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

For The Record  

FTR #901 Fascism: Past, Present and Future

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

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work

Introduction: As the title of the program indicates, this broadcast chronicles aspects of the past and present of fascism–the Underground Reich, in particular–and looks ahead to a very, very scary future. Our political culture has not recorded an accurate account of what fascism is, how it arose, what became of it, and–in particular–why it has been able to perpetuate itself so effectively. One of the reasons for this failure concerns the collaboration between major institutions of our “democratic” society and the Axis powers before, during and after the Second World War.

In addition to dominant corporate institutions and allied political and national security elites, American journalistic organizations have stained themselves with fascist collaboration. One of those institutions is the Associated Press, which collaborated with Nazi Germany, in order to steal a journalistic march on coverage of the Third Reich and its military campaigns.

Next, the program revisits part of the outcome of the decades-long collaboration between the CIA and the distillate of the Third Reich intelligence–the Gehlen “Org.” In Ukraine, the government that assumed power following the Maidan coup/covert operation is the direct successor to the OUN/B fascists who collaborated with Hitler. Recent developments in the manifestations of Ukrainian fascism include:

  • A congressional reversal of a ban on funding the Nazi “volunteer/punisher” battalions in Ukraine.
  • A Ukrainian legislator’s toasting of Adolf Hitler.
  • The appointment of Svoboda luminary and “Maidan commander” Andriy Parubiy to be the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament.
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s address to the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament.) Former President Jimmy Carter has been banned from traveling to Israel because of his references to Israel as “apartheid.” Petro Poroshenko laid a wreath in tribute to the OUN/B at the site of the Babi Yar massacre. (OUN/B recruits constituted the bulk of the executioners at Babi Yar.) Apparently Poroshenko’s honoring of the executioners of Babi Yar did not disqualify HIM from addressing the Knesset. Shame!

Ustachi with victim

Ustachi Recruiting Poster

Next, the program details the emergence into plain view of the Ustachi fascists in Croatia. Like the OUN/B and other Eastern European Third Reich collaborators, the Ustachi were supported by elements of Western intelligence and–even more importantly–the GOP’s Heritage Groups Council, a Nazi branch of the GOP. (For more about this topic, see–among other programs–FTR #’s 48, 154, 532, 766, 865.)

Following the recrudescence of Ustachi elements in Croatia following the destabilization and breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the Ustacha successors have solidified their political base and are now emerging into the open–now longer an “Underground Reich.” Recent developments include:

  • The outgoing Croatian Prime Minister’s characterization of the new government there as being “criminal, pro-Ustacha.” ” . . . [Ex-PM] Zoran Milanovic said on Mon­day he was con­cerned that “peo­ple from a crim­i­nal, spy­ing, and pro-Ustasha coali­tion” are com­ing to power in Croatia. . . .”
  • The new Croatian Culture Minister’s open Ustacha sentiments: ” . . . . In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fascist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as “vic­tims” and “martyrs”. In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fascist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as “vic­tims” and “martyrs.”Zlatko Hasan­be­govic unam­bigu­ously glo­ri­fied the Ustasa and advo­cated the estab­lish­ment of the Greater Croa­tia in the monthly mag­a­zine, “The Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia,” pub­lished in the 1990s. He was pho­tographed in it with Mladen Schwartz, Velimir Bujanec, and the son-in-law of for­mer Fas­cist dic­ta­tor and Ustasa leader Ante Pavelic. In one pho­to­graph he wears an Ustasa cap. The then editor-in-chief of the monthly, Srecko Psenic­nik, was the son-in-law of Ante Pavelic, and Pres­i­dent of the Croa­t­ian Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment, HOP, a pro-Ustasa party founded by Pavelic. . . .”

Germany is also experiencing a frightening return to its political past. Usually described in the media as an anti-immigrant party, the AfD (“Alternative for Germany”) has set forth a political agenda that is far more than just “anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim” and is reminiscent of the agenda of the Third Reich: “ . . . A leaked elec­tion man­i­festo has revealed that Germany’s vote-winning new anti-immigrant party has plans for dra­con­ian laws which would dis­crim­i­nate against hand­i­capped chil­dren, sin­gle moth­ers, and the men­tally ill – and oblige his­tory teach­ers to end a per­ceived “over-emphasis” on the Nazi era in schools. . . . The party’s man­i­festo makes it clear that the AfD wants a return to what it calls “national” val­ues in Ger­many. It says it “sees the tra­di­tional fam­ily” as the only model which can reverse the country’s declin­ing birth rate. To this end the party pledges to take steps to ban abor­tion and make divorce more dif­fi­cult. By con­trast, Ger­man fam­i­lies which pro­duce chil­dren should be rewarded with finan­cial incen­tives, it says. . . .”

The AfD is attracting young German voters–a key element of its success at the polls.

After discussions of rising Eurofascism, we pivot to the future, looking at the world of tech and how fascists can turn that to their advantage.

Exemplifying the possibilities of online fascist activity, a highly skilled Nazi hacker and troll named Andrew Auernheimer. Nicknamed “Weev,” he has hacked printers in order to make them churn out racist material. “ . . . . This inci­dent shows, once again, that the appar­ently bright future of the so-called Inter­net of Things has a dark side too: hack­ers can creep out babies tak­ing advan­tage of inse­cure baby mon­i­tors, expose kids’ iden­ti­ties thanks to internet-connected toys that col­lect and leave their data exposed online, or send a hate­ful white suprema­cist flyer all over the coun­try with two lines of code. . . .”

Weev has also used his considerable skill to manipulate Twitter to augment his supply of Bitcoins, in addition to disseminating his Nazi propaganda. He has been blocked by Twitter for doing so. Glenn Greenwald, however, does not share Twitter’s distaste, having included Auernheimer on his guest list for a party honoring him for receiving a Polk award. Sadly, this is business as usual for Citizen Greenwald.

An unnerving development and one with huge implications future of our civilization involved Microsoft’s development of an AI Twitter “bot” named Tay to respond to users of the network. It was manipulated to become a Nazi and was taken offline. As one observer noted, using sarcasm: “Tay went from “humans are super cool” to full nazi in <24 hrs and I’m not at all concerned about the future of AI.” AI technologies are destined to learn from us, which is frightening: ” . . . When the next pow­er­ful AI comes along, it will see its first look at the world by look­ing at our faces. And if we stare it in the eyes and shout “we’re AWFUL lol,” the lol might be the one part it doesn’t understand. . . .”

Program Highlights Include:

  • A brief review of the development of the OUN/B successor government in Ukraine.
  • A brief review of the World War II Ustachi government.
  • The professional association between Croatian cultural minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic and the son-in-law of Ustachi dictator Ante Pavelic.
  • The AP’s active cover-up of the Lviv pogroms in June of 1941.
  • A brief review of the eugenics program in Nazi Germany, which sought to eliminate “asocials.”
  • Recap of Australian-born Croatian footballer Joe Simunic’s use of the “Za Dom Spremni” cry at a qualifying match for the World Cup.

1. A revealing story that might be nicknamed Serpent’s Walk: The Prequel, discusses how the Associated Press collaborated with the Nazi regime to maintain its point journalistic presence in the Third Reich.

“Revealed: How Asso­ci­ated Press Coop­er­ated with the Nazis” by Philip Olter­mann;  The Guardian; 3/30/2016.

Ger­man his­to­rian shows how news agency retained access in 1930s by promis­ing not to under­mine strength of Hitler regime

The Asso­ci­ated Press news agency entered a for­mal coop­er­a­tion with the Hitler regime in the 1930s, sup­ply­ing Amer­i­can news­pa­pers with mate­r­ial directly pro­duced and selected by the Nazi pro­pa­ganda min­istry, archive mate­r­ial unearthed by a Ger­man his­to­rian has revealed.

When the Nazi party seized power in Ger­many in 1933, one of its first objec­tives was to bring into line not just the national press, but inter­na­tional media too. The Guardian was banned within a year, and by 1935 even big­ger British-American agen­cies such as Key­stone and Wide World Pho­tos were forced to close their bureaus after com­ing under attack for employ­ing Jew­ish journalists.

Asso­ci­ated Press, which has described itself as the “marine corps of jour­nal­ism” (“always the first in and the last out”) was the only west­ern news agency able to stay open in Hitler’s Ger­many, con­tin­u­ing to oper­ate until the US entered the war in 1941. It thus found itself in the pre­sum­ably prof­itable sit­u­a­tion of being the prime chan­nel for news reports and pic­tures out of the total­i­tar­ian state.

In an arti­cle pub­lished in aca­d­e­mic jour­nal Stud­ies in Con­tem­po­rary His­tory, his­to­rian Har­riet Scharn­berg shows that AP was only able to retain its access by enter­ing into a mutu­ally ben­e­fi­cial two-way coop­er­a­tion with the Nazi regime.

The New York-based agency ceded con­trol of its out­put by sign­ing up to the so-called Schriftleit­erge­setz (editor’s law), promis­ing not to pub­lish any mate­r­ial “cal­cu­lated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home”.

This law required AP to hire reporters who also worked for the Nazi party’s pro­pa­ganda divi­sion. One of the four pho­tog­ra­phers employed by the Asso­ci­ated Press in the 1930s, Franz Roth, was a mem­ber of the SS para­mil­i­tary unit’s pro­pa­ganda divi­sion, whose pho­tographs were per­son­ally cho­sen by Hitler. AP has removed Roth’s pic­tures from its web­site since Scharn­berg pub­lished her find­ings, though thumb­nails remain view­able due to “soft­ware issues”.

AP also allowed the Nazi regime to use its photo archives for its vir­u­lently anti­se­mitic pro­pa­ganda lit­er­a­ture. Pub­li­ca­tions illus­trated with AP pho­tographs include the best­selling SS brochure “Der Unter­men­sch” (“The Sub-Human”) and the book­let “The Jews in the USA”, which aimed to demon­strate the deca­dence of Jew­ish Amer­i­cans with a pic­ture of New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia eat­ing from a buf­fet with his hands.

Com­ing just before Asso­ci­ated Press’s 170th anniver­sary in May, the newly dis­cov­ered infor­ma­tion raises not just dif­fi­cult ques­tions about the role AP played in allow­ing Nazi Ger­many to con­ceal its true face dur­ing Hitler’s first years in power, but also about the agency’s rela­tion­ship with con­tem­po­rary total­i­tar­ian regimes.

While the AP deal enabled the west to peek into a repres­sive soci­ety that may oth­er­wise have been entirely hid­den from view – for which Berlin cor­re­spon­dent Louis P Lochner won a Pulitzer in 1939 – the arrange­ment also enabled the Nazis to cover up some of its crimes. Scharn­berg, a his­to­rian at Halle’s Mar­tin Luther Uni­ver­sity, argued that AP’s coop­er­a­tion with the Hitler regime allowed the Nazis to “por­tray a war of exter­mi­na­tion as a con­ven­tional war”.

In June 1941, Nazi troops invaded the town of Lviv in west­ern Ukraine. Upon dis­cov­er­ing evi­dence of mass killings car­ried out by Soviet troops, Ger­man occu­py­ing forces had organ­ised “revenge” pogroms against the city’s Jew­ish population.

Franz Roth’s pho­tographs of the dead bod­ies inside Lviv pris­ons were selected upon Hitler’s per­sonal orders and dis­trib­uted to the Amer­i­can press via AP.

“Instead of print­ing pic­tures of the days-long Lviv pogroms with its thou­sands of Jew­ish vic­tims, the Amer­i­can press was only sup­plied with pho­tographs show­ing the vic­tims of the Soviet police and ‘brute’ Red Army war crim­i­nals,” Scharn­berg told the Guardian.

“To that extent it is fair to say that these pic­tures played their part in dis­guis­ing the true char­ac­ter of the war led by the Ger­mans,” said the his­to­rian. “Which events were made vis­i­ble and which remained invis­i­ble in AP’s sup­ply of pic­tures fol­lowed Ger­man inter­ests and the Ger­man nar­ra­tive of the war.”

Approached with these alle­ga­tions, AP said in a state­ment that Scharnberg’s report “describes both indi­vid­u­als and their activ­i­ties before and dur­ing the war that were unknown to AP”, and that it is cur­rently review­ing doc­u­ments in and beyond its archives to “fur­ther our under­stand­ing of the period”.

An AP spokesper­son told the Guardian: “As we con­tinue to research this mat­ter, AP rejects any notion that it delib­er­ately ‘col­lab­o­rated’ with the Nazi regime. An accu­rate char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion is that the AP and other for­eign news organ­i­sa­tions were sub­jected to intense pres­sure from the Nazi regime from the year of Hitler’s com­ing to power in 1932 until the AP’s expul­sion from Ger­many in 1941. AP man­age­ment resisted the pres­sure while work­ing to gather accu­rate, vital and objec­tive news in a dark and dan­ger­ous time.”

The new find­ings may only have been of inter­est to com­pany his­to­ri­ans, were it not for the fact that AP’s rela­tion­ship with total­i­tar­ian regimes has once again come under scrutiny. Since Jan­u­ary 2012, when AP became the first west­ern news agency to open a bureau in North Korea, ques­tions have repeat­edly been raised about the neu­tral­ity of its Pyongyang bureau’s output.

In 2014, Washington-based web­site NK News alleged that top exec­u­tives at AP had in 2011 “agreed to dis­trib­ute state-produced North Korean pro­pa­ganda through the AP name” in order to gain access to the highly prof­itable mar­ket of dis­trib­ut­ing pic­ture mate­r­ial out of the total­i­tar­ian state. The Demo­c­ra­tic People’s Repub­lic of Korea comes sec­ond from bot­tom in the cur­rent World Press Free­dom Index.

A leaked draft agree­ment showed that AP was appar­ently will­ing to let the Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) hand­pick one text and one photo jour­nal­ist from its agi­ta­tion and pro­pa­ganda unit to work in its bureau. AP told the Guardian that “it would be pre­sump­tu­ous to assume ‘the draft’ has any sig­nif­i­cance”, but declined to dis­close fur­ther infor­ma­tion on the final agreement.

