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February 11, 2021 – FBI investigates the Counterintelligence aspects of the Capitol Riot

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FBI probing if foreign governments, groups funded extremists who helped execute Capitol attack

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WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether foreign governments, organizations or individuals provided financial support to extremists who helped plan and execute the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, one current and one former FBI official told NBC News.

As part of the investigation, the bureau is examining payments of $500,000 in bitcoin, apparently by a French national, to key figures and groups in the alt-right before the riot, the sources said. Those payments were documented and posted on the web this week by a company that analyzes cryptocurrency transfers. Payments of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, can be traced because they are documented on a public ledger.

 

Separately, a joint threat assessment issued this week by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and various other federal and D.C.-area police agencies noted that since the Jan. 6 riot, “Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition.”

Russian state and proxy media outlets “have amplified themes related to the violent and chaotic nature of the Capitol Hill incident, impeachment of President Trump, and social media censorship,” the unclassified intelligence report said. “In at least one instance, a Russian proxy claimed that ANTIFA members disguised themselves as supporters of President Trump, and were responsible for storming the Capitol building.”

Chinese media, meanwhile, “have seized the story to denigrate U.S. democratic governance, casting the United States as broadly in decline — and to justify China’s crackdown on protestors in Hong Kong.”

The examination of possible foreign influence related to the Capitol riot, which involves the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, comes after years of what current and former FBI officials say is mounting evidence that Russia and other foreign adversaries have sought to secretly support political extremists on the far right and far left.

Law enforcement officials and terrorism experts say there has long been “a mutual affection between Western white supremacists and the Russian government,” as two scholars put it in a February paper on the JustSecurity web site.

 

Some senators were concerned enough about the issue that they inserted a requirement in the 2021 defense bill that the Pentagon “report to Congress on the extent of Russian support for ‘racially and ethnically motivated violent extremist groups and networks in Europe and the United States’ — and what can be done to counter it.”

The current FBI official told NBC News that the bureau did not necessarily suspect Russian involvement in the bitcoin transfers, which appear to have been made by a French computer programmer who died by suicide on Dec. 8 after triggering the transfers, according to French media.

But the cryptocurrency payments prompted the FBI to examine whether any of the money was used to find illegal acts, which, if true, raises the possibility of money laundering and conspiracy charges, the FBI official said.

On Dec. 8, Chainalysis reported, the donor sent 28.15 BTC — worth about $522,000 at the time of transfer — to 22 separate addresses, many of which belong to far-right activists.

The Chainalysis blog post, first highlighted by Yahoo News, said far-right podcaster Nick Fuentes received the most money, 13.5 BTC — worth approximately $250,000.

Fuentes, who spoke at pro-Trump rallies last year in Michigan and Washington, D.C., told the ProPublica news organization that he was at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Wednesday but didn’t follow the mob into the Capitol.

One group of Fuentes’ supporters, which calls itself the Groyper Army, was filmed running through the Capitol carrying a large blue flag with the America First logo, ProPublica reported.

“We’re looking at and treating this just like a significant international counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation,” Michael Sherwin, the U.S. attorney in D.C., said at a news briefing last week.

“We’re looking at everything: Money, travel records, looking at disposition, movement, communication records.”

Ken Dilanian is a correspondent covering intelligence and national security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

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Feds need to tell us a lot more about the Capitol riot investigation (opinion)

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Normally after a major event like this — a terrorist assault on the heart of our government — top federal law enforcement officials would step up to give the most comprehensive account of what they know. They would move quickly to inform and reassure the public — to tell us who did what, how it happened, and what the threat is now.

Not so well.

Perhaps the most notable part of the update was who wasn’t giving it. The top officials from Justice and the FBI — Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Director Christopher Wray — weren’t there. Nor were other senior officials from relevant agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. Instead, we saw the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington office, Steve D’Antuono, and the acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin.

While these two officials are no doubt the ones most closely monitoring the investigations into the insurrection, the absence of their bosses — or even their deputies — was unexpected, given the magnitude of the attack.

The news conference focused almost exclusively on the investigation into the attack — on the crime-solving. It is, of course, the Justice Department’s job to gather evidence, track down suspects and bring perpetrators to justice.

We learned from D’Antuono that the FBI was treating the Capitol attack the same way it would an international terrorist incident, and that it had opened 170 “subject files” (referring to individuals identified as persons who potentially committed crimes), and of those has charged more than 70 individuals.

Sherwin emphasized that each perpetrator will be charged with the most severe crime warranted, including and up to seditious conspiracy.

But both officials appeared to skirt around explaining what federal law enforcement knew and did before that day’s Trump rally and the attack that followed it, in particular how the feds had coordinated with other agencies to prepare for trouble.

Nor did they mention the threat bulletin now issued to all 50 states warning of armed protests planned at every state’s capitol and in Washington in the days leading up to the inauguration on January 20.

Goal #2: Stop misinformation and conspiracy theories by offering facts

Many Americans are wondering how this attack was allowed to happen. Since 9/11, law enforcement has greatly increased its abilities to sniff out and disrupt developing terrorism plots. The FBI most recently thwarted an apparent plan by militia groups to kidnap and kill the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, in October.

It is hard to understand how — particularly in light of the many threats of violence made openly by pro-Trump groups and individuals on social media — the FBI and its law enforcement partners were not better prepared for what took place.

Unfortunately, neither D’Antuono nor Sherwin offered much in the way of explanation. To be sure, law enforcement is often unable to comment on things that might compromise ongoing investigations. But if that is the case, they normally just say that. On Tuesday, however, D’Antuono puzzlingly acknowledged that the FBI had information from its Norfolk field office indicating plans for violence at the Capitol.

This contradicted his earlier claim to reporters

, Friday, that the FBI did not have any such information in its possession at all before the attack. Nor did he explain why the Norfolk tip was not followed up on after the Joint Terrorism Task Force received it.

By not filling in these gaps, or even stating clearly that the FBI was reviewing all of the intelligence that was known beforehand, the officials invited more speculation about whether the government’s flat-footed response to the Capitol assault was caused by negligence or — far worse — an intentional intelligence failure.

They missed an opportunity to be as robust as possible in laying out how law enforcement approached this highly publicized rally, and potentially contributed to a further erosion of trust in law enforcement and the proliferation of unfounded conspiracy theories.

Goal #3: Deter future violence by sending a strong message

Many members of the Capitol mob were undoubtedly watching the news conference to find out what the FBI knew. On this front, both officials sent a clear message that they would use every resource at their disposal to identify and prosecute everyone who attacked the seat of our democracy.

Make no mistake: The people who planned and participated in this atrocity will get a knock on their doors from the FBI soon enough.

But the domestic terror threat is not limited to that one mob. The very fact that the FBI has issued a threat bulletin to all 50 states reveals that the depraved ideology based on the lie about the “rigged” election spreads far and deep.

But neither D’Antuono nor Sherwin addressed this future threat, issued a warning to anyone planning violence, or even referred to the people involved in this violence as domestic terrorists.

This may be because they have seen how the President reacts when such language is used against his defenders and allies. After all, neither the FBI nor the DOJ can afford, in this critical moment, to lose their leadership because Trump decided to fire them. Unfortunately, if that fear is what resulted in the gaps in Tuesday’s remarks, it may embolden the very people they are protecting us against.

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Capitol insurrection: Most of the people charged, like Jenna Ryan, showed signs of prior money troubles

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Yet Ryan, 50, is accused of rushing into the Capitol past broken glass and blaring security alarms and, according to federal prosecutors, shouting: “Fight for freedom! Fight for freedom!”

But in a different way, she fit right in.

Despite her outward signs of success, Ryan had struggled financially for years. She was still paying off a $37,000 lien for unpaid federal taxes when she was arrested. She’d nearly lost her home to foreclosure before that. She filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and faced another IRS tax lien in 2010.

Nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories.

The group’s bankruptcy rate — 18 percent — was nearly twice as high as that of the American public, The Post found. A quarter of them had been sued for money owed to a creditor. And 1 in 5 of them faced losing their home at one point, according to court filings.

The financial problems are revealing because they offer potential clues for understanding why so many Trump supporters — many with professional careers and few with violent criminal histories — were willing to participate in an attack egged on by the president’s rhetoric painting him and his supporters as undeserving victims.

While no single factor explains why someone decided to join in, experts say, Donald Trump and his brand of grievance politics tapped into something that resonated with the hundreds of people who descended on the Capitol in a historic burst of violence.

“I think what you’re finding is more than just economic insecurity but a deep-seated feeling of precarity about their personal situation,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a political science professor who helps run the Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab at American University, reacting to The Post’s findings. “And that precarity — combined with a sense of betrayal or anger that someone is taking something away — mobilized a lot of people that day.”

The financial missteps by defendants in the insurrection ranged from small debts of a few thousand dollars more than a decade ago to unpaid tax bills of $400,000 and homes facing foreclosure in recent years. Some of these people seemed to have regained their financial footing. But many of them once stood close to the edge.

Ryan had nearly lost everything. And the stakes seemed similarly high to her when she came to Washington in early January. She fully believed Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen and that he was going to save the country, she said in an interview with The Post.

But now — facing federal charges and abandoned by people she considered “fellow patriots” — she said she feels betrayed.

“I bought into a lie, and the lie is the lie, and it’s embarrassing,” she said. “I regret everything.”

The FBI has said it found evidence of organized plots by extremist groups. But many of the people who came to the Capitol on Jan. 6 — including Ryan — appeared to have adopted their radical outlooks more informally, consuming baseless claims about the election on television, social media and right-wing websites.

The poor and uneducated are not more likely to join extremist movements, according to experts. Two professors a couple of years ago found the opposite in one example: an unexpectedly high number of engineers who became Islamist radicals.

In the Capitol attack, business owners and white-collar workers made up 40 percent of the people accused of taking part, according to a study by the Chicago Project on Security and Threats at the University of Chicago. Only 9 percent appeared to be unemployed.

The participation of people with middle- and upper-middle-class positions fits with research suggesting that the rise of right-wing extremist groups in the 1950s was fueled by people in the middle of society who felt they were losing status and power, said Pippa Norris, a political science professor at Harvard University who has studied radical political movements.

Miller-Idriss said she was struck by a 2011 study that found household income was not a factor in whether a young person supported the extreme far right in Germany. But a highly significant predictor was whether they had lived through a parent’s unemployment.

“These are people who feel like they’ve lost something,” Miller-Idriss said.

Going through a bankruptcy or falling behind on taxes, even years earlier, could provoke a similar response.

“They know it can be lost. They have that history — and then someone comes along and tells you this election has been stolen,” Miller-Idriss said. “It taps into the same thing.”

Playing on personal pain

Trump’s false claims about election fraud — refuted by elections officials and rejected by judges — seemed tailored to exploit feelings about this precarious status, said Don Haider-Markel, a political science professor at the University of Kansas who studies political extremism.

“It’s hard to ignore with a Trump presidency that message that ‘the America you knew and loved is going away, and I’m going to protect it,’” Haider-Markel said. “They feel, at a minimum, that they’re under threat.”

While some of the financial problems were old, the pandemic’s economic toll appeared to inflict fresh pain for some of the people accused of participating in the insurrection.

A California man filed for bankruptcy one week before allegedly joining the attack, according to public records. A Texas man was charged with entering the Capitol one month after his company was slapped with a nearly $2,000 state tax lien.

Several young people charged in the attack came from families with histories of financial duress.

The parents of Riley June Williams — a 22-year-old who allegedly helped to steal a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office — filed for bankruptcy when she was a child, according to public records. A house owned by her mother faced foreclosure when she was a teenager, records show. Recently, a federal judge placed Williams on home confinement with her mother in Harrisburg, Pa. Her federal public defender did not respond to a request for comment.

People with professional careers such as respiratory therapist, nurse and lawyer were also accused of joining in.

One of them was William McCall Calhoun, 57, a well-known lawyer in Americus, Ga., 130 miles south of Atlanta, who was hit with a $26,000 federal tax lien in 2019, according to public records. A woman who knows Calhoun, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly, said he started to show strong support for Trump only in the past year. An attorney for Calhoun declined to comment.

Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by police when she tried to leap through a door’s broken window inside the Capitol, had struggled to run a pool-service company outside San Diego and was saddled with a $23,000 judgment from a lender in 2017, according to court records.

Financial problems were also apparent among people federal authorities said were connected to far-right nationalist groups, such as the Proud Boys.

Dominic Pezzola, who federal authorities said is a member of the Proud Boys, is accused of being among the first to lead the surge inside the Capitol and helping to overwhelm police. About 140 officers were injured in the storming of the Capitol and one officer, Brian D. Sicknick, was killed.

Pezzola, of Rochester, N.Y., also has been named in state tax warrants totaling more than $40,000 over the past five years, according to public records. His attorney declined to comment.

The roots of extremism are complex, said Haider-Markel.

“Somehow, they’ve been wronged, they’ve developed a grievance, and they tend to connect that to some broader ideology,” he said.

The price of insurrection

Ryan, who lives in Frisco, Tex., a Dallas suburb, said she was slow to become a big Trump supporter.

She’s been described as a conservative radio talk show host. But she wasn’t a budding Rush Limbaugh. Her AM radio show each Sunday focused on real estate, and she paid for the airtime. She stopped doing the show in March, when the pandemic hit.

But she continued to run a service that offers advice for people struggling with childhood trauma and bad relationships. Ryan said the work was based on the steps she took to overcome her own rough upbringing.

Twice divorced and struggling with financial problems, Ryan developed an outlook that she described as politically conservative, leaning toward libertarian.

But politics was not her focal point until recently. She recalled being upset when President Barack Obama won reelection in 2012. And she preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton four years later. But she said she wasn’t strident in her support for Trump.

That changed as the 2020 election approached.

She said she started reading far-right websites such as Epoch Times and Gateway Pundit. She began streaming shows such as Alex Jones’s “Infowars” and former Trump chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic.” She began following groundless assertions related to QAnon, a sprawling set of false claims that have coalesced into an extremist ideology. She said she didn’t know whether the posts were true, but she was enthralled.

“It was all like a football game. I was sucked into it. Consumed by it,” Ryan said.

She attended her first-ever protest in April, going to Austin to vent about the state’s pandemic shutdown orders. That was followed by a rally for Shelley Luther, who gained national attention for reopening her beauty salon in Dallas in defiance of the shutdown.

Ryan said she traveled to Trump’s “Save America” rally on a whim. A Facebook friend offered to fly her and three others on a private plane.

They arrived in Washington a day early and got rooms at a Westin hotel downtown, Ryan said.

It was her first trip to the nation’s capital.

The next morning, Jan. 6, the group of friends left the hotel at 6 a.m., Ryan said. She was cold, so she bought a $35 knit snow hat with a “45” emblem from a souvenir shop. They then followed the crowd streaming toward the National Mall.

“My main concern was there were no bathrooms. I kept asking, ‘Where are the bathrooms?’” she said. “I was just having fun.”

They listened to some of the speakers. But mostly they walked around and took photos. She felt like a tourist. They grabbed sandwiches at a Wawa convenience store for lunch. They hired a pedicab to take them back to the hotel.

She drank white wine while the group watched on television as Congress prepared to certify the electoral college votes. They listened to clips of Trump telling rallygoers to walk to the Capitol and saying, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

They decided to leave the hotel and go to the Capitol.

Ryan said she was reluctant.

But she also posted a video to her Facebook account that showed her looking into a bathroom mirror and saying, according to an FBI account of her charges: “We’re gonna go down and storm the capitol. They’re down there right now and that’s why we came and so that’s what we are going to do. So wish me luck.”

She live-streamed on Facebook. She posted photos to Twitter. She got closer to the Capitol with each post. She stood on the Capitol’s steps. She flashed a peace symbol next to a smashed Capitol window. The FBI also found video of her walking through doors on the west side of the Capitol in the middle of a packed crowd, where she said into a camera, according to the bureau: “Y’all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor.”

The FBI document does not state how long Ryan spent inside the building. She said it was just a few minutes. She and her new friends eventually walked back to the hotel, she said.

“We just stormed the Capital,” Ryan tweeted that afternoon. “It was one of the best days of my life.”

She said she realized she was in trouble only after returning to Texas. Her phone was blowing up with messages. Her social media posts briefly made her the infamous face of the riots: the smiling real estate agent who flew in a private jet to an insurrection.

Nine days later, she turned herself in to the FBI. She was charged with two federal misdemeanors related to entering the Capitol building and disorderly conduct. Last week, federal authorities filed similar charges against two others on her flight: Jason L. Hyland, 37, of Frisco, who federal authorities said organized the trip, and Katherine S. Schwab, 32, of Colleyville, Texas.

Ryan remained defiant at first. She clashed with people who criticized her online. She told a Dallas TV station that she deserved a presidential pardon.

Then Trump left for Florida. President Biden took office. And Ryan, at home in Texas, was left to wonder what to do with her two mini-goldendoodle dogs if she goes to prison.

“Not one patriot is standing up for me,” Ryan said recently. “I’m a complete villain. I was down there based on what my president said. ‘Stop the steal.’ Now I see that it was all over nothing. He was just having us down there for an ego boost. I was there for him.”

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Michael_Novakhov

5 hours ago
REPLY
EDIT
HTTP://MICHAEL_NOVAKHOV.NEWSBLUR.COM/
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acdha

23 hours ago
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Just like their leader
WASHINGTON, DC
nocko

4 hours ago
Most of their acute economic problems seemed to mature under Trump’s admin. How was more Trump going to help them? Very confusing.

Capitol riot defendants shared history of financial probelms: WaPo

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  • Many of the Capitol riot defendants have something in common: a history of financial difficulties. 
  • A Washington Post analysis found that a substantial number of defendants had money woes. 
  • The documented financial problems include bankruptcies, debt, foreclosures, and unpaid taxes. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The more than 240 defendants charged in the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol siege came to Washington, D.C. from around the United States and from all walks of life, but something in common: a history of financial difficulties. 

new Washington Post analysis of court records and financial documents found that out of 125 defendants who had publicly available financial information, nearly 60% had filed for bankruptcy, had unpaid tax bills and other debts, been sued for unpaid debts, or faced losing their homes through eviction or foreclosure. 

The Post also found that among that group, the bankruptcy rate was 18%, almost double the national average. 

Read more: How Trump’s Senate trial could end with a vote to ban him from ever holding federal office again and kill any chances of a 2024 run

Among them were some of the most infamous accused rioters who have become faces of the insurrection. Jenna Ryan, the Texas real estate agent charged with two misdemeanors in connection with Capitol insurrection who flew to Washington, D.C. on a private jet, had filed for bankruptcy in 2012, almost lost her home before then, and had a history of unpaid federal taxes.

Ryan, who was also banned from PayPal after trying to raise funds for her legal defense on the platform, told the Post that she now fully regrets her participation in the riots and says she “bought into a lie.” 

Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman accused of being involved in the theft of a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, had herself filed for bankruptcy when she was just a child, according to the Post. 

And Ashli Babbit, who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the insurrection, had been hit with a $23,000 judgment from a lender a few years prior. 

Research shows that low-income people with lower levels of education are not necessarily more likely to fall into extremist movements — but being saddled with debt or other struggles can make some feel as if they have nothing left to lose. 

The Capitol insurrection further displays how outwardly successful and educated people in society’s mainstream can fall into anti-government movements. 

Those arrested so far include people associated with extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, but also people who had never before been charged with a federal crime or had a connection to those movements.

The rise of domestic right-wing extremism and the QAnon conspiracy theory haven’t just targeted low-income or uneducated people, however, but have swept up many well-off, college-educated professionals, too. 

One researcher interviewed by the Post said that middle-class and educated people may be more likely to be lured into extremism when they feel their position in society being jeopardized or threatened. 

Ryan, for example, told the Post that while she had voted for Trump in 2016, she didn’t become politically engaged until 2020, when she started consuming right-wing media like the Gateway Pundit, Infowars, and Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, and fell down the rabbit hole of the QAnon conspiracy. 

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Dominic Pezzola, Capitol riot defendant, was ‘misled’ and ‘duped’ by Donald Trump: Lawyer

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Dominic Pezzola, a former Marine facing charges for storming the U.S. Capitol, was “duped” by former President Trump into believing it was his duty to act, his lawyer told a federal court Wednesday.


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February 11, 2021 – Michael Novakhov – Shared News Links: The Capitol Riot as the focus of the Counterintelligence Investigations – Articles

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February 11, 2021 – Michael Novakhov – Shared News Links:

The Capitol Riot as the focus of the Counterintelligence Investigations

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Capitol insurrection: Most of the people charged, like Jenna Ryan, showed signs of prior money troubles

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Yet Ryan, 50, is accused of rushing into the Capitol past broken glass and blaring security alarms and, according to federal prosecutors, shouting: “Fight for freedom! Fight for freedom!”

But in a different way, she fit right in.

Despite her outward signs of success, Ryan had struggled financially for years. She was still paying off a $37,000 lien for unpaid federal taxes when she was arrested. She’d nearly lost her home to foreclosure before that. She filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and faced another IRS tax lien in 2010.

Nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories.

The group’s bankruptcy rate — 18 percent — was nearly twice as high as that of the American public, The Post found. A quarter of them had been sued for money owed to a creditor. And 1 in 5 of them faced losing their home at one point, according to court filings.

The financial problems are revealing because they offer potential clues for understanding why so many Trump supporters — many with professional careers and few with violent criminal histories — were willing to participate in an attack egged on by the president’s rhetoric painting him and his supporters as undeserving victims.

While no single factor explains why someone decided to join in, experts say, Donald Trump and his brand of grievance politics tapped into something that resonated with the hundreds of people who descended on the Capitol in a historic burst of violence.

“I think what you’re finding is more than just economic insecurity but a deep-seated feeling of precarity about their personal situation,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a political science professor who helps run the Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab at American University, reacting to The Post’s findings. “And that precarity — combined with a sense of betrayal or anger that someone is taking something away — mobilized a lot of people that day.”

The financial missteps by defendants in the insurrection ranged from small debts of a few thousand dollars more than a decade ago to unpaid tax bills of $400,000 and homes facing foreclosure in recent years. Some of these people seemed to have regained their financial footing. But many of them once stood close to the edge.

Ryan had nearly lost everything. And the stakes seemed similarly high to her when she came to Washington in early January. She fully believed Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen and that he was going to save the country, she said in an interview with The Post.

But now — facing federal charges and abandoned by people she considered “fellow patriots” — she said she feels betrayed.

“I bought into a lie, and the lie is the lie, and it’s embarrassing,” she said. “I regret everything.”

The FBI has said it found evidence of organized plots by extremist groups. But many of the people who came to the Capitol on Jan. 6 — including Ryan — appeared to have adopted their radical outlooks more informally, consuming baseless claims about the election on television, social media and right-wing websites.

The poor and uneducated are not more likely to join extremist movements, according to experts. Two professors a couple of years ago found the opposite in one example: an unexpectedly high number of engineers who became Islamist radicals.

In the Capitol attack, business owners and white-collar workers made up 40 percent of the people accused of taking part, according to a study by the Chicago Project on Security and Threats at the University of Chicago. Only 9 percent appeared to be unemployed.

The participation of people with middle- and upper-middle-class positions fits with research suggesting that the rise of right-wing extremist groups in the 1950s was fueled by people in the middle of society who felt they were losing status and power, said Pippa Norris, a political science professor at Harvard University who has studied radical political movements.

Miller-Idriss said she was struck by a 2011 study that found household income was not a factor in whether a young person supported the extreme far right in Germany. But a highly significant predictor was whether they had lived through a parent’s unemployment.

“These are people who feel like they’ve lost something,” Miller-Idriss said.

Going through a bankruptcy or falling behind on taxes, even years earlier, could provoke a similar response.

“They know it can be lost. They have that history — and then someone comes along and tells you this election has been stolen,” Miller-Idriss said. “It taps into the same thing.”

Playing on personal pain

Trump’s false claims about election fraud — refuted by elections officials and rejected by judges — seemed tailored to exploit feelings about this precarious status, said Don Haider-Markel, a political science professor at the University of Kansas who studies political extremism.

“It’s hard to ignore with a Trump presidency that message that ‘the America you knew and loved is going away, and I’m going to protect it,’” Haider-Markel said. “They feel, at a minimum, that they’re under threat.”

While some of the financial problems were old, the pandemic’s economic toll appeared to inflict fresh pain for some of the people accused of participating in the insurrection.

A California man filed for bankruptcy one week before allegedly joining the attack, according to public records. A Texas man was charged with entering the Capitol one month after his company was slapped with a nearly $2,000 state tax lien.

Several young people charged in the attack came from families with histories of financial duress.

The parents of Riley June Williams — a 22-year-old who allegedly helped to steal a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office — filed for bankruptcy when she was a child, according to public records. A house owned by her mother faced foreclosure when she was a teenager, records show. Recently, a federal judge placed Williams on home confinement with her mother in Harrisburg, Pa. Her federal public defender did not respond to a request for comment.

People with professional careers such as respiratory therapist, nurse and lawyer were also accused of joining in.

One of them was William McCall Calhoun, 57, a well-known lawyer in Americus, Ga., 130 miles south of Atlanta, who was hit with a $26,000 federal tax lien in 2019, according to public records. A woman who knows Calhoun, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly, said he started to show strong support for Trump only in the past year. An attorney for Calhoun declined to comment.

Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by police when she tried to leap through a door’s broken window inside the Capitol, had struggled to run a pool-service company outside San Diego and was saddled with a $23,000 judgment from a lender in 2017, according to court records.

Financial problems were also apparent among people federal authorities said were connected to far-right nationalist groups, such as the Proud Boys.

Dominic Pezzola, who federal authorities said is a member of the Proud Boys, is accused of being among the first to lead the surge inside the Capitol and helping to overwhelm police. About 140 officers were injured in the storming of the Capitol and one officer, Brian D. Sicknick, was killed.

Pezzola, of Rochester, N.Y., also has been named in state tax warrants totaling more than $40,000 over the past five years, according to public records. His attorney declined to comment.

The roots of extremism are complex, said Haider-Markel.

“Somehow, they’ve been wronged, they’ve developed a grievance, and they tend to connect that to some broader ideology,” he said.

The price of insurrection

Ryan, who lives in Frisco, Tex., a Dallas suburb, said she was slow to become a big Trump supporter.

She’s been described as a conservative radio talk show host. But she wasn’t a budding Rush Limbaugh. Her AM radio show each Sunday focused on real estate, and she paid for the airtime. She stopped doing the show in March, when the pandemic hit.

But she continued to run a service that offers advice for people struggling with childhood trauma and bad relationships. Ryan said the work was based on the steps she took to overcome her own rough upbringing.

Twice divorced and struggling with financial problems, Ryan developed an outlook that she described as politically conservative, leaning toward libertarian.

But politics was not her focal point until recently. She recalled being upset when President Barack Obama won reelection in 2012. And she preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton four years later. But she said she wasn’t strident in her support for Trump.

That changed as the 2020 election approached.

She said she started reading far-right websites such as Epoch Times and Gateway Pundit. She began streaming shows such as Alex Jones’s “Infowars” and former Trump chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic.” She began following groundless assertions related to QAnon, a sprawling set of false claims that have coalesced into an extremist ideology. She said she didn’t know whether the posts were true, but she was enthralled.

“It was all like a football game. I was sucked into it. Consumed by it,” Ryan said.

She attended her first-ever protest in April, going to Austin to vent about the state’s pandemic shutdown orders. That was followed by a rally for Shelley Luther, who gained national attention for reopening her beauty salon in Dallas in defiance of the shutdown.

Ryan said she traveled to Trump’s “Save America” rally on a whim. A Facebook friend offered to fly her and three others on a private plane.

They arrived in Washington a day early and got rooms at a Westin hotel downtown, Ryan said.

It was her first trip to the nation’s capital.

The next morning, Jan. 6, the group of friends left the hotel at 6 a.m., Ryan said. She was cold, so she bought a $35 knit snow hat with a “45” emblem from a souvenir shop. They then followed the crowd streaming toward the National Mall.

“My main concern was there were no bathrooms. I kept asking, ‘Where are the bathrooms?’” she said. “I was just having fun.”

They listened to some of the speakers. But mostly they walked around and took photos. She felt like a tourist. They grabbed sandwiches at a Wawa convenience store for lunch. They hired a pedicab to take them back to the hotel.

She drank white wine while the group watched on television as Congress prepared to certify the electoral college votes. They listened to clips of Trump telling rallygoers to walk to the Capitol and saying, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

They decided to leave the hotel and go to the Capitol.

Ryan said she was reluctant.

But she also posted a video to her Facebook account that showed her looking into a bathroom mirror and saying, according to an FBI account of her charges: “We’re gonna go down and storm the capitol. They’re down there right now and that’s why we came and so that’s what we are going to do. So wish me luck.”

She live-streamed on Facebook. She posted photos to Twitter. She got closer to the Capitol with each post. She stood on the Capitol’s steps. She flashed a peace symbol next to a smashed Capitol window. The FBI also found video of her walking through doors on the west side of the Capitol in the middle of a packed crowd, where she said into a camera, according to the bureau: “Y’all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor.”

The FBI document does not state how long Ryan spent inside the building. She said it was just a few minutes. She and her new friends eventually walked back to the hotel, she said.

“We just stormed the Capital,” Ryan tweeted that afternoon. “It was one of the best days of my life.”

She said she realized she was in trouble only after returning to Texas. Her phone was blowing up with messages. Her social media posts briefly made her the infamous face of the riots: the smiling real estate agent who flew in a private jet to an insurrection.

Nine days later, she turned herself in to the FBI. She was charged with two federal misdemeanors related to entering the Capitol building and disorderly conduct. Last week, federal authorities filed similar charges against two others on her flight: Jason L. Hyland, 37, of Frisco, who federal authorities said organized the trip, and Katherine S. Schwab, 32, of Colleyville, Texas.

Ryan remained defiant at first. She clashed with people who criticized her online. She told a Dallas TV station that she deserved a presidential pardon.

Then Trump left for Florida. President Biden took office. And Ryan, at home in Texas, was left to wonder what to do with her two mini-goldendoodle dogs if she goes to prison.

“Not one patriot is standing up for me,” Ryan said recently. “I’m a complete villain. I was down there based on what my president said. ‘Stop the steal.’ Now I see that it was all over nothing. He was just having us down there for an ego boost. I was there for him.”

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Michael_Novakhov

2 hours ago
REPLY
EDIT
HTTP://MICHAEL_NOVAKHOV.NEWSBLUR.COM/
1 public comment

acdha

20 hours ago
REPLY
Just like their leader
WASHINGTON, DC

nocko

1 hour ago
Most of their acute economic problems seemed to mature under Trump’s admin. How was more Trump going to help them? Very confusing.

Capitol riot defendants shared history of financial probelms: WaPo

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  • Many of the Capitol riot defendants have something in common: a history of financial difficulties. 
  • A Washington Post analysis found that a substantial number of defendants had money woes. 
  • The documented financial problems include bankruptcies, debt, foreclosures, and unpaid taxes. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The more than 240 defendants charged in the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol siege came to Washington, D.C. from around the United States and from all walks of life, but something in common: a history of financial difficulties. 

new Washington Post analysis of court records and financial documents found that out of 125 defendants who had publicly available financial information, nearly 60% had filed for bankruptcy, had unpaid tax bills and other debts, been sued for unpaid debts, or faced losing their homes through eviction or foreclosure. 

The Post also found that among that group, the bankruptcy rate was 18%, almost double the national average. 

Read more: How Trump’s Senate trial could end with a vote to ban him from ever holding federal office again and kill any chances of a 2024 run

Among them were some of the most infamous accused rioters who have become faces of the insurrection. Jenna Ryan, the Texas real estate agent charged with two misdemeanors in connection with Capitol insurrection who flew to Washington, D.C. on a private jet, had filed for bankruptcy in 2012, almost lost her home before then, and had a history of unpaid federal taxes.

Ryan, who was also banned from PayPal after trying to raise funds for her legal defense on the platform, told the Post that she now fully regrets her participation in the riots and says she “bought into a lie.” 

Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman accused of being involved in the theft of a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, had herself filed for bankruptcy when she was just a child, according to the Post. 

And Ashli Babbit, who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the insurrection, had been hit with a $23,000 judgment from a lender a few years prior. 

Research shows that low-income people with lower levels of education are not necessarily more likely to fall into extremist movements — but being saddled with debt or other struggles can make some feel as if they have nothing left to lose. 

The Capitol insurrection further displays how outwardly successful and educated people in society’s mainstream can fall into anti-government movements. 

Those arrested so far include people associated with extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, but also people who had never before been charged with a federal crime or had a connection to those movements.

