Racist web site spreads hate with impunity - though it's liked to arrests in France and England
by Greg Middleton, Sunday Province, Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, February 22, 1998
A B.C. man runs a racist site on the Internet that has led to 13 arrests in France and England.
Now anti-racism researcher Alan Dutton is demanding to know why police and B.C.'s attorney-general seem to
be doing nothing about Bernard Klatt of Oliver - despite repeated complaints by Jewish groups.
"This is an international scandal and B.C. is at the centre of it," Dutton said yesterday.,
"Complaints were made to the attorney-general and to the police. We're very concerned that no charges have
been laid here."
Police in France and England raided the headquarters of two anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi skinhead groups last week,
confiscating computers they say were used to spread hate.
The 13 people were charged with crimes including promoting racial hatred, uttering death threats and
desecrating a grave.
But authorities were unable to shut down the web site operated by the Charlemagne Hammer Skinheads and the
National Socialist Movement because they're in Canada, hosted by Barnard Klatt's Fairview Technology Centre in Oliver
in the Okanagan.
Sol Littman of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish lobby group dedicated to holocaust education, last month
demanded that police take action against Klatt.
Littman branded Oliver the "hate capital of Canada" for allowing Klatt to operate there.
The centre has now written to the Canadian ambassador to France asking for action. "It is regrettable that
several neo-Nazis can defy French law and they can continue to cover the "Net with their multiple racist insanities from
your country," the letter says.
Klatt, who runs his Internet service from home after being forced to move out of local cable company offices, also
hosts web pages for a dozen Canadian groups that Littman says are racist.
"We don't want to gloat, but we've been tracking these people for three years," Littman said. "They are bitter,
violent, nasty and vicious." Of Klatt's Internet server, he said most of the customers are "racially tinged," and at least a
dozen should be prosecuted under the hate laws.
Some of those web pages offer links to other groups that openly advocate a racial war against black and Jews.
"People don't seem to realize the danger," said Dutton, who is going to Oliver next week at the invitation of the
mayor to hold workshops on the dangers of racism. "The health and safety of the community is at risk."
Mayor Linda Larsen said more than 1,200 people in the community of 4,000 have signed a petition sent to
Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh last week politely demanding action. "We are of course concerned," said Larsen. "But
there is little we can do because this man has not been convicted of committing any crime."
Dosanjh is in India and not available for comment. Sgt. Rick McKenna of the provincial hate crimes unit would
say only that police are investigating Klatt.
Klatt in an interview by e-mail - the only way he will talk - denied he's a racist or that the material is hate
propaganda or illegal.
"It seems that nowadays all it takes to be labelled a hate group is to express a viewpoint that someone else or
some other group hates," Klatt said.
He says he's fighting a "freedom of speech" battle by giving people a voice.