Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 2, 2018

Russia and the Western Far-right: Tango Noir

Filed under: Counterpunch,Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 1:03 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, OCTOBER 2, 2018

On September 20, 2013, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at a Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in the Novgorod region that announced his new orientation to the far-right internationally:

Another serious challenge to Russia’s identity is linked to events taking place in the world. Here there are both foreign policy and moral aspects. We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.

The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations. Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.

I discovered this hair-raising speech in Anton Shekhovtsov’s “Russia and the Western Far-right: Tango Noir”, a carefully researched book that was published in August 2017 and that is must-reading for anybody trying to make sense of the deep divisions on the left about Russia’s role in world politics. Information about the book can be found on Shekhovtsov’s website alongside a blog that keeps up with the same kind of research. For example, a June 2018 post reveals that ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky hosted a conference in Moscow intended to connect like-minded Russians with groups like the National-Democratic Party (NDP) in Germany that is regarded as the country’s most significant neo-Nazi party since 1945.

Continue reading

September 4, 2018

Meet the leftwing writers identified as columnists on a neo-Nazi website

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 7:01 pm

Norman Finkelstein: prefers neo-Nazis to the NY Times

Just about a year ago I discussed The Unz Review in the context of a controversy over Valerie Plame tweeting a link to an article that appeared there written by columnist Philip Giraldi titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars”. Oh, did I mention that other people identified as columnists include: Patrick Cockburn, Peter Lee, Tom Engelhardt, Norman Finkelstein, and Michael Hudson?

The website is named after its founder Ron Unz, two of whose most recent posts has prompted me to revisit this website that encapsulates the sordid connections between the alt-right and the radical movement. Like Michael Albert of ZNet, Ron Unz aggregates articles that might have appeared originally on leftist websites. Such articles offer solidarity for the Palestinians, Assad’s war on terrorism, the Eastern Ukraine separatists as well as opposition to trade deals like The Trans-Pacific Partnership, warmongers like John McCain, Mueller’s investigation and NATO.

For every one of these leftist articles (leaving aside the merits of Assad and the Donetsk militias) you will find just as many promoting bans on immigration of the sort found in VDARE (Ron Unz has donated 10s of thousands of dollars to VDARE) along with “scholarly” articles making the case that people of color are genetically inferior to Caucasians. One regular there, a deeply racist woman named Ilana Mercer who is listed as a columnist right next to CounterPunch regular Peter Lee, has written a number of pieces arguing that the ANC is promoting “white genocide” against South African farmers just like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump. Plus, tons of anti-Semitic tripe of the sort Giraldi wrote.

But none of this prepared me for Ron Unz’s recent turn that effectively puts The Unz Review in the same category as the Daily Stormer and DavidDuke.com.

Unz, who happens to be of Jewish origin, wrote an article titled “Oddities of the Jewish Religion” on July 16th that effectively turns anti-Zionist Israel Shahak into an anti-Semite. Using Israel Shahak’s scholarly review of how the state of Israel used backward Talmudic passages to justify all sorts of brutality, Unz essentializes such writings as proof that the Jews have been viciously predatory for their entire history.

Like the fascists of the 1930s, Unz dwells on the Jewish-Bolshevik plot that led to the Czar being overthrown, using none other than Alexander Solzhenitsyn as an expert. Using a thoroughly racialist narrative, Unz saw Putin as delivering the Russians from the oppressive Jewish-Communist legacy: “After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, reborn Russia soon fell under the overwhelming domination of a small group of Oligarchs, almost entirely of Jewish background, and a decade of total misery and impoverishment for the general Russian population soon followed. But once an actual Russian named Vladimir Putin regained control, these trends reversed and the lives of Russians have enormously improved since that time.”

Given that that the Bolshevik leaders were overwhelmingly Jewish, according to Unz, he concludes that when you also acknowledge the small numbers of Jews worldwide, you end up with the Jews as “the greatest mass-murderers of the twentieth century, holding that unfortunate distinction by an enormous margin and with no other nationality coming even remotely close.” Obviously, this balances out the millions of Jews who died in Nazi death camps. Hitler killed millions of Jews; so did the Bolshevik Jews kill millions of Christians.

Not only did the Jews wreak havoc in Russia, they also got their dirty mitts on the entertainment industry. Even if good Christians were responsible for the invention of film, radio, and television technologies, they all came under the control of “ruthless Jewish businessmen, who sometimes destroyed the lives and careers of those creators.” Furthermore, “By the 1950s, nearly all of America’s leading concentrations of electronic media power—with the sole major exception of Disney Studios—were solidly in Jewish hands.” I guess Unz didn’t realize that Michael Eisner was a yid.

As bad as this was, Unz escalated his neo-Nazi attack on Jews in a August 27th article titled “Holocaust Denial” that begins by defending a 1976 special issue of Reason Magazine from Mark Ames in PandoDaily accusing it of Ernst Zundel type “revisionism”. To get an idea of the contents, you can find something by Austin App, the author of a 1973 book titled “The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks and Fabricated Corpses”. Unz found App to be a very convincing debunker of the myth that six million died.

Unz was predisposed to take Reason at its word since Murray Rothbard, a Jew just like him, was not only on the magazine’s masthead but a fellow holocaust denier. That Rothbard is also the patron saint of Antiwar.com’s webmaster Justin Raimondo should give you pause to think about these right-left romances that have emerged since 2011.

The crux of Unz’s willingness to believe people like David Irving was the widespread holocaust denialism that could be found in the USA after WWII. How could so many good Christians be wrong? Gosh, you might as well believe that there was a Communist conspiracy to take over the government based on widespread public opinion in the late 40s until the early 60s. Who are you going to believe? Joe McCarthy or a crank like I.F. Stone, after all? As a matter of fact, Unz kills two birds with one stone, the Jew scare and the Red scare:

Some years ago, I came across a totally obscure 1951 book entitled Iron Curtain Over America by John Beaty, a well-regarded university professor. Beaty had spent his wartime years in Military Intelligence, being tasked with preparing the daily briefing reports distributed to all top American officials summarizing available intelligence information acquired during the previous 24 hours, which was obviously a position of considerable responsibility.

As a zealous anti-Communist, he regarded much of America’s Jewish population as deeply implicated in subversive activity, therefore constituting a serious threat to traditional American freedoms. In particular, the growing Jewish stranglehold over publishing and the media was making it increasingly difficult for discordant views to reach the American people, with this regime of censorship constituting the “Iron Curtain” described in his title. He blamed Jewish interests for the totally unnecessary war with Hitler’s Germany, which had long sought good relations with America, but instead had suffered total destruction for its strong opposition to Europe’s Jewish-backed Communist menace.

Unz was impressed with the fact that Beaty’s book was the second most popular conservative text of the 1950s, ranking only behind Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind”. Most people outside of Unz’s fascist cocoon would regard this as a strike against Kirk as well, of course.

Another source recommended by Unz is Joseph Bendersky’s 2000 book “The Jewish Threat.” We are told that “His work chronicles the extremely widespread anti-Semitism found within the U.S. Army and Military Intelligence throughout the first half of the twentieth century, with Jews being widely regarded as posing a serious security risk.” So Bendersky wrote the book as a leftist investigative report and Unz ends up siding with the vermin the author was exposing. Quelle surprise.

Using impeccable logic, Unz cites neo-Nazi Robert Faurisson who observed that in their memoirs, Eisenhower, Churchill, and De Gaulle never mention the death camps. This means that they too were holocaust deniers like David Irving. Perfect.

Getting both feet planted in David Irving/Ernst Zundel territory, Unz cites a Chicago Tribune article from 1992 making the case that only a million Jews were killed in Auschwitz but fails to mention that the article also states that the downward revision actually strengthens the case that 5.5 million to six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

A major part of Unz’s article consists of a defense of some of the major holocaust deniers such as Arthur Butz and Willis Carto who launched a publishing house dedicated to their literature named the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). He recommends an IHR book titled “The Dissolution of Eastern Europe Jewry” by the pseudonymous Walter N. Sanning that raises the possibility that a million Jews or more simply moved to the USSR rather than died in concentration camps. You can read a six-part dismantling of Sanning’s book here but that’s hardly worth it considering the implausibility of Sanning’s case. It is equivalent to reading a book refuting flat-earth advocacy.

There are more than 1,600 comments on Unz’s article, most of them reading like this:

Once again a well written and researched essay. Ron it will be hard to ever get the truth out because the Jewish Gangbanging of Society is in full force. They invented the Social Mob Government that now runs the opinions of the Main Stream Media which as you said is in total control of the Jews. What we are seeing is Tribalistic Control of Society. As soon as anyone disagrees with anything the Social Mob of Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the clowns kick into gear. This is especially appealing to Blacks and other minorities who wish to riot, take down statues, and burn things. This isn’t much different to the way things work in Africa where for instance there are over 100 different Tribes fighting for control in places like Uganda. There is no time for reason or discussion. The Jews just kick these people into action. In Ferguson Michael Brown never had his hands up and tried to take the gun of the police officer. It doesn’t matter. These actors aren’t interested in truth or facts they demand some Cosmic Justice. The MSM during these riots just kept pouring more gasoline on the fire with lies and fake reports. When the Justice Dept. investigation by Obama’s Eric Holder was released no one cared about the truth the MSM went on to their next plan of attack. You cannot have a civilization with this type of mentality and that’s why we are doomed.