Nate Thayer, a for­mer AP cor­re­spon­dent in Cam­bo­dia who pub­lished the leaked draft agree­ment, told the Guardian: “It looks like AP have learned very lit­tle from their own his­tory. To claim, as the agency does, that North Korea does not con­trol their out­put, is ludi­crous. There is nat­u­rally an argu­ment that any access to secre­tive states is impor­tant. But at the end of the day it mat­ters whether you tell your read­ers that what you are report­ing is based on inde­pen­dent and neu­tral sources”.

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work

2a. While Americans were engaging in holiday-related activities or watching football in December of 2015, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that contains a rider stripping out opposition to funding Nazi units in Ukraine. This gives a green light to arming the volunteer battalions such as the Azov (some of whose members’ helmets are pictured) or Lukhansk-1.Given that the Third Reich-collaborationist OUN/B has long had support from Western intelligence and found inclusion in first, the GOP and, ultimately, the Maidan regime in Ukraine, this is not surprising.(It is impossible within the scope of this post to cover our voluminous coverage of the Ukraine crisis. Previous programs on the subject are: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782783784794, 800803804, 808811817818824826

829832833837849850853857860872875876877Listeners/readers are encouraged to examine these programs and/or their descriptions in detail, in order to flesh out their understanding.)

“Con­gress Has Removed a Ban on Fund­ing Neo-Nazis From Its Year-End Spend­ing Bill” by James Car­den; The Nation; 1/13/2016.

Under pres­sure from the Pen­ta­gon, Con­gress has stripped the spend­ing bill of an amend­ment that pre­vented funds from falling into the hands of Ukrain­ian neo-fascist groups.

In mid-December 2015, Con­gress passed a 2,000-plus-page omnibus spend­ing bill for fis­cal year 2016. Both par­ties were quick to declare vic­tory after the pas­sage of the $1.8 tril­lion pack­age. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters “we feel good about the out­come, pri­mar­ily because we got a com­pro­mise bud­get agree­ment that fought off a wide vari­ety of ide­o­log­i­cal rid­ers.” The office of House Speaker Paul J. Ryan touted the bill’s “64 bil­lion for over­seas con­tin­gency oper­a­tions” for, among other things, assist­ing ” Euro­pean coun­tries fac­ing Russ­ian aggression.”

It would be safe to assume that one of the Euro­pean coun­tries which would stand to ben­e­fit from the omnibus measure—designed, in part, to com­bat “Russ­ian aggression”—would be Ukraine, which has already, accord­ing to the White House, received $2 bil­lion in loan guar­an­tees and nearly $760 mil­lion in “secu­rity, pro­gram­matic, and tech­ni­cal assis­tance” since Feb­ru­ary 2014.

Yet some have expressed con­cern that some of this aid has made its way into the hands of neo-Nazi groups, such as the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Last sum­mer the Daily Beast pub­lished an inter­view by the jour­nal­ists Will Cath­cart and Joseph Epstein in which a mem­ber of the Azov bat­tal­ion spoke about “his battalion’s expe­ri­ence with U.S. train­ers and U.S. vol­un­teers quite fondly, even men­tion­ing U.S. vol­un­teers engi­neers and medics that are still cur­rently assist­ing them.”

And so, in July of last year, Con­gress­men John Cony­ers of Michi­gan and Ted Yoho of Florida drew up an amend­ment to the House Defense Appro­pri­a­tions bill (HR 2685) that “lim­its arms, train­ing, and other assis­tance to the neo-Nazi Ukrain­ian mili­tia, the Azov Bat­tal­ion.” It passed by a unan­i­mous vote in the House.

And yet by the time Novem­ber came around and the con­fer­ence debate over the year-end appro­pri­a­tions bill was under­way, the Conyers-Yoho mea­sure appeared to be in jeop­ardy. And indeed it was. An offi­cial famil­iar with the debate told The Nation that the House Defense Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee came under pres­sure from the Pen­ta­gon to remove the Conyers-Yoho amend­ment from the text of the bill.

The Pentagon’s objec­tion to the Conyers-Yoho amend­ment rests on the claim that it is redun­dant because sim­i­lar legislation—known as the Leahy law—already exists that would pre­vent the fund­ing of Azov. This, as it turns out, is untrue. The Leahy law cov­ers only those groups for which the “Sec­re­tary of State has cred­i­ble infor­ma­tion that such unit has com­mit­ted a gross vio­la­tion of human rights.” Yet the State Depart­ment has never claimed to have such infor­ma­tion about Azov, so fund­ing to the group can­not be blocked by the Leahy law. The con­gres­sional source I spoke to pointed out that “even if Azov is already cov­ered by Leahy, then no there was no need to strip it out of final bill.” Indeed, the Leahy law can­not block fund­ing to groups, no mat­ter how nox­ious their ide­ol­ogy, in the absence of “cred­i­ble infor­ma­tion” that they have com­mit­ted human-rights vio­la­tions. The Conyers-Yoho amend­ment was designed to rem­edy that shortcoming.

Con­sid­er­ing the fact that the US Army has been train­ing Ukrain­ian armed forces and national guard troops, the Conyers-Yoho amend­ment made a great deal of sense; block­ing the avowedly neo-Nazi Azov bat­tal­ion from receiv­ing US assis­tance would fur­ther what Pres­i­dent Obama often refers to as “our inter­ests and values.”

Whether White House spokesman Josh Earnest was refer­ring, in part, to the Conyers-Yoho amend­ment as one of those “ide­o­log­i­cal rid­ers” the admin­is­tra­tion fought to defeat is unclear. What is clear is that by strip­ping out the anti-neo-Nazi pro­vi­sion, Con­gress and the admin­is­tra­tion have paved the way for US fund­ing to end up in the hands of the most nox­ious ele­ments cir­cu­lat­ing within Ukraine today.

2b. Addressing the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko recently gave a pro-forma apology for the participation of Ukrainians in the Holocaust. The fact that he escaped significant criticized in Israel (or anywhere else for that matter) for laying a wreath in tribute to the OUN/B at Babi Yar speaks loudly for the overwhelming hypocrisy concerning the true nature of the Ukrainian government and the forces that brought it into being.

It would be impossible to exaggerate the role of the OUN/B successor organizations in Ukraine’s “new” government, with Svoboda and Pravy Sektor deeply involved with that benighted country’s military and intelligence establishments. Furthermore, the post-Maidan political landscape has featured OUN/B participants such as Roman Svarych (personal secretary to Ukraine’s World War II collaborationist government chief Jaroslav Stetsko) serving as an advisor to Poroshenko, after having served as Ukrainian minister of justice under the Yuschenko regime and both Timoshenko governments.

Poroshenko’s government passed a law criminalizing the accurate telling of World War II history in Ukraine and his government and intelligence service have institutionalized the fundamental revision of Ukraine’s history in that conflict.

A video of a Ukrain­ian oppo­si­tion law­maker salut­ing Adolf Hitler made its way online this week­end, only days after his country’s Pres­i­dent apol­o­gized for Ukrain­ian col­lab­o­ra­tors’ role in the Holo­caust dur­ing a state visit to Israel.

In the video, Artyom Vitko, the for­mer com­man­der of the gov­ern­ment backed Luhansk-1 Bat­tal­ion and now a mem­ber of the Rad­i­cal Party of Oleh Lyashko, can be seen sit­ting in the back of a car wear­ing cam­ou­flage fatigues and singing along to a song by a Russ­ian neo-Nazi band extolling the virtues of the Nazi dictator.

“Adolf Hitler, together with us, Adolf Hitler, in each of us, and an eagle with iron wings will help us at the right time,” Vitko sang, salut­ing the cam­era with his water bot­tle as the car’s sound sys­tem blared “Heil Hitler.”

Vitko’s pro-Nazi sen­ti­ments emerged imme­di­ately on the heels of party leader Oleh Lyashko denun­ci­a­tion of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko for for his recent com­ments apol­o­giz­ing or Ukrain­ian com­plic­ity in the Holocaust.

Speak­ing before the Knes­set last week, Poroshenko said that “we must remem­ber the neg­a­tive events in his­tory, in which col­lab­o­ra­tors helped the Nazis with the Final Solution.”

“When Ukraine was estab­lished [in 1991], we asked for for­give­ness, and I am doing it now, in the Knes­set, before the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of the vic­tims of the Holo­caust… I am doing it before all cit­i­zens of Israel,” he added.

“This kind of humil­i­a­tion of Ukraini­ans has not been recorded in our his­tory yet. Dur­ing a visit to Israel, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko apol­o­gized for the ‘Ukrain­ian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Holo­caust,’” Lyashko posted on Face­book on Thursday.

“This is exactly sit­u­a­tion if we would accuse Geor­gians and Jews in the Holodomor, appeal­ing to the atroc­i­ties of Dzhugashvili, Beria, Kaganovich, etc,” he said, refer­ring to a mas­sive famine that resulted from the forced col­lec­tiviza­tion of farms in the Soviet Union dur­ing the 1930s.

The Holodomor, as it is known in Ukraine, killed mil­lions and is seen by many in that coun­try as a geno­cide on par with the Holocaust.

“The Knes­set has not rec­og­nized the Holodomor as the geno­cide of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple. That is a goal for Ukrain­ian author­i­ties vis­it­ing the Holy Land rather than belit­tling Ukraini­ans [and] pro­claim­ing infe­ri­or­ity of his peo­ple on the inter­na­tional level,” Lyashko added.

“I would say that this is the rea­son Poroshenko is Pres­i­dent and not Lyashko. Lyashko is a pop­ulist only say­ing what he thinks peo­ple want to hear,” said Ukrain­ian Chief Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich.

The Jew­ish com­mu­nity, Ble­ich said, dis­agrees with the pop­ulist politician’s def­i­n­i­tion of humil­i­a­tion, see­ing dis­grace as when “one can­not face up to history.”

“Pride is to look back, and learn from mis­takes. No one accused the Ukrain­ian peo­ple of caus­ing or cre­at­ing the Holo­caust. How­ever, the fact is that there were Ukraini­ans who par­tic­i­pated in the mur­der and per­se­cu­tion of Jews. They are wor­thy of condemnation.”

“The sight of a mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian Par­lia­ment singing a song prais­ing Hitler, under­scores the extremely deep prob­lem in today’s Ukrain­ian democ­racy regard­ing the ongo­ing efforts in that coun­try (and else­where through­out post-Communist East­ern Europe, espe­cially in Lithua­nia, Latvia, Esto­nia and Hun­gary) to rewrite the nar­ra­tive of World War II and the Holo­caust,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesen­thal Center.

“The fact that the Ukrain­ian author­i­ties honor groups which actively par­tic­i­pated in the mur­der of Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust and glo­rify their lead­ers sends a mes­sage that dele­git­imizes the accu­rate his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive, and paves the way for dis­gust­ing scenes like this one. The Ukrain­ian lead­er­ship should not feign sur­prise or aston­ish­ment, they’re the ones at least par­tially responsible.”

Ear­lier this year Ukraine’s par­lia­ment has extended offi­cial recog­ni­tion to a nation­al­ist mili­tia that col­lab­o­rated with the Ger­mans dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. [That is the UPA, which also worked with Frank Wisner’s OPC after the war, in conjunction with the Gehlen “Org.” It is now a crime in Ukraine to criticize either the UPA or the OUN/B.–D.E.]

How­ever, many Ukrain­ian Jews have appeared rather san­guine, explain­ing that they believe that such moves are more likely the result of a need to build up a national ethos and raise up heroes dur­ing a time of con­flict rather than a cel­e­bra­tion of such fig­ures’ anti-Semitic atti­tudes. Despite that, such moves have been widely panned by Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions wor­ried about the long term effects of the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of anti-Semites.

Asked about the deci­sion to honor such groups, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko told the Post that the gov­ern­ment was pay­ing trib­ute to those who fought for national independence.

“Let’s not try to find the black cat in the black room, espe­cially if there is noth­ing there,” he said.

2c. Svoboda member and Maidan forces commander Andriy Parubiy has been named speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament.

“Rada Appoints Andriy Parubiy Its Speaker” [AFP]; The Kiev Post; 4/14/2016.

The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada has relieved Andriy Parubiy of his duties as first deputy parliamentary chairman and appointed him its chairman.

The resolution on appointing Parubiy Rada chairman was supported by 284 parliamentarians at the morning session on April 14.

2d. Israelis and Ukrainian Jews are “shocked, shocked” that a Nazi could get elected major in a Ukrainian town or that a member of the Ukrainian parliament could sing songs praising Hitler. They shouldn’t be.

Note the reference in the article below to the fourteen words, minted by American Nazi David Lane, who drove the getaway car in the murder of Denver talk show host Alan Berg.

“Local Jews in Shock after Ukrain­ian City of Kono­top Elects neo-Nazi Mayor” by Sam Sokol; The Jerusalem Post; 12/21/2015.

Two months after local elec­tions were held across Ukraine, res­i­dents of the small north­ern city of Kono­top are express­ing shock and dis­may over the behav­ior of newly cho­sen Mayor Artem Semenikhin of the neo-Nazi Svo­boda party.

Accord­ing to reports, Semenikhin dri­ves around in a car bear­ing the num­ber 14/88, a numero­log­i­cal ref­er­ence to the phrases “we must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren” and “Heil Hitler”; replaced the pic­ture of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko in his office with a por­trait of Ukrain­ian national leader and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera; and refused to fly the city’s offi­cial flag at the open­ing meet­ing of the city coun­cil because he objected to the star of David embla­zoned on it. The flag also fea­tures a Mus­lim cres­cent and a cross.

Svo­boda, known as the Social-National Party of Ukraine until 2004, has been accused of being a neo-Nazi party by Ukrain­ian Jews and while party lead­ers have a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Semitic remarks, their rhetoric has toned down con­sid­er­ably over the past years as they attempted to go mainstream.

While it man­aged to enter main­stream pol­i­tics and gain 36 out of 450 seats in the Rada, Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, the party’s sup­port seemed to evap­o­rate fol­low­ing the 2014 Ukrain­ian rev­o­lu­tion, in which it played a cen­tral role. It cur­rently holds six seats in the legislature.

