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

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FTR #887 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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

P-2 Lodge head Licio Gelli

Introduction: Updating and further developing previous areas of inquiry, this program begins with analysis of the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge by the armed followers of Ammon Bundy. The son of anti-government icon Cliven Bundy, the junior member of the family is pursuing a political agenda crafted by powerful corporations and their associated political and media elites.

For all of their self-promoted grass roots bona fides, the Bundyites are actually putting into practice the ideology of the Wise Use movement and, more recently, the Koch Brothers. Eclipsed since its heyday in the George W. Bush administration, the Wise Use movement targets government-owned land for use by corporate developers, such as timber, fossil-fuel  and mining interests.

Lionized by Fox News and its media attack dogs, Cliven Bundy’s cache eroded following his open airing of his racist views. It should come as no surprise that Fox should have championed Bundy, because Sean Hannity and the network is heavily influenced by Koch-funded institutions. Cliven Bundy apologist Sean Hannity has enjoyed advertising support from the Heritage Foundation and the Tea Party Patriots, both funded by the Koch Brothers.

We note in the context of the Bundy militia and the technocratic fascism highlighted in previous programs, that both the technocrats and the Bundyites manifest the ethic that David Golumbia describes: ” . . . the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it . . . mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role.”

Technocrats marching in support of austerity: ready to slash budgets

Veteran listeners should not be surprised to learn that Fred C. Koch, father of David and Charles, admirer of Mussolini and a founder of the John Birch Society built a large oil refinery for Hitler.

On the subject of Hitler himself, the investigative hypthesis presented in FTR #’s 791 and 864 that Hitler may have survived the war and escaped from Germany has been buttressed by former CIA officer Robert Baer, author of Sleeping with the Devil, among other books.

David Koch

The circumstances that brought Hitler to power are being partially recapitulated by political turmoil swirling around the recent influx of large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees. In Cologne and other German cities, as well as Helsinki, large numbers of women were sexually abused by Middle Eastern men, many of whom were recent emigres from the Middle East. Amid allegations that some of the attacks may have been planned, an anti-immigrant backlash from fascist street cadres recalled the Kristallnacht pogrom for some observers.

A major chapter in global post-war fascism closed with the death of P-2 Grand Master Licio Gelli, a prime-mover in Italian, Vatican, Latin American and U.S. politics for decades.

Program Highlights Include:

1. We begin with discussion of the ideological continuity between the occupation of an animal refuge in Oregon by Ammon Bundy and paramilitary supporters and the Wise Use movement. Minted by GOP conservatives seeking to utilize government-owned land in the West for development, the Wise Use movement has had an uneasy but distinct symbiotic resonance with the militia movement.

For background on the militia movement, we recommend L-3 “The Militia Movement: Enemy or Pawn of the State?”.

“The Ideological Roots of the Oregon Standoff” by Alan Feuer; The New York Times; 1/10/2016.

It is tempting to dismiss the antigovernment gunmen who took control of an animal refuge in Oregon on Jan. 2 as fanatics working at the fringes of American politics. But if the methods used by the rancher Ammon Bundy to seize the federal property were radical, the ideological roots of the operation were somewhat more mainstream.

By storming the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and vowing to return it — by force of arms, if necessary — to the people of Harney County, Mr. Bundy and his men were echoing the teachings, if not the tactics, of the Wise Use movement: a conservative land-use doctrine that has been a part of the national discourse for nearly 30 years.

A successor to the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s (itself a successor to the anti-national parks Boomers project of the early 1900s), Wise Use answers the question of who should own the West by granting moral primacy to natural resource companies and to logging and ranching families like the Bundys, some of which have worked the land since the pioneer expansion.

Though composed of many activists and scores of organizations, Wise Use found its voice in the late 1980s when a timber industry adviser named Ron Arnold published “The Wise Use Agenda.” The manifesto offered an expansive plan to gut environmental regulation, increase private ownership of public land and compel the federal government to open its holdings to mining, oil and logging companies and to the unrestricted use of off-road vehicles.

Mr. Arnold adopted the phrase “wise use” from Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the United States Forest Service (who said that “conservation is the wise use of resources”). In 1988 he held a conference, bringing together the likes of Exxon and the National Cattlemen’s Association, with the goal of seeding the West with grass-roots groups that could wrest control of federal land and give a local flavor to his Reaganite aims.

“Arnold sent organizers into distressed rural communities to set up front groups with environmentally friendly sounding names that whipped up hostility against the government,” said Tarso Ramos, the executive director of Political Research Associates, a research group that studies right-wing movements. What resulted, Mr. Ramos said, was a “coalition of natural-resource companies, property developers and conservative activists working with a network of community organizations.”

This coalition achieved success in pushing its agenda. By the early 1990s, politicians friendly to the Wise Use cause had introduced or passed legislation in nearly 30 states giving local governments and citizens expanded powers to lay claim to federal land. Among those politicians was Representative Helen Chenoweth-Hage, an Idaho Republican, who became notorious for mocking the Endangered Species Act by holding what she called “endangered salmon bakes.” There was also Gale A. Norton, the interior secretary under President George W. Bush, who once worked as a lawyer for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which has billed itself as “the litigation arm of Wise Use.”

“The Wise Use crowd got very close to the centers of power,” Mr. Ramos said.

It also got close to the militia movement, experts say. In 1994, the National Federal Lands Conference, a Wise Use group that maintained that county governments should control federal land, published an article in its newsletter that bore the title “Why There Is a Need for the Militia in America.” Around the same time, Wise Use rallies often featured pamphlets from groups like the Militia of Montana, said David Helvarg, the author of the “War Against the Greens.” Nor was it a coincidence said James McCarthy, a professor of geography at Clark University, that militia members in camouflage fatigues conducted armed exercises in the very federal forests in New Mexico that the Wise Use movement was trying at the time to pry away from Washington’s control.

“There were many people who were active simultaneously in the Wise Use and militia movements and who saw them as different manifestations,” Mr. McCarthy said. “However, it is also true that many Wise Use activists were uncomfortable with the militia coming into their fold.”

In an email titled, “Wise Use and property rights activists vs. Wackos,” Mr. Arnold denied that his movement was connected to men like Ammon Bundy, who stood down the government two years ago in a similar engagement over cattle-grazing rights at his father’s ranch in Nevada. “I don’t see any Wise Use-ish ‘doctrine’ in anything that’s been called ‘patriot militia,’” Mr. Arnold wrote.

And yet the question stands as to why vigilantes with AR-15 rifles have repeatedly confronted the government on behalf of local landowners in the West–a classic Wise Use principle, if not a Wise Use tactic. This spring, gunmen from the Oath Keepers militia group helped the owners of an Oregon gold mine chase away federal agents who were trying to enforce a stop-work order: A few months later, another Oath Keeper tactical team stopped the government from shutting down a mine in a national forest in Montana.

Part of the answer is that, in a region where the ground itself is largely owned by agencies in Washington, the Wise Use and militia movements share “the same seething resentment at federal over-reach,” said Jeffrey St. Clair, a journalist who has written about environmental politics in the West for 30 years. If the Wise Use movement did not condone or support militias, it created an intellectual framework for militia operations and has, on occasion, lent the groups ideological ballast. “In some way,” Mr. St. Clair said, “the patriot movement is glomming onto the Wise Use movement as something that has a political presence and a real-world power” that the patriot movement “has never had.”

After the Bush years, the Wise Use movement lost much of its vibrancy, and even Mr. Arnold acknowledged that it is little known today. But the relationship between activists in suits and angry men with guns continues. Last year, Michele Fiore, a Republican assemblywoman in Nevada, introduced a bill to prohibit the federal government from owning or managing land in Nevada without the state’s consent. Ms. Fiore, as it happens, is also a strong supporter of the Bundys. A month after her bill was introduced, she debated Chris Hayes on MSNBC, live from the standoff at the Bundy family ranch. . . .

2. Next, we highlight the Koch brothers lucrative support for the goals of the wise use movement, and their support for “The Loudest Voice” in the room–Fox News. Until he “jumped the shark” with an overtly racist comment about African-Americans, Cliven Bundy enjoyed the enthusiastic support of Fox News.

“The Money Behind Fox’s Promotion of Cliven Bundy’s Battle with the Feds” by Olivia Kittel; Media Matters; 4/25/2014.

Right-wing media have been rushing to distance themselves from the Nevada rancher they’ve spent weeks championing after Cliven Bundy revealed his racist worldview, but two of Bundy’s biggest cheerleaders — Sean Hannity and Fox News — have vested corporate, financial, and political interests in the promotion of Cliven Bundy’s anti-government land ownership agenda.

