Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 15, 2018

The letter that Max Blumenthal’s lawyer sent to SPLC

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance,Syria — louisproyect @ 12:49 am

(Before William A. Moran II became an attorney, he was an editor at Sputnik. The photo below is from his law firm’s website. Many years ago, when I was in the Socialist Workers Party, Gerry Healy’s sect began publishing articles accusing our leaders of being FBI agents, a charge you can still find on WSWS.org. We responded by answering them in our newspaper since Marxist principles exclude resolving such disputes in the bourgeois courts. Blumenthal and Khalek never claimed to be Marxists but a worm like Ben Norton, who was in the ISO at one point in his sorry life, still throws the Marxist rhetoric around. When Patrick Lawrence and Andrew Spannaus took exception to me labeling them as Assadists, they told me that they would be looking into the possibility of suing me for libel just like this jerk William Moran II did. Spannaus is an ex-member of LaRouche’s cult that used to launch nuisance suits against his critics. Given the two degrees of separation between Blumenthal and enemies of the left, I can’t say I am surprised by his move against SPLC. Answering Andrew Reid Ross politically would be above his pay grade.)



Re. Notice and demand for preservation of documents and electronically stored information in the care. custody, control or possession of SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, ALEXANDER REID ROSS. CHARLES DAVIS, MUHAMMAD IDREES AHMAD and WAYNE WAKELAND.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been engaged by MAX BLUMENTHAL to assess imminent legal action against your organization and other entities in relation libelous statements in an article titled: “The Multipolar Spin. How Fascists Operationalize Left-Wing Resentment” appearing on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Watch” biog. The purpose of this correspondence is to demand that the Southern Poverty Law Center and its agents, employees, directors, officers, attorneys and representatives both past and present – preserve all documents, tangible things and electronically stored information (“ESI”) that are potentially relevant to MAX BLUMENTHAL including research, editorial notes, conversations, and other communications of (both to and from) ALEXANDER REID ROSS related to the publication of the above mentioned article including but not limited to correspondence sent to and received from CHARLES DAVIS and MUHAMMAD IDREES AHMAD.

This notice and demand for preservation extends beyond ESI related to SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER’S relationship to any named co-conspirator and with MAX BLUMENTHAL.

Preservation includes, but is not limited to, NOT destroying, NOT concealing, and NOT altering any paper or electronic files and other data generated by and/or stored on your computers and storage media, or any other electronic data, such as voicemail or text message.

As used in this document, “you” and “your” refers to each of the TARGETS identified in this notice including SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, ALEXANDER REID ROSS. CHARLES DAVIS, MUHAMMAD IDREES AHMAD and WAYNE WAKELAND as well as their employees, agents, directors, officers and attorneys

YOU should anticipate that much of the information subject to disclosure, responsive to discovery. and/or evidence in this matter is stored on your current and former computer systems, and other media and devices, including, but not limited to personal digital assistants, voice messaging systems, online repositories and cellphones or smartphones.

Electronically stored information must be afforded the broadest possible definition. It includes, by way of example and not as an exclusive list, potentially relevant electronically, magnetically or optically stored information such as:

Digital or analog communications, both sent and received, whether internally or externally; Digital or analog electronic files, including “deleted” files and file fragments, stored in machine-readable format on magnetic, optical, or other storage media, including thumb droves, hard droves, floppy disks used by your computers and their backup media (e.g., other hard drives, backup tapes, floppies, Jaz cartridges, CD•ROMs) or otherwise, whether such files have been reduced to paper printouts or not, computer system, removing their ESI systems, media and devices from service and properly sequestering and protecting them may be an appropriate and cost-effective preservation step. In the event you deem it impractical to sequester systems, media and devices, we believe that the breadth of preservation required, coupled with the model numbers of systems implicated, dictates forensically sound imaging of the systems, media and devices is expedient and cost effective.

We anticipate the need for forensic examination of one or more of these systems and the presence of relevant evidence in forensically accessible areas of the drives. Therefore, you employ forensically sound ESI preservation methods. Failure to use such methods poses a significant threat of spoliation and data loss. By “forensically sound” we mean duplication, for purposes of preservation, of all data stored on the evidence media while employing a proper chain of custody and using tools and methods that make no changes to the evidence and support authentication of the duplicate as a true and complete bit-for-bit image of the original. A forensically sound preservation method guards against changes to metadata evidence and preserves all parts of the electronic evidence, including in the so-called “unallocated clusters,” holding deleted files.

Preservation Protocols

I intend to work with you to form an agreement regarding an acceptable protocol of forensically sound preservation. If you will promptly disclose the preservation protocol you intend to employ, perhaps we can identify any points of disagreement and resolve them.

Do Not Delay Preservation

I am available to discuss reasonable preservation steps; however, you should not defer preservation steps pending our discussions if ESI will be lost or corrupted as a consequence of delay. If the failure to preserve potentially relevant evidence results in the corruption, loss or delay in the production of evidence to which we are entitled, such failure would constitute spoliation of evidence, for which my client will not hesitate to seek sanctions and appropriate remedies including application of the adverse inference with regard to issues adversely affected by spoliation.