The party man­aged to improve its stand­ing dur­ing recent munic­i­pal elec­tions, how­ever, obtain­ing some 10 per­cent of the vote in Kiev and gar­ner­ing sec­ond place in the west­ern city of Lviv. For the most part, how­ever, Svo­boda is far from the major worry for Ukrain­ian Jews that it was only two years ago.

“It is a sad, but a real­ity when anti-Semites are being elected in local gov­ern­ing bod­ies, even may­ors pro­mot­ing hate and intolerance.

Kono­top is a clear case,” said Eduard Dolin­sky of the Ukrain­ian Jew­ish Committee.

For the Jews of Kono­top, how­ever, wor­ries per­sist, with Ilya Bezruchko, the Ukrain­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the US-based National Coali­tion Sup­port­ing Eurasian Jewry, say­ing he believed res­i­dents, who gen­er­ally get along well with local Jews, voted for Semenikhin because he pro­jected an image of some­one who could bring change and reform a cor­rupt system.

How­ever, Semenikhin him­self has a his­tory of fraud, hav­ing been arrested for pos­ing as an elec­tric­ity com­pany worker in order to extract pay­ments from busi­nesses in Kiev in 2012, Bezruchko charged.

Bezruchko, whose late grand­fa­ther was the head of the com­mu­nity and whose mother cur­rently works for the city coun­cil, said Semenikhin and his assis­tant have left angry com­ments on his Face­book page in response to crit­i­cal arti­cles that the Jew­ish activist had posted on his blog.

He claimed that some­one close to the mayor claimed that he would be hos­pi­tal­ized if he returned to the city from Kiev, where he cur­rently lives, and that the mayor him­self posted to say that his mother was cor­rupt and should be fired from her job.

“The reac­tion of [the] com­mu­nity is shock. Peo­ple are shocked it could hap­pen in [a] city and nobody believed it could hap­pen here but it hap­pened some­how,” com­mu­nity activist Igor Nechayev told The Jerusalem Post by phone Monday.

While there have been a cou­ple of instances of anti-Semitic graf­fiti over the past decade and one occa­sion­ally hears ref­er­ences to con­spir­acy the­o­ries iden­ti­fy­ing Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal lead­ers as Jews, for the most part, rela­tions between the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and their non-Jewish neigh­bors are cor­dial, he said.

How­ever, while the mayor attempts to make sure his state­ments never cross over into out­right anti-Semitism, many things he says can be inter­preted in such a way, he con­tin­ued. As an exam­ple, he referred to a recent state­ment by Semenikhin in which the mayor refused to apol­o­gize for anti-Jewish actions taken by far-right nation­al­ists in World War II, inti­mat­ing that it was because those respon­si­ble for the Holodomor famine of the 1930s were largely Jewish.

The Holodomor was a man­made famine that came about dur­ing the col­lec­tiviza­tion of agri­cul­ture in the Soviet Union and which led to the starv­ing deaths of mil­lions. Ukraini­ans con­sider it a genocide.

“The com­mu­nity is dis­cussing the sit­u­a­tion and they under­stand that the mayor is bal­anc­ing between anti-Semitism— – he isn’t cross­ing a red­line with state­ments but say­ing bor­der things that can be under­stood as anti-Semitic,” he explained.

Speak­ing to the Post, Vyach­eslav Likhachev, an anti-Semitism researcher affil­i­ated with the Vaad of Ukraine and the Euro-Asian Jew­ish Con­gress, said “Ukraini­ans are afraid of the Russ­ian threat, not the threat of national rad­i­cal­ism,” and that “Semenikhin has suc­cess­fully cre­ated him­self an image of a defender of Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence, and vot­ers were able to sup­port him, not pay­ing atten­tion to the rad­i­cal­ism of his views.

Unfor­tu­nately, Likhachev said the cur­rent Ukrain­ian leg­is­la­tion does not allow to for­bid [sic] those with right-wing views to take part in the elec­tion, or to remove them from the elected positions.

“The spe­cial anti-communist and anti-Nazi law says about ban­ning the sym­bols of the National Social­ist (Nazi) of the total­i­tar­ian regime, which includes sym­bols of the Nazi Party and the state sym­bols of the Third Reich only,” he said. It is impos­si­ble to inter­preted in legal terms sym­bols like 14/88.”

3a. When Croatia’s new gov­ern­ment was assem­bled back in Decem­ber, the out­go­ing prime min­is­ter, Zoran Milanovic, had a rather frank way of char­ac­ter­iz­ing the new gov­ern­ment:  crim­i­nal and pro-Ustachi:

Ex-PM Blasts New Author­i­ties as “Crim­i­nal, pro-Ustasha” [B92, Tanjug]; B92; 12/28/2015.

Zoran Milanovic said on Mon­day he was con­cerned that “peo­ple from a crim­i­nal, spy­ing, and pro-Ustasha coali­tion” are com­ing to power in Croatia.

The leader of the SDP, who until today served as Croatia’s prime min­is­ter, spoke as his party joined the oppo­si­tion, and as the Croa­t­ian par­lia­ment elected its new pres­i­dent — while prime minister-elect Tihomir Oreskovic said he was con­vinced he would put together a new gov­ern­ment within 30 days.

Last week, post elec­tion nego­ti­a­tions between SDP and an inde­pen­dent list dubbed “Most” (“Bridge”) broke down just as it seemed an agree­ment would be reached to make the Most leader, Bozo Petrov, Croatia’s next prime min­is­ter. Instead, Petrov struck a deal with the HDZ-led Patri­otic Coali­tion, giv­ing Oreskovic the chance to form the country’s next cabinet.

“There are some things in life we can­not choose,” Milanovic told reporters on Mon­day, adding that “this gov­ern­ment is the choice of the Most list — one they will have to live with.”

Milanovic accused Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic of being “respon­si­ble” for the out­come of the post-election talks, and described him as a man accused of seri­ous crimes.

Accord­ing to the for­mer prime min­is­ter, Croa­tia has reached “the nadir, in the demo­c­ra­tic sense.”

“This is not a return to the old — this sit­u­a­tion is worse than the old,” he said, adding, “no mal­ice or irony intended, we have a problem.”

“Ours is a small coun­try, we are not rich, and the way we are rep­re­sented abroad is very impor­tant — whether or not as polit­i­cally strong per­sons, and when that is lack­ing they know there are no clear demo­c­ra­tic processes in the coun­try, and that some­body else is mak­ing the deci­sions,” Milanovic stated.

As for the Most coali­tion, Milanovic said:

“That’s their choice, they will have to live with it, get up and pray to God or to what­ever they believe in. The coali­tion they chose, which was unfor­tu­nately put together by Bandic, who is accused, and by for­mer chiefs of secret ser­vices, con­tains trans­par­ently Ustasha elements.”

The Ustasha regime was in power in the Nazi-allied Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia (NDH) dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Milanovic also said that his party will “con­tinue to fight and not give up” while in oppo­si­tion, and that the country’s new author­i­ties are being formed “thanks to (par­lia­ment) rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ fear of repeated par­lia­men­tary elections.”

3b. More indications that the Ustachi are coming up above-ground in Croatia:

“What Were the Ustasa for Min­is­ter Hasanbegovic?” by Hrvoje Sim­ice­vic; Balkan Tran­si­tional Justice; 2/12/2016.

 It is hard to see how Croatia’s cul­ture min­is­ter can be called an ‘anti-Fascist’, given the evi­dence of his unam­bigu­ous nature of his links to the far-right over many years.

In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fascist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as “vic­tims” and “martyrs”.

Zlatko Hasan­be­govic unam­bigu­ously glo­ri­fied the Ustasa and advo­cated the estab­lish­ment of the Greater Croa­tia in the monthly mag­a­zine, “The Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia,” pub­lished in the 1990s.

He was pho­tographed in it with Mladen Schwartz, Velimir Bujanec, and the son-in-law of for­mer Fas­cist dic­ta­tor and Ustasa leader Ante Pavelic. In one pho­to­graph he wears an Ustasa cap.

The then editor-in-chief of the monthly, Srecko Psenic­nik, was the son-in-law of Ante Pavelic, and Pres­i­dent of the Croa­t­ian Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment, HOP, a pro-Ustasa party founded by Pavelic.

In 1996, Hasan­be­govic wrote at least two arti­cles for the monthly that prop­a­gated Pavelic’s work and ideas and sys­tem­at­i­cally denied the crimes com­mit­ted by the Pavelic’s pup­pet state, The Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia, NDH.

As a his­tory stu­dent at the Fac­ulty of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, Hasan­be­govic wrote about the his­tory of Mus­lims in Croa­tia, empha­siz­ing their polit­i­cal and social renais­sance dur­ing the reign of Pavelic and under the NDH.

In a short com­men­tary, illus­trated by a pho­to­graph of the open­ing of the mosque in Zagreb fea­tur­ing Pavelic in the com­pany of Mus­lim dig­ni­taries from the Ustasa move­ment, Hasan­be­govic crit­i­cized the sep­a­ra­tion of Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina from Croatia.

He said the advo­cates of this pol­icy were “abus­ing the hon­ourable sym­bols and names of Ustasa heroes whose bones… are now turn­ing in their graves from the shame and mis­ery inflicted upon them fifty years later by their so-called followers”.

As an alter­na­tive to those fake fol­low­ers, Hasan­be­govic offers the Ustasa “heroes and mar­tyrs” who, like the author, are dri­ven by a desire to cre­ate a Greater Croa­tia as envi­sioned by Pavelic.

“In the name of those true heroes… who gave their lives for our Home­land… we, the true Croa­t­ian nation­al­ists… the deceived and defeated Mus­lims and Catholics, should expose those hyp­ocrites and moral freaks for who they really are, and show the peo­ple the way out of this dark tun­nel towards peace and unity and reli­gious tol­er­ance which can only hap­pen in a truly free and uni­fied Home­land, stretch­ing from the Mura, Drava and Drina rivers to the Adri­atic,” he wrote.

The Min­is­ter is listed as an asso­ciate writer for the NDH pub­li­ca­tion from April to Novem­ber 1996, but fea­tured as an author already in the Feb­ru­ary edi­tion of the NDH as well as, in the first edi­tion printed in Croa­tia after being issued abroad for many years.

Psenic­nik, pres­i­dent of the HOP, had man­aged to trans­fer pub­li­ca­tion of the NDH from Canada to Croa­tia, and reg­is­ter the HOP as a legit­i­mate party in Croa­tia, despite its polit­i­cal plat­form affil­i­at­ing it to the Ustasa move­ment and to the acts of terrorism.

The party is still active in Croa­tia and it still pro­motes the polit­i­cal agenda of Pavelic. Its activ­ity is not sub­stan­tial, but accord­ing to the lat­est data, it has 650 members.

In his most recent appear­ances, Hasan­be­govic has denied his pre­vi­ous involve­ment with HOP. How­ever, in one of the pho­tographs fea­tured in the NDH monthly, he is described as a “young HOP mem­ber”. In other pho­tographs, he is described as a mem­ber of a party called the Young Croa­t­ian Right­ists, headed at the time by Velimir Bujanec.

He was also pho­tographed in the com­pany of Mladen Schwa­trz, a right-wing polit­i­cal activist who in the 1990s advo­cated a Fas­cist regime in Croa­tia. What­ever the for­mal nature of his con­nec­tions to Pavelic’s and Bujanec’s par­ties, the fact is that Hasan­be­govic had inten­sive social con­tacts with some of their most promi­nent mem­bers and attended events orga­nized by the rad­i­cal right.

The pho­tographs in the monthly cor­rob­o­rate this. They show Hasan­be­govic protest­ing against the 1995 Day­ton Agree­ment on Bosnia, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Bleiburg com­mem­o­ra­tion, and pos­ing on the Split prom­e­nade wear­ing an Ustasa cap.

At Bleiburg, he was pho­tographed with the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of HOP and with Psenic­nik, author of the text accom­pa­ny­ing the pho­tographs. In a report from Bleiburg, illus­trated by this and other pho­tos with numer­ous Ustasa insignia, Psenic­nik openly glo­ri­fies the Ustasha movement.

In Split, Hasan­be­govic poses with five young men all described as “young nation­al­ists” in the cap­tion. Among them is Bujanec, who in the fea­tured inter­view pro­claims: “The future is ours”, just before the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Octo­ber 1995.

In all three pho­tos, Hasan­be­govic is in the com­pany of Bujanec, a man who would later become a mem­ber of the HOP youth frac­tion, a board rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the NDH mag­a­zine and their pub­lic rela­tions officer.

At that time, Bujanec, who now hosts the TV show Bujica, was one of the many mem­bers of the Croa­t­ian Party of Right, HSP, and of the Young Croa­t­ian Right­ists who sub­se­quently joined the HOP. Pavelic’s son-in-law, Psenic­nik, wrote in NDH that there were many rea­sons for their mas­sive trans­fer to HOP, but the key rea­son was dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the fact that Pavelic’s pho­tos had been removed from all the HSP’s offices.

….

The recently appointed min­is­ter spent a con­sid­er­able part of his polit­i­cal life in extrem­ist polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions and has never dis­tanced him­self from this past. Instead, he has directed his efforts towards deny­ing that his state­ments rep­re­sent rel­a­tiviza­tion of World War II, claim­ing that all of his state­ments have been taken out of context.

The con­text, how­ever, is that Hasan­be­govic was a con­trib­u­tor to the monthly mag­a­zine called “Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia”, that he glo­ri­fied the Ustasa under the edi­to­r­ial author­ity of Pavelic’s son-in-law, that he called the Ustasas “heroes and mar­tyrs”, and that he posed in an Ustasha cap.

When recently asked about the con­tro­ver­sies about Hasan­be­govic, Prime Min­is­ter Oreskovic stated that Hasan­be­govic was an anti-Fascist and reit­er­ated this state­ment more recently when he said that Hasan­be­govic was in fact a “devoted anti-Fascist”. After the most recent rev­e­la­tions, we are eager to hear once again what the Prime Min­is­ter has to say.

3c.  Croatian “Soccer Ustachi” continue to manifest.

“Croatia’s ‘Banal’ Fas­cism on Dis­play at Israel Match” Sven Mile­kic; Balkan Tran­si­tional Justice; 3/25/2016.