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy became Fox News’ favorite folk hero after he refused to comply with court orders directing him to remove his trespassing cattle from public land. Hannity and many other right-wing media rallied around Bundy and his armed supporters as they threatened violence against federal law enforcement officials attempting to impound Bundy’s cattle and collect the $1 million he owes in fines and fees after decades of noncompliance with the law.

Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the existence of the federal government nor its authority over the land and has attacked the federal ownership of lands as subverting Nevada’s “state sovereignty.”

Hannity has promoted Bundy’s anti-government rhetoric, arguing that the federal government owns far too much land and pushing Bundy’s claim that not only does the federal government not have land-ownership authority but that they don’t need or use the land they claim to own. On the April 23 edition of his show, Hannity attacked the government for owning too much land, agreeing with Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano that they do not have the constitutional authority to own any of the land. Throughout the land battle, Hannity continuously argued that the government is irresponsibly fighting for land they have no intended use for — such as building hospitals, schools, or roads — and should focus their efforts elsewhere to rapists, murderers, criminals, and pedophiles.

Bundy and Hannity’s promotion of state ownership of federal lands gives airtime to an issue that conservatives have long been campaigning for but have had difficulty getting voters excited about — an issue in line with the land  interests of the Koch brothers. Slate reported on April 23 that the Fox News corporate, financial, and political interests being served by Hannity’s promotion of Bundy lie in the network’s connection to the Koch brothers:

Bundy’s anti-federal agenda is closely aligned with that of Charles and David Koch, major Republican donors who have been pushing for states to gain control over federal lands – so they can be sold or leased to people like the Koch brothers in deals.

Fox News Network and Sean Hannity have a particular interest in the promotion and realization of such Koch interests because their funding depends on it — Hannity receives major funding and large ad buys from Koch-affiliated Heritage and Tea Party Patriots.

Hannity’s Koch-affiliated funders have a long history of promoting the privatization of public lands and condemning the federal ownership of land. Tea Party groups have supported local efforts to transfer federal lands. Heritage has advocated shrinking the U.S. government’s control by selling its physical assets such as “huge swaths of land (especially out west).” Heritage was also a loyal promoter of the Federal Land Freedom Act of 2013, advocating for the transfer of federal land management to state regulators for energy resource development.

Giving airtime to an issue that is obscure but significant to his conservative funders makes perfect sense for Hannity. Politico reported that Heritage began sponsoring Hannity in 2008 and in 2013 Hannity began advertising for the Tea Party Patriots, “lending his name to fundraising drives, hosting its leaders on his radio and Fox News shows, and even using the Fox airwaves to promote the Tea Party Patriots website.”

The Koch brothers have been covertly funding right-wing organizations such as Heritage Action and the Tea Party Patriots through the non-profit business league Freedom Partners whose tax code status as a trade association allows the organization to conceal its donors. Freedom Partners is one of the largest donors of conservative groups and its board has deep ties to the Koch brothers with many of its members being longtime employees of Koch Industries and the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

The Koch-funded Freedom Partners made grants of $236 million in 2011; among many conservative groups its recipients include Heritage as well as the Tea Party Patriots. Heritage Action received $500,000 in 2011 from the Koch brothers through Freedom Partners and additional funds from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. In 2012, the Tea Party Patriots received $200,000 from Freedom Partners.

The legislative efforts of such groups to transfer control of federal lands to states are “nothing more than corporate-backed messaging tools” initiated by conservative groups like the Koch-affiliates. Such efforts are rooted in the interests of the Kochs and other conservative groups to use the land in whichever way is most profitable to them such as mining, drilling, and other resource extraction.

3. We next re-examine one of the most important analytical articles in a long time, David Golumbia’s article in Uncomputing.org about technocrats and their fundamentally undemocratic outlook. The technocrats, the Wise Use movement and the Bundyites are part and parcel to the same basic philosophy and ideology.

The technocrats described  by David Golumbia are arrogating to themselves the free exercise of information and technology; the Bundyites are arrogating to themselves the use of government owned land. Both manifest the ethic that Golumbia describes: ” . . . the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it . . . mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role.”

We note in passing that Fox News personality Andrew Napolitano–mentioned in the previous article as supportive of the Koch/Bundy agenda–was an honored guest at the Students for Liberty conference. Edward Snowden was also a guest at that event, having been “skyped” in to the event. (For more on this phenomenon, see–among other programs–FTR #852.

“Tor, Tech­noc­racy, Democracy” by David Golum­bia; Uncomputing.org; 4/23/2015.

What might be described as the thesis statement of this very important piece reads: “Such tech­no­cratic beliefs are wide­spread in our world today, espe­cially in the enclaves of dig­i­tal enthu­si­asts, whether or not they are part of the giant corporate-digital leviathanHack­ers (“civic,” “eth­i­cal,” “white” and “black” hat alike), hack­tivists, Wik­iLeaks fans [and Julian Assange et al–D. E.], Anony­mous “mem­bers,” even Edward Snow­den him­self walk hand-in-hand with Face­book and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to con­tribute to the polit­i­cal world, but that the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the polit­i­cal world is bro­ken, they appear to think (rightly, at least in part), and the solu­tion to that, they think (wrongly, at least for the most part), is for pro­gram­mers to take polit­i­cal mat­ters into their own hands. . . First, [Tor co-creator] Din­gle­dine claimed that Tor must be sup­ported because it fol­lows directly from a fun­da­men­tal “right to pri­vacy.” Yet when pressed—and not that hard—he admits that what he means by “right to pri­vacy” is not what any human rights body or “par­tic­u­lar legal regime” has meant by it. Instead of talk­ing about how human rights are pro­tected, he asserts that human rights are nat­ural rights and that these nat­ural rights cre­ate nat­ural law that is prop­erly enforced by enti­ties above and out­side of demo­c­ra­tic poli­tiesWhere the UN’s Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion on Human Rights of 1948 is very clear that states and bod­ies like the UN to which states belong are the exclu­sive guar­an­tors of human rights, what­ever the ori­gin of those rights, Din­gle­dine asserts that a small group of soft­ware devel­op­ers can assign to them­selves that role, and that mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role. . . Fur­ther, it is hard not to notice that the appeal to nat­ural rights is today most often asso­ci­ated with the polit­i­cal right, for a vari­ety of rea­sons (ur-neocon Leo Strauss was one of the most promi­nent 20th cen­tury pro­po­nents of these views). We aren’t sup­posed to endorse Tor because we endorse the right: it’s sup­posed to be above the left/right dis­tinc­tion. But it isn’t. . . .

4. Jane Mayer has a new book out on the Kochs which, among other things, recounts how Fred C. Koch (father of David and Charles), built an oil refinery in Nazi Germany in combination with William Rhodes Davis, “The Mystery Man.”

“Father of Koch Broth­ers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refin­ery, Book Says” by Nicholas Confessore; The New York Times; 1/11/2016.

The father of the bil­lion­aires Charles G. and David H. Koch helped con­struct a major oil refin­ery in Nazi Ger­many that was per­son­ally approved by Adolf Hitler, accord­ing to a new his­tory of the Kochs and other wealthy families.

The book, “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer, traces the rise of the mod­ern con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment through the activism and money of a hand­ful of rich donors: among them Richard Mel­lon Scaife, an heir to the Mel­lon bank­ing for­tune, and Harry and Lynde Bradley, broth­ers who became wealthy in part from mil­i­tary con­tracts but poured mil­lions into anti-government philanthropy.

But the book is largely focused on the Koch fam­ily, stretch­ing back to its involve­ment in the far-right John Birch Soci­ety and the polit­i­cal and busi­ness activ­i­ties of the father, Fred C. Koch, who found some of his ear­li­est busi­ness suc­cess over­seas in the years lead­ing up to World War II. One ven­ture was a part­ner­ship with the Amer­i­can Nazi sym­pa­thizer William Rhodes Davis, who, accord­ing to Ms. Mayer, hired Mr. Koch to help build the third-largest oil refin­ery in the Third Reich, a crit­i­cal indus­trial cog in Hitler’s war machine.

The episode is not men­tioned in an online his­torypub­lished by Koch Indus­tries, the com­pany that Mr. Koch later founded and passed on to his sons.

Ken Spain, a spokesman for Koch Indus­tries, said com­pany offi­cials had declined to par­tic­i­pate in Ms. Mayer’s book and had not yet read it.

“If the con­tent of the book is reflec­tive of Ms. Mayer’s pre­vi­ous report­ing of the Koch fam­ily, Koch Indus­tries or Charles’s and David’s polit­i­cal involve­ment, then we expect to have deep dis­agree­ments and strong objec­tions to her inter­pre­ta­tion of the facts and their sourc­ing,” Mr. Spain said.

