that the failure of the SDL to garner support also reflected the political landscape in Scotland.
He said: “I think it is related to the more consensual approach of the political parties in Scotland. The political class in England has not been as united against the EDL. The sight of Tory Annabel Goldie addressing an anti-racist demonstration on Glasgow Green is one obvious contrast.
“Those associated with the David Cameron leadership in London, especially think-tanks like the Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion, have been at the forefront of Muslim baiting and have limited the chances of a common response. There is also more support for the British National Party in England.”
Spinwatch revealed recently that some SDL leaders were members of the British National Party, but this claim was denied by the group.
Casuals United, a nationwide umbrella group of football casuals that supports the English, Scottish and Welsh Defence Leagues, admitted that it had not been possible to unite hooligan “firms” north of the border.
“The Scottish football lads seem unable to forget their differences and cannot get past the sectarian divide. We are speaking to various Scottish firms, trying to unite them, and we will not give up,” said Mickey Smith, a hooligan with Cardiff City’s Soul Crew, and spokesman for Casuals United. His colleague Jeff Marsh, founder of both Casuals United and the Welsh Defence League, was sentenced last week for causing an affray and possessing an offensive weapon.
Marsh pleaded guilty and was given a four-month suspended jail term, 150 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £600 costs. He was also banned from football matches for five years.
Marsh was arrested in Cardiff last summer after attacking Celtic fans who had travelled for a friendly match with Cardiff City.
What remains of the SDL remains defiant, however, and the group claimed to have held a small vigil in Lockerbie last week. The meeting had been scheduled for March 27 in response to Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi but was brought forward.
An SDL spokesman said: “The reason we changed the date was simple, we had no interest in bringing disorder and the red fascist circus to this lovely Scottish town.
“We wanted to remember those who were murdered [in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103] with dignity and without left-wing fascists charging around the town looking for confrontation.”
It was also claimed that EDL supporters were in discussions about visiting Northern Ireland for the annual July 12 Orange parades. The claim was made by the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, but denied by Alan Lake, an EDL leader in London, who said he had no knowledge of a Northern Ireland connection.
A spokesman for the Orange Order said anyone intent on violence should not travel to parades in Northern Ireland.
“Our parades celebrate our culture and tradition and are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people across Northern Ireland. Anyone who wishes to attend these parades for other reasons than to celebrate Orangeism is not welcome,” he said.
The Rangers Worldwide Alliance, an official global network of supporters clubs, was contacted but declined to comment.
The Newport East Labour AM is a fierce critic of the BBC decision last year to have BNP leader Nick Griffin on the Question Time panel.
He believes the party must not be presented as part of the political mainstream.
He challenged rival parties and organisations hosting hustings to deny the BNP publicity.
Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said they would debate with the BNP with the aim of exposing it as a party of “thugs and fascists”.
Mr Griffiths said: “I certainly call on them not to share a platform with the BNP because I think it does give the wrong message of the acceptability of the organisation.”
The BNP said in a written statement: “[This] just shows how frightened Labour is of voters hearing what the British National Party has to say.”
But Mr Griffiths insisted that the BNP should not be seen as a “bona fide political party”.
He said: “They have had some success presenting themselves as a mainstream party, which they are not. They are getting more publicity through appearances like Question Time.
“I think it’s all very worrying, especially perhaps when we live in an age which is anti-politics and the mainstream parties are viewed with considerable suspicion because of issues like MPs’ expenses and sleaze and so on.”
The Conservatives are prepared to take part in hustings if all the other parties are represented.
Tory Assembly leader Nick Bourne said: “We think their agenda is vicious and needs to be exposed. It isn’t what people in Britain have stood for – I’m absolutely clear on that.
“I think they are nasty, vicious thugs.”
Mr Bourne said views between mainstream politicians differed on how to tackle the BNP but the parties agreed “they need tackling”.
He said: “I think there is a great danger in pretending they are not there. That’s probably what happened in Hitler’s Germany – people pretended they would go way and they didn’t.”
Mr Griffiths was not impressed by recent changes to the BNP constitution to admit people from ethnic minorities.
He said: “I think it’s part of their attempts to mislead people, to change their image and make them think they are something they are not.”
Plaid Cymru does not want their candidates to take part in hustings with the BNP but will not stop them from doing so.
A spokeswoman said: “Plaid Cymru believes that, wherever possible, the party's elected members and candidates should do all in their power to reach agreement with other mainstream parties not to share a platform with the BNP.
“Where this is not possible, and the choice is between sharing a platform and leaving an empty chair, elected members and candidates are free to challenge and defeat the racist lies peddled by the BNP by choosing to appear on a platform with their representatives.
“However, no candidate or elected member would be compelled to share a platform with the BNP.”
