Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1086 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 1

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: Begin­ning an overview of bur­geon­ing fas­cism around the world, this pro­gram com­mences with fur­ther doc­u­men­ta­tion of the oper­a­tion and her­itage of fas­cism in Ukraine.

We begin with dis­cus­sion of a Kyiv legal deci­sion main­tain­ing that the C14 mili­tia of the Svo­bo­da orga­ni­za­tion is not a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion.

A lawyer for C14 asserts that the group, while nation­al­ist, is not neo-Nazi in nature and label­ing it a neo-Nazi group hurt its “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion”.

And the Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court agreed, rul­ing that Hro­madske TV couldn’t estab­lish that C14 – a group named after David Lane’s “14 words” white suprema­cist slo­gan – was actu­al­ly a neo-Nazi group. As a result, Hro­madske TV has to retract its tweet and pay 3,500 hryvnyas ($136) in court fees for C14. 

This despite the fact not­ed in the arti­cle below that: ” . . . . [C14’s] own mem­bers have admit­ted to join­ing it because of its neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy . . . .”

It’s a sign of how far along the main­stream­ing of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi groups is in Ukraine:  If you call the open neo-Nazis “neo-Nazis”, they can sue you and win.

As the arti­cle also notes, C14’s youth cadre is fund­ed by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment: “ . . . . Nev­er­the­less, C14 has received state fund­ing for two years run­ning from the Min­istry of Youth and Sport to con­duct “nation­al-patri­ot­ic edu­ca­tion” cours­es at sum­mer camps for the country’s youth. . . . .”

In FTR #907,we not­ed the pro­found pres­ence of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists in the Unit­ed States, as well as their oper­a­tional con­nec­tions to the Third Reich. In FTR #1072, we not­ed the Ukrain­ian youth cadre in the U.S., and its affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine.

Our next sto­ry flesh­es out these con­nec­tions, not­ing:

1. The CYM orga­ni­za­tion and its pres­ence in the U.S.

2. The deci­sive involve­ment of post-World War II emi­gres in the growth of that move­ment.

3. CYM’s close affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B.

4. CYM’s uni­formed, mil­i­tary ori­en­ta­tion: ” . . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .”

Next, we high­light the fas­cist ascent in the Baltic states.

In Esto­nia, the EKRE par­ty is imple­ment­ing a fas­cist agen­da, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on an anti-immi­grant theme, in a coun­try that has had lit­tle immi­gra­tion.
In addi­tion, the par­ty has tar­get­ed the LGBT milieu and “glob­al­iza­tion,” as well as resus­ci­tat­ing Nazi eco­nom­ic the­o­ry and prac­tice.

After review of Carl Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats, as well as Lund­strom’s cen­tral role in financ­ing the Pirate Bay site (which host­ed Wik­iLeaks, cour­tesy of Julian Assange’s fas­cist asso­ciate Joran Jermas/Israel Shamir), we delve into the oper­a­tions of Lund­strom’s asso­ciates.

Uti­liz­ing the anti-immi­grant theme uti­lized with great effect by fas­cists around the world, the Swe­den Democ­rats are gain­ing ground on the Swedish polit­i­cal land­scape.

Key points of dis­cus­sion include: The Nazi ori­gins of the Swe­den Democ­rats; the Waf­fen SS back­ground of one of the par­ty’s founders; net­work­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats with fas­cists and reac­tionar­ies in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S., France and Ger­many; the piv­otal role of the inter­net in advanc­ing the for­tunes of the Swe­den Democ­rats.

1. We begin with dis­cus­sion of a Kyiv legal deci­sion main­tain­ing that the C14 mili­tia of the Svo­bo­da orga­ni­za­tion is not a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion.

A lawyer for C14 asserts that the group, while nation­al­ist, is not neo-Nazi in nature and label­ing it a neo-Nazi group hurt its “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion”. And the Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court agreed, rul­ing that Hro­madske TV couldn’t estab­lish that C14 – a group named after David Lane’s “14 words” white suprema­cist slo­gan – was actu­al­ly a neo-Nazi group. As a result, Hro­madske TV has to retract its tweet and pay 3,500 hryvnyas ($136) in court fees for C14. 

This despite the fact not­ed in the arti­cle below that: ” . . . . [C14’s] own mem­bers have admit­ted to join­ing it because of its neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy . . . .”

It’s a sign of how far along the main­stream­ing of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi groups is in Ukraine:  If you call the open neo-Nazis “neo-Nazis”, they can sue you and win.

“Ukrain­ian Court Rules Against News Out­let That Called Vio­lent Far-Right Group ‘Neo-Nazi’” by Christo­pher Miller, Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty, 08/06/2019

A Ukrain­ian court has ruled in favor of a vio­lent far-right orga­ni­za­tion labeled a “nation­al­ist hate group” by the U.S. State Depart­ment that claimed a news out­let dam­aged its rep­u­ta­tion when it labeled it as “neo-Nazi” in a tweet last year.

The inde­pen­dent Hro­mad­sk­thate TV said in a state­ment on August 6 that the Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court decid­ed that the out­let could not pro­vide suf­fi­cient evi­dence to sup­port its claim that C14, which takes its name from a 14-word phrase used by white suprema­cists, and whose own mem­bers have admit­ted to join­ing it because of its neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, was, in fact, a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion.

The rul­ing orders Hro­madske TV to retract its tweet and pay 3,500 hryvnyas ($136) in court fees for C14.

“The deci­sion is incor­rect and ille­gal, it intro­duces an egre­gious ten­den­cy that sup­press­es free­dom of speech. We will appeal it,” said Oksana Tchaikovs­ka, an attor­ney for Hro­madske TV.

Hro­madske TV’s edi­tor in chief, Angeli­na Karyak­i­na, said she was “sur­prised by the deci­sion. . . .

. . . . Karyak­i­na said that Hro­madske stood by its char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of C14 as neo-Nazi despite the rul­ing.

RFE/RL could not reach C14 mem­bers for com­ment. Hro­madske TV said C14 had declined its request for com­ment on the rul­ing, but it spoke to a lawyer who rep­re­sent­ed the group at a pre­vi­ous court hear­ing.