Much of the Social Mob Movement in the US is funded by Soros and friends. Of course he is never criticized in the MSM because he is Jewish and that would be antisemitic. On the other side the so called Repubs have been bought out by Sheldon Anderson, the Zionist Jew who is a big supporter of the Holocaust Hoax and Israel’s wars with the US funding most of them. It seems hopeless because they have control of everything world wide and the view of everything is first filtered through a Jewish Lens before anyone sees it.

So the question is why someone like Norman Finkelstein or Michael Hudson would allow themselves to be listed as a columnist to a website that is for all practical purposes the Daily Stormer, plus some leftist articles to make it palatable to the kind of leftist who has Consortium News or Max Blumenthal’s GrayZone bookmarked. It is clear that Unz has a sizable readership. According to Alexa, Unz.com is ranked 9,783 in the USA and 27,006 globally as compared to CounterPunch’s numbers—18,225 and 40,052 respectively.

Of the leftwing columnists at Unz I emailed, asking why they would lend their good names to a white supremacist website, only two responded: Michael Hudson and Norman Finkelstein. Hudson hasn’t spend much time investigating the contents of Unz.com but assured me that in light of what I told him, he would now consider severing his ties.

Finkelstein, on the other hand, told me that “So long as my name is attached to only to my work, it’s fine. I would even write for the … New York Times.” Obviously, this demonstrates the kind of affinity that I alluded to early on in this article. The bourgeois press is the main enemy because it demonizes the Palestinians, so close to Finkelstein’s heart. This justifies being a columnist at Unz.com since it is “pro-Palestinian”?. The neo-Nazi stuff? The VDARE type articles? Denouncing the ANC as responsible for White Genocide? Yeah, regrettable, but they are still “for the Palestinians” and against no-fly zones, etc.

In a follow up note, Finkelstein wrote: “I know Ron. He’s very smart, but it appears that Jews with an IQ over 200 end up in strange places, especially if they live in California. First Bobby Fischer, now Ron Unz. Truth be told, even in his pigheaded silliness, and often appalling judgment, Ron always has insightful things to say, which is more than I can for NY Times columnists.” This fixation on the NY Times is remarkable. You might object to Judith Miller, et al, but you can rely on it for factual reporting such as, for example, today’s edition that includes an article about the travails of the Yurok Indians in northern California who are dealing with an opioid epidemic attributable to the genocidal destruction of their traditional life on the Klamath River. Compare that to Unz.com that has run dozens of articles making the case that non-whites are genetically inferior to Caucasians. Where is the insightfulness in an article authored by Ron Unz that states:

Or consider the fascinating historical case of Emmett Till, mentioned earlier, whose murder in 1955 became the archetypal case of an innocent black youngster lynched by murderous Southern whites, perhaps even lending some inspiration to Harper Lee’s public school classic To Kill a Mockingbird. There was enormous national media coverage of the Till murder, which uniformly reported that the black fourteen-year-old child had merely made rude and provocative remarks to the young wife of a white shopkeeper—a “Wolf whistle”—leading to his abduction and brutal killing. Yet oddly enough, only long afterward did it emerge out that his father, a violent criminal, had been executed for multiple rapes and murder, and that Till himself, weighing 150 pounds and quite large and muscular for his age, also had a violent history. Indeed, these facts had remained totally unknown to me until quite recently.

I have no idea how much of Unz.com Norman Finkelstein reads but 15 minutes spent looking at it critically would persuade me to avoid being listed as a columnist. We are living in a period unfortunately that is reprising much of what took place in Weimar Germany when Communists began adapting to the same kind of degenerate nationalism we are plagued by today.

On June 20, 1922, Karl Radek made a speech proposing a de facto alliance between the Communists and the Fascists. This, needless to say, was in his capacity as official Comintern representative to the German party. It was at a time when Trotsky was still in good graces in the Soviet Union. Nobody seemed to raise an eyebrow when Radek urged that the Communists commemorate the death of Albert Schlageter, a Freikorps fighter who died fighting against the French, who had seized territory in the Ruhr. Schlageter was regarded as a martyr of the right-wing, a German Timothy McVeigh so to speak. Radek stated that “…we believe that the great majority of nationalist minded masses belong not to the camp of the capitalists but to the camp of the Workers.”

Radek’s lunacy struck a chord with the German Communist ultraleftists who went even further in their enthusiasm for the right-wing fighters. Ruth Fischer gave a speech at a gathering of right-wing students where she echoed fascist themes:

Whoever cries out against Jewish capital…is already a fighter for his class, even though he may not know it. You are against the stock market jobbers. Fine. Trample the Jewish capitalists down, hang them from the lampposts…But…how do you feel about the big capitalists, the Stinnes, Klockner?…Only in alliance with Russia, Gentlemen of the “folkish” side, can the German people expel French capitalism from the Ruhr region.

Sad to think of Norman Finkelstein (Mike Whitney, Diana Johnstone, James Petras et al) as the Ruth Fischers of today.

May 25, 2018

Diana Johnstone versus CounterPunch

Filed under: Counterpunch,Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 12:10 am

Diana Johnstone

Following her Consortium News attack on Tony McKenna, Diana Johnstone now directs her polemical pea-shooter at CounterPunch (CP) and once again the article was published by Consortium News. Since she has written about a hundred articles for CP over the years, I wondered what might have ticked her off.

I subsequently learned from CP co-editor Joshua Frank that after he and Jeff St. Clair decided to publish an article that took exception to her kind words on behalf of Marine Le Pen’s brand of nativism, she saw them as the enemy. Among other things, the article stated:

Johnstone’s torrent of unsupported claims takes a dark turn when she focuses her attention against immigration. In effect, she calls for the left to reconsider its pro-immigrant stance, because “a left whose principal cause is open borders will become increasingly unpopular.” This is a nationalist argument, suggesting that political opportunism is of more importance than the lives of refugees and immigrants.

What could make Johnstone think that her opposition to immigration will resonate with the left? It reeks of the xenophobia that we are dealing with in the USA and that most people have taken a firm stand against, whatever their differences on other questions.

She says that in the current fund-drive, CP has teamed up with Russia-bashers like Rachel Maddow, Max Boot, et al because their slogan for the fund-drive is “We Have All the Right Enemies”, which supposedly means that they are on the Kremlin’s shit-list. But there is no indication that the “right enemies” is a reference to Russia. Go to https://store.counterpunch.org/ and try to find something to that effect. And, while you are there, make a donation to the best magazine on the left.

In her blinkered vision, Jeff St. Clair wasn’t like Rachel Maddow and Max Boot back in the day. He was just as much of a Putin-booster as Diana Johnstone, even though Jeff wrote one of the most vicious take-downs of Putin you’ll find anywhere. She refers to an attack on CP that was written by a German blogger that tried to demonstrate that published articles were stacked in favor of the rightwing and white supremacists. Jeff St. Clair answered the blogger effectively but perhaps Johnstone was miffed that he did not come out and say that he was in favor of the red-brown alliance she has been advocating for years.

At the time, I was amused to see that Franklin Lamb was included in the German blogger’s group of rightists in light of the fact that for the past year or so he has written some of the most hard-hitting critiques of the Assad dictatorship found anywhere. Lamb’s ability to change his views based on new information should be lauded. It is too bad that writers like Johnstone remain evidence-averse.

According to the German blogger, the bad guys wrote 674 articles while those penned by the good guys only numbered 245, with me accounting for 59 of them. At the time, I scoffed at the blogger’s bogus statistics:

This is really quite pathetic, a classic example of “lies, damned lies, and statistics”. If you really want to characterize CounterPunch, it would be necessary to conduct an analysis of all of the articles that appear there, not just a sampling. How do I and the other “left/progressives” (god, what an awful term) exhaust the inventory of all those on the left who write for CounterPunch? All you need to do is look at a typical weekend edition, like the one that came out today, to get a handle on what it stands for. There are 40 articles and not a single one has even the slightest whiff of rightwing politics. Speaking of which, one has to wonder what criteria Hendricks used to categorize some of the people as rightwingers. She includes Franklin Lamb and Paul Larudee. Unless I am missing something, they have never written anything I would associate with the Republican Party. For that matter, mostly what they do is circulate pro-Baathist propaganda after the fashion of Tony Greenstein.

The reference to Greenstein was prompted by his own attack on CP that along with Jews Sans Frontieres made the case for it being anti-Semitic. Trust me. If I ever saw evidence on CP of the kind of Jew-baiting that goes on at Russia-Insider, where Johnstone’s article was crossposted, I would stop writing for CP. On January 15th, Russia-Insider’s editor wrote that “hostility to Putin’s Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon.” Despite this David Duke-type rhetoric, Consortium News accepts tax-deductible donations for Russia-Insider as a fiscal sponsor. Go figure.

Make no mistake about it. Johnstone had high hopes for CP being much more like Consortium News, Russia-Insider, The Saker, The Duran, 21st Century Wire, Global Research or any of the fifty other websites that pass along RT.com talking points to the conspiracy-minded pinheads who lap this stuff up.