The rise of domestic right-wing extremism and the QAnon conspiracy theory haven’t just targeted low-income or uneducated people, however, but have swept up many well-off, college-educated professionals, too. 

One researcher interviewed by the Post said that middle-class and educated people may be more likely to be lured into extremism when they feel their position in society being jeopardized or threatened. 

Ryan, for example, told the Post that while she had voted for Trump in 2016, she didn’t become politically engaged until 2020, when she started consuming right-wing media like the Gateway Pundit, Infowars, and Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, and fell down the rabbit hole of the QAnon conspiracy. 

Read the whole story

 

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Dominic Pezzola, Capitol riot defendant, was ‘misled’ and ‘duped’ by Donald Trump: Lawyer

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Dominic Pezzola, a former Marine facing charges for storming the U.S. Capitol, was “duped” by former President Trump into believing it was his duty to act, his lawyer told a federal court Wednesday.

Mr. Pezzola, of Rochester, New York, “acted out of the delusional belief that he was a ‘patriot’ protecting his country,” attorney Jonathan Zucker wrote in a motion seeking his release from custody.

“Defendant is former military who is sworn to protect his country. He was responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief, President Trump. The President maintained that the election had been stolen and it was the duty of loyal citizens to ‘stop the steal’,” Mr. Zucker argued on behalf of Mr. Pezzola

“Admittedly there was no rational basis for the claim, but it is apparent defendant was one of millions of Americans who were misled by the President’s deception,” Mr. Pezzola‘s lawyer added.

Mr. Pezzola, 43, also known as “Spaz,” is among roughly 200 people facing charges so far in connection with storming the Capitol as Congress met to count electoral votes on the afternoon of Jan. 6.



In charging documents, federal prosecutors included photographs the government alleges to show Mr. Pezzola using a plastic riot shield to break a window on the Capitol Building prior to entering it.

“The only act that seems to distinguish defendant from thousands of other participants is that he used a shield to break a window and he, along with hundreds if not thousands, actually entered the capital,” his lawyer argued in the court filing.

That footage was played during Wednesday’s impeachment trial of Mr. Trump in the Senate. Mr. Pezzola was mentioned by name as well.

Mr. Pezzola described himself on social media as a member of the Proud Boys, the just-for-men group whose members were among the mobs who violently stormed the building, prosecutors said previously.

In a 15-page motion seeking pretrial detention for Mr. Pezzola, Mr. Zucker does not deny his client has connections to the Proud Boys but claims they are “relatively short lived and minimal.”

Mr. Pezzola has been jailed since mid-January. He has since been charged in an 11-count indictment, including with charges he allegedly conspired with another Proud Boys member from New York.

“The object of the conspiracy was to obstruct, influence, impede and interfere with law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties in protecting the U.S. Capitol and its grounds,” the indictment alleges.

Mr. Pezzola pleaded not guilty to all counts Tuesday. A detention hearing was scheduled for later Wednesday afternoon to determine if he should be released pending the outcome of his trial.

 

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AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST | National

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Trump trial video shows vast scope, danger of Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors unveiled chilling new security video in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday, showing the mob of rioters breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows and doors and searching menacingly for Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as overwhelmed police begged on their radios for help.

In the previously unreleased recordings, the House prosecutors displayed gripping scenes of how close the rioters were to the country’s leaders, roaming the halls chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” some equipped with combat gear. Outside, the mob had set up a makeshift gallows.

Videos of the siege have been circulating since the day of the riot, but the graphic compilation amounted to a more complete narrative, a moment-by-moment retelling of one of the nation’s most alarming days. In addition to the evident chaos and danger, it offered fresh details on the attackers, scenes of police heroism and cries of distress. And it showed just how close the country came to a potential breakdown in its seat of democracy as Congress was certifying Trump’s election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.

“They did it because Donald Trump sent them on this mission,” said House prosecutor Stacey Plaskett, the Democratic delegate representing the U.S. Virgin Islands. “His mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down.”

The stunning presentation opened the first full day of arguments in the trial as the prosecutors argued Trump was no “innocent bystander” but rather the “inciter in chief” of the deadly Capitol riot, a president who spent months spreading election lies and building a mob of supporters primed for his call to stop Biden’s victory.


Trial highlights: Harrowing footage, focus on Trump’s words

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats opened their first day of arguments in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday with searing footage of the U.S. Capitol riot as they painted Trump as an “inciter in chief” who systematically riled up his supporters and falsely convinced them the election had been stolen, culminating in the deadly attack.

“He assembled, inflamed and incited his followers to descend upon the Capitol,” said the lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

As she presented harrowing footage of the siege, Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat representing the U.S. Virgin Islands and one of the prosecutors, said Trump had “put a target” on the backs of then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were leading the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory. “His mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” Plaskett said.

Highlights from the first full day of arguments:

TRUMP’S WORDS COME BACK TO HAUNT HIM


Is one day a week enough? Biden’s school goal draws blowback

President Joe Biden is being accused of backpedaling on his pledge to reopen the nation’s schools after the White House added fine print to his promise and made clear that a full reopening is still far from sight.

Biden’s initial pledge in December was to reopen “the majority of our schools” in his first 100 days in office. In January he specified that the goal applied only to schools that teach through eighth grade. And this week the White House said that schools will be considered opened as long as they teach in-person at least one day a week.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the goal Wednesday, calling it part of a “bold ambitious agenda.” But she also said it’s a bar the administration hopes to exceed.

“Certainly, we are not planning to celebrate at 100 days if we reach that goal,” she said. “We certainly hope to build from that.”

The White House had faced increasing pressure to explain the goal as the reopening debate gains urgency. Biden had never detailed what it meant to be reopened or how he would define success. Pressed on the question Tuesday, Psaki clarified that one day a week of in-person learning would meet the mark.


Georgia prosecutor investigates election after Trump call

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia prosecutor said Wednesday that she has opened a criminal investigation into “attempts to influence” last year’s general election, including a call in which President Donald Trump asked a top official to find enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

In a Jan. 2 telephone conversation with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results of the presidential election, an assertion the secretary of state firmly rejected.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat elected to the job in November, did not specifically mention Trump in the letters she sent to state officials Wednesday announcing her investigation. But the former president has been under intense criticism for the call.

Willis spokesman Jeff DiSantis told The Associated Press that while he could not name the subjects under investigation, he confirmed that Trump’s call to Raffensperger was “part of it” and said “the matters reported on over the last several weeks are the matters being investigated.” In her letters, Willis also remarks that officials “have no reason to believe that any Georgia official is a target of this investigation.”


Countries curb diplomatic ties, weigh sanctions on Myanmar

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A growing number of governments are curbing diplomatic ties with Myanmar and increasing economic pressure on its military over the coup last week that erased the fragile democratic progress in the long-oppressed Southeast Asian nation.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday he was issuing an executive order that will prevent Myanmar’s generals from accessing $1 billion in assets in the United States, and he promised more measures were to come.

The U.S. was among many Western governments that lifted most sanctions in the past decade to encourage democratic change as Myanmar’s military rulers were taking gradual steps toward civilian rule — changes that proved temporary with the ousting of the elected government and detentions of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and others.

One of the strongest reactions came from New Zealand, which has suspended all military and high-level political contact with the country and pledged to block any aid that could go to its military government or benefit its leaders. It also placed a travel ban on its military leaders.

“We do not recognize the legitimacy of the military-led government and we call on the military to immediately release all detained political leaders and restore civilian rule,” Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Tuesday.


Digital siege: Internet cuts become favored tool of regimes

LONDON (AP) — When army generals in Myanmar staged a coup last week, they briefly cut internet access in an apparent attempt to stymie protests. In Uganda, residents couldn’t use Facebook, Twitter and other social media for weeks after a recent election. And in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, the internet has been down for months amid a wider conflict.

Around the world, shutting down the internet has become an increasingly popular tactic of repressive and authoritarian regimes and some illiberal democracies. Digital rights groups say governments use them to stifle dissent, silence opposition voices or cover up human rights abuses, raising concerns about restricting freedom of speech.

Regimes often cut online access in response to protests or civil unrest, particularly around elections, as they try to keep their grip on power by restricting the flow of information, researchers say. It’s the digital equivalent of seizing control of the local TV and radio station that was part of the pre-internet playbook for despots and rebels.

“Internet shutdowns have been massively underreported or misreported over the years,” said Alp Toker, founder of internet monitoring organization Netblocks. The world is “starting to realize what’s happening,” as documenting efforts like his expand, he said.

Last year there were 93 major internet shutdowns in 21 countries, according to a report by Top10VPN, a U.K.-based digital privacy and security research group. The list doesn’t include places like China and North Korea, where the government tightly controls or restricts the internet. Shutdowns can range from all-encompassing internet blackouts to blocking social media platforms or severely throttling internet speeds, the report said.


Government investigating massive counterfeit N95 mask scam

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities are investigating a massive counterfeit N95 mask operation in which fake 3M masks were sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies. The foreign-made knockoffs are becoming increasingly difficult to spot and could put health care workers at grave risk for the coronavirus.

These masks are giving first responders “a false sense of security,” said Steve Francis, assistant director for global trade investigations with the Homeland Security Department’s principal investigative arm. He added, “We’ve seen a lot of fraud and other illegal activity.”

Officials could not name the states or the company involved because of the active investigation.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, fraud remains a major problem as scammers seek to exploit hospitals and desperate and weary Americans. Federal investigators say they have seen an increase in phony websites purporting to sell vaccines as well as fake medicine produced overseas and scams involving personal protective equipment. The schemes deliver phony products, unlike fraud earlier in the pandemic that focused more on fleecing customers.

3M, based in Maplewood, Minnesota, is among the largest global producers of the N95 mask, which has been approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and is considered the gold standard in protection against the coronavirus. The company delivered some 2 billion N95 masks in 2020 as the pandemic soared, but in earlier months of the pandemic, when masks were in short supply, fraudsters starting popped up.


Biden in call with China’s Xi raises human rights, trade

Joe Biden on Wednesday held his first call as president with Xi Jinping, pressing the Chinese leader about trade and Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong as well as other human rights concerns.

The two leaders spoke just hours after Biden announced plans for a Pentagon task force to review U.S. national security strategy in China and after the new U.S. president announced he was levying sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime following this month’s coup in the southeast Asian country.

A White House statement said Biden raised concerns about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair economic practices.” Biden also pressed Xi on Hong Kong, human rights abuses against Uighur and ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang province, and its actions toward Taiwan.

“I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people,” Biden posted on Twitter after the call.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV struck a mostly positive tone about the conversation, saying Xi acknowledged the two sides had their differences, and those differences should be managed, but urged overall cooperation.


Hustler publisher Larry Flynt dies at 78

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Porn purveyor Larry Flynt, who built Hustler magazine into an adult entertainment juggernaut that included casinos, films, websites and other enterprises as he relentlessly championed First Amendment rights, has died at age 78.

Flynt, who had been in declining health, died Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his longtime attorney, Paul Cambria, told The Associated Press. He had been paralyzed and nearly killed in a 1986 assassination attempt.

“He suffered decades of health issues and you can imagine it was pretty difficult,” said his nephew Jimmy Flynt Jr. He added, “I loved him and may he rest in peace.”

From his beginnings as a fledgling Ohio strip club owner to his reign as founder of one of the most outrageously explicit adult-oriented magazines, Flynt constantly challenged the establishment and was intensely disliked by the religious right and feminist groups that said he demeaned women and put them at risk with pictures of bondage and other controversial acts.

Flynt maintained throughout his life that he wasn’t just a pornographer but also a fierce defender of free-speech rights.


Reports: Mori to resign Tokyo Olympics over sexist remarks

TOKYO (AP) — The long saga of Yoshiro Mori appears to be near the end.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency and others reported on Thursday — citing unnamed sources — that Yoshiro Mori will step down on Friday as the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

The move follows his sexist comments about women more than a week ago, and an ensuing and rare public debate in Japan about gender equality,

A decision is expected to be announced on Friday when the organizing committee’s executive board meets. The executive board of Tokyo 2020 is overwhelming male, as is the day-to-day leadership.

The 83-year-old Mori, in a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee more than a week ago, essentially said that women “talk too much” and are driven by a “strong sense of rivalry.” Mori, a former prime minister, gave a grudging apology a few days later after his opinions were reported, but declined to resign.

Read the whole story

 

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Germany hails Biden’s move to halt Trump-ordered troop cuts

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The German government has welcomed President Joe Biden’s decision to formally halt the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany

BERLIN — The German government on Friday welcomed President Joe Biden’s decision to formally halt the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany, arguing that the troops’ stationing there is “in our mutual interest.”

Last year, then-President Donald Trump announced that he was going to pull out about 9,500 of the roughly 34,500 U.S. troops stationed in Germany, but the withdrawal never actually began.

Biden said Thursday that the pullout would be halted until Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reviews America’s troop presence around the globe.

“The German government welcomes this announcement,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters in Berlin. He said that “we will remain in contact with the new American administration on its further plans.”

“We have always been convinced that the stationing of American troops here in Germany serves European and trans-Atlantic security, and so is in our mutual interest,” Seibert said. “We very much value this close, decades-long cooperation with the Americans’ forces that are stationed in Germany.”

Asked whether Germany would make any concrete offers to persuade the U.S. not to withdraw troops, Seibert said that Berlin will follow developments but “how these reviews go is an internal American matter.”

The U.S. has several major military facilities in Germany, including Ramstein Air Base, the headquarters for U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest American military hospital outside the United States.

Trump’s order met resistance from Congress as well as from within the military, which has long relied on Germany as a key ally and base of operations.

Trump announced the troop cuts after repeatedly accusing Germany of not paying enough for its own defense, calling the longtime NATO ally “delinquent” for failing to spend 2% of its GDP on defense, a benchmark that alliance members have pledged to work toward.

7:39 AM 2/9/2021 – Investigate The Investigators! How many of the current and past FBI agents participated in the organizing, planning, and the execution of the Capitol Riot?

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Audio Post

Feb. 9, 2021 at 5:04 a.m. EST

Alleged Oath Keeper leader Thomas Caldwell was former FBI agent with top-secret clearance, attorney says

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Those details were revealed in a motion filed Monday asking a judge to let Caldwell out of custody, citing his long military career and ability to pass vetting for the high security clearance. His attorney also claimed that Caldwell has disabilities from his military service that would have prevented him from storming the Capitol.

The FBI did not immediately return an inquiry about Caldwell’s past employment status late Monday.

The claims about Caldwell’s high security clearance and FBI service add to concerns about extremism in the military and law enforcement. The indictments against numerous alleged rioters with military and police ties have led local agencies to launch investigations and the Pentagon to order each military branch to dedicate time to addressing the problem in the coming months.

“The presence of law enforcement officers in the riot reinforces and substantiates the greatest fears many in the public had in the nature of law enforcement in the United States,” Michael German, a former FBI special agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, told The Washington Post.

“It’s incumbent on the Justice Department, if it wants to restore that confidence, to act quickly” to hold the most violent Capitol rioters accountable, he added.

Caldwell lives in Berryman, Va., and had been involved in local GOP politics. He was arrested on Jan. 19 in Virginia on charges of conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

The government alleges that Caldwell, whom an FBI agent identified as having “a leadership role in the Oath Keepers,” sent Facebook messages coordinating with members of the self-styled militia and sharing video from within the Capitol.

“Us storming the castle,” Caldwell allegedly said in one message that accompanied a video that showed a crowd within the Capitol, according to the criminal complaint. “Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!”

His case is one of several prosecutors are building against Oath Keepers and Proud Boys to make the case that the assault on Congress was premeditated and organized by extremists. Federal prosecutors are considering whether to file sedition charges against some of the accused rioters, the Associated Press reported.

In Monday’s motion for bond, Caldwell denied being a member of the Oath Keepers.

“Caldwell is not a member of the organization, nor has he ever been a member of the organization, and if he were, such membership would be protected activity under the First Amendment,” wrote his attorney, Thomas K. Plofchan.

The motion also questioned whether the Facebook messages allegedly posted by Caldwell prove his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot, arguing that he was “merely relaying news that was circulating through the crowd that some people were inside.”

Plofchan identified Caldwell as a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, and said Caldwell worked as a section chief in the FBI from 2009 to 2010 after retiring from military service. His attorney listed multiple service awards Caldwell earned and also said he has had a “top-secret security clearance” since 1979.

After leaving the FBI, Caldwell founded a consulting firm that has done business with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Army Personnel Command, the motion said.

Caldwell has several service-related injuries and other disabilities, his attorney said, including injuries to both shoulders, degenerative lumbar disc disease, and chronic knee pain. He underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2010 that failed, the filing said, and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Moving, sitting for extended periods of time, lifting, carrying, and other physical activities are extremely painful and Caldwell is limited in his ability to engage in them,” the motion said.

His attorney also claimed that witnesses “will testify that [Caldwell] never entered the U.S. Capitol Building and that his physical limitations would have prevented him from forcibly entering any building or storming past any barrier.”

Plofchan noted that prosecutors did not include photos of Caldwell in the criminal complaint, although two co-defendants in the case are shown in photos.

“The Government has not identified any photo or video that shows Caldwell in the U.S. Capitol Building, on the grounds after overcoming any barrier,” the motion said.

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Alleged Oath Keeper leader Thomas Caldwell was former FBI agent with top-secret clearance, attorney says

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Those details were revealed in a motion filed Monday asking a judge to let Caldwell out of custody, citing his long military career and ability to pass vetting for the high security clearance. His attorney also claimed that Caldwell has disabilities from his military service that would have prevented him from storming the Capitol.

The FBI did not immediately return an inquiry about Caldwell’s past employment status late Monday.

The claims about Caldwell’s high security clearance and FBI service add to concerns about extremism in the military and law enforcement. The indictments against numerous alleged rioters with military and police ties have led local agencies to launch investigations and the Pentagon to order each military branch to dedicate time to addressing the problem in the coming months.

“The presence of law enforcement officers in the riot reinforces and substantiates the greatest fears many in the public had in the nature of law enforcement in the United States,” Michael German, a former FBI special agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, told The Washington Post.

“It’s incumbent on the Justice Department, if it wants to restore that confidence, to act quickly” to hold the most violent Capitol rioters accountable, he added.

Caldwell lives in Berryman, Va., and had been involved in local GOP politics. He was arrested on Jan. 19 in Virginia on charges of conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

The government alleges that Caldwell, whom an FBI agent identified as having “a leadership role in the Oath Keepers,” sent Facebook messages coordinating with members of the self-styled militia and sharing video from within the Capitol.

“Us storming the castle,” Caldwell allegedly said in one message that accompanied a video that showed a crowd within the Capitol, according to the criminal complaint. “Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!”

His case is one of several prosecutors are building against Oath Keepers and Proud Boys to make the case that the assault on Congress was premeditated and organized by extremists. Federal prosecutors are considering whether to file sedition charges against some of the accused rioters, the Associated Press reported.

In Monday’s motion for bond, Caldwell denied being a member of the Oath Keepers.

“Caldwell is not a member of the organization, nor has he ever been a member of the organization, and if he were, such membership would be protected activity under the First Amendment,” wrote his attorney, Thomas K. Plofchan.

The motion also questioned whether the Facebook messages allegedly posted by Caldwell prove his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot, arguing that he was “merely relaying news that was circulating through the crowd that some people were inside.”

Plofchan identified Caldwell as a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, and said Caldwell worked as a section chief in the FBI from 2009 to 2010 after retiring from military service. His attorney listed multiple service awards Caldwell earned and also said he has had a “top-secret security clearance” since 1979.

After leaving the FBI, Caldwell founded a consulting firm that has done business with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Army Personnel Command, the motion said.

Caldwell has several service-related injuries and other disabilities, his attorney said, including injuries to both shoulders, degenerative lumbar disc disease, and chronic knee pain. He underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2010 that failed, the filing said, and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Moving, sitting for extended periods of time, lifting, carrying, and other physical activities are extremely painful and Caldwell is limited in his ability to engage in them,” the motion said.

His attorney also claimed that witnesses “will testify that [Caldwell] never entered the U.S. Capitol Building and that his physical limitations would have prevented him from forcibly entering any building or storming past any barrier.”

Plofchan noted that prosecutors did not include photos of Caldwell in the criminal complaint, although two co-defendants in the case are shown in photos.

“The Government has not identified any photo or video that shows Caldwell in the U.S. Capitol Building, on the grounds after overcoming any barrier,” the motion said.

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6:27 PM 2/8/2021 – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠

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6:27 PM 2/8/2021

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ | In Brief | 

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks 
Tweets by @mikenov – 6:07 PM 2/8/20
German intelligence warns Capitol riot, Covid lockdown fuel right-wing extremism
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5:04 AM 2/6/2021 – The mysterious puzzle of the Covid-19 falling rates: too fast, too soon – Michael Novakhov
COVID cases in the Midwest drop to a QUARTER of the seven-day average at its peak
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Tweets by ‎@mikenov – 6:07 PM 2/8/20

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    UK insists AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against South African varian… https://youtu.be/vuHGfEW4_sA  via @YouTube  YouTube ‎@YouTube

  2. Michael Novakhov@mikenov

    El segundo juicio político a Trump, a punto de empezar en un Senado divi… https://youtu.be/izewCbOQXm8  via @YouTube

  3. Michael Novakhov@mikenov

    U.S. COVID-19 cases drop sharply https://youtu.be/h92FTYk61PE  via @YouTube

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    New Jersey Hits 1 Million COVID Vaccine Doses Administered https://youtu.be/C-Yhz_BVE_0  via @YouTube

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    https://audioboom.com/posts/7794536 

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German intelligence warns Capitol riot, Covid lockdown fuel right-wing extremism

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MUNICH — While much of the liberal West watched the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in horror, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitic ideas are gaining ground in certain corners of the globe.

German officials say the violence in Washington, together with coronavirus skepticism and anti-lockdown sentiment, has emboldened right-wing groups. The rising extremism has prompted the country’s intelligence services to place a number of people under surveillance.

 

“The security services are wide awake and are monitoring all developments,” Alina Vick, a spokeswoman for Germany’s Interior Ministry, said at a news conference Jan. 25 in response to questions from NBC News.

According to provisional police figures released Thursday, the number of crimes committed by right-wing extremists jumped to its highest level in at least four years in 2020.

Suspected coronavirus deniers have attacked a number of people and organizations in recent months. In October, the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s center for disease control, was the target of an arson attack. The same day, an explosive detonated at the Berlin office of the Leibniz Association, a group of research institutes that has also researched the coronavirus.

Anti-lockdown demonstrations have intensified in recent weeks as Germany has tightened coronavirus restrictions, which are in place until at least mid-February.

Intelligence agencies have taken a particular interest in the group Querdenken 711, whose name loosely translates as “thinking outside the box.” The anti-lockdown group, which was founded in Stuttgart, the capital of the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, has inspired similar groups across the country that espouse a mixture of QAnon conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic ideas and frustration at coronavirus restrictions.

 

In December, Baden-Württemberg’s intelligence service placed the group on a watchlist and warned about rising extremism.

“We are dealing with a movement that formed on the occasion of the corona protests and then radicalized further on,” Beate Bube, the president of Baden-Württemberg’s intelligence service, said in a recent interview with a local newspaper. “We see an anti-state attitude at demonstrations and in online activities. Such attitudes are specifically fanned by the organizers.”

She said that the group was not interested in legitimate protest and that it was simply seeking to spread false information about the coronavirus and undermine the rule of law. The riot at the U.S. Capitol has added fuel to those sentiments.

“What we saw in Washington can be a breeding ground for radicalization and violent action in the right-wing scene,” Bube said. “Within the state’s scene, we are currently seeing verbal approval for the violence at the Capitol.”

 

While official national statistics on extremism for 2020 are not yet available, preliminary numbers released by a German lawmaker indicate that police recorded the highest number of far-right crimes since 2016. Police recorded 23,080 crimes with far-right backgrounds, around 700 more than in the previous year.

A report by RIAS Bavaria, a nonprofit organization, documented 46 anti-Semitic incidents related to coronavirus conspiracy theories in the state of Bavaria alone from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2020. Many incidents occurred at demonstrations, while others occurred online or in daily life.

Annette Seidel-Arpaci, the head of RIAS Bavaria, said in an interview that the coronavirus protests have helped promote anti-Semitic beliefs more broadly, raising the possibility of violence.

 

“The danger is that ideas turn into public speech and through that potentially into actions,” Seidel-Arpaci said.

Even before the pandemic, right-wing attacks have shocked Germany in recent years. In 2019, a gunman attacked a synagogue on Yom Kippur, and a man with far-right views shot and killed a politician.

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According to the RIAS Bavaria report, a Jewish pedestrian was accosted in a Munich park last year by a man wearing a T-shirt that read “corona denier” and “anti-vaxxer.” The assailant claimed that Jews had created the coronavirus, according to the report.

In another documented case, a German rapper posted a video to Instagram claiming that the Rothschild family was behind a curfew that had been instituted to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Seidel-Arpaci said that signs of anti-Semitism were evident in early protests against coronavirus measures last year but that those sentiments have become much more prevalent now.

“Victims are feeling more fear and insecurity,” Seidel-Arpaci said. “Not just because of the coronavirus pandemic, but in general, anti-Semitism is acted out more openly, especially in everyday life.”

Carlo Angerer is a multimedia producer and reporter based in Mainz, Germany. 


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7:39 AM 2/9/2021 – Investigate The Investigators! How many of the current and past FBI agents participated in the organizing, planning, and the execution of the Capitol Riot? The estimates of the rioters with the military background is between 20 and 50%. What are the estimates of the rioters with the FBI background? In my humble opinion, the FBI is the biggest and the most clear, imminent, and present threat and danger to the American Democracy. It is the tool of the totalitarian suppression of Freedom and dissent. Abolish the inept, incompetent, and brainless FBI! Investigate all the past and the current FBI CRIMES in depth, exhaustively and objectively. The FBI criminals should not have any part of the State Power! Keep the FBI guard dogs on a short leash or this hungry bunch will devour you, this country, and everything in sight. Michael Novakhov

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7:39 AM 2/9/2021 – Investigate The Investigators!
How many of the current and past FBI agents participated in the organizing, planning, and the execution of the Capitol Riot?
The estimates of the rioters with the military background is between 20 and 50%. What are the estimates of the rioters with the FBI background?
In my humble opinion, the FBI is the biggest and the most clear, imminent, and the present threat and danger to the American Democracy. It is the tool of the totalitarian suppression of Freedom and dissent.
Abolish the inept, incompetent, and brainless FBI! Investigate all the past and the current FBI CRIMES in depth, exhaustively and objectively. The FBI criminals should not have any part of the State Power!
Keep the FBI guard dogs on a short leash or this hungry bunch will devour you, this country, and everything in sight.
Michael Novakhov
FILE — In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo rioters loyal to President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Arguments begin Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump on allegations that he incited the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Feb. 9, 2021 at 5:04 a.m. EST

Alleged Oath Keeper leader Thomas Caldwell was former FBI agent with top-secret clearance, attorney says

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Those details were revealed in a motion filed Monday asking a judge to let Caldwell out of custody, citing his long military career and ability to pass vetting for the high security clearance. His attorney also claimed that Caldwell has disabilities from his military service that would have prevented him from storming the Capitol.

The FBI did not immediately return an inquiry about Caldwell’s past employment status late Monday.

The claims about Caldwell’s high security clearance and FBI service add to concerns about extremism in the military and law enforcement. The indictments against numerous alleged rioters with military and police ties have led local agencies to launch investigations and the Pentagon to order each military branch to dedicate time to addressing the problem in the coming months.

“The presence of law enforcement officers in the riot reinforces and substantiates the greatest fears many in the public had in the nature of law enforcement in the United States,” Michael German, a former FBI special agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, told The Washington Post.

“It’s incumbent on the Justice Department, if it wants to restore that confidence, to act quickly” to hold the most violent Capitol rioters accountable, he added.

Caldwell lives in Berryman, Va., and had been involved in local GOP politics. He was arrested on Jan. 19 in Virginia on charges of conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

The government alleges that Caldwell, whom an FBI agent identified as having “a leadership role in the Oath Keepers,” sent Facebook messages coordinating with members of the self-styled militia and sharing video from within the Capitol.

“Us storming the castle,” Caldwell allegedly said in one message that accompanied a video that showed a crowd within the Capitol, according to the criminal complaint. “Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!”

His case is one of several prosecutors are building against Oath Keepers and Proud Boys to make the case that the assault on Congress was premeditated and organized by extremists. Federal prosecutors are considering whether to file sedition charges against some of the accused rioters, the Associated Press reported.

In Monday’s motion for bond, Caldwell denied being a member of the Oath Keepers.

“Caldwell is not a member of the organization, nor has he ever been a member of the organization, and if he were, such membership would be protected activity under the First Amendment,” wrote his attorney, Thomas K. Plofchan.

The motion also questioned whether the Facebook messages allegedly posted by Caldwell prove his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot, arguing that he was “merely relaying news that was circulating through the crowd that some people were inside.”

Plofchan identified Caldwell as a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, and said Caldwell worked as a section chief in the FBI from 2009 to 2010 after retiring from military service. His attorney listed multiple service awards Caldwell earned and also said he has had a “top-secret security clearance” since 1979.

After leaving the FBI, Caldwell founded a consulting firm that has done business with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Army Personnel Command, the motion said.

Caldwell has several service-related injuries and other disabilities, his attorney said, including injuries to both shoulders, degenerative lumbar disc disease, and chronic knee pain. He underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2010 that failed, the filing said, and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Moving, sitting for extended periods of time, lifting, carrying, and other physical activities are extremely painful and Caldwell is limited in his ability to engage in them,” the motion said.

His attorney also claimed that witnesses “will testify that [Caldwell] never entered the U.S. Capitol Building and that his physical limitations would have prevented him from forcibly entering any building or storming past any barrier.”

Plofchan noted that prosecutors did not include photos of Caldwell in the criminal complaint, although two co-defendants in the case are shown in photos.

“The Government has not identified any photo or video that shows Caldwell in the U.S. Capitol Building, on the grounds after overcoming any barrier,” the motion said.


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COVID cases in the Midwest drop to a QUARTER of the seven-day average at its peak

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Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region¿s peak in late November, pictured

COVID cases in the Midwest drop to a QUARTER of the seven-day average at its peak

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop across the United States with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections.

In the Midwest, the seven-day average for new daily cases per capita has now dropped to a quarter of what it was during the region’s peak in late November.

It now stands at 231 news cases a day per million people; compared to 328 in the West, 394 in the Northeast, and 490 in the South.

Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus.

This was the second day in a row that the number hospitalized remained below 90,000, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. This was the first time it had dropped below this threshold since late November.

According to the Tracking Project, there were 3,543 new fatalities from coronavirus in the U.S. reported on Friday. 

It came after America recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic yet on Thursday, with a staggering 5,077 fatalities in 24 hours, that is believed to have been a result of a surge of infections after the holiday period. 

The national death toll now stands at 459,360 and more than 26.8million have been infected with the virus. 

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region¿s peak in late November, pictured

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Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region’s peak in late November, pictured

As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states ¿ New York and Arizona - reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents, as pictured above

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As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states – New York and Arizona – reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents, as pictured above

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As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states – New York and Arizona – reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents.

In January, 19 states exceeded that level.

The national seven-day average for hospitalization has now fallen to 92,210 and to 125,431 for new cases.

It marks around a 50 percent drop in the average cases since the national peak on January 12.

The plummet in cases is even being felt in California, The state´s worst coronavirus surge continues to abate as new virus cases fall sharply.

The daily average now is about 14,500 cases, down almost 50 percent from two weeks ago.

The California Department of Public Health rescinded its hospital surge order, which had required hospitals to delay some elective surgeries and to accept patients from other counties whose intensive care unit capacity had dropped below 15 percent.

Deaths also are starting to fall but remain exceptionally high.

Another 558 were announced Friday and in the last week almost 3,500 have died.

However, despite the continued high deaths, the Supreme Court on Friday told California that it can’t enforce a ban on indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The high court issued orders late Friday in two cases where churches had sued over coronavirus-related restrictions in the state.

The high court said that for now, California can’t ban indoor worship in areas where virus cases are surging, but it can cap indoor services at 25 percent of a building’s capacity.

The justices also declined to stop the state from barring singing and chanting at services.

The court’s three liberal justices dissented.

Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus

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Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus

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The court’s action follows a decision in a case from New York late last year in which the justices split 5-4 in barring the state from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues.

Shortly after, the justices told a federal court to reexamine a similar lawsuit over California’s restrictions in light of the ruling.

America recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic yet on Thursday, with a staggering 5,077 fatalities in 24 hours, dwarfing the previous record of 4,466 deaths on January 12 by 611.