“The posi­tion of C14 is that they are not a neo-Nazi group in their activ­i­ties or in the nature of their activ­i­ties,” Vic­tor Moroz was quot­ed by Hro­madske TV as say­ing. “They are a nation­al­ist group, but they are by no means neo-Nazi.”

He said that Hro­madske TV call­ing the orga­ni­za­tion neo-Nazi harmed the “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion” of C14.

Oth­er media out­lets, as well as human rights orga­ni­za­tions such as the Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group, have also referred to C14 as neo-Nazi.

The tweet that led to the law­suit was pub­lished by Hro­madske TV’s Eng­lish-lan­guage account on May 4, 2018.

In the tweet, Hro­madske called C14 a “neo-Nazi group” when report­ing that sev­er­al of its mem­bers had seized a Brazil­ian man who fought on the side of Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratists against Ukrain­ian forces dur­ing the five-year war still rag­ing in the country’s east­ern Don­bas region. . . .

. . . . Oth­er mem­bers of C14 have been behind sev­er­al vio­lent attacks against minor­i­ty groups, includ­ing the Romany com­mu­ni­ty. In some cas­es, they have live-streamed and post­ed videos and pho­tographs of those attacks on social media.

The group’s vio­lent actions and imagery, along with its hate­ful posts have led to it being banned from Face­book, com­pa­ny offi­cials told RFE/RL.

Nev­er­the­less, C14 has received state fund­ing for two years run­ning from the Min­istry of Youth and Sport to con­duct “nation­al-patri­ot­ic edu­ca­tion” cours­es at sum­mer camps for the country’s youth.

2. In FTR #907, we not­ed the pro­found pres­ence of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists in the Unit­ed States, as well as their oper­a­tional con­nec­tions to the Third Reich. In FTR #1072, we not­ed the Ukrain­ian youth cadre in the U.S., and its affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine.

Our next sto­ry flesh­es out these con­nec­tions, not­ing:

1. The CYM orga­ni­za­tion and its pres­ence in the U.S.

2. The deci­sive involve­ment of post-World War II emi­gres in the growth of that move­ment.

3. CYM’s close affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B.

4. CYM’s uni­formed, mil­i­tary ori­en­ta­tion: ” . . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .”


“Ukrain­ian Youth Orga­ni­za­tion CYM thriv­ing in Amer­i­ca” by Askold Krushel­ny­cky; Kyiv Post; 07/29/2019

The Kyiv Post joined hun­dreds of peo­ple who came to a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can Youth Asso­ci­a­tion camp and resort in New York state for an extend­ed week­end that includ­ed cel­e­brat­ing America’s Inde­pen­dence Day and com­mem­o­rat­ing Ukrain­ian heroes who fought through­out the ages for their country’s free­dom.


The asso­ci­a­tion is known by the Ukrain­ian acronym CYM – pro­nounced “SUM” – of its name “Spilka Ukrayin­skoyi Molo­di.” Along with the Ukrain­ian Scout­ing move­ment, Plast, it is one of the two main youth groups that flow­ered in the post-World War II dias­po­ra and taught younger gen­er­a­tions about their her­itage and ensured that the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty remained vibrant.


CYM has four camps in var­i­ous parts of the U.S. The New York one named after the near­est small town of 4,000 res­i­dents, Ellenville, is set in pic­turesque undu­lat­ing coun­try­side near the Catskill For­est Pre­serve nation­al park and its ter­ri­to­ry includes hills, woods and a stream filled with trout and bass. It was bought by the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty in the 1960s. . . .

. . . . There are ele­ments of mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline in CYM, as there are in oth­er youth orga­ni­za­tions such as the Scout­ing move­ment. They learn drill so that they can march or assem­ble in for­ma­tion.
They wear uni­forms for Sun­day church ser­vices and on some oth­er spe­cial occa­sions. Uni­forms con­sist of gray shirts with match­ing trousers or skirts. Dif­fer­ent col­ored ties denote age groups with green for the youngest, bur­gundy for teenagers, blue for young adults and brown for the over-thir­ties. CYM mem­bers around the world wear the same uni­form except for a shoul­der patch say­ing which coun­try they belong to. . . .

. . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .


. . . . The top­ics that fea­tured in talks for the old­er mem­bers this month includ­ed the his­to­ry of Ukraine’s strug­gles in the 20th cen­tu­ry for free­dom. Much time was devot­ed to the leader of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists, Stepan Ban­dera, as 2019 sees the 110th anniver­sary of his birth and 60th anniver­sary of his assas­si­na­tion by the Sovi­et KGB. . . .


. . . . After World War II, CYM start­ed to be rebuilt by refugees from Ukraine, tens of thou­sands of whom lived for sev­er­al years in dis­placed per­sons’ camps in Ger­many and Aus­tria. Ban­dera sup­port­ers were instru­men­tal in reviv­ing CYM in the West after the war and the asso­ci­a­tion is clear­ly streaked with their style of impas­sioned Ukrain­ian patri­o­tism. . . .


. . . . It also flour­ished in every coun­try with sig­nif­i­cant Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ties includ­ing the Unit­ed King­dom, Cana­da, Ger­many, Bel­gium, France, the Nether­lands, Argenti­na, Brazil, Aus­tralia and New Zealand. CYM has some 1,600 mem­bers in the U.S. in its 28 branch­es in 12 of America’s states. . . . .


. . . . The man head­ing up, for the fourth time, the camp for old­er CYM mem­bers this year is Myko­la Hryck­owian. His par­ents came to the U.S. after World War Two and both had staunch­ly patri­ot­ic back­grounds.

On July 7, with CYM mem­bers in full uni­form, and vis­i­tors also tak­ing part, there was a church ser­vice at the camp’s own chapel. That was fol­lowed by a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny at a near­by mon­u­ment ded­i­cat­ed to all Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence heroes.
Dmitri Lenzcuk, as chief instruc­tor, was respon­si­ble for work­ing out the sched­ule of lessons and activ­i­ties for the camp. He is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­can whose grand­par­ents arrived in the U.S. after the war . . . .

3. In Esto­nia, the EKRE par­ty is imple­ment­ing a fas­cist agen­da, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on an anti-immi­grant theme, in a coun­try that has had lit­tle immi­gra­tion.

