Czech right-wing extremist and 9/11 apologist cozies up to new movement run by son of former President
The stir on the nationalist scene in the Czech Republic caused by the establishment of the Trikolóra (Tricolor) movement has also attracted attention from well-known faces on the extremist scene. Jan Kopal, the co-founder of several ultra-right groups who until recently was a member of Tomio Okamura's "Freedom and Direct Democracy" movement (SPD), has been boasting of his joint photograph with Václav Klaus, Jr, the Tricolor founder, on both Czech and Russian social media.
Kopal was thrown out of the SPD two years ago because of his extreme opinions. When Klaus, Jr celebrated his 50th birthday at the Kolčavka Brewery in Prague in mid-September, quite a few of his friends, political supporters of Tricolor, and random passers-by gathered there.
Klaus, Jr says that according to the number of drinks served, there were exactly 243 well-wishers in attendance. They included Kopal, whom the Antifa.cz news server calls the "matador" of the Czech neo-Nazi scene; his biggest "merit" is having been the first extremist activist to manage to unite different autonomous, radical groups under a unified name.
That was the "Nationally Social Bloc" (Národně sociální blok) and at the turn of the millenium it was Kopal's dream to make all the ultra-right groups, including the neo-Nazi National Resistance (Národní odpor), members of the bloc. Today, according to Antifa.cz, he is still living off of that recent "glory".
"At a minimum he constantly posts probably all of the dubious ultra-right events he gets invited to on Facebook," Antifa.cz writes. We will come back to Kopal's past and present activities in a moment.
Klaus, Jr: I don't know who that is
When asked about the photo by the HlídacíPes.org news server, the head of Tricolor said he doesn't know Kopal. He took the photo with him just as he did with the many other people who came to wish him well on his birthday.
"We didn't check anybody's id or vet anyone (I don't know who that is). I did not know most of the people personally, and most of them took photos," Klaus, Jr said.
Kopal was more expansive. After some traditional opening "courtship" phrases ("I don't know what I've done to deserve the interest of a sensationalist, tabloid journalist who used to be affiliated with an infamous disinformation television channel" - Editor's Note: By which he meant the public broadcaster Czech Television), he got to the essence of what he wanted to say.
The question asked him was whether he was planning to get involved with the Tricolor movement. "As an historian focused on contemporary history and the history of Czech political parties I see it as a natural component of my professional interest to find myself among those congratulating a future Czech President on his 50th birthday. Conservatives who are nationally-minded do not have much of a choice, and for that reason I acknowledge the creation of the new Tricolor movement," Kopal wrote in response.
Kopal said he sees Tricolor as another attempt to create a "Klausian" party, an effort to which he said had once contributed himself: "If your knowledge were not superficial and if your awareness were not limited to your social bubble, then you would know that I have already participated, along with Jana Bobošíková and others, in the first-ever attempt to establish a Klausian party, the project 'Heads Up' (Hlava vzhůru), in 2013."
Support from Klaus, Sr
During the 2013 elections to the lower house, Kopal was the fifth-place candidate for the "Heads Up" voting bloc in the Liberec Region. He was nominated as a member of the party called "Sovereignty - the Jana Bobošíková Bloc" (Suverenita – blok Jany Bobošíkové).
The party failed, garnering 0.42 % of the vote overall and reaching just about 800 voters in the region. Klaus, Sr had actually expressly supported the party, appearing with Bobošíková at election rallies.
"I'm here to support Jana Bobošíková and the entire 'Heads Up' group. I very much hope they will succeed," the former President said in mid-September 2013 during a rally at the Anděl metro station in Prague.
"That slogan of theirs - 'Heads Up' - is very important. We are bowing our heads here again, and we're doing to to ourselves," the Lidové noviny newspaper cited Klaus, Sr as saying on that occasion.
Back then the question was also being addressed as to whether Kopal's name on the candidate list bothered the former head of state or not. "I don't know Mr Kopal and I don't know that he is on a candidate list. However, I see many figures who are very unacceptable to me on the candidate lists of all the political parties," Klaus, Sr said at the time.
In with Okamura, and then back out
After the failure of Bobošíková's project, Kopal latched on to Okamura's SPD, but his engagement there did not last long. His expulsion from the party was kicked off in 2017 by Roman Máca, an analyst mapping the pro-Kremlin scene, who warned about Kopal's past in a blog post.
Specifically, Máca reported the information that Kopal had expressed approval of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA in 2001. "Countries like the United States, which in the past have committed so much evil, supported international terrorism, and participated themselves in actions like Yugoslavia, which was about nothing but murdering civilian victims, deserve nothing but an attack like that," Kopal said at the time.
When asked for comment, the then-secretary of the SPD club in the lower house, Jaroslav Staník (who was himself convicted in April this year of making hateful remarks against homosexuals, Jews and Roma) said Okamura's party could not research the pasts of its several thousand members in detail. "In the case of Mr Kopal, we have investigated his attitudes and his past. Kopal has rejected similar accusations before. Given that the information has been confirmed, Mr Kopal has been expelled from the SPD movement," news server iDNES.cz quoted Staník as saying.
Recently Kopal has been engaged with the "Hey, Citizens" (Hej, občané) association, which is part of the anti-EU movement convening demonstrations against the policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example. A leading figure for that group is Žarko Jovanovič, one of the "attack dog" extras featured on the programs broadcast by Jaromír Soukup's TV Barrandov cable channel, where Kopal is also engaged.
"Hey, Citizens" contributed to convening a demonstration in the Czech Republic called "Stolen Kosovo" in February 2018. Antifa.cz describes the association's activities as those of "promoting crazed nationalism and spreading all kinds of disinformation as long as it is in Russia's interest. These people also contribute to disseminating hoaxes through the 'Freedom for Europe — Welcome to Reality' web pages, and also disseminate homophobic and racist propaganda."
Last month Kopal was one of many to attend a "patriotic" gathering at the chateau in Příčovy convened by the "Association of the White Heterosexual Man" (Spolek bílého heterosexuálního muže), including Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna; the former secretary to President Klaus, Ladislav Jakl; and anti-Islam activist Martin Konvička. Kopal is also close to the "identitarian" movement.
He was invited, for example, to the lectures given by representatives of the ultra-right movement called "Generation Identity" (Generace identity) and by the anti-Islam activist Petr Hampl that brought an assortment of infamous figures from the Czech neo-Nazi scene to Prague in January of this year. The declared aim of the identitarian movement is, according to Wikipedia, "protection of civilizational, national or regional identity".
This year, after three years of monitoring the Identitarian Movement in Germany, that country's secret service called the ultra-right movement an extremist organization. For several years the Czech Interior Ministry has also mentioned that movement in its annual reports on extremism.
Originally published on HlidaciPes.org.
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