It comes despite encouraging and sustained declines in daily coronavirus infections as the trend in fatalities consistently lags weeks behind trends in cases and hospitalizations, which have been falling for the past three weeks.

Hospitalizations fall after cases, and deaths are expected to follow hospitalizations, despite yesterday’s record-high fatalities.

CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said earlier in the week that ‘the pace of deaths appears to be slowing.’

On Friday she said: ‘Early data suggest now we’re starting to see this, with the 7-day average of deaths declining 6.7 percent to slightly more than 3,00 deaths a day from Jan 28 to Feb 3.’

Meanwhile, experts are encouraged, but perplexed by the decline in infections. Vanderbilt University infectious diseases professor Dr William Shaffner told <a href=”http://DailyMail.com” rel=”nofollow”>DailyMail.com</a> he is ‘bumfuzzled’ by what’s driving the trend.

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It’s too soon for vaccines to be a significant driver of the downturn; just 8.7 percent of the US population has had one or more shots, according to Bloomberg data, and the US is nowhere near herd immunity yet.

And while CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky called this week’s encouraging downward trend in cases ‘consistent,’ Dr Shaffner echoed her warnings that the trend could be reversed by the arrival of variants and potential super-spreader events, like Super Bowl Sunday.

Already, there are at least 645 cases of the UK’s ‘super-covid’ variant in 33 states, at least five cases of the South African variant and two of the Brazilian variants in the US, in addition to several homegrown variants.

Holidays led to the last surge of infections that followed the triple-threat of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

With the lags between infections, hospitalizations and deaths, yesterday’s record fatalities likely still reflect patients infected in that period.

‘Just as we are smiling,’ about the downturn in cases ‘there are a couple of three countervailing factors,’ Dr Shaffner told <a href=”http://DailyMail.com” rel=”nofollow”>DailyMail.com</a>. 

‘The arrival of variants could create more cases, more illnesses and hospitalizations down the road.

‘The second factor is Super Bowl Sunday. We expect anticipate many families’ parties where people gather together for prolonged periods, cheering lustily or groaning mightily, depending on which team is doing what, and those are ideal circumstances for spreading [the virus].

‘Super Bowl Sunday may become a super-spreader event all over the country.’

Patients are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Sharp Vaccination Center in La Mesa, California, on Friday

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Patients are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Sharp Vaccination Center in La Mesa, California, on Friday

Residents wait in line to receive COVID-19 leftover doses of the Moderna vaccine  in Los Angeles on Thursday

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Residents wait in line to receive COVID-19 leftover doses of the Moderna vaccine  in Los Angeles on Thursday

The last massive surge of infections in January may mean slightly fewer people are vulnerable now because they were previously infected, the US is long way off from herd immunity.

Scientists estimate that as many as 100 million Americans, or about a third of the population, have had COVID-19. 

At least 70 percent of the population needs to have protection from prior infection or vaccines to reach herd immunity.

New calculations predict that the coronavirus pandemic will drag on for another seven years at the current rate of vaccinations worldwide.

It will take that long to reach Dr Anthony Fauci’s estimate for the herd immunity threshold of 75 percent of people inoculated globally, according to Bloomberg’s vaccination calculator.

More than 4.5 million vaccines are being administered a day, for a total of 119.8 million shots given worldwide.

The US has vaccinated 8.7 percent of its population thus far, at a rate of 1.3 million shot given a day. After a slow start, the rollout is picking up steam and saw a record 1.7 million people vaccinated Thursday.

Despite ranking sixth in the world for the pace of its vaccinations, the US is predicted to reach herd immunity just in time for New Year’s 2022.   

But all of this depends on whether the vaccines are effective against variants like those that emerged in South Africa and Brazil, which appear to dull the potency of shots. 


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3:04 AM 2/1/2021 – AP – The Day – 5,000 arrested at anti-Putin protests across Russia

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Police officers detain a woman during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Khabarovsk, 3,800 miles east of Moscow, Russia, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. Thousands of people took to the streets Sunday across Russia to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, keeping up the wave of nationwide protests that have rattled the Kremlin. Hundreds were detained by police. (AP Photo/Igor Volkov)

The Day – 5,000 arrested at anti-Putin protests across Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — Chanting slogans against President Vladimir Putin, tens of thousands took to the streets Sunday across Russia to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, keeping up nationwide protests that have rattled the Kremlin. More than 5,100 people were detained by police, according to a monitoring group, and some were beaten.

The massive protests came despite efforts by Russian authorities to stem the tide of demonstrations after tens of thousands rallied across the country last weekend in the largest, most widespread show of discontent that Russia had seen in years. Despite threats of jail terms, warnings to social media groups and tight police cordons, the protests again engulfed cities across Russia’s 11 time zones on Sunday.

Navalny’s team quickly called another protest in Moscow for Tuesday, when he is set to face a court hearing that could send him to prison for years.

The 44-year-old Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator who is Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusations. He was arrested for allegedly violating his parole conditions by not reporting for meetings with law enforcement when he was recuperating in Germany.

The United States urged Russia to release Navalny and criticized the crackdown on protests.

“The U.S. condemns the persistent use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists by Russian authorities for a second week straight,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter.

The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected Blinken’s call as “crude interference in Russia’s internal affairs” and accused Washington of trying to destabilize the situation in the country by backing the protests.

On Sunday, police detained more than 5,100 people in cities nationwide, according to OVD-Info, a group that monitors political arrests, surpassing some 4,000 detentions at the demonstrations across Russia on Jan. 23.

In Moscow, authorities introduced unprecedented security measures in the city center, closing subway stations near the Kremlin, cutting bus traffic and ordering restaurants and stores to stay closed.

Navalny’s team initially called for Sunday’s protest to be held on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square, home to the main headquarters of the Federal Security Service, which Navalny contends was responsible for his poisoning. Facing police cordons around the square, the protest shifted to other central squares and streets.

Police were randomly picking up people and putting them into police buses, but thousands of protesters marched across the city center for hours, chanting “Putin, resign!” and “Putin, thief!” — a reference to an opulent Black Sea estate reportedly built for the Russian leader that was featured in a widely popular video released by Navalny’s team.

“I’m not afraid, because we are the majority,” said protester Leonid Martynov. “We mustn’t be scared by clubs because the truth is on our side.”

At one point, crowds of demonstrators walked toward the Matrosskaya Tishina prison where Navalny is being held. They were met by phalanxes of riot police who pushed the march back and chased protesters through courtyards.

Demonstrators continued to march around the Russian capital, zigzagging around police cordons. Officers broke them into smaller groups and detained scores, beating some with clubs and occasionally using tasers.

Over 1,600 people were detained in Moscow, including Navalny’s wife, Yulia, who was released after several hours pending a court hearing Monday on charges of taking part in an unsanctioned protest. “If we keep silent, they will come after any of us tomorrow,” she said on Instagram before turning out to protest.

Amnesty International said that authorities in Moscow have arrested so many people that the city’s detention facilities have run out of space. “The Kremlin is waging a war on the human rights of people in Russia, stifling protesters’ calls for freedom and change,” Natalia Zviagina, the group’s Moscow office head, said in a statement.

Several thousand people marched across Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, chanting “Down with the czar!” and occasional scuffles erupted as some demonstrators pushed back police who tried to make detentions. Over 1,100 were arrested.

Some of the biggest rallies were held in Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk in eastern Siberia and Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

“I do not want my grandchildren to live in such a country,” said 55-year-old Vyacheslav Vorobyov, who turned out for a rally in Yekaterinburg. “I want them to live in a free country.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, who currently chairs the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, condemned “the excessive use of force by authorities and mass detention of peaceful protesters and journalists” and urged Russia “to release all those unjustly detained, including Navalny.”

As part of a multipronged effort by authorities to block the protests, courts have jailed Navalny’s associates and activists across the country over the past week. His brother Oleg, top aide Lyubov Sobol and three other people were put under a two-month house arrest Friday on charges of allegedly violating coronavirus restrictions during last weekend’s protests.

Prosecutors also demanded that social media platforms block calls to join the protests.

The Interior Ministry issued stern warnings to the public, saying protesters could be charged with taking part in mass riots, which carries a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Protests were fueled by a two-hour YouTube video released by Navalny’s team after his arrest about the Black Sea residence purportedly built for Putin. The video has been viewed over 100 million times, inspiring a stream of sarcastic jokes on the internet amid an economic downturn.

Russia has seen extensive corruption during Putin’s time in office while poverty has remained widespread.

“All of us feel pinched financially, so people who take to the streets today feel angry,” said Vladimir Perminov who protested in Moscow. “The government’s rotation is necessary.”

Demonstrators in Moscow chanted “Aqua discotheque!” — a reference to one of the fancy amenities at the residence that also features a casino and a hookah lounge equipped for watching pole dances.

Putin says neither he nor any of his close relatives own the property. On Saturday, construction magnate Arkady Rotenberg, a longtime Putin confidant and his occasional judo sparring partner, claimed that he himself owned the property.

Navalny fell into a coma on Aug. 20 while on a flight from Siberia to Moscow and the pilot diverted the plane so he could be treated in the city of Omsk. He was transferred to a Berlin hospital two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent.

Russian authorities have refused to open a full-fledged criminal inquiry, claiming lack of evidence that he was poisoned.

Navalny was arrested immediately upon his return to Russia earlier this month and jailed for 30 days on the request of Russia’s prison service, which alleged he had violated the probation of his suspended sentence from a 2014 money-laundering conviction that he has rejected as political revenge.

On Thursday, a Moscow court rejected Navalny’s appeal to be released, and the hearing Tuesday could turn his 3 [1/2]-year suspended sentence into one he must serve in prison.

___________________________________


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10:27 AM 1/29/2021 – The original Sars-Cov-2 may also “be occurring independently in many parts of the world. The fact that most Covid-19 hotspots are community based confirms this thesis. – M.N.

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“The same mutation may be occurring independently in many parts of the world.” – Can it be the same or similar situation with the original, pre-mutations virus or viruses, whatever they are, presumably Sars-Cov-2? Yes, most definitely it can. It means that the original virus may also “be occurring independently in many parts of the world. The fact that most Covid-19 hotspots are community based confirms this thesis. – M.N.

Researchers Discover Coronavirus Variants Likely Originating in America

The same mutation may be occurring independently in many parts of the world.

by Ethen Kim Lieser

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have announced the discovery of new variants of the novel coronavirus that likely originated here in the United States.

The new variants carry a mutation identical to the strain first seen in the United Kingdom, but they likely arose in a virus strain already present in the country, according to the study’s findings that are currently under review for publication in BioRxiv as a pre-print.

The university noted that it has been sequencing the genome of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in coronavirus-positive patients since March 2020 in order to monitor the evolution of the contagion.

One of the new variants has been identified in only one patient from Ohio, so the researchers admitted that they do not yet know the prevalence of the strain in the general population. In contrast, the evolving strain with the three new mutations has become the dominant virus in the city of Columbus.

“This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as earlier cases we’ve studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution,” the study’s leader Dr. Dan Jones, the vice-chairman of the division of molecular pathology, said in a news release.

“We know this shift didn’t come from the UK or South African branches of the virus.”

The researchers added that the mutations affect the spikes that stud the surface of SARS-CoV-2. These spikes are what enable the virus to attach to and eventually enter human cells.

Like the UK strain, the mutations appear to make the virus more contagious but do not seem more deadly or diminish the effectiveness of vaccines that already have received regulatory approval, the researchers said.

“The big question is whether these mutations will render vaccines and current therapeutic approaches less effective. At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use,” the study’s co-author Peter Mohler, chief scientific officer at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and vice dean for research at the College of Medicine, said in a statement.

“It’s important that we don’t overreact to this new variant until we obtain additional data. We need to understand the impact of mutations on transmission of the virus, the prevalence of the strain in the population, and whether it has a more significant impact on human health. Further, it is critical that we continue to monitor the evolution of the virus so we can understand the impact of the mutant forms on the design of both diagnostics and therapeutics. It is critical that we make decisions based on the best science.”

Along with the discovery of the Columbus variant, the researchers now believe that the same mutation may be occurring independently in many parts of the world.

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“Viruses naturally mutate and evolve over time, but the changes seen in the last two months have been more prominent than in the first months of the pandemic,” Jones said.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.


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Audio – Federal Agents Who Violate Individual Rights Can Be Sued For Damages, Supreme Court Rules

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Setting an important precedent for law enforcement accountability and religious liberty, the U.S. Supreme Court last month sided with three Muslim men who say they were forced onto the No-Fly List when they refused to becomes informants for the FBI. With the ruling unanimous, Tanzin v. Tanvir reaffirms the principle that individuals can sue federal agents for violating their rights. 

Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah, and Naveed Shinwari are practicing Muslims who were approached by the FBI to spy on their communities. When the men refused to collaborate, they soon found themselves unable to fly. That came with a heavy cost. The men were effectively barred from visiting family members abroad, while Tanvir was forced to quit his job as a trucker. 

To vindicate their rights, Tanvir and the others sued the FBI agents for monetary damages under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). For nearly 30 years, RFRA has let individuals “whose religious exercise has been burdened” seek to “obtain appropriate relief against a government,” which includes any “branch, department, agency, instrumentality, and official (or other person acting under color of law) of the United States.” 

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But since RFRA doesn’t explicitly define what counts as “appropriate relief,” the case sought to determine “whether ‘appropriate relief’ includes claims for money damages against Government officials in their individual capacities.” By a vote of 8-0, the court agreed with Tanvir that it does. (Since oral argument occurred before Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, she did not participate in the case.)

“In the context of suits against government officials, damages have long been awarded as appropriate relief” and have “coexisted with our constitutional system since the dawn of the Republic,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court. Moreover, suing for damages is not just “appropriate,” Thomas noted, “it is also the only form of relief that can remedy some RFRA violations.” For Tanvir’s lost income and “wasted plane tickets, effective relief consists of damages, not an injunction.” 

Thomas also cited cases involving one-off violations, including the desecration of religious property and an unauthorized autopsy that violated Hmong beliefs, where injunctions would be useless—and only damages could remedy. “It would be odd to construe RFRA in a manner that prevents courts from awarding such relief,” Thomas added. “Had Congress wished to limit the remedy to that degree, it knew how to do so.”

“It is a soaring feeling. I made my life in this country, so this is important not just for me, but for everybody,” Tanvir said in a statement. “I don’t want the same thing that the FBI did to me to happen to others.”

The Supreme Court also dismissed the Justice Department’s argument that allowing lawsuits for damages against government officials could “raise separation-of-powers concerns.” “To the extent the government asks us to create a new policy-based presumption against damages against individual officials, we are not at liberty to do so,” Thomas wrote. “Congress is best suited to create such a policy. Our task is simply to interpret the law as an ordinary person would.” After all, preventing anyone from filing a damages claim under RFRA would let judges nullify causes of actions passed by Congress—a clear breach of the separation of powers.

“To be sure, there may be policy reasons why Congress may wish to shield Government employees from personal liability, and Congress is free to do so. But there are no constitutional reasons why we must do so in its stead,” the justice added. “We cannot manufacture a new presumption now and retroactively impose it on a Congress that acted 27 years ago.” 

Though Tanvir and the other men can now proceed with their lawsuit, they could soon encounter another procedural roadblock. In a footnote, Thomas noted that the FBI agents are “entitled to assert a qualified immunity defense when sued in their individual capacities for money damages under RFRA.” Found nowhere in the Constitution and created whole-cloth by the Supreme Court, qualified immunity shields government employees from any legal liability, unless they infringed on someone’s “clearly established” rights. Since only a handful of federal courts have heard claims for damages under RFRA, it’s quite possible that Tanvir could still lose his case on the grounds that his rights weren’t “clearly established.” 

Nevertheless, the decision in Tanzin v. Tanvir may signal a new receptiveness among the court to hold government officials accountable. Last month, the Supreme Court denied qualified immunity to Texas prison guards who kept an inmate in cells “teeming with human waste,” allowing the man’s Eighth Amendment lawsuit to continue. This rejection of qualified immunity was the first such denial in more than 15 years by the Supreme Court. (Curiously, Thomas was the only justice who dissented, and he did not explain his reasoning.)

That same month, the High Court held oral argument in Brownback v. King, which hinges on whether the government can create a new form of immunity for police brutality cases. This government accountability case centers around James King, who was brutally beaten by police officers in broad daylight and has been fighting for years to get his day in court. 

“The Supreme Court has provided its full-throated endorsement of damages as a necessary and historic mechanism for constitutional accountability,” said Scott Bullock, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, which is representing King. “In doing so, the court also reiterated its support for the foundational principles of this country, such as that damages can be awarded to check the government’s power and that it is Congress’ job to engage in policy making. The court’s job is to interpret the law, not to do policy.”


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Audio – US Congress authorizes new Nord Stream 2 sanctions

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The US Congress has authorized the White House to impose sanctions against companies constructing the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, with lawmakers overriding President Donald Trump’s veto of a broader Defense Department spending authorization bill.

The sanctions aim to derail construction of the remaining offshore portion of Russian state-controlled Gazprom’s near-complete 55bn m³/yr Nord Stream 2. The measure allows the administration to impose sanctions against any entity that is involved in construction, provides underwriting and insurance to pipe-laying vessels or facilitates ship retrofitting and upgrading.

The sanctions also can apply to any entity that “provided services for the testing, inspection or certification” of the pipeline.

The bill grants the White House flexibility to waive sanctions on national security grounds, while also exempting European government entities from sanctions and requiring consultations with those governments before sanctions are applied.

Lawmakers included the sanctions provision in a bill they passed in early December. Trump vetoed the legislation on 23 December, citing reasons unrelated to Nord Stream 2. The House of Representatives voted 322-87 on 28 December to override Trump’s veto. The Senate then followed today, voting 81-13 today in favor of overriding the veto.

Potentially targeted companies will have until 31 January to wind down participation in the pipeline project to avoid sanctions.

A similar sanctions bill enacted late in 2019 forced a Swiss company involved in pipelaying to walk away from the project, and the authors of the most recent measure hope it will have a similar effect.

Around 16.5km on each of the project’s two strings need to be installed in German waters, and a total of 127km in Danish waters before pipe-laying is complete.

The key difference now is that the vessels involved in construction are Russian-owned and Russian-flagged, even though they still require support and certification from entities in Germany and Denmark.

The Fortuna pipe-laying barge restarted pipe-laying in German waters in early December and is to restart works in Danish waters from mid-January, with support from the Baltic Explorer and Murman, as well as other supply vessels. Ongoing construction activities are likely to enable the project to be completed soon, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on 28 December.

Implementing the legislation is likely to straddle the final weeks of Trump’s term in office, which ends on 20 January, and the incoming administration led by president-elect Joe Biden.

Opponents of the Nord Stream 2 project in Congress hope that the State Department will take immediate action to enforce its previous guidance that threatened sanctions against foreign companies providing goods and services for pipe-laying vessels and against financial backers of the pipeline.

The Biden team has vowed a tougher approach to Russia but has not promised to target Nord Stream 2 specifically.

Implementing sanctions against the project would contradict the president-elect’s pledge to improve relations with the EU, which opposes penalties against the pipeline project.

But political opinion in Washington is again turning against Russia, this time over an alleged cyberattack against computer networks run by the US government.

By Haik Gugarats


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3:15 PM 12/25/2020 – The new Red–Green–Brown alliance, its political agenda, Covid-19, and the New Abwehr (hypothetically) …

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Germany’s Big Green Mood Lacks Radicalism

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On a Monday night in August, Robert Habeck sat on a train to Berlin from the eastern German city of Cottbus, attempting to eat a falafel sandwich. The yellow sauce was dripping, first on the floor, then on his gray trousers. The pita bread was falling apart, bits of red cabbage were sticking to his nose. A handful of journalists were watching this mess closely, but Habeck—blue shirt, rolled-up sleeves, healthy tan—didn’t seem to care.

Habeck, who has been coleading the German Green Party with Annalena Baerbock for almost two years now, certainly doesn’t want to be a normal politician. He presents himself as something different: a normal person. When he gets a fact wrong in an interview, he apologizes publicly the next day. He takes off his shoes during train rides, exposing holes in his socks, to the delight of detail-seeking reporters. And sometimes, he devours a falafel sandwich in front of an audience. Messily, yes—but with confidence.

Before Habeck, 50, became a professional politician, he was a novelist and playwright. He wants to change the atmosphere around politics first, in order to change politics itself. This strategy—approachability, diplomacy, friendliness—is not only crucial to his personal success; Habeck is, according to surveys, one of the most popular politicians in Germany and many people believe he could become the next chancellor. It’s also key to understanding the astonishing recent rise of his party.

Robert Habeck, who has co-led Germany’s Green Party for almost two years, could become the country’s next chancellor. (Photos courtesy Lukas Hermsmeier)

The Greens, who started as an anti-party party in the 1980s, have become what the Social Democrats used to be: a Volkspartei, or mass party. More and more Germans trust them, and only them, to tackle the climate challenges in a severe—and yet moderate—way. The party promises green technologies, green culture, green growth. In short, the right dose of change, which millions can agree on.

While the party won only 8.9 percent of the vote in the last election in 2017, recent polls have given them between 22 and 27 percent—right behind or on par with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. The next general election in 2021 could bring about what many progressives have desired for a long time: a coalition of Greens, Social Democrats, and the Left Party. In such a scenario, Germany could become the first-ever major Western country with a green leader.

Twenty nineteen has been the year of the Greens. In several other European countries such as Norway, Austria, Finland or Portugal, ecologist parties got record votes. In the European Elections in May, the Greens–European Free Alliance increased its number of seats in the EU Parliament by nearly 50 percent. For the first time in years, it felt like there might be some some kind of European counterforce to the right-wing nationalist wave embodied by authoritarians like Viktor Orbán, Marine Le Pen, and Nigel Farage.

It’s a fitting time for this political shift: The earth is—undeniably—burning, melting, and dying, and unlike centrists, environment-focused parties seem invested in doing something beyond repeating empty, green-seeming phrases. At the UN Climate Action Summit in September, Angela Merkel announced that her country wants to become “climate-neutral” by 2050.

“We all have only one Earth,“ the chancellor said. Her policies, however, could make you think that there are some Earths yet to spare. Year after year, Germany has missed its self-set climate targets. The “climate package” that Merkel’s government passed in September was called “catastrophic,” “a bad joke,” and “disastrous” by German scientists and environmental organizations. Even the German Economic Institute criticized it as insufficient. When it comes to climate politics, Merkel is little more than a politer and quieter version of Trump.

The backlash to ineffectual climate politicking, has, at least, grown stronger. In response to their failing governments, climate movements, such as Extinction Rebellion and the Sunrise Movement, are calling for radical measures. At the end of September, millions of mainly young people, inspired in part by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, took to the streets in more than 150 countries for the largest climate strike in history. It’s thanks to activists like Thunberg, persistent scientists, a number of intellectuals, and green political parties that global warming has entered mainstream debates—40 years late.

No other country has seen such a large-scale green uprising as Germany’s, though. Since last December, thousands of students have gone on strike across the country every single week, making Fridays for Future (FFF) the biggest German protest movement since the “peaceful revolution” of 1989. The Green Party has gained 15,000 new members this year, bringing its membership up to more than 90,000 in total. New words have even entered the German discourse; Flugscham, for example: flight shame.

Climate movements have been growing across the world. But why are the Greens so unprecedentedly strong in Germany, both on the streets and in the parliaments?

If you ask party members and voters, you hear three main things: First, climate change is more noticeable, even in Germany, where farmers suffer from droughts, insect populations die, and meteorologists warn of record floods. “Many people who live in rural areas or smaller cities have told me that they can feel the global heating directly,” Sven Giegold, Green member of the European Parliament, told me on the phone. While climate awareness has grown, Giegold explained, the government’s apathy has become more striking. The Green’s persistence on environmental issues over the last 40 years gives them crediibility.

“It’s not a hipster thing. It’s for normal people,” Giegold said.

Second, the party has expanded its electorate. In the EU election, the Greens won hundreds of thousands of votes from every other party across the political spectrum. Leftists have criticized the party’s increasing centrism. But as long as the party is successful, nobody within it will dare to rebel. “The Greens are, in contrast to other parties, open enough that I can tell them that they are still too white,” said Aminata Touré, one of the very few Afro-German politicians in the country, and, according to party leader Habeck, “one of the greatest talents.” The 26-year-old, who recently was elected as the vice president of the state parliament in Schleswig-Holstein, stands for a new generation of Green politicians. “If you are part of the government,” Touré said, “you have to make compromises. That’s how politics work.”

26-year-old Aminata Touré is one of the few Afro-German politicians in the country. (Lukas Hermsmeier)

And third, every person I talked to for this piece praised the new leadership for their ability to unite the party. The Greens, for a long time divided into a radical wing (the “Fundis”) and a more pragmatic wing (the “Realos”), seem to have reached a consensus: They want to come into power.

It is this very tactic though—trying to please (almost) everybody in order to govern—that is also the party’s greatest risk.

Prior to his falafel-filled train ride to Berlin that August evening, Robert Habeck had attended a town hall meeting hosted by his party in the city of Cottbus. Cottbus, 65 miles southeast of Berlin and not far from the Polish border, is also at the center of one of the biggest brown-coal mining areas in the country. It has lost a quarter of its population since the wall came down 30 years ago. Numerous extreme-right organizations, such as Zukunft Heimat, Identitäre Bewegung, or the hooligan group Inferno, are based in or near Cottbus. In the last major regional elections, the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) won the majority of votes.

Attacks against refugees and people of color have increased in Cottbus over the years. Many residents, however, see the Green Party—with its EU- and refugee-friendly policies, its calls for renewable energies and organic food production—as a threat. In the days before Habeck arrived in Cottbus, political opponents hung up posters with his face and the message “Hostile intentions.” Habeck, as he later admitted, was anxious ahead of the event.

Around 300 people, many of them over 60, sat in a half circle in the old Town Hall, as the Green leader entered the stage.

“I can feel the tensions,” Habeck said. “Our stance against brown coal is met with resistance.” Even before anyone in the audience could say a single word, Habeck pleaded guilty. For far too long, he said, western German Greens like him had ignored their eastern counterpart, Alliance 90 (which fused with the Greens in 1993). For far too long, he continued, his party had ignored the specific problems in the east. “How could we be so blind?” Habeck asked.

For two intense hours, Habeck took on questions relating to these very problems: the postindustrial unemployment rate, the downsizing of public transport, the lack of hospitals; things that helped the far right to rise. Habeck promised a redistribution of money from wealthier to poorer households, but it seemed more important that he listened intently to every single question from the audience, even those that received boos from the crowd.

An engineer from Jänschwalde, a small village near Cottbus, where hundreds of people lost their jobs after a large section of a big brown-coal power plant shut down, attacked Habeck for prioritizing the environment over the economy.

“That’s socialism!,” the man said. The audience mumbled; Habeck stood still. His party, he explained, gives incentives to private companies that invest in solar energy. “That’s the opposite of socialism,” he said calmly. At the meeting’s end, the audience applauded enthusiastically. People asked the father of four sons for selfies. Even in Cottbus, hostile territory, the Green base is growing.

In the past, the Greens were known to be successful in certain areas and milieus—and nearly invisible in others. Kreuzberg for example, a heavily gentrified district in Berlin, has been a Green stronghold for decades. Voting Green there became part of an identity, aligned with a lifestyle that includes recycling, riding a bike, and buying expensive organic food. Or, as some leftists call it: “Green class chauvinism.”

The typical Green voter has been a young, well-educated and higher-earning person, living in an urban area. That is still the case. In the EU elections, however, the Greens not only won nine of the 10 biggest German cities; they also became the strongest force in rural regions such as the Wendland, in smaller East German cities such as Jena, and in blue-collar-towns such as Dortmund.

Even traditionally conservative regions of Germany have been conquered by the Greens. In the election in Bavaria in October 2018, they became number two and won the capital, Munich. Baden-Wuerttemberg, the wealthy home state of Daimler and Porsche, is lead by a Green premier already since 2011.

The Greens, not only in Germany, benefit from the ongoing erosion of the traditional centrist parties—especially the Social Democrats, who have lost millions over millions of voters across Europe in the last two decades. This process—some call it Pasokification, named after the fall of the Greek social democratic party Pasok from a comfortable majority of 44 percent in 2009 to less than 5 percent in 2015—has dramatically altered the political scene in countries like Italy and France. But not only social democracy has been in decline. In the United Kingdom, for example, the governing Conservatives recorded their worst result ever in the European election. The UK Green party, by contrast, secured its best results in 30 years.

“The next legislative period is going to be fun,” Green EU MP Giegold said. “The other parties will need us.”

There was a time when the Greens were the party of anger. They protested and opposed the establishment; some of them even longed for the revolution.

Now, “the AfD is the party that attacks the establishment,” Habeck told me after the Cottbus town hall. “The difference, however, is that the Greens always wanted to democratize society, while the far right wants to attack democracy itself,” Habeck continued. “Today, our party is rooted in the center of society. Our role is it to defend the values of the republic: the constitution, freedom of the press, cultural freedom.”

In 2010, he published a book with the title Patriotismus: Ein linkes Plädoyer, “Patriotism—A Left-Wing Appeal.”

Habeck’s political opponents love to hate on him and his Greens. Far too soft, many leftists moan. Far too radical, many conservatives and liberals rant. Besides,: what will become of Germany, the car-and-sausage nation and export world champion if it is led by a Green? Jörg Meuthen, leader of the AfD, even threatened to leave the country in the event of Habeck’s becoming chancellor.

The story of the Greens began in the ’70s, when environmentalists, anti-war activists, feminists, and other leftists began intense organizing in action groups and grassroots initiatives across the country. German students had been protesting against capitalism, ecological destruction, authoritarianism, patriarchy, and their very own Nazi parents already since the ’60s. One outgrowth of these movements was the far-left militant Red Army Faction, a network responsible for the murders of politicians, industry executives, police officers, and soldiers who, in their eyes, personified the Schweinesystem, the “pig system.” It was an especially tense time in Berlin, divided by a wall, at the hot center of the Cold War. As now, some Germans were wondering if it’s even ethical to bring a child into this world.

In January 1980, the various groups and local parties officially joined forces. The first Green parliamentarians stood out with both their focus on environmental issues and their appearance. Some nursed their babies, others knitted during debates. Joschka Fischer, who later became Germany’s foreign minister, wore sneakers when he was sworn in and caused trouble when he called the parliamentary president an “asshole.”

The mere fact of a high share of women—thanks to intraparty gender parity rules—was a provocation for many members of the Bundestag. When Green lawmaker Waltraud Schoppe spoke about “everyday sexism” and “marital rape” in her very first and now-legendary parliamentary speech in 1983, the male-dominated ranks of the traditional parties were in an uproar (“Witch! Witch!”).

The first Green Party program from 1980 reads, unlike the current party platform, almost like a socialist manifesto. And it serves as a reminder that the Green rise of 2019 can’t be understood without recognizing the decades-long history of Green organizing and politics in Germany.

“The ecological global crisis is intensifying day by day,” the first party program asserted. “Commodities are becoming scarcer, one poisoning scandal after the other, animal species are being exterminated, plant species are ceasing, rivers and oceans are turning into cesspools, humankind is about to become mentally and emotionally stunned in the midst of a late industrial and consumer society, we are burdening the following generations with a sinister legacy.”

There are only a few people from the early days who are still involved in politics. Hans-Christian Ströbele is one of them. The renowned lawyer helped found the party and remained one of its most successful, radical, and party-critical representatives for almost 40 years. Ströbele left the German parliament in 2017, but still writes articles, tweets, and occasionally accepts visits from journalists.

Hans-Christian Ströbele, a lawyer who helped found Germany’s Green Pary, left the Bundestag in 2017. (Lukas Hermsmeier)

On a sunny afternoon in July, Ströbele’s wife, Juliana, opened the door to their apartment in an elegant, white Gründerzeit building by the Spree river in Berlin-Mitte. “Christian,” she said, “sits in the office.”

Ströbele, who celebrated his 80th anniversary some weeks prior, slowly pulled himself up from his chair. Afflicted with a nerve disease, he looked thin. The black bike Ströbele was known to ride through Berlin until a few years ago still stood in the house’s entrance, gathering dust. His other trademark, wild, bushy, white eyebrows, remained in peak shape.

In the early ’70s, Ströbele took up the cases of the RAF founders Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader—until the moment he was accused of being part of the group’s terror infrastructure himself. A court sentenced him to 10 months on probation. Ströbele still denies the accusations, but “wouldn’t do anything differently today.”

A few years after his work for the RAF ended, the Green project started.