She was particularly upset that CP ripped alt-right fan Caitlin Johnstone a new asshole (no, the two are not related except ideologically.) After Green Party misleader David Cobb advocated following Caitlin Johnstone’s advice to bloc with people like Mike Cernovich, CP co-editor Joshua Frank blasted Cobb and Caitlin Johnstone:

Back to the disgusting Mike Cernovich, who hates gender equality and believes that white men are oppressed by big bad feminism. He’s tweeted that, “Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS. If you love black women, slut shame them.” Fuck him. He doesn’t give a shit about women, class issues, climate change or the ugly side of capitalism.  Cernovich even told Andrew Marantz of the The New Yorker, “I believe in strong borders, including keeping out Islamic terrorists. If people think that’s inherently racist, fine—but I’m an American nationalist, not a white nationalist.”

Diana Johnstone didn’t think that this sort of thing should get in the way of a “single-issue antiwar movement” like the one we had in the 1960s. Of course, back then this meant uniting pacifists, CP’ers and Trotskyists on the need to get out of Vietnam. Nobody in their right mind would have asked someone like Cernovich to speak at an antiwar rally. What Johnstone means by “antiwar” is much different than what we were involved with back then. Instead, she wants everybody to get behind Assad’s war on the Syrian population marching along with her, Caitlin Johnstone and Mike Cernovich.

One of the other CP critiques of Caitlin Johnstone was written by Yoal Litvin, who served in the Israeli military before relocating to the USA. If that is a litmus test, what do we make of long-time CP contributor Uri Avnery who during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War fought on the southern front in the Givati Brigade as a squad commander, and later in the Samson’s Foxes commando unit (and also wrote its anthem)? Maybe Litvin and Avnery, like Lamb, changed their views. Too bad that, unlike them, Johnstone’s thinking is so calcified.

Reading Johnstone, you’d think that Alexander Reid Ross sets the tone for CP. She can’t stand that he wrote an article that denounced the red-brown alliances that she and Caitlin Johnstone advocate. To show how off-base Ross is, she refers to how an article he wrote for the Southern Poverty Law Center making such points was subsequently deleted. She does not mention, however, that it was only deleted after Max Blumenthal threatened legal action. Back in the 60s, the left understood that it should settle its differences through debate and not through the bourgeois courts. Maybe Johnstone forgot about this or maybe she never viewed this as a principle. That’s another difference between us.

It is worth noting that Ross has written 11 articles for CP but only a single one was in the vein that Johnstone objected to. Meanwhile she has written 100 articles all saying just about the same kinds of things, namely that Putin is a great guy, that Marine Le Pen is part of the left and that Assad is leading a war on terror. There was a time before her brain became so calcified that Johnstone could write some interesting stuff, even if it was wrong. I can’t stand Seymour Hersh’s politics but I would never dream of ignoring something he wrote. As for Johnstone, I tuned her out about a decade ago unless it was something as egregiously wrong-headed as this that deserved a reply.

The last couple of paragraphs sound like the sort of thing that Stephen F. Cohen tells ultrarightist John Batchelor every time he makes an appearance on his WABC radio show:

Vladimir Putin is clearly in the Westernizing tradition. Not an ignorant buffoon like Yeltsin, ready to give away the shop to get a pat on the back from Bill. But rather someone who, as an intelligence agent (yes, KGB people learn a lot) lived in the West, spoke fluent German, and wanted Russia to have a dignified place in Europe – which was the dream of Gorbachev.

But this aspiration has been rudely rebuffed by the United States. Russians who yearned to be part of Europe have been disappointed, humiliated, and finally, angered. All their efforts at friendship have been met with increasingly outlandish portrayals of Russia as “the enemy”.

What the hell does this pop psychology have to do with radical politics? It almost makes you think that Johnstone was getting paid by the Kremlin to write such drivel. If so, they better ask for their money back since it has about as much impact as a wet noodle.

May 7, 2018

Diana Johnstone’s attack on Tony McKenna

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance,Stalinism,Syria — louisproyect @ 8:24 pm

Beware the dreaded Leon Bronstein

As you might expect, Diana Johnstone starts her Consortium News attack on Tony McKenna’s ISR article about Syria in a way that makes you think she has either not understood what she was reading because of declining intellectual powers or because, having understood it, mischievously misrepresented it.

She objects to Tony’s framing of the term “ideological lynchpin” in the following paragraph:

Much has been made of Western imperial support for the rebels in the early years of the revolution. This has, in fact, been an ideological lynchpin of first the Iranian and then the Russian military interventions as they took the side of the Assad government. Such interventions were framed in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric in which Iran and Russia purported to come to the aid of a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund.

She tut-tuts Tony for failing to represent the “ideological” justifications of the Iranian and Russian regimes accurately that never said anything about imperialism. Their purpose was merely to defeat Islamic, Wahhabi extremism, not fend off the Rothschild Bank and other greedy Western financiers.

However, if you read Tony’s article as it was intended, it was obvious he was referring to people like John Wight, Mike Whitney and Stephen Gowans who have spent the last seven years trying to make Assad look like Syria’s Fidel Castro, fending off a Bay of Pigs type invasion. You see the words “rapacious Western imperialism” in the paragraph above? It is repeated later in the article and should have been enough to even tip off even the semi-conscious Ms. Johnstone who he was talking about: “Many, on the Communist left in particular, saw these invasions as being part of the last bastion of resistance to the imperial power projected by the United States and the heartlands of global capitalism, and so they failed to recognize that Stalin’s military takeovers represented a form of rapacious imperialism in its own right.” [emphasis added]

For Johnstone, the Saudi/Israeli/American proxy war was all about helping Israel destroy one of its main enemies in the Middle East. As a key player in the “Axis of Resistance”, keeping Assad in power was a sine qua non. She writes, “There are a few alternative hypotheses to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamist extremism to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks.”

You sometimes have to wonder whether Johnstone and people like her read anything out of their comfort zone. To start with, the Baathists collaborated with the Zionists to smash Palestinian resistance during the Lebanese Civil War. Tal al-Zaatar, a refugee camp with over 50,000 Palestinian refugees, was besieged by Lebanese fascist militias backed by Hafez al-Assad over a two-month period. The Syrian military and its Phalangist allies machine-gunned refugee columns during civilian evacuation. Others were killed by grenades and knives, and numerous cases of rape followed the fall of the camp on August 12, 1976.

As the civil war in Lebanon dragged on, Syria finally decided to back a faction in the PLO in 1983 that would oust Yasir Arafat and replace him with someone more compliant to Baathist interests. Guess who backed Hafez al-Assad in this operation? None other than Muammar Gaddafi. In recounting Syria’s machinations, Michael Karadjis cites an Israeli official who was close to Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir:

Direct Syrian control of the PLO will be beneficial to us for a number of reasons. … our experience has shown that Syria can keep a firm hand on the Palestinian terrorists if it is in their interests to do so. Despite the fierce rhetoric from Damascus, there has been no attack against us from the Golan Heights for 10 years (Christopher Walker, ‘Israel welcomes prospect of Syrian-controlled PLO’, The Australian, November 11, 1983).

Obviously, the most “rejectionist” wing of the Palestinian movement would laugh at the notion that Syrian rebels were agents of the West acting on behalf of Israel. In February 2012, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya made clear where he stood. “I salute all people of the Arab Spring, or Islamic winter, and I salute the Syrian people who seek freedom, democracy and reform.” Even when Hamas came under intense pressure from Iran to support Assad, it stubbornly spoke out against the kind of criminality that people like Diana Johnstone defends. When Russian and Syrian jets were bombing hospitals, Hamas issued a statement that said: “We are following with great pain what is happening in Aleppo and the horrific massacres, murders and genocide its people are going through, and condemn it entirely.”

Johnstone’s article concludes with a broadside against Trotskyism in terms that should be familiar. It is identical to the arguments I have heard from Stephen Gowans and even Johnstone’s occasional writing partner, the physicist Jean Bricmont. Basically, it boils down to justifying strongmen like Stalin or the various nationalist politicians that the Kremlin supported during the Cold War, including the Assads, Gaddafi, et al. She writes:

Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and “modernization” – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. If the Bolshevik revolution turned Stalinist, maybe it was in part because a strong repressive leader was the only way to save “the revolution” from its internal and external enemies. There is no evidence that, had he defeated Stalin, Trotsky would have been more tender-hearted.

Countries that are deeply divided ideologically and ethnically, such as Syria, are not likely to be “modernized” without a strong ruler.

Actually, this is the same analysis put forward by Kremlinologist Adam Ulam who analogized the USSR with the bourgeois revolutions that carried out primitive accumulation in order to incubate modern capitalist states. It fetishizes hydroelectric dams, subway systems, superhighways, military prowess, et al as the chief accomplishments of the USSR—barely understanding that this is the same criteria by which you can judge both Adolf Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt as well.

