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FTR #983 Fascism, 2017 World Tour, Part 2

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

Ivo Antonov, Bul­gar­i­an Min­istry of Defense offi­cial

Intro­duc­tion: High­light­ing the growth of fas­cism around the world, this pro­gram sets forth a cur­so­ry exam­i­na­tion of glob­al man­i­fes­ta­tions of the ide­ol­o­gy. The sto­ries pre­sent­ed here will be ana­lyzed at greater length and in greater detail in upcom­ing pro­grams

Start­ing in Europe, we begin by exam­in­ing overt­ly fas­cist ele­ments in the gov­ern­ing Bul­gar­i­an coali­tion of Boyko Borisov, evoca­tive of Bul­gar­i­a’s past as an ally of Nazi Ger­many in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Min­is­ter of Region­al Devel­op­ment, at the time, was forced to resign, after pub­li­ca­tion of a pho­to, show­ing him with his right arm extend­ed in a Nazi salute, stand­ing in front of a wax fig­ure of a Nazi offi­cer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, anoth­er pho­to was pub­lished on the inter­net, show­ing the fresh­ly appoint­ed depart­ment direc­tor in the Min­istry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giv­ing the Nazi salute in front of a Sec­ond World War tank of the Wehrma­cht. . . .” Oth­er coali­tion part­ners have made dis­parag­ing remarks about Roma (“gyp­sies”) and Jews.

Next, we trav­el from Bul­gar­ia to Spain.

The polit­i­cal strug­gle around the attempt­ed seces­sion of Cat­alo­nia from Spain is framed against a larg­er polit­i­cal dynam­ic embrac­ing advo­ca­cy of the elim­i­na­tion of for­mal nation­al bor­ders in Europe in favor of “region­al­ist plans.” Just such region­al­ist advo­ca­cy was the focal point of a promi­nent arti­cle (with accom­pa­ny­ing maps of the pro­ject­ed realign­ment) in Die Zeit, a major Ger­man week­ly.

Region­al­ist advo­ca­cy has a sig­nif­i­cant past, with the ear­ly post­war CIA and Allen Dulles hav­ing embraced such a dynam­ic. ” . . . . the fed­er­al­ists had ini­tial­ly been sup­port­ed and con­trolled by the CIA pre­de­ces­sor, the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, resid­ing in Bern, and lat­er by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addi­tion, the region­al­ist dyanam­ic enjoyed the sup­port of long-time Ger­man finance min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schauble, whose advo­ca­cy and imple­men­ta­tion of bru­tal fis­cal aus­ter­i­ty helped beg­gar much of the EU, includ­ing Spain, fol­low­ing the finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, as Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR) in the ear­ly 1980’s, was also pro­mot­ing region­al­ist plans. Inspired by for­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies, the AEBR crit­i­cized the ‘nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect’ of bor­ders in the inter­ests of large cor­po­ra­tions. . . . For­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies were active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing both on the AEBR’s com­mit­tees and in the imme­di­ate entourage of its plan­ning of the ‘region­al­iza­tion’ of the bor­der regions, includ­ing Gerd Jans, the for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS in the Nether­lands, Kon­rad Mey­er, respon­si­ble for the Naz­i’s ‘Gen­er­alplan Ost,’ Her­mann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the pub­li­cist Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow as ‘infa­mous for his bor­der sub­ver­sion of France’s Alsace.’ In an exten­sive study, Minow describes the con­ti­nu­ities of the Naz­i’s con­cepts. . . .”

Despite an ini­tial impres­sion of “region­al­ism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyan­mic ide­ol­o­gy may be seen as some­thing of a sub­sidiary ele­ment of glob­al­iza­tion.

The two Twit­ter accounts that appear to account for near­ly a third of all Twit­ter traf­fic with the #Cat­alo­nia hash­tag, in ref­er­ence to the Cat­alon­ian seces­sion move­ment belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den.

 Of more  than pass­ing inter­est, under the cir­cum­stances, is the Twit­ter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den on behalf of Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence.

 As seen in many past pro­grams and posts, Snow­den and Assange are as far to the right as it is pos­si­ble to be.

 Their cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an activism and their sup­port for Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence is root­ed in anar­cho-lib­er­tar­i­an eco­nom­ic the­o­ry. See­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of nation­al gov­ern­ments as desir­able, their sup­port for the prin­ci­ple of seces­sion is root­ed in what Mus­soli­ni termed “cor­po­ratism.”

 Snow­den and Assange’s osten­si­bly “lib­er­at­ing” doc­trines, if put into effect, would leave cit­i­zen­ry  at the mer­cy of unfet­tered eco­nom­ic will, exer­cised by cor­po­ra­tions and their asso­ci­at­ed elites.

Snow­den specif­i­cal­ly appears to be advo­cat­ing that no seces­sion move­ment any­where ever can be reject­ed by the gov­ern­ment under the premise that self-deter­mi­na­tion is a human right, view­ing this as a “nat­ur­al law” issue.

In that con­text, the right to secede is cham­pi­oned by the Lib­er­tar­i­an far-right, all the way down to the right to indi­vid­u­als to secede from all gov­ern­ment. As this piece from Lib­er­tar­i­an David S. D’Amato demon­strates, extend­ing the right to secede down to the indi­vid­ual facil­i­tates the imple­men­ta­tion of an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety with no gov­ern­ment at all, as seen by fig­ures like Mur­ray Roth­bard. This is envi­sioned as an excel­lent way­of achiev­ing an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-seces­sion­ist move­ment should also be seen against the back­ground of the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, cham­pi­oned by Ron Paul and the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute.

From Spain, we trav­el to Ger­many.

Fol­low­ing cap­ture of 13 per­cent of the vote in Germany’s fed­er­al elec­tions on Sun­day by the Alter­na­tive For Ger­many (AfD), Alexan­der Gauland, the AfD leader, pro­voked out­rage after sug­gest­ing that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.

This type of behav­ior appar­ent­ly moti­vat­ed AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the par­ty, just hours after the elec­tion over its extrem­ism.

Upcom­ing elec­tions in Aus­tria are the next focal point of dis­cus­sion. Found­ed in 1956 as a vehi­cle for re-intro­duc­ing Aus­tri­an Nazi vet­er­ans of the Third Reich into the coun­try’s polit­i­cal life, the Free­dom Par­ty effect­ed the cos­met­ic sus­pen­sion of a par­ty offi­cial for giv­ing a Nazi salute.

Next, we return to the sub­ject of the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union, who are engag­ing with maneu­vers with sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions from Latvia and Lithua­nia.

Review­ing infor­ma­tion about the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men’s Union, we high­light its activ­i­ties as part of the Nazi mil­i­tary effort in the Baltic states, includ­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in admin­is­ter­ing Hitler’s “Final Solu­tion.”

Rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions,” the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union–a fas­cist militia–has been expand­ed to meet the so-called “Russ­ian threat.” Like the OUN/B’s mil­i­tary wing–the UPA–the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union con­tin­ued the com­bat of World War II until the ear­ly 1950’s. Formed dur­ing the wan­ing days of the Sec­ond World War, they jumped from the Third Reich to the Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion, a CIA/State Depart­ment oper­a­tional direc­torate. (This is cov­ered in FTR #777, as well as AFA #1.)

From Europe, we swing over to Latin Amer­i­ca.

For more than two decades, we have been cov­er­ing the AMIA bomb­ing in Argenti­na. Alber­to Nisman–an Argen­tine pros­e­cu­tor inves­ti­gat­ing the tan­gle of evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries in the bomb­ing died under strange cir­cum­stances.

Key points of inves­tiga­tive inter­est in the case include evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning in the direc­tion of the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and drug and weapons deal­er Monz­er Al-Kas­sar and Nazi war crim­i­nals resid­ing in Argenti­na. (The AMIA build­ing had a large archive on Nazi fugi­tives, includ­ing many report­ed to have fled to Argenti­na.)

In addi­tion, Iran­ian offi­cials have been named as sus­pects in the case. (We would note that the issues of pos­si­ble Iran­ian respon­si­bil­i­ty for the crime, the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and the issue of the Nazi dias­po­ra over­lap, to a con­sid­er­able extent. Monz­er al-Kas­sar used Merex–a firm found­ed by ODESSA king­pin Otto Sko­rzeny and Nazi vet­er­an Ger­hard Mertins–for key weapons deals. Aya­tol­lah Khome­ini’s stay in Paris was financed by Fran­cois Genoud.)

A recent foren­sic exam­i­na­tion of Nis­man­’s death reached a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion from the dubi­ous “sui­cide” ver­dict ini­tial­ly returned by inves­ti­ga­tors: ” . . . . The lat­est foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tion into Mr. Nisman’s death was car­ried out by a team of 28 experts. Over the course of nine months, they recon­struct­ed the scene where his body was found in his bath­room, with a sin­gle gun­shot wound to the head. They con­clud­ed the pros­e­cu­tor was killed by two peo­ple, accord­ing to the senior judi­cial offi­cial, who has seen the report. The foren­sic experts dis­cov­ered sev­er­al injuries on Mr. Nisman’s body — includ­ing a nasal frac­ture, a hematoma in his kid­ney, lesions on his legs and a wound on the palm of his hand — that they say are con­sis­tent with an attack on the pros­e­cu­tor before he was killed. Accord­ing to the offi­cial, inves­ti­ga­tors also said they found ket­a­mine, an anes­thet­ic, in Mr. Nisman’s blood, which they sus­pect was used to sedate the pros­e­cu­tor before he was shot. No gun­pow­der residue was found on his hands, which they said made the sui­cide the­o­ry implau­si­ble. . . .”

The largest trove of Nazi arti­facts ever uncov­ered in Argenti­na was recent­ly dis­cov­ered in the Buenos Aires sub­urb of Béc­car, near where both Josef Men­gele and Adolf Eich­mann lived. Arti­facts in the trove have accom­pa­ny­ing pho­tos of Adolph Hitler with the same or sim­i­lar arti­facts, which is pre­sumed to add to their com­mer­cial val­ue. And the over­all quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty has inves­ti­ga­tors con­vinced that this could have only come from high-rank­ing Nazis, rais­ing ques­tions of who else may have slipped into Argenti­na with­out the world’s knowl­edge: “ . . . . They were put on dis­play at the Del­e­ga­tion of Argen­tine Israeli Asso­ci­a­tions in Buenos Aires on Mon­day. Many Nazi high­er-ups fled to Argenti­na in the wan­ing days of the war, and inves­ti­ga­tors believe that offi­cials close to Adolf Hitler brought the arti­facts with them. Many items were accom­pa­nied by pho­tographs, some with Hitler hold­ing them. . . .”

Nis­man­’s wid­ow is the judge pre­sid­ing over the case: . . . . The judge in the case is San­dra Arroyo Sal­ga­do, the wid­ow of pros­e­cu­tor Alber­to Nis­man. Sal­ga­do imposed a gag order on the inves­ti­ga­tion, so no fur­ther details were revealed. . . .”

Sus­pects have been iden­ti­fied in the case: ” . . . . One sus­pect iden­ti­fied by the police is not in Argenti­na. There are Argen­tine and non-Argen­tinean sus­pects being inves­ti­gat­ed, but no fur­ther details have been pro­vid­ed. . . .”

Mov­ing from Argenti­na to Brazil, we high­light liai­son between a promi­nent U.S. fas­cist and the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute of Brazil.

The Koch broth­ers-fund­ed Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute of Brazil is fel­low-trav­el­ing with Christo­pher Cantwell, one of the Nazi mobi­liz­ers of the Char­lottesville demon­stra­tions. Cantwell has had arti­cles pub­lished by the Brazil­ian sub­sidiary of the LVM Insti­tute.

Cantwell has sport­ed iconog­ra­phy sug­ges­tive of sup­port for Oper­a­tion Con­dor, a U.S. sup­port­ed assas­si­na­tion con­sor­tium of Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, imple­ment­ed by overt fas­cists and Nazis at the oper­a­tional lev­el. For more about Con­dor, see—among oth­er pro­grams—AFA #19.

 We note, in this con­text that the Assange/Snowden axis is pro­found­ly con­nect­ed to the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute through Ron Paul. Paul/LVM Institute/Snowden/Assange are deeply con­nect­ed, in turn, to the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment that man­i­fest­ed in Char­lottesville.

From Latin Amer­i­ca, we trav­el North on  our tour, to the U.S.

Buz­zFeed has a long piece based on a cache of leaked emails that describe behind-the-scenes efforts at Breibart to main­stream the “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. Those efforts pri­mar­i­ly revolved around Milo Yiannopoulos–tasked with reach­ing out to “Alt Right” fig­ures, get­ting com­ments from them about what the “Alt Right” was all about, and then lat­er get­ting feed­back from them about the planned arti­cles before they were pub­lished. It was clear­ly a group effort. Those efforts includ­ed Andrew ‘the weev’ Auern­heimer, Cur­tis Yarvin (the founder fo the “Dark Enlight­en­ment” move­ment), and Devin Sauci­er, a neo-Nazi Yiannopou­los describes as his best friend.

The emails have a sick, almost dark com­e­dy ele­ment to them because they includ­ed plen­ty of back and forths between Yiannopou­los and Bre­it­bart edi­tors about whether or not the pub­li­ca­tion was get­ting too open­ly friend­ly with the Nazis, with Yiannopou­los being told at one point that it was fine to use a “shekels” joke but “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas cham­ber tweets.” There’s also some oth­er fun facts in the piece, like how Cur­tis Yarvin said he was “coach­ing” Peter Thiel on pol­i­tics, or how the two Yiannopou­los pass­words found in the emails were “a pass­word that began with the word Kristall”, and “LongKnives1290”.

So in case it wasn’t obvi­ous that Bre­it­bart is a white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion run by neo-Nazis for the pur­pose of main­stream­ing neo-Nazi ideals, here’s the evi­dence, in their own neo-Nazi words.

Fol­low­ing up on that Buz­zFeed piece , Right Wing Watch has a new piece on a sim­i­lar phe­nom­e­non. Far right per­son­al­i­ties get “main­streamed” by osten­si­bly “main­stream” con­ser­v­a­tives. This is occur­ring on YouTube!

We con­clude our tour in the Mid­dle East.

In our dis­cus­sions of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work, the pro­gram notes that the net­work has long made a point of uti­liz­ing Jews. (A syn­op­tic overview of the Bor­mann net­work can be found in the descrip­tion for FTR #305.)

Using Jews as pri­ma­ry oper­a­tives has a num­ber of advan­tages: it pro­vides an excel­lent cov­er for a Nazi mon­ey-laun­der­ing oper­a­tion; the cap­i­tal derived for the state of Israel helps to assure con­nivance and silence on the part of the Israeli author­i­ties with regard to the exis­tence of the Bor­mann net­work and the Under­ground Reich; peo­ple can point to the great wealth of Bor­mann Jews and blame eco­nom­ic dis­tress on them, sim­i­lar to the Inter­net chat­ter gen­er­at­ed by the col­lapse of Bernard Mad­of­f’s Ponzi scheme.

It turns out that Ben­jamin Netanyahu and close asso­ciates–“Team Netanyahu,” if you will–appear to have an ongo­ing sweet­heart deal with ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems to pro­vide war­ships for the Israeli Navy. (We have talked about the pro­found links between the Thyssen inter­ests, the Bor­mann group and the Bush fam­i­ly in numer­ous pro­grams and posts, includ­ing FTR #‘s 273, 332, 370, 435 and 894.)

Note that ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems sub­con­tract­ed busi­ness for Israeli war­ship deals to a Lebanese-con­trolled firm Priv­in­vest. Such firms are char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bor­mann group busi­ness enti­ties.

Recall, also, that the Netanyahu fam­i­ly has been very close to Vladimir Jabotin­sky, the prog­en­i­tor of the Betar, arguably the most impor­tant of the fas­cist ele­ments with­in the Zion­ist move­ment.

Final­ly, we high­light the eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which unites that Islam­ic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion with oth­er neo-lib­er­al, lib­er­tar­i­an, lais­sez-faire eco­nom­ic schools.

In numer­ous posts and pro­grams, we have high­light­ed the cor­po­ratist, lais­sez-faire eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The World Bank cites Ibn Khal­dun, the chief the­o­reti­cian of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy, as the ear­li­est advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion. In a 1981 speech, Ronald Rea­gan cit­ed Ibn Khal­dun in a pitch for his “sup­ply-side” eco­nom­ics.

This unites the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the Lud­wig Von Mis­es milieu (and Christo­pher Cantwell), Edward Snow­den, Julian Assange and Mil­ton Fried­man on com­mon ide­o­log­i­cal turf.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

  1. Yair Netanyahu’s blam­ing of his father’s polit­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties on an inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy.
  2. Review of the Nazi dias­po­ra in Latin Amer­i­ca.

1. Our tour starts in Europe.

We begin by exam­in­ing overt­ly fas­cist ele­ments in the gov­ern­ing Bul­gar­i­an coali­tion of Boyko Borisov, evoca­tive of Bul­gar­i­a’s past as an ally of Nazi Ger­many in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Min­is­ter of Region­al Devel­op­ment, at the time, was forced to resign, after pub­li­ca­tion of a pho­to, show­ing him with his right arm extend­ed in a Nazi salute, stand­ing in front of a wax fig­ure of a Nazi offi­cer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, anoth­er pho­to was pub­lished on the inter­net, show­ing the fresh­ly appoint­ed depart­ment direc­tor in the Min­istry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giv­ing the Nazi salute in front of a Sec­ond World War tank of the Wehrma­cht. . . .” Oth­er coali­tion part­ners have made dis­parag­ing remarks about Roma (“gyp­sies”) and Jews.

Ivo Antonov, Bul­gar­i­an Min­istry of Defense offi­cial

“Bul­gar­i­a’s Euro­pean Course;” Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy; 10/09/2017.

The CDU-affil­i­at­ed Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion (KAS) is coun­sel­ing Bul­gar­i­a’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment of con­ser­v­a­tive and sev­er­al extreme right wing par­ties prepar­ing their coun­try’s EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Sofi­a’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment, head­ed by a part­ner par­ty of the KAS, includes a par­ty, whose chair­per­son once wrote that “a gang of Jews had ruined ortho­doxy.” The chair of anoth­er par­ty in the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment coali­tion called Roma “human-like crea­tures that have become beasts.” He is the cur­rent deputy prime min­is­ter. The Bul­gar­i­an defense min­is­ter would like to dis­patch “high­ly spe­cial­ized com­bat troops” to the Bul­gar­i­an-Turk­ish bor­der and “defend” the EU’s exter­nal bor­ders against refugees “with armed force.” Jan­u­ary 1, 2018, the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment will assume the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Hard­ly pre­pared for this task, the KAS is coun­sel­ing the gov­ern­ment. Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing, for­mer Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, praised Bul­gar­i­a’s con­tri­bu­tion to the “fight against ille­gal migra­tion.”

“With­out a Clear Line, Cor­rupt”

The CDU-affil­i­at­ed Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion (KAS) began its efforts to help pre­pare Bul­gar­ia for the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy already short­ly after the offi­cial for­ma­tion of Sofi­a’s gov­ern­ment, May 4. This must not only be seen in the con­text of Berlin’s usu­al efforts to influ­ence EU pol­i­cy, but also because the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­men­t’s prepa­ra­tion for the pres­i­den­cy is in a deplorable con­di­tion. Last week, the FDP-affil­i­at­ed Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion’s project man­ag­er for South­east Europe not­ed that, regard­ing the issues Sofia would like to focus on dur­ing its pres­i­den­cy, every­thing is still very “vague;” “var­i­ous pri­or­i­ties with­out a clear thread” are men­tioned. They can­not even for­mu­late their “own ... projects.” In rela­tion­ship to the “ren­o­va­tion of the cen­tral meet­ing place, ... seri­ous accu­sa­tions have been raised con­cern­ing embez­zle­ment of the means for this pres­ti­gious project and cor­rup­tion in con­tract allo­ca­tions.” For exam­ple, the plaza in front of Sofi­a’s Nation­al Palace of Cul­ture is to be ren­o­vat­ed for five mil­lion leva (near­ly 2.5 mil­lion euros), in spite of the fact that it was just ren­o­vat­ed last year for sev­er­al mil­lion leva. The web­site for the min­istry, estab­lished for the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, could “sym­bol­ize the state of prepa­ra­tion.” “It is exclu­sive­ly in the Bul­gar­i­an lan­guage and only par­tial­ly functional.”[1]

Inten­sive Coun­sel­ing

The KAS is there­fore inten­si­fy­ing its efforts. The par­ty of the Bul­gar­i­an Prime Min­ster Boyko Borisov, GERB (“Cit­i­zens for Euro­pean Devel­op­ment of Bul­gar­ia”), is a mem­ber of the con­ser­v­a­tive Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Par­ty (EPP) in which the Ger­man con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties CDU/CSU hold a strong posi­tion. This explains the KAS’s involve­ment. KAS is also pro­vid­ing direct sup­port to GER­B’s women and youth orga­ni­za­tions. Lead­ing KAS rep­re­sen­ta­tives have already met twice — May 31 and July 18, — with Bul­gar­i­a’s For­eign Min­is­ter Eka­te­ri­na Zaharie­va to dis­cuss Sofi­a’s EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Prime Min­is­ter Borisov vis­it­ed the Foun­da­tion’s Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al, Ger­hard Wahlers on June 7 for the same pur­pose. Sep­tem­ber 11, Par­lia­men­tary State Sec­re­tary at Ger­many’s Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or, Ole Schröder (CDU), vis­it­ed Sofia to par­tic­i­pate in a con­fer­ence of lec­tures and dis­cus­sions aimed at cel­e­brat­ing Bul­gar­i­a’s ten-year EU mem­ber­ship. He lec­tured on the “spe­cial chal­lenges fac­ing the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy 2018.” To help pre­pare for the Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, Prime Min­is­ter Borisov also con­vened a six-mem­ber advi­so­ry board, includ­ing for­mer Bul­gar­i­an Pres­i­dent Rosen Plevneliev (2012 to 2017), for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sime­on Sak­skoburggot­s­ki (2001 to 2005) and par­tic­u­lar­ly the KAS Chair­man Hans-Gert Pöttering.[2] Pöt­ter­ing was Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment from 2007 to 2009.