Ms. Mayer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, presents the Kochs and other fam­i­lies as the hid­den and self-interested hands behind the rise and growth of the mod­ern con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. Phil­an­thropists and polit­i­cal donors who poured hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars into think tanks, polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions and schol­ar­ships, they helped win accep­tance for anti-government and anti-tax poli­cies that would pro­tect their busi­nesses and per­sonal for­tunes, she writes, all under the guise of pro­mot­ing the pub­lic interest.

The Kochs, the Scaifes, the Bradleys and the DeVos fam­ily of Michi­gan “were among a small, rar­efied group of hugely wealthy, arch­con­ser­v­a­tive fam­i­lies that for decades poured money, often with lit­tle pub­lic dis­clo­sure, into influ­enc­ing how the Amer­i­cans thought and voted,” the book says.

Many of the fam­i­lies owned busi­nesses that clashed with envi­ron­men­tal or work­place reg­u­la­tors, come under fed­eral or state inves­ti­ga­tion, or waged bat­tles over their tax bills with the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice, Ms. Mayer reports. The Kochs’ vast polit­i­cal net­work, a major force in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics today, was “orig­i­nally designed as a means of off-loading the costs of the Koch Indus­tries envi­ron­men­tal and reg­u­la­tory fights onto oth­ers” by per­suad­ing other rich busi­ness own­ers to con­tribute to Koch-controlled polit­i­cal groups, Ms. Mayer writes, cit­ing an asso­ciate of the two brothers.

Mr. Scaife, who died in 2014, donated upward of a bil­lion dol­lars to con­ser­v­a­tive causes, accord­ing to “Dark Money,” which cites his own unpub­lished mem­oirs. Mr. Scaife was dri­ven in part, Ms. Mayer writes, by a tax loop­hole that granted him his inher­i­tance tax free through a trust, so long as the trust donated its net income to char­ity for 20 years. “Isn’t it grand how tax law gets writ­ten?” Mr. Scaife wrote.

In Ms. Mayer’s telling, the Kochs helped bankroll — through a skein of non­profit orga­ni­za­tions with min­i­mal pub­lic dis­clo­sure — decades of vic­to­ries in state cap­i­tals and in Wash­ing­ton, often leav­ing no fin­ger­prints. She cred­its groups financed by the Kochs and their allies with pro­vid­ing sup­port for the Tea Party move­ment, along with the pub­lic rela­tions strate­gies used to shrink pub­lic sup­port for the Afford­able Care Act and for Pres­i­dent Obama’s pro­pos­als to mit­i­gate cli­mate change.

The Koch net­work also pro­vided fund­ing to fine-tune bud­get pro­pos­als from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul D. Ryan, such as cuts to Social Secu­rity, so they would be more palat­able to vot­ers, accord­ing to the book. The Kochs were so influ­en­tial among con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­ers, Ms. Mayer reports, that in 2011, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John A. Boehner, then the House speaker, vis­ited David Koch to ask for his help in resolv­ing a debt ceil­ing stalemate.

5. Supplementing information presented in FTR #791, Baer supports the view that Hitler escaped Europe in the aftermath of World War II.
• Ex-CIA agent Bob Baer does not believe Hitler’s death story is con­clu­sive
• Baer, a spy for 21 years, said Hitler could have eas­ily faked his death
• Newly declas­si­fied FBI doc­u­ments sug­gest he could have got to Tener­ife
• Other doc­u­ments claim the Nazi leader made it to Argentina by sub­ma­rine.

A CIA agent with more than 21-years’ field experience claims newly declassified evidence suggests that Adolf Hitler faked his own death before escaping to the Canary Islands by air before continuing to Argentina.

Bob Baer, who spent his lifetime involved in counter-intelligence and espionage said the official version of history with Hitler killing himself in his Berlin bunker does not stand up to official scrutiny.

He claims that newly released FBI files suggest that investigators at the time were also suspicious about whether the Nazi dictator had shot himself in the head.

According to the “Hunting Hitler” documentary on History Channel, there was no eyewitness report of Hitler’s suicide or of anyone discovering his body inside his bunker.

The team, following snippets of evidence, said it was plausible that Hitler could have faked his own death and escaped through the Templehof airport on the day after he was last seen in public. One of the aircraft which left during the mass Nazi exodus is believed to have contained his luggage.

During the controversial documentary series, Baer claims: ‘The narrative the government gives us is a lie. if you look at the FBI files it throws open the investigation.

‘What we are doing is re-examining history, history that we thought was settled that Hitler died in the bunker but the deeper we get into it, it’s clear to me we don’t have any facts for it.’

One of the declassified documents expresses concern that Hitler’s body had not been recovered and the complete lack of evidence of his death.

The controversial theory claims that Hitler flew to the Canary Island and boarded a U-Boat which transported him to a Nazi-friendly area of Argentina.

 6a. The German minister of justice has hinted publicly that he thinks the sexual assaults were planned.

“Ger­man Min­is­ter Hints Sex­ual Assaults Were Planned”; Euractive.com; 1/11/2016.

Attacks on women in Cologne and other Ger­man cities on New Year’s Eve have prompted more than 600 crim­i­nal com­plaints, and a Ger­man min­is­ter said the sex­ual assaults may have been planned or coordinated.

The attacks, mostly tar­get­ing women and rang­ing from theft to sex­ual molesta­tion, have prompted a highly-charged debate in Ger­many about its wel­com­ing stance for refugees and migrants, more than one mil­lion of whom arrived last year.

The sud­den nature of the vio­lent attacks and the fact that they stretched from Ham­burg to Frank­furt prompted Ger­man Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Heiko Maas to spec­u­late in a news­pa­per that they had been planned or coordinated.

The debate on migra­tion will be fur­ther fuelled by the acknowl­edge­ment by the author­i­ties in North Rhine-Westphalia that a man shot dead as he tried to enter a Paris police sta­tion last week was an asy­lum seeker with seven iden­ti­ties who lived in Germany.

In Cologne, police said on Sun­day (9 Jan­u­ary) that 516 crim­i­nal com­plaints had been filed by indi­vid­u­als or groups in rela­tion to assaults on New Year’s Eve, while police in Ham­burg said 133 sim­i­lar charges had been lodged with the north Ger­man city.

Frank­furt also reg­is­tered com­plaints, although far fewer.

The inves­ti­ga­tion in Cologne is focused largely on asy­lum seek­ers or ille­gal migrants from North Africa, police said. They arrested one 19-year-old Moroc­can man on Sat­ur­day evening.

In Cologne, where a 100-strong force of offi­cers con­tin­ued their inves­ti­ga­tions, around 40% of the com­plaints included sex­ual offences, includ­ing two rapes.

Dwin­dling trust

The attacks, which prompted vio­lent far-right protests on Sat­ur­day, threat­ens to fur­ther erode con­fi­dence in Merkel, and could stoke sup­port for the anti-immigrant Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) party ahead of three key state elec­tions in March.

Merkel’s pop­u­lar­ity has declined, as she refused to place a limit on the influx of refugees.

A sur­vey spon­sored by state broad­caster ARD showed that while 75% of those asked were very happy with Merkel’s work in April last year, only 58% were pleased now.

Almost three quar­ters of those polled said migra­tion was the most impor­tant issue for the gov­ern­ment to deal with in 2016.

The Cologne attacks also heated up the debate on immi­gra­tion in neigh­bour­ing Austria.

“What hap­pened in Cologne is unbe­liev­able and unac­cept­able,” Aus­trian Inte­rior Min­is­ter Johanna Mikl-Leitner, a mem­ber of the con­ser­v­a­tive People’s Party that is junior coali­tion part­ner to the Social Democ­rats, told news­pa­per Oesterreich.

There had been a hand­ful of sim­i­lar inci­dents in the bor­der city of Salzburg. “Such offend­ers should be deported,” she said, back­ing a sim­i­lar sug­ges­tion by Merkel.

Swiss media con­tained numer­ous sto­ries about sex­ual assaults on women by for­eign­ers, fuelling ten­sions ahead of a ref­er­en­dum next month that would trig­ger the auto­matic depor­ta­tion of for­eign­ers con­victed of some crimes.

In Ger­many, on Mon­day (11 Jan­u­ary), a regional par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion will quiz police and oth­ers about the events on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.

The anti-Islamic nation­al­ist group PEGIDA, whose sup­port­ers threw bot­tles and fire crack­ers at a march in Cologne on Sat­ur­day before being dis­persed by riot police, will later hold a rally in the east­ern Ger­man city of Leipzig.

6b. “Seeding the clouds” for the perfect storm, Islamist elements may have deliberately pre-planned the multiple sexual assaults in Europe, seeking to provoke precisely the kind of reaction that they got. Note that unarmed, black-clad militia groups calling themselves the Soldiers of Odin have sprung up in some Finnish cities. Note that Carl Lundstrom, who financed the Pirate Bay website that hosted WikiLeaks, also financed the Sweden Democrats, the anti-immigrant party poised to benefit from incidents such as the New Year’s Eve attacks in European cities.