If you are familiar with Lenin’s writings, you’d understand that this was the last thing on his mind just before his death. Nine months he succumbed to a stroke, he wrote an article titled “On Cooperation” that projected the most humane, logical and socialist path forward for the USSR:

At present we have to realize that the cooperatives system is a social system we must now give more than ordinary assistance, and we must actually give that assistance. But it must be it assistance in the real sense of the word, i.e., it will not be enough to interpret it to mean assistance for any kind of cooperative trade; by assistance we must mean aid to cooperative trade in which really large masses of the population actually take part. It is certainly a correct form of assistance to give a bonus to peasants who take part in cooperative trade; but the whole point is to verify the nature of this participation, to verify the awareness behind it, and to verify its quality. Strictly speaking, when a cooperator goes to a village and opens a cooperative store, the people take no part in this whenever; but at the same time guided by their own interests they will hasten to try to take part in it.

Furthermore, he understood that the biggest threat to the development of socialism around this time was Stalin’s bureaucratic tendencies that culminated in the forced collectivization. Written just a couple of months before “On Cooperation”, Lenin called for the removal of Stalin as General Secretary in a letter to the CP Congress. Primarily, this was motivated by Stalin’s treatment of the Georgian Republic that was typical of Great Russian chauvinism even if Stalin was from Georgia himself. Lenin wrote:

I think it is unnecessary to explain this to Bolsheviks, to Communists, in greater detail. And I think that in the present instance, as far as the Georgian nation is concerned, we have a typical case in which a genuinely proletarian attitude makes profound caution, thoughtfulness and a readiness to compromise a matter of necessity for us. The Georgian [Stalin] who is neglectful of this aspect of the question, or who carelessly flings about accusations of “nationalist-socialism” (whereas he himself is a real and true “nationalist-socialist”, and even a vulgar Great-Russian bully), violates, in substance, the interests of proletarian class solidarity, for nothing holds up the development and strengthening of proletarian class solidarity so much as national injustice; “offended” nationals are not sensitive to anything so much as to the feeling of equality and the violation of this equality, if only through negligence or jest- to the violation of that equality by their proletarian comrades.

Like the Cold War liberals, Johnstone views Stalin as the natural outcome of the Russian Revolution. Despite Lenin’s insistence that peasant cooperatives be organized on a voluntary basis and the need to oppose national chauvinism, she champions the very behavior that would have gotten Stalin deposed in 1923.

Johnstone is mesmerized by modernizing industrialization and by the value of strong men carrying it out even though it has zero to do with the original vision of Karl Marx whose 200th birthday we celebrated 2 days ago. She certainly would have backed Stalin against the Georgians in 1923 just as she supports Putin against Ukraine today.

Like a lot of people who were radicalized in the 60s, Johnstone developed a reverence for Stalinist strong men as a way of overcompensating for LBJ, Nixon, et al. Totally alienated by American society, she became infatuated with men like Assad, Putin, Gaddafi and anybody else who was pilloried in the bourgeois press. Like the fraternity boys who kept posters of Ronald Reagan chopping wood on dorm room walls, her heart flutters for Vladimir Putin and anybody else who embodies her romantic idealization of men and women on horseback.

This would include Marine Le Pen, the ultraright Islamophobe that she described once as “basically on the left”. When people came out to protest Donald Trump’s viciously racist immigration crackdown, Johnstone described them with as much malice as Ann Coulter: “Whatever they think or feel, the largely youthful anti-Trump protesters in the streets create an image of hedonistic consumer society’s spoiled brats who throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want.”

Most people with their head screwed on right understand that Le Pen is a nativist just like all the other scum that are rising to the surface in Europe, from Viktor Orban in Hungary to Nigel Farage in England. In 2017, Johnstone decided that the real issue in the French election was national sovereignty and who better to defend it than Marine Le Pen? After all, Johnstone states that “Le Pen insists that all French citizens deserve equal treatment regardless of their origins, race or religion.” Oh, how nice. This politician said that if she was elected, she’d stop all immigration to France.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that Johnstone’s article appeared in The UNZ Review as well as Consortium News except there it had a most revealing subtitle: “Obsessed with Stalin, the disciples of Leon Bronstein see betrayed revolutions everywhere”. Leon Bronstein? What the fuck? Is Johnstone okay with that? Now, if it was me, I wouldn’t allow UNZ to publish anything I wrote, especially since Ron Unz, the guy who runs it, is a disgusting rightwing pig. In 2016, he wrote an article titled “American Pravda: The KKK and Mass Racial Killings” that posed the question why there was so much attention paid to lynchings when Communism was responsible for the death of millions. He also took exception to a string of racist cop killings by pointing out that the victims were “bad guys”. He describes Trayvon Martin as a “violent young thug” and Michael Brown as “a gigantic, thuggish criminal”.

There is something sad about these journalists who made their reputation in the 60s and 70s and who are now hell-bent on destroying it, even if unintentionally. There is something compulsive about the behavior as if such self-destructiveness stems from some deep psychological need to be connected to vicious criminals like Assad. In the 1930s, much of the left flocked to Stalin like a moth to a flame. Today we see much of the left lining up with Putin and Assad from the same sort of political abnormal psychology. Tony McKenna’s article was a useful corrective to the cesspool of lies these sorts of people bathe in. The fact that Johnstone took the trouble to attack it just confirms its value.

April 13, 2018

Max Blumenthal’s double standards

Filed under: journalism,Red-Brown alliance,Syria — louisproyect @ 2:20 am

Placards from a protest in Istanbul against the killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja.

Days after Israeli troops fatally shot a Palestinian photojournalist covering protests on the Gaza border, Israel’s defense minister alleged the photographer had served as a high-ranking member of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas since 2011.

But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the photojournalist had passed a U.S. government vetting process for his media company to receive a U.S. aid agency grant. The U.S. does vetting to ensure grant recipients have no ties to militant organizations or activities.

The seemingly conflicting claims by Israeli and U.S. officials about the photographer’s identity are raising new questions over a killing that drew international media coverage and calls for an investigation.

On April 6, photojournalist Yaser Murtaja, 30, was shot by Israeli forces while reporting on Palestinian protests at the Gaza-Israel border, Palestinian officials and witnesses said. Images from the scene show Murtaja wearing a protective vest clearly marked “PRESS.”

U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said government vetting of Murtaja began in late 2017. The officials said that last month Murtaja’s Gaza media production company, Ain Media, became a beneficiary of a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told NPR the United States relies on Israeli intelligence to vet Palestinian organizations and individuals for links to militant groups before awarding them USAID grants. Nauert said the U.S. was looking into questions about Murtaja’s alleged Hamas affiliation.



SAMS is not merely a group of Syrian doctors tending to the wounded in war torn areas, nor can it be considered a objective source on chemical attacks and other atrocities. The organization is a USAID-funded lobbying powerhouse that functions with a single-minded determination to stimulate a US-led war of regime change that will place Syrian Islamists in power in Damascus.

April 3, 2018

An Inside Look at How Pro-Russia Trolls Got the SPLC to Censor a Commie

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 9:43 pm

by Charles Davis   April 3, 2018

 “An Orwellian destruction of meaning and words — so many absurdities; absurdities stacked on absurdities,” Alexander Reid Ross told me. Fox News had just declared him the leader of a nasty smear campaign, aided by the “far-left Southern Poverty Law Center,” that aimed to make television personality Tucker Carlson and his guests out to be “fascists.” So far, so normal, but it was the specific charge that shocked and awed the communist author who once lived in Russia: “McCarthyism,” with white nationalists’ favorite host, and those who come on his show to agree with him, the victims.

Ross’s ironic sin, which he spoke to me about in an hour-long phone call, was writing a series of articles about a topic he wrote the book on: fascist entryism, or efforts to normalize far-right politics and infiltrate left-wing discourse. In particular, he noted the shared affinity for the Kremlin and its talking points among the fringe right and a subsection of leftists, and he detailed how Russian state media was facilitating a popular,  “anti-establishment” front against the foreign and domestic enemies of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, platforming right-wing nationalists alongside those who self-identify as progressive internationalists.

Max Blumenthal is a fixture in this, found almost every week defending Russian foreign policy on platforms such as RT and Sputnik, a track record detailed in Ross’ last article. The son of Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, he has admitted to accepting a free trip to Moscow, where he attended the same RT anniversary party in 2015 as U.S. General Michael Flynn — Trump’s former national security advisor is under investigation, in part, for failing to disclose he was paid $45,000 for his appearance . In Moscow, Blumenthal spoke on a panel, “InfoWar: Will there be a winner?” with Charles Bausman, editor of the website Russia Insider and the author of articles such as, “It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo.”

Continue reading

March 19, 2018

The Internet Research Agency and Meddling in the 2016 elections

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 9:25 pm

(Another Alexander Reid Ross article Max Blumenthal’s lawyer forced the SPLC to delete.)

In an editorial published on Monday, January 15, Russia Insider, one of the most important pro-Russia news and analysis hubs in the West, declared, “hostility to Putin’s Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon.”

Penned by founding editor, Charles Bausman, the 5,000-word editorial drew positive responses from a number of important sources. Alt-Right.com announced “Russia Insider Decides to Go Alt-Right,” while Unz.com proclaimed that Bausman had “named the Jews” and far-right Congressional hopeful Paul Nehlen called it an “excellent article” and “a useful jumping off point for the ‘discussion’ we must have[.] The ensuing attention and compliments indicate the prevalence of far-right politics amid pro-Kremlin media and political networks.