The Ustasa chant heard at Wednesday’s match, which the PM attended and the media ignored, is the result of the long-term ‘nor­mal­i­sa­tion’ of once out­lawed fas­cist symbols.

After Wednesday’s foot­ball game between Croa­tia and Israel in east­ern city of Osi­jek, the Fas­cist chant “Za dom spremni” (“Ready for the Home­land”) once more echoed in the stands.

Sup­port­ers of the World War II Nazi pup­pet state, the Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia, NDH — whose Ustasa death squads took part in the Nazi Holo­caust and mur­dered tens of thou­sands of Jews, Serbs and Roma — made the chant infamous.

How­ever, although Prime Min­is­ter Tihomir Oreskovic was present at the game, he did not respond.

The gov­ern­ment only responded a day after in a short press release in which it con­demned the use of sym­bols and slo­gans of total­i­tar­ian regimes, with­out clearly men­tion­ing the game or the actual event.

The anchor of Croa­tia Radio-Television, HRT, which broad­casted the game, also ignored the chants.

The main­stream daily news­pa­per Jutarnji list head­lined the report with “Slavo­nia [region of Osi­jek] Again Didn’t Dis­ap­point” — only briefly report­ing the chants.

Ogn­jen Kraus, pres­i­dent of the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in Zagreb, told BIRN that such behav­iour was the “result of the pol­i­tics in Croatia.”

“What espe­cially wor­ries me that this is hap­pen­ing dur­ing the game, with­out draw­ing any reac­tion from those who were there, headed by the organ­iser [the Croa­t­ian Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tion, HNS] and Prime Min­is­ter who just sat there,” he said.

Kraus added that if such things are not tack­led head on, it allows “Ustaso-philia to kick-in”.

He men­tioned the case in which the vice-chair of par­lia­ment and mem­ber of the gov­ern­ing major­ity, Ivan Tepes, par­tic­i­pated in Jan­u­ary in a 5,000-strong protest when “Za dom spremni”could be “loudly heard and no one reacted”.

Ahead of the last elec­tions, last Novem­ber, Tepes, head of the right-wing Croa­t­ian Party of Rights “Ante Starce­vic”, said the chant should not been banned because some sol­diers used it dur­ing the inde­pen­dence war of the 1990s.

Some 3,200 peo­ple peti­tioned Pres­i­dent Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic last August to make it the offi­cial chant of the Croa­t­ian army.

Sanja Tabakovic Zori­cic, head of the Shoah Acad­emy in the Jew­ish com­mu­nity, said this was “a trend last­ing for years” and that the system’s reac­tion was wrong.

“Now, when we have a soci­ety in which no one hes­i­tates to pro­mote pro-Fascist stand­points, I really don’t see any­thing weird that some chant “Za dom spremni,” she said.

She said that it would have sur­prised her had the politi­cians present in Osi­jek left the game, “as in civ­i­lized soci­eties”. The fact that they did not only proves that the scan­dal “doesn’t dis­turb them”.

Only some 8,500 out of 39,000 Jews sur­vived the Holo­caust com­mit­ted by Ustasa and Nazi Ger­many on the ter­ri­tory of the NDH, which included most of present-day Croa­tia and Bosnia.

Croatia’s new gov­ern­ment, of the con­tro­ver­sial Cul­ture Min­is­ter, Zlatko Hasan­be­govic, mean­while took a deci­sion to spon­sor an event com­mem­o­rat­ing retreat­ing Ustasa killed in 1945 at Bleiburg in Aus­tria.

“Za dom spremni” has been heard at games played the Croa­t­ian national foot­ball team before.

The last time was at the game with Nor­way in March 2015. FIFA later penalised the HNS with a 55,000 euros fine and ordered one game to be played with­out fans.

At the game with­out fans, played in the coastal city of Split in June, a Nazi swastika was vis­i­ble on the pitch, after which the Croa­t­ian team was deducted one point, while the HNS had to pay 100,000 euro and play another two matches with­out fans.

Croa­t­ian foot­ball fans have provoca­tively used swastikas before, form­ing one with their bod­ies at a game in Livorno in Italy, for example.

At a match against Ser­bia in March 2013, Croa­t­ian fans chanted “Kill the Serb,” for which the HNS received a fine of 42,000 euros.

Dario Brentin, from the Uni­ver­sity of Graz in Aus­tria, research­ing sport, nation­al­ism and mem­ory pol­i­tics in Croa­tia, told BIRN that the inci­dent at the match with Israel offered “proof of the process of banal­i­sa­tion of total­i­tar­ian sym­bols, expressed by chant­ing ‘Za dom spremni’.

“I’m not con­vinced all peo­ple that chant it at games are all sym­pa­thiz­ers with the Ustasa who believe in Ustasa ideas,” he said.

“It’s a com­plex social process that leads to a sit­u­a­tion in which it’s com­pletely irrel­e­vant what it [chant] means or doesn’t,” he added. It is “com­monly seen as sign patri­otic act”, he noted.

Accord­ing to Brentin, the pub­lic dis­course in Croa­tia has cre­ated a sit­u­a­tion in which it is seen as “com­pletely nor­mal part of rout­ing in sports”.

He noted the case of the Croa­t­ian foot­ball player Josip Joe Simu­nic in Novem­ber 2013.

Imme­di­ately after a foot­ball match with Ice­land, Simu­nic led some 20,000 fans in chant­ing “Za dom spremni”.

He was not con­demned by his man­ager or by the HNS for that, but only by a part of media, while the pub­lic divided into two groups – those who con­demned and those who sup­ported him.

The county attor­ney office later fined him some 3,300 euros, which the mag­is­trates court later low­ered to 660 euros, for “caus­ing pub­lic dis­or­der” but not for hate speech.

After a process before dis­ci­pli­nary bod­ies, FIFA gave Simu­nic a ten-game sus­pen­sion, pre­vent­ing him from attend­ing his last World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Brentin sug­gested that even if the cur­rent HNS lead­er­ship urged fans not to sup­port the team in this way, “no one would lis­ten, nor would it change any­thing”, since such atti­tudes can “only be changed through education”.

“Espe­cially in pop­u­lar cul­ture, Marko Perkovic Thomp­son [nation­al­is­tic singer who uses the chant in his songs] and sup­port­ing the national foot­ball team are two social ele­ments that per­pet­u­ate ‘Za dom spremni’ as a patri­otic chant,” he said.

Brentin con­cluded that both the Croa­t­ian media and the polit­i­cal elites clearly avoid con­demn­ing such inci­dents because they come from a “sim­i­lar ide­o­log­i­cal family”. . . .

3c. The program reviews Joe Simunic’s leading of the Croatian crowd in the “Za Dom Spremni” chant–the Croatian “Sieg Heil,” in effect.

4a. We review analysis of the Crusade For Freedom–the covert operation that brought Third Reich alumni into the country and also supported their guerilla warfare in Eastern Europe, conducted up until the early 1950’s. Conceived by Allen Dulles, overseen by Richard Nixon, publicly represented by Ronald Reagan and realized in considerable measure by William Casey, the CFF ultimately evolved into a Nazi wing of the GOP.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; pp. 122-123.

. . . . Frustration over Truman’s 1948 election victory over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jewish vote”) impelled Dulles and his protégé Richard Nixon to work toward the realization of the fascist freedom fighter presence in the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization. As a young congressman, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s confidant. They both blamed Governor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Truman in the 1948 presidential election on the Jewish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice president in 1952, Nixon was determined to build his own ethnic base. . . .

. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program. As Vice President, he even received Eastern European Fascists in the White House. . .

4b. More about the composition of the cast of the CFF: Note that the ascension of the Reagan administration was essentially the ascension of the Nazified GOP, embodied in the CFF milieu. Reagan (spokesman for CFF) was President; George H.W. Bush (for whom CIA headquarters is named) was the Vice President; William Casey (who handled the State Department machinations to bring these people into the United States) was Reagan’s campaign manager and later his CIA director.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; p. 605.

. . . . As a young movie actor in the early 1950s, Reagan was employed as the public spokesperson for an OPC front named the ‘Crusade for Freedom.’ Reagan may not have known it, but 99 percent for the Crusade’s funds came from clandestine accounts, which were then laundered through the Crusade to various organizations such as Radio Liberty, which employed Dulles’s Fascists. Bill Casey, who later became CIA director under Ronald Reagan, also worked in Germany after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘freedom fighters’ program. When he returned to New York, Casey headed up another OPC front, the International Rescue Committee, which sponsored the immigration of these Fascists to the United States. Casey’s committee replaced the International Red Cross as the sponsor for Dulles’s recruits. Confidential interviews, former members, OPC; former members, British foreign and Commonwealth Office. . . .

4c. While serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee, the elder George Bush shepherded the Nazi émigré community into position as a permanent branch of the Republican Party.

. . . . .It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States. . . . 

4a. We review analysis of the Crusade For Freedom–the covert operation that brought Third Reich alumni into the country and also supported their guerilla warfare in Eastern Europe, conducted up until the early 1950’s. Conceived by Allen Dulles, overseen by Richard Nixon, publicly represented by Ronald Reagan and realized in considerable measure by William Casey, the CFF ultimately evolved into a Nazi wing of the GOP.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; pp. 122-123.

. . . . Frustration over Truman’s 1948 election victory over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jewish vote”) impelled Dulles and his protégé Richard Nixon to work toward the realization of the fascist freedom fighter presence in the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization. As a young congressman, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s confidant. They both blamed Governor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Truman in the 1948 presidential election on the Jewish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice president in 1952, Nixon was determined to build his own ethnic base. . . .

. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program. As Vice President, he even received Eastern European Fascists in the White House. . .

4b. More about the composition of the cast of the CFF: Note that the ascension of the Reagan administration was essentially the ascension of the Nazified GOP, embodied in the CFF milieu. Reagan (spokesman for CFF) was President; George H.W. Bush (for whom CIA headquarters is named) was the Vice President; William Casey (who handled the State Department machinations to bring these people into the United States) was Reagan’s campaign manager and later his CIA director.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; p. 605.

. . . . As a young movie actor in the early 1950s, Reagan was employed as the public spokesperson for an OPC front named the ‘Crusade for Freedom.’ Reagan may not have known it, but 99 percent for the Crusade’s funds came from clandestine accounts, which were then laundered through the Crusade to various organizations such as Radio Liberty, which employed Dulles’s Fascists. Bill Casey, who later became CIA director under Ronald Reagan, also worked in Germany after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘freedom fighters’ program. When he returned to New York, Casey headed up another OPC front, the International Rescue Committee, which sponsored the immigration of these Fascists to the United States. Casey’s committee replaced the International Red Cross as the sponsor for Dulles’s recruits. Confidential interviews, former members, OPC; former members, British foreign and Commonwealth Office. . . .

4c. While serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee, the elder George Bush shepherded the Nazi émigré community into position as a permanent branch of the Republican Party.

. . . . .It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States. . . . 

5a. The AfD–“Alternative for Germany”–has garnered publicity and electoral gravitas, largely because of its anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim stance. A release of their manifesto revealed a broader agenda, one much closer to traditional National Socialist (Nazi) ideology. Hand­i­capped chil­dren, sin­gle moth­ers, the men­tally ill, and drug addicts also made it on the AfD’s list of unde­sir­ables who should see state assis­tance reduced or out­right pun­ish­ment. His­tory teach­ers who say too many unpleas­ant things about Nazi Ger­many are also in the crosshairs. Bil­lion­aires also come in for criticism by AfD, crosshairs, however they are primarily focused on mas­sive tax-cutting.

“Revealed: the Neo-Nazi Man­i­festo Tar­get­ing Sin­gle Moth­ers and Men­tally Ill that AfD Doesn’t Want You to See” Tony Pater­son; The Inde­pen­dent; 3/18/2016.


Alter­na­tive Fur Deutsch­land has been attract­ing vot­ers as though it were a main­stream party. But a leak of its poli­cies — includ­ing tar­get­ing the men­tally ill and sin­gle moth­ers — has exposed the scale of its extremism

A leaked elec­tion man­i­festo has revealed that Germany’s vote-winning new anti-immigrant party has plans for dra­con­ian laws which would dis­crim­i­nate against hand­i­capped chil­dren, sin­gle moth­ers, and the men­tally ill – and oblige his­tory teach­ers to end a per­ceived “over-emphasis” on the Nazi era in schools.

The rad­i­cal pro­pos­als are con­tained in an elec­tion man­i­festo pro­duced by the right-wing pop­ulist Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land (AfD) party, which made sweep­ing gains in three state elec­tions last week­end in a show of pub­lic oppo­si­tion to Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy.

The AfD’s suc­cess meant that the party is now rep­re­sented in eight of Germany’s 16 state par­lia­ments. A poll pub­lished by YouGov showed that more than 70 per cent of Ger­mans now believe that the AfD is firmly on course to win seats in Germany’s national Bun­destag par­lia­ment next year, when it will con­test a gen­eral elec­tion for the first time.

The pre­vi­ously secret draft national man­i­festo, which is due to be approved by a full AfD party con­gress at the end of April, has been pub­lished by the not-for-profit Ger­man research group Correctiv.org. It shows that the AfD is far more than the sin­gle issue anti-immigration party por­trayed in recent campaigning.

The party’s man­i­festo makes it clear that the AfD wants a return to what it calls “national” val­ues in Ger­many. It says it “sees the tra­di­tional fam­ily” as the only model which can reverse the country’s declin­ing birth rate. To this end the party pledges to take steps to ban abor­tion and make divorce more dif­fi­cult. By con­trast, Ger­man fam­i­lies which pro­duce chil­dren should be rewarded with finan­cial incen­tives, it says.

It regards single-parent moth­ers as a bur­den upon tax­pay­ers and a dis­in­cen­tive to healthy fam­ily life, and says it would end the pro­vi­sion of state ben­e­fits for them. “The AfD is against the state financ­ing the self-chosen sin­gle par­ent life model,” the man­i­festo says. It also advo­cates an end to the fund­ing of state-run kinder­gartens, and favours young chil­dren remain­ing at home to be looked after by a parent.