In addi­tion, the par­ty has tar­get­ed the LGBT milieu and “glob­al­iza­tion,” as well as resus­ci­tat­ing Nazi eco­nom­ic the­o­ry and prac­tice.

“Racism, sex­ism, Nazi eco­nom­ics: Estonia’s far right in pow­er” by Shaun Walk­er; The Guardian; 05/21/2019 .


A shad­owy “deep state” secret­ly runs the coun­try. A smart immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy is “blacks go back”. Nazi Ger­many wasn’t all bad. None of these state­ments would be out of place in the dark­er cor­ners of far-right blogs any­where in the world. But in Esto­nia as of last month, they are among the views of gov­ern­ment min­is­ters. . . .


. . . . But as in many Euro­pean coun­tries, Estonia’s far right has been edg­ing upwards in the polls in recent years, and nobody was all that sur­prised when the nation­al­ist EKRE par­ty won 19 out of 101 seats in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in MarchThe real shock came a few weeks lat­er when the prime min­is­ter, Jüri Ratas, invit­ed EKRE to join a coali­tion gov­ern­ment.


Ratas offered EKRE five out of 15 min­is­te­r­i­al posi­tions as well as pol­i­cy con­ces­sions includ­ing agree­ing to hold a ref­er­en­dum on whether to define mar­riage as only between a man and a woman.
The party’s father-and-son lead­ers, Mart and Mar­tin Helme, took the key posts of inte­ri­or and finance min­is­ter respec­tive­ly and cel­e­brat­ed by flash­ing a white-pow­er sym­bol at their swear­ing-in cer­e­mo­ny.


EKRE’s tran­si­tion from the noisy fringe to the heart of gov­ern­ment rep­re­sents a remark­able fail­ure of main­stream pol­i­tics. Between them, two broad­ly cen­trist par­ties won a com­fort­able major­i­ty of seats in the March vote, and Kaja Kallas, the leader of the Reform par­ty which placed first, offered Ratas and his Cen­tre par­ty a coali­tion in which she would be prime min­is­ter and the two par­ties would share min­is­te­r­i­al posts equal­ly.


Instead, ignor­ing the offer and 
stark warn­ings from his allies in Brus­sels not to nego­ti­ate with EKRE, Ratas arranged a con­ser­v­a­tive coali­tion includ­ing the far-right par­ty, which has allowed him to stay on as prime min­is­ter. “He threw all his val­ues down the drain just to remain PM,” said Kallas, who had been on course to become Estonia’s first female prime min­is­ter but instead remains in oppo­si­tion.


Many lib­er­als fear the cli­mate has already start­ed to change. Vil­ja Kiisler, a colum­nist at the news­pa­per Pos­timees with two decades of jour­nal­is­tic expe­ri­ence, said her edi­tor-in-chief called her into his office short­ly after the coali­tion formed and told her a piece she had writ­ten about EKRE was too aggres­sive and she should tone down her rhetoric.


“I’ve always crit­i­cised the peo­ple in pow­er and this had nev­er hap­pened before,” she said. Rather than accept self-cen­sor­ship, she decid­ed to resign. “Style and con­tent are always con­nect­ed and I meant every word, com­ma and full stop. If you can’t be sharp and clear in an opin­ion piece then what is the point?”


Kiisler said EKRE media por­tals attacked her work and she received threats of vio­lence and rape through email and Face­book, which she has report­ed to the police.


For a coun­try whose media land­scape was this year ranked the 11th most free in the world, the res­ig­na­tions of Kiisler and a state radio jour­nal­ist who left his job for sim­i­lar rea­sons have come as a shock. They even prompt­ed Estonia’s pres­i­dent, Ker­sti Kalju­laid, to wear a sweater embla­zoned with the words “speech is free” to the swear­ing-in of the new gov­ern­ment. Kalju­laid said she wore the sweater because of the cli­mate of increas­ing ver­bal attacks on Eston­ian jour­nal­ists. “This can lead to self-cen­sor­ship, in the sense that you don’t talk any more to avoid this kind of shit­storm, and I don’t want this to hap­pen,” she told the Guardian in an inter­view at Tallinn’s pres­i­den­tial palace.
. . . .


. . . . Kallas said: “They are set­ting an exam­ple that it’s OK to call names, to threat­en vio­lence. It has brought misog­y­ny out of the clos­et and its a very bad sign for our soci­ety.”


EKRE has forged links with oth­er far-right groups in Europe,joining the Ital­ian inte­ri­or min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini’s coali­tion of nation­al­ists and wel­com­ing France’s Marine Le Pen to Tallinn for dis­cus­sions.


Like pop­ulist par­ties across Europe, EKRE has high­light­ed immi­gra­tion as a key bat­tle­ground issue. Mass migra­tion hard­ly seems a major con­cern for Esto­nia, which has not been on any route to Europe tak­en by refugees and migrants from the Mid­dle East and Africa, but EKRE has sug­gest­ed that by allow­ing any migra­tion at all, Esto­nia will be vul­ner­a­ble to future pres­sure from Brus­sels to reset­tle many more refugees.


Jaak Madi­son, an EKRE MP who will also become an MEP if the par­ty clears the thresh­old at upcom­ing Euro­pean elec­tions, said the coun­try could take “10 or 50” refugees, but with the pro­vi­so that “when the war is over they go home”.

Madi­son is con­sid­ered the pol­ished face of the par­ty. When asked about a blog­post he wrote sev­er­al years ago prais­ing Nazi eco­nom­ics, he did not dis­own the views. “The fact is that the eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion raised. That’s a fact. How did it hap­pen? It was very wrong things. If you’re push­ing peo­ple to camps, it’s wrong. But the fact is that the unem­ploy­ment rate was low,” he said.Madison is not the only EKRE MP to be curi­ous about Nazi eco­nom­ics. Ruuben Kaalep, the leader of EKRE’s youth wing, Blue Awak­en­ing, said rightwing politi­cians “can’t com­plete­ly dis­own” Nazi Ger­many, which had cer­tain pos­i­tive ele­ments. Kaalep is Estonia’s youngest MP, aged 25, and in an inter­view at a chic restau­rant not far from the par­lia­ment, he described his mis­sion as fight­ing against “native replace­ment”, “the LGBT agen­da” and “left­ist glob­al ide­o­log­i­cal hege­mo­ny”. . . . .