“We entered the parliament with the goal not to become like the other parties and career politicians. It was us against the world!” Ströbele recalled. “But this stance has been lost for a long time.” It was a gradual process: Several founding members, such as the “radical ecologist” Jutta Ditfurth, left the party in the early ’90s. The moderate wing, which coalesced around Fischer, gained more influence. The “long march through the institutions” was finalized when the party became a junior partner in a coalition with the Social Democrats in 1998. For the first time ever, the Greens were part of the federal government.

It was a red-green coalition in name only, with decidedly neoliberal politics that included less taxes for rich people and a welfare reform (Hartz IV) with significant cuts to unemployment benefits and increased pressure on the jobless to find work. Foreign Minister Fischer’s decision to send German troops first to Yugoslavia and some years later to Afghanistan was heavily criticized. Ströbele became the in-house opposition, as former Green comrades turned into political opponents. “I’ve seen people changing through power,“ Ströbele says.

Ströbele’s politics, meanwhile, have not wavered. In the last decades he has supported guerilla fighters in El Salvador, he visited Edward Snowden in Moscow, and just last month he took to Twitter to defend a politician from Left party who cause controversy for wearing an “Antifa” pin in the German parliament. “They [Antifa] know much more about the machinations of the Far-Right and FASCISTS than the intelligent service,“ Ströbele tweeted.

Asked about the current green movement, the Green founder gave an ambivalent answer. “Our issues have reached the majority of the population, which is great,” he said.

“But if you look at the Fridays for Future protesters, for example, who I obviously support, it’s dangerous how much they are accepted while having very little impact on the policies.”

The discrepancy between the felt power of the green movement and its effect so far on actual politics in Germany is indeed striking. Germany has been governed by Angela Merkel for 14 very long years, and neither her Christian Democrat party, nor her coalition partner, the Social Democrats, seem to have understood what structural changes it would take to tackle this global crisis.

Yet many people in the German political and media sphere pretend that the country is already far too green-minded. Michael Theurer, for example, the parliamentary group leader of the liberal party FDP, recently blustered that Germany was becoming an “eco-dictatorship” on account of the Greens’ attempts to curb the number of domestic flights and reduce the consumption of meat. AfD leader Alexander Gauland named the Greens its main rival after the EU election in May. “They are going to destroy Germany,” he said.

While it’s true that the Greens’ success has pushed the government toward certain enrivonmental policies, their political opponents’ warnings about a “Green hegemony” and a “radicalized” Green party are based more in desperation than reality.

The Greens’ program is, in fact, rather moderate. While the German Environment Agency, for example, proposes a carbon price of €180 ($197) per ton, the Greens are asking for only €40 ($43). Some of the party’s policies might have sounded progressive some years ago—its call for decreasing the value-added tax on train tickets from 18 to 7 percent, to name one. In 2019 though, even Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer, a conservative from Bavaria, has proposed the exact same number. When it comes to anti-capitalist measures such as the nationalization of energy companies, the Left Party is far ahead of the Greens.

At the last party convention in March, Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer gave a speech in which she criticized the Greens for their lack of concrete policies and a clear vision. “We won’t grow out of this crisis,” the 23-year-old student said in front of hundreds of party members in Berlin. “If even the Greens can’t manage to find clarity about it,” she continued, “then I’m not sure why we’re marching on the streets.”

Luisa Neubauer, 23, is an activist who organized some of Germany’s first school strikes with the Fridays for Future movement. (Lukas Hermsmeier)

Neubauer’s words were received with massive applause. Party leader Habeck thanked her, “for kicking our ass.” Once again, the Green leadership’s strategy was obvious: synthesizing the different factions into one friendly force.

I met Neubauer, who has become Germany’s most famous climate activist, last July in the western German city of Dortmund, where Fridays for Futures held its first summer congress. For five days, more than 1,400 teenagers and children (some came with their families) were discussing politics, cooking vegan fare, partying and sleeping in tents. Neubauer—long, brown hair, blue jacket, colored wristbands—looks, even by her own admission, younger than her age. In her speeches and interviews, however, she sounds so clear and balanced that it’s hard to believe that she only recently finished college.

Neubauer became friends with Greta Thunberg at the climate summit in Katowice, Poland, last December, and soon after organized the first school strikes in Germany. Since then, she has been invited by CEOs, government officials, TED Conferences, virtually every German prime-time talk show, and even French President Emmanuel Macron to talk about the protest movement’s demands.

One-and-four-tenths-million Germans joined the climate strikes in September, more than in any other country. Neubauer rejects the notion that this enthusiasm will be a passing fad.

“The advantage of this movement,” she said, “is that we’re backed by the sciences.” As the young activist sees it, the years after the 2016 Paris Agreement were crucial for movement building. More people started realizing how dramatic the situation is and how little the German government is willing to change. “Angela Merkel failed us,” Neubauer said. “I mean, this woman is a physicist. If she doesn’t understand what’s happening to our planet, who does?”

On their website, Fridays for Future lists its demands, addressed to the German government: a coal phase-out by 2030, 100 percent renewable energies and net carbon neutrality by 2035. “Our only demand is basically that Germany keeps up with its own targets,” Neubauer said.

Her statement encapsulates the current state of the broader green movement: They politely ask the established parties to please stop killing the earth.

Even Extinction Rebellion, a protest movement many have deemed as “too radical,” tries to avoid proper confrontation in Germany. When activists blocked several traffic hubs in Berlin in October, most of them teamed up with the police to clear the streets peacefully. A few days later, XR activists visited the Green Party headquarters, urging the party to tell the “truth about the ecological catastrophe.” Habeck himself let the protesters inside the building. The party boss was smiling, the activists were singing. Everybody seemed pleased that nobody was made actually uncomfortable.

On our train ride from Cottbus to Berlin, Habeck told me that he and his coleader Annalena Baerbok “try not to speak of ‘we, the Green Party,’ but rather just ‘we,’ to address everyone within society.”

“Language does not represent something that would exist without it, but actively produces reality,” Habeck wrote in his 2018 book Wer wir sein könnten, “Who we could be.”

So far, Habeck’s plan to open his party to a broader votership through reconciliatory language and a green capitalist platform works. The matured Greens have never been stronger in their results and more optimistic in their appearance. They are, as Habeck said in a radio interview in August, “a quasi–ruling party in waiting.”

Was Habeck’s statement, two years before the next election, an accidental moment of arrogance, or was it simply a dry description of the Greens’ growing power? At the very least, it was a window into the party’s new mindset. The fact is that the Greens don’t act like the opposition party anymore. They want to be a party for everybody: leftists as well as conservatives, Friday for Future activists and CEOs, patriots and tech-liberals.

“Radical realism” has become a Green catchphrase—but this moderate approach seems less and less likely to save the environment the party holds so dear.

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The coming alliance of populists and greens

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The first photographs of our planet from the moon made it look as finite and delicate as a glass ball. The images are credited in some quarters for the battery of environmental laws that passed the US Congress after 1969. Another theory behind the shift in consciousness cites a spate of earthlier events in the same year: an oil spill near Santa Barbara, a river fire in Ohio.

Whatever the emotional prodding for the green reforms, we can at least be sure of their formal enacter. It was Richard Nixon who founded the Environmental Protection Agency. It was Nixon who signed the Ocean Dumping Act and the Endangered Species Act. Elected as a populist, he authorised a tremendous growth in federal power. And he did it for a cause that even then (the era of Greenpeace’s founding and the first Earth Day) had liberal connotations.

This was incongruous enough half a century ago. It is unthinkable now. On the face of it, populists and environmentalists are the two least reconcilable movements in world politics. One defines itself against transnational governance and the other counts on it to abate climate change. One electrifies the middle-aged and older while the other mobilises the young. The crossfire between US President Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg on Twitter last month captured the acrimony in miniature.

Such is the surface tension that we miss what unites the two sides. At the core of both movements is a mistrust of capitalism. For the populist, it undermines nationhood. For the green, it imperils all life. Their lines of approach are different, but both converge on a position that is recognisably Malthusian. Populists assume that immigrants leave less of the (presumably fixed) national wealth for native-born citizens. The greenest greens equate economic and even demographic growth with the depletion of the planet. There is a measure of hokum in each claim. But it is compatible hokum. Given time, the intellectual overlap might be the stuff of a political coalition.

We are said to have lived through a realignment in recent years, from left versus right to former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s glib but yet-to-be-bettered “open versus closed”. The sorting process is incomplete, though. Like citizens of a hastily partitioned country, there are people stranded on the wrong side of the new line.

Corporate Republicans swallow their qualms about Mr Trump’s tariffs for the sake of tax cuts. The Grand Old Party is still a union of the most pro-market people in America and the most nostalgic authoritarians. This is not — if Ms Thunberg will excuse the phrase — sustainable. Time is likely to bring about a more coherent delineation, between those who are at ease with modernity and those who would like to unwind it some. If so, populists and environmentalists could find themselves on the same side.

In France, some of the gilets jaunes, who once howled at fuel taxes, are marching with greens. In Britain, there is a fad for agricultural autarky among your dig-for-victory kind of Brexiter.

It is natural to see this romantic conservatism as an Old World thing. But it has been a part of American thought since Thomas Jefferson envisioned an agrarian republic. Woodrow Wilson, no less than Nixon, paired backward social views with an environmental conscience. The diaries of George Kennan, the great diplomat, and a conservative if not a Republican, teem with grumbles about minorities and modern women — but also about the motor car and the despoliation of nature. To equate American conservatism with the free market is to fall foul of recency bias. The movement predates Ronald Reagan.

“There is more to life than economic growth.” What stands out about this line, beyond its smarminess, is that it could come from a traditionalist as easily as from a young green. Because these tribes are so outwardly different, their collaboration seems fanciful. But then electoral coalitions are often jarring. Segregationist Southerners helped to vote through the New Deal. The GOP has long reconciled rich capitalists and workers who hate trade.

If anything, an alliance of greens and populists would be more coherent, at least in substance, and perhaps even in style. Both spit the word “liberal” (or “neoliberal”) as slander. Both have what we might delicately call an extra-parliamentary wing.

No one is suggesting eyeball-to-eyeball teamwork here. Mr Trump rallies and Extinction Rebellion marches will never blend. But each side can vote against the market without having much to do with the other. What they lack in fellow-feeling they can make up for in decisive numbers.

janan.ganesh@ft.com

Two extremes with a dark joint history / From Scott Dziengelski, Washington, DC, US

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Trump inspires a ‘green and brown coalition’ in the borderlands

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Border protestPeter Sloan / Southwest Environmental Center

More than 100 people showed up this week at a protest in Sunland Park to denounce existing and planned border walls and the bigger border security agenda emanating from the White House.

For borderlanders like Angelica Rubio, the U.S-Mexico border wall proposed by the Trump administration is a deeply personal affront.

Speaking in the shadows of a U.S. fence undergoing an upgrade that separates Sunland Park, N.M. from the Ciudad Juárez neighborhood of Anapra, as U.S. Border Patrol agents looked on, Rubio, a N.M. state representative, joined more than 100 people this week at a protest denouncing existing and planned border walls and the bigger border security agenda emanating from the White House.

A daughter of Mexican immigrants, Rubio told the crowd of protesters gathered in Sunland Park on a breezy, late summer evening how she grew up worrying about deportations. She criticized Trump administration plans to build a big borderland barrier, hire thousands of new Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and increase immigrant detention.

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“This is actually the first time I’ve been this close to the wall,” the Las Cruces lawmaker, a Democrat, said, breaking into tears. “Friends, we’re here tonight because there’s already a wall. We’re here because the wall is a symbol of hate.”

Viviana Arciniega also struck a personal note in her remarks at an event billed as a protest/community town hall. Telling the crowd she was brought to the U.S. by her Mexican parents when she was three years old, Arciniega recalled growing up surrounded by hard-working immigrants who toiled away in the economically important dairy, chile and onion farms of southern New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley, all with the purpose of making a better life for their children.

A beneficiary of the Obama Administration’s embattled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which grants temporary relief from deportation proceedings to certain minors who came to the U.S. without papers and allows them to obtain jobs and pursue educational careers, Ariciniega said she went to work after her father was severely injured in an auto accident.

But the possibility that the Trump administration could cancel DACA has profoundly alarmed the young New Mexican — and many others like her.

“Sadly, DACA is now in danger of being taken away from me and those children who only want a better future,” Arciniega said. “I feel very hopeless at this moment. I’m scared. Honestly, I’m horrified.”

A long controversy

The Monday action where Rubio and Arciniega shared their stories assembled people from different backgrounds who expressed varying reasons for opposing Washington’s current U.S.-Mexico border security strategy. It was organized by a diverse coalition of groups — the ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights, N.M. Comunidades en Acción y de Fe (NM CAFé), the Southwest Environmental Center and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.

“Take your wall and shove it,” “Defund Hate” and “Nos hablamos por la frontera” (“We speak for the border”) were among the visible messages written on protest signs, some of which were shaped like butterflies.

Billy Garrett, a Doña Ana County commissioner, portrayed an international swath of politically contentious geography as the “land of connections that unite us,” sprinkled with sky islands and carved out by the intersection of four major ecosystems — the Sonoran Desert, the Chihuahuan Desert, the southern Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madres.

Speaking to the group, Garrett contrasted the initial $1.6 billion border wall funding sought by the Trump administration with basic infrastructure, broadband and affordable housing deficits in Doña Ana County. Here, many underdeveloped rural communities, or colonias, are situated on the periphery of the City of Las Cruces and its twin, modernesque pillars of White Sands Missile Range and New Mexico State University.

“Those billions would be better spent on real needs,” Garrett said. “The cost to bring Doña Ana County up to standard is probably a billion dollars.”

Judy Ackerman of neighboring El Paso’s Frontera Land Alliance reminded demonstrators that controversy over the border wall didn’t begin with the Trump presidency.

Ackerman said she was arrested protesting the construction of an 18-foot fence at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park adjacent to the river in El Paso’s lower valley in December 2008. A 342-acre nature refuge owned by the City of El Paso and operated by the University of Texas El Paso, Rio Bosque is set amid a continuously growing binational metro area; the habitat is known to host more than 200 bird species plus mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The border fence cut off the wetlands from its mother river, according to the Rio Bosque website.

The Rio Bosque fencing, as well as the fencing that now snakes along a mesa above Sunland Park, was originally authorized by the U.S. Congress in 2006. During the Bush administration and into the Obama administration, nearly 600 miles of barriers were constructed along the Mexican border. Then, as now, immigrant advocates, border residents and environmentalists rallied against the project.

Opponents assert that border walls threaten wildlife and rare plants, slap a death sentence on desperate migrants forced into crossings in physically hostile environments, and more than symbolically divide two countries that are economically, culturally and historically linked in myriad ways.

new report from the intergovernmental International Organization for Migration (IOM) found that more than 1,000 migrants perished near the U.S.-Mexico border between 2014 and 2016. From Jan. 1 to July 31 of this year, 239 additional such deaths were registered, a 17 percent increase over the comparable period for 2016, even though U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions plunged by nearly half during this time, according to the IOM.

Mostly, the deaths have occurred in adverse desert terrain, especially in Arizona and Texas, and in the Rio Grande and connecting canals where deceptive looking waters conceal deadly currents.

According to the IOM:

“In 2017, 57 people have drowned in the border river, a 54 percent increase over the 37 recorded between 1 January and 31 July 2016. This is likely due to the fact that heavy rainfall in recent months has increased the depth and speed of the border river. Nonetheless, migrant deaths in the Río Grande seem to be on the rise in recent years, with 43 such deaths recorded in 2015, and 63 in 2016. However in the case of migration over any body of water, it is difficult to determine the true number of migrant fatalities.

There are few official sources on migrant fatalities on the US-Mexico border, and most of those which are available are only updated on an annual basis. The only sources of information on migrants who have gone missing in the Río Grande are often statements from survivors or family members. The true number of migrant fatalities in 2017 is likely to be higher than the available data indicate.”

In the El Paso sector, five people drowned in the Rio Grande in less than a week during a particularly fatal spell in July. And on Sunday afternoon, A U.S. Border Patrol agent rescued a man from a canal paralleling the river in downtown El Paso — but a second man could not be saved and a body suspected of being of the same individual was later recovered downstream, according to the El Paso Times.

Last February, then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly laid out in a memo the rationales and objectives of the new administration’s border wall and security policies. According to Kelly, the strategy is “designed to stem illegal immigration and facilitate the detection, apprehension, detention and removal of aliens who have no lawful basis to enter or remain in the United States.”

In an August visit to Yuma, Arizona, President Donald Trump credited an existing local wall for reducing the number of illegal crossings by 70 percent since its construction was approved in 2006. Trump has also justified his border wall strategy as a necessary tool for curbing the flow of illicit drugs from south of the border.

A grassroots coalition emerges

In many ways, Gabe Vasquez, southern New Mexico outreach coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, represents the rainbow of faces in a movement that’s emerged, or reemerged, in opposition to Trump administration border policies.

Another borderlander with roots on both sides of the international line, Vasquez elicited claps at Monday’s demonstration when he pointed out that the City of Sunland Park is seeking to build a border crossing — not a barrier — at the very spot where the protest was unfolding.

He later compared colonias near Las Cruces — where residents struggle with paperwork and lengthy, bureaucratic processes to get arsenic cleaned up from their water supplies — with the willingness of the Trump administration to shell out $25 billion for a “racist monument,” a reference to an estimate of how much it might cost to cover the entire length of the nearly 2,000-mile long U.S.-Mexico border with a wall.

In an interview, Vasquez gave varied reasons for opposing the border wall, including threats posed to animal populations like endangered Mexican pronghorn antelope, which would find it challenging to move back and forth across a blocked border in search of water and food, especially in bouts of drought. Confining species to a restricted habitat likewise jeopardizes genetic diversity, he said.

Vasquez said he supports the federal lawsuit opposing the border wall filed this year by the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity and Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva — though the New Mexico Wildlife Federation has not directly joined the litigation due to limited resources.

Asked about the diverse attendance at the Sunland Park border fence protest/town hall, Vasquez said Washington’s border policies are stirring a new convergence of forces — or a “green and brown coalition,” as he put it.

“The border is this kind of place for the synthesis of ideas. It’s about our culture, tradition and wildlife,” the Las Cruces-based activist said. “You have Texas and New Mexico getting together. You have immigration advocates and environmentalists coming together — I should say conservationists, because I consider myself a conservationist. It’s conserving our land, our culture and our way of life.”

The border wall and the Beltway

In a July vote of 235-192, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $827 billion national security spending package for next year that included $1.6 billion for the border wall.

According to a story published at thehill.com, border wall funding was slipped into the larger spending bill by a “procedural maneuver” of the Republican leadership that avoided an “up and down vote on it.” The Senate, where opposition to an expanded border wall is much stronger than in the House, now has until Sept. 30 act on the spending package.

Accordingly, organizers of the Sunland Park event asked attendees to sign postcards against Trump administration border policies that will be sent to members of the New Mexico congressional delegation.

As for President Trump’s recent statement about shutting down the federal government after Sept. 30 if Congress does not fund the border wall, a dispatch from the Reuters news agency observed that the threat “was a politically dangerous one before Hurricane Harvey tore through southern Texas over the weekend and it now looks even riskier.”

In response to reports that the Trump administration might be willing to trade preservation of the DACA program for the border wall, Vasquez flatly rejected such potential political horse trading. “Those kind of negotiations are toxic,” he said.

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Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left

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An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left

Originally posted on Ravings of a Radical Vagabond this is a comprehensive summary of Third Positionist fascist currents old and new, and the successful insertion of their ideas into leftist milieus and alternative media outlets.

This long post started as an investigation about the Left and Syria which I started after I read the Sol Process blog’s publication of three posts concerning shady pro-Assad sources used in leftist circles (which can be read here: part Ipart IIpart III), and which later expanded into a more extensive investigation. I also thank the acknowledgement of my blog post by Russia Without BS, whose blog was helpful in the initial stages of my research.

Note for safety purposes: this post will contain links to far-right pages for documentation and sourcing purposes, and any link to such a page will be in bold and italic, such as this.

On Some Obscure Strains Of Fascism

I will first provide some historical context by exploring the history of early alliances between revolutionaries and reactionaries and of some lesser known forms of fascism which, unlike the majority of Western fascists who supported the United States’ anti-Communism during the Cold War, instead actively supported and rallied around the Soviet Union.

The Feudal Socialists

Alliances between revolutionaries and reactionaries are by themselves nothing new, as already in the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx was criticizing the Feudal Socialists. Alliances between revolutionaries and reactionaries are by themselves nothing new: in 1848 Karl Marx was already criticizing the Feudal Socialists in the Communist Manifesto. The Feudal Socialists were members of the French and English aristocracies who had lost their privileges in the revolutions of 1830 and sought to restore the old aristocratic order by trying to appeal to the working class to attack the bourgeoisie: they presented themselves as protectors of the working class proclaiming that under their rule bourgeois exploitation did not yet exist while at the same time railing against the creation of a revolutionary proletariat which would undo the old order of society completely. The reactionary and aristocratic nature of their movements however meant that they never really gained any mass support. Those who adopted this strategy included a section of the Legitimists, the French royalists who sought a restoration of the Ancien Régime and supported the traditionalist House of Bourbon’s claim to the throne of France against the then ruling and more liberal House of Orléans.

The Maurrassians, the Sorelians and the Birth of Fascism

The Dreyfus Affair

The Dreyfus Affair was a crisis which erupted under the French Third Republic in 1894 when French army captain Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of allegedly handing over secret French military documents to the German army. Despite evidence exonerating Dreyfus, he was still arrested and court-martialed due to anti-Semitic prejudice against him. Dreyfus was not given a fair trial and was condemned to life imprisonment and dishonorably discharged, with anti-Semitic groups publicizing the affair and the public supporting the conviction.

Dreyfus’ family members were the only ones who kept on challenging the verdict and claim he was innocent until evidence surfaced that another army officer was the one who had given these documents to the German army, after which the pro-Dreyfus side gained increasing support and novelist Emile Zola wrote an open letter titled “J’Accuse!” (I Accuse!) which accused the government and the army of anti-Semitism and covering up the Dreyfus case, for which Zola was convicted of libel against the army and had to flee to England. His article had a profound impact and divided the France into two camps: the anti-Dreyfusards, comprising the Catholic Church, the army and the right wing who feared the reversal of the verdict would weaken the military establishment, and the Dreyfusards, made up of a coalition of moderate Republicans, Socialists and Radicals.

With the Dreyfusards gaining ground, a document implicating Dreyfus was revealed to be a forgery and Major Hubert-Joseph Henry confessed fabricating it. However the anti-Dreyfusards became a threat to the Republic and the Republican parties formed a coalition and a left-wing cabinet was set up to defend the Republic.

When Dreyfus was found guilty again in 1899, a year after the reopening of the case, the French President instead decided to pardon him, and Dreyfus was eventually freed and exonerated.

The Action Française and Charles Maurras

Among the most extreme nationalist movements of the late 19th century was the Action Française, founded in 1899 as part of the anti-Dreyfusard nationalist reaction, and which became dominated soon after by Charles Maurras, under whom it became a far-right neo-monarchist organization. Action Française combined support of an Orléanais monarchy based on legitimist principles and corporate representation under a neo-traditionalist state with a radical nationalism into an authoritarian, exclusionary and intolerant a ideology called “integral nationalism” conceptualizing the nation as an “organic whole” with the monarch as its head. Despite Maurras’ own agnosticism and interest in spiritualism and magic rather than Christianity, Action Française saw religion as a force of order and supported nationalism, tradition and religion, drawing its support from the Catholic public. According to Maurras’ and Action Française‘s vitriolic intolerant ideology, minorities labelled as the four “States within the State” – Jews, Freemasons, Protestants and Metics – were taking over society by secretly helping each other to positions of power. Action Française acquired a prominent position within the early 20th century nationalist movement in France through a cultivation of style and aesthetics and through an elitist yet at the same time most vitriolic propaganda. The activists of Action Française, Les Camelots du Roi (the Streethawkers of the King), sold its publications and engaged in street fights against leftists and liberals, and though it has been called the first pre-fascist “shirt movement” of radical nationalism, its upper-class elitist nature means it never sought to properly become an organized party or develop a militia. The Action Française was so extreme that the pretender to the throne rejected it and the Papacy later excommunicated Maurras in 1927.

With the outbreak of massive strikes in 1906 following the Courrières mining disaster where French 1109 coal miners died in a coal dust explosion, Action Française started involving itself in social issues by forging links with trade unions and cooperating with syndicalists against the Republic. Maurras proclaimed that the solution to the inevitability of class struggle in democracy was the installation of an authoritarian class collaborationist monarchy, and between 1906 and the outbreak of the First World War, Action Française collaborated with various syndicalist movements.

Georges Sorel and the Cercle Proudhon

Among Maurras’ collaborators was Georges Sorel, who started as an orthodox Marxist in the early 1890s and supported the Dreyfusard camp due to his conviction that socialism was a moral issue, although he later became disillusioned by how the politicians on the Left exploited the affair to join the parliamentary system and access the privileges of bourgeois institutions. Sorel’s belief of socialism being an ethical issue led him to later go through a process of significant revision of Marxism after supporting Eduard Bernstein’s revisionism against Karl Kautsky. Embracing accelerationism with the hope that the development of capitalism would modernize society and encourage class consciousness, Sorel rejected materialism as well as liberal democracy and political liberalism in favor of direct action, saw violence as an end in itself and considered that society needed to be saved and regenerated from what he considered as “humanity’s tendency to slide towards decadence”. Consistent to Sorel’s thought, however, was a rejection of bourgeois society and its values of rationalism, the Enlightenment and intellectualism and an embrace of pessimism and a cult of heroic ages and values, and his theory of myths, according to which the masses need myths to mobilize, and Sorel embraced philosopher Henri Bergson’s rejection of rationalism in favor of intuition. By the end of this process of revisionism, Sorel had become a revolutionary syndicalist for whom the “myth” of the general strike would mobilize the proletarian to act against the French Third Republic and its bourgeois system.

With the decline of strike activity in 1909 and disappointed by the push for reforms rather than revolution by the Confédération Générale du Travail, however, Sorel abandoned socialism and in 1914 he declared that “socialism is dead”. After Sorel read the second edition of the Maurras’ book Enquête Sur La Monarchie (Investigations on Monarchy) where Sorel was positively mentioned, a collaboration started between him and Maurras’ Action Française with the aim of overthrowing the bourgeois French Third Republic.

Following the failure of a common project between Sorel, his disciple Édouard Berth and the Action Française‘s Georges Valois of a national-socialist journal called La Cité Française, Valois and Berth founded a National Syndicalist political group called the Cercle Proudhon (Proudhon Circle) while Sorel, whom the group claimed as its mentor, refused to participate in the Cercle due to his own apprehensions towards the Maurrassians, and instead founded his own anti-Semitic and nationalist journal, L’Indépendance. Sorel however became dissatisfied with nationalism, left L’Indépendance in 1913 and opposed the union sacrée and the entry of France in the First World War in 1914 before later praising Lenin after the Russian Revolution in 1917.

The common theme uniting the Sorelians and the Maurrassians was their opposition to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and the aim of the Cercle was to provide a common platform for nationalists and leftist anti-democrats. The Cercle Proudhon had a particular interpretation of the works of Anarchist theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, largely due to his influence on syndicalism, but also because Action Française itself was attracted to his anti-Semitism and support for the traditional patriarchal family, and their own reinterpretation of his opposition to bourgeois democracy, even though Proudhon himself was not a fascist or a proto-fascist. Out of the Cercle ProudhonGeorges Valois formed the Faisceau, the first French fascist party

The Sorelians and the Italian Fascists

At the same time that Sorel was preparing to launch La Cité Française, one his Sorel’s disciples in Italy was Arturo Labriola, who was also one of the main theoreticians of revolutionary syndicalism in Italy and in 1902 had started the publication of a revolutionary syndicalist called Avanguardia Socialista, to which contributed Sergio Panunzio, who later became one of the main theoreticians of Italian fascism. Around that time, the revolutionary syndicalists had left the Socialist Party in 1907 and the main socialist trade union, the CGL, in 1909, and founded their own Unione Sindicale Italiana (USI), becoming more heterodox in the process. Labriola developed his own theory of a “proletarian nation” according to which Italy was an exploited nation and revolutionary transformation concerned all of society instead of class alone. Among the other syndicalist leaders, Panunzio stressed the importance of violence, Robert Michels elaborated on mass mobilization and the need of new elites, and Labriola developed corporatist economic theories. These revolutionary syndicalists had an interpretation of Marxism whereby they advocated for developing Italian capitalism as a prerequisite for a revolutionary movement and were in favor of cross-class collaboration with the farmers and the workers and supported “proletarian nationalism” and Italian expansionism. In 1910, the journal La Lupa was founded by revolutionary syndicalist Paolo Orano and, like the Cercle Proudhon, united syndicalist leaders such as Orano, Labriola, Angelo Oliviero Olivetti and Michels, and nationalists around Enrico Corradini.

Some of Sorel’s Italian disciples even left the Socialist Party to join Italian nationalist Enrico Corradini, who in 1910 founded the Italian Nationalist Association. The Italian Nationalist Association itself was an upper class and elitist organization though, based on the suggestions of the syndicalists close to him, Corradini described Italy as an exploited “proletarian nation” which had to undergo a class collaborationist national revolution which would modernize and strengthen Italy and turn it into a militarist and imperialist power. This process transformed many revolutionary syndicalists into nationalist syndicalists, and many syndicalists and nationalists supported Italy’s 1911 war against the Ottoman Empire and its subsequent occupation of Libya. By 1914, the revolutionary syndicalists had significantly revised Marxism and some of its leaders became nationalists who supported Italy’s entry in the First World War on the side of the Entente, thus becoming national syndicalists who later counted among the founders of the Italian fascist movement and members of the regime of Mussolini.

The USI itself adopted a neutral stance during the war, and its interventionist national syndicalist wing was put in minority position and subsequently expelled; one of the expelled members, Alceste De Ambris, together with Angelo Oliviero Olivetti co-founded the Revolutionary Fasci of Internationalist Action, which called on Italian workers to support Italian intervention in the war. The next month Benito Mussolini, himself a former syndicalist who had read Sorel before later becoming an anti-Communist nationalist, founded the Autonomous Fasci of Revolutionary Action and started his own publication funded by pro-interventionist business interests, Il Popolo d’Italia (The People of Italy) after his expulsion from the Socialist Party for his support of Italian intervention in the war. Olivetti’s fascio merged with Mussolini’s to form the Fasci of Revolutionary Action in December 1914, whose purpose was to mobilize the masses into supporting the war, and in 1915 Il Popolo d’Italia first referred to it as the “fascist movement”. De Ambris became one of the founders in 1918 of the Unione Italiana del Lavoro, a national syndicalist union formed out of the interventionist wing expelled from the USI, and he co-authored the Fascist Manifesto in 1919 before later becoming an opponent of fascism and Mussolini and joining the anti-fascist Arditi del PopoloMichele Bianchi, a former revolutionary syndicalist turned national syndicalist who had helped De Ambris found the Unione Italiana del Lavoro, later joined Mussolini and helped him found the Italian Fasci of Combat and the Fascist Party, of which he became the first secretary general, and was one of the leaders of Mussolini’s March on Rome. Sergio Panunzio joined Mussolini’s first fascio, and Paolo Orano and Robert Michels later joined the Fascist Party. The Italian Nationalist Association also later merged into Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party and many of its members became important figures of his regime, and within it formed part of the “Fascist Right” faction opposed to the national syndicalist “Fascist Left” faction led by Olivetti, Panunzio and Bianchi.

The Conservative Revolution

In a similar vein as Maurras’ Action Française arose a movement known as the Conservative Revolution as part of the reaction against the Enlightenment. The Conservative Revolution traces its origin to Counter-Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his disciples in Germany, who combined cultural criticism and anti-rationalism, and to the denunciation of liberalism and rationalism as “un-German” by nationalists like Johann Fichte and Ernst Arndt. The Conservative Revolution developed in the backdrop of the drastic transformations Germany was experiencing in the 19th century, with Otto von Bismarck’s Unification of Germany and his establishment of a semi-authoritarian system with a weak parliament, with urbanization and the rise of class antagonisms and decline in Christian faith and specifically German culture accompanying the industrialization of Germany, and with Bismarck’s persecution of socialists and Catholics, which resulted in Germans blaming the parliamentary system and its parties for these conflicts, and the spread of the wish for the rise a Caesarist a national hero who would unify German society.