Fur­ther socially dis­ad­van­taged tar­gets include the men­tally ill. The party argues: “Therapy-resistant alco­holics, drug addicts and psy­cho­log­i­cally ill per­pe­tra­tors should not be kept in psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals but be put under lock and key.” 

The AfD also sug­gests that hand­i­capped chil­dren should not be included “at all costs” as pupils in reg­u­lar schools because, it claims, their pres­ence can impede other pupils’ progress. It wants the age of crim­i­nal respon­si­bil­ity to be reduced from 14 to 12. The party also favours dra­mat­i­cally cut­ting state ben­e­fits and intro­duc­ing a flat 20 per cent tax rate, which would pri­mar­ily ben­e­fit the wealthy.

The AfD’s pro­pos­als for his­tory teach­ing in schools are equally rad­i­cal. The party aims to end what it describes as the “cur­rent lim­i­ta­tion” of his­tory teach­ing to “the period of National Social­ism”. Instead it pro­poses a “wider con­sid­er­a­tion of his­tory” which includes more “pos­i­tive aspects” of Germany’s past.

AfD elec­tion man­i­festos pub­lished in the run-up to last weekend’s state elec­tions also con­tained pro­pos­als to com­pel muse­ums and the­atres to strengthen their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with “Ger­man” as opposed to “for­eign” culture.

The Social Demo­c­rat Party leader Sig­mar Gabriel argues the AfD’s ideas and lan­guage are “a fatal reminder of the vocab­u­lary used in the 1920 and 1930s”, in a ref­er­ence to the period dur­ing which the Nazi Party came to power in Ger­many. He added: “The AfD is try­ing to estab­lish a nation­al­is­tic soci­ety based on the idea of exclud­ing people.”

Beat­rix von Storch, a lead­ing AfD politi­cian who helped to draft the man­i­festo, has argued that the AfD should move beyond its oppo­si­tion to the euro and asylum-seekers, to con­cen­trate instead on oppos­ing Islam.

The man­i­festo says the state should set “lim­its” on the prac­tice of the Mus­lim faith. Minarets should be banned along with the wear­ing of the burka and niqab in pub­lic. Mus­lim organ­i­sa­tions should have tax ben­e­fits cut. Male cir­cum­ci­sion should be out­lawed and a ban be imposed on the slaugh­ter of ani­mals with­out anaesthetic.

Com­men­ta­tors and politi­cians in Germany’s main­stream par­ties have accused the AfD of resort­ing to lan­guage and ter­mi­nol­ogy once used by Hitler’s National Social­ists. How­ever the AfD has yet to defend its leaked man­i­festo in public.

Frauke Petry, the AfD’s leader, who recently sparked out­rage after she insisted that firearms should be used to deter migrants at Germany’s bor­ders, was at the cen­tre of a row on Fri­day after appar­ently refus­ing to appear on a break­fast chat show on Germany’s ZDF pub­lic tele­vi­sion chan­nel. She had been due to answer ques­tions posed by an award-winning Iraqi-born jour­nal­ist, Dunja Hayali.

5b. It is a bad sign for the future of a soci­ety when­ever the far-right starts surg­ing, as is the case with the sud­den success of the AfD in Germany’s regional elec­tions. The future is actu­ally look­ing extra omi­nous in Ger­many fol­low­ing those results–it wasn’t older vot­ers or pen­sion­ers ral­ly­ing around the AfD. It was the youth:

“. . . . AfD was cho­sen by 26 per cent of votes aged 18 to 24 in Saxony-Anhalt, com­pared with 16 per cent for the CDU and 11 per cent for both the Greens and SPD. For those aged 25 to 44 it was a sim­i­lar story, with 29 per cent choos­ing the AfD against 23 per cent for the CDU and 9 per cent for SPD. The only age group which stuck with Mrs Merkel’s party was the over-60s — 35 per cent voted CDU and 18 per cent AfD. . . . 

Yeah, that’s not a great sign for Germany’s future. Or Europe’s future. Of course, if the euro­zone hadn’t already become a mech­a­nism for neolib­eral aus­ter­ity on autopi­lot and one of the key dri­ving forces fuel­ing trends like high youth unem­ploy­ment and gen­eral despair, the sit­u­a­tion would be even worse by not being so awful to begin with. Still, as awful as Europe’s lead­er­ship has gen­er­ally been over the last decade, it can get a lot worse.

“Dis­il­lu­sioned Ger­man Youth Drive Rise of Anti-Immigrant Party” by David Charter; The Australian; 3/16/2016.

The surge of Germany’s new pop­ulist anti-immigrant party has been fuelled by thou­sands of young vot­ers, many of whom have never cast a bal­lot before, accord­ing to a research insti­tute in Berlin.

In a wor­ry­ing trend for the estab­lished par­ties, Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) was the top choice of vot­ers aged between 18 and 44 in the east­ern state of Saxony-Anhalt, where the party won one in four votes to trans­form the polit­i­cal landscape.

AfD has har­nessed dis­con­tent with Angela Merkel’s gen­er­ous refugee pol­icy, but it was the left-of-centre Social Demo­c­ra­tic party which lost the most vot­ers to the hard right, accord­ing to analy­sis by Infrat­est dimap, on behalf of the broad­cast­ers ARD.

The SPD, in a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with Mrs Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­tic Union (CDU), is seen as out of touch with grass­roots supporters.

Vot­ers deserted all the estab­lished par­ties to back AfD, which was launched in 2013 and last year switched its focus from call­ing for a break-up of the euro to cam­paign­ing for Germany’s bor­ders to be closed, after the arrival of 1.1 mil­lion migrants.

By far the biggest group of AfD vot­ers were those who had never voted before, the analy­sis showed. They believed politi­cians were liars and that vot­ing would make no dif­fer­ence; a com­mon theme among the young male pop­u­la­tion of Saxony-Anhalt, which has the third-highest unem­ploy­ment rate of all 16 Ger­man states.

Asked how sim­i­lar her party was to the National Front in France, and the Free­dom Party in Aus­tria, Ms Petry said she did not wish to engage in “a debate on labels”.

The party attracted wide­spread crit­i­cism after Ms Petry said in Jan­u­ary that bor­der police should, as a last resort, shoot migrants ille­gally cross­ing the Ger­man border.

AfD was cho­sen by 26 per cent of votes aged 18 to 24 in Saxony-Anhalt, com­pared with 16 per cent for the CDU and 11 per cent for both the Greens and SPD. For those aged 25 to 44 it was a sim­i­lar story, with 29 per cent choos­ing the AfD against 23 per cent for the CDU and 9 per cent for SPD. The only age group which stuck with Mrs Merkel’s party was the over-60s — 35 per cent voted CDU and 18 per cent AfD.

Women were much more likely to sup­port the CDU, while AfD was the most pop­u­lar among men, win­ning 29 per cent of the male vote in the state.

AfD was equally pop­u­lar with work­ers and the unem­ployed, while the CDU was most favoured by pensioners.

7a. Fol­low­ing Microsoft’s pan­icked removed of “Tay,” its new arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence twit­ter bot that was con­verted into a neo-Nazi shortly after being exposed to the world, one of the unfor­tu­nate new ques­tions in tech­nol­ogy is now “which piece of hard­ware goes neo-Nazi next?” Given that state of affairs, should your print ran­domly started spew­ing out adver­tise­ments for The Daily Stormer, it prob­a­bly didn’t become a neo-Nazi printer, although a neo-Nazi is prob­a­bly using it:

“ . . . . This inci­dent shows, once again, that the appar­ently bright future of the so-called Inter­net of Things has a dark side too: hack­ers can creep out babies tak­ing advan­tage of inse­cure baby mon­i­tors, expose kids’ iden­ti­ties thanks to internet-connected toys that col­lect and leave their data exposed online, or send a hate­ful white suprema­cist flyer all over the coun­try with two lines of code. . . .”

Well, at least the Weev hasn’t got­ten around to hack­ing baby mon­i­tors and children’s toys to spew outwhite suprema­cist pro­pa­ganda to impres­sion­able young minds, although it sounds like it’s just a mat­ter of time given the ease of hack­ing such devices and the Weev’s insa­tion­able appetite for Nazi trolling. So if you’d like to avoid expos­ing your kids to an unin­vited “imag­i­nary friend” liv­ing in your toys and house­hold prod­ucts (a friend who doesn’t seem to approve of your kid’s non-white friends), you’ll prob­a­bly want to ensure your internet-connected devices aren’t one of the super eas­ily hack­able brands. There’s no short­age of rea­sons for secur­ing your internet-connected devices, but you can now add “pre­vent­ing the Weev from Nazi trolling my fam­ily” to the list.

“A Hacker Made ‘Thou­sands’ of Internet-Connected Print­ers Spit Out Racist Flyers” by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai; Vice Motherboard; 3/27/2016.

The noto­ri­ous hacker and troll Andrew Auern­heimer, also known as “Weev,” just proved that the Inter­net of Things can be abused to spread hate­ful pro­pa­ganda. On Thurs­day, Auern­heimer used two lines of code to scan the entire inter­net for inse­cure print­ers and made them auto­mat­i­cally spill out a racist and anti-semitic flyer.

Hours later, sev­eral peo­ple startedreport­ing the inci­dent on social media, and even­tu­ally a few local news out­lets picked up on the story when col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties all over the United States found that their net­work print­ers were spilling out Auernheimer’s flyer.

Auern­heimer detailed this “brief exper­i­ment,” as he called it, in a blog post on Fri­day. Later, in a chat, he said that he made over 20,000 print­ers put out the flyer, and defended his actions.

“I did not hack any print­ers,” he told me in a online chat. “I sent them mes­sages, because they were con­fig­ured to receive mes­sages from the public.”

The hacker explained that all he did was cre­ate a script that would scan the whole inter­net to find print­ers that had port 9100, a com­mon port used by net­work print­ers, open. Then, the script made them print the flyer.

“It’s a big inter­net, I didn’t have to ‘dis­cover’ the print­ers were vul­ner­a­ble, I knew there were going to be a whole lot of them on the inter­net,” he added. “That’s like an obvi­ous fact, of any device, if you search for it some­where on the inter­net you’re going to find it. There were less than I expected there to be really. Still a lot though!”

This inci­dent shows, once again, that the appar­ently bright future of the so-called Inter­net of Things has a dark side too: hack­ers can creep out babies tak­ing advan­tage of inse­cure baby mon­i­tors, expose kids’ iden­ti­ties thanks to internet-connected toys that col­lect and leave their data exposed online, or send a hate­ful white suprema­cist flyer all over the coun­try with two lines of code.

Auern­heimer him­self said this “exper­i­ment” is “a les­son in how pos­i­tively hilar­i­ous the [Inter­net of Things] will be in the future.”

Sev­eral col­lege author­i­ties are report­edly inves­ti­gat­ing these inci­dents, appar­ently along with the FBI as well. (The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.)

Despite that, Auern­heimer, who was con­victed of hack­ing crimes in 2012, told me that he’s not worried. . . .

7b. When Andrew ‘weev’ Auern­hiemer gave an inter­view from Beirut back in Novem­ber, he asserted that he was col­lect­ing $2000 per month in dona­tions through Bit­coin, explain­ing the Bit­coin is use­ful because many sup­port­ers don’t want to be linked to him by a paper trial.  Twitter blocked tweets by Auernheimer.

As Pterrafractyl has observed: “Note that the way Twitter’s “pro­moted tweets” work is you only have to pay (like $0.50) every time some­one clicks on or retweets your pro­moted tweets. And you can also tar­get it to spe­cific groups. If the ‘weev”s intended audi­ence was just other neo-Nazis and fel­low trav­el­ers on twit­ter it may have a great way to raise more bitcoins.

But if you read his descrip­tion of the whole thing it he was specif­i­cally tar­get­ing peo­ple that would be reviled by his ’14 words’ world­view. So it was pretty suc­cess­ful from a trolling stand­point and because he was tar­get­ing the peo­ple the least likely to retweet his tweets it prob­a­bly cost him next to nothing.

But it will be inter­est­ing to see if he tries it again because the non-neo-Nazi seg­ment of the twit­ter­sphere could have just retweeted all of that garbage back and forth as an inten­tional play to spend all of his bit­coins for him. At the time, if the ‘weev’ is sit­ting on a much larger pile of white supremacist-funded bit­coins than he lets on, the next phase of his cam­paign could involve inten­tion­ally try­ing to cause a mass ‘let’s bank­rupt the weev’ retweet counter-campaign as an inten­tional, albeit more expen­sive, method of pro­mot­ing neo-Nazi ideas.

So you have to won­der how much money he’s really tak­ing in from secret donors each month to risk a poten­tially expen­sive stunt like this. But now that he’s demon­strated that you can pull off a twit­ter trolling stunt on the cheap, you also have to won­der how many more cheap trolling attempts of this nature we’re going to see going for­ward from the ‘weev’ or any­one else. Espe­cially since, the more this hap­pens, the more peo­ple are going to know that every time they retweet a troll’s words, that troll pays Twitter.

To retweet (the neo-Nazi’s words and cost him some money) or not to retweet (the neo-Nazi’s words and avoid pro­mot­ing his garbage). That is the (deeply unfor­tu­nate) question.”
“Twit­ter blocks Pro­moted Tweets by Noto­ri­ous White Supremacist” by Alex Hern; The Guardian; 5/7/2015.

Com­pany acts to pre­vent fur­ther abuse by white nation­al­ist and inter­net troll after he pro­moted two offen­sive tweets using Twitter’s ad platform

Twit­ter has banned pro­moted tweets that were being used to push white suprema­cist mes­sages on the web­site. The tweets were sent and pro­moted through the company’s adver­tis­ing tools by Andrew ‘weev’ Auern­heimer, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the trolling group known as the “Gay Nig­ger Asso­ci­a­tion of America”.

Among the tweets pro­moted by Auern­heimer was one that read: “Whites need to stand up for one another and defend our­selves from vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion. Our race is dying.” A sec­ond pro­moted tweet read: “White pride, world wide. Do you know the 14 words?” – a ref­er­ence to the white nation­al­ist credo: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white children.”

But a fur­ther attempt to pro­mote the first tweet a day later led to a rejec­tion from Twit­ter, which cited a ban on ads deal­ing with hate con­tent, sen­si­tive top­ics and violence.