Bausman’s antisemitic screed first lists well-worn euphemisms used by antisemites in lieu of naming Jews, including ‘Zionists’, ‘elites’, ‘global elites’, ‘globalists’, ‘neocons’, ‘liberal interventionists’, ‘the war party’, ‘the Israel lobby’, ‘the deep state’, ‘bankers’ and ‘new world order’

Indulging his theory, Bausman blames Jews for the Bolshevik terror, remarking that “much of the Bolshevik leadership was Jewish, in particular, Trotsky,” along with members of the secret police. He claims “cursory evidence” supports this theory, adding that “Henry Ford was heavily influenced by this view,” and “the German National Socialist movement became radically more antisemitic in reaction to this interpretation.”

The antisemitic conspiracy theory alleging that Jews used the Soviet Union to undermine the Russian “ethnos” is prominent among so-called “National Bolsheviks” — fascists who insist that an ultranationalist version of the Soviet Union would restore ethnic Russianness through a return to traditional society. Leading “National Bolshevik,” Aleksandr Dugin, has spearheaded influential initiatives to support Kremlin-centered “geopolitics” oriented toward a “Eurasian” spiritual empire stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Dugin has featured as a prominent figure among the pro-Kremlin far-right, including the alt-right, as well as news sites like Fort-Russ, RT, and Russia Insider.

Continuing in this vein, the editor of Russia Insider declares, “We follow the Alt-Right media and republish the occasional article, and they are invariably very popular on Russia Insider — largely, I think, because they are offering a fresh point of view, and talking about vitally important issues others refuse to address.” Bausman praises, in particular, racist alt-right podcasts like “Fash the Nation” and Richard Spencer’s “Alt Right Politics.”

Bausman’s editorial prompted a cautiously complimentary letter-to-the-editor from Gilbert Doctorow, a retired Brussels-based businessman who writes for Consortium News and cofounded the revived American Committee for East-West Accord (ACEWA).

Doctorow has been featured as a writer for Russia Insider since the site’s early days in 2014, penning such articles as “Twilight of the Gods: George Soros in Brussels,” and Bausman’s antisemitic editorial clearly reflected on Doctorow’s own career. In response, Doctorow wrote to Russia Insider, “for the sake of argument I will concede to you [Bausman] the point that Jewish controlled media have been a big factor in the hate-Russia mania that sweeps America today.”

“The overriding point that I wish to make here is that the anti-Russian rant from Jewish politicians and media moguls are only one of several contributing factors to the Russia-bashing that is going on,” Doctorow continued.

Arguing that Jews abandoning the Soviet Union in the late-19th Century and again in the 1970s held a grudge against Russia for their own inability to climb the financial ladder in the U.S., Doctorow’s letter proceeds, “In the big picture, the Jews are only one of several ethnic-religious groups or nationalities who left what was the Russian Empire or the Soviet Empire, and have been making trouble for Russia ever since. Therein lies the problem.” Doctorow’s letter concludes, “I stress that the issues raised in your [Bausman’s] editorial essay are serious and demand multi-disciplinary and multi-sided examination.”

The American committee

In 2014, Doctorow agreed to help jump-start the long-dormant American Committee for East-West Accord (ACEWA) with original member, NYU and Princeton University professor emeritus and contributing editor of The Nation, Stephen F. Cohen. Originally a group of academics, leftists, politicians and business leaders supporting Nixon’s policies of détente with Russia, the ACEWA’s new manifestation currently includes on its board such prestigious figures as Chuck Hagel, former ambassadors Jack Matlock and William vanden Heuvel, and Senator Bill Bradley.

From the start, the ACEWA afforded Doctorow the pretext to bring far-right and left-wing politicians together for public gatherings. On December 2, 2014, Doctorow launched the European branch of the ACEWA at the Brussels Press Club with a Round Table that included two left-wing members of the European Parliament and far-right Front National MEP Aymeric Chauprade.

Then Marine Le Pen’s advisor on international relations, Chauprade had recently returned from Crimea where he served as an election “observer” for the Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections led by Belgian fascist Luc Michel and joined by fascists Enrique Ravello and Valerio Cignetti. Far-right monitoring group Berliner Osteuropa-Experten called the ACEWA’s European launch, “a little Querfront.”

Registering as an ACEWA lobbyist in the European Union on March 1, 2015, Doctorow hosted another Brussels Round Table the next day featuring co-author of the controversial text, The Israel Lobby, John Mearsheimer, as well as editor and publisher of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and her husband Dr. Cohen.

The YouTube video of Mearsheimer’s speech appeared with a bullet-point summary on Russia Insider, which declared, “We owe a special thanks to Gilbert Doctorow, our invaluable RI [Russia Insider] contributor and moderator of this round table, for providing us with the video material.”

Two weeks later, Doctorow flew to Washington, D.C., for the U.S.-Russia Forum as a representative of the ACEWA. There, in the Central Hearing Facility (Room 216) of the Hart Senate Office Building, immediately following a speech from Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Doctorow appeared on a panel with Cohen and Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to decry anti-Putin sentiment.

After a short coffee break, the audience returned to the illustrious room to see Katrina vanden Heuvel moderate a panel on alternative media featuring the late Robert Parry of Consortium News, which is apparently Russia Insider’s fiscal sponsor. In the next time slot, Bausman took to the podium to give a presentation boasting of Russia Insider’s three million views per month during its first six months of existence. Today, both the homepage and the speakers’ page of the Russia Forum’s website feature Basuman’s photo in the banner image.

That September, Doctorow was back in Belgium, where he chaired another ACEWA Round Table featuring contributions from EU politicians and such academics as Richard Sakawa, a participant in Russia’s elite Valdai Discussion Club, and The Israel Lobby’s other co-author Stephen Walt.

As the U.S. presidential campaign of 2016 heated up, the ACEWA argued that Trump proposed a “new détente-like relationship” with Putin’s Russia, while deriding Clinton’s platform. On July 12, Doctorow’s branch of the ACEWA screened a film against the anti-corruption Magnitsky Act at the Brussels Press Club featuring a Q&A with the film’s director, Andrei Nekrasov, as advertised on the ACEWA website.

Following Trump’s election, Doctorow’s signature appeared on a letter published in TheNation with Noam Chomsky, whom he had criticized in a 2014 Nation article for being too slow to embrace Putin’s Russia, and four prestigious members of the European political community calling for a new détente in Europe. Doctorow left the ACEWA around March, 2017 to pursue other interests. He has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Ongoing relationships

Until January 19, 2018, the ACEWA’s website carried some 66 articles by Doctorow crossposted from websites like Consortium News and the Washington Times. The most recent piece from Doctorow was posted at ACEWA less than a month before time of writing. As of January 19, 2018, however, Doctorow’s content appears to have been scrubbed. Nevertheless, the overlap between articles posted by ACEWA and Russia Insider remains significant, and Consortium News remains one of the 14 sites shortlisted under the ACEW’s “additional resources.”

In a phone conversation with Hatewatch, Cohen said that he “kept up a personal correspondence with [Doctorow] about things that interest both of us, mainly Russia,” and that Doctorow resigned from the ACEWA “because he found it constraining,” not due to any “specific policy disagreement” or “anything personal.” According to Cohen, antisemitism never arose as an issue in his experience with Doctorow or in Doctorow’s role regarding the ACEWA.

However, along with his confab with Chauprade at the ACEWA’s launch in Brussels, Doctorow’s writings while representing the ACEWA indicate that his relationship to the far-right remained relatively consistent, insofar as he supported neo-Eurasianist geopolitical strategy against the North Atlantic as a ballast of national interest against the “tyranny” of “universal values.”

Doctorow’s piece published at Consortium News on June 3, 2016, for instance, lauds a former-member of Poland’s fascist Association for Tradition and Culture “Niklot” named Mateusz Piskorski as “an outstanding spokesman of the minority view and founder of the Zmiana (or Change) party.” According to researcher of far-right networks, Anton Shekhovtsov, Zmiana is an attempt to “combine Polish right-wing and left-wing extremists,” and one of its leaders, Bartosz Bekier, also heads up Poland’s fascist Falanga.

Also a veteran of the far-right Self-Defence party, Piskorski’s European Center for Geopolitical Analysis is connected to Dugin’s Eurasian Youth Union, a relationship consummated as early as 2004 during Piskorski’s efforts to “oversee” elections throughout Eastern Europe. More recently, he joined Chauprade in Michel’s fascist-laden, Russia-funded Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections, overseeing the illegal Crimean “referendum.”

James Carden, editor of the ACEWA’s website, stated by email, “The ACEWA, its website, and Stephen F. Cohen have had no direct relationship with Russia Insider and/or with Charles Bausman.” However, Doctorow’s relationship with Russia Insider while operating as ACEWA’s European coordinator belies this denial, as exhibited by the video that appeared on Russia Insider of ACEWA’s Round Table with special thanks to Doctorow.

Far-right and pro-Putin networks

As the diagram below shows, when the site metrics search engine Alexa runs an audience overlap comparison using only Russia Insider, their apparent fiscal sponsor at Consortium News, Bausman’s friend at pro-Russia site, The Saker, and ACEWA-linked magazine, The Nation, three different audience clusters emerge: (1) a largely direct Russian propaganda cluster; (2) a mostly U.S.-based cluster of conspiracist sites and syncretic left-right geopolitics sites; (3) a more mainstream cluster of sites thought to be far more credible than the latter two.