“. . . . The sud­den nature of the vio­lent attacks and the fact that they stretched from Ham­burg to Frank­furt prompted Ger­man Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Heiko Maas to spec­u­late in a news­pa­per that they had been planned or coor­di­nated. . . .“

In Helsinki, author­i­ties were tipped off about plans for the sexual assaults in advance.

“Unprece­dented Sex Harass­ment in Helsinki at New Year, Finnish Police Report” by Richard Orange; The Tele­graph; 1/08/2016.

Asy­lum seek­ers who met in cen­tral Helsinki to cel­e­brate New Years’s Eve “had sim­i­lar plans” to com­mit sex­ual assault and other crimes as those who tar­geted women in the Ger­many city of Cologne, Finnish Police have reported.

Three Iraqi asy­lum seek­ers have been arrested for com­mit­ting sex­ual assaults dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions in the city’s Sen­ate Square, where some 20,000 had gathered.

Secu­rity per­son­nel reported “wide­s­pead sex­ual har­rass­ment” dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions, police added, with women com­plain­ing that asy­lum seek­ers had groped their breasts and kissed them with­out permission.

“This phe­nom­e­non is new in Finnish sex­ual crime his­tory,” Ilkka Koski­maki, the deputy chief of police in Helsinki, told the Tele­graph. ”We have never before had this kind of sex­ual har­rass­ment hap­pen­ing at New Year’s Eve.”

He said that the police had received tip-offs from staff at the asy­lum recep­tion centres.

“Our infor­ma­tion from these recep­tion cen­tres were that dis­tur­bances or other crimes would hap­pen in the city cen­tre. We were pre­pared for fights and sex­ual har­rass­ment and thefts.”

He said that police had estab­lished a “very mas­sive pres­ence” to con­trol the esti­mated 1,000 Iraqi asy­lum seek­ers who had gath­ered in the tun­nels sur­round­ing the cen­tral rail­way sta­tion by 11pm, many of whom appeared to be under the influ­ence of alco­hol or drugs.

Mr Koski­maki said that sex­ual assults in parks and on the streets had been unknown in Fin­land before a record 32,000 asy­lum seek­ers arrived in 2015, mak­ing the 14 cases last year “big news in the city”.

“We had unfor­tu­nately some very bru­tal cases in autumn,” he said. “I don’t know so well other cul­tures, but I have recog­nised that the think­ing of some of them is very dif­fer­ent. Some of them maybe think that it is allowed to be aggres­sive and touch ladies on the street.”

Jamel Saltne, a Finnish-speaking Iraqi, said that from what he had seen on Ara­bic social media, police had wrongly por­trayed events.

“What hap­pened was not the result of an action planned in advance,” he told the Tele­graph. “It was totally expected that young men would go to the cen­tre of the cap­i­tal as that is the best place to cel­e­brate New Year’s Eve.”

“I’m not accus­ing the police of racism, but maybe they have received com­plaints intended to smear people.”

Unarmed mili­tia groups call­ing them­selves “Sol­diers of Odin”, wear­ing black jack­ets and hats marked “S.O.O”, have sprung up in sev­eral towns in Fin­land where asy­lum seek­ers are housed, claim­ing they want to pro­tect cit­i­zens from “Islamic intruders”.

Pet­teri Orpo, Finnish inte­rior min­is­ter, con­demned the groups in an inter­view with national broad­caster YLE on Thursday.

“There are extrem­ist fea­tures to car­ry­ing out street patrols. It does not increase secu­rity,” he said.

6c. Manifesting what we called “The Perfect Storm [Machiavelli 3.0],” German fascists in Leipzig responded to the rapes and molestations with “Kristallnacht II,” with Muslims the target of rage, instead of Jews.

“Ter­ri­fy­ing Echoes of Kristall­nacht: Mayor Con­demns ‘Naked Vio­lence’ After Far-Right Thugs Ram­page Through Streets of Ger­many Smash­ing Win­dows of Kebab Shopsby Allan Hall, Jenny Stan­ton and Tom Wyke; The Daily Mail; 1/12/2016.

* Anti-refugee riot­ers went on a ram­page in the Ger­man town of Leipzig, trash­ing doner kebab fast food restau­rants

* 250 hooli­gans — part of the local branch of PEGIDA known as LEGIDA — set cars on fire and van­dalised shops
* Mayor Burkhard Jung con­demned the ‘naked vio­lence that took place’ and has described ‘ter­ror on the streets’
* Scenes of smashed win­dows in the city are rem­i­nis­cent of the anti-Semitic Kristall­nacht attacks in 1938

The mayor of a Ger­man city has spo­ken of ‘ter­ror on the streets’ of his city after far-right thugs ran riot in scenes rem­i­nis­cent of the anti-Semitic Kristall­nacht attacks in 1938.

Burkhard Jung, mayor of Leipzig, has con­demned the ‘naked vio­lence that took place’ after doner kebab fast food restau­rants were destroyed, cars were set ablaze and shop win­dows were smashed by around 250 hooli­gans of LEGIDA — the local branch of PEGIDA, an anti-migrant, anti-EU orga­ni­za­tion — on Mon­day night.

The ram­page in Leipzig evoked mem­o­ries of the wave of vio­lence against Jews that erupted across Nazi Ger­many and parts of Aus­tria on Novem­ber 9, 1938.

On Mon­day, hun­dreds of anti-refugee riot­ers caused chaos in Leipzig after a demon­stra­tion where they called for asy­lum seek­ers to be deported and their nation’s bor­ders closed.

The right-wingers broke away from a largely peace­ful march in the east­ern city to trash the sub­urb of Connewitz.

At one point the demon­stra­tors, who threw fire­works at police, attempted to build a bar­ri­cade in a main street with signs and torn up paving stones before they were dispersed.

Fire­men had to tackle a blaze in the attic of one build­ing set alight by a way­ward rocket fired by the riot­ers. A bus car­ry­ing left­ist pro-asylum demon­stra­tors was also attacked and seri­ously damaged.

’It was naked vio­lence that took place here, noth­ing more,’ Jung said. ‘That has been estab­lished and there must be consequences.’

Police said they have iden­ti­fied and arrested 211 of the crowd of right-wing hooli­gans, many of them with crim­i­nal records for violence.

‘This was a seri­ous breach of the peace,’ said a police spokesman, con­firm­ing that sev­eral police offi­cers were injured in the clashes trig­gered by sim­mer­ing anger over the New Year’s Eve mass sex attacks against women in Cologne and sev­eral other Ger­man cities.

‘Rape Refugees stay away’ was one of the ban­ners car­ried dur­ing the march, the word­ing above a sil­hou­ette of women run­ning from knife-wielding attack­ers, one of whom resem­bled a car­i­ca­ture from Aladdin.

When day­light broke in Leipzig, scenes were sim­i­lar to those that fol­lowed Kristall­nacht — the name refer­ring to the shards of glass left strewn across cities in the after­math of the bloody pogroms. 

In Leipzig, hun­dreds of fam­i­lies were per­se­cuted and more than 500 men were taken to Buchen­wald con­cen­tra­tion camp.

A Kristall­nacht memo­r­ial in the city is now cleaned each year to ‘make the Nazi crimes vis­i­ble’ across Europe.

The anniver­sary of the night in Novem­ber was due to coin­cide with a weekly demon­stra­tion by LEGIDA and the right-wing move­ment had planned to walk past the site of a syn­a­gogue that was burned to the ground dur­ing Kristallnacht.

How­ever, the city ruled that until the end of the year, the LEGIDA could not march through the city, only rally.

Yes­ter­day, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel said; ‘Now all of a sud­den we are fac­ing the chal­lenge that refugees are com­ing to Europe and we are vul­ner­a­ble, as we see, because we do not yet have the order, the con­trol, that we would like to have.’

She also said the euro was ‘directly linked’ to free­dom of move­ment in Europe, adding: ‘Nobody should act as though you can have a com­mon cur­rency with­out being able to cross bor­ders rea­son­ably easily.’

Merkel said that if coun­tries did not allow their bor­ders to be crossed with­out much dif­fi­culty, the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket would ‘suf­fer acutely’ — mean­ing that Ger­many, at the cen­tre of the Euro­pean Union and its largest econ­omy, should fight to defend free­dom of movement.

And tonight, Ger­many feared a new march of the far right fol­low­ing the riots in Leipzig, which added to long-held con­cerns from Ger­man intel­li­gence ser­vices that the far right groups are organ­is­ing into ter­ror­ist cell struc­tures.

