Prolific neo-Nazi propagandist "Zeiger" outed as Montreal-based Gabriel Sohier Chaput

On Thursday, the Montreal Gazette unmasked prominent Canadian neo-Nazi Gabriel Sohier Chaput as "Zeiger," a prolific propagandist and leader at the heart of a resurgence of fascist activity both on and offline in recent years.

Chaput is a Montreal-based IT consultant in his early 30s but moonlights as a Daily Stormer contributor and one of the far right's most credible and competent radio personalities. His online fascist career also included serving as moderator of the now defunct neo-Nazi forum Iron March and the head editor of the fascist zine NOOSE.

Chaput’s work is revered by several terrorist organizations linked to violence, including Atomwaffen Division (AWD), a terroristic, national socialist organization that formed out of Iron March. Chaput was AWD’s primary publicist and helped the group rise to prominence by regularly promoting it on the Daily Stormer.

New and longtime white supremacists continue to find value in his enormous catalog of work. Because of this, he is one of the most effective strategists active in the North American far right.

In a podcast titled, "This is the Plan," released on May 19, 2016 — 9 days after his first byline at the Daily Stormer, Zeiger spoke at length about creating effective propaganda and the importance of developing an internal culture for young recruits.

"If you create memes, stories, if you have discussions, you have speeches, you bond together at events, you create a culture of in-jokes and things like that, if you have all of this, this is propaganda," Chaput observed. "It's an emotional system that's going to make people fall in with a common worldview. It's going to create a strong group. That's going to create loyalty."

Chaput likely refined these tactics during his tenure as a member and eventually as a moderator of Iron March. The "global fascist fraternity" was respected on the far right for its strict internal culture, serious discussion of extremist politics, and distinct style. In a November 30, 2017, episode of his podcast Race Ghost: Roast to Roast, Andrew Auernheimer — most commonly known by his pseudonym "weev" — eulogized the forum, crediting it for redefining what it is to "look like a fascist."

Auernheimer also praised the forum for creating, "cultural artifacts that are reproducible and can be redistributed," a project that Chaput was intimately involved in, as demonstrated by the persistent influence of both his recordings and back issues of NOOSE.

Chaput introduced himself to Iron March on December 9, 2012:

My name is Zeiger, a french canadian from Quebec. I've gradually changed my point of view on politics, economics and social issues in an increasingly conservative direction. Materials from the national alliance, the national socialists and other conservative sources have "awakened" me to the painful realities of my society in past months, and I want to do something to effect change.

I found this site while looking for quebec right wing groups I could join, and saw that there were a few canadians posting on the forum and discussing local issues.

The situation here where I live is almost desperate. Merely being a "conservative" here (never mind a Fascist!) is politically incorrect in the utmost, and I'm constantly baffled by the confusion of people here about political and social issues. We have people here who claim to be nationalists and who promote third world immigration, compromise with ethnic minorities about laws and other similar nonsense.

I'm in the process of reading your open letter to the white man, which is quite interesting.

Chaput's interest in National Alliance (NA) materials is notable, as the group was for decades one of the largest, best organized and most dangerous neo-Nazi organizations in the United States. The NA's membership included assassins, bombers and bank robbers. William Pierce, the group's founder, is the author of The Turner Diaries, the novel that inspired Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.

The Turner Diaries, which depicts a race war following the violent overthrow of the United States government, was a favorite of Iron March users — particularly among the ultra-violent AWD. Brandon Russell, a founder of AWD who was sentenced earlier this year to five years in prison for possession of explosive materials, kept a framed photo of McVeigh in his room. Other AWD members are linked to five murders in the past year.

Chaput's vision for spreading fascism relied on a group like AWD as a silent partner working to undermine "the system" in support of a more legitimate, public-facing nationalist organization that would be amenable to the general public.

In his May 19, 2016, podcast, Chaput clearly laid out this strategy:

What I envision here is that there are going to be two different organizations that develop. One of them is going to be public and the other one is going to be mostly hidden. The public organization is going to be very nationalistic. It's going to promote traditional values. It will project a strong image. Think of something like Golden Dawn or Casa Pound. But that organization is not going to do anything illegal and it's not going to directly attack the system. Its activities might not even include political activism. It might be organizing sports. It will be helping people. It will be providing networking opportunities. It will build infrastructure and so on. ... But there's going to be another organization — a hidden one — and it's going to be much more militant. All of its activities will be focused on undermining the system.

Six members of National Action – a similarly oriented neo-Nazi organization based in the UK that also had a strong presence on Iron March – were arrested in January of 2018 on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. AWD members, including Russell, traveled to the UK to network with National Action members in 2015.

The group hosted a PDF copy of one of Chaput's best known works, titled "Hammer of the Patriot: A Handbook on Rhetorical Counter-Terrorism," on their site. The 140-page manual is designed to help adherents of far-right extremism win debates with their ideological foes.

The basic strategy in verbal struggles against our enemies is quite elementary: punish the liberal when he attacks you or makes absurd statements, reward him when he admits to agreeing with your points, and continuously reward the audience to enforce the idea that they're on your side. The meat of this book is a catalog of liberal arguments — or “sound bites" — and examples of effective rebuttals. But the rebuttals have been carefully crafted, not to be logically bullet proof, but to place you in a more dominant position. The point is to punish their impertinence, not convince them of the error of their ways.

Chaput demonstrated how his verbal strategies are intended to be used during a February 26, 2017 episode of his radio program Hammercast. Responding to a prompt about explaining the inherently violent aspects of establishing a white ethnostate, Chaput told his co-host Kessler, "You don't get into the practical aspects with ordinary people because they aren't at that state yet. There's no point in telling people the precise steps that are going to be taken because they're not part of some group that's agitating for it."

He continued, "Well, talking about violence—that's a separate topic. It’s something you can defend. Use of violence is not a problem if you know how to defend the use of violence. If you're ready to take that step and stand firm ... then you respond to [criticisms] by saying this is what is true and what is right and if people don't have the spine to do what is right because they are afraid to lose their comfort and safety then they don't deserve to make decisions for other people."

When Kessler replied that Chaput's approach could be considered "pretty hardline," Chaput responded, "Depends on the circumstances."

Comments, suggestions or tips? Send them to HWeditor@splcenter.org and follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.