Doctorow’s activity as a writer and political operative indicate a capacity to triangulate a syncretic left-right movement against liberalism based on trans-national connections between media and politics. However, he, Consortium, and Russia Insider intimate the broader problem that the conduits of “geopolitical” ideology from Russian media to pro-Russian sites and the U.S. mainstream can serve as a Trojan horse for fascist tendencies and sympathies.

Pro-Putin networks like RT and Sputnik, which have played host to far-right commentators like Dugin, Richard Spencer and German neo-Eurasianist Manuel Ochsenreiter serve as vehicles for far-right ideologies laundered into US news and commentary sites under the auspices of geopolitical commentary. Unfortunately, the Left has not launched a serious effort to disconnect from collaborations with far-right groups in the context of networks that support and are often supported by Putin’s Russia. This situation has caused influential bodies like the ACEWA to facilitate the growth of transnational, far-right politics and, more specifically, the fascist neo-Eurasianist movement.

The far-right influence in pro-Kremlin media and political networks

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance — louisproyect @ 8:33 pm

(Another Alexander Reid Ross article Max Blumenthal’s lawyer forced the SPLC to delete.)

In an editorial published on Monday, January 15, Russia Insider, one of the most important pro-Russia news and analysis hubs in the West, declared, “hostility to Putin’s Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon.”

Penned by founding editor, Charles Bausman, the 5,000-word editorial drew positive responses from a number of important sources. Alt-Right.com announced “Russia Insider Decides to Go Alt-Right,” while Unz.com proclaimed that Bausman had “named the Jews” and far-right Congressional hopeful Paul Nehlen called it an “excellent article” and “a useful jumping off point for the ‘discussion’ we must have[.] The ensuing attention and compliments indicate the prevalence of far-right politics amid pro-Kremlin media and political networks.

Bausman’s antisemitic screed first lists well-worn euphemisms used by antisemites in lieu of naming Jews, including ‘Zionists’, ‘elites’, ‘global elites’, ‘globalists’, ‘neocons’, ‘liberal interventionists’, ‘the war party’, ‘the Israel lobby’, ‘the deep state’, ‘bankers’ and ‘new world order’

Indulging his theory, Bausman blames Jews for the Bolshevik terror, remarking that “much of the Bolshevik leadership was Jewish, in particular, Trotsky,” along with members of the secret police. He claims “cursory evidence” supports this theory, adding that “Henry Ford was heavily influenced by this view,” and “the German National Socialist movement became radically more antisemitic in reaction to this interpretation.”

The antisemitic conspiracy theory alleging that Jews used the Soviet Union to undermine the Russian “ethnos” is prominent among so-called “National Bolsheviks” — fascists who insist that an ultranationalist version of the Soviet Union would restore ethnic Russianness through a return to traditional society. Leading “National Bolshevik,” Aleksandr Dugin, has spearheaded influential initiatives to support Kremlin-centered “geopolitics” oriented toward a “Eurasian” spiritual empire stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Dugin has featured as a prominent figure among the pro-Kremlin far-right, including the alt-right, as well as news sites like Fort-Russ, RT, and Russia Insider.

Continuing in this vein, the editor of Russia Insider declares, “We follow the Alt-Right media and republish the occasional article, and they are invariably very popular on Russia Insider — largely, I think, because they are offering a fresh point of view, and talking about vitally important issues others refuse to address.” Bausman praises, in particular, racist alt-right podcasts like “Fash the Nation” and Richard Spencer’s “Alt Right Politics.”

Bausman’s editorial prompted a cautiously complimentary letter-to-the-editor from Gilbert Doctorow, a retired Brussels-based businessman who writes for Consortium News and cofounded the revived American Committee for East-West Accord (ACEWA).

Doctorow has been featured as a writer for Russia Insider since the site’s early days in 2014, penning such articles as “Twilight of the Gods: George Soros in Brussels,” and Bausman’s antisemitic editorial clearly reflected on Doctorow’s own career. In response, Doctorow wrote to Russia Insider, “for the sake of argument I will concede to you [Bausman] the point that Jewish controlled media have been a big factor in the hate-Russia mania that sweeps America today.”

“The overriding point that I wish to make here is that the anti-Russian rant from Jewish politicians and media moguls are only one of several contributing factors to the Russia-bashing that is going on,” Doctorow continued.

Arguing that Jews abandoning the Soviet Union in the late-19th Century and again in the 1970s held a grudge against Russia for their own inability to climb the financial ladder in the U.S., Doctorow’s letter proceeds, “In the big picture, the Jews are only one of several ethnic-religious groups or nationalities who left what was the Russian Empire or the Soviet Empire, and have been making trouble for Russia ever since. Therein lies the problem.” Doctorow’s letter concludes, “I stress that the issues raised in your [Bausman’s] editorial essay are serious and demand multi-disciplinary and multi-sided examination.”

The American committee

In 2014, Doctorow agreed to help jump-start the long-dormant American Committee for East-West Accord (ACEWA) with original member, NYU and Princeton University professor emeritus and contributing editor of The Nation, Stephen F. Cohen. Originally a group of academics, leftists, politicians and business leaders supporting Nixon’s policies of détente with Russia, the ACEWA’s new manifestation currently includes on its board such prestigious figures as Chuck Hagel, former ambassadors Jack Matlock and William vanden Heuvel, and Senator Bill Bradley.

From the start, the ACEWA afforded Doctorow the pretext to bring far-right and left-wing politicians together for public gatherings. On December 2, 2014, Doctorow launched the European branch of the ACEWA at the Brussels Press Club with a Round Table that included two left-wing members of the European Parliament and far-right Front National MEP Aymeric Chauprade.

Then Marine Le Pen’s advisor on international relations, Chauprade had recently returned from Crimea where he served as an election “observer” for the Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections led by Belgian fascist Luc Michel and joined by fascists Enrique Ravello and Valerio Cignetti. Far-right monitoring group Berliner Osteuropa-Experten called the ACEWA’s European launch, “a little Querfront.”

Registering as an ACEWA lobbyist in the European Union on March 1, 2015, Doctorow hosted another Brussels Round Table the next day featuring co-author of the controversial text, The Israel Lobby, John Mearsheimer, as well as editor and publisher of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and her husband Dr. Cohen.

The YouTube video of Mearsheimer’s speech appeared with a bullet-point summary on Russia Insider, which declared, “We owe a special thanks to Gilbert Doctorow, our invaluable RI [Russia Insider] contributor and moderator of this round table, for providing us with the video material.”

Two weeks later, Doctorow flew to Washington, D.C., for the U.S.-Russia Forum as a representative of the ACEWA. There, in the Central Hearing Facility (Room 216) of the Hart Senate Office Building, immediately following a speech from Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Doctorow appeared on a panel with Cohen and Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to decry anti-Putin sentiment.

After a short coffee break, the audience returned to the illustrious room to see Katrina vanden Heuvel moderate a panel on alternative media featuring the late Robert Parry of Consortium News, which is apparently Russia Insider’s fiscal sponsor. In the next time slot, Bausman took to the podium to give a presentation boasting of Russia Insider’s three million views per month during its first six months of existence. Today, both the homepage and the speakers’ page of the Russia Forum’s website feature Basuman’s photo in the banner image.

That September, Doctorow was back in Belgium, where he chaired another ACEWA Round Table featuring contributions from EU politicians and such academics as Richard Sakawa, a participant in Russia’s elite Valdai Discussion Club, and The Israel Lobby’s other co-author Stephen Walt.

As the U.S. presidential campaign of 2016 heated up, the ACEWA argued that Trump proposed a “new détente-like relationship” with Putin’s Russia, while deriding Clinton’s platform. On July 12, Doctorow’s branch of the ACEWA screened a film against the anti-corruption Magnitsky Act at the Brussels Press Club featuring a Q&A with the film’s director, Andrei Nekrasov, as advertised on the ACEWA website.

Following Trump’s election, Doctorow’s signature appeared on a letter published in TheNation with Noam Chomsky, whom he had criticized in a 2014 Nation article for being too slow to embrace Putin’s Russia, and four prestigious members of the European political community calling for a new détente in Europe. Doctorow left the ACEWA around March, 2017 to pursue other interests. He has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Ongoing relationships

Until January 19, 2018, the ACEWA’s website carried some 66 articles by Doctorow crossposted from websites like Consortium News and the Washington Times. The most recent piece from Doctorow was posted at ACEWA less than a month before time of writing. As of January 19, 2018, however, Doctorow’s content appears to have been scrubbed. Nevertheless, the overlap between articles posted by ACEWA and Russia Insider remains significant, and Consortium News remains one of the 14 sites shortlisted under the ACEW’s “additional resources.”

In a phone conversation with Hatewatch, Cohen said that he “kept up a personal correspondence with [Doctorow] about things that interest both of us, mainly Russia,” and that Doctorow resigned from the ACEWA “because he found it constraining,” not due to any “specific policy disagreement” or “anything personal.” According to Cohen, antisemitism never arose as an issue in his experience with Doctorow or in Doctorow’s role regarding the ACEWA.