The vio­lence in Leipzig fol­lowed on from week­end attacks in Cologne by a vig­iliante mob which used the social net­work­ing site Face­book to mar­shall young men — rock­ers, body­builders and club bounc­ers — to go on a ‘man­hunt’ for immigrants. 

Two Pak­istani men were hos­pi­tal­ized and a third Syr­ian man was lightly injured before a stiff police pres­ence on the streets thwarted fur­ther attacks.

It is unclear what their con­di­tion is although the police are look­ing to press charges of ‘seri­ous bod­ily harm’ against their attack­ers who kicked, beat and abused them verbally.

The Express said the Face­book vig­i­lante groups had promised an ‘orderly clean up’ of the old town cen­tre in their ‘manhunt.’

Police con­firmed one Syr­ian man was also hurt in an attack on Sun­day, which took place just 20 min­utes after the first, but is believed to have been car­ried out by a sep­a­rate group of five men.

7. Concluding with the obituary of one of the world’s most prominent fascists, we highlight P-2 chief Licio Gelli and some of the many bases he touched during his life. “I was born under fas­cism, I stud­ied with fas­cism, I fought for fas­cism, I am a fas­cist and I will die a fascist.”

“Licio Gelli, Ital­ian Financier and Cabal Leader, Dies at 96” by Sam RobertsThe New York Times12/18/2015.

Licio Gelli, a buc­ca­neer­ing Ital­ian financier and self-professed fas­cist who was impli­cated in ter­ror­ist crimes, scan­dals and a secret soci­ety that, with him as its grand­mas­ter, was accused of plot­ting a right-wing coup, died on Tues­day at his villa in Arezzo, Italy. He was 96.

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His death was reported by the nation’s news media, and his funeral on Thurs­day, attended mostly by fam­ily and friends, was cov­ered by Ital­ian television.

Mr. Gelli never wavered in his con­vic­tions. In a 2008 tele­vi­sion inter­view, he declared, “I was born under fas­cism, I stud­ied with fas­cism, I fought for fas­cism, I am a fas­cist and I will die a fascist.”

His near-mythic ignominy evoked pop­u­lar fic­tional con­spir­acy tales, like Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code” and the movie “The God­fa­ther Part III,” and he per­son­i­fied what Ital­ians encap­su­late as “dietrolo­gia” — the reflex­ive, widely held sus­pi­cion that behind any offi­cial gov­ern­ment nar­ra­tive lurks a more sin­is­ter explanation.

But if Mr. Gelli was a scoundrel to many Ital­ians, to oth­ers he held out the promise of sta­bil­ity in tur­bu­lent times, when the Com­mu­nist Party was advanc­ing at the polls and the econ­omy was declining.

He exerted much of his influ­ence as leader of a cabal­is­tic break­away Masonic lodge, known as Pro­pa­ganda Due, or P2, which the Freema­sons had offi­cially dis­solved. The author­i­ties said hun­dreds of gov­ern­ment, busi­ness and mil­i­tary lead­ers had joined the lodge, defy­ing Italy’s ban on secret societies.

Inves­ti­ga­tors linked the group to plots to desta­bi­lize the Ital­ian state, to blame left­ists for unrest, and to foment a right-wing coup dur­ing the “years of lead,” when Italy was besieged by ter­ror­ist attacks.

The group was sus­pected of try­ing to dis­credit Com­mu­nists by thwart­ing the res­cue of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Aldo Moro, who was kid­napped and mur­dered in 1978 by left­ist Red Brigades guer­ril­las. P2 was believed to have had a hand in the hor­rific bomb­ing of a Bologna train sta­tion in 1980 that left 85 dead and that was gen­er­ally attrib­uted to another neo-fascist group.

And it was inves­ti­gated in 1982 in the death of Roberto Calvi, a lodge mem­ber who was called “God’s banker” because of his finan­cial ties to the Vatican’s bank. Mr. Calvi’s body was found hang­ing from Black­fri­ars Bridge in Lon­don — a sui­cide, the author­i­ties ruled.

Mr. Gelli was con­victed of bank fraud and obstruc­tion of jus­tice. He mys­te­ri­ously escaped from prison or house arrest twice and served the remain­der of his term in his villa, a 30-room redoubt near a 15th-century church in the Tus­can hills.

There he was found to have a gold thumb when nearly $2 mil­lion in bul­lion was dis­cov­ered in 1998 in the ter­race gar­den, hid­den in terra cotta flower pots beneath bego­nias and geraniums.

In “God’s Banker,” his 1983 biog­ra­phy of Mr. Calvi, Rupert Corn­well wrote, “Italy, it must be recorded with hon­esty, albeit bemuse­ment, has pro­duced few more remark­able indi­vid­u­als this cen­tury than Licio Gelli.”

Mr. Gelli (pro­nounced jelly) was born on April 21, 1919, in Pis­toia, north of Flo­rence, in Tus­cany. He mar­ried the for­mer Wanda Van­naci. She died in 1993, and their three chil­dren, Raf­faello, Maria Rosa and Mau­r­izio, sur­vive him, as does his sec­ond wife, the for­mer Gabriella Vasile. (Another daugh­ter died in an auto­mo­bile accident.)

Mr. Gelli joined Ben­ito Mussolini’s fas­cist Black­shirts in fight­ing for Gen­er­alis­simo Fran­cisco Franco in Spain’s Civil War in the 1930s. He served as an Ital­ian liai­son to Nazi Ger­many dur­ing World War II, then switched sides to sup­port Com­mu­nist par­ti­sans in his native Pis­toia Province.

After the war, he fled to Argentina, where he became a con­fi­dant of the dic­ta­tor Juan Perón. Return­ing to Italy, he became suc­cess­ful as a financier and self-made indus­tri­al­ist man­u­fac­tur­ing mattresses.

Mr. Gelli emerged into the pub­lic eye in 1981 as Ital­ian inves­ti­ga­tors were focus­ing on Mr. Calvi, who had presided over the col­lapse of Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest pri­vate bank, and on Michele Sin­dona, another banker who had been accused in the fail­ure of the Franklin National Bank in the United States. (Mr. Sin­dona was later con­victed of mur­der and was him­self mur­dered, by poi­son­ing, in prison.)

Search­ing for the names of busi­ness­men who had ille­gally exported cash, the inves­ti­ga­tors found instead — in a leather suit­case in Mr. Gelli’s mat­tress fac­tory — evi­dence of what amounted to a right-wing shadow gov­ern­ment com­posed of 962 power bro­kers led by Mr. Gelli. The group, they said, sought to “exert anony­mous and sur­rep­ti­tious con­trol” of the country.

The ros­ter included Mr. Calvi and Mr. Sin­dona, whom the author­i­ties described as pup­pets of Mr. Gelli, enlisted to help impose what the group called a “Plan for Demo­c­ra­tic Rebirth.”

When so many gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and other offi­cials were revealed to be mem­bers of the lodge, Prime Min­is­ter Arnaldo Forlani’s gov­ern­ment fell. His suc­ces­sor declared that Italy was fac­ing a “moral emergency.”

Mr. Gelli was arrested in Geneva in 1982 on charges of pass­port fraud. The author­i­ties said he had gone there to with­draw mil­lions of dol­lars from his Swiss accounts.

A year later, just as he was about to be extra­dited to Italy to face charges involv­ing the Bologna bomb­ing, the bank fail­ure and financ­ing right-wing ter­ror­ism, he escaped from a Swiss prison hos­pi­tal with a guard’s help and fled to South Amer­ica. He returned to Switzer­land in 1987 and was extra­dited to Italy under extra­or­di­nary security.

Mr. Gelli was absolved of any asso­ci­a­tion with the Bologna bomb­ing but sen­tenced to five years in prison for obstruct­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion and 18 and a half years for his role in the Banco Ambrosiano fraud. (His Swiss accounts had been linked to more than $1 bil­lion that the bank was miss­ing.) He later received a 17-year sen­tence on obstruc­tion charges in a polit­i­cal con­spir­acy case involv­ing 15 other P2 members.

Mr. Gelli was a “man of Neronic wealth and ways,” as the writer Nick Tosches described him in “Power on Earth,” his 1986 biog­ra­phy of Mr. Sin­dona. But Mr. Gelli’s lawyer, Raphael Gior­getti, sug­gested on Thurs­day that his client had merely been a “scape­goat” for the government’s own failings.

Most of the lodge mem­bers escaped pun­ish­ment. Arch­bishop Paul Marcinkus, who was pres­i­dent of the Vatican’s bank, was indicted as an acces­sory in the Banco Ambrosiano col­lapse. Cit­ing diplo­matic immu­nity, the Vat­i­can refused to com­ply with an Ital­ian arrest war­rant for the arch­bishop, but it paid more than $200 mil­lion to Banco Ambrosiano’s creditors.