“Bul­gar­ia Above Every­thing Else!”

Berlin and Brus­sels are also wor­ried that, with Bul­gar­i­a’s gov­ern­ment, extreme right wing politi­cians may also pre­side in the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Fol­low­ing the recent March 26, par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, Borisov, the win­ner of the elec­tions (his GERB with 32.7 per­cent), did not begin nego­ti­a­tions for a gov­ern­ment coali­tion with the Bul­gar­i­an Social­ist Par­ty (27.2 per­cent) or with the Move­ment for Rights and Free­doms (9 per­cent) rep­re­sent­ing the Turk­ish-speak­ing minor­i­ty, but rather with the Unit­ed Patri­ots (9.1 per­cent). The Unit­ed Patri­ots is an alliance of three extreme right-wing parties.[3] The coali­tion nego­ti­a­tions were car­ried out under the mot­to “Bul­gar­ia above every­thing else!” and was ulti­mate­ly crowned with suc­cess. Volen Siderov, the head of one of the three par­ties (“Ata­ka”), form­ing the Unit­ed Patri­ots, once called on the Roma minor­i­ty (Gyp­sies) to “behave them­selves,” if they did not want to be deport­ed to India. In a book, he wrote that “a gang of Jews” have “ruined the orthodoxy.”[4] Valeri Sime­onov, Chair of a sec­ond par­ty in the Unit­ed Patri­ots, the “Nation­al Front for the Sal­va­tion of Bul­gar­ia” (NFSB), referred to Roma as “human-like crea­tures, who have become beasts,” and said that their chil­dren were play­ing “in the streets with pigs.”[5] Since May 4, Sime­onov has been in office as the Vice Prime Min­is­ter, in charge of the econ­o­my and demog­ra­phy, as well as being Bul­gar­i­a’s Com­mis­sion­er for Inte­gra­tion.

With a Nazi Salute

Twice, pho­tographs have already emerged show­ing high-rank­ing offi­cials of Bul­gar­i­a’s gov­ern­ment, elect­ed to office in May, in pos­es hon­or­ing the Nazis. May 17, Pavel Tenev, Min­is­ter of Region­al Devel­op­ment, at the time, was forced to resign, after pub­li­ca­tion of a pho­to, show­ing him with his right arm extend­ed in a Nazi salute, stand­ing in front of a wax fig­ure of a Nazi offi­cer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, anoth­er pho­to was pub­lished on the inter­net, show­ing the fresh­ly appoint­ed depart­ment direc­tor in the Min­istry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giv­ing the Nazi salute in front of a Sec­ond World War tank of the Wehrma­cht. (On the right, german-foreign-policy.com doc­u­ments a seg­ment of this pho­to.) His most senior employ­er, Defense Min­is­ter, Krasimir Karakachanov, Chair of the IMRO-Bul­gar­i­an Nation­al Move­ment, refused to fire him.[6]

Weapons against Refugees

One of the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­men­t’s few rec­og­niz­able polit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties is ward­ing off refugees. Prime Min­is­ter Borisov expressed his grat­i­tude to the mili­tia-like cit­i­zens’ defense units, who, already since 2014, have been patrolling — some under heavy arms — the Turk­ish-Bul­gar­i­an bor­der to keep unde­sir­able migrants at bay. In April 2016, one of these cit­i­zens’ defense units, the “Orga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of the Bul­gar­i­an Bor­der,” received an offi­cial award from the Bul­gar­i­an Bor­der Police. In August, Defense Min­is­ter Karakachanov declared, he would “rein­force the mil­i­tary pres­ence” along the Bul­gar­i­an-Turk­ish bor­ders. “High­ly spe­cial­ized com­bat units will be among them.”[7] “Night-vision video cam­eras and drones” will be used, “to bet­ter be able to mon­i­tor the migrants’ move­ments and inter­vene in time.” The min­is­ter also wants to have “NATO and EU troops inter­vene” in Greece and Italy. “The exter­nal bor­ders of the Euro­pean Union must be defend­ed, if nec­es­sary, with armed force,” he demands.

Sofi­a’s EU Con­tri­bu­tion

Bul­gar­ia “is already con­tribut­ing a great deal to the Euro­pean Union, for exam­ple, by fight­ing ille­gal migra­tion,” declared Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing, KAS Chair, which is advis­ing the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment in its prepa­ra­tions to assume the EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy. Com­ment­ing on his appoint­ment to the advi­so­ry board, that met last Fri­day in Sofia, Pöt­ter­ing said it was “also a sign of recog­ni­tion for the work of the Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion, which has been active in Bul­gar­ia since 1994, always advo­cat­ing that the coun­try take the Euro­pean course.”[8]

[1] Daniel Kad­dik: Man­gel­nde Vor­bere­itung, fehlende Visio­nen. www.freiheit.org 02.10.2017.
[2] Dem Berater­gremi­um gehören außer­dem der ehe­ma­lige Lan­deshaupt­mann von Oberöster­re­ich, Erwin Pröll (1992 bis 2017), der ehe­ma­lige Präsi­dent des Europäis­chen Rates, Her­man Van Rompuy (2009 bis 2014) sowie der franzö­sis­che Diplo­mat Jean-David Levitte an.
[3] Den Vere­inigten Patri­oten gehören Ata­ka (Angriff), WMRO-BNB (Innere Maze­donis­che Rev­o­lu­tionäre Organ­i­sa­tion — Bul­gar­ische Nationale Bewe­gung) — und NFSB (Nationale Front für die Ret­tung Bul­gar­iens) an.
[4] Thorsten Geissler: Bul­gar­ien: Deut­lich­er Sieg für GERB — aber schwierige Regierungs­bil­dung. Kon­rad-Ade­nauer-Stiftung: Län­der­bericht Bul­gar­ien. 29.03.2017.
[5], [6] Jörg Kro­nauer: “Bul­gar­ien über alles!” Die extreme Rechte in Bul­gar­ien. LOTTA 67/2017.
[7] Christoph B. Schiltz: “Wir müssen die EU-Gren­zen not­falls mit Waf­fen schützen”. www.welt.de 17.08.2017.
[8] Dr. Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing berät bul­gar­ische Regierung bei EU-Rat­spräsi­dentschaft. www.kas.de 06.10.2017.

2a. The polit­i­cal strug­gle around the attempt­ed seces­sion of Cat­alo­nia from Spain is framed against a larg­er polit­i­cal dynam­ic embrac­ing advo­ca­cy of the elim­i­na­tion of for­mal nation­al bor­ders in Europe in favor of “region­al­ist plans.” Just such region­al­ist advo­ca­cy was the focal point of a promi­nent arti­cle (with accom­pa­ny­ing maps of the pro­ject­ed realign­ment) in Die Zeit, a major Ger­man week­ly.

Region­al­ist advo­ca­cy has a sig­nif­i­cant past, with the ear­ly post­war CIA and Allen Dulles hav­ing embraced such a dynam­ic. ” . . . . the fed­er­al­ists had ini­tial­ly been sup­port­ed and con­trolled by the CIA pre­de­ces­sor, the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, resid­ing in Bern, and lat­er by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addi­tion, the region­al­ist dyanam­ic enjoyed the sup­port of long-time Ger­man finance min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schauble, whose advo­ca­cy and imple­men­ta­tion of bru­tal fis­cal aus­ter­i­ty helped beg­gar much of the EU, includ­ing Spain, fol­low­ing the finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, as Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR) in the ear­ly 1980’s, was also pro­mot­ing region­al­ist plans. Inspired by for­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies, the AEBR crit­i­cized the ‘nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect’ of bor­ders in the inter­ests of large cor­po­ra­tions. . . . For­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies were active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing both on the AEBR’s com­mit­tees and in the imme­di­ate entourage of its plan­ning of the ‘region­al­iza­tion’ of the bor­der regions, includ­ing Gerd Jans, the for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS in the Nether­lands, Kon­rad Mey­er, respon­si­ble for the Naz­i’s ‘Gen­er­alplan Ost,’ Her­mann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the pub­li­cist Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow as ‘infa­mous for his bor­der sub­ver­sion of France’s Alsace.’ In an exten­sive study, Minow describes the con­ti­nu­ities of the Naz­i’s con­cepts. . . .”

Despite an ini­tial impres­sion of “region­al­ism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyan­mic ide­ol­o­gy may be seen as some­thing of a sub­sidiary ele­ment of glob­al­iza­tion.

“The Pow­er in the Cen­ter;” Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy; 10/11/2017.

Using the seces­sion­ist con­flict in Cat­alo­nia as a back­drop, the web­site of the Ger­man week­ly Die Zeit pub­lished a fiery appeal for dis­mem­ber­ing Europe’s nation-states. For quite some time, the author, Ulrike Guérot, has been pro­mot­ing the “dis­ap­pear­ance of the nation-state” in Europe. The nation-state should be replaced by regions with their “own respec­tive iden­ti­ties” that could be “eth­ni­cal­ly” defined. As exam­ples, Guérot lists regions with strong sep­a­ratist ten­den­cies such as Flan­ders and Tyrol. The author sees her­self uphold­ing the tra­di­tion of the “Euro­pean Fed­er­al­ists” of the ear­ly post-war peri­od, who — under the guid­ance of west­ern intel­li­gence ser­vices — drew up plans for estab­lish­ing of a Euro­pean eco­nom­ic space with free cir­cu­la­tion of com­modi­ties as a bul­wark against the East Euro­pean social­ist coun­tries. Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, as Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR) in the ear­ly 1980’s, was also pro­mot­ing region­al­ist plans. Inspired by for­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies, the AEBR crit­i­cized the “nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect” of bor­ders in the inter­ests of large cor­po­ra­tions. Cur­rent eco­nom­ic maps indi­cate which areas in the EU would form the con­ti­nen­t’s most pow­er­ful block if region­al­iza­tion should take effect: south and cen­tral Ger­many as well as its bor­der­ing regions from Flan­ders to North­ern Italy.

From the CDU to the Greens

Yes­ter­day, the web­site of the Ger­man week­ly, Die Zeit, pub­lished a fiery appeal to dis­mem­ber Europe’s nation-states, authored by the polit­i­cal sci­en­tist Ulrike Guérot. Guérot had been employed by CDU par­lia­men­tar­i­an Karl Lamers in the first half of the 1990s and par­tic­i­pat­ed in for­mu­lat­ing the Schäuble/Lamers paper, prop­a­gat­ing the estab­lish­ment of a core Europe. She sub­se­quent­ly became col­lab­o­ra­tor for the EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent at the time, Jacques Delors, and an expert of sev­er­al think tanks (Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, Ger­man Mar­shall Fund, and the Euro­pean Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions). In 2014, she found­ed a Euro­pean Democ­ra­cy Lab at the Euro­pean School of Gov­er­nance. Once mem­ber of the CDU; today, she is polit­i­cal­ly close to the Greens.[1]

“Eth­nic Region”

Since some time, Guérot has been ped­dling an alleged­ly new polit­i­cal con­cept to the Ger­man pub­lic, based on the dis­mem­ber­ment of Europe’s nation-states. Accord­ing to her, “the nation-state will dis­ap­pear” [2] and will be replaced by “50 to 60” regions in Europe, with “their own respec­tive identity.”[3] She is refer­ring to the con­cept of “eth­nic regions,”[4] i.e. an eth­ni­cal­ly defined com­mu­ni­ty of shared ori­gins. As Guérot writes “eth­nic region and state­hood are not con­gru­ent” for exam­ple in Ire­land or Cyprus; Flan­ders, Vene­tia and Tyrol are fur­ther exam­ples. In Flan­ders and Vene­tia, respec­tive­ly more pros­per­ous regions, defin­ing them­selves lin­guis­tic-eth­nic (“Nether­lan­der” or “Venet­ian”) are dis­so­ci­at­ing them­selves from poor­er regions of the coun­try, where­as the Ger­man speak­ing con­struct “Tyrole” encom­pass­es areas of Aus­tria and North­ern Italy. Accord­ing to Guérot, Cat­alo­nia is also one of the regions to be lib­er­at­ed from its con­straints under the nation-state. The Cata­lan move­ment cur­rent­ly push­ing for seces­sion is in fact large­ly defin­ing itself eth­ni­cal­ly. The autonomous move­ment has been close­ly coop­er­at­ing with French cit­i­zens, who live out­side the Span­ish region of Cat­alo­nia, but also con­sid­er them­selves “eth­nic Cata­lans.” At their ral­lies one can hear “Nei­ther France nor Spain! Only one coun­try, Catalonia!”[5] Last week­end the spokesper­son of the left CUP par­ty in Span­ish Cat­alo­nia com­plained that Spaniards from out­side Cat­alo­nia had come to Barcelona to par­tic­i­pate in a demon­stra­tion. To demon­strate in Cat­alo­nia as a “Spaniard” cor­re­sponds to a “colo­nial logic.”[6]

Europe of the Regions

Accord­ing to Guérot, only a “Euro­pean Repub­lic,” where­in “the regions assume the role of the cen­tral con­sti­tu­tion­al actors,” can save an EU shak­en by nation­al conflicts.[7] For exam­ple, the regions should con­sti­tute “a sec­ond cham­ber” in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment — “a Euro­pean Sen­ate.” Guérot has repeat­ed­ly said that polit­i­cal com­pe­tence must be redis­trib­uted between the EU and its regions. Accord­ing to this con­cept, a cen­ter of pow­er will be set up in Brus­sels, in con­trol of for­eign and mil­i­tary pol­i­cy, while the regions — for exam­ple, in charge of com­mer­cial tax­es — would finan­cial­ly main­tain inde­pen­dent lat­i­tude. Of course, the lat­ter would depend on the eco­nom­ic pow­er of the respec­tive region. Besides its eth­nic con­sti­tu­tion, a “Europe of the Regions” would lead to a com­plete dis­en­fran­chise­ment of its small­est units. Guérot crit­i­cizes the fact that “the EU is full of large regions (such as North Rhine-West­phalia) which are not per­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pate in EU deci­sion mak­ing, while on the oth­er hand, small coun­tries (such as Lux­em­bourg or Mal­ta) are.” That must change. For exam­ple, rather than hav­ing one vote out of 28 in the Euro­pean Coun­cil, Mal­ta would only have one out of “50 or 60” votes in the “Euro­pean Sen­ate.” It would not be able to counter any mea­sures pro­posed by the EU’s eco­nom­i­cal­ly pre­dom­i­nat­ing cen­ters.

Unit­ed States of Europe

Guérot’s con­cept has pre­cur­sors, which had been pro­mot­ed, on the one hand, by intel­li­gence agency cir­cles of the post-war peri­od and by inter­est­ed busi­ness cir­cles, on the oth­er, serv­ing how­ev­er, entire­ly dif­fer­ent inter­ests under cov­er of pro­mot­ing an alleged region­al democ­ra­cy. Guérot says her­self that her mod­el is based on the “Euro­pean Fed­er­al­ists,” par­tic­u­lar­ly the Swiss Denis de Rouge­ment. Since the mid-1940s, the “Euro­pean fed­er­al­ists” sought to found a “Unit­ed States of Europe,” as a uni­fied eco­nom­ic realm — serv­ing as a bul­wark against the social­ist coun­tries, in the process of form­ing. It was also seen as a defense against the idea of aban­don­ing the pre­vi­ous eco­nom­ic approach, which, at the time, was also rather pop­u­lar in West­ern Europe. This is why the fed­er­al­ists had ini­tial­ly been sup­port­ed and con­trolled by the CIA pre­de­ces­sor, the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, resid­ing in Bern, and lat­er by the CIA itself.[8] Rouge­ment, an OSS-affil­i­ate and pro­fessed fed­er­al­ist, com­plained in a 1948 “Mes­sage to the Euro­peans,” that “Europe” was “bar­ri­cad­ed behind bor­ders imped­ing the cir­cu­la­tion of its com­modi­ties,” and because of this, is threat­ened with eco­nom­ic ruin. On the oth­er hand, “unit­ed,” it could, already “tomor­row, build the great­est polit­i­cal enti­ty and the largest eco­nom­ic unit of our times.” From 1952 — 1966, Rouge­mont con­tin­ued his activ­i­ties also as pres­i­dent of the CIA-financed “Con­gress for Cul­tur­al Free­dom.”

“Loss of Iden­ti­ty”

Wolf­gang Schäu­ble has also pro­mot­ed region­al­ist con­cepts. Guérot had been in con­tact with him in 1994 dur­ing work on the Schäu­ble-Lamers paper. In 1979, Schäu­ble became pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR), an orga­ni­za­tion with the objec­tive of down­grad­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of bor­ders in Europe. Busi­ness inter­ests played an impor­tant role, which is why the AEBR could find reli­able sup­port­ers in indus­try. A “Euro­pean Char­ter on Bor­der and Cross-Bor­der Regions,” passed by the AEBR in 1981, stip­u­lat­ed that the “elim­i­na­tion of eco­nom­ic and infra­struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers” must urgent­ly be pur­sued. For exam­ple, the “expan­sion and con­struc­tion of coor­di­nat­ed, com­bined cross-bor­der freight trans­port ter­mi­nals” is nec­es­sary to “close cur­rent gaps in cross-bor­der traf­fic.” In addi­tion, the expan­sion of cross-bor­der ener­gy net­works must be pro­mot­ed. This is being overblown with alle­ga­tions of Europe hav­ing emerged from a “patch­work of his­tor­i­cal land­scapes,” with bor­ders cre­at­ing “scars” on Europe’s regions, and lead­ing to the pop­u­la­tion’s “loss of iden­ti­ty.” The cur­rent “nation-state’s bar­ri­er effect” must be reduced — if not abol­ished, accord­ing to the paper drawn up under Schäuble’s AEBR presidency.[9]

Ger­man Con­ti­nu­ities

For­mer Nazi func­tionar­ies were active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing both on the AEBR’s com­mit­tees and in the imme­di­ate entourage of its plan­ning of the “region­al­iza­tion” of the bor­der regions, includ­ing Gerd Jans, the for­mer mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS in the Nether­lands, Kon­rad Mey­er, respon­si­ble for the Naz­i’s “Gen­er­alplan Ost,” Her­mann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the pub­li­cist Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow as “infa­mous for his bor­der sub­ver­sion of France’s Alsace.” In an exten­sive study, Minow describes the con­ti­nu­ities of the Naz­i’s con­cepts.[10]

Ger­many’s Suprema­cy

Guérot ulti­mate­ly argues in favor of her region­al­iza­tion con­cepts, using the alle­ga­tion that through the removal of nation-states, “Ger­many’s suprema­cy ... can be over­come.” The oppo­site is the case. Eco­nom­ic maps by the EU’s Euro­stat sta­tis­tics admin­is­tra­tion show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, there­fore, Europe’s eco­nom­ic pow­er is con­cen­trat­ed, a block with its cen­ters in south­ern and cen­tral Ger­many, to the west, in Flan­ders and spread­ing to seg­ments of the Nether­lands, and to the South to parts of Aus­tria and North­ern Italy and in var­i­ous sep­a­rate regions of West­ern and North­ern Europe. A num­ber of these regions main­tain close rela­tions to Ger­many, or to the Ger­man regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clear­ly Ger­man-dom­i­nat­ed block would hard­ly have any dif­fi­cul­ty con­trol­ling a “Europe of the Regions.”

(Here, german-foreign-policy.com doc­u­ments two Euro­stat eco­nom­ic maps. The upper map shows the brut GDP per capi­ta, accord­ing to the Pur­chas­ing Pow­er Par­i­ty (PPP), while the low­er map depicts the pri­ma­ry house­hold incomes. The col­ors for Ger­many’s south indi­cate the high­est val­ues, while the col­ors for the fur­thest south­west­ern and east­ern EU indi­cate the low­est. Source: Euro­stat.) For more infor­ma­tion on this sub­ject see: The Econ­o­my of Seces­sion (II).