However, along with his confab with Chauprade at the ACEWA’s launch in Brussels, Doctorow’s writings while representing the ACEWA indicate that his relationship to the far-right remained relatively consistent, insofar as he supported neo-Eurasianist geopolitical strategy against the North Atlantic as a ballast of national interest against the “tyranny” of “universal values.”

Doctorow’s piece published at Consortium News on June 3, 2016, for instance, lauds a former-member of Poland’s fascist Association for Tradition and Culture “Niklot” named Mateusz Piskorski as “an outstanding spokesman of the minority view and founder of the Zmiana (or Change) party.” According to researcher of far-right networks, Anton Shekhovtsov, Zmiana is an attempt to “combine Polish right-wing and left-wing extremists,” and one of its leaders, Bartosz Bekier, also heads up Poland’s fascist Falanga.

Also a veteran of the far-right Self-Defence party, Piskorski’s European Center for Geopolitical Analysis is connected to Dugin’s Eurasian Youth Union, a relationship consummated as early as 2004 during Piskorski’s efforts to “oversee” elections throughout Eastern Europe. More recently, he joined Chauprade in Michel’s fascist-laden, Russia-funded Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections, overseeing the illegal Crimean “referendum.”

James Carden, editor of the ACEWA’s website, stated by email, “The ACEWA, its website, and Stephen F. Cohen have had no direct relationship with Russia Insider and/or with Charles Bausman.” However, Doctorow’s relationship with Russia Insider while operating as ACEWA’s European coordinator belies this denial, as exhibited by the video that appeared on Russia Insider of ACEWA’s Round Table with special thanks to Doctorow.

Far-right and pro-Putin networks

As the diagram below shows, when the site metrics search engine Alexa runs an audience overlap comparison using only Russia Insider, their apparent fiscal sponsor at Consortium News, Bausman’s friend at pro-Russia site, The Saker, and ACEWA-linked magazine, The Nation, three different audience clusters emerge: (1) a largely direct Russian propaganda cluster; (2) a mostly U.S.-based cluster of conspiracist sites and syncretic left-right geopolitics sites; (3) a more mainstream cluster of sites thought to be far more credible than the latter two.

Doctorow’s activity as a writer and political operative indicate a capacity to triangulate a syncretic left-right movement against liberalism based on trans-national connections between media and politics. However, he, Consortium, and Russia Insider intimate the broader problem that the conduits of “geopolitical” ideology from Russian media to pro-Russian sites and the U.S. mainstream can serve as a Trojan horse for fascist tendencies and sympathies.

Pro-Putin networks like RT and Sputnik, which have played host to far-right commentators like Dugin, Richard Spencer and German neo-Eurasianist Manuel Ochsenreiter serve as vehicles for far-right ideologies laundered into US news and commentary sites under the auspices of geopolitical commentary. Unfortunately, the Left has not launched a serious effort to disconnect from collaborations with far-right groups in the context of networks that support and are often supported by Putin’s Russia. This situation has caused influential bodies like the ACEWA to facilitate the growth of transnational, far-right politics and, more specifically, the fascist neo-Eurasianist movement.

March 15, 2018

The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance,Syria — louisproyect @ 10:53 pm

​During his recent tour of Europe, disgraced former Trump strategist Steve Bannon declared “Italy is in the lead.”

Amid the historic resurgence of the Italian far right that returned right-wing populist Silvio Berlusconi to prominence, Bannon fantasized about “the ultimate dream” of unifying the anti-establishment Five Star Movement with the far-right League (formerly the Northern League) through a populist movement. Bannon’s international vision of nationalist populist movements is locked into the Kremlin’s geopolitical ideology of a “multipolar world.”

The League is tied through a cooperation pact to Putin’s Russia, and its deputy in charge of relations with foreign parties, Claudio D’Amico, explicitly called for a “multipolar world” in Katehon, a think tank created by fascist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin. Following the ideological line Dugin put forward in his text, Foundations of Geopolitics, Katehon calls for uniting a “Eurasian” bloc in constant struggle against “Atlanticist” countries. For Dugin, the “21st century gamble” is to create a “multipolar” confederation of “Traditionalist” regional empires united under Russian sovereignty that will overthrow the “unipolar” empire of “postmodern” democracies.

Shortly after Putin’s election in 2000, the Kremlin released a set of foreign policy guidelines calling for a “multipolar world order” against the “strengthening tendency towards the formation of a unipolar world under financial and military domination by the United States.” Escalating with the Ukrainian Orange Revolution in 2004, the Kremlin’s production of soft-power networks throughout Europe and the United States involves- think tanksloansforumspropaganda outlets and cooperation agreements with far-right parties like the Austrian Freedom Party and the League. From Russia to Iran to Western Europe and the U.S., this international movement uses conspiracy theories and “gray material” to warp the political spectrum into a populist referendum along “geopolitical” terms set by fascist engagées.

Red and brown polarities

As a recent major report on syncretic networks exposed, the modern fascist movement’s obsession with geopolitics emerged in force amid the post-Cold War antiglobalization movement. In 2002, a front group formed out of the U.S.-based Workers’ World Party known as the International Action Center joined forces with the Assisi-based “Campo Antimperialista.” As Duginists infiltrated the Campo, opening a journal called Eurasia that garnered the influential involvement of Campo participant Costanza Preve, the International Action Center continued their cooperation.

Soon, a similar Russian group called the Anti-Globalist Resistance began to repost the Campo’s dispatches. Sharing support for Milosevic with the Campo and the International Action Center, the Anti-Globalist Resistance emerged simultaneously with the same tendency to fight globalization by linking far-right to hard-left. In 2008, they brought the Campo to Moscow for the third “All-Russia Anti-Globalist Forum,” introduced by long-time U.S. fascist Lyndon LaRouche. The next year’s conference included Duginist leaders like Leonid Savin and retired General Leonid Ivashov, along with LaRouche and Holocaust denier Israel Shamir.

As their work continued, the Campo and Anti-Globalist Resistance drew more anti-globalization activists into their syncretic orbit. In 2012, a group came together at a Campo Antimperialista event in Assisi and developed what would become the Syria Solidarity Movement. The movement’s steering committee came to include top figures from groups from the U.S. hard left, including the Workers World Party, its affiliate, ANSWER and a spinoff of the latter group called the Party of Socialism and Liberation.

After changing their name to the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, the group drew people from the Syria Solidarity Movement’s network to a conference called the “Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and Building a Multipolar World” in 2014. A delegate from the International Action Center attended, along with delegates from another Workers World Party front group called United Anti-War Coalition, including an editor with the Black Agenda Reportnamed Margaret Kimberly. Among the conference’s other attendees were Michael Hill of the neo-Confederate League of the South and the Texas Nationalist Movement, as well as the far-right Republika of Srpska and National Bolshevik Italian Communitarian Party.

The following year, the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia met with a purported Cherokee Nation elder named “Mashu White Feather” and a representative of the Uhuru Movement, also connected to the Black Agenda Report. They then organized a state-funded conference that drew members of the fascist Italian group Millenium, Mutti’s associate Antonio Grego, and a leading member of the far-right Rodina party, as well as representatives of separatist groups like the Texas Nationalist Movement and the Catalan Solidarity for Independence party. The now-notorious troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, would later invite the Texas Nationalist Movement to join an armed, Islamophobic protest launched by the fake “Heart of Texas,” while also inciting counter-protestors.


This network map shows the flow of movement building from parties to front groups to participation in and creation of syncretic coalitions.

The Syria connection

The Syria Solidarity Movement lists on its steering committee a host of syncretic figures like DuginistNavid Nasr and an Australian representative of the fascist-modeled Syrian Social Nationalist Party affiliateMussalaha. Before a report revealed her associations with Global ResearchRon Paul and the right-wing British Constitution Party, conspiracy theorist Vanessa Beeley held a position on the steering committee as well.

As an editor at the alt-right-associated conspiracy theory site, 21stCenturyWire, Beeley’s repeated conspiracy articles attempting to link the White Helmets to al Qaeda and George Soros earned her a visit with Assad in Damascus and senior Russian officials in Moscow; however, they have been thoroughly debunked. A defender of right-wing Hungarian president Viktor Orban, Beeley promotesantisemites like Gilad Atzmon and Dieudonné, even speaking at a conference hosted by the latter in partnership with notorious Holocaust denier Laurent Louis. Regardless, the Syrian Solidarity Movement and the associated Hands Off Syria Coalition recommend Beeley’s work.

Along with members of the Syria Solidarity Movement, delegates who attended the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia’s “Multipolar World” conference sit on the Hands off Syria Coalition’s steering committee. Showing its commitments and affinities, in January 2016, the Hands Off Syria Coalition published a “Multipolar World Against War” statement signed by the leader of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, Alexander Ionov.

Similarly, the Hands Off Syria Coalition website publicizes self-described Marxist, Tim Anderson, who has an interesting record of attending far-right conferences. In 2015, Anderson attended the far-right Brandherd Syrien Congress, and the next year he was at Defend Our Heritage’s Leura Forum, chaired by a leader of far-right party Alternative for Germany. Following that, Anderson’s pet project, Center of Counter Hegemonic Studies, convened a conference that brought in Paul Antonopoulos, an editor for the Duginist website Fort Russ.