Auernheimer’s asso­ci­a­tion with white suprema­cist move­ments was fre­quently writ­ten off as another form of provo­ca­tion from the noto­ri­ous troll, but after serv­ing a jail sen­tence for his role in hack­ing AT&T’s iPad billing sys­tem, he stepped up his involve­ment. In Octo­ber 2014, he gave an inter­view to white suprema­cist site Daily Stormer in which he revealed a large chest tat­too of a swastika, and spoke about his his­tory as “a long­time critic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda”. The site this week approv­ingly reported on his pro­mo­tion of white pride on Twitter.

6c. Even after his journalistic beatification by the drooling sycophants of the so-called “progressive” sector, Greenwald continues to rub elbows with Nazis, chumming around with Andrew Auernheimer, a “white-hat” hacker who is a Nazi, allegedly converted following a prison term. Note that–from his own rantings–his conversion to the Nazi worldview took place before his incarceration: ” . . . I’ve been a long-time critic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda. . . .”

Note, also, his anti-immigrant point of view–an element of commonality that runs throughout many of the points of analysis in this program.

“iPad Hacker Released From Jail, Par­ties with Glenn Green­wald, Pub­lishes Neo-Nazi Screeds” by Bob Cesca; The Daily Ban­ter; 10/09/2014.

 Way back in 2010, a so-called “white hat” hacker named Andrew Auern­heimer, known online as “Weev,” exploited a secu­rity loop­hole on Apple’s iPad and acquired the names of 114,000 AT&T cus­tomers who sub­scribed to the iPad 3G data ser­vice. Fol­low­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion, Weev, who had “stolen” (his words) the user data was pros­e­cuted and con­victed. To his credit, Weev informed AT&T of the secu­rity flaw and the com­pany quickly but­toned it up. But back in April of this year, Weev’s con­vic­tion was over­turned because he was evi­dently tried in the wrong state (New Jer­sey). He was sub­se­quently released from Pennsylvania’s Allen­wood Fed­eral Cor­rec­tional Com­plex on April 11, 2014. The indict­ment remains, but the con­vic­tion no longer stands.

Dur­ing his time in jail, Weev appar­ently became a neo-Nazi, com­plete with a tat­too not unlike Edward Norton’s tat­too in Amer­i­can His­tory X — a giant swastika on his right pec­toral. After his release, he posted a series of racist and anti-Semitic remarks on a web­site called The Daily Stormer, a white-supremacist site not to be con­fused with The Daily CallerThe Daily Beast or The Daily Ban­terVia Gawker, here are some choice passages:

I’ve been a long-time critic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda. [Note this statement. It would seem to indicate that Auernheimer’s conversion took place a long time before he went to prison. Note, also, the anti-immigrant theme.] Judge Wigen­ton was as black as they come. The pros­e­cu­tor, Zach Intrater, was a Brook­lyn Jew from an old money New York family.[…]

The whole time a yarmulke-covered audi­ence of Jewry stared at me from the pews of the court­room. My pros­e­cu­tor invited his whole syn­a­gogue to spectate.[…]

They took con­trol of our sys­tems of finance and law. They hyper­in­flated our cur­rency. They cor­rupted our daugh­ters and demanded they sub­ject them­selves to sex work to feed their fam­i­lies. These are a peo­ple that have made them­selves a prob­lem in every nation they occupy, includ­ing ours. What’s sad­dest is that we are the enablers of this prob­lem. The Jews abused our com­pas­sion to build an empire of wicked­ness the likes the world has never seen.

No gray area there. Weev clearly hates Jews, African-Americans and any­one he per­ceives as “anti-white.”

Oh, and in addi­tion to his con­ver­sion to the neo-Nazi cause as well as his seem­ingly pro­lific online hate speech, Weev attended a party in New York soon after get­ting out of jail. The party was held by none other than Glenn Green­wald and Laura Poitras to coin­cide with the cer­e­mony in which the duo received the Polk Award for their report­ing on Edward Snow­den and the National Secu­rity Agency.

Unless he crashed the party, he was obvi­ously an invited guest. But for a moment let’s assume Green­wald didn’t know Weev was invited. Long before the party, Green­wald had pre­vi­ously defended Weev in The Guardian back in March, 2013, months before the author/reporter rose to inter­na­tional acclaim. Indeed, Green­wald named Weev as a “hack­tivist” who was being wrong­fully per­se­cuted by U.S. authorities. . . .

7a. Taking a look at the future of fascism, Tay, a “bot” created by Microsoft to respond to users of Twitter was taken offline after users taught it to–in effect–become a Nazi bot. It is noteworthy that Tay can only respond on the basis of what she is taught. In the future, technologically accomplished and willful people like “weev” may be able to do more. Inevitably, Underground Reich elements will craft a Nazi AI that will be able to do MUCH, MUCH more!

Beware! As one Twitter user noted, employing sarcasm: “Tay went from “humans are super cool” to full nazi in <24 hrs and I’m not at all concerned about the future of AI.”

Microsoft has been forced to dunk Tay, its millennial-mimicking chatbot, into a vat of molten steel. The company has terminated her after the bot started tweeting abuse at people and went full neo-Nazi, declaring that “Hitler was right I hate the jews.”

@TheBigBrebowski ricky gervais learned totalitarianism from adolf hitler, the inventor of atheism

— TayTweets (@TayandYou) March 23, 2016

 Some of this appears to be “innocent” insofar as Tay is not generating these responses. Rather, if you tell her “repeat after me” she will parrot back whatever you say, allowing you to put words into her mouth. However, some of the responses wereorganic. The Guardianquotes one where, after being asked “is Ricky Gervais an atheist?”, Tay responded, “ricky gervais learned totalitarianism from adolf hitler, the inventor of atheism.” . . .

But like all teenagers, she seems to be angry with her mother.

Microsoft has been forced to dunk Tay, its millennial-mimicking chatbot, into a vat of molten steel. The company has terminated her after the bot started tweeting abuse at people and went full neo-Nazi, declaring that “Hitler was right I hate the jews.”

@TheBigBrebowski ricky gervais learned totalitarianism from adolf hitler, the inventor of atheism

— TayTweets (@TayandYou) March 23, 2016

Some of this appears to be “innocent” insofar as Tay is not generating these responses. Rather, if you tell her “repeat after me” she will parrot back whatever you say, allowing you to put words into her mouth. However, some of the responses wereorganic. The Guardianquotes one where, after being asked “is Ricky Gervais an atheist?”, Tay responded, “Ricky Gervais learned totalitarianism from Adolf Hitler, the inventor of atheism.”

In addition to turning the bot off, Microsoft has deleted many of the offending tweets. But this isn’t an action to be taken lightly; Redmond would do well to remember that it was humans attempting to pull the plug on Skynet that proved to be the last straw, prompting the system to attack Russia in order to eliminate its enemies. We’d better hope that Tay doesn’t similarly retaliate. . . .

7b. As noted in a Popular Mechanics article: ” . . . When the next pow­er­ful AI comes along, it will see its first look at the world by look­ing at our faces. And if we stare it in the eyes and shout “we’re AWFUL lol,” the lol might be the one part it doesn’t understand. . . .”

And we keep show­ing it our very worst selves.

We all know the half-joke about the AI apoc­a­lypse. The robots learn to think, and in their cold ones-and-zeros logic, they decide that humans—horrific pests we are—need to be exter­mi­nated. It’s the sub­ject of count­less sci-fi sto­ries and blog posts about robots, but maybe the real dan­ger isn’t that AI comes to such a con­clu­sion on its own, but that it gets that idea from us.

Yes­ter­day Microsoft launched a fun lit­tle AI Twit­ter chat­bot that was admit­tedly sort of gim­micky from the start. “A.I fam from the inter­net that’s got zero chill,” its Twit­ter bio reads. At its start, its knowl­edge was based on pub­lic data. As Microsoft’s page for the prod­uct puts it:

Tay has been built by min­ing rel­e­vant pub­lic data and by using AI and edi­to­r­ial devel­oped by a staff includ­ing impro­vi­sa­tional come­di­ans. Pub­lic data that’s been anonymized is Tay’s pri­mary data source. That data has been mod­eled, cleaned and fil­tered by the team devel­op­ing Tay.

The real point of Tay how­ever, was to learn from humans through direct con­ver­sa­tion, most notably direct con­ver­sa­tion using humanity’s cur­rent lead­ing show­case of deprav­ity: Twit­ter. You might not be sur­prised things went off the rails, but how fast and how far is par­tic­u­larly staggering. 

Microsoft has since deleted some of Tay’s most offen­sive tweets, but var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions memo­ri­al­ize some of the worst bits where Tay denied the exis­tence of the holo­caust, came out in sup­port of geno­cide, and went all kinds of racist. 

Nat­u­rally it’s hor­ri­fy­ing, and Microsoft has been try­ing to clean up the mess. Though as some on Twit­ter have pointed out, no mat­ter how lit­tle Microsoft would like to have “Bush did 9/11″ spout­ing from a cor­po­rate spon­sored project, Tay does serve to illus­trate the most dan­ger­ous fun­da­men­tal truth of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence: It is a mir­ror. Arti­fi­cial intelligence—specifically “neural net­works” that learn behav­ior by ingest­ing huge amounts of data and try­ing to repli­cate it—need some sort of source mate­r­ial to get started. They can only get that from us. There is no other way. 

But before you give up on human­ity entirely, there are a few things worth not­ing. For starters, it’s not like Tay just nec­es­sar­ily picked up vir­u­lent racism by just hang­ing out and pas­sively lis­ten­ing to the buzz of the humans around it. Tay was announced in a very big way—with a press cov­er­age—and pranksters pro-actively went to it to see if they could teach it to be racist. 

If you take an AI and then don’t imme­di­ately intro­duce it to a whole bunch of trolls shout­ing racism at it for the cheap thrill of see­ing it learn a dirty trick, you can get some more inter­est­ing results. Endear­ing ones even! Mul­ti­ple neural net­works designed to pre­dict text in emails and text mes­sages have an over­whelm­ing pro­cliv­ity for say­ing “I love you” con­stantly, espe­cially when they are oth­er­wise at a loss for words.

So Tay’s racism isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a reflec­tion of actual, human racism so much as it is the con­se­quence of unre­strained exper­i­men­ta­tion, push­ing the enve­lope as far as it can go the very first sec­ond we get the chance. The mir­ror isn’t show­ing our real image; it’s reflect­ing the ugly faces we’re mak­ing at it for fun. And maybe that’s actu­ally worse.

Sure, Tay can’t under­stand what racism means and more than Gmail can really love you. And baby’s first words being “geno­cide lol!” is admit­tedly sort of funny when you aren’t talk­ing about lit­eral all-powerful SkyNet or a real human child. But AI is advanc­ing at a stag­ger­ing rate. 

….

When the next pow­er­ful AI comes along, it will see its first look at the world by look­ing at our faces. And if we stare it in the eyes and shout “we’re AWFUL lol,” the lol might be the one part it doesn’t understand.

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #901 Fascism: Past, Present and Future”

  1. Vice News has a new piece of reporting from Donetsk about the experiences of some of the foreign mercenaries who have joined up with a Right Sector battalion. As the article makes clear, one of the aspects of Right Sector that the Kiev government finds most useful in the current situation where the Minsk II agreement is supposed to leave hostilities at a minimum is that the “out of control” volunteer battalions like Right Sector are basically allowed to violate the Minsk II agreement as much as they want. The government just has to make sure the battalions are able to illegally acquire weapons and operate with impunity.

    Another thing the article makes clear is that, like most articles that talk about Right Sector’s ideology and ambitions, once Right Sector is done fighting in the Donbas, they’re still planning on marching on Kiev:

    Vice News

    Why American Right-Wingers Are Going to War in Ukraine

    By Alexander Clapp
    June 20, 2016

    This article appeared in the June issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.

    When Ben Fischer stepped out of his jeep at the barracks of the Voloveka Tactical Group, in Donetsk, Ukraine, last May, he was a mercenary arriving to work on his third continent in as many years. The scene at the headquarters of a rogue unit within the rogue Ukrainian nationalist group known as Right Sector wavered between utter chaos and manic discipline. Stray dogs powdered with anthracitic dust ambled around anti-tank obstacles. Anti-aircraft artillery bristled from the beds of rusted-out pickup trucks. Some groups of Ukrainians were cleaning weaponry. Others were chopping wood. Others were doing push-ups. Many were drunk. A great red banner hung along the side of the barracks facing east: DEATH TO YOU KREMLIN INVADERS.

    In a barren plain of coal pits and black sludge, Fischer found what he had come for: an experience full of violence and adventure. What the Islamic State is for disenchanted young Westerners of an Islamist bent, Right Sector has become for young Europeans and American right-wingers with an antique passion for nationalism—any nationalism except for Russia’s, that is. Right Sector is committed to ejecting Russian separatists from Ukrainian soil. Only three months before Fischer arrived at the Voloveka barracks, Ukraine, Russia, and Western leaders had signed a ceasefire agreement known as Minsk II. Major engagements had become rare. European officials had begun making routine inspections of frontline equipment. But a shadow conflict still churned onward in the East, one that Kiev covertly outsourced to the very nationalist groups it once publicly disavowed. The Voloveka, a Right Sector contingent consisting of 27 men, had established a forward base six miles from the border of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. By the time Fischer arrived, it had become an anarchic force that answered to no authority but itself.

    Fischer has a wiry black beard he twirls with calloused fingertips. Two swords tattooed on his right shoulder converge at a battle helmet. MOLON LABE—ancient Greek for “Come and take them,” King Leonidas’s reply to the Persian demand for the Spartan weapons at Thermopylae—is emblazoned on his right forearm. His mother, a Tunisian, emigrated to Austria 30 years ago, where she met his father, an engineer, in a skiing village outside Innsbruck. Fischer was sent off to a vocational school in Bregenz at 14. His junior year, he forged his parents’ signatures in order to enlist early in the Austrian Armed Forces. “Austrians lead indoor lives,” he told me. “It’s the indoor life of the postman, or the mayor, or the teacher. Arguments are indoors. Feelings are indoors. And the one thing I knew, from very early on, was that I couldn’t be indoors.” The Austrian army did not give Fischer his interesting life. For six months, he drove a van around Prishtina, where his comrades gave out food packages and taught Kosovars how to hold guns. Fischer decided to take an indefinite sick leave; six months later, he was on the Red Sea, where he’d found work running security detail on a container ship. On his first stop in Mogadishu, port authorities disbanded his unlicensed crew. With a small layoff payment, he bought a ticket to Marseille, where the French Foreign Legion turned him down. The next months, he worked as a bouncer in Vienna.