[1] Ulrike Guérot: Adorno liest man nicht am Schwim­ming­pool. blogs.faz.net 17.03.2015.
[2] Stef­fen Dob­bert, Ben­jamin Bre­it­egger: “Der Nation­al­staat wird ver­schwinden”. www.zeit.de 03.01.2017.
[3] Ulrike Guérot: Europa ein­fach machen — ein­fach Europa machen. agora42.de 25.09.2017.
[4] Ulrike Guérot: In Spaniens Krise offen­bart sich eine neue EU. www.zeit.de 10.10.2017.
[5] Morten Frei­del: Die Brüder im Süden haben es bess­er. www.faz.net 08.10.2017.
[6] Hun­dert­tausende kon­tern Unab­hängigkeit­spläne in Kat­alonien. www.zeit.de 08.10.2017.
[7] Ulrike Guérot: In Spaniens Krise offen­bart sich eine neue EU. www.zeit.de 10.10.2017.
[8], [9], [10] Hans-Rüdi­ger Minow: Zwei Wege — Eine Katas­tro­phe. Flugschrift No. 1. Aachen 2016.
[11] See The Econ­o­my of Seces­sion (II).

2b.  The two Twit­ter accounts that appear to account for near­ly a third of all Twit­ter traf­fic with the #Cat­alo­nia hash­tag, in ref­er­ence to the Cat­alon­ian seces­sion move­ment belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den.

 Of more  than pass­ing inter­est, under the cir­cum­stances, is the Twit­ter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snow­den on behalf of Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence.

 As seen in many past pro­grams and posts, Snow­den and Assange are as far to the right as it is pos­si­ble to be.

 Their cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an activism and their sup­port for Cat­alon­ian inde­pen­dence is root­ed in anar­cho-lib­er­tar­i­an eco­nom­ic the­o­ry. See­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of nation­al gov­ern­ments as desir­able, their sup­port for the prin­ci­ple of seces­sion is root­ed in what Mus­soli­ni termed “cor­po­ratism.”

 Snow­den and Assange’s osten­si­bly “lib­er­at­ing” doc­trines, if put into effect, would leave cit­i­zen­ry  at the mer­cy of unfet­tered eco­nom­ic will, exer­cised by cor­po­ra­tions and their asso­ci­at­ed elites.

Snow­den specif­i­cal­ly appears to be advo­cat­ing that no seces­sion move­ment any­where ever can be reject­ed by the gov­ern­ment under the premise that self-deter­mi­na­tion is a human right, view­ing this as a “nat­ur­al law” issue.

In that con­text, the right to secede is cham­pi­oned by the Lib­er­tar­i­an far-right, all the way down to the right to indi­vid­u­als to secede from all gov­ern­ment. As this piece from Lib­er­tar­i­an David S. D’Amato demon­strates, extend­ing the right to secede down to the indi­vid­ual facil­i­tates the imple­men­ta­tion of an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety with no gov­ern­ment at all, as seen by fig­ures like Mur­ray Roth­bard. This is envi­sioned as an excel­lent way­of achiev­ing an anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-seces­sion­ist move­ment should also be seen against the back­ground of the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, cham­pi­oned by Ron Paul and the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute.

“On Cata­lan inde­pen­dence, Julian Assange, Edward Snow­den emerge as sur­prise back­ers” by Chris Zap­pone; Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald; 09/26/2017

Two Moscow-linked fig­ures have emerged as the loud­est voic­es on Twit­ter ampli­fy­ing news and com­men­tary about Catalonia’s seces­sion ref­er­en­dum.

Research inde­pen­dent­ly con­firmed by Fair­fax Media shows Twit­ter accounts of Wik­iLeaks leader Julian Assange as well as for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tor con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den now account for near­ly a third of all Twit­ter traf­fic under the hash­tag #Cat­alo­nia.

Assange has pep­pered his fol­low­ers with more than 80 orig­i­nal tweets sup­port­ing the Cata­lan inde­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, sug­gest­ing “the future of West­ern civil­i­sa­tion is being revealed” by the renewed push by region­al seces­sion­ists.

Those tweets have been gen­er­ous­ly shared.

Of the 150,279 tweets and retweets using the #Cat­alo­nia hash­tag in the 10 days until Sun­day, more than 40,368 came from the Julian Assange account, accord­ing to one mea­sure by social media analy­sis account Con­spir­a­tor Norteno. A fur­ther 8198 came from the Edward Snow­den Twit­ter account.

Oth­ers includ­ed the Wik­iLeaks account, with 2120 #Cat­alo­nia tweets and retweets, while Rus­sia-owned net­work RT gen­er­at­ed 598 tweets and retweets.

The surge in pro-seces­sion mes­sages comes as author­i­ties in Madrid con­tend with a new move for inde­pen­dence in the autonomous region of Cat­alo­nia. Span­ish author­i­ties have moved to quash a Octo­ber 1 ref­er­en­dum by dis­solv­ing the region’s elec­tion com­mis­sion, arrest­ing local offi­cials and seiz­ing cam­paign mate­ri­als.

Nei­ther Wik­iLeaks’ Julian Assange nor Edward Snow­den, have a deep his­to­ry of involve­ment with Span­ish pol­i­tics.

Hash­tag analy­sis ser­vice Hash­tag­i­fy, accessed on Tues­day, iden­ti­fied the Snow­den account as the biggest “influ­encer” for the hash­tag, fol­lowed by Julian Assange.

The Twit­ter accounts of both Snow­den and Assange have pub­lished state­ments that dis­tort or exag­ger­ate what is hap­pen­ing in Spain.

Recent polls show 49 per cent of Cata­lans oppose inde­pen­dence. That seg­ment is less like­ly to par­tic­i­pate in the ref­er­en­dum. How­ev­er, the 41 per cent who sup­port becom­ing an autonomous nation, are like­ly to par­tic­i­pate..

A “dis­cred­it­ed” vote is expect­ed to go ahead in Cat­alo­nia. Whether Assange and Snow­den tweet­ing about Cat­alo­nia in Eng­lish would make much dif­fer­ence on the ground, is not clear.

How­ev­er, cast­ing doubt about the legit­i­ma­cy of the Span­ish gov­ern­ment over Cat­alo­nia may have a longer-term effect.

“The right of self-deter­mi­na­tion – for peo­ple to freely decide their own sys­tem of gov­ern­ment – can­not sim­ply be out­lawed. It is a human right,” Snowden’s account tweet­ed on Sep­tem­ber 21.

Fair­fax Media has sought com­ment from Assange’s and Snowden’s Twit­ter accounts.

3. Fol­low­ing cap­ture of 13 per­cent of the vote in Germany’s fed­er­al elec­tions on Sun­day by the Alter­na­tive For Ger­many (AfD), Alexan­der Gauland, the AfD leader, pro­voked out­rage after sug­gest­ing that Ger­mans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.
This type of behav­ior appar­ent­ly moti­vat­ed AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the par­ty, just hours after the elec­tion over its extrem­ism.

“The leader of Germany’s far-right par­ty quit hours after its elec­tion success—because it’s too rad­i­cal” by Jill Pet­zinger;
Quartz; 09/25/2017.

Just hours after the hard-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) won its first-ever round of seatsin the Ger­man par­lia­ment, its co-leader Frauke Petrytold a press con­fer­ence in Berlin—with her new­ly-elect­ed col­leagues next to her—that she had decid­ed not to go into par­lia­ment with the par­ty. Then she got up and stormed out of the press con­fer­ence.

“I think we should be open today that there is a dis­agree­ment over con­tent in the AfD and I think we shouldn’t hush this up,” said Petry.

She said she want­ed to posi­tion her­self as an inde­pen­dent politi­cian and have a “con­ser­v­a­tive new start” but didn’t say whether she was found­ing a new par­ty. Lat­er, on her Face­book, she slammed the par­ty for the “shrill and far-out state­ments of sin­gle mem­bers” which dom­i­nate the view the pub­lic has of them.

This doesn’t mean Petry is a mod­er­ate, she’s far from it. A mem­ber of the AfD since 2013, it was she who put the for­mer euroscep­tic par­ty on its new anti-immi­gra­tion plat­form dur­ing the height of the refugee cri­sis in 2015. She’s made numer­ous con­tro­ver­sial state­ments about refugees too, includ­ing that “Islam does not belong in Ger­many,” and say­ing that Ger­man bor­der police should be allowed to fire on migrants along the Aus­tria-Ger­man bor­der.

Petry, who for some has been accept­able face of xeno­pho­bia, has been crit­i­cal of rad­i­cal state­ments made by oth­ers in the par­ty as she believed it made it less attrac­tive to mod­er­ate vot­ers as well as for poten­tial coali­tion part­ners when it would enter the Bun­destag for the first time.

In a par­ty rid­dled with infight­ing, she was slammed by some mem­bers for not sup­port­ing com­ments made by an AfD leader in Thuringia state, who said Berlin’s holo­caust memo­r­i­al made the coun­try “laugh­able.” She also pub­licly crit­i­cized Gauland for say­ing Ger­many should be proud of what Ger­man sol­diers had achieved in two world wars.

What now AfD?

It is unlike­ly that Petry’s sud­den depar­ture will mean much for the par­ty, which many expect will strug­gle not only as a pari­ah in par­lia­ment, but also because it real­ly only has one core pol­i­cy issue—being against immi­gra­tion.

“It is part of a pow­er strug­gle, in which she may hope that her steps will cre­ate more fric­tion in the par­ty,” Josef Jan­ning of the Euro­pean Coun­cil of For­eign Rela­tions told Quartz. “She may also hope to split the fac­tion and pull over some oth­er deputies.”

While the now-93 new AfD mem­bers of par­lia­ment can raise a stink in oppo­si­tion, some polit­i­cal experts believe they won’t real­ly make much dif­fer­ence in Ger­man pol­i­tics. “No one will form a coali­tion with them. They’ll be exclud­ed. Their motions will be shot down,” said Oskar Nie­der­may­er, a pol­i­tics pro­fes­sor at the Free Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin. “If they put for­ward rea­son­able motions that oth­er par­ties might agree with, they will be vot­ed down, and the oth­er par­ties will put for­ward slight­ly mod­i­fied motions.”

No change in tone

Alexan­der Gauland stuck to his inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric at the party’s first post-elec­tion press con­fer­ence on Mon­day morn­ing. “One mil­lion peo­ple, for­eign­ers, being brought into this coun­try are tak­ing away a piece of this coun­try and we as AfD don’t want that,” Gauland said. “We don’t want to lose Ger­many to an inva­sion of for­eign­ers from a dif­fer­ent cul­ture.”

It intends, Gauland said last night, to “hunt” Merkel, and “take back our coun­try and our peo­ple.”

That xeno­pho­bic mes­sage res­onat­ed with 13% of those who vot­ed yes­ter­day: An ARD/ Infrat­est Dimap poll on why Ger­mans vot­ed for the AfD found that near­ly 70% of them were con­cerned about the fight against ter­ror­ism, and 60% were wor­ried about both crime and the influx of refugees.

The AfD’s nation­al­is­tic mes­sage pro­pelled it to big wins in some for­mer East­ern Ger­man states—it was the biggest par­ty in Sax­ony. In for­mer GDR states, the AfD is in sec­ond place over­all, behind Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats.

4. Found­ed in 1956 as a vehi­cle for re-intro­duc­ing Aus­tri­an Nazi vet­er­ans of the Third Reich into the coun­try’s polit­i­cal life, the Aus­tri­an Free­dom Par­ty effect­ed the cos­met­ic sus­pen­sion of a par­ty offi­cial for giv­ing a Nazi salute.

“Aus­tri­a’s Free­dom Par­ty Sus­pendes Mem­ber over Nazi Alle­ga­tions” [Reuters]; Reuters.com; 10/10/2017.

Austria’s far right Free­dom Par­ty, days before par­lia­men­tary elec­tions which are expect­ed to cat­a­pult it into gov­ern­ment, has sus­pend­ed a low-lev­el par­ty offi­cial over alle­ga­tions he used a Nazi salute.

The par­ty is poised to become part of a coali­tion after the Oct. 15 vote with the con­ser­v­a­tives expect­ed to gain around a third of the vote. Both par­ties cam­paign with tough rhetoric on fight­ing immi­gra­tion and closed Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ties.
Aus­tri­an news­pa­per Der Stan­dard report­ed, with­out cit­ing names, that an inde­pen­dent local coun­cil­lor in the province of Styr­ia com­plained to her may­or about hav­ing seen her Free­dom Par­ty col­league rais­ing his right arm in Nazi-fash­ion and say­ing the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler”.

Own­ing objects or mak­ing state­ments that glo­ri­fy Nazism is ille­gal in Aus­tria, where Hitler was born and which was annexed into his Third Reich.

Josef Riemer, the Free­dom Par­ty par­lia­men­tar­i­an for the con­stituen­cy, said in an emailed state­ment the par­ty was tak­ing the accu­sa­tions very seri­ous­ly and had sus­pend­ed the official’s mem­ber­ship until the case was resolved. He added the offi­cial rejects the alle­ga­tions and had already hired a lawyer.

The mayor’s lawyer Dieter Neger, who declined to iden­ti­fy the town or any­one involved, said he would offi­cial­ly hand the case, which he said includ­ed two wit­ness state­ments, to pros­e­cu­tors in the city of Graz lat­er on Tues­day.
The Free­dom Par­ty, which was found­ed by for­mer Nazis but says it has left its past behind, has repeat­ed­ly thrown out offi­cials in recent years over Nazi alle­ga­tions. . . .

5a. Next, we return to the sub­ject of the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men, who are engag­ing with maneu­vers with sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions from Latvia and Lithua­nia.

“Baltic Min­ute­men Fight Russ­ian Foe” by Jonathan Brown; Politico.EU; 12/06/2016

Peer­ing past the black tarps cov­er­ing the win­dows of the bar­ri­cad­ed house, the men in cam­ou­flage could see day­light grad­u­al­ly illu­mi­nate the fresh snow.

For two days, speak­ers out­side the bar­ri­cad­ed build­ings had blast­ed Sovi­et-era jin­gles: “Put down your guns! Your lead­ers have for­got­ten you! While you stand here and freeze, oth­er men are hav­ing fun with your women!”

The sep­a­ratists holed up in their head­quar­ters had been get­ting defens­es ready for the day­break assault, nois­i­ly load­ing blanks into the mag­a­zines of their semi-auto­mat­ic weapons and assem­bling dud IEDs.

In this joint train­ing exer­cise with the country’s mil­i­tary, the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men played the role of sep­a­ratists declar­ing a break­away repub­lic, much like the Moscow-backed rebels did in east­ern Ukraine in 2014 — a sce­nario some fear may be repli­cat­ed here.

Indeed, since Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea two years ago and the ensu­ing con­flict in east­ern Ukraine, the Riflemen’s Union, a para­mil­i­tary group con­ceived almost a cen­tu­ry ago, has seen a sharp rise in mem­ber­ship. The group, which boasts more than 10,000 mem­bers, aspires to rebuild its post-World War I mem­ber­ship of more than 80,000 in a coun­try of 2.8 mil­lion peo­ple.

Anoth­er EU and NATO mem­ber might be unnerved by the grow­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of a para­mil­i­tary force oper­at­ing with­in its bor­ders. But since Lithua­nia gained inde­pen­dence from the Sovi­et Union in the ear­ly nineties, the para­mil­i­tary group has foment­ed close ties with the mil­i­tary.

The Union’s code of con­duct aligns it with Lithuania’s armed forces, and it has so far proven to be a fierce­ly loy­al part­ner. When a Riflemen’s Union leader last year crit­i­cized the mil­i­tary for rein­stat­ing con­scrip­tion, he became the sub­ject of an embar­rass­ing and pub­lic vote of no con­fi­dence.

“We have to look to the con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of Lithua­nia,” said Major Ged­im­i­nas Latvys of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces in Vil­nius. “It says that the defense of the coun­try, in the event of an armed attack, is the right and the duty of every cit­i­zen. We see the Riflemen’s Union as one orga­ni­za­tion that helps peo­ple to ful­fill this duty.”

The may­or of Vil­nius, a semi-celebri­ty mem­ber of the Riflemen’s Union, was among those to join after the “events in Ukraine.” Remigi­jus Sima­sius’ moti­va­tion for vol­un­teer­ing, he said at in his skyrise office in Vil­nius, was “not relat­ed to the fear of whether Rus­sia would attack, but more about the gen­er­al prin­ci­ple of being ready and being pre­pared.”

“Peo­ple have to con­tribute to their own safe­ty,” he said. Nation­al secu­ri­ty “is not just a func­tion of the state.” Ref­er­enc­ing the Sovi­et takeover of Lithua­nia in 1940, when the country’s mil­i­tary laid down arms, he said, “some­times the state gives up, but that doesn’t mean soci­ety gives up.”

Min­dau­gas Petraitis, 34, is a trans­la­tor in his civil­ian life — oth­er Rifle­men are tax con­sul­tants and small busi­ness own­ers — and says he was among the first wave of men and women to join the para­mil­i­taries in 2014.

After wit­ness­ing Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea and the ensu­ing con­flict in Ukraine, “we felt very strong­ly that we have to pre­pare while we still have time,” he said. “We rarely use the pre­cise word for our ene­my in a mil­i­tary set­ting, but inside every­one knows who the ene­my is,” he added, refrain­ing from using the word “Rus­sia.”

Since 2014, the Lithuan­ian Min­istry of Defense has issued a year­ly man­u­al of what to do in case of inva­sion. This year’s edi­tion, with a print run of 30,000 dis­trib­uted to schools and libraries around the coun­try, unam­bigu­ous­ly iden­ti­fies what it believes to be the pri­ma­ry threat to Lithuania’s nation­al secu­ri­ty. “Most atten­tion should be paid towards the actions of our neigh­bor­ing state Rus­sia,” the man­u­al states. “This nation does not shy away from using armed pow­er against its neigh­bors. At this time, in prin­ci­ple, it con­tin­ues mil­i­tary aggres­sion against Ukraine.”

Beyond advis­ing cit­i­zens on how to resist an occu­py­ing pow­er — point­ers include iden­ti­fy­ing col­lab­o­ra­tors and hand­ing them over to resis­tance groups — the man­u­al encour­ages civil­ian readi­ness by com­plet­ing basic mil­i­tary train­ing or join­ing the Riflemen’s Union.

The rise of para­mil­i­tary groups across East­ern and Cen­tral Europe appears to be “a nat­ur­al response to the con­flu­ence of two forces,” said Michael Kof­man, a research sci­en­tist at the Cen­tre for Naval Analy­sis and a fel­low at the Wil­son Cen­ter. “A gen­er­al increase of nation­al­ist sen­ti­ments across Europe and the per­cep­tion of greater threat from Rus­sia.”

Sim­i­lar groups in the neigh­bor­ing Baltic states of Latvia and Esto­nia have also seen increased mem­ber­ship since the annex­a­tion of Crimea, and the Lithuan­ian Riflemen’s Union is in the process of for­mal­iz­ing rela­tion­ships with the youth wings of both the Lat­vian Nation­al Guard and Esto­nia Defense League.

In Cen­tral Europe, groups in Poland, Slo­va­kia, the Czech Repub­lic and Hun­gary have sprung up along­side a rise in right-wing sen­ti­ment in the region and the refugee cri­sis in Europe.

Para­mil­i­tary groups across East­ern and Cen­tral Europe, “encom­pass a diverse array of orga­ni­za­tions,” said Arthur de Liedek­erke, an exter­nal ana­lyst for the Brus­sels-based Glob­al Gov­er­nance Insti­tute. “Their means, objec­tives and rela­tion to the state often vary con­sid­er­ably.”

Para­mil­i­tary “will chal­lenge gov­ern­ment author­i­ty on the mar­gins and must be care­ful­ly trimmed in pow­er,” said Kof­man. “Play­ing with nation­al­ism is like hold­ing a tiger by the tail.”

The Union’s lead­er­ship encour­ages mem­bers to arm them­selves with hand­guns, specif­i­cal­ly Glock 17s, which cur­rent Lithuan­ian gun laws allows. Rifle­men can pur­chase the pis­tols at a dis­count and store them in safes at home.

But “what can you do with a pis­tol?” asked a Rifle­man (jok­ing­ly) who was pre­vi­ous­ly a sniper in the police spe­cial forces. “Shoot your way to a rifle,” he added, deliv­er­ing his own punch­line.

Lithuania’s already lib­er­al gun own­er­ship laws are set to be relaxed fur­ther. By Jan­u­ary, mem­bers of the Riflemen’s Union will be encour­aged to pur­chase semi-auto­mat­ic rifles under new laws that allow gun pos­ses­sion for the express pur­pose of “coun­try defense.”

“I think deter­rence is the pri­ma­ry aim of any country’s defense sys­tem — to deter, not to fight,” said Liu­das Gumbi­nas, com­man­der of the Riflemen’s Union, whose salary is paid by the Min­istry of Defense.