The Liberal Democrats were ready to engage the BNP in open debate.
As spokesman said: “If the BNP is invited to an event, the Welsh Liberal Democrats should be there to take them on. The BNP has no interest in the important matters that people really care about – jobs, the NHS, good quality schools and reducing the tax burden for hard-working people.
“We should be there to show people that the BNP are a party of thugs and fascists with no answers to the important issues facing Wales today.”
Mr Griffiths said there were ways to attack the BNP other than taking part in the same hustings.
According to Home Office guidelines, in cases where there is evidence that a person seeking asylum has been tortured they should be detained only in "exceptional circumstances". But medical charities that carry out hundreds of independent assessments of torture survivors every year have accused the government of routinely ignoring their reports, with victims held in detention centres until their asylum claims are heard – and, in almost every case, rejected.
Sonya Sceats, a spokeswoman for one charity that carries out medical assessments for the government, told the Observer: "It's very clear there is a systemic and increasing problem here. The corollary of their dismissal of independent medical evidence is that the protection [asylum] claim is invariably rejected and this means a survivor of torture is at risk of being returned to further torture or at risk of detention."
The allegations come in the wake of strong criticism last week of the UK Border Agency, which was condemned for failing to investigate claims of mistreatment by failed asylum seekers in abuse allegations up to July 2008. Ministers now plan to review the use of force against asylum seekers by British security guards after a Border Agency report on abuse conceded that serious injuries were suffered by detainees who had been handcuffed or physically restrained.
The new allegations further highlight systematic mistreatment in Britain's asylum system. One 43-year-old torture victim from Zimbabwe, who is on hunger strike in Yarl's Wood detention centre, Bedfordshire, alleged she was detained despite independent verification of the abuse in her home country.
Her arms are scarred from repeated stabbings during an incident in Zimbabwe in which she was also beaten and raped. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been in Yarl's Wood for five months and alleges medical mistreatment and racist abuse by staff, claims that have been denied. She told the Observer: "The officers are racist and are not sympathetic. We have suffered and don't want to be tortured here, but inside here it is a form of torture but nobody can see us locked up."
Bibiche Lutete, 36, was beaten and repeatedly raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the UN has confirmed rape is used as a weapon of war. After seeking asylum in the UK, she said she had been further traumatised while being illegally held in a British detention centre. She also claimed to have suffered "medical abuse" and had anxiety attacks after witnessing a naked woman dragged from her room in Yarl's Wood by private security guards, claims robustly denied by the Home Office.
"Everybody was shocked," she said. "She had no clothes on and she was photographed. I still get flashbacks."
The Medical Foundation For the Care of Victims of Torture, the UK charity dedicated to the treatment of torture survivors, said it had lodged complaints with the Home Office over concerns that its assessments documenting evidence of abuse among asylum seekers were being increasingly dismissed by officials. The foundation cited figures from the last 18 months showing only seven people had been released from detention out of 250 cases where clinical evidence of abuse had been presented.
The Border Agency denied it dismissed the evidence of independent medical experts. Hugh Ind, the agency's director for protection, said: "We consider all evidence submitted in support of asylum claims very carefully, including claims of torture. Where an individual sets out a credible case that they are in need of protection, we normally grant asylum."
An Observer investigation has also found that the number of "assaults" against refugees in detention centres remains high. The charity Medical Justice Network has documented at least 15 recent cases where a detainee claims they were assaulted, while allegations by asylum seekers of inadequate healthcare are running at eight a month.
A number involve torture survivors, including one from the DRC who ended up in hospital last March after sustaining severe handcuff injuries during an attempted deportation from the UK by private security guards. His complaint to the Border Agency tells how six guards restrained him on a plane and that "one turned round trying to strangle me by my throat while the other was banging my head on the seat in front".
The government is trying to clear a backlog of 200,000 asylum cases, though the border agency admits it can process fewer than half its target applications a month. Three Russians refugees leapt to their death from the 15th floor of a block of flats in Glasgow last Sunday, prompting further concern over the treatment of asylum seekers. Yesterday hundreds of people joined a rally in the city and called for an end to the "enforced removal of refugee families".
By day Gareth Mead works in one of Britain’s most ethnically-diverse communities.
Mead, 44, is in charge of social housing and homelessness in Hammersmith and Fulham, where his duties include helping decide who is eligible for a council house or emergency homeless shelter.
But at night he poses in front of a swastika in full SS regalia and tells other lovers of the vile fetish: “Gas the Jews and Wogs.”
In a series of shocking photos seen by the Sunday Mirror, the high-ranking council official shows off his array of fascist outfits.
In one shot, Mead reclines on a sofa, wearing jackboots, leather trousers, a khaki shirt with swastika armband and a Nazi officers’ hat.