The Conservative Revolutionaries attacked materialist capitalist society, castigated the press, the political parties and the new political elites, and railed against the “spiritual emptiness of life” and the “decline of intellect and virtue” of urban and commercial mass society while at the same time romanticizing earlier rural communities of kings and peasants. Unlike the traditional conservatives who sought to preserve and restore the old order, the Conservative Revolutionaries combined conservatism with revolutionary ideas and sought to break away from the present they lived in to create a future society based on a past they idealized. The Conservative Revolution was a reactionary revolt against modernity and liberal, industrial society and, while it was anti-socialist and anti-Communist, its main target was liberalism, which its ideologues held as alien to German society and equated with secularism, rationalism and humanism, exploitative capitalist society and embourgeoisement, and on which it blamed all the ills of Western society. In contrast to this, the Conservative Revolutionaries posed as defenders of national redemption, supported a return to folk-community and glorified violence in their quest for national heroism.

The Conservative Revolutionaries initially welcomed the outbreak of the First World War, which they saw as a promising break with the past. Having supported the struggle against the West, which they saw as antithetical to Germany, the Conservative Revolutionaries reviled the liberal capitalist Weimar Republic, which represented everything they opposed, and it was precisely under Weimar Germany that they came to prominence. Though the older generations of the Conservative Revolution had sought to accommodate themselves to the Republic, its younger members who had experienced the war insisted it should be replaced by a dictatorship and either worked with the German far-right seeking to overthrow it or stayed out of the political arena to delegitimize it.

The main figure of the Conservative Revolution in Weimar Germany was Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, according to whom the world consisted of old and young nations, with Fate supporting the young over the old, and whereby he rationalized Germany’s defeat in the Great War by claiming that old Britain and France had co-opted the young and gullible United States. Therefore, for him, the future of Germany was eastwards, between the liberal West and collectivist Russia. Germany’s defeat and the German Revolution in which the German Empire was overthrown and replaced by the Weimar Republic gave rise to a sense of alienation and dissatisfaction among the middle classes and former officers among whom Moeller found his audience, and he subsequently animated the June Club, which was founded in 1919 and was based on national socialist and corporatist premises in addition to a strong anti-Westernism which became more pronounced after the Treaty of Versailles (the Club itself was named for the month the treaty was signed). The June Club was of considerable influence within conservative circles, and its meetings were occasionally attended by the future chancellor Heinrich Brüning and the future member of the Nazi party Otto Strasser, and in 1922 Hitler addressed one of Moeller’s seminars, though Moeller later described Hitler as “wrecked by his proletarian primitivism” after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch. The Club published a journal called Gewissen (Conscience) which lamented the decline of Germany, showed concern for the German diaspora, criticized party politics and advocated for replacing the Republic by a dictatorship. The most influential of Moeller’s publications was Das Dritte Reich (The Third Reich), published in 1922 and in which Moeller summarized the resentments and aspirations of the Conservative Revolutionaries and laid down the vision of a conservative revolution which would establish a system of nationalist “socialism” uniting the classes in Germany into state he called the Third Reich, which constituted one of the most powerful anti-Republican ideas under the Weimar Republic. Moeller however had a nervous breakdown and committed suicide in 1925. Moeller’s myth of the Third Reich was appropriated by the Nazis though they later repudiated him in 1933 and denied he had had any influence on them, largely because Moeller himself was not an anti-Semite.

Oswald Spengler was another major figure of the Conservative Revolution. An opponent of liberal democracy, which he considered a “foreign concept” imported from England, he first published his magnum opus, The Decline of the West, in 1918 where he laid down his deterministic understanding of history according to which cultures develop like organisms which grow, develop, age and die, with their final stage of decline and death being when they become “civilizations”. According to his thesis, the transition from a “culture” to a “civilization” was marked by the appearance of rationalists such as Rousseau, Socrates and the Buddha, the decline of the culture-bearing elites and their replacement by the bourgeoisie, and accompanied itself by mass democracy, wars, expansionism and Caesarism: authoritarian rulers like Caesar or Augustus. For Spengler, the 19th and 20th centuries were when Europe declined from a “culture” into a “civilization”, with Napoleon being an equivalent of Alexander the Great who foreshadowed the age of Caesarism. The Decline of the West was a best-seller, largely because it comforted Germans by rationalizing the hardships of Germany as part of larger historical processes, though Moeller criticized it by claiming that, while Spengler had rightly predicted the decline of the West, Germany’s defeat had instead restored the promise of vitality. The next year Spengler published Prussianism and Socialism with the aim of uniting German socialists and conservatives against the Weimar Republic, and in which he rejected Marxism as an “English ideology” and instead asserted a corporatist, nationalist and militarist “socialism” under the authority of a monarchical and authoritarian Prussian state inspired by the “Soldier King” Frederick William I of Prussia. Spengler, who had initially voted for Hitler, faced isolation under the Nazi regime for his rejection of anti-Semitism and of racialist theories (Spengler instead adhered to a form of spiritual racism) and his criticisms of the Nazis.

Another prominent member of the Conservative Revolution was Karl Haushofer, one of the leading theoreticians of “geopolitics”, a theory of international relations developed by Friedrich Ratzel and Halford Mackinder, and which conceived relations between states in terms of social Darwinist competition according to which whoever controlled the area dominated by the Russian Empire would be the major world power. Haushofer had been a military attaché to Japan following the latter’s victory against the Russian Empire in 1905, a victory which inspired anti-colonial nationalists around the world and led to the Russian Revolution of 1905 which was itself a prelude to the Revolution of 1917. After serving in the German Army in the First World War, Haushofer became an advocate of an alliance between Germany and Russia, and eventually with China and Japan. Unlike the Nazis who prefered Western colonialism and white supremacist domination of the Third World, Haushofer instead advocated for German support for anti-colonial struggles against the British and French Empires. Haushofer however exerted influence on the Nazi party, especially through his pupil Rudolf Hess, and Hitler absorbed the concept of Lebensraum from Haushofer. Karl Haushofer eventually became disillusioned with the Nazi regime and his son Albrecht was involved in the German resistance and participated in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944.

Other figures of the Conservative Revolution included Carl Schmitt, who rejected parliamentary democracy, elaborated legal theories resting on the idea that modern societies needed a “total state” to function and identified politics as the distinction between a “friend” and an “enemy”, and Ernst Jung, who supported a fascist version of the Conservative Revolution envisioning an “organic German nation”.

Shortly before Moeller’s suicide, June Club itself was dissolved and transformed into the more aristocratic Herrenklub (which Moeller had refused to join), which sponsored a journal called Der Ring, the direct successor of the then defunct Gewissen. The Conservative Revolutionaries’ influence was initially limited mostly to sections of the Republic’s institutions such as former members of the German Youth Movement (which was itself part of the Conservative Revolution) who had joined the civil service and the government in large numbers. These ideas also became widespread within the Reichswehr, the newly formed army of Weimar Republic, under the leadership of the chief of staff and later commander in chief Hans von Seeckt who was himself close to Conservative Revolutionary ideas, and which many former Freikorps members who shared ideas similar to those of the Conservative Revolutionaries joined. However, with the Great Depression, their ideas gained traction within German society and Der Ring hailed the undermining of the parliament by the succeeding Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen (who had himself been a member of the Herrenklub and whose presidential cabinet was hailed as the culmination of the Conservative Revolution by Der Ring) and Kurt von Schleicher.

The Conservative Revolution itself was ambivalent towards the Nazis in that, while its members supported many aspects of Nazi ideology and welcomed its rise, they were elitists with a contempt for the masses reserving their ideas to an esoteric minority circle, and therefore saw themselves as paving the way for the creation of a “new Germany” in which they did not see a role for the Nazis, which they considered a vulgar mass movement and disliked those who joined it. Unlike the Nazis, the Conservative Revolutionaries expressed support for an alliance with the Soviet Union based on their own idea of a romantic and anti-capitalist “German socialism” (unlike Soviet socialism where the proletariat is the revolutionary element, their “German socialism” considered the “deeply revolutionary Völk” as its base), did not write about biological racism, and eschewed the use of the Republic’s institutions to obtain power. During the last days of the Weimar Republic, this ambivalence manifested itself in how they were were torn between opposing the Nazis, which meant supporting the Republic they despised, or siding against the Republic by supporting the Nazis, with whom they still had their differences despite shared similarities: while they welcomed the rise of the Nazis due to their shared reactionary ideals, they disliked the mass character of the Nazi movement

The attacks by the Conservative Revolutionaries on the Weimar Republic and its culture along with their spread of Caesarism and of a “sentimental brutality” shaped the mental and ideological climate that set the stage for the Nazis by making the German middle classes more receptive to Nazi ideology and paved the way for their rise: the Nazis gathered the millions of malcontents about whom the Conservative Revolutionaries had spoken and for whom they elaborated dangerous and elusive ideas. Many Conservative Revolutionaries welcomed Hitler’s rise as the way to fulfill their goal, and Der Ring supported Hitler’s Third Reich by identifying it with Moeller’s. Some Conservative Revolutionaries joined the Nazis, the most prominent example being Carl Schmitt, who went on to join the Nazi party in 1933 and become the “crown jurist” of the Nazi regime, writing the legal justification for Hitler’s massacre of the Nazi party’s Strasserist wing in the Night of the Long Knives, and later formulating the concept of Grossraum, which denotes an area dominated by a power representing a specific “political idea”, inspired by the American Monroe doctrine and based on international law to justify Hitler’s expansionism. Jung became an opponent of the Nazi regime and was murdered during the Night of the Long Knives, while other Conservative Revolutionaries opposed to the Nazis went into exile and some Conservative Revolutionaries participated in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944.

German National Bolshevism

Laufenberg and Wolffheim

The very first National-Bolsheviks were Heinrich Laufenberg, a former member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) who had been President of the Council of the Workers and Soldiers in Hamburg during the German Revolution, and Fritz Wolffheim, an ex-member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) who was then living in Hamburg, and who were both leaders of the Hamburg branch of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during the 1910s. In 1919 they submitted to Karl Radek their policy of having the working class ally with the bourgeoisie into a nationalist dictatorship of the proletariat which would fight a national liberation war (a position which would strangely be adopted by various Marxist-Leninist and Maoist groups in the late 20th century) against the Entente powers occupying Germany following WWI. Laufenberg’s and Wolffheim’s proposal was rejected by Radek and labelled as an absurdity by Vladimir Lenin himself, and they were soon expelled from the KPD. Laufenberg and Wolffheim later helped the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD), but were soon expelled from it as well because of their National Bolshevism, their expulsion being Radek’s condition for admitting the KAPD to the Third Congress of the Comintern.

The Treaty of Rapallo

Following Germany’s defeat in the First World War, the Weimar Republic sought to circumvent the limitations on the Reichswehr imposed by the Treaty of Versailles through secret military collaboration whereby illegal and secret far-right German paramilitaries of the Schwarze Reichswehr, underground formations of the Reichswehr which included Freikorps, were permitted to train in Soviet territory and provide training for the newly created Red Army. This cooperation was formalized by the Treaty of Rapallo of 1922 and the secret Soviet-German Military Pactproposed by the Reichswehr‘s Hans von Seeckt and supported by the Reichswehr‘s conservative Prussian military elite, for whom the national interests of Russia and Germany were compatible despite their ideological differences, and the Reichsbank‘s president Hjalmar Schacht negotiated for Germany to give credits to the Soviet Union while German firms were allowed to establish factories for the production of war equipment in Soviet territory.

The start of the Occupation of the Ruhr by France and Belgium in 1923, meant to force Germany to continue paying war reparations, however threatened this cooperation and resulted in rising nationalism in Germany, especially among the working class, and the Comintern subsequently pushed for cooperation between the Communists and the ultra-nationalists. In June 1923 Radek gave a speech to the Enlarged Executive Committee of the Comintern praising Leo Schlageter, a far-right Freikorps member who together with his unit joined the NSDAP in 1921 and engaged in sabotage against the French forces occupying the Ruhr before being executed by them in May 1923. This was a followed by a period of cooperation between the KPD and the Nazis against the Versailles Treaty during which KPD member Ruth Fischer infamously attacked “Jewish capital” in an attempt to appeal to Nazi students, and the KPD’s newspaper reprinted articles by members of the German far-right such as Arthur Moeller van den Bruck even as its rank and file members were fighting against fascists on the streets.

This second National-Bolshevik wave died off during the period of growth Germany experienced from the mid- to late-1920s, though following the Comintern’s “social fascism” turn (itself partly a reaction to the SPD using Freikorps units to crush the Spartacist uprising, during which revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered) the KPD cooperated again with the NSDAP in an attempt to bring down the Social Democratic Party-led government of Prussia in 1931, again with opposition from its rank and file base and again with support from the Comintern, which wished to end diplomatic talks between France and Germany. The next year, the KPD participated in a failed strike together with the NSDAP, while again rank and file Communists instead engaged in street battles against Nazi Brownshirts, and which were damaging to the KPD by revealing its poor organizing skills and lack of workplace support and making it appear confused while helping Nazi propaganda by giving credence to NSDAP claims of being a worker friendly party without harming the Nazis’ relationship with the industrialists. This strategy, also based on the flawed accelerationist idea that the fascists’ policies would lead to a proletarian revolution and summed by then leader of the KPD Ernst Thälmann’s slogan “After Hitler, Our Turn!”, actively helped the rise of the Nazis, and the KPD refused to form a United Front with the SPD and preferred directing its attacks against the social demorats even after the Nazis seized power and unleashed their violence on the German Left.

Ernst Niekisch

The third period of National-Bolshevism came with Ernst Niekisch, a member of the SPD who had participated in the foundation of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and was chairman of its Central Council. Niekisch was later expelled from the SPD for his extreme nationalism, after which he joined the Old Social Democratic Party of Germany, which he pushed towards a more nationalist direction and called for a “Prussian-Slavonic bloc” from Vlissingen to Vladivostok, and became involved with the Conservative Revolution, though he never adhered to the “Prussian socialism” of the Conservative Revolutionaries and maintained his original Communist outlook. Niekisch saw the Russian Revolution as a national form of class struggle, advocated for a nationalist form of Communism and together with Conservative Revolutionary Ernst Jünger he joined the Consortium for the Study of Soviet Planned Economy (ARPLAN), which aimed to establish cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union, and which he saw as the only way of opposing the Treaty of Versailles. Niekisch was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Nazi regime in 1934 and was released after the Second World War, becoming an orthodox Marxist and moving to West Germany following the suppression of the 1953 workers uprising by the German Democratic Republic with Soviet support. Among those influenced by Niekisch was Otto Paetel, who formed the Group of Social Revolutionary Nationalists, which opposed the Versailles Treaty, supported close cooperation with the Soviet Union and saw anti-capitalism as the means to free Germany from Western occupation. Unlike Niekisch, who was staunchly anti-Nazi, Paetel attempted to work with the Hitler Youth and many members of his organization also belonged to the “left wing” of the Nazi party of Gregor and Otto Strasser.

The Brownshirts and the Strasserists

Following the Nazis’ seizure of power in 1933, many Communists from the KPD defected to the Nazis, being derisively labeled as “Beefsteak Nazis”- Nazis who were “Brown on the outside and Red on the inside”. These former Communists joined and had a significant presence in the Sturmabteilung (abbreviated as the SA, also known as the Brownshirts and the Stormtroopers), the Nazi paramilitaries led by Ernst Röhm.

Ernst Röhm

Ernst Röhm was a veteran of the First World War, and an officer in the Imperial German Army and the Reichswehr who served in the Freikorps which destroyed the socialist Bavarian Soviet Republic. In 1919, he joined the recently formed German Workers’ Party, which became the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the NSDAP, or the Nazi party) the next year, and Röhm soon became a close friend and ally of Hitler and helped him found the Sturmabteilung. In 1923 he participated in the Beer Hall Putsch, and after the failure of the coup he was tried and found guilty of high treason and discharged from the Reichswehr before spending two years as military advisor in Bolivia. Röhm was recalled back to Germany by Hitler after the latter’s electoral success in 1930 to take command of the SA. Röhm drastically expanded the SA and turned them into a paramilitary force which helped Hitler’s to power between 1930 and 1933 by fighting against Communists, engaging in racist and especially anti-Semitic violence, and intimidating opposition to the Nazis.

Röhm and the SA belonged to a left-wing section of the Nazi party adhering to a “socialist” form of Nazism advocating for the overthrow of the German upper classes, nationalizations, and programs to support the petite bourgeoisie which was still anti-Semitic and anti-Communist, and Röhm saw the Brownshirts as the core of the “revolution” envisaged by this wing of the Nazi party. Following Hitler’s seizure of power, Röhm began agitating for a fascist “revolution” and calling for the the formation of a “people’s army” by merging the Reichswehr into the much larger SA, which terrified the army, the Junker landowners and the industrialists whose support Hitler needed to secure his power and for his plans to rearm Germany. Hitler himself had considered the socialist slogans as merely propaganda to attract the masses and regarded the SA as a force whose purpose was to provide the violence needed to propel the Nazi party into power which had become expendable, and when the agitation of the SA dissatisfied with Hitler’s alliance with the German capitalists began threatening his goal of succeeding President Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler had Röhm killed and the SA leadership purged in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives, encouraged by Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring, who were Röhm’s enemies within the NSDAP. This was interpreted as a positive event by the KPD who tried appealing to SA members.

Gregor and Otto Strasser

Strasserism was a form of National-Socialism advocated by the brothers Gregor and Otto Strasser, both German veterans of the First World War who later served in the Freikorps which destroyed the Bavarian Soviet Republic. Gregor took part in the Kapp Putsch of 1920 which attempted to overthrow the Weimar Republic and replace it with a reactionary authoritarian state while Otto joined the Social Democratic Party and opposed the coup. Both Gregor and Otto later joined Hitler’s Nazi party, Gregor joining the SA and expanding the Nazi party in Bavaria taking part in the Beer Hall Putsch, following which he was imprisoned for a few weeks until his election to the Bavarian Landtag allowed him to be freed, and after Hitler was released from jail and the ban on the NSDAP was lifted in 1925 he organized and expanded the Nazi party in northern Germany while Hitler was banned from speaking publicly. Otto, who had been a friend of Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in the early days of the June Club, was allegedly the one who had introduced the idea of the Third Reich to the Nazis.

The Strasser brothers led a left-wing faction of the Nazi party adhering to a Völkisch and anti-Marxist form of “socialism” which advocated for nationalizations and a mass action, worker-based and anti-capitalist while still extremely anti-Semitic and anti-Communist form of Nazism, with Otto interpreting Stalinism as a Russian form of National-Socialism and advocating for cooperation with the Soviet Union and with the anti-imperialist peoples of the East such as China and India against the “declining” West. The Strasser brothers opposed Hitler’s alliance with industrialists, and this as well as rivalry between Gregor Strasser and Hitler led to clashes between them, and Otto was expelled from the Nazi party in 1930 and formed the Black Front before later going in exile and later returning to West Germany after the Second World War, where he remained active among neo-fascists. In 1930 Hitler removed Gregor from his position as head of the NDSAP’s propaganda which he had occupied since 1926, and gave his position to Goebbels. After Gregor was proposed the post of Vice-Chancellor in 1932, the rift between Strasser and Hitler increased, and Strasser resigned at the end of the year and retired from politics. Gregor Strasser was later arrested and killed and his faction of the Nazi party was purged during the Night of the Long Knives.

Francis Parker Yockey

As Anarchist researcher Kevin Coogan details in his book, Francis Parker Yockey was born in Chicago, Illinois in the United States, where he briefly flirted with Marxism in his youth before soon abandoning it for fascism. After reading Oswald Spengler and meeting Carl Schmitt, Yockey came under the influence of the Conservative Revolutionaries, including Haushofer, and was influenced by their ideas on cultural elites and geopolitics, their support of an alliance between Germany and the Soviet Union and their advocacy of German support for anti-colonial struggles.

Yockey would later associate with fascists during the Interwar period and during the Second World War including Charles Coughlin, the German-American Bund, the National German-American Alliance, the Silver Shirts, the America First Movement, among others. During WWII, Yockey would enlist in the US army despite opposing the entry of the US in the war, disappearing for two months after pro-Nazi saboteurs with ties to his family were arrested by the FBI (the FBI suspected Yockey himself was on an espionage mission for Nazis in Mexico) before returning and being honorably discharged after a mental breakdown in 1943. Yockey soon applied for a post at the Office for Strategic Services but was refused a job there because of his Nazi sympathies.

The defeat of the Nazi regime did not weaken Yockey’s commitment to fascism and he instead became more active in pro-fascist activity, becoming dedicated solely to reviving fascism. However many of these groups were anti-Communist and therefore would refuse to work with Yockey, with George Lincoln Rockwell of the American Nazi Party and his allies spurning Yockey and calling him a “neo-Strasserist” due to the idea of an alliance between the Left and the Right and working with anti-Zionist Communists being central to Yockey’s ideas.

In 1946 Yockey obtained a position in the US War Department as attorney for the Nuremberg Trials, undoubtedly to help some of the Nazi war criminals being tried. In Germany Yockey would spend his time forming ties with German fascists operating underground against the Allies and agitating against the US occupation of Germany and against what he perceived to be the “biased procedures” of the trials, causing him to be fired from his position the next year.

Following this he fled to a small village in Ireland where he wrote his heavily Spengler-influenced book Imperium with the aim of reviving fascism. In Imperium he rejects the biological racism of the Nazis and opts for a cultural racism instead, though he still defended the Nazis by denying the Holocaust in his book (while privately acknowlegding the existence of the Holocaust and praising the Nazis’ atrocities) which he dedicated to Hitler, being one of the very first Holocaust deniers ever, and considered the rise of the Nazi regime as an “European revolution”. Yockey, like Spengler, was opposed to parliamentarism and other models derived from the French Revolution, but unlike Spengler who did not stress anti-Semitism, Yockey himself was an avowed anti-Semite, and the crux of the ideology laid out by his book was that Europe was being eroded by liberalism, which he saw as a “Jewish plot to undermine European culture”, and was occupied by the United States and the Soviet Union, and that therefore Europe had to eschew nationalism and nation-states to instead unite into a fascist superstate which would “rejuvenate European culture” and be capable of opposing the two superpowers of the Cold War. This idea of a superstate was influenced by Carl Schmitt’s concept of the Grossraum.

Shortly after writing Imperium, Yockey lived in London, UK, where he worked for a short time for the European contact section of fascist Oswald Mosley‘s Union Movement, allowing him to form ties with an underground fascist network throughout Europe, including Alfred Franke-Gricksch, a former SS official and the leader of the neo-Nazi Bruderschaft organization. Following Yockey’s falling out with Mosley, he formed with the support of baroness Alice von Pflugl and the help of former Mosleyites the European Liberation Front, whose aim was to “liberate” Europe from the US and the USSR.

Yockey’s perception of the United States was itself negative in that he considered it to be little more than a “bastardized colony of Europe which had devolved from the influence of non-European minorities” and had “come under Jewish control”, and he therefore considered the impact of American capitalism as more destructive than Soviet repression for European culture and thus considered Soviet control as preferable to American domination of Europe. Hence he urged fascists to not collaborate with American anti-Communism during the Cold War and unlike most fascists who collaborated with US intelligence during the Cold War, Yockey’s European Liberation Front instead remained neutral and had a pan-European approach of geopolitics, with Yockey praising Soviet policy in Germany and seeking to secretly organize neo-Nazis in West Germany who would then collaborate with the Soviet military against American occupation. His aim was of course to form the European fascist superstate whose designs he laid out in Imperium.

Having lost his political ties in the United Kingdom, Yockey instead entered West Germany clandestinely, with army documents stating Yockey was “promoting a National Bolshevist movement” and contacting ex-Wehrmacht and ex-Nazi officers, among whom the Socialist Reich Party, a Strasserist party whose founder the ex-Wehrmacht member Otto Ernst Remer praised Imperium. Remer attacked Konrad Adenauer as an American puppet, denied the Holocaust and dismissed the Nazi regime’s atrocities as “Allied propaganda”, and agitated against the Allied occupation of West Germany while never criticizing East Germany and the Soviet Union, instead saying that he would “show the Russians all the way to the Rhine” should a conflict erupt between the US and the USSR, with Remer’s SRP receiving funding from the Soviets in the early 50s, something the Communist Party of Germany with which the SRP temporarily worked against Adenauer did not receive.

Yockey then traveled around Europe, distributing copies of his book to prominent neo-fascists, including French fascist Maurice Bardèche (himself one of the very first post-war Holocaust deniers like Yockey) and Julius Evola.

In Europe, Yockey participated in a conference by the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), Europe’s first neo-fascist party founded by veterans of Mussolini Italian Social Republic, which was also attempting to form fascist networks. The conference amounted to little due to the aims of the various fascist groups involved present being at odds with each other and with internal strife within the MSI itself over whether to adopt an “Atlanticist” strategy and align with NATO and the West or a pan-European “Third Position” strategy opposed to both the Americans and the Soviets, with the anti-Communist MSI eventually allying with NATO and the US who were more concerned with opposing the Italian Communist Party instead of punishing fascists in these early days of the Cold War. Yockey’s advocacy of allying with the Soviet Union did not find very receptive audiences among these fascists, with many pan-European fascists including Julius Evola, who had erstwhile praised Yockey’s book, being skeptical his ideas.

Returning to the USA, Yockey worked with infamous anti-Communist US senator Joseph McCarthy and with H. Keith Thompson, an American fascist who was the American representative of the Socialist Reich Party and worked for the defence of Otto Ernst Remer. Thompson defended Hitler and the Nazi regime and would remain in connection with Yockey until his death. In 1950 he would give a speech at a conference by far-right preacher Gerald L. K. Smith’s Christian Nationalist Party where he would call the Nuremberg Trials a “sham” and claim the supposed existence of “global Jewish conspiracy”.

In the early 1940s Stalin initially adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy (despite Lenin himself having condemned Zionism as a reactionary bourgeois movement) with the hope that Israel would be a socialist bulwark against British hegemony and supported the UN plan for the Partition of Palestine (and by extension endorsed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine) and the subsequent creation of the colonial Israeli state. The Soviet Union was the second state to recognize Israel after the United States, though the Soviet bloc soon did a foreign policy volte face and threw its support behind Arab nationalist movements after Israel emerged as a Western ally. However, far from being merely anti-Zionist and in opposition to Israel only, Soviet policy in Stalin’s later days became outright anti-Semitic and the Eastern bloc faced a wave of anti-Semitic purges in the 1950s which included the Night of the Murdered Poets and the Doctors’ Plot. It is in this context that Yockey, visiting Europe again, found himself attending the 1952 show trials in Prague during which eleven Jewish members of the Czechoslovak Communist Party including its secretary general Rudolf Slánský were executed on charges of being Zionists, Trotskyists, Western imperialists and Titoists (Slánský was, on the contrary, staunchly anti-Zionist). Yockey considered this to be the end of American hegemony in Europe and thought it “foretold a Russian break with Jewry”, which he saw as “a favorable development in the fight to liberate Europe”. For Yockey, the wave of anti-Semitic purges was a “declaration of war by Russia on the American-Jewish leadership” and he therefore cooperated with Soviet bloc intelligence and became a paid courier of the Czech secret services who themselves worked for the KGB, and he started advocating for a tactical alliance between fascists and the USSR to end the American occupation of Europe.

Back to New York, Yockey’s report on the Soviet bloc anti-Semitic purges led James Madole of the National Renaissance Party, an American Nazi party, to endorse the campaigns against “rootless cosmopolitans” and “Zionists” (which here is a coded anti-Semitic term referring to Jews rather than to the actual colonialist ideology of Zionism). Madole declared Communism as a mask for Russian nationalism following the triumph of Stalin over Trotsky, whom they saw as the leader of the “Jewish internationalist faction”, thus in his eyes transforming what fascists consider to be “Jewish Bolshevism” into National Bolshevism. The National Resistance Party itself started praising the Soviet Union and had portraits of Hitler and Stalin on its wall, attracting both Communists and Nazis, and certain American fascists started praising the Soviet Union as result.

Dissatisfied with the anti-Communism of the majority of the US far-right who was not very receptive to his National Bolshevik ideology and was at odds with his sympathy for the Stalinist USSR and for Third Worldist movements, Yockey traveled around the world, clandestinely going to East Germany and possibly to the USSR, writing propaganda for the Egyptian Information Industry and meeting Egyptian president Abel Gamal Nasser, under whom thousands of Nazi war criminals (including Yockey’s collaborator Otto Ernst Remer) fleeing Europe found refuge in Egypt.

Yockey spent some weeks in Cuba shortly after the Cuban revolution where dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown, seeking to form new ties again though his attempts failed, before being arrested by the FBI in 1960 and imprisoned. In jail, Yockey is recorded to have lamented the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and praised Hitler as a hero. Yockey eventually committed suicide in jail by swallowing cyanide, allegedly to protect his contacts.

Before his suicide, Yockey was visited in jail by Willis Carto, who would then become one of the main advocates of Yockey’s ideology in North America, although Carto rejected Yockey’s own rejection of biological racism and his anti-American and pro-Soviet position. Carto’s organization, the Liberty Lobby, distributed Yockey’s writings through its newspaper Spotlight, and its publisher Noontide Press republished Imperium.

Therefore Yockey’s core ideology could be seen as consisting of: a cultural rather than biological racism, rejection of nationalism in favor of a European superstate, and support for pro-Soviet and Third Worldist forces against American hegemony and liberal democracy, which he considered to be a “Jewish plot”. Yockey’s ideology has been very influential among post-war neo-fascists and his book is distributed among Nazis and white supremacists, with former leader of the neo-Nazi British National Party John Tyndall praising Imperium, and is influential among far-right neo-pagans and occultists.

The European New Right

Yockey would become the ideological predecessor of the Third Position and the European New Right, among whose prominent members are Jean-Francois Thiriart, Alain de Benoist and Aleksandr Dugin. A main feature of the European New Right is its criticism of American imperialism and of the “economism” of liberalism and its attempt to form alliances or infiltrate far-left opponents of Western imperialism and globalization.

Jean-Francois Thiriart

Jean-Francois Thiriart was briefly a leftist in high school before joining the National Legion and the Association of the Friends of the German Reich, two far-right organizations, later serving in the Waffen-SS for which he would be imprisoned after WWII. After his imprisonment he would retire from political life until the 1960s when he re-entered politics due to his belief that Europe was losing its status as a cultural center, especially after the independence of the Congo and the Algerian Revolution during which he organized in favor of Belgian settlers who wanted Belgium to reconquer the Congo as well as support for the French Secret Army Organization seeking to maintain Algeria as a French colony through a brutal and bloody campaign of massacring Algerians.

Thiriart saw the Belgian and French loss of the Congo and Algeria as pan-European affairs rather than in purely nationalist terms and he founded the organization Jeune Europe with the aim of creating a united Europe which would have its own nuclear arsenal and would be independent of the USA and the USSR whom he considered were dominating Europe and had turned it into a battlefield, thus echoing Yockey in his pre-1952 days, though Thiriart himself had never apparently known or read Yockey. Like Yockey, Thiriart also despised parliamentary democracy and instead advocated for an anti-egalitarian totalitarian state.

Thiriart would also try denying being a fascist and distancing himself from his Nazi past, instead calling the Left-Right division as outdated (in typical fascist rhetoric) and advancing a philosophy called Communitarianism which claimed to transcend the division between the Left and the Right though Jeune Europe had open ties with Nazis and used openly fascist imagery. Thiriart from then on advocated for a union of Europe and the Soviet Union, which he considered to be more Russian than Communist as from the early 50s, into a “massive white power bloc from Brest to Vladivostok”. Here he was echoing Yockey again.

Following the Sino-Soviet Split, Thiriart started advocating for supporting China against the Soviets in an attempt to make the latter lose its grip on Europe to pave the way for a rapprochement between Europe and Russia, as well as supporting revolutionaries in Latin America and the Black Power movement in the Unites States to end American hegemony on Western Europe. He would further restructure Jeune Europe along the line of a Leninist vanguard party, drop the open Nazi imagery of his organization and repudiate his earlier positions on Algeria and the Congo.

From then on, Thiriart moved towards a “National-Communist” perspective which was significantly influenced by Nicolae Ceaușescu’s adoption of an ultra-nationalist National Communism as state ideology, no doubt the result of Romania’s inclusion of former Iron Guard fascists within its intelligence apparatus, and Romania’s break with the Soviet Union and shift towards the People’s Republic of China. In 1966, Thiriart himself met Ceaușescu who contributed an article to Thiriart’s publication and would then help Thiriart met Zhou Enlai, from whom Thiriart attempted in vain to obtain Chinese support for Jeune Europe.

Thiriart worked with Argentine politician Juan Perón, who saw his own views of Latin American unity and integration as tied to Thiriart’s ones on European unity and who saw Fidel Castro and Che Guevara as heroes just like Thiriart did (for which obviously neither Castro nor Che themselves should be blamed), during Perón’s exile in Madrid where he also courted many members of the European far-right (Norberto Ceresole, who was for a time a close advisor of Hugo Chavez, was an associate of Perón. This red-brown tendency of Ceresole was also reflected by his association with Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and with Roger Garaudy, a Holocaust denying Communist who was himself praised by Hassan Nasrallah and Muammar Gaddafi).