Along with the Riflemen’s strate­gic alliances with the armed forces, its deci­sion to invite mem­bers to arm them­selves with semi-auto­mat­ic weapons, Gumbi­nas said, is part of strength­en­ing that deter­rent, a pol­i­cy he said is akin to “not just shout­ing, but actu­al­ly doing some­thing.”

But he is quick to point out that the Union is more than a gun tot­ing boy’s club. With near­ly half of the Riflemen’s Union mem­bers under the age of 18, the Union’s free sum­mer youth camps, which he likens to the Scouts, famil­iar­ize thou­sands of Lithuania’s youth with mil­i­tary val­ues and struc­tures.

“We are build­ing the youth to become good cit­i­zens,” Gumbi­nas said of the camps, which take place at mil­i­tary facil­i­ties and aim to devel­op children’s “lead­er­ship skills, nature sur­vival skills, self-con­fi­dence, but all under a mil­i­tary frame­work.”

Kof­man said that gov­ern­ments should always be con­cerned by the rise of para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions, espe­cial­ly since such groups often rise in response to a threat. “But the threat in most cas­es nev­er mate­ri­al­izes [and so] they look to occu­py them­selves. Some tran­si­tion into pol­i­tics and form far-right par­ties, oth­ers may choose to serve as mus­cle for crim­i­nal ele­ments.”

The Riflemen’s Union has been an inte­gral part of Neiman­tas Psilen­skis’ life since he joined 10 years ago. When the 24-year-old descend­ed the steps of the Gar­ri­son church in Kau­nas, arm in arm with his new wife last month, the Union’s Hon­orary Guard salut­ed the young cou­ple in full regalia and World War II-era bay­o­net­ed rifles.

Psilen­skis, a part-time employ­ee of the Riflemen’s Union and part-time con­struc­tion work­er, said his sense of patri­o­tism and loy­al­ty towards the Union was nour­ished as a young mem­ber.

“I’m a patri­ot,” Psilen­skis said. “No one would need to ask me if I would defend my home­land. Just give me a gun. You don’t need to ask. Maybe the fact that I came to the Riflemen’s Union at a young age formed these instincts.”

5b. Review­ing infor­ma­tion about the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men’s Union, we high­light its activ­i­ties as part of the Nazi mil­i­tary effort in the Baltic states, includ­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in admin­is­ter­ing Hitler’s “Final Solu­tion.”

Rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions,” the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union–a fas­cist militia–has been expand­ed to meet the so-called “Russ­ian threat.” Like the OUN/B’s mil­i­tary wing–the UPA–the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union con­tin­ued the com­bat of World War II until the ear­ly 1950’s. Formed dur­ing the wan­ing days of the Sec­ond World War, they jumped from the Third Reich to the Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion, a CIA/State Depart­ment oper­a­tional direc­torate. (This is cov­ered in FTR #777, as well as AFA #1.)

“Russ­ian Threat Sees Rebirth of Lithua­nia Para­mil­i­tary Group” [Agence France-Presse]; Glob­al Post; 9/2/2014.

In thick pine forests hid­den in the remote wilder­ness of east­ern Lithua­nia, young pro­fes­sion­als are ditch­ing their suits and ties for cam­ou­flage gear, and swap­ping iPads for rifles.

These week­end war­riors also proud­ly wear bracelets with emblems of green fir trees on their wrists, sym­bols of their small Baltic country’s wartime resis­tance against the Sovi­et Union, which occu­pied it in 1940.

Now, Russia’s takeover of Crimea and increas­ing signs of its involve­ment in Ukraine’s east, cou­pled with sabre rat­tling in its Kalin­ingrad exclave bor­der­ing Lithua­nia, are spark­ing a sharp rise in para­mil­i­tary recruits here.

Like oth­ers in the region, Lithua­nia is call­ing on NATO to put per­ma­nent boots on the ground in the Baltics to ward off any poten­tial threat from their Sovi­et-era mas­ter.

But while they await a deci­sion that could come at a key two-day alliance sum­mit start­ing Thurs­day in Wales, Lithuan­ian civil­ians are lac­ing up their own com­bat boots.

Stu­dents, busi­ness­men, civ­il ser­vants, jour­nal­ists and even politi­cians are among the hun­dreds who have joined the gov­ern­ment-spon­sored Lithua­nia Riflemen’s Union, a group first set up in 1919 but banned in 1940 under Sovi­et rule.

“The Vil­nius unit has tripled in size since the begin­ning of the cri­sis in Ukraine,” says Min­dau­gas Bal­ci­auskas, unit com­man­der of the group which boasts about 7,000 mem­bers in the nation of three mil­lion, a num­ber almost on par with its 7,000 mil­i­tary per­son­nel and 4,200 reservists.

- ‘Take up arms’ -

Pres­i­dent Dalia Gry­bauskaite, a karate black belt dubbed Lithuania’s ‘Iron Lady’ for her tough stance on Rus­sia, has also sworn to “take up arms” her­self in the unlike­ly case Moscow would attack this 2004 NATO and EU mem­ber of three mil­lion.

“Being in a para­mil­i­tary unit will give me priv­i­leged access to infor­ma­tion and make me bet­ter pre­pared than those who don’t join,” Arturas Bortke­vi­cius, a 37-year-old finance spe­cial­ist, told AFP, adding that he wants to learn the skills he needs to defend his coun­try and fam­i­ly.

Mem­bers spend week­ends on manoeu­vres deep in the woods or at a mil­i­tary train­ing range in Pabrade, north of the cap­i­tal Vil­nius.

Lib­eral MP Remigi­jus Sima­sius says that while his place “would be in par­lia­ment” giv­en a cri­sis, he joined the rifle­men in the wake of Russia’s Crimea land grab in the hope of encour­ag­ing oth­ers to fol­low suit.

Even some Lithua­ni­ans with Russ­ian roots have joined up amid the Ukraine cri­sis.

“I’m a Lithuan­ian cit­i­zen of Russ­ian ori­gin. I am who I am, and I am Lithuan­ian patri­ot,” pho­tog­ra­pher Vladimi­ras Ivanovas, 40, who also joined up, told AFP.

- Check­ered past -

The Rifleman’s Union “has left an indeli­ble mark on the his­tory of Lithua­nia,” says his­to­rian Arvy­das Anusauskas.

It was cre­ated after World War I in 1919 dur­ing a series of “Wars of Inde­pen­dence” fought by Lithua­ni­ans in 1918–1920 against Russ­ian Bol­she­viks, mixed Russ­ian and Ger­man forces and Poles.

Aside from Lithua­ni­ans, from 1919–1940 research shows its mem­bers also includ­ed Russ­ian, Poles, Jews and even Chi­nese, reflect­ing the eth­nic com­plex­ity of and ten­sions in the region.

Its rep­u­ta­tion is how­ever taint­ed by alle­ga­tions that cer­tain mem­bers were involved in a series of Nazi mas­sacres between 1940–44 that claimed the lives of an esti­mated 80,000–100,000 Jews, Poles and Rus­sians in Panierai, a sub­urb skirt­ing the cap­i­tal Vil­nius.

The Riflemen’s Union was banned in 1940 by the Sovi­et Union when the Red Army swept in from the east to occu­py Lithua­nia dur­ing World War II, but mem­bers fought a gueril­la war against the Sovi­ets until the ear­ly 1950s.

Its revival in 1989 came as the Sovi­et bloc began to crum­ble and now its large new crop of mem­bers say they are will­ing to fight again should their coun­try come under attack. . . .

6. For more than two decades, we have been cov­er­ing the AMIA bomb­ing in Argenti­na. Alber­to Nisman–an Argen­tine pros­e­cu­tor inves­ti­gat­ing the tan­gle of evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries in the bomb­ing died under strange cir­cum­stances.

Key points of inves­tiga­tive inter­est in the case include evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning in the direc­tion of the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and drug and weapons deal­er Monz­er Al-Kas­sar and Nazi war crim­i­nals resid­ing in Argenti­na. (The AMIA build­ing had a large archive on Nazi fugi­tives, includ­ing many report­ed to have fled to Argenti­na.)

In addi­tion, Iran­ian offi­cials have been named as sus­pects in the case. (We would note that the issues of pos­si­ble Iran­ian respon­si­bil­i­ty for the crime, the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and the issue of the Nazi dias­po­ra over­lap, to a con­sid­er­able extent. Monz­er al-Kas­sar used Merex–a firm found­ed by ODESSA king­pin Otto Sko­rzeny and Nazi vet­er­an Ger­hard Mertins–for key weapons deals. Aya­tol­lah Khome­ini’s stay in Paris was financed by Fran­cois Genoud.)

A recent foren­sic exam­i­na­tion of Nis­man­’s death reached a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion from the dubi­ous “sui­cide” ver­dict ini­tial­ly returned by inves­ti­ga­tors: ” . . . . The lat­est foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tion into Mr. Nisman’s death was car­ried out by a team of 28 experts. Over the course of nine months, they recon­struct­ed the scene where his body was found in his bath­room, with a sin­gle gun­shot wound to the head. They con­clud­ed the pros­e­cu­tor was killed by two peo­ple, accord­ing to the senior judi­cial offi­cial, who has seen the report. The foren­sic experts dis­cov­ered sev­er­al injuries on Mr. Nisman’s body — includ­ing a nasal frac­ture, a hematoma in his kid­ney, lesions on his legs and a wound on the palm of his hand — that they say are con­sis­tent with an attack on the pros­e­cu­tor before he was killed. Accord­ing to the offi­cial, inves­ti­ga­tors also said they found ket­a­mine, an anes­thet­ic, in Mr. Nisman’s blood, which they sus­pect was used to sedate the pros­e­cu­tor before he was shot. No gun­pow­der residue was found on his hands, which they said made the sui­cide the­o­ry implau­si­ble. . . .”

The largest trove of Nazi arti­facts ever uncov­ered in Argenti­na was recent­ly dis­cov­ered in the Buenos Aires sub­urb of Béc­car, near where both Josef Men­gele and Adolf Eich­mann lived. Arti­facts in the trove have accom­pa­ny­ing pho­tos of Adolph Hitler with the same or sim­i­lar arti­facts, which is pre­sumed to add to their com­mer­cial val­ue. And the over­all quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty has inves­ti­ga­tors con­vinced that this could have only come from high-rank­ing Nazis, rais­ing ques­tions of who else may have slipped into Argenti­na with­out the world’s knowl­edge: “ . . . . They were put on dis­play at the Del­e­ga­tion of Argen­tine Israeli Asso­ci­a­tions in Buenos Aires on Mon­day. Many Nazi high­er-ups fled to Argenti­na in the wan­ing days of the war, and inves­ti­ga­tors believe that offi­cials close to Adolf Hitler brought the arti­facts with them. Many items were accom­pa­nied by pho­tographs, some with Hitler hold­ing them. . . .”

Nis­man­’s wid­ow is the judge pre­sid­ing over the case: . . . . The judge in the case is San­dra Arroyo Sal­ga­do, the wid­ow of pros­e­cu­tor Alber­to Nis­man. Sal­ga­do imposed a gag order on the inves­ti­ga­tion, so no fur­ther details were revealed. . . .”

Sus­pects have been iden­ti­fied in the case: ” . . . . One sus­pect iden­ti­fied by the police is not in Argenti­na. There are Argen­tine and non-Argen­tinean sus­pects being inves­ti­gat­ed, but no fur­ther details have been pro­vid­ed. . . .”

“As Argen­tine Elec­tions Approach, Two Dis­turb­ing Mys­ter­ies Loom” by Daniel Poli­ti; The New York Times; 9/30/2017.

Only a few weeks ago, Argentina’s midterm elec­tion was shap­ing up to be a duel over eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy. But in the final weeks before the vote, two nation­al mys­ter­ies have roiled the race. The left­ist for­mer pres­i­dent, Cristi­na Fer­nán­dez de Kirch­n­er, is run­ning for a sen­ate seat, hop­ing to make a polit­i­cal come­back by accus­ing her cen­ter-right suc­ces­sor of undo­ing many of her pop­ulist poli­cies in order to ben­e­fit the country’s elite. But the nation’s focus has already start­ed to shift, start­ing with an explo­sive new twist in the noto­ri­ous 2015 death of a pros­e­cu­tor, Alber­to Nis­man. Mr. Nisman’s body had been found only hours before he was sched­uled to pro­vide damn­ing tes­ti­mo­ny accus­ing Mrs. Kirch­n­er, then the pres­i­dent, of a cov­er-up . . .

. . . . Now, a team of foren­sic experts has issued a report con­clud­ing that Mr. Nis­man had been mur­dered, accord­ing to local news reports and a senior judi­cial offi­cial famil­iar with the inves­ti­ga­tion. That deter­mi­na­tion, like­ly to be made pub­lic in the com­ing days, con­tra­dicts the find­ings of anoth­er team of experts dur­ing Mrs. Kirchner’s tenure that there was no evi­dence any­one else was involved in Mr. Nisman’s death, mean­ing that hehad prob­a­bly killed him­self.

The saga of the pros­e­cu­tor has long con­sumed Argenti­na, for good rea­son. He had been in charge of inves­ti­gat­ing the still-unsolved 1994 bomb­ing of a Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter in Buenos Aires that killed 85 peo­ple. Before his death, he accused Mrs. Kirch­n­er and mem­bers of her gov­ern­ment of try­ing to shield Iran­ian offi­cials sus­pect­ed of play­ing a role in the attack as part of a deal that would sup­ply Iran­ian oil to Argenti­na. Sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Mauri­cio Macri, whose minor­i­ty coali­tion in Con­gress is expect­ed to pick up seats in the elec­tion on Oct. 22, say the lat­est report vali­dates their long­time con­tention that Mr. Nis­man was a vic­tim of foul play.

By con­trast, allies of Mrs. Kirch­n­er, who has denied any wrong­do­ing, char­ac­ter­ized the new foren­sic report as an effort by the cur­rent gov­ern­ment to fur­ther under­mine her image. Mrs. Kirch­n­er faces charges in sev­er­al cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions. But in the run-up to the elec­tion, Mrs. Kirch­n­er has a mys­tery of her own to point to: The dis­ap­pear­ance of San­ti­a­go Mal­don­a­do, an indige­nous rights activist who, sup­port­ers say, van­ished after bor­der guards took him into cus­tody.

The dis­ap­pear­ance has out­raged many Argen­tines, and Mrs. Kirch­n­er con­tends that the gov­ern­ment is sim­ply putting for­ward the new alle­ga­tions about Mr. Nisman’s death in order to dis­tract atten­tion from the case now unfold­ing on its watch. “This is an immense smoke bomb to hide San­ti­a­go Mal­don­a­do,” Mrs. Kirch­n­er said in a radio inter­view. Mr. Maldonado’s fam­i­ly and human rights groups have called for a protest on Sun­day to mark the two-month anniver­sary of his dis­ap­pear­ance. The lat­est foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tion into Mr. Nisman’s death was car­ried out by a team of 28 experts. Over the course of nine months, they recon­struct­ed the scene where his body was found in his bath­room, with a sin­gle gun­shot wound to the head.

They con­clud­ed the pros­e­cu­tor was killed by two peo­ple, accord­ing to the senior judi­cial offi­cial, who has seen the report. The foren­sic experts dis­cov­ered sev­er­al injuries on Mr. Nisman’s body — includ­ing a nasal frac­ture, a hematoma in his kid­ney, lesions on his legs and a wound on the palm of his hand — that they say are con­sis­tent with an attack on the pros­e­cu­tor before he was killed.

Accord­ing to the offi­cial, inves­ti­ga­tors also said they found ket­a­mine, an anes­thet­ic, in Mr. Nisman’s blood, which they sus­pect was used to sedate the pros­e­cu­tor before he was shot. No gun­pow­der residue was found on his hands, which they said made the sui­cide the­o­ry implau­si­ble. Two teams of foren­sic experts, includ­ing a pres­ti­gious unit that oper­ates under the purview of the Supreme Court, had pre­vi­ous­ly said that there was no evi­dence that any­one else was in Mr. Nisman’s bath­room when he died. Mr. Nisman’s for­mer wife, Fed­er­al Judge San­dra Arroyo Sal­ga­do, has long said that she believes he was mur­dered. Mrs. Kirch­n­er at first sug­gest­ed Mr. Nis­man had com­mit­ted sui­cide, but she lat­er back­tracked, say­ing she was con­vinced he was killed to tar­nish her gov­ern­ment. Julio Raf­fo, an oppo­si­tion law­mak­er who is not allied with Mrs. Kirch­n­er, said in an inter­view that a group of expe­ri­enced for­eign foren­sic experts should be empan­eled to exam­ine all the reports and make a rul­ing that is not polit­i­cal­ly sus­pect. “This is very alarm­ing; every­thing relat­ed to this case is strange,” said Mr. Raf­fo, who has long been con­vinced Mr. Nis­man was mur­dered, and has called on a judge to inves­ti­gate whether pre­vi­ous foren­sic exam­in­ers cov­ered up evi­dence.

Diego Lago­marsi­no, a com­put­er tech­ni­cian who worked with Mr. Nis­man, is so far the only per­son charged in the case, for giv­ing the pros­e­cu­tor the gun with which he was shot. A team of foren­sic experts and lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Mr. Lago­marsi­no have chal­lenged the mur­der the­o­ry, argu­ing that sui­cide remains the most like­ly sce­nario. The pros­e­cu­tor in charge of the case, Eduar­do Taiano, must now review all the evi­dence to decide whether to rec­om­mend label­ing Mr. Nisman’s death a mur­der rather than a “sus­pi­cious death.” The gov­ern­ment is urg­ing cau­tion. “We have to be super pru­dent with this,” the head of the president’s cab­i­net, Mar­cos Peña, told reporters in late Sep­tem­ber. “We have to wait for the courts to rule.”

While allies of Mr. Macri are focus­ing on the lat­est devel­op­ments involv­ing Mr. Nis­man, sup­port­ers of Mrs. Kirch­n­er have turned the appar­ent dis­ap­pear­ance of Mr. Mal­don­a­do, 28, into a ral­ly­ing cry. The case has rever­ber­at­ed across much of the coun­try, reviv­ing mem­o­ries of the mass dis­ap­pear­ances and killings that took place dur­ing the bru­tal 1976–1983 dic­ta­tor­ship. Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple took part in a demon­stra­tion over the dis­ap­pear­ance on Sept. 1, which end­ed in vio­lent clash­es between demon­stra­tors and the police.

Human rights activists have crit­i­cized Mr. Macri’s admin­is­tra­tion for quick­ly com­ing to the defense of the bor­der guards who evict­ed the indige­nous rights pro­test­ers in Patag­o­nia. Mr. Mal­don­a­do had tak­en part in the protest. Gov­ern­ment offi­cials insist that the search for him con­tin­ues. “I just don’t know what to believe any­more,” said Ana Patri­cia Bal­iño, a 38-yearold accoun­tant in Buenos Aires. “Every­one seems to be lying.

Many share her skep­ti­cism. A recent poll by Man­age­ment & Fit, a con­sul­tan­cy, found that three out of every four Argen­tines said they had lit­tle or no con­fi­dence in the country’s judi­cia­ry. Around 40 per­cent of Argen­tines believe that Mr. Mal­don­a­do will nev­er be found, accord­ing to a poll by Gia­cobbe & Aso­ci­a­dos in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber. Short­ly after Mr. Nisman’s death, 59 per­cent of Argen­tines said the truth of what hap­pened to him would nev­er be known. “The gen­er­al pub­lic is dis­gust­ed by the way in which politi­cians fight among each oth­er to win points with com­pli­cat­ed cas­es, rather than focus­ing on fig­ur­ing out what hap­pened,” said Jorge Gia­cobbe, a pub­lic opin­ion ana­lyst.

7. The largest trove of Nazi arti­facts ever uncov­ered in Argenti­na was recent­ly dis­cov­ered in the Buenos Aires sub­urb of Béc­car, near where both Josef Men­gele and Adolf Eich­mann lived. Arti­facts in the trove have accom­pa­ny­ing pho­tos of Adolph Hitler with the same or sim­i­lar arti­facts, which is pre­sumed to add to their com­mer­cial val­ue. And the over­all quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty has inves­ti­ga­tors con­vinced that this could have only come from high-rank­ing Nazis, rais­ing ques­tions of who else may have slipped into Argenti­na with­out the world’s knowl­edge: “ . . . . They were put on dis­play at the Del­e­ga­tion of Argen­tine Israeli Asso­ci­a­tions in Buenos Aires on Mon­day. Many Nazi high­er-ups fled to Argenti­na in the wan­ing days of the war, and inves­ti­ga­tors believe that offi­cials close to Adolf Hitler brought the arti­facts with them. Many items were accom­pa­nied by pho­tographs, some with Hitler hold­ing them. . . .”

“Behind a book­case, a secret pas­sage­way leads to a trove of Nazi arti­facts in Argenti­na” by Max Bear­ak; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 06/20/2017

The inter­na­tion­al police agency Inter­pol dis­cov­ered one of the largest and most dis­turb­ing sets of Nazi arti­facts this month in a north­ern sub­urb of the Argen­tine cap­i­tal, Buenos Aires.