4. Carl Lundstrom–who financed the Pirate Bay web­site, on which Wik­iLeaks held forth–provided financ­ing for the Swe­den Democ­rats.


“The Pirate Bay Admits Links with Right ‑Wing Bene­fac­tor” by Jan Libben­ga; The Reg­is­ter [UK]; 5/7/2007.


A spokesman for the Swedish tor­rent track­er The Pirate Bay, has admit­ted on Swedish tv that their servers and broad­band band­width were financed by Carl Lund­ström, one of the alleged spon­sors of Swedish far-right polit­i­cal par­ty Swe­den Democ­rats. “We need­ed the mon­ey,” spokesman Tobias Ander­s­son told Bert Karls­son, a for­mer politi­cian and front fig­ure of the New Democ­ra­cy (Ny Demokrati) par­ty.
Carl Lund­ström is the CEO and largest share­hold­er of Rix Tele­com, a large provider in Swe­den, where at least one mem­ber of The Pirate Bay used to work. Lund­ström is also believed to be a major financier of Swe­den Democ­rats . . . .


5. After dis­cussing Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats, we review the deci­sive role of Joran Jermas/Israel Shamir’s Nazi and anti-Semit­ic net­work in the estab­lish­ment of Wik­iLeaks in Swe­den. The pro­gram cites research uncov­ered by Expo, the mag­a­zine found­ed by Stieg Lars­son.

The “orga­ni­za­tion” referred to by Jermas/Shamir and embraced by Assange is almost cer­tain­ly the “Pirate Vor­tex.” Although com­posed of Utopi­an-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als, for the most part, that milieu has strong fascist/Nazi under­pin­nings.


“Revealed: Anti­semite was key to Wik­iLeaks Oper­a­tion” by Mar­tin Bright; Jew­ish Chron­i­cle; 6/2/2011.

The noto­ri­ous anti­se­mitic jour­nal­ist Israel Shamir was active­ly involved in devel­op­ing the Wik­iLeaks net­work — and was not just anoth­er free­lance writer who hap­pened to strike up a work­ing rela­tion­ship with the website’s founder Julian Assange, accord­ing to new­ly-revealed cor­re­spon­dence. [Empha­sis added.]

Emails seen by the Swedish anti-racist mag­a­zine, Expo, demon­strate that the two men co-oper­at­ed for sev­eral years. As ear­ly as 2008 Mr Shamir was asked to rec­om­mend poten­tial asso­ciates in Swe­den. [Empha­sis added.] He sug­gested his own son, Johannes Wahlström: “He is a Swedish cit­i­zen, and lives in Swe­den. Prob­a­bly, he’ll be able to give advice about press free­dom.”

Like his father, Mr Wahlström has devel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for stri­dent anti­se­mitic views. In 2005, left-wing mag­a­zine Ord­front was forced to with­draw one of his arti­cles, which argued that Israel con­trolled the Swedish media.

An email from June 2010 shows that Mr Shamir was still play­ing a part in the Swedish Wik­iLeaks net­work at that point. “I have a lot of good guys who can help to ana­lyze the trea­sure and it would be good to start spread­ing the news,” he told Mr Assange. “I am now in Paris, and peo­ple want to know more! Tues­day I go to Swe­den, and there is a whole oper­a­tion for your ben­e­fit!” Mr Assange replied: “There cer­tainly is! Tell the team to get ready. Give them my best. We have a lot of work to do.” . . . [Empha­sis added.]

6. We briefly review the nature of Jermas/Shamir’s polit­i­cal out­look.
“Assange’s Extrem­ist Employ­ees: Why is Wik­iLeaks employ­ing a Holo­caust Denier and his dis­graced son?” by Michael C. Moyni­han; Rea­son Mag­a­zine; 12/14/2010.

. . . So let us quick­ly recap the foul­ness of Shamir’s polit­i­cal views. As I not­ed last week, he has called the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp “an intern­ment facil­i­ty, attend­ed by the Red Cross (as opposed to the US intern­ment cen­tre in Guan­tanamo),” not a place of exter­mi­na­tion. He told a Swedish jour­nal­ist (and fel­low Holo­caust denier) that “it’s every Mus­lim and Christian’s duty to deny the Holo­caust.” . . .

7. The Assange/Shamir rela­tion­ship appar­ent­ly goes back for some years, with Assange hav­ing con­tem­plat­ed join­ing forces with Jermas/Shamir for some time.


Inside Wik­iLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dan­ger­ous Web­site by Daniel Dom­scheit-Berg; Eng­lish trans­la­tion copy­right 2011 by Crown Pub­lish­ers [Ran­dom House imprint]; ISBN 978–0‑307–95191‑5; pp. 267–268.


. . . What’s more, peo­ple are now appar­ent­ly trav­el­ing the world offer­ing unre­leased dis­patch­es to oth­er media out­lets. One of these peo­ple is Johannes Wahlstrom from Swe­den. Wahlstrom is the son of Israel Shamir, a noto­ri­ous anti-Semi­te and Holo­caust denier of Russ­ian-Israeli extrac­tion. Kristinn Hrafns­son, WL’s new offi­cial spokesman, has described both Wahlstrom and Shamir as belong­ing to WL.  Once, he described to me things Shamir had writ­ten as ‘very clever real­ly.’ . . . I think Julian is aware of the sort of peo­ple he’s asso­ci­at­ing him­self with–there’s been con­tact with Shamir, at least, for years. When Julian first learned about Shamir’s polit­i­cal back­ground, he con­sid­ered whether he might be able to work for Wik­iLeaks under a pseu­do­nym. [Ital­ics mine–D.E.]

. . . From the out­side, it looks as though Wahlstrom has passed on the cables to var­i­ous media out­lets in Scan­di­navia while his father has assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty for the Russ­ian mar­ket. Although WL’s five cho­sen media part­ners have repeat­ed­ly denied buy­ing access to the leaks, the Nor­we­gian news­pa­per Aften­posten out­right admit­ted to pay­ing for a look at the cables. All the oth­er news­pa­pers, includ­ing some Russ­ian ones, have refused to pro­vide any infor­ma­tion about pos­si­ble deals with WL. . . .