Attorney-Client Privilege

Nothing in this request should be construed as interfering with or impairing the attorney-client privilege of SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, ALEXANDER REID ROSS, CHARLES DAVIS, MUHAMMAD IDREES AHMAD and WAYNE WAKELAND as well as their employees and agents. That said, the burden in claiming that any information or communication is entitled to attorney-client privilege rests with the party asserting privilege and therefore communications, documents and data relevant to this litigation should be retained.

I look forward to receiving your call to discuss the matters raised in this notice and demand.

Respectfully, William Moran II – Partner Hawgood, Hawgood & Moran


  1. Since the title of the article mentioned in the legal notice/threat has a spelling mistake, is the notice moot?

    The misspelled word: “Operattonalize”

    Hats off to Blumenthal who, I have to assume, under advisement from Russian operatives, is acting just like a good old right-winger, suing for libel for having been called out for sounding the same as neo-Nazi’s who support Assad.

    Comment by Reza — March 15, 2018 @ 1:34 am

  2. Probably a scanning problem. Will fix.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 15, 2018 @ 1:49 am

  3. Maybe one day they will make it legal to sue for libel if a person even imagines these people as cockroaches, but until then I will fondly remember his face atop a cockroach; perhaps the best depiction, closest to the ontological truth of the character we are dealing with. (As always, apologies to cockroaches, who are hardworking creatures, always diligent and never harming anybody while going about their business of merely surviving. This dude survives solely by harming others.)

    If I were him, I’d move to Iran. In Iran, he can get to personally torture and murder in person anybody who dares criticize him for being a rightwing asshole supporter of a theocratic system with a pre-Enlightenment ideology. He’d love it there. Plus he can have infinite number of ‘temporary marriages’ (sigheh: see, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikah_mut%27ah) with as many women as he wants. He can also have the beer and liquor he needs delivered to his house (and he will need it). It’s a right wing heaven!

    Ahhhh … It’s great to have imagination still …

    Comment by Reza — March 15, 2018 @ 2:19 am

  4. So in fairness you should also post this from the SPLC:

    On March 9, 2018, we posted an article on our Hatewatch blog entitled “The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment.”

    Shortly after its publication, we received complaints registered by or on behalf of several journalists mentioned in the article that it falsely described one or another of them as white supremacists, fascists, and/or anti-Semites, and falsely accused them of engaging in a conspiracy with the Putin regime to promote such views. Because neither we nor the article’s author intended to make any such accusations, we took it down while we re-examined its contents.

    That re-examination has caused us to conclude that, while the intent of the article, which we thought was clear at the time of publication, was to show only that individuals on the left share some policy views with respect to multipolarism that are also held by the far right and/or appear on far-right media and conferences advocating them, the article did not make that point as clearly as it could or should have.

    Accordingly, we have decided not to re-post it. In addition, we extend a sincere apology to those who believe they have been falsely described in it, including Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, Tim Pool, Rania Khalek, and Brian Becker, and disclaim, as clearly as we can, any intention to suggest that any of them are white supremacists, fascists, and/or anti-Semites, that they hold such views, or that they are engaged in a conspiracy with the Russian government to promote such views or otherwise.


    In peace–


    “Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle”– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    On Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 5:50 PM Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist wrote:

    > louisproyect posted: “(Before William A. Moran II became an attorney, he > was an editor at Sputnik. From his law firm’s website.) VIA EMAIL DELIVERY > SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER Re. Notice and demand for preservation of > documents and electronically stored information ” >

    Comment by ajlitwinko — March 15, 2018 @ 4:29 am

  5. I’m speechless with indignation about this IMHO calculated assault on freedom of speech, particularly by a gang of alleged journalists who, if they had the chops to be what they pretend to be, should be able to defend themselves by publishing rather than this as I see it thuggish form of censorship.

    I hope somebody has a cached copy of the censored piece, which should be reposted worldwide. Where are Wikileaks when we need them?

    Max Blumenthal, despite his weak and gassy if voluminous prose, once appeared to be far better than this. I fear that impression has proved to be mistaken.

    Some writer, who cannot write in his own defense but rather has recourse to the corrupt capitalist court system to do what he ought to be able to do for himself.

    Re wikileaks–now that poor Assange has shot his libertarian wad, we need something that combines an editorial function and some policy of writing and following actual stories instead of just dumping masses of raw documents.

    I’m thinking (maybe wrongly, since I haven’t looked at any LNS stuff for forty plus years) of a fusion of w leaks and the old liberation news service. At all events, a legitimate if underground news service with solid documentary and observer support for stories as opposed to Putinite propaganda outlets.

    Quo usque tandem …. .

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 15, 2018 @ 11:05 am

  6. Tony—the southern PLC caved in because they were intimidated. What do you expect from a bunch of lawyers? This proves nothing.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 15, 2018 @ 11:08 am

  7. For some reason the phrase “red-brown pus-licking son of a subhuman Putinite turd” keeps scrolling across my mental marquee. I can’t imagine why. I would never say that about anyone.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 15, 2018 @ 11:45 am

  8. Judging by his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Feil3?fref=search), the politically questionably W. Moran II (what’s with these regal dynastic bourgeois names, anyway? Will they run to a tenth or a thousandth?) is deep into “liberal” Democratic Party politics–he’s a big Trump impeachment supporter, which is what you would expect from someone who eschews actual politics in favor of legal action.