Thiriart would adopt a policy of forming ties with the Left from now on, praising Ho Chi Minh’s struggle against America which he saw as an inspiration, and visited many Arab states trying to obtain support for a potential armed organization who would fight “American occupation” in Europe, and speaking at a Ba’ath party conference and meeting with Saddam Hussein, who was then only a colonel in the army. However receptive the Ba’ath party was to Thiriart’s proposal, it scrapped this project following the Soviet Union’s refusal to support it. He also attempted to form ties with Palestinian resistance organizations during this period. Thiriart retired again from public life after his failure to obtain significant support, though his few public appearances would keep on being vehicles for his anti-Americanism.

[Note: During Thiriart’s retirement, one of his followers, Renato Curcio, would go on to found the Red Brigades radical leftist organization which was active in the 70s and 80s in Italy. Another disciple of Thiriart, Claudio Mutti, would form the Italian-Libyan Friendship Organization after Muammar Gaddafi took power in Libya and later took part in organizing a “Nazi-Maoism” movement with the help of pro-China student groups, forming the Lotta Di Popolo organization, and would later meet Aleksandr Dugin in the 90s before arranging for Thiriart to visit Russia. Some Italian militants influenced by Thiriart would even adopt Hitler, Mao, Gaddafi and Juan Perón as heroes, and had slogans supporting a “fascist dictatorship of the proletariat” and praised both Hitler and Mao together.]

The collapse of the Soviet Union encouraged him to start working with the National-European Communitarian Party (PCN) a small party made up of former Maoists and neo-fascists, and run by Luc Michel, who identified himself as a National-Communist and acted as Thiriart’s secretary. In 1992, Thiriart would lead a PCN delegation of National-Communists to Russia to meet fascists who were now able to operate openly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thiriart met Yegor Ligachyov, who was receptive to Thiriart’s idea of a union between Europe and Russia against America. Ligachyov suggested it should be in the form of a revived Soviet Union, which Thiriart accepted, paralleling Yockey’s post-1952 National-Bolshevik positions.

Thiriart died from a heart failure in late 1992, his followers setting up a second European Liberation Front to continue Thiriart’s project. The European Liberation Front kept contacts with the Russian coalition of the National Salvation Front and supported the National Salvation Front during the 1993 crisis opposing it to Boris Yeltsin in Russia.

Alain de Benoist

Among the neo-fascists to come out of Thiriart’s ideological orbit is Alain de Benoist, who has exerted a substantial influence on the New Right. In his teenage years, De Benoist joined Thiriart’s Jeune Europe out of sympathy for the French occupation of Algeria in the late 50s and would later be a member of the editorial board of Europe-Action, a successor organization of Jeune Europe after the latter was banned by the French government.

During this period De Benoist was a standard mainstream neo-fascist opposed to Communism, defending apartheid and supporting the American imperialist war in Vietnam. Dissatisfied with the then state of the far-right and its inability to challenge the Gaullist French state, De Benoist would instead opt for giving up on the biological racism and conspiracy theories of the far-right and instead favor a more intellectual approach, and in reaction to the radical leftist movement of May 1968 he founded the think tank GRECE (which is the acronym for Groupement pour Recherches et Etudes pour la Civilisation Europeenne, the French translation of Research and Study Group for the European Civilization). Inspired by the theories of Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci on cultural hegemony (for which the by-then long deceased Gramsci should not be blamed), De Benoist would advocate for fighting an ideological war to influence mass culture as foundation for political change, a theory called “metapolitics”. GRECE consequently published material rehabilitating fascists such as ideologues of the Conservative Revolution and supporters of National-Bolshevism such as Ernst Niekisch.

De Benoist’s ideological evolution was also marked by a shift towards hostility to Christianity, which in his view had “colonized” Indo-Europeans by force, and support for a revival of pre-Christian European polytheism, which echoed Julius Evola. Accompanying this shift was an increasing anti-Americanism of De Benoist, who hated the “American way of life” and “it’s inane TV serials, chronic mobility, ubiquitous fast food, admiration of the almighty dollar and its quiescent, depoliticized populace”. He opposed free-market capitalism, appropriating left-wing critiques of liberalism by decrying it as an ideology reducing every aspect of human life to purely economic value, thus producing a totalizing consumer society which was inescapably totalitarian.

Paralleling Yockey and Thiriart before him, De Benoist came to consider American imperialism and liberal democracy as more dangerous than Soviet Communism, writing “Better to wear the helmet of a Red Army soldier than to live on a diet of hamburgers in Brooklyn” in 1982 (which would be repeated in 2017 by Richard Spencer, a prominent figure of the American fascist “Alt-Right” movement), supporting Third World struggles while condemning NATO and voting for the Communist Party in the French elections of 1984.

Against accusations from other neo-fascists of having defected to the New Left, De Benoist would just like Thiriart before him claim he was out of the Left-Right spectrum and instead supported “a plural world grounded in the diversity of cultures” against a “one-dimensional world”. This concept, called “ethnopluralism”, meant that De Benoist had gone from a white supremacist to a supporter of separate ethnic and cultural identities and regionalism against what he was as a “homogenizing global market”, putting him at odds with the vision of a pan-European superstate of Thiriart.

This concept of “ethnopluralism” would find its way among wider far-right circles, with Jean-Marie Le Pen re-using it in his xenophobic declarations and neo-fascists adopting it to ‘soften’ their racist rhetoric.

The end of the Cold War signified the end of the Left-Right divide for De Benoist and following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he would visit Russia in 1992, months before Thiriart’s own delegation, where he would meet many figures of the opposition to Boris Yeltsin and proclaim that politics consisted of anti-system forces against the “establishmentarian center”, effectively advocating for a Left-Right coalition against liberal democracy.

Third Positionist Fascism

Among the movements close to the European New Right is Third Positionism, a strand of fascism which stands in opposition to both capitalism and communism and has its origins in “classical” fascism and in the Strasser brothers.

The Movimento Sociali Italiano’s adoption of an electoral course during the 50s and 60s resulted in the formation of a number of neo-fascist offshoots of the MSI who preferred extra-parliamentary methods and sought to replace parliamentary democracy with a fascist dictatorship.

Terza Posizione

Among these were the Evola-influenced Ordine Nuovo and the Avanguarda Nazionale which would be dissolved by the Italian state in 1973 because they were attempting to revive fascism, which was illegal in Italy’s post-war constitution. Following their dissolution, many of their ex-members along with members of Mutti’s Lotta di Popolo would come together to form Terza Posizione, whose ideology was based on Julius Evola’s work and was one of the “pioneers” of post-war Third Positionist fascism. Following the 1980 Bologna massacre in which a suitcase blew up in a train station in Bologna, Italy, killing 85 people and wounding 200 others, the group would come under investigation as prime suspect behind the attacks and two of its prominent members, Roberto Fiore and Massimo Morsello, fled to the United Kingdom.

The International Third Position

In the UK, Fiore met Nick Griffin and Derek Holland, former members of the far-right National Front who had formed a Third Positionist faction within the NF called the Political Soldier wing, which opposed to the NF’s own electoral politics. In 1986, dissensions within the NF led Griffin and Holland to break away from the NF and form their own organization named the Official National Front (ONF). Unlike the National Front, the ONF supported ethnic regionalism in the UK and praised Ayatollah Khomeini, Muammar Gaddafi and Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, a position close to that of Otto Ernst Remer’s, and in 1988 Griffin and Holland traveled to Libya on invitation by the Libyan government.

Following a further split in the Official National Front, Griffin, Holland and Fiore would become the founding members of the International Third Position (ITP), and Holland and fellow ITP member Colin Todd visited Iraq shortly before the Gulf War as part of a ITP delegation. Patrick Harrington meanwhile went on to found the National Liberal Party, the party and later think tank Third Way, and Solidarity-The Union for British Workers.

The ITP would itself undergo multiple splits, with Griffin leaving in 1990 and later joining the British National Party (BNP), and later succeeding John Tyndall at the party’s head before being expelled from it in 2014 and founding his own party, the British Unity. Another member, Troy Southgate, left in 1992 to later form in 1998 the “National-Anarchist” National Revolutionary Faction, which again true to Third Positionist habits appropriates left-wing imagery and aesthetics for a reactionary, fascist ideology. “National-Anarchism” cannot be considered a legitimate form of Anarchism since only did it not develop out of any existing Anarchist thought, but Anarchists themselves have been at the forefront of opposition to fascism for many decades.

The Tricolour Flame, Forza Nuova and CasaPound

The Movimento Sociale Italiano would rebrand as a supposedly more moderate conservative party (though it maintains its fascist imagery and does not repudiate the party’s ties to Mussolini’s regime), leading its hardliner fascist faction to form Tricolour Flame, a Third Positionist fascist party.

A pro-Fiore and pro-Morsello faction within Tricolour Flame would grow while they were in “exile” in the UK and later split from Tricolour Flame and became an ultra-Catholic fascist party of its own named Forza Nuova, and when Fiore and Morsello returned to Italy, they were made the leaders of Forza Nuova. Once allied to the Ukrainian far-right Svoboda party, Forza Nuova later shifted to a pro-Russian and pro-Donbass position after the Euromaidan, with one member even going to, ironically, fight against “Kiev fascists”.

A sibling of Forza Nuova is CasaPound, named after fascist and anti-Semite Ezra Pound, which also grew out of Tricolour Flame, and whose members call themselves the “Fascists of the Third Millennium”. CasaPound is virulently xenophobic and anti-immigration, and has been behind many attacks against leftists and refugees in Italy while also adopting the New Right concepts of “ethnopluralism” and of metapolitics, and appropriating leftist methods such as squatting and occupying buildings, criticizing globalization and austerity, supporting workers and running social centers. Among CasaPound’s affiliates is Solidarites-Identites (Sol.ID), an “ethnopluralist” NGO which is active in Syria, Burma, Kosovo, Palestine and South Africa.

Red-Browns in Russia

Russian National Bolshevism

The origins of Russian National Bolshevism differ from interwar German National Bolshevism and have their roots in the Russian Civil War which followed the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent counter-revolutionary power grab by the Bolshevik Party, when Lenin made concessions to Russian nationalists to stabilize the newly formed Soviet Union and many Tsarist White movement members and defectors from the proto-fascist Black Hundreds switched sides and joined the Bolsheviks.

[Note: Many prominent revolutionaries at that time condemned the counter-revolutionary acts and the authoritarianism of the Bolsheviks, with Emma Goldman becoming disillusioned with the situation in Russia and denouncing the Soviet Union as state capitalist, Otto Rühle saying that the struggle against fascism begins with the struggle against Bolshevism, and Russian Anarchist Voline, who had participated in the Russian and Ukrainian revolutions, labeling the USSR under Stalin as red fascism.]

Among former White movement supporters who joined the Bolsheviks was Nikolai Ustrialov, who saw the Bolshevik Revolution as the way to reestablish Russia as a great power, called for the end of the Russian Civil War and for Russian nationalists to collaborate with the Bolsheviks, which Ustrialov and Russian emigres in Prague published in their publication named Smena Vekh while adopting the “National Bolshevik” name after Ustrialov read Niekisch. The Soviet government subsequently subsidized Smena Vekh, which became influential in the USSR and though Ustrialov himself initially praised Stalin before being executed during his purges, a number of Smenavekhites became influential ideologues in the Soviet establishment.

Following the failure of the Spartacist uprising in Germany and Stalin’s victory in the power struggle which followed Lenin’s death in the Soviet Union, the mixture of nationalism and Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union developed into some kind of National Bolshevism as result of the USSR’s adoption of the “Socialism in One Country” policy in 1925, the adoption of which was also partly motivated by the need to reassure Germany that the Soviet Union’s priority was to maintain the Treaty of Rapallo instead of exporting revolution.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Another period of Red-Brown collaboration followed the crisis resulting from the failure of the Western powers’ appeasement policy towards Hitler when he violated the Munich agreement (from which the Soviet Union had been excluded) by annexing Czechoslovakia, leading Stalin to openly negotiate a potential alliance against Hitler with Britain and France, while also secretly negotiating with Germany. To the shock of Western powers and Communists around the world, in August of that year the German-Soviet Credit Agreement and the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact were signed, followed by about five hundred German Communists who had previously sought exile in the Soviet Union being deported by Stalin back to Germany. These treaties were accompanied by secret protocols dividing Eastern Europe into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence, and the next month the Nazis and the Soviets invaded Poland, with the Soviet and Nazi troops holding joint parades at Brest-Litovsk and Lvov. After this the USSR and Germany held further talks which resulted in another treaty whereby the Nazis ceded Lithuania to the Soviets in exchange for Stalin recognizing Hitler’s occupation of Warsaw and Lublin, and which included protocols concerning a population transfer between Germany and the Soviet Union as well as sharing of intelligence to repress Polish resistance to the occupation. More talks in Moscow concerned the expansion of economic and political cooperation between the Nazis and the Soviets, which Molotov and Ribbentrop openly declared would be a “solid foundation for peace in Eastern Europe”.

[Note: When Jean-Francois Thiriart came out of retirement in the 80s, he praised the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and declared that it made the Soviet Union the geopolitical heir of Nazi Germany.]

When Britain and France declared war on Germany in reaction the invasion of Poland, the Comintern instead suspended all anti-fascist activity and forced Communist parties to condemn the war as imperialist and oppose war credits, causing the collapse of the anti-fascist Popular Fronts. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed another economic agreement in 1940 whereby the USSR sold raw material to the Nazis, who would provide the USSR with war equipment, helping Germany circumvent the sanctions imposed by Britain, and unresolved talks about the possibility of the USSR joining the Axis ensued. The agreement ended only when Hitler violated the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, prompting the USSR to enter the war on the side of the Allies, during which Stalin used nationalist rhetoric about fighting the “Great Patriotic War” to mobilize the Red Army.

This nationalist policy was continued by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union throughout the ensuing Cold War, where it made use of both Russian nationalism and Marxism-Leninism for mobilization, and the nationalist factions of the Soviet establishment tolerated and supported National Bolshevism, especially through the Communist Youth League and the Red Army.

Post-Soviet Fascism

With the catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union and the whole Eastern bloc, numerous fascist and ultra-nationalist movements emerged and took advantage of the rise in poverty, decrease in standards of living and corruption resulting from the massive privatization of Boris Yeltsin’s made in USA disastrous “shock therapy” to strengthen their positions. As part of the backlash against Yeltsin, Aleksandr Barkashov, a former member of Pamyat (an anti-Semitic organization which blames a “Zionist Masonic plot” for the Russian Revolution and for all of Russia’s ills) and the founder and leader of neo-Nazi group Russian National Unity, allied with former KGB officer Aleksandr Stergilov (himself an open anti-Semite), to form the Russian National Assembly (RONS), which wanted to remove Yeltsin through constitutional means and advocated the unification of all Slavs from the former USSR and of which many members were active duty intelligence officers, Stergilov explaining that the security organs “were always composed of patriotically-minded people”.

This process of unification of the opposition to Yeltsin culminated with the formation of the National Salvation Front, the alliance of the most hardline of Yeltsin’s opponents composed of fascists, Russian ultra-nationalists, Tsarist monarchists and Stalinists, which coalesced out of resentment at Russia’s downfall from a major world power to a weak state plagued by instability and crises, and had close ties to a parliamentary bloc called “Russian Unity”. The co-chairman of the National Salvation Front was Aleksandr Prokhanov, who was also the editor in chief of Dyen, the mouthpiece of the National Salvation Front, which published the vilest anti-Semitism such as excerpts of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and expressed support for Western neo-Nazis. Also involved in the National Salvation Front were Aleksandr Dugin, who was published in and helped edit Dyen, and Eduard Limonov, a former Russian exile who had been part of punk and leftist circles in the US, met Alain de Benoist in Paris, and participated in the Yugoslav war on the side of Radovan Karadzic before returning to Russia and joining the red-brown opposition to Yeltsin. Limonov was conscious that overt fascism had no means of succeeding in Russia because of the legacy of the Soviet Union’s participation in the Second World War and therefore he decided to attempt introducing it there through covert ways, and he and Dugin instead formed the National Bolshevik Front, which was itself part of the National Salvation Front and occupied a prominent position in the Russian counter culture. Another prominent member of the National Salvation Front was Gennady Zyuganov, who had previously taken part in discussions with Alain de Benoist and Jean-Francois Thiriart during their visit to Russia in 1991 and later founded the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), which despite its name is an ultra-nationalist and reactionary organization which opposes “cosmopolitanism”claims “Zionists” are plotting to take over the world, called for banning Jewish organizations in Russia together with fascist party Rodina in 2005, and whose member Albert Makashov is an outspoken and virulent anti-Semite (a red-brown trend which is very common among many Stalinist parties of states which were once part of the former Soviet bloc).

[Note: When Otto Ernst Remer returned to Germany in the 1980s, one of his followers was Bela Ewald Althans, a former collaborator of neo-Nazi Michael Kühnen with whom he was a leader of the Action Front of National Socialists before it was banned by the German government in 1983. After his expulsion from high school and being disowned by his parents, teenage fascist Althans became a follower of Remer, who introduced him to important members of the fascist underground, and became leader of Remer’s Freedom Movement, whose aim was the signing of a second Rapallo agreement.

In 1988, Althans traveled to the United States and stayed with former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon Tom Metzger, and in 1992 and 1993 he visited Russia on “fact-finding missions” sponsored by Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist Ernest Zundel, where he met Aleksandr Barkashov, who supported an alliance with Germany, unlike Limonov. Zundel enthusiastically declared that Russia would be the center of a future neo-Nazi movement, and visited Russia again in 1994 with Althans, where the former bought a gold embossed edition of Mein Kampf in Moscow and met with Barkashov’s Russian National Unity and opponents of Yeltsin like Stergilov, with whom Zundel claimed to have “talked of pan-Slavism in a new racialist form”, leading Zundel to declare Russians as “the racial guards on the eastern frontier” who were, according to him, “protecting Europe from Muslims and Chinese people”. In December of that same year, however, Althans was condemned to eighteen months in prison for distributing Holocaust denial videos, and in 1995 a three-and-a-half year sentence was added to his term while he claimed to no longer be a neo-Nazi in court. After his release, Althans dissociated himself from any far-right activity and disappeared from public life.]

Following Yeltsin’s decision to dissolve the Russian parliament in 1993, the National Salvation Front attempted to form a shadow government and wrestle power from him during the following crisis, resulting in a showdown opposing Yeltsin to a red-brown alliance which included the National Salvation Front and Aleksandr Barkashov’s neo-Nazis in front of the Russian White House, and after Yeltsin sent the tanks to storm the Russian White House, a large number of his red-brown opponents were killed or wounded and many opposition leaders were thrown in jail, Dyen was banned along with many opposition newspapers and, with Western cheerleading, Yeltsin consolidated his increasingly dictatorial power through a constitutional reform drastically increasing the President’s powers before decreeing new elections. The winners of these elections, however, included the the KPRF, which won 32 seats in the State Duma, and the misleadingly-named far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia of hardline far-right nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky (who had been close to Eduard Limonov around that time, Limonov having toured him around Paris in 1992, where he introduced Zhirinovsky to Jean-Marie Le Pen, who subsequently endorsed Zhirinovsky’s presidential bid), which won 59 seats, as result of the anti-Yeltsin protest vote. In February 1994, this Duma dominated by Yelstin’s opponents granted amnesty to Yeltsin’s imprisoned enemies, with Dyen reappearing under the name of Zavtra, Barkashov maching freely in Moscow and Limonov starting his own newspaper, Limonka.

Faced with economic and social deterioration in Russia, Yelstin took an increasingly racist populist turn and started targeting ethnic minorities in Russia in the mid-1990s and in 1994 invaded Chechnya. At this point the National Salvation Front began to disaggregate, prominent National Salvation Front members criticizing the war while Zhirinovsky, Limonov and Barkashov instead supported Yeltsin’s policies and the bloodbath unleashed in Chechnya, with Limonov leaving the Front and lambasting its members opposed to the war as “moderates”. Around this time Limonov broke with Zhirinovsky, who went on to throw his support behind Yeltsin in 1998. Limonov criticized Barkashov’s open Nazism and called it counterproductive since the memory of the Nazis’ atrocities and the legacy of the massive loss of lives of the Soviet people during the struggle against fascism in WWII meant that fascism and Nazism were rejected in Russia and, in his view, the only way for fascism to be introduced there was in more discreet forms. After Barkashov’s rebranding as a “serious politician” in 1995 to distance himself from the Nazi label, Limonov’s National Bolshevik Front continued collaborating with Barkashov’s Russian National Unity, which by 1998 had expanded into 64 of Russia’s 89 regions, running military camps indoctrinating youth into fascist ideology while local and regional authorities were lenient and even collaborated with Barkashov, the situation of Russia at that time being compared by Martin A. Lee to that of the Weimar Republic – a situation which helped the rise of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB official turned right-wing authoritarian whose popularity was boosted by his bloody and brutal handling of the war in Chechnya and was appointed by Yeltsin as acting president. Around that time the National Bolshevik Party experienced a split and in the spring of 1998 Limonov parted ways with his associate Aleksandr Dugin. Limonov went on to ally with liberal Garry Kasparov’s United Civil Front and join the opposition to Vladimir Putin in the 2000s. The National Bolshevik Party was among the organizers [archive] of the anti-Putin protests known as the Dissenters’ March and Limonov later became one of the leaders of The Other Russia opposition coalition together with Kasparov.

Aleksandr Dugin

Aleksandr Dugin was born in the Soviet Union in 1962 and joined the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1979 before being expelled from it because of his associations with the esotericist Golovin Circle led by fascist mystic Yevgeny Golovin, for which he translated Julius Evola’s works. Following the Demokratizatsiya under Mikhail Gorbachev, Dugin joined Pamyat and became a member of its Central Council in 1988 before Barkashov, who saw him as an ideological rival, had Dugin expelled from it in 1989 for attempting to introduce new ideas to the organization, after which he traveled to Western Europe where he met Alain de Benoist and Jean-Francois Thiriart, who strongly influenced his anti-Americanism and his support for Russian traditionalism. This proximity of Dugin to the European New Right explains why the ideology of the National Bolshevik Front he later founded was closer to Niekisch’s National Bolshevism than to that of the Smenavekhites.

Dugin then returned to Russia and founded Arktogaia, which published material expressing support for a conservative social revolution in Russia which would lead to the creation of a traditionalist, authoritarian and spiritual society. Around this time, Dugin proposed to Limonov (who was also regularly published on Matt Taibbi’s and Mark Ames’ The eXile in the later part of that decade) to form the National Bolshevik Front, which was materialized in 1993. The purpose of the National Bolshevik Front was to use a National Bolshevik reinterpretation of Russian history reconciling its monarchist and Communist periods to help the formation of anti-liberal coalitions at a time when the red-brown alliance was struggling against Yeltsin, and Dyen itself was associated with Arktogaia during this period (Gennady Zyuganov declaring that Russians were “the last power on the planet capable of mounting a challenge to the New World Order – the global cosmopolitan dictatorship” was clear evidence he was influenced by Dugin). It was also at that time that Dugin started publishing his own journal, Elementy with the primary aim of propagating a “revolutionary nationalist” ideology to radicalize the red-brown alliance and reconcile its fascist and Stalinist sections, and which praised figures of the Conservative Revolution and members of the Nazi regime, and published the first Russian translations of Julius Evola. This attempt to radicalize the red-brown alliance was exemplified in an essay by him written in 1992 and titled Fascism – Red and Borderless, where he tried to link Russia to European fascism by evoking the “left wing” of German fascism which supported an alliance with the Soviet Union and was eliminated by Hitler and tried blaming the Second World War on the West rather than on fascism.

In 1997, Dugin wrote The Foundations of Geopolitics as a lecturer at the Academy of the General Staff with the help of Leonid Ivashov, a Russian colonel and former Soviet military officer who was the head of the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Defense from 1996 to 2001. The Foundation of Geopolitics became the basis for Russia’s own school of geopolitics and was instrumental in establishing the acceptance of geopolitics in Russia after it had been considered a fascist discipline under the Soviet Union. Dugin however left the National Bolshevik Party in 1998 after being dissatisfied with it and sought to increase his contacts, writing the program of the KPRF, and becoming advisor to KPRF member and the Speaker of the Russian State Duma Gennady Seleznyov (which was crucial in helping Dugin’s rise from the fringe circles of Russia’s fascist scene to the Russian Federation’s establishment), while also praising figures of the NSDAP and Nazi Germany such as the Strasser brothers especially, and calling for a “fascist fascism”. As from 1998, Dugin also re-articulated his anti-Semitism by declaring those he deemed “subversive, destructive Jews without a nationality” as enemies while being supportive of Zionism and forming ties with Israeli ultra-nationalist groups who believe every Jewish person should live in Israel, which aligns with the ideology of “ethnopluralism” espoused by Dugin and the European New Right, but also with Dugin’s hope that these ultra-nationalists would destabilize the region and allow Russia to dominate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Dugin’s call for a “red and unbound fascism” means he adapted his ideology and turned it into what Roger Griffin and Matthew Feldman describe as “an aggressively open system“, integrating elements from across the political spectrum to fight its total enemy, that is liberalism represented by the United States. For this purpose, he combined his National Bolshevism to Eurasianism, an ideology developed by White émigrés who saw the Russian Empire as a “natural” necessity and considered the October Revolution to be a “conservative revolution” that preserved imperial continuity and national individuality of Russia and saved it from a period of Westernization and Europeanization started by Peter the Great. The result of this synthesis was a “Neo-Eurasianist” ideology whose worldview is one where a “Sea Power” centered around the United States and the United Kingdom form an “Atlanticist New World Order” which “dilutes national and cultural diversity” through globalization and is engaged in an eternal confrontation against a “Land Power” centered around a Russian-oriented “Eurasian New Order” which resists globalization. In Dugin’s view, the collapse of the Soviet Union brought about a “Unipolar World” dominated by the globalized, liberal West, and in reaction to this he advocates for [archive] the formation of a “Multipolar World” by creating an “Eurasian empire” with a hierarchical, “ethnopluralist”, patriarchal and traditionalist society, with himself as the heir of an alleged “Eurasian Order” which he claims had supposedly existed secretly for centuries. This shows how Dugin has adapted his ideology with time while its core remained the same throughout the years: in the early 90s, Dugin had claimed that representatives of this “Eurasian Order” had been present in the Abwehr, the Nazi regime’s military intelligence, and in the Sicherheitsdienst, the intelligence service of the SS (Dugin had called Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Sicherheitsdienst and one of the main architects of the Holocaust, a “convinced Eurasianist”, and claimed that Heydrich had been the victim of an “Atlanticist” plot), and labeled the KGB as an “Atlanticist” agent while calling the Waffen-SS and more specifically its division in charge of research the history of the “Aryan race”, the Ahnenerbe, “an intellectual oasis in the framework of the National Socialist regime”.

Another example of this adaptation is that since the early 2000s, he started distancing himself from the term “fascism” and adopted the labels of “Conservative Revolution”, “National Bolshevism” and “New Socialism” while instead claiming to be an anti-fascist and accusing his opponents of being Nazis and fascists, though Dugin never changed the core of his ideology and is still effectively a fascist. This also accompanied itself with attempts by Dugin to infiltrate the Western Left through an anti-Western but pro-Russian conception of “anti-imperialism”, as Eric Draitser, himself a left-wing journalist and former victim of Dugin’s manipulation recounts on CounterPunch, and also through direct collaboration, such as with members of Greek left-wing coalition Syriza in 2013. In 2001, he formed the Eurasia Movement and the Eurasia Party and in 2005 he formed the Eurasian Youth Union, and after he left the Rodina bloc in 2003 [archive] he has chosen a metapolitical strategy to realize his fascist goal. While Dugin’s influence in Russia is exaggerated, such as when he is called “Putin’s Rasputin”, he nevertheless is influential within sections of the Russian establishment (the head of United Russia’s ideological directorate and deputy culture minister in charge of the film industry, Ivan Demidov, is an Eurasianist close to Dugin) and military and used to be the head of the Department of Sociology of Internal Relations at the Moscow State University until thousands petitioned for him to be fired after he made calls to mass murder Ukrainians in 2014. Dugin has been hosted [archive] and promoted [archive] by Russian state television RT, formerly known as Russia Today, which now tries to downplay Dugin’s influence and distance itself from him. However Duginists like Mark Sleboda, Manuel Ochsenreiter and Tiberio Graziani are regularly hosted as experts on Russian state-owned international media, especially Sputnik International (formerly RIA Novosti and The Voice of Russia), the radio broadcaster owned by the Russian state.

Influence on Western Fascists

The European New Right and Third Positionists became more influential following the collapse of the Soviet Union, which meant the loss of the Communist bogeyman against which the majority of Western fascists had agitated throughout the Cold War, and the neoliberal counterrevolution started under Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s accompanied by globalization meant that the new bogeyman for fascists was “globalism“, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory whereby a tiny secret elite was working to undermine national sovereignty to form a “One World Government” and uses immigration for these ends. A common fixation of these conspiracy theories is philanthropist billionaire George Soros, who is regularly blamed for being behind every sort of social movement. In Europe, the far-right rebranded itself by co-opting leftist causes such as LGBT rights and secularism and anti-establishment politics abandoned by the old left-wing parties which caved in to “Third Way” politics and using them for their own reactionary cause, and went from opposing Communism and supporting the United States to opposing the United States and what their anti-Semitic conspiracy theories call the “Zionist lobby” and instead rallying around the Russian state, especially after the rise to power of Vladimir Putin and his brand of authoritarian right-wing politics.

This influence of the New Right’s ideas among the larger fascist movement has also resulted in its integration within larger fascist networks spanning around the world. For example, one of Dugin’s disciples, Nina Kouprianova, is married to white nationalist leader Richard Spencer. Kouprianova has translated Dugin’s works which were published by Spencer’s publishing house, the Washington Summit Publishers. Spencer himself, before he came to the public eye, has been hosted on RT regularly as commentator concerning [archiveLibya [archive], Syria [archive], US foreign policy [archive], Vladimir Putin [archive] and was allowed to promote his white nationalism under the guise of discussing racist police violence [archive], discussing the Black Lives Matter movement [archive], discussing national security [archive]. More recently, Aleksandr Dugin has also been platformed on Infowars [archive], run by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex JonesAlex [archiveJones [archive] himself has been hosted by RT as a long [archivetime [archive] “expert” [archive] since the days when he used to host [archiveLyndon [archiveLaRouche [archive].

The LaRouche Movement

The LaRouchite Cult And Its Ideology

While Lyndon LaRouche and his movement are easily dismissed as being a ludicrous group of weird conspiracy theorists and cranks, researchers Chip BerletMatthew Lyons and Matthew Feldman say this outward image acts as a smokescreen for the real nature of this organization: a violent fascistic cult which is an inciter of hate against Jewish and British people as well as presently the prime worldwide distributor of coded anti-Jewish literature based on the anti-Semitic forgery the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The LaRouche Movement itself functions as a totalitarian cult with the aim of promoting Lyndon LaRouche, who exerts a dictatorial control over the whole movement, and is organized into a corporatist structure which is itself complemented by an intelligence division as well as multiple defunct and still-existent front groups and numerous publications.

The ideology of the LaRouche movement itself views the world as dominated by “an Anglo-Jewish oligarchy which is behind a conspiracy to weaken Western society through international banking, drug trafficking and Zionists, with the British being behind a plot to balkanize the US and the Queen as responsible for drug trafficking”. Their view of history is that one of an eternal war opposing good “Platonists” to evil “Aristotelians” according to which “good humanists” have been in a conflict for millennia against an “evil oligarchy” based initially in Babylon, then Venice and presently Britain’s House of Windsor, being effectively a form of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and they often target Jewish people in positions of power, such as Kenry Kissinger and the Rothschild family, as members of this alleged conspiracy. LaRouche’s answer to this supposed conspiracy lies in a “humanist” dictatorship who would rule on behalf of industrial capitalists, with Lyndon LaRouche himself of course at its head. The core of LaRouche’s ideology can be described as a coded form of Illuminati, Freemason and “Jewish banker” conspiracy theories which are internally consistent despite being their outlandish appearance.

The organization’s methods of mass recruitment involve psychological manipulation by convincing its victims the whole world is a police-controlled environment perpetually feeding them misinformation, the result of which being a global collapse happening for which they are held responsible unless they submit fully to LaRouche, who will “teach them how to think”, and to his ideology which proclaims Lyndon LaRouche as the savior who will fix all this wrong. New members are made to undergo what amounts to psychological torture to erase their past and turn them into “new individuals” with new personalities subservient to the cult and younger members are forced into what amounts into indentured labor to raise funds. A Security Division is also present, responsible for supposedly protecting LaRouche and keeping dissident members in line, investigating members who appear disillusioned and making it difficult for anyone asking questions to to leave the organization.