Discussion

4 comments for “FTR #887 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates”

  1. LOL! The Soldiers of Odin anti-immigrant vigilante groups that are patrol the streets of a growing number of cities in Finland just acquired a new vigilante group that’s patrolling the streets for them, and quite effectively it would seem based on reports of how the Soldiers scatter from their new rivals’ when these new vigilantes simply show up in the same area. They must be mighty soldiersLoldiers:

    CBC News
    Finnish clowns mock anti-immigrant patrols by surrounding them in song
    But the Soldiers of Odin didn’t find it quite as funny

    CBC News Posted: Jan 21, 2016 2:34 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 21, 2016 2:34 PM ET

    Two rival groups patrol the streets of Tampere, Finland. One is an anti-immigration group called the Soldiers of Odin. The other is a collective of clowns, the Loldiers of Odin, though the Loldiers argue that they’re both clown patrols.

    The first group began their patrols late last year in a town near the Swedish border, carrying signs saying “Migrants not welcome,” Reuters reports..

    The Soldiers of Odin, named after the Nordic god, have been criticised by the current conservative coalition government for attempting to play vigilante.

    That doesn’t mean that they can’t be intimidated, however, like when a group of clowns surrounded them in Tampere Saturday evening.

    The Loldiers, a portmanteau of Soldier and LOL, posted a video of the scene in which they sang and danced around the other patrol group. The Soldiers of Odin members appear huddled in a circle, before hastily walking down the street,

    “We told them we want to patrol the street again and again with them, but they went home! So we sung them farewell song after that. Maybe they had to go to sleep?” Daffodil the Clown told CBC News in an email.

    The clowns began patrolling in response to the Soldiers of Odin, who in the last half year have grown to at least five cities throughout Finland.

    Their website said, before it was taken down, that “Islamist intruders cause insecurity and increase crime,” according to Reuters. Police have linked members to criminal organizations.

    The Helsinki Times reported that a member harassed a group of immigrants and demanded that they show ID to prove they weren’t Muslims.

    “The night was dark and full of terror, we spread some fun to correct this error!” said Daffodil.

    A member of the Loldiers mentioned that they assumed it was part of a larger clown trend.

    “Even though people laughed at us, people laughed way more at them, so they must be the better clowns,” Pelle Satatuhatta told CBC’s As It Happens. He also mentioned the Soldiers of Odin had only recently come to Tampere.

    Many of the Loldiers walked about the streets of Tampere wearing a mixture of pyjamas, bathrobes, red noses and white face makeup. One of them carried a flag with the words “Sieg Fail,” written on one side, and a disjointed swastika on the other.

    Meanwhile, dressed entirely in black, the Soldiers of Odin did not appear to think the clowns were all that funny. When the Loldiers catch up to the group, they huddle together before storming away.

    The clowns ask if they can join in next time, though Satatuhatta said they haven’t been seen since.

    A member of the group later posted on the Soldiers of Odin Facebook page, “Some anarchist clowns trying to provoke us. Pffffffft lol.”

    As for whether they plan to try to keep joining their more dangerous looking counterparts, the Loldiers say that they’ll come back around when people need to be cheered up.

    “We will be anywhere any time you never know, we come as a surprise,” Daffodil said.

    “As for whether they plan to try to keep joining their more dangerous looking counterparts, the Loldiers say that they’ll come back around when people need to be cheered up.”
    Holy crap. Tampere as a group of clown superheroes that patrol the streets and keep far-right thugs at bay with song and horrible rhymes. That’s pretty kick ass. It just goes to show that not all clowns are scary. Most, but not all.

    Sadly, Tampere might be two clowns short of a posse going forward. It turns out that the Loldiers of Odin can get away with clowning around when they’re mocking the Soldiers of Odin. But when they attempted their anti-fascist clowning at a general anti-immigrant parade that had approval by authorities to march, the Loldiers were arrested:

    yle.fi
    Two Loldiers of Odin clowns arrested in Tampere during anti-immigrant parade
    A “Close the Borders” demonstration in opposition to Finland’s immigration policy took place on Saturday, January 23 in the south-central city of Tampere. The Loldiers of Odin troupe of clowns turned out to make light of the anti-immigrant march. Police detained two of the clowns for disorderly conduct.

    23.1.2016 19:39

    The tongue-in-cheek Loldiers of Odin clown group made international headlines last weekend with their humorous response to the growing number of nationalist street patrol groups in Finland known as the Soldiers of Odin.

    One week ago in Tampere, Loldiers clowns danced and sang alongside the sombre Soldiers as they moved through the city, and the evening passed without incident.

    This Saturday, however, the clowns of Loldiers of Odin took on demonstrators marching in a torch lit “Close the Borders” parade. This time the result was not so funny: two of the clowns were detained by the police.

    Tampere Police say they detained two people dressed as clowns for disorderly conduct during the parade. They say the Loldiers of Odin members tried to disrupt the otherwise peaceful “Close the Borders” procession that had been cleared with the officials ahead of time and therefore had the right to assemble.

    The march travelled a short distance down Tampere’s main street, Hämeenkatu, after which the anti-immigration protesters gathered in the city’s central square.

    So it appears that the Tampere police will allow you to engage in vigilante clowning, but only against other vigilantes. Good to know. It will be interesting to see if those rules apply in other cities. Let the clowning commence! Except for evil clowning. Anti-vigilante evil clowning activities are something society could do without, much like far-right vigilante street patrols. Clown responsibly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2016, 6:10 pm
  2. Here’s a bit of good news from the Bundy Brigade’s standoff in Oregon: a few of the remaining militants have begun to trickle out after Ammon Bundy issued his plea from jail, via his lawyer, to leave the refuge peacefully.

    And, of course, the bad news: Those that are choosing to remain are repeatedly reiterating their desire to fight to the death:

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Oregon standoff militant David Fry of Ohio prepared to die, says LaVoy Finicum was murdered

    By Tim Warsinskey,

    on January 27, 2016 at 2:08 PM, updated January 27, 2016 at 4:47 PM

    CLEVELAND, Ohio – David Fry, an Ohioan who is among the remaining armed occupants of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, said he is prepared to die during the siege.

    “I’ll pass on and move on to the next life. I don’t know (how it will end), but I’m willing to go that far,” Fry told The Plain Dealer in a brief phone interview Wednesday.

    “Obviously they are murdering people at this point. They’ve been doing it for a long time now, and you guys are watching it.”

    The Oregonian newspaper reported Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the spokesman of the refuge occupation, was shot and killed after he charged police during a roadside stop, according to a man who claims to be the driver of one of two vehicles involved in the highway shooting.

    Fry, who was not at the scene, said he thought Finicum was “murdered.”

    Fry is from the Cincinnati area, as is Peter Santilli, who was one of seven militants arrested at a roadblock Tuesday, when Finicum reportedly was killed. The occupation’s leader, Ammon Bundy, and his brother Ryan also were arrested. All were charged with conspiracy to interfere with a federal official, a felony.

    Santilli hosted The Pete Santilli Show, an online radio show.

    Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Wednesday seven to 12 occupants remain at the refuge, including Fry, 27.

    “I’m holding up alright,” Fry told The Plain Dealer. “Everybody is still holding their ground. We did get the women, children, most of them out of here -– all the children. I think there’s one woman who’s pregnant. That still counts as a child.”

    In a video posted Wednesday to Fry’s youtube account, defendyourbase, Fry could be seen with a gun over his shoulder while a backhoe operated in the background.

    On the same video, another man with a gun said, “The media has been ordered to leave. That means they’re coming to kill us. They’re going to murder all of us, and the medias are cowards.”

    The same man also urges people to join the occupation and shouts into the camera, “This is history in the making. There are no laws in this United States now. This is a free-for-all Armageddon. Any military or law enforcement or feds that stand and don’t abide by their oath are the enemy. If they stop you from getting here, kill them!”

    Fry reportedly has been using government computers at the refuge to establish a website for the occupiers while conducting his own live stream and updating his Google+ and Facebook accounts. The website, defendyourbase.net, has been taken down, and it not cleary by whom.

    His social media accounts included posts that were anti-Semitic, homophobic, and pro-Nazi, as well as posts in support of ISIS. After media reports about his posts, many were deleted.

    “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS FOR ISIS TO NUKE ISRAELHELL!” he wrote on his Google+ the site Nov. 30.

    He also tagged posts #HitlerWasRight, and another #Pray4ISIS.

    “You see a lot of slander,” Fry said. “They called me an ISIS supporter and a group of people said I was an anarchist. They’re making these things up about me and taking some of my comments — it’s satire. They twisted it out of hand and make it look like I’m an an anarchist. I’m not an anarchist.