Agents became aware of a col­lec­tor of his­tor­i­cal arti­facts who they say had pro­cured items “under UNESCO’s red alert,” refer­ring to the Unit­ed Nations orga­ni­za­tion tasked with cul­tur­al preser­va­tion. This month, with the pow­er of a judi­cial order, they raid­ed the collector’s house, accord­ing to Clarín, an Argen­tine news­pa­per. Behind a book­case, a secret pas­sage­way led to a room where they found the biggest trove of orig­i­nal World War II-era arti­facts in Argentina’s his­to­ry.

They were put on dis­play at the Del­e­ga­tion of Argen­tine Israeli Asso­ci­a­tions in Buenos Aires on Mon­day. Many Nazi high­er-ups fled to Argenti­na in the wan­ing days of the war, and inves­ti­ga­tors believe that offi­cials close to Adolf Hitler brought the arti­facts with them. Many items were accom­pa­nied by pho­tographs, some with Hitler hold­ing them.

“This is a way to com­mer­cial­ize them, show­ing that they were used by the hor­ror, by the Fuhrer. There are pho­tos of him with the objects,” Argen­tine Secu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Patri­cia Bull­rich told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

The trove also includes a bust relief of Hitler, mag­ni­fy­ing glass­es embossed with swastikas (as well as a pho­to of Hitler hold­ing the same or a sim­i­lar instru­ment), a large stat­ue of an eagle above a swasti­ka, sil­ver­ware, binoc­u­lars, a trum­pet and a mas­sive swasti­ka-stud­ded hour­glass.

Mas­ter­minds of the Nazis’ Holo­caust Josef Men­gele and Adolf Eich­mann both fled to Argenti­na as their coun­ter­parts were put on tri­al for war crimes in Ger­many. Both lived in hous­es near Béc­car, the sub­urb where the new trove was found.

The 75 arti­facts found in this pas­sage­way pro­vide more evi­dence of sim­i­lar crimes. Police are now inves­ti­gat­ing how exact­ly the arti­facts made it into Argenti­na, think­ing, per­haps, about which oth­er Nazi lead­ers may have entered the coun­try unbe­known to the world.

8. Nis­man­’s wid­ow is the judge pre­sid­ing over the case: . . . . The judge in the case is San­dra Arroyo Sal­ga­do, the wid­ow of pros­e­cu­tor Alber­to Nis­man. Sal­ga­do imposed a gag order on the inves­ti­ga­tion, so no fur­ther details were revealed. . . .”

Sus­pects have been iden­ti­fied in the case: ” . . . . One sus­pect iden­ti­fied by the police is not in Argenti­na. There are Argen­tine and non-Argen­tinean sus­pects being inves­ti­gat­ed, but no fur­ther details have been pro­vid­ed. . . .”

“Tools used in Nazi med­ical exper­i­ments uncov­ered in Argenti­na” by JTA; Jew­ish Tele­graph­ic Agency; 06/14/2017.

Police in Argenti­na dis­cov­ered orig­i­nal Nazi objects from World War II, includ­ing tools for Nazi med­ical exper­i­ments, at a house in Buenos Aires.

The objects were found Fri­day in a hid­den room of the house in the north­ern part of the city. They are in the cus­tody of the jus­tice who is tasked with inves­ti­gat­ing the find.

“We are too shocked, too touched by the impres­sive find­ing, but also hap­py” to have made this dis­cov­ery, Argen­tine Secu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Patri­cia Bull­rich said Tues­day in a state­ment accom­pa­ny­ing a video pub­lished on her You Tube chan­nel to show the objects. Bull­rich called it “the biggest seizure of archae­o­log­i­cal objects and Nazi pieces of our his­to­ry.”

The judge in the case is San­dra Arroyo Sal­ga­do, the wid­ow of pros­e­cu­tor Alber­to Nis­man. Sal­ga­do imposed a gag order on the inves­ti­ga­tion, so no fur­ther details were revealed. But Bull­rich said she will ask the judge to have the objects donat­ed to the Holo­caust Muse­um of Buenos Aires.

The Argen­tine Jew­ish polit­i­cal umbrel­la DAIA will hold a cer­e­mo­ny next Mon­day to hon­or the Secu­ri­ty Min­istry and the fed­er­al police divi­sion that under­took the inves­ti­ga­tion. The min­istry also tweet­ed pho­tos from the cache on its offi­cial Twit­ter account, includ­ing pho­tos of the Nazi objects as well as Asian his­tor­i­cal objects.

A través de @PFAOficial incau­ta­mos obje­tos históri­cos de ori­gen asiáti­co y piezas con sim­bología nazi des­ti­nadas al mer­ca­do negro. pic.twitter.com/CO6lyTTFc8— Min­is­te­rio Seguri­dad (@MinSeg) June 9, 2017

“The main hypoth­e­sis is that some­one who was part of the regime entered into Argenti­na because the amount of objects of the same style is dif­fi­cult to find in pri­vate col­lec­tions that can have one or two objects, but not of this amount and of this qual­i­ty,” a police offi­cer who was part of the nine-month inves­ti­ga­tion told Argen­tine tele­vi­sion.

The police offi­cer said that some of the objects “were used by the Nazis to check racial puri­ty.”

Nazi puz­zles for kids also were dis­cov­ered in the cache.

One sus­pect iden­ti­fied by the police is not in Argenti­na. There are Argen­tine and non-Argen­tinean sus­pects being inves­ti­gat­ed, but no fur­ther details have been pro­vid­ed.

In June 2016, a col­lec­tor from Argenti­na paid $680,000 for Nazi under­pants and oth­er mem­o­ra­bil­ia.

Argenti­na was a refuge for Nazis after World War II. Adolf Eich­mann was cap­tured in the north­ern area of Buenos Aires in 1960. Nazi war crim­i­nals Joseph Men­gele and Erich Priebke also chose Argenti­na as a refuge. . . .

9. The Koch broth­ers-fund­ed Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute of Brazil is fel­low-trav­el­ing with Christo­pher Cantwell, one of the Nazi mobi­liz­ers of the Char­lottesville demon­stra­tions. Cantwell has had arti­cles pub­lished by the Brazil­ian sub­sidiary of the LVM Insti­tute.

Cantwell has sport­ed iconog­ra­phy sug­ges­tive of sup­port for Oper­a­tion Con­dor, a U.S. sup­port­ed assas­si­na­tion con­sor­tium of Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, imple­ment­ed by overt fas­cists and Nazis at the oper­a­tional lev­el. For more about Con­dor, see—among oth­er pro­grams—AFA #19.

 We note, in this con­text that the Assange/Snowden axis is pro­found­ly con­nect­ed to the Lud­wig Von Mis­es Insti­tute through Ron Paul. Paul/LVM Institute/Snowden/Assange are deeply con­nect­ed, in turn, to the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment that man­i­fest­ed in Char­lottesville.

“Brasil’s US-Fund­ed ‘Lib­er­tar­i­ans’ & the Far-Right by Brasil Wire”; Brasil Wire; 08/19/2017

On August 18, Vice Brasil jour­nal­ist and occa­sion­al Brasil Wire con­trib­u­torMarie Declerq, broke the newsthat the Insti­tu­to Mis­es Brasil think tank, which receives fund­ing from US lib­er­tar­i­ans, has pub­lished arti­cles by Christo­pher Cantwell, the Amer­i­can Nazi who helped orga­nize the Char­lottesville Vir­ginia protests.Cantwell made the news recent­ly when he was filmed in a Vice doc­u­men­tary threat­en­ing to kill Jews and blacks, and lat­er appeared in a <a href=“https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD4reaHE83Q”>YouTube video sob­bing in fear of being arrest­ed.

News that Mis­es Insti­tute, found­ed in 2007 and part of the Lib­er­tar­i­an Atlas Net­work, has pub­lished mate­r­i­al by Augus­to Pinochet fan­boy Cantwell shouldn’t actu­al­ly be that sur­pris­ing. In 1927, Mis­es him­self argued that Fas­cism had saved Euro­pean Civil­i­sa­tion, and “The mer­it that Fas­cism has there­by won for itself will live on eter­nal­ly in his­to­ry”. Mean­while, Atlas, which has been built over decades to dis­tort Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, is fund­ed by the Koch Broth­ers (a fam­i­ly with their own dis­tin­guished Nazi his­to­ry).

Fol­low­ing Char­lottesville, Cantwell sparked out­rage among South Amer­i­cans by appear­ing in his own T‑Shirt design depict­ing the mur­der of left­ists in heli­copter “death flights” – a com­mon prac­tice in Chile, Argenti­na and else­where dur­ing Oper­a­tion Con­dor in the 1970s – a US sup­port­ed cross-bor­der cam­paign which assas­si­nat­ed thou­sands of labor union mem­bers, oppo­si­tion activists and intel­lec­tu­als.

Although this is a macabre extreme, the inter­change of ideas and indi­vid­u­als on the con­ser­v­a­tive spec­trum, between self-defined lib­er­tar­i­an groups and the overt Far-Right, is rel­a­tive­ly com­mon. Polit­i­cal­ly, it fol­lows that Lib­er­tar­i­ans idolise Augus­to Pinochet. After the 1973 US- spon­sored eco­nom­ic sab­o­tage and coup in Chile put neo­fas­cist dic­ta­tor Pinochet in pow­er, he was vis­it­ed by lib­er­tar­i­an heroes Mil­ton Fried­man and Fredrich Hayek. In a Chilean news­pa­per inter­view at the time, Hayek expressed an opin­ion which still seems to be held by many neolib­er­als and lib­er­tar­i­ans to this day – that free­dom for cor­po­ra­tions in devel­op­ing nations is more impor­tant than free­dom for indi­vid­u­als – when he said, “Per­son­al­ly I pre­fer a lib­er­al dic­ta­tor to demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­ment lack­ing lib­er­al­ism”.

US Neo-Nazi obses­sion with con­fed­er­ate stat­ues finds its par­al­lel in Brazil with Pro-Gun Own­er­shipAnti-Wom­ens, Racial & Worker’s Rights cam­paign group Movi­men­to Brasil Livrewhich is asso­ci­at­ed with Mis­es Insti­tute and Koch’s Stu­dents for Lib­er­tyCit­ing Mar­garet Thatch­er as inspi­ra­tion, MBL have also open­ly declared their rev­er­ence for the the Ban­deirantes– the colo­nial mili­tia who went out to secure the vast inte­ri­or of the coun­try, com­mit­ting geno­cide against indige­nous pop­u­la­tions, and are cel­e­brat­ed with an enor­mous mon­u­mentin São Paulo’s Ibi­ra­puera.

MBL is notable that it is front­ed not by its orig­i­nal founders, but by eth­ni­cal­ly mixed, telegenic young men, some of whom were report­ed­ly medi­a/lead­er­ship-trained in the Unit­ed States. It is accused of doing this to avoid the per­cep­tion of being a white elite organ­i­sa­tion in a coun­try with major­i­ty black pop­u­la­tion. Their oppo­si­tion to racial quo­tas and black con­scious­ness dayare usu­al­ly voiced by these front­men, and their rhetoric has even includ­ed a bizarre com­par­i­son between Hitler and the his­toric leader of Afro-Brazil­ian Quilom­bos, Zumbi dos Pal­mares. Some its mem­bers also mim­ic an Anti-Refugee/­Mus­lim xeno­pho­bia, which is import­ed whole­sale, with­out con­text, from the Far-Right in Europe and the US.

One of the groups most vis­i­ble lead­ers, Arthur Mole­do do Vai, known for his video blogs in which he vis­its left wing protests and lec­tures peo­ple about free mar­ket eco­nom­ic dog­ma, was recent­ly pho­tographed by Antifa try­ing to dis­rupt a labor union protest with two neo-nazi skin­head body­guards.

MBL, which was/is also fund­ed by Atlas Net­work, plus the main par­ties which make up Temer’s Post-Coup Gov­ern­ment, oper­ates as an infan­tile sub-Bre­it­bart fake news site, with a loy­al audi­ence who act as an online and offline far-right hate-mob. These pre­dom­i­nant­ly white young men, rad­i­calised by sites such as MBL and sim­i­lar, gained noto­ri­ety by harass­ing left-wing politi­cians at their homes, before going on to phys­i­cal­ly threat­en recent high-school occu­pa­tions for bet­ter qual­i­ty pub­lic edu­ca­tion– with some sup­port­ers even pro­mot­ing the rape of female pro­test­ers on social media. Mean­while MBL was pro­mot­ing a McCarthyite cam­paign against “Com­mu­nist Indoc­tri­na­tion” by teach­ers. Else­where they talked chill­ing­ly of a Ukrain­ian sce­nario await­ing Brasil should Dil­ma Rouss­eff not fall peace­ful­ly.

Anoth­er cam­paign spread the out­right lie that Hitler was a left­ist, and Brasil is still gripped by an idi­ot­ic debate over this fal­la­cy – not helped by a recent BBC Brasil arti­cle which con­clud­ed that the Nazis were nei­ther right nor left, because they were “total­i­tar­i­an”.

It was a curi­ous fea­ture of the peri­od lead­ing up to Dil­ma Rousseff’s impeach­ment that MBL received more cov­er­age abroad dur­ing its cam­paign than any Brazil­ian polit­i­cal par­ty or social move­ment. It was giv­en free-reign in adver­to­ri­als pub­lished by a range of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers such as the the Econ­o­mistTime and the Guardian, in which they declared that Brazil need­ed to “get over” the 64–85 Neo­fas­cist Dic­ta­tor­ship. One of the group’s front men is now a city coun­cil­lor in São Paulo for the ‘Democ­ratas’ par­ty (For­mer­ly Lib­er­al Front), which is the prin­ci­pal descen­dent of ARENA – the Dictatorship-era’s Gov­ern­ment.

Far-Right ele­ments at São Paulo’s Anti-Dil­ma protests of 2015 & 2016, organ­ised in part by these “grass­roots” free-mar­ket organ­i­sa­tions, were dis­tinct and vis­i­ble, with their flags and ban­ners, call­ing for Mil­i­tary Inter­ven­tion, adorn­ing a fleet of 20 sound trucks along­side those of MBL and par­al­lel cor­po­rate-fund­ed Pro-Impeach­ment group Vem­PraRua.

For the most part, the demon­stra­tions evi­dent pro­to-fas­cist ten­den­cies – which went against the nar­ra­tive of a youth­ful, grass­roots organ­i­sa­tion demand­ing eco­nom­ic lib­er­al­ism and an end to cor­rup­tion – were over­looked. Media at that time also failed the basic test of scru­ti­n­is­ing the mon­ey behind MBL’s cam­paign, with the Guardian allow­ing them to state unop­posed that they were fund­ed by the sales of “t‑shirts and stick­ers” despite the mon­ey trail to Pro-Impeach­ment groups from US Lib­er­tar­i­an Think-Tanks being already well doc­u­ment­ed in 2015.

As the con­nec­tions between the US “Alt-right”, cor­po­rate-fund­ed think tanks and fas­cism in Brasil become clear­er, the anglo media & busi­ness groups who blind­ly sup­port­ed its rise will have some impor­tant ques­tions to answer.

10. Buz­zFeed has a long piece based on a cache of leaked emails that describe behind-the-scenes efforts at Breibart to main­stream the “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. Those efforts pri­mar­i­ly revolved around Milo Yiannopoulos–tasked with reach­ing out to “Alt Right” fig­ures, get­ting com­ments from them about what the “Alt Right” was all about, and then lat­er get­ting feed­back from them about the planned arti­cles before they were pub­lished. It was clear­ly a group effort. Those efforts includ­ed Andrew ‘the weev’ Auern­heimer, Cur­tis Yarvin (the founder fo the “Dark Enlight­en­ment” move­ment), and Devin Sauci­er, a neo-Nazi Yiannopou­los describes as his best friend.

The emails have a sick, almost dark com­e­dy ele­ment to them because they includ­ed plen­ty of back and forths between Yiannopou­los and Bre­it­bart edi­tors about whether or not the pub­li­ca­tion was get­ting too open­ly friend­ly with the Nazis, with Yiannopou­los being told at one point that it was fine to use a “shekels” joke but “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas cham­ber tweets.” There’s also some oth­er fun facts in the piece, like how Cur­tis Yarvin said he was “coach­ing” Peter Thiel on pol­i­tics, or how the two Yiannopou­los pass­words found in the emails were “a pass­word that began with the word Kristall”, and “LongKnives1290”.

So in case it wasn’t obvi­ous that Bre­it­bart is a white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion run by neo-Nazis for the pur­pose of main­stream­ing neo-Nazi ideals, here’s the evi­dence, in their own neo-Nazi words.

“Alt-White: How The Bre­it­bart Machine Laun­dered Racist Hate” by Joseph Bern­stein; Buz­zFeed; 10/05/2017

Here’s How Bre­it­bart And Milo Smug­gled Nazi and White Nation­al­ist Ideas Into The Main­stream

A cache of doc­u­ments obtained by Buz­zFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.”

In August, after a white nation­al­ist ral­ly in Char­lottesville end­ed in mur­der, Steve Ban­non insist­ed that “there’s no room in Amer­i­can soci­ety” for neo-Nazis, neo-Con­fed­er­ates, and the KKK.

But an explo­sive cache of doc­u­ments obtained by Buz­zFeed News proves that there was plen­ty of room for those voic­es on his web­site.

Dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, under Bannon’s lead­er­ship, Bre­it­bart court­ed the alt-right — the insur­gent, racist right-wing move­ment that helped sweep Don­ald Trump to pow­er. The for­mer White House chief strate­gist famous­ly remarked that he want­ed Bre­it­bart to be “the plat­form for the alt-right.”

The Bre­it­bart employ­ee clos­est to the alt-right was Milo Yiannopou­los, the site’s for­mer tech edi­tor known best for his out­ra­geous pub­lic provo­ca­tions, such as last year’s Dan­ger­ous Fag­got speak­ing tour and September’s can­celed Free Speech Week in Berke­ley. For more than a year, Yiannopou­los led the site in a coy dance around the movement’s nas­ti­er edges, writ­ing sto­ries that min­i­mized the role of neo-Nazis and white nation­al­ists while giv­ing its politer voic­es a fair hear­ing. In March, Bre­it­bart edi­tor Alex Mar­low insist­ed “we’re not a hate site.” Breitbart’s media rela­tions staff repeat­ed­ly threat­ened to sue out­lets that described Yiannopou­los as racist. And after the vio­lent white suprema­cist protest in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, in August, Bre­it­bart pub­lished an arti­cle explain­ing that when Ban­non said the site wel­comed the alt-right, he was mere­ly refer­ring to “com­put­er gamers and blue-col­lar vot­ers who hat­ed the GOP brand.”

These new emails and doc­u­ments, how­ev­er, clear­ly show that Bre­it­bart does more than tol­er­ate the most hate-filled, racist voic­es of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fuel­ing and being fueled by some of the most tox­ic beliefs on the polit­i­cal spec­trum — and clear­ing the way for them to enter the Amer­i­can main­stream.

It’s a rela­tion­ship illus­trat­ed most stark­ly by a pre­vi­ous­ly unre­leased April 2016 video in which Yiannopou­los sings “Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful” in a Dal­las karaoke bar as admir­ers, includ­ing the white nation­al­ist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.

These doc­u­ments chart the Bre­it­bart alt-right uni­verse. They reveal how the web­site — and, in par­tic­u­lar, Yiannopou­los — links the Mer­cer fam­i­ly, the bil­lion­aires who fund Bre­it­bart, to under­paid trolls who fill it with provoca­tive con­tent, and to extrem­ists striv­ing to cre­ate a white eth­nos­tate.

They cap­ture what Ban­non calls his “killing machine” in action, as it dredges up the resent­ments of peo­ple around the world, sifts through these griev­ances for ideas and con­tent, and pro­pels them from the unsa­vory parts of the inter­net up to Trump­World, col­lect­ing adver­tis­ers’ checks all along the way.

And the cache of emails — some of the most news­wor­thy of which Buz­zFeed News is now mak­ing pub­lic — expose the extent to which this machine depend­ed on Yiannopou­los, who chan­neled voic­es both inside and out­side the estab­lish­ment into a clear nar­ra­tive about the threat lib­er­al dis­course posed to Amer­i­ca. The emails tell the sto­ry of Steve Bannon’s grand plan for Yiannopou­los, whom the Bre­it­bart exec­u­tive chair­man trans­formed from a charis­mat­ic young edi­tor into a con­ser­v­a­tive media star capa­ble of mag­ne­tiz­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of reac­tionary anger. Often, the doc­u­ments reveal, this anger came from a legion of secret sym­pa­thiz­ers in Sil­i­con Val­ley, Hol­ly­wood, acad­e­mia, sub­ur­bia, and every­where in between.