The History of LaRouche

Lyndon LaRouche served as a non-combatant in the US army in the Second World War, after which he was briefly close to the Communist Party USA before joining the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1949. Within the SWP, LaRouche was part of a faction called the Revolutionary Tendency which was later expelled by the SWP in late 1963 and early 1964, following which he shortly joined the Spartacist League before founding the National Caucus for Labor Committees (NCLC) with the aim of gaining control of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) until the SDS expelled the NCLC in 1969.

Following this, the group expanded its activities, gaining adherents in Europe, and with its members becoming fanatically devoted to the group and its leader, and LaRouche himself adopting what Chip Berlet describes as “the same ideas and styles which took National Socialism and turned it into part of the European fascist movement”, and in 1973 the NCLC was responsible for a series of physical assaults called “Operation Mop-Up” on leftists in the United States including the CPUSA, SWP, the Progressive Labor Party and Black Power activists in an attempt to either gain political hegemony on the American left or destroy it, with the NCLC being compared to Hitler’s Brownshirts by US Communists. The NCLC from then on also adopted virulent sexism and homophobia in its theories while becoming more and more of a totalitarian cult-like group fully subordinate to LaRouche himself and adopting brainwashing techniques typically found in cults.

This same year LaRouche founded the US Labor Party (USLP) as a political wing of the NCLC and the next year first began to contact far-right groups while also devolving into conspiracy theories about a supposed global conspiracy by the Rockefellers. In 1976, during LaRouche’s first presidential campaign, he attempted to infiltrate far-right groups such as the American Conservative Union, the John Birch Society, the Young Americans for Freedom and the Ku Klux Klan while also forging links with Republican Party state organizations during the same decade. With the help of KKK grand dragon and American Nazi Party member Roy Frankhauser and former CIA officer Mitchell WerBell, with whom LaRouche arranged to provide the NCLC security force with armed training, he gained access to wider right-wing circles which included spies, mercenaries and intelligence operatives, and Frankhouser would later support LaRouche during his trial in the late 80s. LaRouche would start working through front groups such as the Schiller Institute (which was founded by Lyndon LaRouche’s wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche [archive]), Food for Peace and publications like Executive Intelligence ReviewNew Solidarity (later The New Federalist).

Around the time of the death of Nelson Rockefeller, LaRouche came under the influence of the Liberty Lobby of Willis Cartohimself a prominent Holocaust denier, admirer of Hitler and disciple of Francis Yockey. As he did in 1976, LaRouche again shifted, this time from conspiracy theories about Rockefeller to conspiracy theories of obvious anti-Semitic nature about a supposed worldwide conspiracy under the control of the “British Oligarchy”, with the Queen of England as their lackey. By the end of that same year, LaRouche had moved fully to the far-right, with his newspaper New Solidarity becoming more and more anti-Semitic and full of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories about international bankers, influential Jewish families, the KGB and secret societies.

As researcher Dennis King records, LaRouche’s attitude towards the Soviet Union changed around this time, going from praising Leonid Brezhnev to demonizing Moscow and calling it the “Third Rome” and a center of the Russian Orthodox Church, which he believed was controlled by the “British oligarchs”. LaRouche called Mikhail Gorbachev the Anti-Christ when he took power.

LaRouche’s activities in the 70s also included harassment campaigns against the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers of America, and he started collecting and disseminating intelligence on progressive groups at this point, selling them to US as well as foreign intelligence agencies so that, by the 1980s, LaRouche had already developed an extensive and sophisticated telecommunications network through which political and economic intelligence was collected and then re-shared. LaRouche worked with several states’ intelligence, police and militaries, among whom the Shah of Iran for whom they investigated student dissidents and gave reports to the SAVAK, Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, the South African apartheid regime for which they prepared reports on anti-apartheid groups, the Argentine Junta, the US Reagan administration until the mid-80s and with the KGB between 1974 to about 1983, the LaRouchites themselves claiming they acted as an open channel between the CIA and the KGB while also taking responsibility for Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program.

In many cases, LaRouche would defend the dictators with whom he worked through distortions such as by claiming Manuel Noriega was overthrown by the US because he resisted the US government’s cocaine trade [archive] even though Noriega had himself been a CIA collaborator involved with cocaine trade, and painting the brutal dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a sympathetic figure and denying his abuses [archive].

True to its virulent homophobia, the LaRouche Organization would in 1986 also sponsor Proposition 64, also known as the “LaRouche Initiative” in the US state of California, which would require any HIV positive individuals to be reported to state authorities and barred from schools and jobs in restaurants and possibly be quarantined. The proposition was defeated twice.

In the mid-80s however, following LaRouche candidates winning the Democratic primary in Illinois in 1986 (leading Democratic Party senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to condemn his party for ignoring its infiltration by LaRouche) and subsequent investigations into LaRouche’s illegal fundraising bringing the organization to public light, the ties between the Reagan administration and LaRouche were severed. Many LaRouche Movement organizations were seized by the US government and LaRouche himself was imprisoned for fraud and conspiracy from 1989 to 1990, being defended by the former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, about whom I wrote more further below in this post.

With the loss of their US government connections, LaRouche instead moved to seek ties with other states’ political elites, and the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that LaRouche became interested in the Russian Federation, with the Schiller Institute for Science and Culture, a branch of the LaRouche organ the Schiller Institute, being established in Moscow in 1992. LaRouche himself would repeatedly visit Russia throughout the 90s while additionally trying to influence Russian economic policy-making, with the Schiller Institute presenting a LaRouche memorandum to the State Duma in 1995, and LaRouche himself presenting his own report to the Russian parliament that same year [archive], with his conspiracist economic theories being well-received by groups such as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia as well as other ultra-nationalists.

In Russia itself, LaRouche’s position is that of absolute praise and support for Vladimir Putin [archive] and his administration along with nostalgia for the Soviet Union. LaRouche’s support for Putin is driven both by Putin foreign policy hostile to the European Union and the United States as well as LaRouche and Putin having similar positions on internal policy, both promoting reactionary ideas such as an authoritarian state, the primacy of traditional culture and religion as well as infrastructure projects.

At the same time as his rapprochement with the Russian establishment, LaRouche moved from biological to cultural racism, and started shifting towards more ostensibly left-wing positions in the 90s, organizing anti-war demonstrations and rallies and attempting to insert themselves in anti-war coalitions during the Gulf Warattempting to form coalitions with and control African-American civil rights groups since the 70s, opposing the death penalty, praising the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, supporting social programs against the Republican Party’s budget cuts, criticizing neoconservatives and organizing anti-war conferences in the prelude to the imperialist invasion of Iraq by George W. Bush. It was in this context that, in 2003, a British student in Paris named Jeremiah Duggan found himself in one such rally believing it to be a legitimate anti-war event at the Schiller Institute which however turned out to be a recruitment session for LaRouche’s network. After Jeremiah stood up to the anti-Semitic conspiracism during the event and announced he was Jewish, his body was found hours later on a roadside, having died in a state of terror. Jeremiah’s mother received two interrupted phone calls shortly before his death where Jeremiah cried out loud that he feared for his safety. German authorities however hastily ruled it as a suicide and closed the case within three months without having recorded any formal witnesses, and the coroner who later ruled his death was not a suicide however refused to accept evidence that Jeremiah had been killed.

LaRouche has been a “pioneer” of presenting fascism through a facade of progressivism, and already in 1981, the Liberty Lobby was defending LaRouche by declaring that “No group has done so much to confuse, disorient, and disunify the Left as they have… the USLP should be encouraged, as should all similar breakaway groups from the Left, for this is the only way that the Left can be weakened and broken”. This is evident in how, more recently, LaRouche was one of the many far-right groups who attempted to infiltrate the Occupy Wall Street movement and were rejected by it. RT has also hosted LaRouche and his movement many times, promoting him as a misunderstood civil rights leader [archive], as “expert” on the Egyptian Revolution [archive], and to speak about the New Silk Road project [archive].

The Proximity Between LaRouche And The New Right

The above mentioned positions of LaRouche and his cult, such as a Manichean view of history as a perennial war (“Platonists” opposed to “Aristotelians” for LaRouche, and a “Land Power” opposed to a “Sea Power” for Dugin), cultural racism, and geopolitical support for Russia as the key to humanity’s salvation coupled with opposition to the US and UK, are something they share with other groups such as Aleksandr Dugin and his neo-Eurasianists as well other New Right groups and “red-brown” organizations such as the KPRF, hence leading to increased indirect contacts between these various reactionary groups. LaRouche and Dugin being very different from each other in that the former has a vision wrapped under a rhetoric of science and rationalism while the latter’s is based on Russian revival steeped in mysticism however prevent any substantial alliance between them.

The result is that LaRouche and Dugin share many common allies, which Matthew Lyons suggests might be open channels for sharing ideas between these two movements.

Sergey Glazyev

An interesting ally of both LaRouche and Dugin is Sergey Glazyev, who was Minister of External Economic Relations under the Yeltsin administration before resigning in protest over Yeltsin’s decision to dissolve the State Duma which led to the failed coup attempt of 1993. Glazyev was elected to the State Duma in 1994 and became chairman of the parliamentary Economic Affairs Committee, forming ties with LaRouche around this time and being praised by LaRouche “as a leading economist in opposition to Boris Yeltsin’s regime”. Glazyev’s interviews and writings were published on the LaRouchite publication Executive Intelligence Review, which also published [archive] the English translation of a conspiracist book by Glazyev. In 2001, LaRouche himself spoke [archive] a State Duma hearing on the Russian economy at the initiative of Glazyev, then chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship, who headed the hearing. In 2012, Sergey Glazyev was appointed by Putin as presidential aide to coordinate the work of federal agencies in developing the Customs Union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, a project which both LaRouche and Dugin happen to support.

Glazyev happens to be close to Aleksandr Dugin as well, though described as not an Eurasianist by the Duginists themselves, and assisted to the foundation of Dugin’s Eurasia Party in 2002 [archive] while Dugin was himself temporarily a member of Glazyev’s Rodina bloc in 2003. Glazyev and Dugin are both members of the Izborsky Club, a far-right-think tank founded and headed by Aleksandr Prokhanov [archive] which glorifies both the Tsar Peter the Great and Josef Stalin, and Sergey Glazyev also happens to be on the Supervisory Board of the far-right think tank Katehon [archive], as was Aleksandr Dugin until early 2017. The name Katehon appears to be a reference to the katechon, the Biblical restrainer of the Anti-Christ, which Zurab Chavchavadze, who is on its Supervisory Board [archive], believes was the role of Tsarist Russia due to its position as a “worldwide bastion of Christianity” [archive]. Another member of its Supervisory Board is Andrey Klimov, who is a member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and was a member of its General Council until 2016.

Novorossiya and Crimea

Konstantin Malofeyev

The president of Katehon is Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian businessman who who aspires to revive the Russian monarchy. In May 2013, Malofeyev attended the 7th conference [archive] of the Christian Right, anti-LGBT, anti-abortion World Congress of Families, on whose board is Aleksey Komov [archive], the head of international projects of the Saint Basil the Great Foundation [archive], the “charitable foundation” of Malofeyev [archive]. Malofeyev’s position at the World Congress of Families was to present the Christian conservatism of the West in the 1980s in favorable terms compared to the state atheism of the Soviet Union, before contrasting it to the situation in 2010, where he claimed that religious freedom was “under attack” in the West and evoked all the tropes one might hear on Fox News such as the “War on Christmas”, the “LGBT agenda” and “political correctness”. To this, he contrasted the situation in Russia, where the Church has been experiencing a revival, religion is taught in schools and homophobic laws have been on the rise, and Malofeyev promised [archive] that “Christian Russia can help liberate the West from the new liberal anti-Christian totalitarianism of political correctness, gender ideology, mass-media censorship and neo-marxist dogma”.

[Note: The members of the board of the Saint Basil the Great Foundation [archive] include Zurab Chavchavadze, and the Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, a member of the Izborsky Club [archive] and of the Supreme Council of the Russian Orthodox Church [archive], with influential ties to the state and rumored to be the personal confessor of Vladimir Putin.]

[Note: A partner of the World Congress of Families is the Sanctity of Motherhood Program, an anti-abortion organization headed by Natalia Yakunina [archive], the wife of Vladimir Yakunin, who was the director of Russian Railways until 2015. In 2017, the World Congress of Families sponsored [archive] the Rhodes Forum 2017 [archive] of Yakunin’s foundation, the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations [archive] (WPFDC). In September 2014, two of Vladimir Yakunin’s organizations which also both have Natalia Yakunina as vice president, the Center of National Glory and the Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called [archive], organized the “Large Family and Future of Humanity” international forum [archive] with the support of Malofeyev’s Saint Basil the Great Foundation. The conference, held at the State Kremlin Palace and animated by Yakunina, was intended to be the 8th conference of the World Congress of Families until it was forced to suspend its participation following the crisis in Ukraine [archive]. On what appears to be the conference’s Facebook page, is a now dead link [archive] (but relayed by the Christian News Wire [archive]) to a post on the website of World Congress of Families’ Russian section about a meeting by the International Planning Committee of the conference whose members included Malofeyev, Yakunin, Yakunina, and Jack Hanick, a former Fox News employee Jack Hanick, a devout Roman Catholic turned Russian Orthodox Christian [archive] who believes “God called on Russia” to fight the LGBT rights movement.]

A month later, after the adoption of the law against “gay propaganda” and “offending religious feelings” in Russia, a delegation of French anti-gay activists, joined by [archive] the National Organization for Marriage’s president Brian Brown, spoke to the State Duma [archive] on the 13th of June 2013 on the invitation of the Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children, whose chairperson Elena Mizulina was then a State Duma MP for the A Just Russia party. Mizulina, who had previously called abortion a “national threat”, compared surrogate parenthood to nuclear weapons, and was the author of the homophobic law, had participated [archive] in anti-LGBT roundtable talks together with French anti-LGBT activists in early June in Paris hosted by the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, itself headed by far-right Russian politician and former State Duma MP for the fascist Rodina party, Natalia Narochnitskaya [archive]. The delegation included:

  • Aymeric Chauprade, then an advisor to Marine Le Pen and member of the French National Front before leaving it in 2015. Chauprade had participated in the “Large Family and Future of Humanity” conference in 2014
  • Fabrice Sorlin, president of Dies Irae [archive], a traditionalist Roman Catholic and far-right nationalist organization named for a hymn about the Last Judgement. Sorlin led the delegation
  • François Légrier, a former National Front candidate for the legislative elections and president [archive] of the Catholic Movement of Families
  • Odile Téqui
  • Hugues Revel, who leads the far-right Catholiques en Campagne [archive]

The same day, Malofeyev’s charity co-organized a roundtable discussion at the Kremlin [archive] together with the State Duma commitee on family, women and children, and on “Traditional Values: The Future of the European Peoples”, which was attended by [archive] Malofeyev, the French delegation, Sergey Gavrilov of the KPRF and Elena Mizulina.

In 2014, Malofeyev, as well as the leaders of the far-right party Rodina (which I talk of later), Dmitry Rogozin and Aleksandr Babakov, were in instrumental in helping Jean-Marie le Pen and the French National Front obtaining massive loans after Chauprade had introduced Le Pen to Malofeyev. That same year, Malofeyev organized an anti-LGBT conference in Vienna where the participants included:

  • Konstantin Malofeyev himself
  • Aleksandr Dugin
  • Ilya Glazunov, a far-right Russian nationalist painter
  • Marion-Marechal Le Pen from the French National Front
  • Aymeric Chauprade
  • Prince Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma, the head of the Spanish Carlist monarchist movement
  • Serge de Pahlen, the husband of the Fiat fortune heiress Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen
  • Heinz-Christian Strache, the chairman of the far-right Austria Freedom Party (FPÖ), which signed a cooperation treaty with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party in 2016
  • Johann Gudenus of the FPÖ
  • Johann Herzog of the FPÖ
  • Volen Siderov, the leader of far-right Bulgarian party Ataka
  • Croatian far-right groups
  • Georgian nobles
  • Russian nobles
  • a Catholic priest

Malofeyev is also the Chairman of the board of directors of the Tsargrad group of companies, which in 2015 launched Tsargrad TV (Tsargrad being the Slavic name of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire) with the help of Jack Hanick, and which has as editor in chief Aleksandr Dugin [archive] and chairman of its supervisory board Leonid Reshetnikov [archive], who is also on the Supervisory board of Katehon, is a member of the Public Council of the Russian Ministry of Defense and of the Scientific Councils of both the Russian Security Council and Ministry of Affairs, and until January 2017 was the director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies [archive]. Tsargrad TV, which provides a platform to fascists such as Aleksandr Dugin and Alex Jones, is “based on Orthodox principles in the same way as Fox News” according to Malofeyev, who is a founder and shareholder of the channel and was its general producer until November 2017 [archive], having resigned from this position shortly after being made a member of the council [archive] of the Society for the Development of Russian Education: Two-Headed Eagle, a Russian monarchist organization.

[Note: Leonid Reshetnikov has blamed the Second World War on an “Anglo-Saxon elite”, which is a position similar to that of Dugin in his essay on red and borderless fascism.]

[Note: The World Congress of Families lists the Sanctity of Motherhood and the Saint Basil the Great Foundation as its partners [archive], and its Russian section lists Tsargrad TVKatehon and the Saint Basil the Great Foundation among its partners [archive].]

The Formation of Novorossiya and the Annexation of Crimea

Malofeyev is a former employer of Aleksandr Borodai, who was once a deputy director of the FSB and had also formerly worked at Zavtra [archive] where he continues to be published as an “expert” [archive]. Malofeyev is also a former employer of Igor Girkin (more commonly known as Igor Strelkov), a former FSB member who was in charge of Malofeyev’s security when he visited Kiev and Crimea in 2014 and contributed to Zavtra between 1998 and 2000 [archive]. According to investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Malofeyev drafted the plan for the creation of the so-called Novorossiya statelet which was was formed in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine. When the two “People’s Republics” making up Novorossiya were created in 2014, Girkin became the Defense Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic while Borodai became Prime Minister. Aleksandr Proselkov, the head of the Rostov branch of Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement [archive], became Deputy Foreign Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic [archive], and the Deputy Prime Minister was Andrey Purgin, who was himself a member of Donetskaya Respublika, a pro-Russian organization which had been created in response to the 2005 Orange Revolution, and participated in protests with and went to the summer camps of the Eurasian Youth Union (a youth wing of Aleksandr Dugin’s International Eurasianist party formed with the support of the Russian government of Vladimir Putin in reaction to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and which received at least 18.5 million rubles in the form of presidential grants from 2013 to 2014). Donetskaya Respublika had also worked with the Russia Bloc, Bravtsovo and the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU), which are all far-right organizations. Bravtsovo’s and the PSPU’s respective leaders, Dmytro Korchynsky and Natalya Vitrenko are members of the High Council of Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement [archive].

[Note: Natalia Vitrenko’s misleadingly-named PSPU, a far-right party, has worked with the Ukrainian Communist Party [archive] (which adheres to a Soviet nationalist red-brown politics not unlike that of the KPRF) in 2007, led a delegation to Libya in April 2011 where she awarded Muammar Gaddafi with an “anti-NATO resistance fighter” title [archive], and in July 2011 joined the All Russia’s People’s Front founded by Vladimir Putin, who became its leader in 2013. As well as being a member of Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement, Vitrenko is also a close associate of LaRouche [archive] and promotehis movement, being another close ally of both Dugin and LaRouche.]

Aleksandr Dugin and Aleksandr Prokhanov were both present at the founding congress of the Novorossiya Party [archive] in late May 2014, which was also attended by Pavel Gubarev (a former member of Barkashov’s neo-Nazi Russian National Unity as well as former member of Vitrenko’s PSPU [archive], who was governor of the Donetsk People’ Republic from March to November of that same year) and Valeriy Korovin, a member of the Izborsky Club [archive] and a leader of the Eurasian Youth Union. In early June 2014, discussions between Gubarev and Prokhanov took place [archive], during which it was decided that the Izborsky Club would develop Novorossiya economically and ideologically, and Gubarev was invited to join the Izborsky Club and create a new branch for it in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The next day, the Izborsky Club announced that it would advise the drafting of a new constitution for Novorossiya [archive]. In mid-June 2014, a Donetsk branch of the Izborsky Club was created, with Pavel Gubarev as its chairperson [archive], and the Izborsky Club itself reported that Gubarev, Girkin and Borodai had been elected as its members [archive]. After Girkin was dismissed as the Donetsk Republic’s Defense Minister in August that year, he was seen accompanying Aleksandr Dugin and Konstantin Malofeyev at the Valaam Monastery in Russian Karelia the next month, and Borodai is presently on the committee of The Two-Headed Eagle [archive] along with Malofeyev.

The referendum for the accession of the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation also saw fascists and neo-Stalinists close or part of the National-Bolshevik network as observers, which is unfortunately not a new phenomenon: already in the late 2000s and early 2010s, a number of elections in Europe and the former Soviet bloc had been monitored [archive] by the CIS-EMO, which was founded and headed by Aleksey Kochetkov [archive], who had been a member of Barkashov’s Russian National Unity in the 1990s, and whose experts included Thiriart’s associate Luc Michel, Mateusz Piskorski (see below) and Giulietto Chiesi [archive] (former Moscow correspondent for the Italian Communist newspaper L’Unità who has since become a red-brown militant and is on the Experts Council of the Russian Eurasianist magazine Geopolitika together with Aleksandr Dugin [archive], and became a member of the Izborsky Club in 2014 [archive] and supports Aleksandr Dugin’s ideas [archive]). The observers of the Crimean referendum had been invited by the Eurasian Observatory for Democracy and Elections, headed by Luc Michel and included:

  • Johannes Hubner of the FPÖ
  • Johann Gudenus of the FPÖ
  • Ewald Johann Stadler, a fromer member of the FPÖ
  • Frank Creyelman of Vlaams Belang
  • Luc Michel of the National-European Communitarian Party
  • Jan Penris of Vlaams Belang
  • Christian Vergoustraete of Vlaams Belang and the Alliance of European National Movements
  • Pavel Chernev of Ataka
  • Kiril Kolev of Ataka
  • Johan Backman, a neo-Stalinist who does not recognize Estonia and Latvia as states
  • Aymeric Chaperaude of the French National Front
  • Hikmat al-Sabty of German left-wing party Die Linke
  • Torsten Koplin of Die Linke
  • Piotr Luczak of Die Linke and chairperson of the European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis
  • Monika Merk of Die Linke and Secretary of the European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis
  • Manuel Ochsenreiter
  • Charalampos Angourakis, of the Communist Party of Greece, which is known for cooperating with the police and the state, has engaged in anti-refugee actions, and occasionally cooperates with Golden Dawn
  • Bela Kovacs of Jobbik and treasurer of the Alliance of European Nationalist Movements
  • Lev Malinsky of BenOr Consulting
  • Sergey Podrazhansky, the former editor of Israeli right-wing newspaper Vesti
  • Fabrizio Bertot, of Lega Italia
  • Claudio D’Amico of Lega Nord
  • Valerio Cignetti, of the Tricolour Flame and General Secretary of the Alliance of European National Movements
  • Miroslavs Mitrofanovs of the Latvian Russian Union
  • Tatjana Zdanoka of the Latvian Russian Union
  • Adam Krysztof of the Polish social-democratic party Democratic Left Alliance
  • Mateusz Piskorski of the Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland. Piskorski was a member of Polish fascist group Niklot, a leader of far-right Polish party Zmiana [archive], is an associate of Aleksandr Dugin, and vice-director of the German Center for Eurasian Studies [archive]
  • Andrzej Romanek of Solidary Poland
  • Milenko Baborak of the Dveri Movement
  • Nenad Popovic of the Democratic Party of Serbia
  • Zoran Radojicic
  • Oleg Denisenko of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF)
  • Pedro Mourino of the Partido Popular
  • Enrique Ravello, former member of CEDADE and Terre et Peuple, and present member of Plataforma per Catalunya
  • Srda Trifkovic, an Islamophobe and anti-Semite who has worked with the Serbian Radical Party, is a supporter of Radovan Karadzic [archive], defended Karadzic in during the latter’s trial and denies the Srebrenica genocide [archive]. Trifkovic is the Foreign Affairs Editor [archive] of the openly far-right [archiveChronicles Magazine and a contributing editor to neo-fascist platform The Alternate Right run by Richard Spencer.

[Note: The European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis was founded by Mateusz Piskorski, himself a participant [archive] of Thierry Meyssan’s Axis for Peace conference (see below) and the vice director of the German Center for Eurasian Studies [archive], whose president is Manuel Ochsenreiter. Ochsenreiter was formerly a host on Russian state-owned channel RT, where he was presented as an “expert” on German and Middle-Eastern Affairs (he has regularly [archivediscussed [archiveUkraine [archive], Crimea [archiveand the [archivewar in [archiveSyria [archive] on RT) before being outed as the editor of Zuerst!, a neo-Nazi German magazine which glorifies Hitler. In 2014, Yakunin’s Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called and Center of National Glory organized an “anti-fascist conference” in Saint Petersburg concerning the crisis in Ukraine, among whose participants was National Bolshevik Mateusz Piskorski.]

The Anti-Orange Committee

One of Dugin’s close collaborators was Geydar Dzhemal (who died in 2016), who was a member of the Golovin Circle alongside Dugin and later of Pamyat together with Dugin before being both expelled from it together, Dzhemal later theorizing his own fascist ideas based on Islamist theory and founding his own fascist think tank called the Florian Geyer Club. The attendants of the Florian Geyer Club’s various [archiveseminars [archive] included Aleksandr Dugin, Claudio Mutti (see below), Israel Shamir (see below), Nadezhda Kevorkova (a contributor to RT since 2010 [archive]) and fascists Maksim Shevchenko and Mikhail Leontyev. Shevchenko had already cooperated with Dzhemal in 2010 when, together with Sergey Markov from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, they were part of a Russian delegation at a conference organized by the FPÖ concerning Color Revolutions, which was a year after he had invited Dugin to Vienna in 2009 and introduced him to the leaders of the FPÖ.

In 2012, Dugin, Leontyev, Shevchenko, Prokhanov and Nikolai Starikov joined the Anti-Orange Committee founded by Sergey Kurginyan, a former left-wing opponent of Yeltsin who has moved to the nationalist Right after the events of 1993, supports an alliance between the Left and the Right [archive], and now leads the Essence of Time movement, which describes itself as left-patriotic [archive] and aims to create a “USSR 2.0”, a movement which Anton Shekhovtsov says is National Bolshevik. The Anti-Orange Committee was founded in opposition to the anti-Putin Bolotnaya Square protests of 2011, whose speakers ironically included Yevgeny Kopyshev from the KPRF, nationalist Konstantin Krylov (see below), and representatives of the Left Front Stalinist opposition group (see below), and Dugin’s former associate Limonov had participated in demonstrations with the protesters earlier that same day in Moscow’s Revolution Square. The Committee adhered to a conspiratorial worldview where it perceived the protests against Putin to be the result of a Western conspiracy in cooperation with fascists who support WWII era war criminal and Nazi collaborationist Stepan Bandera. The name of the Committee itself as well as this conspiracy were both based on how Dugin and his acolytes, in accordance to their fascist worldview where the US is a center of liberalism which seeks to destroy Russian culture and Eurasian civilization, interpreted the 2005 US-supported Orange Revolution (and of which there are valid criticisms from the Left) in Ukraine as a Banderist plot concocted in the West against Russia, and which a large number of fascists repeat in the context of the Euromaidan and the Arab Spring.

[Note: Maksim Shevchenko was member [archive] of the Civil Chamber of the Russian Federation from 2008 to 2012 and has been a member [archive] of the Russian Federation’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights since 2012, and is part [archive] of its provisional body in charge of civil society and human rights in Crimea. Shevchenko is a member of the Izborsky Club [archive] together with Starikov and Leontyev. In 2017, Shevchenko joined the Left Front [archive].]

Boris Kagarlitsky

Among the participants of the Florian Geyer Club’s September 2011 seminar was Boris Kagarlitsky [archive], a former left-wing Soviet dissident who presents himself as a left-wing critic of Vladimir Putin but writes articles supporting Vladimir Putin and Donald [archiveTrump [archive], and associates with fascists [archive] such as Aleksey Belyaev-Gintovt (a member of Dugin’s Eurasian Youth Union [archive]), Yevgeniy Zhilin (the leader of the fascist organization Oplot), Konstantin Krylov (leader of the right-wing Russian Social Movement and one time member of the fascist party Rodina – see below), and Yegor Kholmogorov. According researcher Anton Shkehovtsov, Russian investigative journalists say Kagarlitsky has been working with the Kremlin from at least 2005 to control the section of the Russian Left independent of the KPRF and clamp down on the left-wing opposition to Vladimir Putin, and in 2005 he wrote a report which called the KPRF the most corrupt party of Russia while not investigating the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and United Russia, due to which Kagarlitsky was successfully sued by Gennady Zyuganov and was forced to apologize. Kagarlitsky’s organization, the Institute for Global Research and Social Movements, has received state funding in the form of presidential grants.

In early June 2014, Kagarlitsky was present through Skype at the founding conference of the “Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine” [archive], which was also attended by Richard Brenner from Workers’ Power (a British Trotskyist group which was dissolved and merged into the Labour Party in September 2015), Lindsey German from Counterfire, Alan Woods from Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency, and Sergey Kirchuk from Borotba (see below). In August 2014, Kagarlitsky was hosted by the UK-based Stop The War Coalition together with Tariq Ali and Lindsey German [archive].

Kagarlitsky’s position on the war in Ukraine has been to support the Novorossiyan forces and whitewash its fascist leaders [archive], and as result in June 2014 itself Denis Denisov, a Crimean left-wing activist from the Left Opposition, ended his collaboration with Kagarlitsky. Following Kagarlitsky’s reply that Denisov should reconsider his views and suggestion he should support the “self-organizing movement of solidarity with Novorossiya” instead, Volodymyr Zadyraka of the Autonomous Workers’ Union wrote a scathing criticism of Kagarlitsky’s pseudo-dissidence which in reality serves the Russian establishment and its imperialist policies, and which appeals to Western leftists whose politics are centered around geopolitics rather than concern for the lives of Syrians and Ukrainians.

In July 2014, Kagarlitsky’s Institute for Global Research and Social Movements co-organized a conference titled “The World Crisis and the Confrontation in Ukraine” in Yalta, Crimea together with Osnovaniye and the Center of Coordination and Support for Novaya Rus, both headed [archive] by Aleksey Anpilogov (a regular contributor [archive] for Zavtra). Among the attendees of the conference were:

Aleksandr Prokhanov, whose fascist newspaper Zavtra reported the conference [archive] noted that Prokhanov himself met with the attendees and that a meeting had taken place between the participants of the conference and members of the Izborsky Club, which was strangely also holding a conference in Yalta at the same time. A number of these attendees signed a manifesto [archive] adopted by the conference and drafted by Maksim Shevchenko.

In August 2014, another conference was organized, again by Angipilov’s Novaya Rus, in Yalta, called “Russia, Novorossiya, Ukraine: Global Problems and Challenges”, and which Darya Mitina (who headed the Moscow branch of the Foreign Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic [archive] and is a member of the Central Committee of the United Communist Party and Secretary of its Central Committee for International Relations [archive]) described as the successor to the July conference [archive]. Among [archive] the participants were:

  • Frank Creyelman of Vlaams Belang
  • Luc Michel of the National-European Communitarian Party
  • Pavel Chernev of Ataka
  • Angel Dzhambazki of the Bulgarian National Movement
  • Johan Backman
  • Márton Gyöngyösi of Jobbik
  • Giovanni Maria Camillacci of Forza Nuova
  • Roberto Fiore of Forza Nuova
  • Mateusz Piskorski, as representative of the Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland
  • Konrad Rękas, from the Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland
  • Bartosz Bekier of Falanga. Bekier was also named vice-president of Piskorski’s Zmiana [archive] the following year, in 2015
  • Nick Griffin of the British National Party
  • Sergey Glazyev
  • Maksim Shevchenko
  • Aleksey Anpilogov
  • Yegor Kholmogorov
  • Petr Getsko
  • Yegor Kvasnyuk
  • Andrey Kovalenko, the head of the Moscow branch of the Eurasian Youth Union [archive]
  • Israel Shamir
  • Yuri Kofner (see below)
  • Aleksandr Borodai
  • Igor Girkin
  • members of the Izborsk and Zinovyev clubs

[Note: Andrey Kovalenko is the founder and chairman of the National Course party [archive], the political wing of the National Liberation Movement headed by Yevgeny Fyodorov, himself a State Duma member for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, who strangely believes rock music is “US-instigated sabotage”, and of whom Kovalenko is the assistant [archive]. The National Liberation Movement adheres to a conspiratorial view according to which the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that Russia lost its sovereignty and was turned into a colony of the United States, and sees Vladimir Putin as the leader of a “national liberation movement” supposedly “fighting against foreign influence”. National Course works with Nikolai Starikov’s Great Fatherland party, and has expanded in Sevastopol, Crimea. Like the “Anti-Orange Committee”, it appears to have been created in reaction to the Bolotnaya Square Protests of 2011.]