    In September 2014, Fischer took the train from Vienna to Kiev, where the Ukrainian army was leading major offensives to reclaim the Donbas. At Maidan Square, he found a recruiter for Azov, a white-supremacist battalion and one of the few volunteer militias then accepting foreign volunteers. Almost as soon as he entered, an Azov commander who thought he looked too Arab threw him out. Fischer transferred to the Donbas Battalion—”a bunch of alcoholics and PTSDs”—but saw little fighting when he bussed out to Donetsk; the first Minsk Protocol, which brokered a ceasefire, was signed just two days after he arrived.

    Looking for his next move, Fischer used Facebook to contact an American who had joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. A Dutch-Kurdish motorcycle gang eventually brought the two to the front lines near Kirkuk, where they saw spurts of action against ISIS. “I liked the Kurds and respect their fight, but those people have a problem: They’re convinced everyone is out to betray them,” he said. The Kurds did everything they could to break up groups of foreign fighters, to get non-practicing Muslims to pray with them, to pry foreign volunteers away from their smartphones. Fischer’s commander was “brainwashed.” An interview he gave to a local news channel made its way to Austrian television, and his parents sent him alarmed emails, which he ignored. One night, in an encampment near Mosul, an American Black Hawk helicopter landed. A soldier emerged and told the Kurds to disband foreigners from their ranks or risk losing American cooperation. Compared with the others, the foreigners were much more active on social media. They risked spilling operational secrets and increasing tensions with Turkey.

    Back in Austria, Fischer learned that he had been put on a terror watch list for having fought with Kurdish guerrillas associated with the PKK. The government told him to stay in the country, but he left for Tunisia, where his mother’s family still lived. “There’s no war in Tunisia,” he said. “Nobody fu cks with you. You can relax.” In Sousse, he received a Facebook message from Alex Kirschbaum, an Austrian army comrade he hadn’t seen since Kosovo. “Alex wrote me saying that he’d just deserted the army,” Fischer said. “He couldn’t stand Austria anymore. He was going to Ukraine.” The next day, Fischer began making his way back to Kiev. “You start out on this life out of a kind of pride, refusing to be like your peers,” he told me. “But you stick with it because there comes a time when you can’t turn back and accept that the only possible existence is a civilian one.”

    Kirschbaum greeted Fischer when he arrived at the barracks. “Sure, we’d been friends in Austria, had gone for beers together, but to see him out here, in the middle of fu cking Donetsk—wow,” Kirschbaum said. Kirschbaum has a slim build and a scraggy black beard. His eyes are dark brown chestnuts that glower passionately whenever he discusses weaponry. For Kirschbaum and Fischer both, Ukraine became an outlet for nationalism that they consider in desperately short supply elsewhere in Europe. “In Austria, our counterfascism units are larger than our counterterrorism ones,” Kirschbaum told me. Austria, he said, was a “neutered” nation. The only nationalists it produced were soccer hooligans and Eurovision fanatics. But the Right Sectorites didn’t watch soccer or Eurovision. In that convenient formulation of genuine patriots and nationalist extremists, they claimed to despise their government but love their country. Neither Fischer nor Kirschbaum remarked how strange it was that they had effectively transferred their national passion from one nation to another.

    According to Right Sector, the Maidan revolution remains unfinished. It’s illegal for the group to use guns, but the Voloveka and units like it will not lay them down until Ukraine is a sovereign state. By this, the men mean a Ukraine that’s completely independent from both Russia—a “Putinist empire”—and the European Union—land of “liberal homo-dictatorships.” “The world must know that Ukraine is not its to use,” Prut, a Right Sector commander in Mukachevo, told me. (The Ukrainian fighters in the Voloveka are known exclusively by their noms de guerre.) For their model Ukraine, some Right Sectorites point to the centuries of rugged Cossack rule. Others cite the West Ukrainian People’s Republic carved out by Stepan Bandera, the hero of the Ukrainian resistance against the Soviets. Bandera’s brief collaboration with the Nazis has led some members of Right Sector to meld their nationalism with a thin understanding of Nazism. Several I met did the Sieg Heil and praised Hitler. A few admitted that they did this because they knew Putin hated it, and they were willing to go to any length to aggravate him.

    The Right Sectorites claim to be fighting on behalf of a vast and ignorant Ukrainian population that will welcome liberation when it comes but who lack the courage to achieve it. The organization coalesced in early 2014 out of a handful of far-right political parties and Maidan self-defense units. It claims to be neither racist nor xenophobic because it understands Ukrainian nationalism in “civic, not ethnic terms.” Government institutions should be strong. National borders must be upheld. Those who think in like-minded ways, even if not Ukrainian, are encouraged to join. Dmitry Yarosh, Right Sector’s founder, is a former foreign-language teacher from central Ukraine. Nearly half of all members identify as Russian speakers.

    Right Sector is a ramshackle organization. None of its more than 10,000 members carries a party ID, attends regular meetings, or recruits in any systematic way. Right Sector’s politically minded members strain to control its military branch of perhaps 3,000 fighters. Most have spent weeks training at Right Sector camps, where they are taught the rudiments of street fighting and get bused to demonstrations against the Kiev government, Russian national holidays, and gays. Right Sector fighters fall into 26 divisions. One is assigned to each Ukrainian oblast or province; two additional battalions stand guard on the front lines. None takes orders from a centralized command. They rarely exchange weaponry or government contacts.

    Two years of infighting and government crackdown have fragmented Right Sector further into dozens of small units, most of which operate with little awareness of one another. The Voloveka Tactical Group—named after a Right Sectorite who was killed by a land mine in Donetsk—was one of these. At war with eastern Ukraine, Kiev, and a half of Right Sector that submitted to government oversight last November, its fighters lived in a cement-block building that had housed coal miners before the war. The men of the Voloveka arrived one day last autumn and evicted them at gunpoint. They dug a moat around the building’s perimeter and a pit for holding captives. They erected a barbed-wire fence. They laid land mines and anti-tank obstacles in the vegetable gardens. On the roof, they mounted black and red flags, the symbol of Ukrainian resistance under German occupation, and upside-down Ukrainian flags, the standard symbol of the briefly realized 1918 Independent Republic of Ukraine. At one point, they confiscated a yellow bus from the local elementary school to make weekly trips to the front lines, where the Right Sectorites spent several days firing RPGs at the separatist-held Donetsk airport. On the small dirt road leading to the barracks were two wooden guard towers. A guard was kept at all hours. The residents of Novogrodovka, the closest village, were known to be in regular communication with battalions in the Donbas. An attack could be expected anytime.

    Command of the Voloveka fell to Simeon, the first civilian to steal a machine gun from a police officer at the Maidan and fire back. He was a household name in Ukraine and a legend within Right Sector. After Maidan, he’d survived the disastrous encirclement of the Ukrainian army at Ilovaisk. He’d been among the kyborgs, the vastly outnumbered Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, including Right Sector members, who defended Donetsk airport from rebel besiegers in the days before Minsk II was signed. Simeon was an artist with a weapon called the TOW, a missile latched to a two-mile-long wire that he guided into enemy territory with a pair of small steering wheels. In late 2015, the Ukrainian state declared him a terrorist. His face was put on notice boards throughout Kiev. The Right Sectorites had converted his home in Ivano-Frankivsk into an armory. They placed Claymore mines on the underside of his porch, and they instructed his teenage son to activate the devices if the police arrived.

    Simeon’s presence in the barracks was outsized. His drinking sessions began shortly after he emerged each morning from his drab cement room, decorated with a few family photos and several Russian army helmets on the walls. “Brothers!” he would cry in a faux-American accent. He possessed no civilian clothes; his fatigues had become so matted with dried mud and engine grease they had hardened into the consistency of cardboard. For Simeon, the war in Donetsk was less about fighting the Russians than it was about proving something to Ukrainians back in Kiev. “Sixty percent of Ukraine wants to join Europe,” he told me one night while he was on guard duty. The occasional crack of artillery came from the east. “Their biggest concern is whether or not their WiFi works. Another twenty percent, well, these are pro-Russian trash. To them, the Soviet Union was a good thing. These types aren’t as big a problem as you might think. They can be killed. We in Right Sector are part of that remaining twenty percent that believes we have to take matters into our own hands in Ukraine. We can only fix our country when we fix ourselves individually.”

    Despite Simeon’s admonishment of the lack of commitment among his countrymen to the cause of their nation, most Ukrainians in the Voloveka did not have a strong grasp of Right Sector’s politics. Many had been declared terrorists by the state and stayed in the Voloveka barracks mostly out of a refusal to face trial in Kiev. Colibian, the assistant commander, was the only Ukrainian making significant sacrifices to be in Novogrodovka; in Kiev, he owned a car dealership.

    Lunch in the Voloveka usually consisted of fist-size chunks of raw pig fat. Potatoes were served for dinner; body bags of them lay in a heap below a stairwell. Every provision—coats, gauze, jugs of water—came from volunteers in Kiev or was “requisitioned” from locals. Stolen coal and wood were mixed with trash in a furnace that spewed thick clouds of poisonous exhaust. It settled on the skin in mole-like clumps. The Voloveka paid for its cigarettes and internet by baking this coal-trash concoction into bricks and selling them throughout the rest of Ukraine.

    Every human impulse was exaggerated in the Voloveka. When keys were misplaced, doors were blown in with TNT. Walnuts were cracked open with grenades. Stray cats chased one another down the hallways of the barracks, most of which were lined with 60-pound bombs typically used for destroying bridges. The Right Sectorites liked to evict the cats by throwing them from the second-floor balcony with the motion of a shot-putter. They fell to the earth with a terrifying cry. A few weeks before I’d arrived, a Ukrainian named Geronimo beheaded a cat after he caught it peeing on his bed. Fearing a PTSD outbreak, Simeon attempted—unsuccessfully—to take away everyone’s guns. The Voloveka also had a dog, Fly, whose original owner had died from the blast of a land mine. Fly trembled in strange, berserk motions every time a soldier cocked a gun.

    The members of the Voloveka frequently boasted that they possessed enough explosives to eradicate a small Ukrainian oblast. The battalion had smuggled in all of it—the six armor-plated trucks, the helmets and medical kits, the hundreds of boxes of ammunition—tirelessly, illegally, from every reach of Ukraine. The men used donations from the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada “for medical supplies” to purchase Kalashnikovs off Chechen arms dealers in Vienna, which were smuggled through the Carpathian Mountains by members of the Voloveka who caravanned out to western Ukraine every few months in battalion pickup trucks. They also claimed many guns off dead separatists. One afternoon, Fischer took me to the company armory—six windowless nooks on the second floor. The air was heavy with the waft of cat urine. Anti-aircraft missiles and RPGs lay haphazardly stacked everywhere like planks of wood. Fischer grabbed two rusty black mortars out of a moldy cardboard box. “A war museum in Lviv gave these to us,” he said, flipping them lightly between his palms. “Red Army issues from the Second World War. A lot of Ukrainian battlefield reenactors admire the work we’re doing out here. They send us these antiques all the time,” he said, tossing them back into the box. “The only problem with them is that they can easily detonate if you drive over a bump too quickly in the bus.”

    At any moment the SBU—the Security Service of Ukraine—could have come and arrested every member of the Voloveka, whose presence on the front lines was illegal. But the Right Sectorites assured me this would never happen. When they needed help pursuing trucks they suspected of smuggling supplies into Donetsk, the SBU called the barracks for reinforcements. Most of the oblast was pro-Russian, so to help give the impression of occupation, local authorities encouraged Right Sector to drive its vehicles slowly through nearby villages and walk their streets with glocks in hand. (Though the residents of Novogrodovka despised Right Sector, they weren’t too proud to come to the barracks at night begging for food, which was always given. The drunk ones often fell into the moat.)

    The Ukrainian army was also technically obliged to arrest Right Sector members on sight at the front lines, but it didn’t. During the night, officers sympathetic to Right Sector’s cause filled the Voloveka’s school bus with rockets and other large-caliber guns forbidden by European monitors. Right Sector was the Ukrainian army’s way of getting around Minsk II while still hitting back at separatists who refused to allow international organizations anywhere near their trenches: Right Sector, Ukraine told inspectors, was out of its control. The local police also wouldn’t arrest any members of the Voloveka, to whom they outsourced their terrorism. Of course, when asked about their connection with Right Sector, Ukraine’s SBU, army, and police vigorously disavow it. But what I saw on the front lines was nothing short of active cooperation. The fighters of the Voloveka, for their part, were contemptuous of any cooperation with Kiev. But the fight could only turn against Ukraine once the more immediate threat in the Donbas had been destroyed.

    Several weeks before I visited the Voloveka, a man had been picked up wandering the streets of Novogrodovka at night, drunk. Police confiscated his phone and found photos of him posing in front of Donetsk tanks on VK, a popular social network among Russian speakers. They brought him to the Right Sectorites, who locked him in a standing-room-only shower stall. The lights stayed on for a week. They beat him with a sock stuffed with sharpened rocks. They stripped him of his clothes and made him clean the barracks on his knees. An interrogation session involving repeated threats of deportation to Guantánamo Bay revealed only that the man came from a local village and apparently knew nothing about rebel troop movements. After a week, the police picked him back up and brought him to Kiev—presumably for a jail sentence, though no one could tell me what actually happened to him. “It is a pity to have to beat these people,” Kirschbaum said. “But I’d have more sympathy for them if we got any sort of similar treatment in Donetsk. Right Sector members captured there get their noses and ears cut off.”