“I have said in the past that I find humor in break­ing taboos and laugh­ing at things that peo­ple tell me are for­bid­den to joke about,” Yiannopou­los wrote in a state­ment to Buz­zFeed News. “But every­one who knows me also knows I’m not a racist. As some­one of Jew­ish ances­try, I of course con­demn racism in the strongest pos­si­ble terms. I have stopped mak­ing jokes on these mat­ters because I do not want any con­fu­sion on this sub­ject. I dis­avow Richard Spencer and his entire sor­ry band of idiots. I have been and am a stead­fast sup­port­er of Jews and Israel. I dis­avow white nation­al­ism and I dis­avow racism and I always have.”

Now Ban­non is back at the con­trols of the machine, which he has said he is “revving up.” The Mer­cers have fund­ed Yiannopoulos’s post-Bre­it­bart ven­ture. And these doc­u­ments present the clear­est look at what these peo­ple may have in store for Amer­i­ca.

**

A year and a half ago, Milo Yiannopou­los set him­self a dif­fi­cult task: to define the alt-right. It was five months before Hillary Clin­ton named the alt-right in a cam­paign speech, 10 months before the alt-right’s great hope became pres­i­dent, and 17 months before Char­lottesville clinched the alt-right as a stalk­ing horse for vio­lent white nation­al­ism. The move­ment had just begun its explo­sive emer­gence into the country’s pol­i­tics and cul­ture.

At the time, Yiannopou­los, who would lat­er describe him­self as a fel­low trav­el­er” of the alt-right, was the tech edi­tor of Bre­it­bart. In sum­mer 2015, after spend­ing a year gath­er­ing momen­tum through Gamer­Gate — the open­ing sal­vo of the new cul­ture wars— he con­vinced Bre­it­bart upper man­age­ment to give him his own sec­tion. And for four months, he helped Ban­non wage what the Bre­it­bart boss called in emails to staff “#war.” It was a war, fought sto­ry by sto­ry, against the per­ceived forces of lib­er­al activism on every con­ceiv­able bat­tle­ground in Amer­i­can life.

Yiannopou­los was a use­ful sol­dier whose very pub­lic iden­ti­ty as a gay man (one who has now mar­ried a black man) helped defend him, his anti-polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness cru­sade, and his employ­er from charges of big­otry.

But now Yiannopou­los had a more com­pli­cat­ed fight on his hands. The left — and worse, some on the right — had start­ed to con­demn the new con­ser­v­a­tive ener­gy as reac­tionary and racist. Yiannopou­los had to take back “alt-right,” to rede­fine for Breitbart’s audi­ence a poor­ly under­stood, lead­er­less move­ment, parts of which had already start­ed to resist the term itself.

So he reached out to key con­stituents, who includ­ed a neo-Nazi and a white nation­al­ist.

“Final­ly doing my big fea­ture on the alt right,” Yiannopou­los wrote in a March 9, 2016, email to Andrew “Weev” Auern­heimer, a hack­er who is the sys­tem admin­is­tra­tor of the neo-Nazi hub the Dai­ly Stormer, and who would lat­er ask his fol­low­ers to dis­ruptthe funer­al of Char­lottesville vic­tim Heather Hey­er. “Fan­cy brain­dump­ing some thoughts for me.”

“It’s time for me to do my big defin­i­tive guide to the alt right,” Yiannopou­los wrote four hours lat­er to Cur­tis Yarvin, a soft­ware engi­neer who under the nom de plume Men­cius Mold­bug helped cre­ate the “neo­re­ac­tionary” move­ment, which holds that Enlight­en­ment democ­ra­cy has failed and that a return to feu­dal­ism and author­i­tar­i­an rule is in order. “Which is my who­r­ish way of ask­ing if you have any­thing you’d like to make sure I include.”

“Alt r fea­ture, fig­ured you’d have some thoughts,” Yiannopou­los wrote the same day to Devin Sauci­er, who helps edit the online white nation­al­ist mag­a­zine Amer­i­can Renais­sance under the pseu­do­nym Hen­ry Wolff, and who wrote a sto­ry in June 2017 called “Why I Am (Among Oth­er Things) a White Nation­al­ist.”

The three respond­ed at length: Weev about the Dai­ly Stormer and a pod­cast called The Dai­ly Shoah, Yarvin in char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly sweep­ing world-his­tor­i­cal asser­tions (“It’s no secret that North Amer­i­ca con­tains many dis­tinct cultural/ethnic com­mu­ni­ties. This is not opti­mal, but with a com­pe­tent king it’s not a huge prob­lem either”), and Sauci­er with a list of thinkers, politi­cians, jour­nal­ists, films (DuneMad MaxThe Dark Knight), and musi­cal gen­res (folk met­al, mar­tial indus­tri­al, ’80s syn­th­pop) impor­tant to the move­ment. Yiannopou­los for­ward­ed it all, along with the Wikipedia entries for “Alter­na­tive Right” and the eso­teric far-right Ital­ian philoso­pher Julius Evola — a major influ­ence on 20th-cen­tu­ry Ital­ian fas­cists and Richard Spencer alike — to Allum Bokhari, his deputy and fre­quent ghost­writer, whom he had met dur­ing Gamer­Gate. “Include a bit of every­thing,” he instruct­ed Bokhari.

“I think you’ll like what I’m cook­ing up,” Yiannopou­los wrote to Sauci­er, the Amer­i­can Renais­sance edi­tor.

“I look for­ward to it,” Sauci­er replied. “Ban­non, as you prob­a­bly know, is sym­pa­thet­ic to much of it.”

Five days lat­er Bokhari returned a 3,000-word draft, a tax­on­o­my of the move­ment titled “ALT-RIGHT BEHEMOTH.” It includ­ed a lit­tle bit of every­thing: the brains and their influ­ences (Yarvin and Evola, etc.), the “nat­ur­al con­ser­v­a­tives” (peo­ple who think dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups should stay sep­a­rate for sci­en­tif­ic rea­sons), the “Meme team” (4chan and 8chan), and the actu­al hate­mon­gers. Of the last group, Bokhari wrote: “There’s just not very many of them, no-one real­ly likes them, and they’re unlike­ly to achieve any­thing sig­nif­i­cant in the alt-right.”

“Mag­nif­i­cent start,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

Over the next three days, Yiannopou­los passed the arti­cle back to Yarvin and the white nation­al­ist Sauci­er, the lat­ter of whom gave line-by-line anno­ta­tions. He also sent it to Vox Day, a writer who was expelled from the board of the Sci­ence Fic­tion and Fan­ta­sy Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca for call­ing a black writer an “igno­rant sav­age,” and to Alex Mar­low, the edi­tor of Bre­it­bart.

“Sol­id, fair, and fair­ly com­pre­hen­sive,” Vox Day respond­ed, with a few sug­ges­tions.

“Most of it is great but I don’t want to rush a major long form piece like this,” Mar­low wrote back. “A few peo­ple will need to weigh in since it deals heav­i­ly with race.”

Also, there was anoth­er sen­si­tive issue to be raised: cred­it. “Allum did most of the work on this and wants joint [byline] but I want the glo­ry here,” Yiannopou­los wrote back to Mar­low. “I am telling him you said it’s sen­si­tive and want my byline alone on it.”

Min­utes lat­er, Yiannopou­los emailed Bokhari. “I was going to have Mar­low col­lude with me … about the byline on the alt right thing because I want to take it solo. Will you hate me too much if I do that? … Truth­ful­ly man­age­ment is very edgy on this one (They love it but it’s racial­ly charged) and they would pre­fer it.”

“Will man­age­ment def­i­nite­ly say no if it’s both of us?” Bokhari respond­ed. “I think it actu­al­ly low­ers the risk if some­one with a brown-sound­ing name shares the BL.”

Five days lat­er, March 22nd, Mar­low returned with com­ments. He sug­gest­ed that the sto­ry should show in more detail how Yiannopou­los and most of the alt-right reject­ed the actu­al neo-Nazis in the move­ment. And he added that Taki’s Mag­a­zine and VDare, two pub­li­ca­tions Yiannopou­los and Bokhari iden­ti­fied as part of the alt-right, “are both racist. … We should dis­claimer that or strike that part of the his­to­ry from the arti­cle.” (The pub­lished sto­ry added, in the pas­sive voice, “All of these web­sites have been accused of racism.”) Again the sto­ry went back to Bokhari, who on the 24th sent Yiannopou­los still anoth­er draft, with the sub­ject head “ALT RIGHT, MEIN FUHRER.”

On the 27th, now co-bylined, the sto­ry was ready for upper man­age­ment: Ban­non and Lar­ry Solov, Breitbart’s press-shy CEO. It was also ready, on a sep­a­rate email chain, for anoth­er read and round of com­ments from the white nation­al­ist Sauci­er, the feu­dal­ist Yarvin, the neo-Nazi Weev, and Vox Day.

“I need to go thru this tomor­row in depth…although I do appre­ci­ate any piece that men­tions evola,” Ban­non wrote. On the 29th, in an email titled “steve wants you to read this,” Mar­low sent Yiannopou­los a list of edits and notes Ban­non had solicit­ed from James Pinker­ton, a for­mer Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush staffer and a con­tribut­ing edi­tor of the Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive. The 59-year-old Pinker­ton was put off by a car­toon of Pepe the Frog con­duct­ing the Trump Train.

“I love art,” he wrote inline. “I think [Bre­it­bart News Net­work] needs a lot more of it, but I don’t get the above. Frogs? Ker­mit? Am I miss­ing some­thing here?”

Lat­er that day, Bre­it­bart pub­lished “An Estab­lish­ment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” It quick­ly became a touch­stone, cit­ed in the New York Times, the Los Ange­les Times, the New York­er, CNN, and New York Mag­a­zine, among oth­ers. And its influ­ence is still being felt. This past July, in a speech in War­saw that was cel­e­brat­ed by the alt-right, Pres­i­dent Trump echoed a line from the sto­ry — a sto­ry writ­ten by a “brown-sound­ing” amanu­en­sis, all but line-edit­ed by a white nation­al­ist, laun­dered for racism by Breitbart’s edi­tors, and super­vised by the man who would in short order become the president’s chief strate­gist.

The machine had worked well.

**

On July 22, 2016, Rebekah Mer­cer — Robert’s pow­er­ful daugh­ter — emailed Steve Ban­non from her Stan­ford alum­ni account. She want­ed the Bre­it­bart exec­u­tive chair­man, whom she intro­duced as “one of the great­est liv­ing defend­ers of Lib­er­ty,” to meet an app devel­op­er she knew. Apple had reject­ed the man’s game (Capi­tol HillAwry, in which play­ers delete emails à la Hillary Clin­ton) from the App Store, and the younger Mer­cer won­dered “if we could put an arti­cle up detail­ing his 1st amend­ment polit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.”

Ban­non passed the request from Mer­cer to Yiannopou­los. Yiannopou­los passed it to Char­lie Nash, an 18-year-old Eng­lish­man whom he had met at a con­fer­ence of the pop­ulist right-wing UK Inde­pen­dence Par­ty con­fer­ence the pre­vi­ous year, and who start­ed work­ing as his intern imme­di­ate­ly after. Like some bleach-blonde mes­si­ah of anti–political cor­rect­ness, Yiannopou­los tend­ed to draw in ide­o­log­i­cal­ly sym­pa­thet­ic young men at con­fer­ences, cam­pus speech­es, and on social media, accu­mu­lat­ing more and more acolytes as he went along.

In June 2015 it was Ben Kew, who invit­ed Yiannopou­los to speak at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bris­tol, where he was a stu­dent; he’s now a staff writer for Bre­it­bart. In Sep­tem­ber 2015 it was Tom Cic­cot­ta, the trea­sur­er of the class of 2017 at Buck­nell Uni­ver­si­ty, who still writes for Bre­it­bart. In Feb­ru­ary 2016 it was Hunter Swog­ger, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan stu­dent and then the edi­tor of the con­ser­v­a­tive Michi­gan Review, whom Yiannopou­los cul­ti­vat­ed and brought on as a social media spe­cial­ist dur­ing his Dan­ger­ous Fag­got tour. Yiannopou­los called these young researchers his “truf­fle­hounds.”

Nash, who had just been hired by Bre­it­bart at $30,000 a year after months of lob­by­ing by Yiannopou­los, duti­ful­ly field­ed the request from the bil­lion­aire indi­rect­ly pay­ing his salary and turned around a sto­ry about the reject­ed Capi­tol HillAwry app on the 25th — and a fol­low-up five days lat­er after Apple reversed its deci­sion.

“Huge vic­to­ry,” Ban­non emailed after the rever­sal. “Huge win.”

This was the usu­al way sto­ries came in from the Mer­cers, accord­ing to a for­mer Bre­it­bart edi­tor: with a request from Ban­non refer­ring to “our investors” or “our invest­ing part­ners.”

After Cannes, as Ban­non pushed Yiannopou­los to do more live events that pre­sent­ed expen­sive logis­ti­cal chal­lenges, the involve­ment of the invest­ing part­ners became increas­ing­ly obvi­ous. Fol­low­ing a May event at DePaul Uni­ver­si­ty in Chica­go in which Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers stormed a Yiannopou­los speech, he wrote to Ban­non, “I wouldn’t con­fess this to any­one pub­licly, of course, but I was wor­ried … last night that I was going to get punched or worse. … I need one or two peo­ple of my own.”

“Agree 100%,” Ban­non wrote. “We want you to stir up more. Milo: for your eyes only we r going to use the mer­cers pri­vate secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny.”

Copied on the email was Dan Fleuette, Bannon’s copro­duc­er at Glit­ter­ing Steel and the man who act­ed for months as the go-between for Yiannopou­los and the Mer­cers. As Yiannopou­los made the tran­si­tion in sum­mer 2016 from being a writer to becom­ing large­ly the star of a trav­el­ing stage show, Fleuette was enlist­ed to process and wran­gle the legion of young assis­tants, man­agers, train­ers, and oth­er tal­ent the Bre­it­bart tech edi­tor demand­ed be brought along for the ride.

First came Tim Gionet, the for­mer Buz­zFeed social media strate­gist who goes by “Baked Alas­ka” on Twit­ter, whom Yiannopou­los pitched to Fleuette as a tour man­ag­er in late May. Gionet accom­pa­nied Yiannopou­los to Flori­da after the June 2016 Pulse night­club killings in Orlan­do. The two planned a press con­fer­ence out­side a mosque attend­ed by the shoot­er, Omar Mateen. (“Bril­liant,” Ban­non emailed. “Btw they are ALL ‘fac­to­ries of hate.’”) But after some imper­ti­nent tweets and back talk from Gionet, Fleuette became Yiannopoulos’s man­age­r­i­al con­fi­dante.

“He needs to under­stand that ‘Baked Alas­ka’ is over,” Yiannopou­los wrote in one email to Fleuette. “He is not a friend he is an employ­ee. … He is becom­ing a laugh­ing stock and that reflects bad­ly on me.” In anoth­er, “I think we need to replace Tim. … [He] has no news judg­ment or under­stand­ing of what’s dan­ger­ous (thinks tweets about Jews are just fine). … He seems more inter­est­ed in his career as an obscure Twit­ter per­son­al­i­ty than my tour man­ag­er.”

At the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, Yiannopou­los delib­er­ate­ly chose a hotel for Gionet far from the con­ven­tion cen­ter, writ­ing to anoth­er Bre­it­bart employ­ee, “Exact­ly where I want him. … He needs the com­mute to remind him of his place.”

Gionet did not respond to mul­ti­ple requests by Buz­zFeed News for com­ment.

But Gionet, who would go on to march with the alt-right in Char­lottesville, was still use­ful to Yiannopou­los as a gate­way to a group of young, hip, social media–savvy Trump sup­port­ers.

Yiannopou­los man­aged all of his assis­tants and ghost­writ­ers under his own umbrel­la, using “yiannopoulos.net” emails and pri­vate Slack rooms. This struc­ture insu­lat­ed Breitbart’s upper man­age­ment from the 4chan savants and Gamer­Gate vets work­ing for Yiannopou­los. And it gave Yiannopou­los a staff loy­al to him above Bre­it­bart. (Indeed, Yiannopou­los shopped a sep­a­rate “Team Milo” sec­tion to Dow Jones, which pub­lish­es the Wall Street Jour­nal, in July 2016.)

It also some­times led to extra­or­di­nar­i­ly fraught orga­ni­za­tion­al and per­son­al dynam­ics. Take Allum Bokhari, the Oxford-edu­cat­ed for­mer polit­i­cal con­sul­tant whom Yiannopou­los reward­ed for his years of grunt work with a $100,000 ghost­writ­ing con­tract for his book Dan­ger­ous.

But the men were spy­ing on each oth­er.

In April 2016, Yiannopou­los asked Bokhari for “a com­plete list of the email, social media, bank accounts, and any oth­er sys­tem and ser­vices of mine you have been access­ing, and how long you’ve had access.” Bokhari con­fessed to hav­ing logged into Yiannopoulos’s email and Slack, and had used Yiannopoulos’s cred­it card for an Airbnb, a con­fes­sion Yiannopou­los quick­ly passed on to Lar­ry Solov, the Bre­it­bart CEO.

“My basic posi­tion is that he is not sta­ble and needs to be far away from me,” Yiannopou­los wrote to Mar­low and Solov.

Mean­while, Yiannopou­los had com­piled a tran­script of what he called “a short sec­tion of 30 hours of record­ing down on paper,” which appeared to be of con­ver­sa­tions between Bokhari and a friend.

The new­com­ers brought in by Gionet weren’t much bet­ter behaved. Yiannopou­los had to boot one prospec­tive mem­ber of his “tour squad” for post­ing cocaine use on Snapchat. Mike Mahoney, a then–20-year-old from North Car­oli­na, had to be mon­i­tored because of his propen­si­ty for racism and anti-Semi­tism on social media. (Mahoney was lat­er banned from Twit­ter, but he’s relo­cat­ed to Gab, a free speech uber alles social net­work where he is free to post mes­sages such as “reminder: mus­lims are fags.”)

“Let me know if there’s any­thing spe­cif­ic that’s real­ly bad eg any Jew stuff,” Yiannopou­los wrote of Mahoney in an email to anoth­er mem­ber of his staff. “His entire Twit­ter per­sona will have to change dra­mat­i­cal­ly once he gets the job.” On Sep­tem­ber 11, 2016, Mahoney signed a $2,500-a-month con­tract with Glit­ter­ing Steel.

As the Dan­ger­ous Fag­got tour swung into gear, Yiannopou­los grew increas­ing­ly hos­tile toward Fleuette, whom he exco­ri­at­ed for late pay­ments to his young crew, lack of sup­port, and dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion. “The entire tour staff is demand­ing mon­ey,” Yiannopou­los wrote in one email to Fleuette in Octo­ber. “No one knows or cares who Glit­ter­ing Steel is but this rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant­ly dam­ag­ing risk to my rep­u­ta­tion if it gets out.” And in anoth­er, “Your prob­lem right now is keep­ing me hap­py.”

Yet ulti­mate­ly Fleuette was nec­es­sary — he con­nect­ed Yiannopoulos’s mad­cap world and the mas­sive­ly rich peo­ple fund­ing the machine.

“I think you know who the final deci­sion belongs to,” Fleuette wrote to Yiannopou­los after one par­tic­u­lar­ly fran­tic request for mon­ey. “I am in dai­ly com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them.”

**

Yiannopoulos’s star rose through­out 2016 thanks to a suc­ces­sion of con­tro­ver­sial pub­lic appear­ances, social media con­fla­gra­tions, Bre­it­bart radio spots, tele­vi­sion hits, and mag­a­zine pro­files. Bannon’s guid­ance, the Mer­cers’ patron­age, and the cre­ative ener­gy of his young staff had come togeth­er at exact­ly the time Don­ald Trump turned offen­sive speech into a defin­ing issue in Amer­i­can cul­ture. And for thou­sands of peo­ple, Yiannopou­los, Breitbart’s poster child for offen­sive speech, became a secret cham­pi­on.

Aggriev­ed by the encroach­ment of so-called cul­tur­al Marx­ism into Amer­i­can pub­lic life, and egged on by an end­less stream of sto­ries on Fox News about safe spaces and racial­ly charged cam­pus con­fronta­tions, a diverse group of Amer­i­cans took to Yiannopoulos’s inbox to thank him and to con­fess their fears about the future of the coun­try.

And some of these dis­grun­tled tech work­ers reached beyond the rank and file. Vivek Wad­hwa, a promi­nent entre­pre­neur and aca­d­e­m­ic, reached out repeat­ed­ly to Yiannopou­los with sto­ries of what he con­sid­ered out-of-con­trol polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. First it was about a boy­cott cam­paign against a Kick­starter with con­nec­tions to Gamer­Gate. (“These peo­ple are tru­ly crazy and destruc­tive. … What hor­ri­ble peo­ple,” wrote Wad­wha of the cam­paign­ers.) Then it was about Y‑Combinator cofounder Paul Gra­ham; Wad­wha felt Gra­ham was being unfair­ly tar­get­ed for an essay he wrote about gen­der inequal­i­ty in tech.

“Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has gone too far,” Wad­hwa wrote. “The alter­na­tive is com­mu­nism — not equal­i­ty. And that is a failed sys­tem…” Yiannopou­los passed Wadhwa’s email to Bokhari, who prompt­ly ghost­wrote a sto­ry for Bre­it­bart, “Social Jus­tice War­rior Knives Out For Start­up Guru Paul Gra­ham.”

Wad­wha told Buz­zFeed News that he no longer sup­ports Yiannopou­los.

Yiannopou­los also had a pri­vate rela­tion­ship with the ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel, though he was more cir­cum­spect than some oth­er cor­re­spon­dents. After turn­ing down an appear­ance on Yiannopoulos’s pod­cast in May 2016 (Thiel: “Let’s just get cof­fee and take things from there”), Thiel invit­ed the Bre­it­bart tech edi­tor for din­ner at his Hol­ly­wood Hills home in June, a din­ner Yiannopou­los boast­ed of the same night to Ban­non: “You two should meet. … An obvi­ous can­di­date for movie financ­ing if we got exter­nal. … He has fuc ked [Gawk­er Media founder Nick] Den­ton & Gawk­er so many ways it brought a tear to my eye.” They made plans to meet dur­ing the July Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. But much of Yiannopoulos’s knowl­edge of Thiel seemed to come sec­ond­hand from oth­er right-wing activists, as well as Cur­tis Yarvin, the blog­ger who advo­cates the return of feu­dal­ism. In an email exchange short­ly after the elec­tion, Yarvin told Yiannopou­los that he had been “coach­ing Thiel.”

“Peter needs guid­ance on pol­i­tics for sure,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

“Less than you might think!” Yarvin wrote back. “I watched the elec­tion at his house, I think my hang­over last­ed into Tues­day. He’s ful­ly enlight­ened, just plays it very care­ful­ly.”

And Yiannopou­los vent­ed pri­vate­ly after Thiel spoke at the RNC — an oppor­tu­ni­ty the younger man had craved. “No gays rule doesn’t apply to Thiel appar­ent­ly,” he wrote to a promi­nent Repub­li­can oper­a­tive in July 2016.

Thiel declined to com­ment for the sto­ry.

In addi­tion to tech and enter­tain­ment, Yiannopou­los had hid­den helpers in the lib­er­al media against which he and Ban­non fought so uncom­pro­mis­ing­ly. A long-run­ning email group devot­ed to mock­ing sto­ries about the social jus­tice inter­net includ­ed, pre­dictably, Yiannopoulos’s friend Ann Coul­ter, but also Mitchell Sun­der­land, a senior staff writer at Broad­ly, Vice’s women’s chan­nel. Accord­ing to its “About” page, Broad­ly “is devot­ed to rep­re­sent­ing the mul­ti­plic­i­ty of women’s expe­ri­ences. … we pro­vide a sus­tained focus on the issues that mat­ter most to women.”

“Please mock this fat fem­i­nist,” Sun­der­land wrote to Yiannopou­los in May 2016, along with a link to an arti­cle by the New York Times colum­nist Lindy West, who fre­quent­ly writes about fat accep­tance. And while Sun­der­land was Broadly’s man­ag­ing edi­tor, he sent a Broad­ly video about the Satan­ic Tem­ple and abor­tion rights to Tim Gionet with instruc­tions to “do what­ev­er with this on Bre­it­bart. It’s insane.” The next day, Bre­it­bart pub­lished an arti­cle titled “Satan­ic Tem­ple’ Joins Planned Par­ent­hood in Pro-Abor­tion Cru­sade.”

In a state­ment to Buz­zFeed News, a Vice spokesper­son wrote, “We are shocked and dis­ap­point­ed by this high­ly inap­pro­pri­ate and unpro­fes­sion­al con­duct. We just learned about this and have begun a for­mal review into the mat­ter.”

(A day after this sto­ry was pub­lished, Vice fired Mitchell Sun­der­land, accord­ing to a com­pa­ny spokesper­son.)

**

For near­ly a decade, Devin Sauci­er has been estab­lish­ing him­self as one of the bright young things in Amer­i­can white nation­al­ism. In 2008, while at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty, Sauci­er found­ed a chap­ter of the defunct white nation­al­ist stu­dent group Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion, which counts among its alum­ni the white nation­al­ist leader Matthew Heim­bach. Richard Spencer called him a friend. He is asso­ci­at­ed with the Wolves of Vin­land, a Vir­ginia neo-pagan group that one reporter described as a “white pow­er wolf cult,” one mem­ber of which plead­ed guilty to set­ting fire to a his­toric black church. For the past sev­er­al years, accord­ing to an observ­er of far-right move­ments, Sauci­er has worked as an assis­tant to Jared Tay­lor, pos­si­bly the most promi­nent white nation­al­ist in Amer­i­ca. Accord­ing to emails obtained by Buz­zFeed News, he edits and writes for Taylor’s mag­a­zine, Amer­i­can Renais­sance, under a pseu­do­nym.

In an Octo­ber 2016 email, Milo Yiannopou­los described the 28-year-old Sauci­er as “my best friend.”

Yiannopou­los may have been exag­ger­at­ing: He was ask­ing his acquain­tance the nov­el­ist Bret Eas­t­on Ellis for a signed copy of Amer­i­can Psy­cho as a gift for Sauci­er. But there’s no ques­tion the men were close. After a March 2016 din­ner togeth­er in George­town, they kept up a steady cor­re­spon­dence, thrilling over Brex­it, approv­ing­ly shar­ing head­lines about a Finnish far-right group called “Sol­diers of Odin,” and mak­ing plans to attend Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Kennedy Cen­ter.

Sauci­er — who did not respond to numer­ous requests for com­ment — clear­ly illus­trates the direct con­nec­tion between open white nation­al­ists and their fel­low trav­el­ers at Bre­it­bart. By spring 2016, Yiannopou­los had begun to use him as a sound­ing board, intel­lec­tu­al guide, and edi­tor. On May 1, Yiannopou­los emailed Sauci­er ask­ing for read­ings relat­ed to class-based affir­ma­tive action; Sauci­er respond­ed with a half dozen links on the sub­ject, which Amer­i­can Renais­sance often cov­ers. On May 3, Sauci­er sent Yiannopou­los an email titled “Arti­cle idea”: “How trolls could win the gen­er­al for Trump.” Yiannopou­los for­ward­ed the email to Bokhari and wrote, “Drop what you’re doing and draft this for me.” An arti­cle under Yiannopoulos’s byline appeared the next day. Also in ear­ly May, Sauci­er advised Yiannopou­los and put him in touch with a source for a sto­ry about the alt-right’s obses­sion with Tay­lor Swift.

Sauci­er also seems to have had enough clout with Yiannopou­los to get him to kill a sto­ry. On May 9, the Bre­it­bart tech edi­tor sent Sauci­er a full draft of the class-based affir­ma­tive action sto­ry. “This real­ly isn’t good,” Sauci­er wrote back, along with a com­plex expla­na­tion of how “true class-based affir­ma­tive action” would cause “black enroll­ment at all decent col­leges” to be “dec­i­mat­ed.” The next day, Yiannopou­los wrote back, “I feel suit­ably admon­ished,” with anoth­er draft. In response, after spec­u­lat­ing that Yiannopou­los was try­ing to “soft ped­al” racial dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence, Sauci­er wrote, “I would hon­est­ly spike this piece.” The sto­ry nev­er ran.

At oth­er times, though, Yiannopoulos’s writ­ing delight­ed the young white nation­al­ist. On June 20, Yiannopou­los sent Sauci­er a link to his sto­ry “Milo On Why Britain Should Leave The EU — To Stop Mus­lim Immi­gra­tion.” “Nice work,” Sauci­er respond­ed. “I espe­cial­ly like the ref­er­ences to Euro­pean iden­ti­ty and the West­ern greats.” On June 25, Yiannopou­los sent Sauci­er a copy of an analy­sis, “Brex­it: Why The Glob­al­ists Lost.”

“Sub­tle truth bomb,” Sauci­er respond­ed via email to the sen­tence “Britain, like Israel and oth­er high-IQ, high-skilled economies, will thrive on its own.” (IQ dif­fer­ences among races are a fix­a­tion of Amer­i­can Renais­sance.)

“I’m eas­ing every­one in gen­tly,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

“Prob­a­bly beats my ‘bite the pil­low, I’m going in dry’ strat­e­gy,” Sauci­er wrote back.

On occa­sion Yiannopou­los didn’t ease his mas­ters at Bre­it­bart in gen­tly enough. Fre­quent­ly, Alex Marlow’s job edit­ing him came down to reject­ing anti-Semit­ic and racist ideas and jokes. In April 2016, Yiannopou­los tried to secure approval for the neo-Nazi hack­er“Weev” Auern­heimer, the sys­tem admin­is­tra­tor for the Dai­ly Stormer, to appear on his pod­cast.

“Great provoca­tive guest,” Yiannopou­los wrote. “He’s one of the fun­ni­est, smartest and most inter­est­ing peo­ple I know. … Very on brand for me.”

“Got­ta think about it,” Mar­low wrote back. “He’s a legit racist. … This is a major strate­gic deci­sion for this com­pa­ny and as of now I’m lean­ing against it.” (Weev nev­er appeared on the pod­cast.)

Edit­ing a Sep­tem­ber 2016 Yiannopou­los speech, Mar­low approved a joke about “shekels” but added that “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas cham­ber tweets,” ask­ing for such a line to be removed. Mar­low held a sto­ry about Twit­ter ban­ning a promi­nent — fre­quent­ly anti-Semit­ic and anti-black — alt-right account, “Ricky Vaughn.” And in August 2016, Bokhari sent Mar­low a draft of a sto­ry titled “The Alt Right Isn’t White Suprema­cist, It’s West­ern Suprema­cist,” which Mar­low held, explain­ing, “I don’t want to even flirt with okay-ing Nazi memes.”

“We have found his lim­it,” Yiannopou­los wrote back.

Indeed, a major part of Yiannopoulos’s role with­in Bre­it­bart was aggres­sive­ly test­ing lim­its around racial and anti-Semit­ic dis­course. As far as this went, his opaque orga­ni­za­tion-with-an-orga­ni­za­tion struc­ture and crowd­sourced ideation and writ­ing process­es served Breitbart’s pur­pos­es per­fect­ly: They offered upper man­age­ment a veil of plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty — as long as no one saw the emails Buz­zFeed News obtained. In August 2016, a Yiannopou­los staffer sent a “Milo” sto­ry by Bokhari direct­ly to Ban­non and Mar­low for approval.

“Please don’t for­ward chains like that show­ing the sausage being made,” Yiannopou­los wrote back. “Every­one knows; but they don’t have to be remind­ed every time.”

By Yiannopoulos’s own admis­sion, main­tain­ing a suf­fi­cient­ly believ­able dis­tance from overt racists and white nation­al­ists was cru­cial to the machine he had helped Ban­non build. As his pro­file rose, he attract­ed hordes of blaz­ing­ly racist social media fol­low­ers — the kind of peo­ple who harassed the black Ghost­busters actress Leslie Jones so severe­ly on Twit­ter that the plat­form banned Yiannopou­los for encour­ag­ing them.

“Pro­tip on han­dling the end­less tide of 1488 scum,” Cur­tis Yarvin, the neo­re­ac­tionary thinker, wrote to Yiannopou­los in Novem­ber 2015. (“1488” is a ubiq­ui­tous white suprema­cist slo­gan; “88” stands for “Heil Hitler.”) “Deal with them the way some per­fect­ly tai­lored high-com­mu­nist NYT reporter han­dles a herd of greasy anar­chist hip­pies. Patron­iz­ing con­tempt. Your heart is in the right place, young lady, now get a show­er and shave those pits. The lib­er­al doesn’t purge the com­mu­nist because he hates com­mu­nism, he purges the com­mu­nist because the com­mu­nist is a pub­lic embar­rass­ment to him. … It’s not that he sees ene­mies to the left, just that he sees losers to the left, and losers rub off.”

“Thanks re 1488,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed. “I have been strug­gling with this. I need to stay, if not clean, then clean enough.”

He had help stay­ing clean. It came in the form of a media rela­tions appa­ra­tus that issued imme­di­ate and vehe­ment threats of legal action against out­lets that described Yiannopou­los as a racist or a white nation­al­ist.

“Milo is NOT a white nation­al­ist, nor a mem­ber of the alt right,” Jen­ny Kefau­ver, a senior account exec­u­tive at Cap­i­tal­HQ, Breitbart’s press shop, wrote to the Seat­tle CBS affil­i­ate after a sto­ry fol­low­ing the shoot­ing of an anti-Trump pro­test­er at a Yiannopou­los speech. “Milo has always denounced them and you offer no proof that he is asso­ci­at­ed with them. Please issue a cor­rec­tion before we explore addi­tion­al options to cor­rect this error imme­di­ate­ly.”

Over 2016 and ear­ly 2017, Cap­i­tal­HQ, and often Yiannopou­los per­son­al­ly, issued such demands against the Los Ange­les Times, The For­ward, Busi­ness Insid­er, Glam­our, Fusion, USA Today, the Chica­go Tri­bune, the Wash­ing­ton Post, and CNN. The result­ing retrac­tions or cor­rec­tions — or refusals — even spawned anewcat­e­go­ry of Bre­it­bartsto­ry.

Of course, it’s unlike­ly that any of these jour­nal­ists or edi­tors could have known about Yiannopoulos’s rela­tion­ship with Sauci­er, about his attempts to defend gas cham­ber jokes in Bre­it­bart, or about how he tried to put Weev on his pod­cast.

Nor could they have known about the night of April 2, 2016, which Yiannopou­los spent at the One Nos­tal­gia Tav­ern in Dal­las, belt­ing out a karaoke ren­di­tion of “Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful” in front of a crowd of “sieg heil”-ing admir­ers, includ­ing Richard Spencer.

Sauci­er can be seen in the video film­ing the per­for­mance. The same night, he and Spencer did a duet of Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” in front of a beam­ing Yiannopou­los.

And there was no way the jour­nal­ists threat­ened with law­suits for call­ing Yiannopou­los a racist could have known about his pass­words.

In an April 6 email, Allum Bokhari men­tioned hav­ing had access to an account of Yiannopoulos’s with “a pass­word that began with the word Kristall.” Kristall­nacht, an infa­mous 1938 riot against Ger­man Jews car­ried out by the SA — the para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion that helped Hitler rise to pow­er — is some­times con­sid­ered the begin­ning of the Holo­caust. In a June 2016 email to an assis­tant, Yiannopou­los shared the pass­word to his email, which began “LongKnives1290.” The Night of the Long Knives was the Nazi purge of the lead­er­ship of the SA. The purge famous­ly includ­ed Ernst Röhm, the SA’s gay leader. 1290 is the year King Edward I expelled the Jews from Eng­land.

**

Ear­ly in the morn­ing of August 17, 2016, as news began to break that Steve Ban­non would leave Bre­it­bart to run the Trump cam­paign, Milo Yiannopou­los emailed the man who had turned him into a star.

“Con­grats chief,” he wrote.

“u mean ‘con­do­lences,’” Ban­non wrote back.

“I admire your sense of duty (seri­ous­ly).”

“u get it.”

In the month after the con­ven­tion, Yiannopou­los and Ban­non con­tin­ued to work close­ly. Ban­non and Mar­low encour­aged a bar­rage of sto­ries about Yiannopoulos’s late July ban from Twit­ter. Ban­non and Yiannopou­los worked to dis­tance them­selves from Charles Johnson’s plans to sue Twit­ter. (“Charles is PR poi­son,” Yiannopou­los wrote. “Charles is well intentioned–but he is wack,” Ban­non respond­ed.) And the two went back and forth over how hard to hit Paul Ryan in an August sto­ry defend­ing the alt-right. (“Only the head­line mocks him cor­rect,” Ban­non wrote. “We nev­er actu­al­ly say he is a cuck in the body of the piece?”)

But once Ban­non left Bre­it­bart, his email cor­re­spon­dence with Yiannopou­los dried up, with a few excep­tions. On August 25, after Hillary Clinton’s alt-right speech, Yiannopou­los emailed Ban­non, “I’ve nev­er laughed so hard.”

Still, as the cam­paign pro­gressed into the fall, there were clues that Ban­non con­tin­ued to run aspects of Bre­it­bart and guide the career of his bur­geon­ing alt-right star. On Sep­tem­ber 1, Ban­non for­ward­ed Yiannopou­los a sto­ry about a new Rut­gers speech code; Yiannopou­los for­ward­ed it to Bokhari and asked for a sto­ry. On the 3rd, Ban­non emailed to tell Yiannopou­los he was “try­ing to set up DJT inter­view.” (The inter­view with Trump nev­er hap­pened.) And on Sep­tem­ber 11, Ban­non intro­duced Yiannopou­los over email to the dig­i­tal strate­gist and Trump sup­port­er Oz Sul­tan and instruct­ed the men to meet.

There were also signs that Ban­non was using his prox­im­i­ty to the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee to pro­mote the cul­ture war pet caus­es that he and Yiannopou­los shared. On Octo­ber 13, Sauci­er emailed Yiannopou­los a tweet from the white nation­al­ist leader Nathan Dami­go, who went on to punch a woman in the face at a Berke­ley ral­ly in April of this year and led marchers in Char­lottesville: “@realDonaldTrump just said he would pro­tect free speech on col­lege cam­pus.”

“He used phras­es extreme­ly close to what I say — Ban­non is feed­ing him,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

Yet, by the ear­ly days of the Trump pres­i­den­cy — and as the hard­er and more explic­it­ly big­ot­ed ele­ments with­in the alt-right fought to reclaim the term — Ban­non had clear­ly estab­lished a for­mal dis­tance from Yiannopou­los. On Feb­ru­ary 14, Yiannopou­los, who months ear­li­er had worked hand in glove with Ban­non, asked their mutu­al PR rep for help reach­ing him. “Here’s the book man­u­script, to be kept con­fi­den­tial of course… still hop­ing for a Ban­non or Don Jr or Ivan­ka endorse­ment!”

The next week, video appeared in which Yiannopou­los appeared to con­done pedophil­ia. He resigned from Bre­it­bart under pres­sure two days lat­er, but not before his attor­ney beseeched Solov and Mar­low to keep him.

“We implore you not to dis­card this ris­ing star over a 13 month old video that we all know does not reflect his true views,” the lawyer wrote.

Ban­non, ensconced in the chaot­ic Trump White House, didn’t com­ment, nor did he reach out to Yiannopou­los on his main email. But the machine wasn’t bro­ken, just run­ning qui­et­ly. And it wouldn’t jet­ti­son such a valu­able com­po­nent alto­geth­er, even after seem­ing to endorse pedophil­ia.

After fir­ing Yiannopou­los, Mar­low accom­pa­nied him to the Mer­cers’ Palm Beach home to dis­cuss a new ven­ture: MILO INC. On Feb­ru­ary 27, not quite two weeks after the scan­dal erupt­ed, Yiannopou­los received an email from a woman who described her­self as “Robert Mercer’s accoun­tant.” “We will be send­ing a wire pay­ment today,” she wrote. Lat­er that day, in an email to the accoun­tant and Robert Mer­cer, Yiannopou­los per­son­al­ly thanked his patron. And as Yiannopou­los pre­pared to pub­lish his book, he stayed close enough to Rebekah Mer­cer to ask her by text for a rec­om­men­da­tion when he need­ed a peri­odon­tist in New York.

Since Ban­non left the White House, there have been signs that the two men may be col­lab­o­rat­ing again. On August 18, Yiannopou­los post­ed to Insta­gram a black-and-white pho­to of Ban­non with the cap­tion “Win­ter is Com­ing.” Though he ulti­mate­ly didn’t show, Ban­non was orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled to speak at Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berke­ley. (The event, which was sup­posed to fea­ture an all-star line­up of far-right per­son­al­i­ties, was can­celed last month, report­ed­ly after the stu­dent group spon­sor­ing it failed to fill out nec­es­sary paper­work.) And Yiannopou­los has told those close to him that he expects to be back at Bre­it­bart soon.

Steve Bannon’s actions are often ana­lyzed through the lens of his pro­fessed ide­ol­o­gy, that of an anti-Islam, anti-immi­grant, anti-“Globalist” cru­sad­er bent on destroy­ing pre­vail­ing lib­er­al ideas about immi­gra­tion, diver­si­ty, and eco­nom­ics. To be sure, much of that comes through in the doc­u­ments obtained by Buz­zFeed News. The “Camp of the Saints” Ban­non is there, demand­ing Yiannopou­los change “refugee” to “migrant” in a Feb­ru­ary 2016 sto­ry, speak­ing of the #war for the West.

Still, it is less often we think about Ban­non sim­ply as a media exec­u­tive in charge of a pri­vate com­pa­ny. Any suc­cess­ful media exec­u­tive pro­duces con­tent to expand audi­ence size. The Bre­it­bart alt-right machine, embod­ied by Milo Yiannopou­los, may read most clear­ly in this con­text. It was a bril­liant audi­ence expan­sion machine, financed by bil­lion­aires, designed to draw in peo­ple dis­gust­ed by some com­bi­na­tion of iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, Mus­lim and His­pan­ic immi­gra­tion, and the idea of Hillary Clin­ton or Barack Oba­ma in the White House. And if expand­ing that audi­ence meant involv­ing white nation­al­ists and neo-Nazis, their par­tic­i­pa­tion could always be laun­dered to hide their con­tri­bu­tions. . . .