8. After review of Carl Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats, as well as Lund­strom’s cen­tral role in financ­ing the Pirate Bay site (which host­ed Wik­iLeaks, cour­tesy of Joran Jermas/Israel Shamir), we delve into the oper­a­tions of Lund­strom’s asso­ciates.

Uti­liz­ing the anti-immi­grant theme uti­lized with great effect by fas­cists around the world.

Key points of dis­cus­sion include: The Nazi ori­gins of the Swe­den Democ­rats; the Waf­fen SS back­ground of one of the par­ty’s founders; net­work­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats with fas­cists and reac­tionar­ies in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S., France and Gera­many.

“The Glob­al Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nation­al­ism” by Jo Beck­er; The New York Times; 08/10/2019

John­ny Castil­lo, a Peru­vian-born neigh­bor­hood watch­man in this dis­trict of Stock­holm, still puz­zles over the strange events that two years ago turned the cen­tral square of this pre­dom­i­nant­ly immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty into a sym­bol of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism run amok.


First came a now-infa­mous com­ment by Pres­i­dent Trump, sug­gest­ing that Sweden’s his­to­ry of wel­com­ing refugees was at the root of a vio­lent attack in Rinke­by the pre­vi­ous evening, even though noth­ing had actu­al­ly hap­pened.


“You look at what’s hap­pen­ing last night in Swe­den. Swe­den! Who would believe this? Swe­den!” Mr. Trump told sup­port­ers at a ral­ly on Feb. 18, 2017. “They took in large num­bers. They’re hav­ing prob­lems like they nev­er thought pos­si­ble.”


The president’s source: Fox News, which had excerpt­ed a short film pro­mot­ing a dystopi­an view of Swe­den as a vic­tim of its asy­lum poli­cies, with immi­grant neigh­bor­hoods crime-rid­den “no-go zones.”


But two days lat­er, as Swedish offi­cials were heap­ing bemused deri­sion on Mr. Trump, some­thing did in fact hap­pen in Rinke­by: Sev­er­al dozen masked men attacked police offi­cers mak­ing a drug arrest, throw­ing rocks and set­ting cars ablaze. . . . .


. . . . That nativist rhetoric — that immi­grants are invad­ing the home­land — has gained ever-greater trac­tion, and polit­i­cal accep­tance, across the West amid dis­lo­ca­tions wrought by vast waves of migra­tion from the Mid­dle East, Africa and Latin Amer­i­ca. In its most extreme form, it is echoed in the online man­i­festo of the man accused of gun­ning down 22 peo­ple last week­end in El Paso.


In the nation­al­ists’ mes­sage-mak­ing, Swe­den has become a prime cau­tion­ary tale, drip­ping with schaden­freude. What is even more strik­ing is how many peo­ple in Swe­den — pro­gres­sive, egal­i­tar­i­an, wel­com­ing Swe­den — seem to be warm­ing to the nation­al­ists’ view: that immi­gra­tion has brought crime, chaos and a fray­ing of the cher­ished social safe­ty net, not to men­tion a with­er­ing away of nation­al cul­ture and tra­di­tion.


Fueled by an immi­gra­tion back­lash — Swe­den has accept­ed more refugees per capi­ta than any oth­er Euro­pean coun­try — right-wing pop­ulism has tak­en hold, reflect­ed most promi­nent­ly in the steady ascent of a polit­i­cal par­ty with neo-Nazi roots, the Swe­den Democ­rats. In elec­tions last year, they cap­tured near­ly 18 per­cent of the vote.


To dig beneath the sur­face of what is hap­pen­ing in Swe­den, though, is to uncov­er the work­ings of an inter­na­tion­al dis­in­for­ma­tion machine, devot­ed to the cul­ti­va­tion, provo­ca­tion and ampli­fi­ca­tion of far-right, anti-immi­grant pas­sions and polit­i­cal forces. Indeed, that machine, most influ­en­tial­ly root­ed in Vladimir V. Putin’s Rus­sia and the Amer­i­can far right, under­scores a fun­da­men­tal irony of this polit­i­cal moment: the glob­al­iza­tion of nation­al­ism.


The cen­tral tar­get of these manip­u­la­tions from abroad — and the chief instru­ment of the Swedish nation­al­ists’ suc­cess — is the country’s increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar, and vir­u­lent­ly anti-immi­grant, dig­i­tal echo cham­ber.


A New York Times exam­i­na­tion of its con­tent, per­son­nel and traf­fic pat­terns illus­trates how for­eign state and non­state actors have helped to give viral momen­tum to a clutch of Swedish far-right web­sites.


Russ­ian and West­ern enti­ties that traf­fic in dis­in­for­ma­tion, includ­ing an Islama­pho­bic think tank whose for­mer chair­man is now Mr. Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, have been cru­cial link­ers to the Swedish sites, help­ing to spread their mes­sage to sus­cep­ti­ble Swedes.


At least six Swedish sites have received finan­cial back­ing through adver­tis­ing rev­enue from a Russ­ian- and Ukrain­ian-owned auto-parts busi­ness based in Berlin, whose online sales net­work odd­ly con­tains buried dig­i­tal links to a range of far-right and oth­er social­ly divi­sive con­tent. . . .


. . . . The dis­tort­ed view of Swe­den pumped out by this dis­in­for­ma­tion machine has been used, in turn, by anti-immi­grant par­ties in Britain, Ger­many, Italy and else­where to stir xeno­pho­bia and gin up votes, accord­ing to the Insti­tute for Strate­gic Dia­logue, a Lon­don-based non­prof­it that tracks the online spread of far-right extrem­ism.


“I’d put Swe­den up there with the anti-Soros cam­paign,” said Chloe Col­liv­er, a researcher for the insti­tute, refer­ring to anti-Semit­ic attacks on George Soros, the bil­lion­aire bene­fac­tor of lib­er­al caus­es. “It’s become an endur­ing cen­ter­piece of the far-right con­ver­sa­tion.”