The Hands Off Syria Coalition advertises Anderson’s book, The Dirty War on Syria, which is published by syncretic conspiracist site Global Research. Multiple “Research Associates” of Global Research sit on the “scientific committee” of the Campo-linked Duginist journal Geopolitica, and the site lists as its “partner media group” the Voltaire Network. Publishing LaRouchite and Duginist articles, the Voltaire Network boasts the Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs as its Vice President. One of the Voltaire Network’s leading contributors is Mikhail Leontyev, an associate of Dugin who has moved from prominent media personality to the role of spokesman for Russian state oil company, Rosneft. The Syria Solidarity Movement publishes Voltaire Network articles by founder Thierry Meyssan, a contributor to Campo-linked journal Eurasia who associates with Holocaust deniers and open fascists, among others.

Hands Off Syria Coalition steering committee member Issa Chaer joined Meyssan on a panel at the Second New Horizons conference in Iran in 2012. Conference speakers that year included World Workers Party member Caleb Maupin, Alt Right journalist Tim Pool, Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett, and Duginists like Voltaire Network associate Mateusz Piskorski, German editor Manuel Ochsenreiter, Leonid Savin, and Claudio Mutti the leading fascist infiltrator of the Campo Antimperialista. The banner image for last year’s New Horizon features Aleksandr Dugin.

Multipolar propaganda

According to the metrics search engine BuzzSumo, most of the leading articles with the terms “multipolar world” and “multi-polar world” in the title come from an interconnected network of sites, including Global Research, The Duran and Sign of the Times. With an estimated six million unique daily views per month, the biggest and most influential in this network is the Russian state-run media site Sputnik News.

Billing itself as pointing “the way to a multipolar world that respects every country’s national interests, culture, history and traditions,” Sputnik frequently publishes PiskorskiOchsenreiter, Mutti’s fellow Campo infiltrator Tiberio Graziani, commentator Andrew Korybkoand Fort Russ editor Joaquin Flores. Furthermore, Sputnik has joined RT in consistently using dubious sources affiliated with theSyria Solidarity Network to attack the White Helmets and throw doubt on the Assad regime’s war crimes, for instance its use of chemical weapons.

A syncretic hub on Sputnik, anti-imperialist John Wight’s podcast, “Hard Facts,” promotes the same figures associated with the pro-Assad network in the West, including Beeley, Anderson, and Nasr. Perhaps most interestingly, Wight also hosted trans-national far-right figure, Edward Lozansky during the 2016 election and again early the next year.

With more than 30 years of involvement in the U.S. and Russian far right, Lozansky is perhaps most known as the creator of the American University in Moscow. Boasting a number of Fellows involved in pro-Kremlin media outlets like The Duran, RT and Russia Insider, the American University in Moscow appears to be an ideological center in the concerted social media campaign associated with the Internet Research Agency to boost anti-Clinton, pro-Kremlin propaganda in the U.S. Lozansky also hosts conferences with known fascist ideologues and an annual “Russia Forum” featuring far-right politicians and left-wing media operators from Russia and the U.S.

During both of his pro-Putin, pro-Trump interviews with Lozansky on “Hard Facts,” Wight advocated “a multipolar alternative to the unipolar world,” insisting, “we’re talking about a struggle for a multipolar world to replace the unipolarity that has wreaked so much havoc since the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.”

The most important anti-imperialist hub on Sputnik, however, is hosted by Brian Becker, whose fellow party member and brother sits on the steering committee for the Syria Solidarity Movement. The leader of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Becker regularly hosts Fellows of the American University in Moscow on his Sputnik podcast, “Loud & Clear.”

“Loud & Clear”‘s Lozansky-affiliated guests include far-right PR man Jim Jatras, Mark Sleboda of the Dugin-founded Center for Conservative Studies, the Ron Paul Institute’s Daniel McAdams and Alexander Mercouris of the syncretic conspiracist site, The Duran. The program also provides a platform to a variety of explicitly far-right guests, including Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, antisemite Alberto Garcia Watson, alt-right figure Cassandra Fairbanks and militia movement leader Larry Pratt.

Aside from marginal guests, Loud & Clear can bring on some heavy hitters. During his two appearances on “Loud & Clear” in late 2017, bestselling author Max Blumenthal called the red-brown radio show “the finest public affairs programming” and declared, “I am increasingly turning to RT America for sanity.” No stranger to Sputnik, Blumenthal also went on “Hard Facts” that August, claiming that notorious ISIS militant Mohammed Emwazi was ushered into the Syria conflict by the CIA via a “rat line” from Saudi Arabia.


This Venn diagram suggests that certain syncretic groups exist as containers for the intersection of right and left wing groups, ideologies.

Highway to the Grayzone

Around the same time he went on “Loud & Clear,” Blumenthal appeared on Tucker Carlson‘s FOX News show to defend RT — his second time on the far-right show that year. Blumenthal’s RT appearances have been praised by white nationalists like Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., who murdered three people outside of a Jewish Community Center in 2014, so his courting of the right on FOX drew considerable backlash.

Two months later, Blumenthal offered up a staunch defense of “Russia’s position in the world” to author Robert Wright in an interview on bloggingheads. Admitting that Putin’s Russia remains far from left-wing, Blumenthal justified support for the country’s authoritarian conservative government as “part of the multipolar world.”

“If you believe in a multipolar world,” Blumenthal told Wright, “you believe in détente, you believe in diplomacy.” He specifically mentioned Becker’s Party for Socialism and Liberation and groups like it, arguing that they “tend to get all the major issues right regardless of their ideology or agenda.”

Blumenthal was not as clear of a spokesperson for Kremlin geopolitics before he appeared at the same RT gala as disgraced former National Security advisor Michael Flynn and the Green Party’s Jill Stein in December 2015. During that occasion, he joined a panel called “Infowar: Will there be a winner” alongside Alt Right anti-Semite Charles Bausman of Russia Insider. A month later, Blumenthal’s pro-Kremlin position crystalized with the founding of the Grayzone Project.

Grayzone is a collaborative project also featuring journalist Benjamin Norton, who cosigned the Hands Off Syria Coalition’s points of unity statement along with Beeley and others. After going on “Loud & Clear” with Duginist Mark Sleboda and Infowars regularRay McGovern, Norton plugged the Party for Socialism and Liberation on a podcast episode titled “Hands off Syria.” With other Grayzone contributors, Norton has been criticized for downplaying war crimesand helping publicize false theories about rebels contaminatingDamascus’s water supply.

When reached for comment by email, Norton retorted, “I know your goal is to outlandishly smear anyone who opposes US imperialism and is to the left of the Clintons as a ‘crypto-fascist,’ while NATO supports actual fascists whom you care little about.”

Grayzone is perhaps best known for Blumenthal’s controversial two-part article attacking the White Helmets, which brought accusations of plagiarism from Beeley. Grayzone contributor Rania Khalek had, Beeley insisted, “pumped me for information on the [White Helmets] and then Max wrote the article.”

While Blumenthal may have repeated some of Beeley’s theories, Beeley cannot be seen as a credible source. Regardless, Khalek has since used a questionable interview sourced from Beeley as evidence that the White Helmets “were deeply embedded in al Qaeda.”

Grayzone recently announced their move from independent news site AlterNet to The Real News Network, a left-wing site with a penchant for 9/11 truther inquiries. Neither Blumenthal nor Khalek responded to efforts to reach them for comment.

Right uses left

Through its amplification of an interlinked, multi-centered network organized around institutions like Lozansky’s American University in Moscow and the Voltaire Network and conferences like Moscow’s “Multi-Polar World” and Tehran’s “New Horizons,” syncretic networks associated with Dugin’s Eurasianist ideology have combined distortions and ambiguities into a geopolitical narrative meant to confuse audiences and promote authoritarian populist opposition to liberalism.

The “gray measures” used to deny the Kremlin’s influence operations may seem dubious when delivered through channels like Sputnik that are, themselves, political technologies of far-right political influence. When cycled through “narrative laundering” of secondary and tertiary networks enhanced by trolls and coordinated influence operations, however, propaganda is “graywashed” of its dubious sources and presented as cutting-edge journalism.

As shown with Figure 3, think tanks like Katehon and connected Russian Institute for Strategic Studies develop strategies for media spin and online promotion through influence groups and botnets. These think tanks engage in feedback loops with Russian state media channels and linked syncretic news sites, amplified through social media with the help of botnets, and eventually reaching more legitimate sources often freed of their dubious sourcing. The results are explored by a recent study from Data and Society called Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online: “Online communities are increasingly turning to conspiracy-driven news sources, whose sensationalist claims are then covered by the mainstream media, which exposes more of the public to these ideas, and so on.”


A conceptual model made in Vensim intended to present the workings of “Graywashing.”

The problem with multipolarism, aside from assuming polarity as a useful prescription, may be that it supports not the emergence of Russia as a world power but the rise of the Kremlin’s authoritarian conservative political ideology. In this, multipolarists tend to support other authoritarian regimes and movements from Iran to Syria to Italy. Although anti-imperialists may believe that these measures land them on the right side of history, taking stock of the fascist movement suggests that the strategy of opposing a liberal order through red-brown populist collaboration makes the left a willing accomplice.

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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.)

VIA EMAIL DELIVERY

SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER

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

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