    “I’m here to support freedom and a non-corrupt government. I’m here for a patriotic cause. I support the government, just not the people we have in government now.

    “I’m tired of serving evil. I’m tired of paying my money and going toward abortion, going toward bombing and other countries, arming rebels. I’m tired of paying my taxes for that (expletive), so I’m going to fight.”

    Yep, David Fry, the militant’s computer guy who raised a number of eyebrows with his #Pray4ISIS and #HiterWasRight types of social media postings (which he asserts done were in jest), is apparently planning on dying there. ISIS would presumably approve.

    Fry clearly isn’t the only one there still willing to die, especially the guy that yelled, “This is history in the making. There are no laws in this United States now. This is a free-for-all Armageddon. Any military or law enforcement or feds that stand and don’t abide by their oath are the enemy. If they stop you from getting here, kill them!” He’s definitely ready to die, but he’s also issuing a rather chilling threat: Any military or law enforcement or feds “that stand and don’t abide by their oath” should be killed. It’s a reminder that even if the remaining standoff ends, violently or non-violently, the mind virus that’s infected these individuals won’t end with them. The sovereign citizen-esque ideology that views every government employee who isn’t working for the county sheriff as worthy of being shot or hanged will still linger on, which is part of why the Bundy Brigade’s other computer-related shenanigans are so disturbing: In addition to the harassment and intimidation inflicted on the federal employees living in Burns, Oregon, the Bundy Brigade was already observed by reporters rummaging through government computers and files and gathering information of federal employees:

    OPB
    Militants May Have Accessed Government Computers At Refuge

    by John Sepulvado
    Jan. 8, 2016 6:30 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 9, 2016 11:32 a.m.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have accessed government computers during their occupation.

    OPB observed militants interacting with computers in the compound that can only be accessed with employee ID badges. The armed men also appear to have gone through materials in an office building used by federal employees.

    This comes as militants rejected leaving the facility Frida, which they’ve occupied illegally since Jan. 2.

    The computers are in a room of cubicles near the main compound. LaVoy Finicum, a member of the occupying group’s security team, accidentally led OPB into the area.

    Finicum says the group plans to turn the office into a media center that would eventually house reporters.

    There are four desks in the office, two on each side. Three of the computers were turned on, and in screen saver mode. Papers in the room were strewn about in a disorderly manner.

    After Finicum realized he shouldn’t have allowed OPB to access the room, he quickly picked up lists of names and Social Security numbers by the computers, and hid government employee ID cards that were previously in plain sight.<

    Shortly after, one of the militant leaders, Ryan Bundy, walked into the room.

    When asked about the computers, Bundy emphatically denied any of the work spaces had been touched since the occupation.

    “No, we haven’t touched a single personal item. We haven’t touched any of the computers, we haven’t tried to log on — we haven’t done anything. We’re not here to hurt people,” Bundy said, “not even the people who work here.”

    Along with possibly accessing the computers, militants at the compound are using government vehicles and equipment to operate and fortify defenses.

    When reached Friday, FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele declined to officially comment on any activity ongoing at the refuge.

    However, law enforcement officials are concerned refuge employees could potentially be harmed by members of the group. Prior to the occupation, federal employees and family members of local law enforcement had received anonymous threats.

    Harney County Sheriff David Ward said at a community meeting Wednesday that his deputies and own family members had been followed home, photographed, and had personal property damaged in recent months.

    In an interview Friday, Ward said he was concerned about the welfare of the employees who work at the refuge. However, he said he hasn’t confirmed militants have indeed accessed any personnel data.

    “With what information we do have, we’re doing everything we can to make sure we keep our citizens and those employees safe,” Ward said.

    “After Finicum realized he shouldn’t have allowed OPB to access the room, he quickly picked up lists of names and Social Security numbers by the computers, and hid government employee ID cards that were previously in plain sight.”
    And that all took place before the first reports of David Fry’s presence at refuge. Who knows what information they were able to obtain on these individuals once Fry showed up. A group that’s already threatened you isn’t the type of group you want rummaging through your employer’s files.

    But Fry’s presence there is also a reminder that the sovereign-citizen/”we just make up the laws and violently enforce it” ideology promoted by the Bundy Brigade actually shares quite a bit in common with another ideology that’s been heavily promoted ever since the Snowden Affair first hit: the Cypherpunk ideology, where the “natural law”, as interpreted by each individual, include an absolute right to digital privacy for everyone under all circumstance. That natural law is the only real law and through the use of technology, like strong encryption, those natural laws can be codified into reality. And should be codified into reality, regardless of the democratic process:

    uncomputing.org
    Tor, Technocracy, Democracy

    By David Golumbia | Published: April 23, 2015

    As important as the technical issues regarding Tor are, at least as important—probably more important—is the political worldview that Tor promotes (as do other projects like it). While it is useful and relevant to talk about formations that capture large parts of the Tor community, like “geek culture” and “cypherpunks” and libertarianism and anarchism, one of the most salient political frames in which to see Tor is also one that is almost universally applicable across these communities: Tor is technocratic. Technocracy is a term used by political scientists and technology scholars to describe the view that political problems have technological solutions, and that those technological solutions constitute a kind of politics that transcends what are wrongly characterized as “traditional” left-right politics.

    In a terrific recent article describing technocracy and its prevalence in contemporary digital culture, the philosophers of technology Evan Selinger and Jathan Sadowski write:

    Unlike force wielding, iron-fisted dictators, technocrats derive their authority from a seemingly softer form of power: scientific and engineering prestige. No matter where technocrats are found, they attempt to legitimize their hold over others by offering innovative proposals untainted by troubling subjective biases and interests. Through rhetorical appeals to optimization and objectivity, technocrats depict their favored approaches to social control as pragmatic alternatives to grossly inefficient political mechanisms. Indeed, technocrats regularly conceive of their interventions in duty-bound terms, as a responsibility to help citizens and society overcome vast political frictions.

    Such technocratic beliefs are widespread in our world today, especially in the enclaves of digital enthusiasts, whether or not they are part of the giant corporate-digital leviathan. Hackers (“civic,” “ethical,” “white” and “black” hat alike), hacktivists, WikiLeaks fans, Anonymous “members,” even Edward Snowden himself walk hand-in-hand with Facebook and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to contribute to the political world, but that the political world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the political world is broken, they appear to think (rightly, at least in part), and the solution to that, they think (wrongly, at least for the most part), is for programmers to take political matters into their own hands.

    While these suggestions typically frame themselves in terms of the words we use to describe core political values—most often, values associated with democracy—they actually offer very little discussion adequate to the rich traditions of political thought that articulated those values to begin with. That is, technocratic power understands technology as an area of precise expertise, in which one must demonstrate a significant level of knowledge and skill as a prerequisite even to contributing to the project at all. Yet technocrats typically tolerate no such characterization of law or politics: these are trivial matters not even up for debate, and in so far as they are up for debate, they are matters for which the same technical skills qualify participants. This is why it is no surprise that amount the 30 or 40 individuals listed by the project as “Core Tor People,” the vast majority are developers or technology researchers, and those few for whom politics is even part of their ambit, approach it almost exclusively as technologists. The actual legal specialists, no more than a handful, tend to be dedicated advocates for the particular view of society Tor propagates. In other words, there is very little room in Tor for discussion of its politics, for whether the project actually does embody widely-shared political values: this is taken as given.

    This would be fine if Tor really were “purely” technological—although just what a “purely” technological project might be is by no means clear in our world—but Tor is, by anyone’s account, deeply political, so much so that the developers themselves must turn to political principles to explain why the project exists at all. Consider, for example, the Tor Project blog post written by lead developer Roger Dingledine that describes the “possible upcoming attempts to disable the Tor network” discussed by Yasha Levine and Paul Carr on Pando. Dingledine writes:

    The Tor network provides a safe haven from surveillance, censorship, and computer network exploitation for millions of people who live in repressive regimes, including human rights activists in countries such as Iran, Syria, and Russia.

    And further:

    Attempts to disable the Tor network would interfere with all of these users, not just ones disliked by the attacker.

    Why would that be bad? Because “every person has the right to privacy. This right is a foundation of a democratic society.”

    This appears to be an extremely clear statement. It is not a technological argument: it is a political argument. It was generated by Dingledine of his own volition; it is meant to be a—possibly the—basic argument that that justifies Tor. Tor is connected to a fundamental human right, the “right to privacy” which is a “foundation” of a “democratic society.” Dingledine is certainly right that we should not do things that threaten such democratic foundations. At the same time, Dingledine seems not to recognize that terms like “repressive regime” are inherently and deeply political, and that “surveillance” and “censorship” and “exploitation” name political activities whose definitions vary according to legal regime and even political point of view. Clearly, many users of Tor consider any observation by any government, for any reason, to be “exploitation” by a “repressive regime,” which is consistent for the many members of the community who profess a variety of anarchism or anarcho-capitalism, but not for those with other political views, such as those who think that there are circumstances under which laws need to be enforced.

