Friday, January 19, 2018

Something for the weekend

Can't believe I've kept this up for three weeks in a row now. It'll soon crumble. Today, once again, the main focus is on fascism and the right.

The far right 

1. In my last post, I named 14 people killed by far right activists in the US in 2017. According to a report this week by the ADL, it turns out there were 18 killings. I missed out Charles Davis, killed in July, Jorge Slaughter in June, and Nazis Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelmann, killed by a fellow Nazi who converted to Islam, as well as a number of incidents of white supremacists killing people in non-political incidents or killing each other in internal feuds, which means the total using the ADL methodology is actually higher than they state.

Newsweek summarises:
The center counted a total of 34 people killed by domestic extremists, of which 18 were killed by white supremacists, more than double the number from the previous year. In the past decade, right-wing extremism made up 71 percent of extremist-related murders, compared with 26 percent of murders by Islamic extremists. 
The ADL say "The 18 white supremacist murders included several killings linked to the alt right as that movement expanded its operations in 2017 from the internet into the physical world – raising the likely possibility of more such violent acts in the future."

2. Spencer Sunshine has another thorough and important piece up about Steve Bannon and his "washed out" antisemitism - coded antisemitism, far right influences and his influence on the far right scene.

3. This blog has an incredibly long and super thorough account of red-brown alliances and third positionism. If anyone has contact with the author, please ask them to give me a shout, as I'd love to repost bits of it. Coatesy has some good extracts and comments.

4. For one example of red-brown crossover in the pro-Assad scene, meet Tim Anderson of the University of Sydney.

5. At the Institute for Social Ecology website, Steven Henderson has a good piece on alt-right entrism in the Rojava solidarity scene (H/T Spencer).

Labour Party politricks

Although I am generally supportive of Labour moving to the left, I am a bit concerned about some of the results of the recent (19% turnout!) NEC election, as documented in these posts: Rob Marchant on Momentum and antisemitism and Coatesy on new NEC member Yasmine Dar's support for the Iranian regime. For the critical voice within Momentum, check out The Clarion, including this call, from a Lewisham East CLP member, for Thornberry and Corbyn to back workers' rights in Iran. Also: a reminder that Shiraz Socialist has moved, to here (with dreadful orange colour scheme).

Hezbollah in the UK

The CST have a very interesting report on Hezbollah, in advance of a parliamentary debate about banning its political as well as military arm.

Amateur geopolitical commentary

I wrote an extremely long summary on Twitter of the current situation in NW Syria, including the return of ISIS and Turkish aggression against majority-Kurdish Afrin, which has had a surprising number of retweets. Start here if you're interested:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Who is Tim Anderson?

This is the first in a series of posts where I simply cut and paste published information about some of the names I frequently see quoted on social media. It does not contain any new analysis,  but is designed as a resource to refer to if these names come up. It's going to go roughly alphabetically, so I'm starting with Tim Anderson. If I've missed anything, add a comment or DM me, and I'll update.

Timothy Anderson is an Australian academic whose memes on social media get quite a lot of air play among conspiracy theorists. In 2016, he sparked considerable controversy when he was invited to speak at a conference was organised by Stop The War and others about the refugee crisis, with no refugee speakers. He has been a key figure in the circulation of smears against the White Helmets, Syria's Civil Defense volunteers.

Picture: Tim Anderson meeting Assad in Damascus, December 2013

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday reading

I'm going to try and do this more often, like I used to, a quick, simple round-up of some of the good stuff I've read during the week.

Fascism in America

Freedom's flame globally

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Miscellaneous reads

These are some of the tabs I've had open on my machine for the last month or two: interesting, mostly longish reads, some of them highly recommended, especially the first bunch.

The alt-left and the war on truth
Radical thought
The Middle East
Left antisemitism
The Labour Party
Race, culture, identity

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Counterpunch and the Kremlin trolls

The first email arrived in the inbox of CounterPunch, a left-leaning American news and opinion website, at 3:26 a.m. — the middle of the day in Moscow. “Hello, my name is Alice Donovan and I’m a beginner freelance journalist,” read the Feb. 26, 2016, message. 
The FBI was tracking Donovan as part of a months-long counterintelligence operation code-named “NorthernNight.” Internal bureau reports described her as a pseudonymous foot soldier in an army of Kremlin-led trolls seeking to undermine America’s democratic institutions. 
Her first articles as a freelancer for CounterPunch and at least 10 other online publications weren’t especially political. As the 2016 presidential election heated up, Donovan’s message shifted. Increasingly, she seemed to be doing the Kremlin’s bidding by stoking discontent toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and touting WikiLeaks, which U.S. officials say was a tool of Russia’s broad influence operation to affect the presidential race. “There’s no denying the emails that Julian Assange has picked up from inside the Democratic Party are real,” she wrote in August 2016 for a website called We Are Change. “The emails have exposed Hillary Clinton in a major way — and almost no one is reporting on it.”
Bill Weinberg adds:
Do the writings of "Donovan" actually show a "bias against war and for peace"? Let's take a look at the Counterpunch website and see. Oh wait, we can't. "Her" stories all seem to have been removed. But one, "US-led Coalition Airstrike On Assad's Forces Was Not Accidental," is replaced [with] an "Editor's Note" stating that, "We have since determined that the article was actually written by Sophie Mangal, co-editor of Inside Syria Media. We apologize to Ms. Mangal for the mis-attribution." Review it at the Inside Syria Media site, and it is the typical trumpery for the genocidal dictatorship of Bashar Assad. ...
Both Counterpunch and WaPo say that "Donovan" also wrote for the sinister-wacky Veterans Today, which is hardly surprising. But it is pretty hilarious to hear St. Clair dissing Veterans Today as "a cranky conspiracy site." His own Counterpunch has identically abysmal standards, even providing a soapbox for Bouthaina Shaaban, official public relations flack for the Assad regime. We've noted before the political overlap between Counterpunch and Veterans Today, both enamored of the paleocon right. The former still tries to maintain some pseudo-left creds, even as it has become reliably reactionary. We've been pointing this out for years, but we fail to see how anyone can now miss it. 
One explanation for the blindness is the ingrained Russophilia on the "left," an ahistorical Cold War holdover. We can already hear the accusations that our headline referencing "Kremlin propaganda" is "red-baiting." How long can this illusion persist? Putin's Russia is today thoroughly capitalist and far closer to fascism than communism. Its state apparatus obviously connived in bringing our own wannabe fascist Trump to power. Wake up and smell the vodka. This persistent error among self-identified progressives points again to an emerging Red-Brown Politics—the incredibly dangerous notion of a left alliance with fascism.

Counterpunch is today a more pernicious exponent of the post-truth era than any of the "MSM" outlets we're all supposed to love to hate. Stop treating it as a legitimate source.
Meanwhile, the Counterpunch page at Wikipedia just had its section on Israel Shamir deleted again. I restored it but am copying the deleted section here, for posterity: