Stewart Bell, National Post · May 28, 2011 | Last Updated: May 28, 2011 9:18 AM ET
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been a lot of things during his more than four decades in power: coup leader, revolutionary, nuclear proliferator, dictator -and friend of the Canadian racist movement.
Libyan agents began forging ties with the leaders of Canada's extreme right in the late 1980s. Twice, the Gaddafi regime brought delegations of Canadian "white nationalists" to Tripoli, where they were feted and given cash.
"The common ground was the hatred of Jews," said Grant Bristow, who went on one of the trips in his capacity as an undercover Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent. "That was the basis of the relationship."
The Libyan support for Canada's racist right is a reminder that long before Col. Gaddafi began his brutal crackdown on the Libyan opposition, triggering a NATO military intervention, he had been an international menace, fomenting violence and unrest.
Even in Canada. In 1987, the Libyans invited the Nationalist Party of Canada to send a delegation to an event marking the first anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Tripoli, said the Toronto-based party's longtime leader, Don Andrews.
President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes on Col. Gaddafi's compound after Libyan agents bombed a German nightclub, killing American servicemen. The dictator survived but his adopted daughter died.
"I knew they needed the white faces for Libya's one-year celebration of the Reagan bombing," Mr. Andrews said in a recent interview. "I knew we'd be used as propaganda but I thought, 'Sure, why not. We don't mind that."
Based out of a house in east Toronto, the Nationalist Party was Mr. Andrews's latest far right group. Before that he had headed the Western Guard. "White People," read one of his flyers, "Canada belongs to us."
He said the Libya trip was mostly just a free vacation in the desert but the Nationalist Party also opposed "foreign aggression," such as the U.S. air strikes. He sent a delegation of 13 to Tripoli. The Libyans paid for the trip and gave the group US$700.
Two years later, Mr. Andrews was invited to send another delegation, this time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the coup that brought Col. Gaddafi to power. Mr. Andrews sent Wolfgang Droege, the co-founder of the Canadian Ku Klux Klan. He had just been released from a California prison. Also on the trip was Mr. Bristow, who was posing as a racist while he spied on Mr. Droege. "We sent 17 the second time," Mr. Andrews said.
In an interview, Mr. Bristow called it "the great Libyan adventure." The Libyan government paid for everything. He said Mr. Droege saw the trip as a chance to lobby Col. Gaddafi's regime to fund the Canadian racist movement.
"Droege was hoping to set up a long-term relationship with the Libyans," recalled Mr. Bristow, who now lives in Alberta under the name Nathan Black. "He was looking at maybe there could be some stable, substantial movement funding from the Libyans."
As documented in Warren Kinsella's 1996 book Web of Hate, the delegates flew to Rome and then to Malta, where they boarded a ship to Libya. "We got taken off the boat and moved to a place that we jokingly referred to as Camp Gaddafi, which looked like it was a foreign worker type compound for oil workers or something," Mr. Bristow said. "It had a swimming pool, almost like guest villas."
The Nationalist Party delegates visited the Tripoli market and the ancient Phoenician trading post at Subratha. They toured the house bombed by U.S. warplanes, which had been converted into a museum.
thank you BPL