From Mar­gins to Main­stream


Mat­tias Karls­son, the Swe­den Democ­rats’ inter­na­tion­al sec­re­tary and chief ide­ol­o­gist, likes to tell the sto­ry of how he became a sol­dier in what he has described as the “exis­ten­tial bat­tle for our culture’s and our nation’s sur­vival.”


It was the mid-1990s and Mr. Karls­son, now 41, was attend­ing high school in the south­ern city of Vaxjo. Swe­den was accept­ing a record num­ber of refugees from the Balkan War and oth­er con­flicts. In Vaxjo and else­where, young immi­grant men began join­ing brawl­ing “kick­er” gangs, rad­i­cal­iz­ing Mr. Karls­son and draw­ing him toward the local skin­head scene.


He took to wear­ing a leather jack­et with a Swedish flag on the back and was soon intro­duced to Mats Nils­son, a Swedish Nation­al Social­ist leader who gave him a copy of “Mein Kampf.” They began to debate: Mr. Nils­son argued that the goal should be eth­nic puri­ty — the preser­va­tion of “Swedish DNA.” Mr. Karls­son coun­tered that the focus should be on pre­serv­ing nation­al cul­ture and iden­ti­ty. That, he said, was when Mr. Nils­son con­ferred on him an epi­thet of insuf­fi­cient com­mit­ment to the cause — “meat­ball patri­ot,” mean­ing that “I thought that every African or Arab can come to this coun­try as long as they assim­i­late and eat meat­balls.”


It is an account that offers the most benign expla­na­tion for an odi­ous asso­ci­a­tion. What­ev­er the case, in 1999, he joined the Swe­den Democ­rats, a par­ty unde­ni­ably root­ed in Sweden’s neo-Nazi move­ment. Indeed, schol­ars of the far right say that is what sets it apart from most anti-immi­gra­tion par­ties in Europe and makes its rise from mar­gin­al­ized to main­stream so remark­able.


The par­ty was found­ed in 1988 by sev­er­al Nazi ide­o­logues, includ­ing a for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS. Ear­ly on, it sought inter­na­tion­al alliances with the likes of the White Aryan Resis­tance, a white suprema­cist group found­ed by a for­mer grand drag­on of the Ku Klux Klan. Some Swe­den Democ­rats wore Nazi uni­forms to par­ty func­tions. Its plat­form includ­ed the forced repa­tri­a­tion of all immi­grants since 1970.


That was not, how­ev­er, a win­ning for­mu­la in a coun­try where social democ­rats have dom­i­nat­ed every elec­tion for more than a cen­tu­ry.
While attend­ing uni­ver­si­ty, Mr. Karls­son had met Jim­mie Akesson, who took over the Swe­den Democ­rats’ youth par­ty in 2000 and became par­ty leader in 2005. Mr. Akesson was out­spo­ken in his belief that Mus­lim refugees posed “the biggest for­eign threat to Swe­den since the Sec­ond World War.” But to make that case effec­tive­ly, he and Mr. Karls­son agreed, they need­ed to remake the party’s image.


“We need­ed to real­ly address our past,” Mr. Karls­son said.They purged neo-Nazis who had been exposed by the press. They announced a “zero tol­er­ance” pol­i­cy toward extreme xeno­pho­bia and racism, empha­sized their youth­ful lead­er­ship and urged mem­bers to dress pre­sentably. And while immi­gra­tion remained at the cen­ter of their plat­form, they mod­er­at­ed the way they talked about it.


No longer was the issue framed in terms of keep­ing cer­tain eth­nic groups out, or deport­ing those already in. Rather it was about how unas­sim­i­lat­ed migrants were evis­cer­at­ing not just the nation’s cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty but also the social-wel­fare heart of the Swedish state.


Under the grand, egal­i­tar­i­an idea of the “folkhem­met,” or people’s home, in which the coun­try is a fam­i­ly and its cit­i­zens take care of one anoth­er, Swedes pay among the world’s high­est effec­tive tax rates, in return for ben­e­fits like child care, health care, free col­lege edu­ca­tion and assis­tance when they grow old.


The safe­ty net has come under strain for a host of eco­nom­ic and demo­graph­ic rea­sons, many of which pre­date the lat­est refugee flood. But in the Swe­den Democ­rats’ telling, the blame lies square­ly at the feet of the for­eign­ers, many of whom lag far behind native Swedes in edu­ca­tion and eco­nom­ic accom­plish­ment. One par­ty adver­tise­ment depict­ed a white woman try­ing to col­lect ben­e­fits while being pur­sued by niqab-wear­ing immi­grants push­ing strollers.
To what extent the party’s makeover is just win­dow dress­ing is an open ques­tion.


The doubts were high­light­ed in what became known as “the Iron Pipe Scan­dal” in 2012. Leaked video showed two Swe­den Demo­c­rat MPs and the party’s can­di­date for attor­ney gen­er­al hurl­ing racist slurs at a come­di­an of Kur­dish descent, then threat­en­ing a drunk­en wit­ness with iron pipes.


High-rank­ing par­ty offi­cials have bounced between Swe­den and Hun­gary, ruled by the author­i­tar­i­an nation­al­ist Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orban. Mr. Karls­son him­self has come under fire for call­ing out an extrem­ist site as neo-fas­cist while using an alias to rec­om­mend posts as “worth read­ing” to par­ty mem­bers.


“There’s a pub­lic face and the face they wear behind closed doors,” said Daniel Poohl, who heads Expo, a Stock­holm-based foun­da­tion that tracks far-right extrem­ism.


Still, even detrac­tors admit that strat­e­gy has worked. In 2010, the Swe­den Democ­rats cap­tured 5.7 per­cent of the vote, enough for the par­ty, and Mr. Karls­son, to enter Par­lia­ment for the first time. That share has steadi­ly increased along with the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of refugees. (Today, rough­ly 20 per­cent of Sweden’s pop­u­la­tion is for­eign born.)


At its peak in 2015, Swe­den accept­ed 163,000 asy­lum-seek­ers, most­ly from Afghanistan, Soma­lia and Syr­ia. Though bor­der con­trols and tighter rules have eased that flow, Ardalan Shekara­bi, the country’s pub­lic admin­is­tra­tion min­is­ter, acknowl­edged that his gov­ern­ment had been slow to act.