In September that year, the Izborsky Club organized roundtable talks [archive] whose participants were:

  • Aleksandr Nagorny, the secretary of the Isborsky Club
  • Aleksey Angilopov
  • Vladimir Rogov
  • Galina Zaporozhtseva, chairperson of an organization called “Mothers of Ukraine”, and curiously also a Zavtra contributor [archive]
  • Pavel Gubarev
  • Anton Guryanov, the chairman of the Council of People’s Deputies of the Kharkiv People Republic
  • Darya Mitina
  • Yegor Kvasnyuk
  • Sergey Chernyakhovsky of the Izborsky Club
  • Ekaterina Abbasova of Lugansk
  • Said Gafurov, the husband of Darya Mitina
  • Aleksey Belozersky, the deputy chairman of Aleksay Angolopov’s Novaya Rus

Election Observers from the Far-Right

In November 2014, observers for elections in Novorossiya were organized by Luc Michel’s Eurasian Observatory of Democracy and Elections, Mateusz Piskorski’s European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis, and the Agency for Security and Cooperation in Europe of Austrian far-right politician Ewald Stadler, and included:

  • Frank Abernathy from the US-based EFS Investment Partners LLC
  • Fabrice Beaur from the Eurasian Observatory of Democracy and Elections and the National-European Communitarian Party
  • Alessandro Bertoldi from Forza Nuova
  • Fabrizio Bertot from Forza Nuova
  • Tamaz Bestayev
  • Anatoly Bibilov, then Speaker of the Parliament for the Republic of South Ossetia
  • Branislav Blažić from the misleadingly named right-wing Serbian Progressive Party
  • Aleksandr Brod
  • Mikhail Bryachak from A Just Russia
  • Frank Creyelman of Vlaams Belang
  • Stevica Deđanski of the Center for Development of International Cooperation. He is also a state secretary at the Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy, where his profile also lists him as leader of Nikita Tolstoy (a Serbian-Russian Friendship Association) and a Serbian Italian friendship association named Gabriele D’Annunzio, after one of the precursors of Italian fascism
  • Felipe Delgado of the Mediasiete Corporation
  • Aleksey Didenko from the far-right Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia
  • Vladimir Djukanovic of the Serbian Progressive Party
  • Jaroslav Doubrava from Severočeši.cz
  • Márton Gyöngyösi from Jobbik
  • Gábor Gyóni from the Eötvös Loránd University
  • Sasha Klein from Israel
  • Nikolay Kolomeytsev from the KPRF
  • Vladimir Krsljanin from the far-right Movement for Serbia
  • Georgios Lambroulis from the Communist Party of Greece
  • Renato A. Landeira from the Mediesiete Corporation
  • Viliam Longauer from the “Union of Fighters Against Fascism”
  • Max Lurie from Israeli Russian language news site Cursor Info
  • Lucio Malan from Forza Italia
  • Alessandro Musolino from Forza Italia
  • Manuel Ochsenreiter
  • Oleg Pakholkov from A Just Russia
  • Vladimir Rodin from the KPRF
  • Aleksandr Ronkin from Israeli Russian language newspaper Ekho
  • Slobodan Samardjiza
  • Jean-Luc Schaffhauser from the French far-right Rassemblement Bleu Marine
  • Georgi Sengalevich from Ataka
  • Leonid Slutskiy from the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia
  • Ewald Stadler from Die Reformkonservativen
  • Adrienn Szaniszló from Jobbik
  • Magdalena Tasheva from Ataka
  • Dragana Trifkovic from the Belgrade Center for Strategic Research, a former member of the Presidency of the right-wing Democratic Party of Serbia from which she was expelled [archive] in 2016. Trifkovic has collaborated with Manuel Ochsenreiter and written for his Zuerst! neo-Nazi magazine [archive]
  • Srđa Trifković
  • Evgeni Velkov
  • Galina Yartseva
  • Aleksandr Yushchenko from the KPRF
  • Sotirios Zarianopoulos from the Communist Party of Greece
  • Ladislav Zemánek from No to Brussels – Popular Democracy
  • Aleksey Zhuravlyov, the chairman of the Rodina party

Rodina

In 2003 Sergey Glazyev, Sergey Baburin (who had previously been a leader of the National Salvation Front), Dmitry Rogozin and other Russian politicians formed the Rodina bloc, a coalition which Dugin temporarily joined before disagreements over the group’s leadership, especially due to Dugin being disappointed by the party abandoning its initial National Bolshevik character in favor of what he saw as “crude nationalism” and his aversion to the monarchism of Rogozin [archive], caused him to leave. Rodina combines xenophobic, anti-LGBT, anti-abortion and ultra-conservative positions with opposition to oligarchs and the financial sector while adhering to a chauvinistic foreign policy and worshiping the Russian state in both its Tsarist and Stalinist forms, being effectively a fascist party.

In January 2005 a group of State Duma members including from Rodina and the KPRF, evoking anti-Semitic conspiracy theories by claiming that the world was “under the monetary and political control of international Judaism”, signed a petition to the prosecutor-general demanding the ban of all Jewish organizations in Russia on the same day Vladimir Putin was participating in the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz during WWII. Putin expressed shame over the petition, and while Rogozin had not signed the petition, he refused to condemn the Rodina members who had signed it. After this, frictions increased between Rogozin and Putin, and at the end of the same year Rodina came under investigation for running racist TV ads inciting racial hatred against migrants from the Caucasus and was barred from Moscow Duma elections in consequence.

Rodina has been described as a Kremlin project whose aim was to draw voters away from the National-Bolsheviks or from KPRF and liberals, eventually however becoming a force of its own, leading the Kremlin to oust its leader Dmitry Rogozin in 2006 and send him as ambassador to NATO to Brussels to rein the party in after Rogozin’s nationalist rhetoric led it to became too popular especially among opponents of Vladimir Putin, thus leading to fears it could overtake Putin’s United Russia in popularity, and Rodina itself was soon after merged into the A Just Russia opposition party in October that year. However Rodina was reinstated in 2012, with its chairman being Aleksey Zhuravlyov, a member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party who himself called the party “the President’s (Putin’s) black-ops force”, though control of the party would still be de facto in the hands of Rogozin, who has himself been Deputy Prime Minister and responsible of the Military-Industrial Commission for Putin’s administration since 2011.

In 2015, Rodina organized the “International Russian Conservative Forum” (IRCF), an attempt at forming a coalition of far-right parties. The conference was presided by Rodina’s chairman Zhuravlyov and was attended by [archive]:

  • Ataka
  • The Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association, itself founded by the far-right Lega Nord
  • Jared Taylor of the American Renaissance
  • The British Unity Party
  • The Alliance for Peace and Freedom
  • Igor Morozov, a member of the Federation Council of the Ryazan Oblast
  • Euro-Rus, a far-right group whose own page [archive] suggests both National Bolshevik and LaRouchite influences

The far-right Freedom Party of Austria and Serbian Radical Party were also scheduled to participate in the conference before dropping out of it.

The Alliance for Peace and Freedom itself includes:

  • Forza Nuova
  • The National Democratic Party of Germany
  • Party of the Swedes
  • Golden Dawn
  • National Democracy
  • Nation
  • The Danish Party

Later that same year, Rodina and the Russian Imperial Movement, another Russian far-right party, organized the founding conference of the World National-Conservative Movement (WNCM), which Alexander Reid Ross calls an attempt at creating a fascist internationale [archive] (Ross should know better than publishing this on the red-brown cesspool that CounterPunch is though). The chairman of the WNCM was Yuriy Lyubomirskiy, a member of Rodina. According to Anton Shekhovtsov, the WNCM was an outgrowth of the IRCF which had also been organized by Rodina that same year. An early warning sign of this attempt by Rodina to form a fascist internationale, according to Ross, was a conference organized in 2014 by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (which I explore below in the post), which is itself close to Rodina.

The participants of the WNCM included:

  • The Alliance for Peace of Freedom
  • The UK Life League, close to Britain First
  • Britain First, from the United Kingdom
  • The British Unity Party, from the United Kingdom
  • Jeune Nation, from France
  • Jobbik, from Hungary
  • The Slovak National Party, from Slovakia
  • The Congress of the New Right, from Poland
  • The Network Carpatho-Russian Movement, from Ukraine
  • The All-Polish Youth, from Poland
  • Falanga, from Poland
  • Blue Poland, from Poland
  • Serbian Action, from Serbia
  • Euro-Rus, from Belgium
  • The Polish National Convention, from Poland
  • The Center for Research of Orthodox Monarchism, from Serbia
  • The National Popular Front (ELAM), from Cyprus
  • Die Russlanddeutschen Konservativen, from Germany
  • Mișcărea Conservatoare, from Romania
  • Mișcarea Național, from Romania
  • The Nordic Resistance (which includes the Swedish Resistance and the Finnish Resistance)
  • Noua Dreaptă, from Romania
  • The Traditionalist Communion, from Spain
  • Action Française, from France
  • Renouveau Français, from France
  • Unité Continentale, from France, which has sent volunteers to fight alongside the Novorossiyan forces
  • Generace Identity, from the Czech Republic
  • Nordic Youth, from Sweden
  • Slovak Brotherhood, from Slovakia
  • The Finns Party, from Finland
  • Suomen Sisu, from Finland
  • Indentitarian Action, from Chine
  • Issuy-Kai, from Japan
  • Dayaar Mongol, from Mongolia
  • The New Political Party, from Thailand
  • The National Alliance for Democracy, from Thailand
  • The Worker’s Party of Social Justice, from the Czech Republic
  • Front Nasionaal, from South Africa
  • The National Movement, from Poland
  • National Democracy, from the Czech Republic
  • The Bulgarian National Union, from Bulgaria
  • The Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), a Third Positionist neo-Nazi organization in the United States whose political wing is the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP). The TYN/TWP is part of the American neo-fascist movement known as the “Alt-Right“, and has been actively working to network fascist groups in the United States, and in 2016 joined the fascist coalition named the Aryan Nationalist Alliance and later that year founded the Nationalist Front, a coalition of far-right groups in the United States
  • Millennium, also known as the Italian Communitarian Party, an Eurasianist organization who shares an ideology close to that of Aleksandr Dugin’s neo-Eurasianism and has been cooperating with Dugin for years. Millennium has sent “anti-fascist” volunteers to eastern Ukraine to support Novorossiya
  • The League of the South, a member of the TWP’s Nationalist Front [archive]
  • The American Freedom Party
  • The American Renaissance, part of the American neo-fascist movement known as the “Alt-Right
  • The British National Party
  • Tomislav Sunic
  • David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
  • Kevin McDonald
  • The Serbian Radical Party
  • Sam Dickson, a former lawyer for the Ku Klux Klan
  • The Russian National Cultural Center
  • Rodina
  • The Russian Imperial Movement
  • The Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a Syrian fascist party which I explore in the next part of this post

Which leads us to the war in Syria, where the fascist right has supported the Damascus regime, with the far-right all around the world rallying around Assad. It might be surprising at first, unless one is aware of the ties between the Ba’ath regime and the far-right going back to the days of the Cold War, when Hafez al-Assad sheltered Alois Brunner, the assistant of Adolf Eichmann. Brunner would help Assad restructure the Ba’athist state’s secret services on a model based on the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS. Another important link between the Syrian regime and fascists worldwide is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) is a fascist organization founded in 1932 by Antun Saadeh, an admirer of Hitler who was well-acquainted in Nazism, and is described as a “Levantine clone of the Nazi party in almost every aspect”, being extremely anti-Semitic from its onset (which was about a decade before the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of the colonial Israeli state), adopting a reversed swastika as party symbol and singing the party’s anthem to the tune of Deutschland über Alles, the national anthem by the Nazi regime. Saadeh would later however come to openly deny his organization was fascist after an attempt by the SSNP to obtain assistance in the form of military training from Nazi Germany was rejected by the then German consul to Syria, though his party never ceased to be a fascist organization in practice, as evidenced by a reactionary diatribe on the Facebook page of its Iraqi branch in 2017 railing against “Cultural Marxism”, political correctness and feminism [archive].

The SSNP’s ideology seeks the establishment of a “Greater Syria” [archive] which would include the modern states of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Cyprus and the Sinai, corresponding roughly to the borders of the ancient neo-Assyrian and neo-Babylonian Empires, and it differs from Nazi ideology in that rejects racialist conception of a Syrian nation and bases it instead on geographical and cultural terms, thus making the SSNP’s ideology closer to that of Francis Yockey and the European New Right.

In 1949, a series of three coups happened in Syria, the first overthrowing Syria’s first president and the third leading to Adib Shishakli, a military officer from the SSNP, seizing power and imposing military rule under which newspapers were banned and all political parties dissolved [archive]. Far from being an enemy of Israel, Shishakli’s regime accepted funding from the US in exchange of settling Palestinian refugees in Syria and giving them Syrian citizenship as part of the imperialist erasure of the Palestinian people while still supported by the SSNP. Shishakli would later be overthrown in a coup by the Syrian Communist Party and the Ba’ath Party in 1954 and the SSNP was banned in Syria in 1955 after a SSNP member assassinated Adnan al-Malki, an army officer from the Ba’ath Party.

Following Hafez al-Assad coming to power and the Lebanese Civil War during which the Lebanese branch of the SSNP allied with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, the SSNP and the Syrian regime moved closer since Assad saw the SSNP as a useful proxy in Lebanon while the SSNP saw Assad as one way through which their project of a Greater Syria could be established due to Assad’s attempts to gain hegemony on Lebanon and Palestine. Thus the SSNP was slowly tolerated under Hafez’s dictatorship and under his son Bashar, the SSNP was allowed to join the Ba’ath led ruling coalition, and was legalized in 2005. When the crisis in Syria started in 2011, the SSNP threw its weight behind Bashar al-Assad, participating in pro-government demonstrations and fighting on the side of the state forces, and while the SSNP had joined the Syrian parliamentary opposition coalition in 2012, it withdrew from the coalition in 2014 because unlike its other members it supported the re-election of Bashar al-Assad.

The SSNP, Fascists and Syria

Before the outbreak of the Syrian Revolution, Issa el-Ayoubi, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of the SSNP [archive] who is presently the vice-president of the Voltaire Network [archive], attended the Axis for Peace conference by conspiracist Thierry Meyssan in 2005 [archive] (see below). The SSNP and the Lebanese branch of the Baath Party appear to have contributed interviews to an edition of Eurasianist magazine Geopolitica in 2007 to which Claudio Mutti, Tiberio Graziani and Webster Tarpley also contributed to [archive]. The unsurprising result was that since the people’s uprising started in Syria, Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah media consistently ran a number of conspiracy theorists more or less close to the fascist network including William Engdahl [archive], Webster Tarpley [archive] (who was in Syria in 2011 [archive]), Chossudovsky [archive], Thierry Meyssan [archive] and Kevin Barrett [archive] who immediately branded the uprising as a Western plot.

Conspiracy Theorists

F. William Engdahl and Webster Tarpley

William Engdahl and Webster Tarpley are “former” members of the LaRouche Movement, who are now professional conspiracy theorists associated with larger fascist circles where they promote conspiracies with a distinctly LaRouchite flavor.

While Engdahl claims to no longer be associated with far-right or conspiracist groups, he has been involved in 2011 discussions concerning the creation of a Eurasian Union with Aleksandr Dugin [archive]. Wikileaks employee, long-time (from 2000 until now) Zavtra contributor [archive] and Holocaust denier Israel Shamir, who had handed unredacted cables to Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko a year before, attended these discussions.

Engdahl is presently on the Advisory Board of Veterans Today [archive], a virulently anti-Semitic website which promotes Holocaust denial extensively [archive] and lists Ernst Zundel on its Editorial Board’s In Memoriam section. In the introduction on Engdahl’s own website which carefully omits his involvement with LaRouche, he is listed as a Research Associate for the Centre for Research on Globalization [archive], a conspiracist website which describes itself as “a major source on the New World Order”. Engdahl is on the scientific committee of the Eurasianist journal Geopolitica, whose editor is Tiberio Graziani, himself a member of the High Council [archive] of Aleksandr Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement. Engdahl and Dugin are also both on the board of Eurasia, an Eurasianist journal headed by Claudio Mutti.

[Note: Aymeric Chauprade is on the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica.]

Engdahl also contributes to the New Eastern Outlook [archive], a journal published by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which strangely lists Engdahl’s website and the Holocaust denying Veterans Today as media partners [archive]. Content found on the New Eastern Outlook includes Islamophobic conspiracy theories [archive], Soros conspiracy theories [archive], “globalist” conspiracy theories [archive], “Rothschild” conspiracy theories [archive], and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Russian Revolution [archive]. Webster Tarpley, on the other hand, wrote around 110 articles for the Voltaire Network of Thierry Meyssan between 2009 and 2016 [archive] and since then appears to have founded his own conspiracist outlet [archive] named The American System Network.

When the Arab Spring started, RT hosted Engdahl, who claimed

RT hosted Tarpley too, where he claimed that:

Kevin Barrett

A PhD holder in Islamic Studies, Kevin Barrett is conspiracy theorist who regularly blames “Zionists” and Mossad for various crises in a way that, far from being legitimate leftist critiques of Zionism and the Israeli state, are in fact rooted in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. About Barrett, Matthew Lyons of Political Research Associates says that “when someone like Barrett talks about ‘Zionism,’ he’s not really talking about the movement of Jewish nationalism that created and supports the state of Israel, he’s talking about Jews — the demonic scapegoat mythical version of the Jews.”

Barrett happens to be a member of the Editorial Board of Veterans Today [archive] along with Engdahl, and contributes to the No Lies Radio, a conspiracist channel devoted mainly to 9/11 conspiracy theories and claiming the War on Terror is itself part of an elaborate conspiracy where jihadists are a tool for the US to create a “New World Order”, and to the American Free Press, a white nationalist and anti-Semitic publication which is also the successor of the Spotlight newspaper published by Willis Carto’s Liberty Lobby.

RT hosted Barrett multiple times, where he claimed that:

Thierry Meyssan and the Voltaire Network

In a trajectory paralleling that of Lyndon LaRouche, Thierry Meyssan started as a leftist in the 90s as a member of the French left-wing Parti Radical de Gauche, and founded the Voltaire Network as a source of investigations into the far-right and in support of secularism before moving into the milieu of conspiracy theories in the 2000s by publishing 9/11: The Big Lie and Pentagate, two conspiracist books alleging the 9/11 attacks had been done by the US military-industrial complex to find a pretext for a supposedly long-planned war on Afghanistan, and which were among the prime vehicles for 9/11 conspiracy theories worldwide.

The following years were marked by increasing anti-Semitism on the Voltaire Network, with former members testifying administrators were speaking of “Jewish lobbies” and branded Jewish members of the Network involved in Palestinian solidarity as “Zionists” due to the influence of red-brown militants advocating for querfronts against Western imperialism, and Meyssan seeking to obtain financing from various authoritarian states. In 2005, Meyssan admitted Claude Karnoouh, a Holocaust denier, to the administrative council of the Voltaire Network during a general assembly where an anti-Semitic movie by Dieudonné Mbala Mbala was played.

[Note: Dieudonné Mbala Mbala, more commonly known as simply Dieudonné, started as a left-wing anti-racist activist opposed to the French National Front in the 90s before moving to the far-right in the 2000s, associating with neo-fascist Alain Soral and allying to Jean-Marie le Pen (who became the godfather of Dieudonné’s daughter), platforming Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and disparaging Holocaust memorial in 2008, and wishing atrocities committed during the Holocaust on a Jewish celebrity in 2013, following which his shows were banned.]

In 2005, Meyssan organized the Axis for Peace Colloquium, whose theme was that 9/11 was an inside job, and that al-Qaeda is a proxy of the CIA and the MI5 against Syria and Iran, something LaRouche had also asserted two years prior [archive]. This conference [archivewas attended by [archive], among others [archive]:

In 2006, Meyssan visited Syria along with Dieudonné, Alain Soral and Frederic Chatillon, who organized their visit, and toured Syria with Manaff Tlass, the son of Mustafa Tlass, the former Syrian Minister of Defense and the head of the Syrian secret services under Hafez al-Assad. Mustafa Tlass had himself been trained by Alois Brunner, a Nazi war criminal and assistant of Adolf Eichmann who participated in the Holocaust before fleeing to Syria after WWII and helping Hafez al-Assad restructure the Syrian secret services on a model inspired by the Gestapo and the Waffen-SS.

[Note: Frédéric Chatillon is a former president of the far-right Groupe Union Défence (GUD) and presently an advisor to Marine Le Pen. Chatillon owns Riwal, a company which works with the Syrian Ministry of Tourism, and was an associate of Mustafa Tlass. When the popular protest movement started in Syria in 2011, Chatillon immediately blamed it on the “Zionist lobby”, and in November 2014 Chatillon’s GUD organized an “Awakening of Nations” conference [archive] whose participants included fascist groups like CasaPound, the Republican Social Movement, Liga Joven, ELAM, Nation, the Mouvement D’Action Sociale, and Synthèse Nationale.]

[Note: Alain Soral is a former French Marxist who was involved in the French Communist Party in the early to mid-90s before advocating for a red-brown alliance between the far-right and the far-left against capitalism and “global Zionism” in the late 90s and later joining the National Front. Soral became a friend of Marine le Pen and was an advisor of Jean-Marie le Pen during the latter’s presidential campaign of 2007 and integrated the Central Committee of the National Front [archive]. He created his own neo-fascist organization, Égalité et Réconciliation, that same year with Dieudonné and former GUD members Jildaz Mahé O’Chinal and Philippe Péninque, and supported by Frédéric Chatillon. Soral left the National Front in 2009 and has written the foreword of Aleksandr Dugin’s book The Fourth Political Theory. Soral is also in charge of [archive] far-right publishing house Kontre Kulture (whose name is reminiscent of the position of the National Bolshevik Party in the post-Soviet Russian counter-culture, and of the European New Right’s metapolitical approach for cultural hegemony, a rhetoric which is also present within the US reactionary movement) which has published, among others, Mein Kampf and Alain de Benoist.]

[Note: Another collaborator of Dieudonne and Soral [archive], Kemi Seba, who is the ideologue of a fascist form of Kemetism and Pan-Africanism inspired by the Nation of Islam. Organizations led by Seba enagaged in openly anti-Semitic activity and were been banned in France as result, and in 2009 he founded the Mouvement des Damnés de l’Impérialisme (Movement of the Wretched of Imperialism, abbreviated MDI) which, despite its name harking back to revolutionary Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, is in fact a fascist organization which describes itself as being “ethnopluralist”, promotes Holocaust denier Ginnette Skandrani (see below) and whose membership included Holocaust denier and Cambodian Genocide denier Serge Thion. Seba collaborates with Hezbollah, was received by Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2015 [archive], and more recently was invited and welcomed to Moscow by Aleksandr Dugin [archive] in December 2017 with the aim of forming an alliance to create a “multipolar world” [archive] after he was deported from Senegal to France earlier that same year.

Close to this group is Yahia Gouasmi, who had once collaborated with Iranian intelligence in an assassination attempt against an Iranian dissident. Gouasmi founded and runs the Zahra Center [archive], which in 2008 organized a Quds Day rally (an initiative which was itself started by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini), attended by [archive] Dieudonne, Kemi Seba’s MDI, and Holocaust denier Ginnette Skandrani. In 2009, Gouasmi started the “Anti-Zionist Party” which, despite its name is not merely anti-Zionist and does not only oppose the Israeli state, but is outright anti-Semitic, its party program claiming France is controlled by a “Zionist lobby” and that “power needs to be given to France and French people again” [archive], and its candidates [archive] for the European elections of 2009 including fascists Dieudonne and Alain Soral, Emannuelle Grilli (former member of the far-right Renouveau Francais and member of the national-socialist Parti Solidaire Francais) and Holocaust deniers Maria Poumier and Ginnette Skandrani. Gouasmi appears to have met Hassan Nasrallah and been interviewed by Iranian state tv network SAHAR according to [archive] the website of another organization run by Gouasmi, the Shiite Federation of France (note: one must bear in mind that Gouasmi’s organization is not representative of Shi’a Islam and does not represent French Shiites either. Principled radical anti-racism requires fighting against anti-Shi’a sectarianism).]

In 2008, Meyssan would declare [archive] he is willing to work with everyone from the far-right to the far-left against imperialism, effectively echoing both LaRouche and the European New Right, while also announcing he works with al-Manar, the official channel of Hezbollah, and with Iranian state media, as well as allowing Iranian authorities to publish his work. Therefore, conspiracist Meyssan unsurprisingly declared that the 2009 protests in Iran against electoral fraud was a “Color Revolution” plotted by the United States [archive] and especially Hillary Clinton [archive], a position similar to LaRouche’s who blamed the protest movement on the British. Meyssan’s conspiracy theories based on anti-American geopolitics appear to be influenced by both LaRouche and the European New Right, while his support for Hugo Chavez is something he shares only with the latter movement as LaRouche believes Chavez is a puppet of the British.

Meyssan’s website publishes William Engdahl [archive] (quoting his conspiracy theories about the Arab Spring in 2011 itself [archive]), who himself quotes Meyssan [archive] (whom he called a Damascus-based French Middle-Eastern Expert) in his own articles. Meyssan is himself a Katehon contributor [archive]. Meyssan’s website is listed by Soral’s Égalité et Réconciliation as a friendly website [archive], publishes Leonid Savin of Dugin’s International Eurasianist Movement [archive], and Mikhail Leontyev [archive], who himself references Meyssan in his articles [archive]. Meyssan has been hosted on RT too concerning the war [archivein Syria [archive] and Libya [archive].

Michel Chossudovsky and Global Research

Meyssan’s website is also an associate of The Center for Research on Globalization (more commonly known as Global Research), founded, edited and directed by Michel Chossudovsky, a former left-wing economist involved in the anti-globalization movement and Professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa who has since then moved towards Milosevic apologia [archive] and promoting the same idea as Meyssan and LaRouche that 9/11 was a CIA false flag plot whose aim is to usher the “New World Order” [archive].

Global Research called the Voltaire Network its “partner media group” in 2011 [archive], has been republishing Meyssan as from 2002 [archive] and has been quoted by Meyssan concerning Syria in September 2011 itself [archive] (Chossudovsky himself was a Voltaire Network contributor from 2009 to 2011 [archive]). Global Research has been [archivequoted by LaRouche, and Global Research reshared [archivearticles [archiveby [archiveLaRouche [archive] and by [archiveAleksandr Dugin [archive].

Among Global Research‘s former and present “Research Associates” are William Engdahl [archive] and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya [archive]. Engdahl, Nazemroaya and Chossudovsky all happen to be on the scientific committee of the Eurasianist journal Geopolitica, whose editor is Tiberio Graziani, a member of the High Council [archive] of Aleksandr Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement. Another “Research Associate” of Global Research is James Petras, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who claims the United States is controlled by “Jewish power” [archive], blames Israel for 9/11 [archive] (while there are valid criticisms of the Israeli state and its policies, this is clearly an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory) and the 2008 financial crisis [archive] on something called the “Zionist Power Configuration”, which appears to be another formulation of the neo-Nazi “Zionist Occupation Government” anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and has been criticized by leftist writers for this). Petras is [archivea [archiveregular [archive] on Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett’s show.

Chossudovsky is also a member of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation founded by former Malaysian Prime Minister and virulent anti-Semite Mahathir Mahamad, and collaborated with the Perdana Global Peace Foundation [archive]. Chossudovsky spoke at a conference on the “New World Order” by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation in 2015.

The Global Research website reflects its owner’s present membership within fascist circles, extensively [archivepublishing [archive9/11 [archiveconspiracy [archivetheories [archive] as well as a large number of other far-right conspiracist material presented as left-wing analysis (a phenomenon termed Confusionnism by French anti-fascists) such as:

Global Research also reshares posts [archive] from InfoWars [archive] and Global Research is itself [archivereshared [archive] by Infowars. Chossudovsky himself has been hosted by Alex Jones [archiveas well [archiveand by [archiveThe Corbett Report, another conspiracist outlet rambling about the “New World Order“[archive] and the “globalists” [archive] and hosts far-right figures such as Stefan Molyneux [archive]. James Corbett, who runs The Corbett Report, is himself the Film Director and Producer for Global Research TV [archiveand [archivehas been [archivehosted on RT [archive].

As early as 2007 and 2009, the Centre was publishing conspiracies concerning Syria and oil pipelines by Nazemroaya [archive] and Engdahl [archive], and as soon as the Syrian protest movement started in 2011, Chossudovsky the conspiracist himself advanced it was an imperialist plot to destabilize Syria [archive]. Chossudovsky, who was already a guest of RT since at least 2010 [archive], would be then given a platform on Russia Today, now known as RTto [archivevoice out [archivethese conspiracies [archive] on multiple occasions [archive].

The SSNP’s Networking

These are the recorded cases of the SSNP’s activity with the participation of other far-right groups I was able to find following the outbreak of the Syrian Revolution:

2011

Already in November 2011, Stefano Bonilauri of Claudio Mutti’s Stato e Potenza (see further below in the section about Kiyul Chung) visited the Assad regime on the behalf of the Coordination of the Eurasia Project, a Duginist organization [archive] (of which he is the director and signed an open letter [archive] to the European Parliament in support of Muammar Gaddafi in March of that year). Ouday Ramadan, the SSNP’s Italian representative, was photographed together with Bonilauri in Damascus.

2012

In April 2012, members of the Italian far-right Zenit Cultural Association (which lists Mutti’s Eurasia journal on its blog [archive], and whose leader Matteo Caponetti also founded the European Solidarity Front for Kosovo [archive]) and Controtempo groups organized [archive] a conference with Jamal Abo Abbas of the Syrian Community in Italy organization and Matteo Bernabei, editor of the far-right newspaper Rinascita. Some weeks later, Abo Abbas and Bernabei led a delegation to Syria which included Filippo Fortunato Pilato, an Italian fascist from Forza Nuova [archive].

In June 2012, Ouday Ramadan, the SSNP’s Italian representative and councillor of the Italian municipality of Cascina for the Party of Italian Communists (which would later rename itself as the Communist Party of Italy and then as the Italian Communist Party), and Filippo Fortunato Pilato, organized a protest in support of Assad whose participants included:

  • Udo Gaudenzi, a former member of Lotta di Popoli and editor of Rinascita
  • Fulvio Grimaldi and Marinella Correggia
  • Guiseppe “Joe” Fallisi, a singer and self-proclaimed Anarchist whose support for Gaddafi and Assad led him to associate with fascists
  • Hilarion Capucci
  • Jamal Abo Abbas
  • Giulietto Chiesa
  • Zenit
  • The European Social Movement
  • Stato e Potenza

In September 2012 [archive], Syrian Free Press, a pro-Assad website ran by Ramadan and Pilato [archive], and the Syrian Community in Italy association, organized a conference where the speakers included [archive]:

  • Ouday Ramadan
  • Hilarion Capucci
  • Ugo Gaudenzi
  • Fernando Rossi
  • Souaid Sbai
  • Mimmo Srour
  • Stefano Bonilauri
  • Joe Fallisi
  • Ernesto Ferrante
  • Alessandro Catalano

Another delegation [archive] led by Ouday Ramadan and including Stefano de Simone and Giovanni Feola, the founders of CasaPound, visited Syria shortly after the chemical attacks that same year.

2013

In June 2013, Ramadan and Pilato led the visit of a delegation to the Assad regime by the European Solidarity Front for Syria (ESFS), a coalition of various fascist organizations united in support for the Assad regime and whose coordinator and responsible is Matteo Caponetti [archive]. The delegation’s participants included:

  • the former Italian Communist Party senator Fernando Rossi
  • Stefano de Simone and Giovanni Feola, the founders of CasaPound
  • Fernando Rossi, a former senator for the Party of Italian Communists
  • Cristiano Perro of Stato e Potenza

In June 2013, a delegation including Bartosz Bekier, the leader of Falanga who had taken part in a pro-Assad demonstration at the invitation of the Syrian embassy in Poland the previous