In another photo, shaven-headed Mead stares menacingly into the camera, dressed in “bovver boy” boots, bomber jacket and swastika T-shirt
Mead also sent racist texts to men he met on fetish websites. In one he wrote: “Turn on the furnaces for those Jewish boys and let them burn in hell with us 2 Nazis j****** off on their terrified screams.”
In another he said: “Gas the f****** WOGS too! Look forward to seeing your pictures mate. HEIL HITLER! Your nazi buddy.”
As one of the council’s top housing officials, Mead heads a team of around 20 staff who manage housing policies at Hammersmith and Fulham.
The authority, where almost a quarter of residents are from an ethnic minority, is one of David Cameron’s flagship Tory councils.
But in recent years the housing policy has been likened to “ethnic cleansing” for discriminating against poor and ethnic minority tenants.
Plans drawn up by Cameron’s Council Innovation Unit could involve rent hikes and the demolition of 3,500 houses which would not be replaced – forcing thousands to move.
In January the council was ordered to pay £750 to a pregnant black woman fleeing domestic violence who they had refused to provide support and accommodation to.
Mead met some of his contacts through a website aimed at gay men who are into leather and uniforms.
His profile – which was active as recently as last week – describes him as a “friendly, fit, intelligent, clean-living guy who happens to enjoy leather and who has a bit of a twisted side to him”.
He adds: “Have a great b/f who’s not into leather so we have the usual ‘arrangement’ so I’m looking for buddies and occasional leather sex.”
One man who met Mead – who has been with Hammersmith and Fulham Council for several years – said: “What he was texting was really too much.
“I could not believe that he had such extreme views while he is earning a lot of council taxpayers’ money paying lip service to multi-cultural political correctness.
“The pictures showed just how far he had gone with the whole thing. He had all the bits to go with the uniform. He even had a gun in one picture laid out on a Nazi flag.”
When we confronted Mead about his Nazi secret, he admitted exchanging extreme messages.
But he claimed: “It’s a private fetish – I’m not interested in anything political and I’m not a racist. There are Jewish men who do this as well.”
Asked if he believed his bosses would accept his racist fetish, he said: “I would have thought not, but I think there will be sympathy for me. I am well-regarded by white and black colleagues.”
After the Sunday Mirror contacted Hammersmith and Fulham Council with our story, Mead was suspended pending a full disciplinary investigation.
A leaked email to BNP councillors revealed that the party is running a secret campaign to destabilise the Prevent strategy, set up three years ago to tackle "the specific problem of a small minority of young Muslims being attracted to violent groups".
The Home Office strategy, originally called "Preventing Violent Extremism", pledged £45m for local initiatives designed to coax youngsters away from "individuals preaching hatred and violence in the name of Islam" and integrate them into their communities.
However, it was "rebranded" last year to take in wider issues, including the threat from political extremism, following complaints that the programme stigmatised the Muslim community. Councils have now been ordered to establish their own Prevent strategies to combat extremism in their areas.
The Secretary of State for Communities, John Denham, said: "At the current time, the greatest terrorist threat remains that from al-Qa'ida-linked violent extremism. At the same time, we also need to tackle other potential support for violent extremism, including that from racist and fascist groups."
The BNP has complained that the modified strategy is now allowing councils to target the party and it members – and it has enlisted its councillors in an attempt to undermine the strategy.
In a councillors' bulletin last month, the BNP councillor liaison officer, James North, told colleagues: "Due to complaints that [Prevent] was picking on Muslims they widened it out to include all extremism and implied that they were also targeting right-wing extremism. In some areas they focus their energy on areas where we are active – eg target wards.
"If you have any knowledge of a Prevent strategy in your area could you please send information back, so we can build a more widespread picture of areas that are affected and then we can get local groups active to derail it before it takes hold."
Mr North said yesterday that the BNP wanted to "derail attempts by the Labour regime to link the BNP to right-wing violent extremists". He added: "The email asks BNP councillors for details of all Prevent attempts to link the BNP to extremists so that the BNP can take measures to circumvent these false allegations and smears." But the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight called on the BNP to explain why it was trying to destabilise a government policy.
"This project protects the public from terrorists and violent extremists," a Searchlight spokesman said. "The fact that the BNP is trying to undermine it speaks volumes about its organisation and its membership. If it is a truly peaceful and democratic organisation, what is it afraid of?"
The clash follows a court ban on the BNP accepting new members because its rules are loaded against non-whites.
Nf activists claim their membership has surged by 70 per cent, swelled by BNP defectors angry at attempts to force them to comply with anti-racism laws.
The National Front hopes to field 25 election candidates, including one against BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Anti-fascist group Searchlight's spokesman said: "Griffin's humiliation has enraged his members."