Mr. Shekara­bi, an immi­grant from Iran, said the sheer num­ber of refugees had over­whelmed the government’s efforts to inte­grate them.
“I absolute­ly don’t think that the major­i­ty of Swedes have racist or xeno­pho­bic views, but they had ques­tions about this migra­tion pol­i­cy and the oth­er par­ties didn’t have any answers,” he said. “Which is one of the rea­sons why Swe­den Democ­rats had a case.” . . . .


. . . . For years, the Swe­den Democ­rats had strug­gled to make their case to the pub­lic. Many main­stream media out­lets declined their ads. The par­ty even had dif­fi­cul­ty get­ting the postal ser­vice to deliv­er its mail­ers. So it built a net­work of closed Face­book pages whose reach would ulti­mate­ly exceed that of any oth­er par­ty.


But to thrive in the viral sense, that net­work required fresh, allur­ing con­tent. It drew on a clutch of rel­a­tive­ly new web­sites whose pop­u­lar­i­ty was explod­ing.


Mem­bers of the Swe­den Democ­rats helped cre­ate two of them: Samhall­snytt (News in Soci­ety) and Nyheter Idag (News Today). By the 2018 elec­tion year, they, along with a site called Fria Tider (Free Times), were among Sweden’s 10 most shared news sites.


These sites each reached one-tenth of all Swedish inter­net users a week and, accord­ing to an Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty study, account­ed for 85 per­cent of the elec­tion-relat­ed “junk news” — deemed delib­er­ate­ly dis­tort­ed or mis­lead­ing — shared online. There were oth­er sites, too, all inject­ing anti-immi­grant and Islam­o­pho­bic mes­sag­ing into the Swedish polit­i­cal blood­stream.


“Immi­gra­tion Behind Short­age of Drink­ing Water in North­ern Stock­holm,” read one recent head­line. “Refugee Minor Raped Host Family’s Daugh­ter; Thought It Was Legal,” read anoth­er. “Per­formed Female Gen­i­tal Muti­la­tion on Her Chil­dren — Giv­en Asy­lum in Swe­den,” read a third. . . . .


. . . . At the mag­a­zine Nya Tider, the edi­tor, Vavra Suk, has trav­eled to Moscow as an elec­tion observ­er and to Syr­ia, where he pro­duced Krem­lin-friend­ly accounts of the civ­il war. Nya Tider has pub­lished work by Alexan­der Dug­in, an ultra­na­tion­al­ist Russ­ian philoso­pher who has been called “Putin’s Rasputin”; Mr. Suk’s writ­ings for Mr. Dugin’s think tank include one titled “Don­ald Trump Can Make Europe Great Again.”


Nya Tider’s con­trib­u­tors include Manuel Ochsen­re­it­er, edi­tor of Zuerst!, a Ger­man far-right news­pa­per. Mr. Ochsen­re­it­er — who has appeared reg­u­lar­ly on RT, the Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­da chan­nel — worked until recent­ly for Markus Frohn­maier, a mem­ber of the Ger­man Bun­destag rep­re­sent­ing the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many par­ty. . . . .



Links Abroad


. . . . Anoth­er way to look inside the explo­sive growth of Sweden’s alt-right out­lets is to see who is link­ing to them. The more links, espe­cial­ly from well-traf­ficked out­lets, the more like­ly Google is to rank the sites as author­i­ta­tive. That, in turn, means that Swedes are more like­ly to see them when they search for, say, immi­gra­tion and crime.


The Times ana­lyzed more than 12 mil­lion avail­able links from over 18,000 domains to four promi­nent far-right sites — Nyheter Idag, Samhall­snytt, Fria Tider and Nya Tider. The data was culled by Mr. Lind­holm from two search engine opti­miza­tion tools and rep­re­sents a snap­shot of all known links through July 2.


As expect­ed, giv­en the rel­a­tive pauci­ty of Swedish speak­ers world­wide, most of the links came from Swedish-lan­guage sites.
But the analy­sis turned up a sur­pris­ing num­ber of links from well-traf­ficked for­eign-lan­guage sites — which sug­gests that the Swedish sites’ rapid growth has been dri­ven to a sig­nif­i­cant degree from abroad.


“It has the mak­ings, the char­ac­ter­is­tics, of an oper­a­tion whose pur­pose or goal is to help these sites become rel­e­vant by get­ting them to be seen as wide­ly as pos­si­ble,” Mr. Lind­holm said.
Over all, more than one in five links were from non-Swedish lan­guage sites. Eng­lish-lan­guage sites, along with Nor­we­gian ones, linked the most, near­ly a mil­lion times. But oth­er Euro­pean-lan­guage far-right sites — Russ­ian but also Czech, Dan­ish, Ger­man, Finnish and Pol­ish — were also fre­quent link­ers.


The Times iden­ti­fied 356 domains that linked to all four Swedish sites.


Many are well known in Amer­i­can far-right cir­cles. Among them is the Gate­stone Insti­tute, a think tank whose site reg­u­lar­ly stokes fears about Mus­lims in the Unit­ed States and Europe. Its chair­man until last year was John R. Bolton, now Mr. Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, and its fun­ders have includ­ed Rebekah Mer­cer, a promi­nent wealthy Trump sup­port­er. Oth­er domains that linked to all four Swedish sites includ­ed Storm­front, one of the old­est and largest Amer­i­can white suprema­cist sites; Voice of Europe, a Krem­lin-friend­ly right-wing site; a Russ­ian-lan­guage blog called Sweden4Rus.nu; and FreieWelt.net, a site sup­port­ive of the AfD in Ger­many.
. . . .


. . . . But it came at a price: some promi­nent cen­ter-right politi­cians are now express­ing a will­ing­ness to work with the Swe­den Democ­rats, por­tend­ing a new polit­i­cal align­ment.


In Feb­ru­ary, the Swe­den Democ­rats’ Mr. Karls­son strode into a Wash­ing­ton-area hotel where lead­ers of the Amer­i­can and Euro­pean right were gath­er­ing for the annu­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence. As he set­tled in at the lob­by bar, straight­en­ing his navy three-piece suit, he was clear­ly very much at home.


