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Last-Modified: 1994/06/17

From: (eye WEEKLY)
Newsgroups: can.general,alt.revisionism,io.eye
Subject: Anti-racist Sued By Racist For Defamation
Followup-To: can.general,alt.revisionism,io.eye.d
Date: 16 Jun 1994 15:49:12 -0400
Organization: Internex Online ( Data: 416-363-4151  Voice: 416-363-8676
Lines: 131
Message-ID: <2tqabo$>

eye WEEKLY                                                  June 16 1994
Toronto's arts newspaper                 every Thursday
NEWS & VIEWS                                                NEWS & VIEWS

                          HIGH NOON IN SALMON ARM

                              K.K. CAMPBELL

One of Canada's most active anti-racists is being sued by one of
Canada's leading racists for... well, calling her a racist. 

David Lethbridge, a doctor of psychology in Salmon Arm, B.C., and
director of the Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism (SACAR), is being
sued for defamation of character by Eileen and Claus Pressler, two
upper middle-class neighbors. Salmon Arm is a tourist town of maybe
13,000, about halfway between Calgary and Vancover, east of Kamloops on
the Trans-Canada Highway. 

Salmon Arm is pretty far from Toronto -- so "Why should I care?" you
ask? Well, should SACAR lose this case, anti-racists of every political
stripe would find themselves in a position where calling a member of,
say, the Ku Klux Klan a "racist" is actionable. Talk about muzzling

Eileen and Claus Pressler are wife and hubby. She's a cosmetologist and
former Social Credit government appointee; he runs a Pharmasave store.
In 1985, they formed the blandly named Council on Public Affairs (CPA).
Eileen heads it and edits the CPA Digest.

In Warren Kinsella's recent book Web Of Hate, an overview of Canada's
racist right, the author notes that since Eileen Pressler opened a card
shop in Salmon Arm in the early '80s -- in which she openly distributed
anti-Semitic and Christian white supremacist pamphlets -- the town has
evolved into an HQ for Canada's racist right. It may be small, but it
has a big rep. 

SACAR has produced two hefty documents focusing on the group Pressler
heads. The latest, a 140-page report, was released May 17. "It's sort
of High Noon here in Salmon Arm," Lethbridge told eye. "These people
have been able to work in the dark for years. Two years ago we started
shining some light on them, and they are scurrying like rats now." 

Effectively, Pressler is suing Lethbridge for continually pointing out
her activities. It started with a local CBC broadcast in which
Lethbridge called the CPA "anti-Semitic and racist" and suggested the
Presslers' ongoing 20-acre building project will ultimately turn Salmon
Arm into neo-Nazi party-town extraordinaire. But the suit recently

Now the Presslers say Lethbridge has tormented them in a "two-year
campaign of malice." Pressler's lawyer is Doug Christie -- lift a
racist rock, and guess what crawls out every time? Why, lovable Doug
Christie! The previous defender of pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel and
Holocaust denier Jim Keegstra has brought forward more than 60
documents to prove Lethbridge has orchestrated an inhuman conspiracy of
persecution against innocent citizens. 

                         GOOD CITIZEN PRESSLER

Let's see, Eileen Pressler holds "leadership conferences" attended by
Paul Cameron, Jud Cyllorn, Murray Gauvreau, Bo Gritz, David Irving,
Keegstra, Fred Leuchter, Eustace Mullins, Malcolm Ross, "Reverend"
Everett Sileven and Zundel. The 1992 fete was probably the largest
gathering of the international racist right in Canadian history. 

The CPA peddles Christian white supremacist lit and the usual
Holocaust-never-happened toilet paper, and publishes a digest that
reprints articles from a variety of international racist and
anti-Semitic sources, and in which the Canadian Liberty Net
(dial-a-racist) regularly advertised. 

Is there more? The B.C. legislature's Hansard contains an interesting
entry for May 1, 1992: MLA Bernie Simpson stated "Eileen Pressler is
behind... the Liberty Net"; she was noted for such altruistic civic
service as distributing Jewish Conspiracy literature and publishing a
phone number for racist messages against Jews and blacks. 

She was crowned "Canada's Woman of the Year" by the Canadian League of
Rights -- an organization with intimate links to the World
Anti-Communist League, labelled by staunch British conservative
Geoffrey Stewart-Smith as "a collection of Nazis, fascists,
anti-Semites, sellers of forgeries, vicious racialists and corrupt

Bottom line: a woman who schmoozes with Zundel, was dubbed a hatemonger
by the B.C. legislature, was crowned "Woman of the Year" by an
anti-Semitic group, visited South Africa twice in support of apartheid
and is suing a man for calling her a racist. 

                           GET REAL, EILEEN! 

Lethbridge stresses that Pressler's case should not be dismissed as a

"We take it extremely seriously. This is a precedent-setter. Should she
somehow win, it means every local neo-Nazi group can simply sue local
opposition for issuing pamphlets characterizing them as what they are."

SACAR says it needs $100,000 for legal fees. Lethbridge admits the sum
seems huge, but he says that's only 4,000 Canadians donating $25 each. 

"Before getting active three years ago," Lethbridge says, "I assumed
anti-racist groups were large and well-financed. It isn't true. They
are almost exclusively composed of volunteers. The racist right, on the
other hand, is much better organized and much better financed." 

Lethbridge understands that Toronto has mainly seen youth-oriented
racist-right movements. Out West, racists are older and middle-class --
i.e., richer. 

"I'm not saying Northern Hammerskins or Church of the Creator types in
east Canada aren't dangerous. But I agree with Sol Littman. It's
shirt-and-tie Nazis who are truly dangerous." 

Donations can be mailed to SACAR, 3521 -- 20 Avenue N.E., Salmon Arm,
B.C. V1E 4M4. 1-604-832-6678.

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