    This is what you are voting for if you join the Democrats–this and the deeply obnoxious Conor Lamb, who pointedly refuses to criticize Trump and ran on his military record.

    I’ll bet the two of them would (or do) get along like a house on fire despite the unimportant differences on impeachment. All one big tent. You can’t call it red-brown because there’s no red in it.

    It’s just a nice light tan under some camouflage netting.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 15, 2018 @ 12:34 pm

  9. I had the wrong Moran Facebook page. The guy I was writing about is an engineer, no relation to the self-proclaimed “badass lawyer. ” I know of no statements by Badass regarding the impeachment of Trump. My deepest apologies for the insufferable wounds thus delivered, however unintentionally, to that sublime paragon of all human virtue.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 16, 2018 @ 8:44 pm

  10. […] one of the figures discussed in it, apparently objected to the contents of the article, and rather than writing a reply pointing out where he thought the piece was inaccurate, chose to make le…. Without wishing to necessarily endorse the writings of Alexander Reid Ross, and far less the SPLC, […]

    Pingback by Against the grayzone: the article Max Blumenthal doesn’t want you to read | Cautiously pessimistic — March 17, 2018 @ 3:43 pm

  11. Its staggering to me how little pushback there is on this. My understanding is that they’ve now withdrawn another three articles on red-brownism.

    Comment by John Gamey — March 18, 2018 @ 9:06 am

  12. I should let this go, but the deeper you dig into this the stranger it seems. Despite my loathing for this lawsuit, I can actually sympathize with Blumenthal being thin-skinned about being called an anti-semite because of his books on Israel. Certainly you cannot blame him for the repulsive chorus of praise that floated up from America’s honest-to-god Nazis (any Jew who opposes Zionism will get that)–or endorse the cess-storm of vituperation from the likes of arch-Zionist Daniel Pipes–that is, as far as those books are concerned. (See https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/antisemite-max-blumenthal-incites-murder-three-kansas-daniel-pipes/)

    If it were not for his apparent “turn” to ideas very much like those of a number of individuals with whom it is now illegal to assert that he has any connection even when he appears with them in public, I would not be surprised at his being sensitive in this regard and might even sympathize.

    But Pipes out and out calls Blumenthal an antisemite and keeps repeating it, without apparent consequences.

    Nowhere in Reid’s piece does he call Blumenthal even one name or accuse him of actual collusion with anyone (whatever may be implied by those strange dataflow diagrams). And yet Reid is the one who gets threatened with a lawsuit. Is it just that the–one would think–far more libelous Pipes is likelier to fight back?

    It’s also a good question how Max B. got onto Hawgood, Hawgood, and Moran–a young firm none of whose partners–while they are licensed attorneys who seem to have practiced with some success in the relatively short time since their licensure–appears to have been practicing law for very long.

    Why them and not some high-powered white shoe firm with connections to Sidney Blumenthal, who does not seem averse to standing up for his son? Indeed, how did Max even hear about this hitherto relatively unknown outfit? Does he even live in the DC area, where this firm is located?

    It’s all very odd. I have to point out that by all appearances, RT and Sputnik actually pay writers–and to a certain extent let them write more or less what they please (since they get to pick people who say things they find useful). That is rare these days. Would it be surprising if eventually the writers (some of whom at least have selected for reasons they may not recognize) decided they liked saying things that pleased their benefactors? If it were, this would be the first time in history when that was so.

    I don’t say this to excuse what’s happened, but the broader situation is disturbing on many different levels, not the least of which is its implication for independent investigative journalism in a time when it is needed more than ever.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 19, 2018 @ 9:59 pm

  13. […] closing, WO touches on the subject of Max Blumenthal using legal threats to try and censor a piece of Ross’ writing – I’d interpreted their silence on this subject as […]

    Pingback by If saying it’s a bad idea to work with fascists makes you a pro-war neoliberal, then who was phone? More on red-brown alliances, smears and all that | Cautiously pessimistic — June 28, 2018 @ 6:57 pm

  14. […] the son be judged for the sins of the father? In this case, when Max has a documented history of relying on paterfamilias for support of his endeavors and using similar smear tactics, not to mention endorsing dad’s Libya efforts, I say […]

    Pingback by Wage Theft in Caracas: Venezuela is Not Simple, Government Court Jester Scribes Are | Washington Babylon — August 2, 2019 @ 5:49 pm

  15. […] after threats from Blumenthal’s lawyers. It wasn’t some free, neutral decision, but one made under pressure from legal threats – that is to say, ultimately, from the state. There’s a certain irony here, as […]

    Pingback by Is Alexander Reid Ross the CEO/dad of antifa?: On contagion, shades of grey, and the three-way fight | Cautiously pessimistic — March 28, 2021 @ 8:33 am

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