At the con­fer­ence — where polit­i­cal boot-camp train­ing mixed with speech­es by lumi­nar­ies like Mr. Trump and the British pop­ulist leader Nigel Farage — Mr. Karls­son hoped to learn about the infra­struc­ture of the Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly its fund­ing and use of the media and think tanks to broad­en its appeal. But in a mea­sure of how nation­al­ism and con­ser­vatism have merged in Mr. Trump’s Wash­ing­ton, many of the Amer­i­cans with whom he want­ed to net­work were just as eager to net­work with him.


Mr. Karls­son had flown in from Col­orado, where he had giv­en a speech at the Steam­boat Insti­tute, a con­ser­v­a­tive think tank. That morn­ing, Tobias Ander­s­son, 23, the Swe­den Democ­rats’ youngest mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and a con­trib­u­tor to Bre­it­bart, had spo­ken to Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform, a bas­tion of tax-cut ortho­doxy.
Now, they found them­selves encir­cled by admir­ers like Matthew Hurtt, the direc­tor for exter­nal rela­tion­ships at Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty, part of the bil­lion­aire Koch broth­ers’ polit­i­cal oper­a­tion, and Matthew Tyr­mand, a board mem­ber of Project Ver­i­tas, a con­ser­v­a­tive group that uses under­cov­er film­ing to sting its tar­gets.
Mr. Tyr­mand, who is also an advis­er to a sen­a­tor from Poland’s anti-immi­gra­tion rul­ing Law and Jus­tice par­ty, was par­tic­u­lar­ly eager. “You are tak­ing your coun­try back!” he exclaimed.
Mr. Karls­son smiled.

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #1086 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 1”

  1. The fol­low­ing arti­cle shows how India’s Modi Regime is scape­goat­ing immi­grants and call­ing them “infil­tra­tors who were eat­ing the coun­try like ter­mites”. They are using this sup­posed threat to jus­ti­fy remov­ing sub­stan­tial por­tions of the vot­ing pop­u­la­tion (unless they can prove they have the right paper­work, which in some cas­es is dif­fi­cult to repro­duce due to minor cler­i­cal errors on doc­u­ments dat­ing back to the ear­ly 1970s). This process poten­tial­ly affects, Mus­lims, women and the poor dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly as part of India’s gov­ern­men­tal effort to weed out “for­eign infil­tra­tors”. The arti­cle also reports that India’s home affairs min­is­ter has said his gov­ern­ment “will not allow a sin­gle ille­gal immi­grant to stay” amid out­cry over a cit­i­zen­ship reg­is­tery in Assam that could leave almost 2 mil­lion peo­ple state­less. The pur­pose appears to be to strip auton­o­my from India’s Kash­mir region.:

    Not a sin­gle ille­gal immi­grant will stay, says India after Assam reg­is­ter excludes mil­lions

    Threat comes after con­tro­ver­sial project in bor­der state that forced 33 mil­lion res­i­dents to prove their her­itage

    Guardian staff and agen­cies
    Sun 8 Sep 2019 21.58 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Tue 10 Sep 2019 13.11 EDT

    India’s home affairs min­is­ter has said his gov­ern­ment “will not allow a sin­gle ille­gal immi­grant to stay” amid out­cry over a cit­i­zen­ship reg­is­ter in Assam that could leave almost 2 mil­lion peo­ple state­less.

    The com­ment were made by Amit Shah dur­ing a vis­it to the bor­der state. The home affairs min­istry, para­phras­ing Shah’s speech, said he was sat­is­fied with the “time­ly com­ple­tion of the process”.

    Over the past four years, about 33 mil­lion peo­ple in Assam have been forced to prove they are cit­i­zens by demon­strat­ing they have roots in the state dat­ing to before March 1971. Shah, prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s right-hand man, has pre­vi­ous­ly said India must act against “infil­tra­tors who were eat­ing the coun­try like ter­mites”.

    Lawyers have raised seri­ous con­cerns over the process, which they say has wrong­ly exclud­ed peo­ple on the basis of minor cler­i­cal errors in decades-old doc­u­ments. There are fears that Mus­lims, women and the poor­est com­mu­ni­ties could be the worst affect­ed.

    Senior fig­ures in the Hin­du-nation­al­ist Bharatiya Jana­ta par­ty (BJP) had so far shied away from com­ment­ing on the list, pub­lished on 30 August.

    Modi’s gov­ern­ment had backed the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC), say­ing it was aimed at weed­ing out “for­eign infil­tra­tors”.

    Dur­ing his vis­it, Shah was expect­ed to be urged by the local BJP lead­er­ship to pass leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect the rights of peo­ple it says are gen­uine cit­i­zens exclud­ed from the list.

    While there are no clear answers as to how or why indi­vid­u­als have been includ­ed or exclud­ed, bureau­crat­ic bungling amid the moun­tains of paper­work appears to be one fac­tor.

    Assam shares two sec­tions of bor­der with Bangladesh and has long seen influx­es of migrants.

    Shah did not make fur­ther com­ments about the NRC. Those left off the reg­is­ter have 120 days to appeal at for­eign­ers tri­bunals, and if they fail, they can appeal against that deci­sion through the courts.

    The nation­al gov­ern­ment has stressed that those omit­ted will not become state­less.

    Touch­ing on New Delhi’s con­tentious move on 5 August to strip auton­o­my from Kash­mir, Shah said his gov­ern­ment would not revoke anoth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al clause for sev­er­al states – most in the north­east.

    The Arti­cle 371 clause, which also cov­ers Assam, is aimed at pre­serv­ing the local cul­ture of those states. “I have clar­i­fied in par­lia­ment that this is not going to hap­pen and I am say­ing it again today in Assam,” he said.

    Oppo­si­tion politi­cians had ques­tioned Modi’s gov­ern­ment on whether those spe­cial rights would also be scrapped after the Kash­mir move.

    • This arti­cle was amend­ed on 10 Sep­tem­ber 2019 because an ear­li­er ver­sion said that Assam is “large­ly sur­round­ed by Bangladesh”. To be more accu­rate – Assam shares two sec­tions of bor­der with Bangladesh.

    Posted by Mary Benton | September 16, 2019, 1:59 pm

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