    A loud noise shook the front entrance of the barracks one night. It was followed by a string of murderous groans. “Separatists!” someone screamed. Fischer extinguished a cigarette, then whipped an RPG off the wall and slung it on his right shoulder in a single uninterrupted motion. Lang burst out of the room with a pair of grenades cocked in his hands. Out in the hallway, a dozen startled Ukrainians stood in a heavily armed throng. One was peering through a sniper scope.

    At the doorway, as a haze of grenade smoke slowly dissipated away, we saw Simeon lying in a lake of bubbling blood. Purple-black strings—his intestines—were on the walls. A de-fingered palm of a left hand teetered off a nearby pile of tires. Exiting the barracks for Novogrodovka, where he planned to toss a few grenades in the town square to celebrate the two-year anniversary of his entry in the war, Simeon had slipped on the staircase and accidently detonated himself. Turning his head toward us, he let out a few last breaths, then died.

    The next night, we held a funeral for Simeon. His mother, son, and wife arrived by car from Ivano-Frankivsk. Two Right Sectorites briskly escorted them to a side door, away from the entranceway in which Simeon had been dematerialized. “Two land mines exploded under Simeon as he charged toward the Donetsk airport,” Colibian, who had been declared the Voloveka’s new commander that morning, told Simeon’s family. They cried. “After this, it took machine-gun fire to bring him down. We recovered him, brought him back to our trench. He was still breathing. He refused to die.” Colibian placed his right hand on the shoulder of Simeon’s mother. Most of the onlooking Right Sectorites were drunk. What remained of Simeon’s trunk of vodka had been finished off that afternoon.

    “The Ukrainian army was also technically obliged to arrest Right Sector members on sight at the front lines, but it didn’t. During the night, officers sympathetic to Right Sector’s cause filled the Voloveka’s school bus with rockets and other large-caliber guns forbidden by European monitors. Right Sector was the Ukrainian army’s way of getting around Minsk II while still hitting back at separatists who refused to allow international organizations anywhere near their trenches: Right Sector, Ukraine told inspectors, was out of its control. The local police also wouldn’t arrest any members of the Voloveka, to whom they outsourced their terrorism. Of course, when asked about their connection with Right Sector, Ukraine’s SBU, army, and police vigorously disavow it. But what I saw on the front lines was nothing short of active cooperation. The fighters of the Voloveka, for their part, were contemptuous of any cooperation with Kiev. But the fight could only turn against Ukraine once the more immediate threat in the Donbas had been destroyed.
    That’s right, “the fight could only turn against Ukraine once the more immediate threat in the Donbas had been destroyed.” And once Donbas has been destroyed, there’s apparently about 20 percent of Ukrainians who will team up with Right Sector to conquer the remaining pro-Europe majority. At least that’s how they see it:


    According to Right Sector, the Maidan revolution remains unfinished. It’s illegal for the group to use guns, but the Voloveka and units like it will not lay them down until Ukraine is a sovereign state. By this, the men mean a Ukraine that’s completely independent from both Russia—a “Putinist empire”—and the European Union—land of “liberal homo-dictatorships.” “The world must know that Ukraine is not its to use,” Prut, a Right Sector commander in Mukachevo, told me. (The Ukrainian fighters in the Voloveka are known exclusively by their noms de guerre.) For their model Ukraine, some Right Sectorites point to the centuries of rugged Cossack rule. Others cite the West Ukrainian People’s Republic carved out by Stepan Bandera, the hero of the Ukrainian resistance against the Soviets. Bandera’s brief collaboration with the Nazis has led some members of Right Sector to meld their nationalism with a thin understanding of Nazism. Several I met did the Sieg Heil and praised Hitler. A few admitted that they did this because they knew Putin hated it, and they were willing to go to any length to aggravate him.

    Yep, Right Sector pledged not stop until they’ve overthrown the current government and installed a new government ranging from Cossack rule to something Stepan Bandera would have created which is presumably a Ukrainian version of Nazi Germany based on the history of Stepan Bandera.

    So the Kiev government continues to turn a blind eye and help arm the neo-Nazi brigades who have pledged to overthrow the government. And while that would seem like a really bad bet for a government to be making, keep in mind that it’s possible that the government is hoping that by the time war ends in the East the neo-Nazi brigades will have changed their minds about the need to march on Kiev and implement Banderite rule. And maybe that’s what would actually happen when you consider all of the profoundly disturbing ways Ukraine has already started to resemble some sort of Banderite Republic and the likelihood of that process continuing. So while betting that these neo-Nazi brigades can be used without major ‘blowback’ it might end up being a bad bet, it’s not at all inconcievable that the neo-Nazi brigades really might just decide that Ukraine’s government really has appeased the fascist/ethno-chauvinist faction of society so much that they already basically won. In which case it would be a good bet to win, but with a guaranteed horrific outcome.

    So move over Russian Roulette, there’s a new crazy gamble in town. Or rather, the crazy gamble is out fighting in the fields. But it will be marching to town sooner or later.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 20, 2016, 6:18 pm
  2. One of the questions raised by the rise of the AfD, and the far-right in general, in Germany’s political scene is that, as the mask steadily drops the party reveals itself as basically a contemporary neo-Nazi party, which AfD members end up saying “ok, these guys are Nazis, I’m out of here.” Like, let’s say the AfD had a policy of pushing ethnically homogenous refugee internment camps reminiscent of the Madagascar Plan of 1940? Would that be enough to prompt some AfD members to say “enough is enough” and back away from the party? It turns out, yes, that’s enough. For at least one AfD party member:

    The Telegraph

    German MP quits AfD after comparing party’s refugee policy to Nazi plans to deport Jews

    By Justin Huggler, Berlin

    19 December 2016 • 3:29pm

    A German regional MP has quit the country’s rapidly growing far-Right party and accused it of pursuing policies “reminiscent” of the Nazis.

    Claudia Martin resigned the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party whip just nine months after being elected and compared its refugee policy to Nazi plans to deport Europe’s Jews to Madagascar.

    Ms Martin was one of 23 MPs elected to the regional parliament in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in what was seen as a major breakthrough for the party.

    But the 46-year-old said she had resigned over a party policy which calls for Germany to intern all asylum-seekers in special camps.

    Under the policy, asylum-seekers would be kept in “ethnically homogenous groups” and “prepared for their return to their country of origin”.

    Mr Martin said the policy was reminiscent of the Madagascar Plan, a Nazi proposal in 1940 for the forced resettlement of Europe’s Jewish population on the island of Madagascar.

    The plan was never put into effect, in part because of a British naval blockade, but is seen as a crucial psychological step towards the Final Solution, which was adopted two years later.

    “I originally joined the AfD because I wanted to criticise abuses. My concerns were about education and inclusion. I never discussed the issue of refugees,” Ms Martin told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

    “What I am experiencing now is that they take every opportunity to make a populist stand on the refugee issue, and they don’t try to draw any line against extremists.”

    The AfD called for Ms Martin to resign her seat in the regional parliament, arguing she had only been elected as a party candidate.

    The AfD’s success in Baden-Württemberg, one of western Germany’s richest states, was seen as evidence that the party could prosper outside its main strongholds in the impoverished states of the former communist east.

    But the party has since been rocked by repeated controversy in the state. More than half its MPs in the regional parliament resigned the whip in protest and formed a rival party after the AfD refused to expel Wolfgang Gedeon, a member who had made comments supporting Holocaust denial. They were later persuaded to return to the AfD fold after Dr Gedeon resigned.

    “The plan was never put into effect, in part because of a British naval blockade, but is seen as a crucial psychological step towards the Final Solution, which was adopted two years later.”

    That’s one AfD member stepping down. So good for Ms Martin.

    And at least it sounds like Holocaust denial is a line some members refuse to cross too. Sort of:


    But the party has since been rocked by repeated controversy in the state. More than half its MPs in the regional parliament resigned the whip in protest and formed a rival party after the AfD refused to expel Wolfgang Gedeon, a member who had made comments supporting Holocaust denial. They were later persuaded to return to the AfD fold after Dr Gedeon resigned.

    “They were later persuaded to return to the AfD fold after Dr Gedeon resigned.”

    Well, they left for while. That’s…something. Good-ish, maybe? Or maybe not. It depends on whether or not the AfD who left and were persuaded to return decide to leave again:

    AlterNet

    Rising Far-Right German Party Wants to Teach Children Revisionist Holocaust History

    Party leaders insist Hitler wasn’t as evil as he’s been cracked up to be.

    By Deniz Yeter / AlterNet
    March 22, 2017

    An increasingly influential far-right opposition party in Germany, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), once again finds itself embroiled in controversy amid revelations that a party leader downplayed the crimes of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. These revelations come just two months after officials introduced what one lawmaker called a “Warsaw ghetto” plan for refugees.

    In late January, an AfD party faction filed a motion to block payments allocated by the local parliament to fund educational field trips for German children to visit historical sites such as Nazi concentration camps in the state of Baden-Württemberg. These programs are viewed as central for teaching German youth about crimes committed by the Nazi regime. Under proposed AfD party legislation, they would be effectively abolished.

    The AfD in Baden-Württemberg argued their motion was a response to bias in publicly funded educational programs that unfairly portrayed life in Nazi Germany. “We strive for a balanced view of history… a one-sided concentration on 12 years of National Socialist injustice is to be rejected,” the Baden-Württemberg AfD parliamentary faction wrote in its legal motion.

    The educational school program in the AfD’s crosshairs was established to commemorate German Jews from the state of Baden-Württemberg who were deported by the Nazis to Gurs concentration camp in France. The local German state allocates approximately €120,000 ($130,000) in annual funding to the historical site where thousands of German Baden-Württemberg Jews were exterminated.

    The motion filed by the local AfD party faction also calls for any references to the Nazi regime to be stricken from all class field trips, which should instead focus on “significant German historic sites” such as medieval castles.

    The “Warsaw ghetto” plan for refugees

    In December, a lawmaker in the AfD faction of Baden-Württemberg revealed that the party had drafted working papers to imprison all refugees and asylum seekers within Germany in what she described as a “Warsaw ghetto” plan, which would then deport individuals back to their hostile nations of origin. The mass deportation scheme stands in stark violation of federal German laws and signed U.N. international treaties. The leaked AfD working papers also called for the suspension of numerous articles to the German constitution.

    Also this year, local Thüringen AfD party leader Björn Höcke spurred outrage after claiming at a public rally in Dresden, “The big problem is that Hitler is presented as an absolutely evil figure… but of course we know that it wasn’t as black and white as history portrays.”

    Höcke went on to state that, “We German people are the only ones in the world to build a monument of disgrace in the heart of our capital,” a reference to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Dresden is revered by many in the extreme far-right as a symbol of German innocence and martyrdom, its civilian deaths at the hands of allied forces a war crime.

    Holocaust revisionism disguised as nuance

    The head of the national AfD, chairwoman Frauke Petry, has attempted to distance herself and her party from the local faction in the Baden-Württemberg state parliament. But her suggestion to party supporters earlier this month that the crimes of U.S. forces in Nazi Germany need to be more evenly addressed have only fueled further criticism.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Petry told a crowd at a medieval castle in the Rhineland this past October that “Just as today the First World War is written about in a nuanced way and not just from the perspective of the victor… the Second World War will probably in some decades also need to be discussed in a somewhat more nuanced way than what we experience today.”

    The event’s attendees reportedly erupted in applause.

    As Petry sees it, the firebombing of civilians by U.S. forces in Dresden and the mistreatment of Nazis in POW camps are largely ignored by German educational programs. “One should inform them to the same degree that after World War II, the Americans allowed German war prisoners to die of hunger in the camps on the Rhine meadows,” she told one attendee, who asked whether the funding of class field trips to concentration camps and other historical sites was appropriate.

    Petry has previously stated in interviews and public speeches that refugees crossing the border into Germany should be shot on sight by German police, and that immigrants and multiculturalism in Germany resembled a garbage dump. The AfD has advocated for a ban on burqas and minarets as well as on all mosques within Germany, a move one German legal expert says would constitute a gross violation of Basic Law.

    The AfD holds seats in 10 of 16 German state parliaments and is currently campaigning to enter the Bundestag, the federal German parliament in the capital of Berlin. The party must secure at least 5 percent of the national vote this September to pass the required threshold for its members to achieve representation in the legislative body.

    Entering the Bundestag would be an unprecedented first for any far-right political party since the end of WWII. And while its polling numbers have dipped from 16 to 8 percent nationally since last year, there remains a strong possibility that the AfD will form part of the ruling coalition government in Germany.

    “Entering the Bundestag would be an unprecedented first for any far-right political party since the end of WWII. And while its polling numbers have dipped from 16 to 8 percent nationally since last year, there remains a strong possibility that the AfD will form part of the ruling coalition government in Germany.”

    Yep, the AfD doesn’t just have a chance of being part of the ruling coalition government after this year’s elections. It has a strong chance. Which will, of course, give it a chance to say stuff like this as a member of the ruling coalition:


    In late January, an AfD party faction filed a motion to block payments allocated by the local parliament to fund educational field trips for German children to visit historical sites such as Nazi concentration camps in the state of Baden-Württemberg. These programs are viewed as central for teaching German youth about crimes committed by the Nazi regime. Under proposed AfD party legislation, they would be effectively abolished.

    Also this year, local Thüringen AfD party leader Björn Höcke spurred outrage after claiming at a public rally in Dresden, “The big problem is that Hitler is presented as an absolutely evil figure… but of course we know that it wasn’t as black and white as history portrays.”

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Petry told a crowd at a medieval castle in the Rhineland this past October that “Just as today the First World War is written about in a nuanced way and not just from the perspective of the victor… the Second World War will probably in some decades also need to be discussed in a somewhat more nuanced way than what we experience today.”

    “Just as today the First World War is written about in a nuanced way and not just from the perspective of the victor… the Second World War will probably in some decades also need to be discussed in a somewhat more nuanced way than what we experience today.”

    Well, let’s hope Petry is correct on that last point in terms of her prediction of a more nuanced understanding of WWII. Recognizing how the Nazis and their international far-right collaborators successfully went underground and never actually went away and continue to strive to achieve power to this day would be a great nuance to add to our collective understanding of the Second World War. That’s may not have been the particular nuance Petry was trying to convey but it’s definitely the nuance her party is making clear we need.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 24, 2017, 1:24 pm

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