    Especially concerning about this argument is that it mischaracterizes the nature of the legal guarantees of human rights. In a democracy, it is not actually up to individuals on their own to decide how and where human rights should be enforced or protected, and then to create autonomous zones wherein those rights are protected in the terms they see fit. Instead, in a democracy, citizens work together to have laws and regulations enacted that realize their interpretation of rights. Agitating for a “right to privacy” amendment to the Constitution would be appropriate political action for privacy in a democracy. Even certain forms of (limited) civil disobedience are an important part of democracy. But creating a tool that you claim protects privacy according to your own definition of the term, overtly resisting any attempt to discuss what it means to say that it “protects privacy,” and then insisting everyone use it and nobody, especially those lacking the coding skills to be insiders, complain about it because of its connection to fundamental rights, is profoundly antidemocratic. Like all technocratic claims, it challenges what actually is a fundamental precept of democracy that few across the political spectrum would challenge: that open discussion of every issue affecting us is required in order for political power to be properly administered.

    It doesn’t take much to show that Dingledine’s statement about the political foundations of Tor can’t bear the weight he places on it. I commented on the Tor Project blog, pointing out that he is using “right to privacy” in a different way from what that term means outside of the context of Tor: “the ‘right to privacy’ does not mean what you assert it means here, at all, even in those jurisdictions that (unlike the US) have that right enshrined in law or constitution.” Dingledine responded:

    Live in the world you want to live in. (Think of it as a corollary to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.)

    We’re not talking about any particular legal regime here. We’re talking about basic human rights that humans worldwide have, regardless of particular laws or interpretations of laws.

    I guess other people can say that it isn’t true — that privacy isn’t a universal human right — but we’re going to keep saying that it is.

    This is technocratic two-stepping of a very typical sort and deeply worrying sort. First, Dingledine claimed that Tor must be supported because it follows directly from a fundamental “right to privacy.” Yet when pressed—and not that hard—he admits that what he means by “right to privacy” is not what any human rights body or “particular legal regime” has meant by it. Instead of talking about how human rights are protected, he asserts that human rights are natural rights and that these natural rights create natural law that is properly enforced by entities above and outside of democratic polities. Where the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948 is very clear that states and bodies like the UN to which states belong are the exclusive guarantors of human rights, whatever the origin of those rights, Dingledine asserts that a small group of software developers can assign to themselves that role, and that members of democratic polities have no choice but to accept them having that role.

    We don’t have to look very hard to see the problems with that. Many in the US would assert that the right to bear arms means that individuals can own guns (or even more powerful weapons). More than a few construe this as a human or even a natural right. Many would say “the citizen’s right to bear arms is a foundation of a democratic society.” Yet many would not. Another democracy, the UK, does not allow citizens to bear arms. Tor, notably, is the home of many hidden services that sell weapons. Is it for the Tor developers to decide what is and what is not a fundamental human right, and how states should recognize them, and to distribute weapons in the UK despite its explicit, democratically-enacted, legal prohibition of them? (At this point, it is only the existence of legal services beyond Tor’s control that make this difficult, but that has little to do with Tor’s operation: if it were up to Tor, the UK legal prohibition on weapons would be overwritten by technocratic fiat.)

    “Such technocratic beliefs are widespread in our world today, especially in the enclaves of digital enthusiasts, whether or not they are part of the giant corporate-digital leviathan. Hackers (“civic,” “ethical,” “white” and “black” hat alike), hacktivists, WikiLeaks fans, Anonymous “members,” even Edward Snowden himself walk hand-in-hand with Facebook and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to contribute to the political world, but that the political world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the political world is broken, they appear to think (rightly, at least in part), and the solution to that, they think (wrongly, at least for the most part), is for programmers to take political matters into their own hands.
    That’s a pretty good description of the Cypherpunks. “Natural law” grants them all the political legitimacy they need. Kind of like the sovereign citizens.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 28, 2016, 9:29 pm
  3. Regarding Licio Gelli: The two paragraphs from the article “Licio Gelli, Ital­ian Financier and Cabal Leader, Dies at 96″ by Sam Roberts; The New York Times; 12/18/2015. would suggest the possibility to consider that his sponsorship in his business ventures tied to the Underground Reich:
    “Mr. Gelli joined Ben­ito Mussolini’s fas­cist Black­shirts in fight­ing for Gen­er­alis­simo Fran­cisco Franco in Spain’s Civil War in the 1930s. He served as an Ital­ian liai­son to Nazi Ger­many dur­ing World War II, then switched sides to sup­port Com­mu­nist par­ti­sans in his native Pis­toia Province.
    After the war, he fled to Argentina, where he became a con­fi­dant of the dic­ta­tor Juan Perón. Return­ing to Italy, he became suc­cess­ful as a financier and self-made indus­tri­al­ist man­u­fac­tur­ing mattresses.”

    Also, the sponsorship of Exxon with the Wise use movement mentioned in the article “The Ide­o­log­i­cal Roots of the Ore­gon Stand­off” by Alan Feuer; The New York Times; 1/10/2016 would suggest the possibility of Underground Reich influence. In Paul Manning’s Book “Martin Bormann Nazi in Exile” (c) 1981 it indicated that their organization had more stock in the company than the Rockefeller Family”

    “Mr. Arnold adopted the phrase “wise use” from Gif­ford Pin­chot, the first head of the United States For­est Ser­vice (who said that “con­ser­va­tion is the wise use of resources”). In 1988 he held a con­fer­ence, bring­ing together the likes of Exxon and the National Cattlemen’s Asso­ci­a­tion, with the goal of seed­ing the West with grass-roots groups that could wrest con­trol of fed­eral land and give a local fla­vor to his Rea­gan­ite aims.”

    Posted by Anonymous | January 30, 2016, 8:23 pm
  4. The quasi-far-right Daily Caller recently had a piece by one of its associate editors, Scott Greer, that largely excuses attacks on immigrants and refugees as largely the fault of Europe’s political class for not assuaging growing domestic fears of violence from immigrants and refugees. The piece also referred to the PEGIDA movement in Germany as “so-called ‘extremists'” and takes a ‘well, what do you expect?’ spin on the situation. That gives you a sense of how the increasingly organized street violence by the European far right is being reported by quasimainstream American far-right media.

    With that in mind, here’s an article on the recent violence spree that prompted the particular Daily Caller piece: following the death of a Swedish worker at a refugee center after she was stabbed by a 15 year old refugee, a large group of Swedish ‘vigilantes’ (neo-Nazis and football hooligans) specifically targeted teenage refugees and immigrants for random beatings on the streets of Stockholm. And in case it wasn’t clear they were targeting teens, they also passed out fliers during their assault spree declaring that children were their explicit targets to give them “the punishment they deserve”:

    The Independent
    ‘Hundreds’ of masked men beat refugee children in Stockholm
    They handed out leaflets threatening to give ‘the North African street children who are roaming around’ the ‘punishment they deserve’

    Samuel Osborne
    Saturday 30 January 2016

    Hundreds of masked men marched through Stockholm’s main train station on Friday evening, reportedly beating up refugees and anyone who didn’t appear to be ethnically Swedish.

    Wearing all-black balaclavas and armbands, the men “gathered with the purpose of attacking refugee children,” Stockholm police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.

    “I saw maybe three people who were beaten. That was no football brawl or something similar. They targeted migrants. I was quite scared and ran away,” an eyewitness told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

    Before the attacks, the mob handed out leaflets with the slogan “It is enough now!” which threatened to give “the North African street children who are roaming around” the “punishment they deserve”.

    The leaflet refers to the death of social worker Alexandra Mezher, who died after being stabbed at a refugee shelter for unaccompanied children.

    Four people have been arrested in connection with the attacks – one for assaulting a police officer, while the others were charged with being masked in public, which is illegal in Sweden. All risk fines.

    After the attack, the Swedish Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, released a statement claiming the attack had “cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the Central Station”.

    The statement added: “These criminal immigrants have robbed and molested Swedes for a long time.”

    “Police have clearly shown that they lack the means to stave off their rampage, and we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve.”

    Sweden received a record 160,000 refugees last year.

    “These criminal immigrants have robbed and molested Swedes for a long time.”
    That’s the explanation of the the Swedish Resistance Movement. It’s a rather odd excuse for a violence spree coming from a neo-Nazi group given that neo-Nazi groups are themselves rather prone towards terrorizing societies, although pretty typical too. It’s also an indication of how far the mainstreaming of the dehumanization of “others” and collective punishment is coming along.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 2, 2016, 10:19 am

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