11. Fol­low­ing up on that Buz­zFeed piece , Right Wing Watch has a new piece on a sim­i­lar phe­nom­e­non. Far right per­son­al­i­ties get “main­streamed” by osten­si­bly “main­stream” con­ser­v­a­tives. This is occur­ring on YouTube!

“White Suprema­cy Fig­ured Out How To Become YouTube Famous” by Jared Holt; Right Wing Watch; 10/2017

YouTube is home to a seem­ing­ly end­less vari­ety of videos that reach all kinds of view­ers and is creep­ing up on TV as the most watched video plat­form in the Unit­ed StatesBut as John Her­rman doc­u­ment­ed in The New York Times Mag­a­zine last month, polit­i­cal pun­dit­ry on YouTube is vast­ly dom­i­nat­ed by right-wing talk­ers. Some of the site’s notable right-wing polit­i­cal stars include the always-cam­era-ready men and women at the Infowars stu­dio, fre­quent­ly-shirt­less 4chan muse StyxHexxenHammer666, and elab­o­rate cos­play car­toon char­ac­ter “Mr. Dap­per­ton.” Although these fig­ures dif­fer vast­ly in for­mat and tone, their mes­sages are aligned exclu­sive­ly toward the hard, uncom­pro­mis­ing Right, and have been increas­ing­ly influ­enced by their even more extrem­ist coun­ter­parts on YouTube.

Shoren­stein Cen­ter on Media fel­low Zach Elexy not­ed in a case study of YouTube com­men­ta­tor Black Pigeon Speaks that in the same way that “lib­er­als, schol­ars and pun­dits have failed to give talk radio—which is almost whol­ly conservative—its due,” those same observers “stand to miss a new plat­form that, so far, is also dom­i­nat­ed by the right wing.” Far-right YouTube per­son­al­i­ties are large­ly aware that they are at the epi­cen­ter of polit­i­cal talk on the plat­form, and open­ly gloat about their dom­i­nance.

As a plat­form, YouTube has served as an alter­na­tive media ecosys­tem apart from the main­stream where any per­son can con­tribute to nation­al con­ver­sa­tion and reach thou­sands of peo­ple overnight. But the Right’s overt dom­i­na­tion of the plat­form, in addi­tion to polit­i­cal forums on Red­dit and 4chan, has cre­at­ed an envi­ron­ment where white nation­al­ists and right-wing extrem­ists can eas­i­ly inject hate­ful rhetoric and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries into nation­al polit­i­cal dis­course by posi­tion­ing them­selves along­side less overt­ly hate­ful ris­ing right-wing media per­son­al­i­ties.

These extrem­ists role­play as mod­ern-day shock-jock radio hosts as they insert their sex­ist, racist, big­ot­ed rhetoric—which they excuse by say­ing they are try­ing to “trig­ger” lib­er­als and fight for “free speech”—into the exist­ing stream of right-wing com­men­tary on YouTube. By suc­cess­ful­ly iden­ti­fy­ing how right-wing e‑celebrities oper­ate and col­lab­o­rate in the YouTube ecosys­tem, white nation­al­ists and white suprema­cists have cracked the code to achiev­ing YouTube suc­cess and get­ting their ideas val­i­dat­ed by more pop­u­lar inter­net fig­ures, and there­fore have embold­ened the polit­i­cal base they rep­re­sent and recruit­ed new audi­ences.

The pun­dit­ry fac­tion of YouTube, much like cable news, thrives on col­lab­o­ra­tion and guest appear­ances on oth­er pun­dits’ chan­nels. These right-wing YouTube com­men­ta­tors believe that by bol­ster­ing one anoth­er they can break through “fake news” main­stream media nar­ra­tives and spread their own fla­vor of polit­i­cal analy­sis. The most extreme of these com­men­ta­tors will iden­ti­fy YouTube pun­dits slight­ly clos­er to cen­ter-Right than them, and appear on their pro­grams to share their view­points. They then use this access to a larg­er plat­form to recruit more peo­ple to their own pages, where they espouse extrem­ist views with even less restraint.

In prac­tice, this means that some of the most pop­u­lar right-wing social media pun­dits have val­i­dat­ed white suprema­cists and eth­no-nation­al­ist voic­es by join­ing these extrem­ists on their pro­grams and allow­ing them to grow their audi­ences. And as a result, those voic­es have quick­ly recruit­ed a rad­i­cal­ized fol­low­ing and felt embold­ened to take their ide­olo­gies offline. The nation saw this dynam­ic play out with trag­ic results ear­li­er this year, when alt-right activists who had orga­nized onlinecon­verged on Char­lottesville for a “Unite the Right” ral­ly that end­ed in the death of a counter-pro­test­er.

On YouTube, major right-wing inter­net per­son­al­i­ties such as self-described “New Right jour­nal­ist” and social media per­son­al­i­ty Mike Cer­novich and Lau­ren South­ern, a for­mer reporter for Rebel Media, a news site that has act­ed as an alt-right safe space, val­i­date less­er known extrem­ists by pro­mot­ing them with their plat­forms, which reach mil­lions of peo­ple every month and rou­tine­ly earn expo­sure from main­stream press. Although these two are now attempt­ing to break away from their pri­or affil­i­a­tions with the alt-right, they have used their YouTube plat­forms to val­i­date and share ideas with open­ly alt-right pun­dits like Tara McCarthy, who believes a glob­al­ist agen­da is under­way to under­mine white peo­ple.

In May, Cer­novich appeared on right-wing YouTu­ber Brit­tani Pettibone’s “Virtue of the West” pod­cast, which is ded­i­cat­ed to dis­cussing the white nation­al­ist ide­ol­o­gy of a vir­tu­ous West­ern world under attack by a lib­er­al agen­da. Cernovich’s appear­ance effec­tive­ly endorsed the legit­i­ma­cy of Pet­ti­bone and her for­mer co-host McCarthy to Cernovich’s much larg­er audi­ence and exposed poten­tial new fans to the duo, who open­ly express much more extrem­ist views than Cer­novich does.

This trick­le-down effect is not lim­it­ed to Cer­novich. Many oth­er promi­nent right-wing social media per­son­al­i­tieshave appeared on pro­grams like “Virtue of the West.” For exam­ple, video blog­ger Tarl War­wick, who is her­ald­ed on 4chan and pro­mot­ed by major video blog­gers like Paul Joseph Wat­son, has guid­ed his audi­ence to open­ly alt-right media plat­forms such as Red Ice. Dig­i­tal pun­dit Carl Ben­jamin, known best as “Sar­gon of Akkad,” has exposed his reg­u­lar audi­ence of hun­dreds of thou­sands of view­ers to white nation­al­ists and their hate­ful ide­olo­gies.

This trick­le-down expo­sure effect is a char­ac­ter­is­tic of all media, but the lack of a gate­keep­er on social media has allowed unchecked extrem­ists like McCarthy to har­ness the pow­er grant­ed by voic­es such as Cer­novich to ele­vate open­ly white suprema­cist alt-right ide­olo­gies. Soon after McCarthy scored an inter­view with Cer­novich, she treat­ed her fol­low­ers to a con­ver­sa­tion with Andrew Anglin and Greg John­son of the neo-Nazi web­site The Dai­ly Stormer. (McCarthy’s inter­view with Anglin and John­son was lat­er removed from YouTube and re-uploaded off-site.)

Cernovich’s appear­ance on “Virtue of the West” is not an iso­lat­ed event. Every day, all across YouTube, pop­u­lar pun­dits with large audi­ences and con­nec­tions to those in pow­er are engag­ing with, pro­mot­ing and val­i­dat­ing extrem­ist YouTube per­son­al­i­ties who seek to rad­i­cal­ize their audi­ences. and pro­mote extreme right-wing pol­i­tics.

Ten­sions Rise, Blog­gers Flee As YouTube’s Efforts To Com­bat Extrem­ism Begin

YouTube has been crit­i­cized for design­ing algo­rithms that are, as The Guardian report­ed, “draw­ing view­ers into ever more extreme con­tent, rec­om­mend­ing a suc­ces­sion of videos that can quick­ly take them into dark cor­ners of the inter­net,”and has been toy­ing with reme­dies that can effec­tive­ly iso­late extrem­ist and ter­ror­is­tic con­tent with­out cen­sor­ing speech on the site.

In ear­ly August, YouTube announced it would no longer allow videos on its site that were flagged for “con­tro­ver­sial reli­gious or suprema­cist con­tent” to earn ad rev­enue and rack up views from the platform’s “rec­om­mend­ed videos” fea­ture. Since that announce­ment, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, alt-right activists and “new right” inter­net pun­dits have expressed out­rage.

Videos these social media pun­dits cre­at­ed that meet YouTube’s cri­te­ria for extrem­ism have been placed in a “lim­it­ed state,” where they exist in a pur­ga­to­ry space with­out adver­tis­ing or video rec­om­men­da­tions, mean­ing only a direct link will bring view­ers to the video and that the con­tent cre­ator earns no rev­enue. YouTube’s action served to accom­plish two things: It removed finan­cial incen­tives for these per­son­al­i­ties to cater to extrem­ists, and it helped curb a rab­bit-hole effect in which the site’s algo­rithms rec­om­mend­ed increas­ing­ly more extrem­ist con­tent to oth­er­wise main­stream right-wing audi­ences and result­ed in right-wing extrem­ist YouTube stars receiv­ing oth­er­wise unearned expo­sure.

Lead­ers of the right-wing polit­i­cal YouTube uni­verse crit­i­cized the pol­i­cy in a myr­i­ad of ways, even liken­ing it to Nazism. In a post announc­ing a nation­al protest against Google (which was lat­er can­celled), right-wing troll Jack Poso­biec claimed YouTube was “cen­sor­ing and silenc­ing dis­sent­ing voic­es by cre­at­ing ‘ghet­tos’ for videos ques­tion­ing the dom­i­nant nar­ra­tive.” Right-wing vlog­ger Tarl War­wick claimed that the new “sup­pres­sion fea­ture” would be counter-pro­duc­tive to YouTube’s goals. Infowars edi­tors Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Wat­son gloat­ed that they reach mil­lions of view­ers and have made YouTube a “right-wing safe space” and that YouTube imple­ment­ed the new pol­i­cy because they “real­ized they were los­ing.”

Now, extrem­ists and white suprema­cists ensnared by YouTube’s new pol­i­cy are threat­en­ing to leave YouTube and have begun host­ing their videos on alter­na­tive sites such as VidMe and BitChute. The migra­tion to video plat­forms friend­ly to the alt-right is sim­i­lar to an alt-right push last year to ditch Twit­ter and join “Gab.ai” after Twit­ter banned many white suprema­cist accounts. These extrem­ist YouTube stars have asked their fol­low­ers to join them on these new plat­forms and send them mon­ey on Patre­on (and alt-right alter­na­tive Hatere­on) to replace the rev­enue they were pre­vi­ous­ly earn­ing from YouTube adver­tis­ing. But as Busi­ness Insid­er report­ed, this effort has been so-far unsuc­cess­ful.

The Extrem­ists Using YouTube To Get Famous

Below is an intro­duc­tion to a few of the most promi­nent exam­ples of right-wing extrem­ists who have used YouTube to build large online fol­low­ings, some with the help of bet­ter known right-wing social media per­son­al­i­ties.

Black Pigeon Speaks

Black Pigeon Speaks (BPS) is an anony­mous YouTube vlog­ger based in Japan with hun­dreds of thou­sands of fol­low­ers. Shoren­stein Cen­ter on Media fel­low Zach Elexy not­ed that BPS’s world­view “over­laps with old­er ideas from many diverse move­ments and ide­olo­gies such as white nation­al­ism, neo-Nazism, anti-Semi­tism, con­ser­vatism, clas­si­cal lib­er­al­ism, lib­er­tar­i­an­ism, and Chris­t­ian con­ser­vatism.” BPS does not out­ward­ly iden­ti­fy with any par­tic­u­lar polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy, but fre­quent­ly reit­er­ates talk­ing points pop­u­lar among alt-right cir­cles, such as his belief that empow­ered women destroy civ­i­liza­tions, trans­gen­der peo­ple are men­tal­ly ill, and efforts for diver­si­ty erase West­ern cul­tures. BPS dis­trib­utes his videos to hun­dreds of thou­sands of sub­scribers.

Blonde in the Bel­ly of the Beast

Rebec­ca, who does not share her last name, is a YouTu­ber based in Seat­tle who has said the idea that “all cul­tures are equal” is “garbage.” On her Patre­on fundrais­ing page, Rebec­ca states that she has become “increas­ing­ly hos­tile this last decade as I real­ized that fem­i­nism, Islam, Cul­tur­al Marx­ism and unre­strict­ed tol­er­ance have incre­men­tal­ly erod­ed our once great soci­ety into some­thing unrec­og­niz­able.” On YouTube, she shares views about white iden­ti­ty, tells young women to aban­don fem­i­nism, and makes big­ot­ed argu­ments against migra­tion in Europe. Rebec­ca has more than 70,000 sub­scribers to her chan­nel and has been host­ed by far-right super­star Ste­fan Molyneux, alt-right extrem­ist Tara McCarthy, and alt-right media net­work Red Ice TV. She has also been pro­mot­ed numer­ous times on white nation­al­ist Richard Spencer’s site, AltRight.com.

Brit­tany Pet­ti­bone

Brit­tany Pet­ti­bone is a YouTube per­son­al­i­ty who refers to her­self as an “Amer­i­can nation­al­ist” but has expressed white nation­al­ist views, such as that it’s “our fault” if white peo­ple become a minor­i­ty race. She uses her plat­form to host even more unabashed white nation­al­ists and has appeared on extrem­ist out­lets like Red Ice. Pet­ti­bone has also per­pet­u­at­ed “white geno­cide” and “Piz­za­gate” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. Although Pettibone’s per­son­al YouTube fol­low­ing is mod­est in com­par­i­son to oth­ers list­ed, she has been able to recruit many pop­u­lar pun­dits to appear on her “Virtue of the West” series, which until recent­ly was co-host­ed by open­ly alt-right pun­dit Tara McCarthy. Recent­ly, Pet­ti­bone joined for­mer Rebel Media reporter Lau­ren South­ern in anti-immi­grant group Defend Europe’s blun­der­ing effortto keep NGO boats full of refugees away from the Euro­pean coast.

James All­sup

James All­sup is a pop­u­lar YouTube per­son­al­i­ty with hun­dreds of thou­sands of sub­scribers who once deliv­ered a speech at a Trump cam­paign ral­ly. He was spot­tedalong­side open white suprema­cists at the Unite the Right ral­ly last month, where he told Medi­aite that “white peo­ple are tired of being told by the cos­mopoli­tan elites that we are the prob­lem.” All­sup has used his YouTube chan­nel to host open­ly white suprema­cist guests such as Baked Alas­ka, an inter­net troll who reg­u­lar­ly espous­es Nazi pro­pa­gan­da memes, to sym­pa­thize with white nation­al­ist alt-right fig­ure Richard Spencer, and to deliv­er out­landish respons­es to dis­cus­sions about white priv­i­lege.

Mil­len­ni­al Woes

Col­in Robert­son, known online as Mil­len­ni­al Woes, is a Scot­tish video blog­ger who speaks open­ly of his alt-right iden­ti­ty and his con­cern that the white race will per­ish unless white peo­ple take actions to defend their cul­ture and pre­vent their race from diver­si­fy­ing. Ear­li­er this year, Robert­son was revealed to be a job­less ex-stu­dent who lives with his father. Robert­son spoke at the now-infa­mous con­fer­ence host­ed by Richard Spencer’s Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute where atten­dees shout­ed “Heil Trump!” while giv­ing Nazi salutes. He has been host­ed by pop­u­lar video blog­ger Carl “Sar­gon of Akkad” Ben­jamin, alt-right per­son­al­i­ty Tara McCarthy, white nation­al­ist blog­ger Brit­tany Pet­ti­bone, and alt-right broad­cast chan­nel Red Ice TV. Robert­son fre­quent­ly spreads white suprema­cist ideas, such as the notion that it is “exas­per­at­ing” to see white women with mixed-race chil­dren, and argues that believ­ing in racial equal­i­ty is “clear­ly delud­ing your­self.”

Ramz­Paul

Paul Ray Ram­sey, known as RamZ­Paul, is an inter­net per­son­al­i­ty who iden­ti­fies as alt-right and white nation­al­ist, and has spo­ken at mul­ti­pleevents host­ed by the white suprema­cist group Amer­i­can Renais­sance. The South­ern Pover­ty Law cen­ter has iden­ti­fied Ram­sey as a “smil­ing Nazi” because of his pub­lic affil­i­a­tions with white suprema­cist fig­ures such as Amer­i­can Renais­sance founder Jared Tay­lor and Richard Spencer. Although Ram­sey no longer claims to iden­ti­fy as alt-right, days before the Unite the Right ral­ly in Char­lottesville he post­ed a video claim­ing that white peo­ple “will not be replaced.” Ram­sey was an ardent sup­port­er of alt-right Unite the Right ral­ly, has appeared on alt-right broad­cast net­work Red Ice TV, and has been inter­viewed by NPR and Buz­zFeed.

Red Ice TV (Hen­rik Palm­gren and Lana Lok­t­eff)

Herik Palm­gren, the Swedish host of Red Ice, found­ed the network—which simul­casts on YouTube—in 2003 to cater to peo­ple look­ing for “pro-Euro­pean” news. Lana Lok­t­eff, a Russ­ian co-host, joined the net­work in 2012. Red Ice TV is trans­par­ent­ly white nation­al­ist, with show titles like “Diver­si­ty Is a Weapon Against White Peo­ple” and “The War on Whites Is Real.” The net­work also fea­tures open­ly and bla­tant­ly white suprema­cist guests and serves as a gate­way for extrem­ist YouTube blog­gers seek­ing alt-right audi­ences.

Tara McCarthy

Tara McCarthy is a British YouTube per­son­al­i­ty who open­ly touts her affil­i­a­tion with the white suprema­cist alt-right. McCarthy hosts the “Real­i­ty Calls” pod­cast and for­mer­ly co-host­ed with Brit­tany Pet­ti­bone “Virtue of the West,” a show that func­tions both as a plat­form for pop­u­lar YouTube pun­dits and a crit­i­cal boost­er for many alt-right inter­net stars. McCarthy is one of the most bla­tant white suprema­cists on YouTube and often uses her plat­form to boost the voic­es of neo-Nazis, warn view­ers about a “white geno­cide con­spir­a­cy” and advo­cate that women sub­mit to sub­servient gen­der roles. McCarthy has also sug­gest­edorga­niz­ing an alt-right men­tor­ship pro­gram to help guide young men who are explor­ing the move­ment. McCarthy is fre­quent­ly able to book pop­u­lar right-wing per­son­al­i­ties to appear on her chan­nel and shared screen time with pop­u­lar per­son­al­i­ties on “Virtue of the West.”

Wife with a Pur­pose

Ayla, who does not pub­licly share her last name, advo­cates for “rad­i­cal tra­di­tion­al­ism” on YouTube and her blog. Her blog warns that “fem­i­nism, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, athe­ism, hedo­nism, and trans­gen­der-ism” have over­shad­owed the West­ern world’s “hard work and pri­or­i­ties of fam­i­ly and faith.” Ayla, who con­sid­ers her­selfan alt-right poster girl, is best known for propos­ing to her audi­ence a “white baby chal­lenge.” Ayla, who is Mor­mon, claimedthe Mor­mon church “turned it’s (sic) back on its white mem­bers” when it denounced white suprema­cy fol­low­ing the Unite the Right ral­ly in Char­lottesville. Ayla has been pro­mot­ed by alt-right broad­cast sta­tion Red Ice TV and right-wing blog­ger Brit­tany Pet­ti­bone.

Peo­ple Who Enable The Hate

Below is an intro­duc­tion to some of the most promi­nent right-wing social media per­son­al­i­ties who have used the pop­u­lar­i­ty of their own plat­forms to host peo­ple with even more extreme views, or who have appeared on plat­forms host­ed by extrem­ists. These fig­ures do not reg­u­lar­ly use their plat­forms to per­son­al­ly express par­tic­u­lar­ly racist or extrem­ist ide­olo­gies, but fre­quent­ly host guests or appear on plat­forms that do with min­i­mal crit­i­cism.

Sar­gon of Akkad

Carl Ben­jamin, best known as Sar­gon of Akkad (or “Sar­gon” for short), is a YouTube per­son­al­i­ty who rose to fame dur­ing the “gamer­gate” con­tro­ver­sy, which end­ed in death threats being sent to a female video game devel­op­er. Ben­jamin has hun­dreds of thou­sands of fol­low­ers, with whom he shares anti-SJW (social jus­tice war­rior) rhetoric, crit­i­ciz­ing lib­er­als who express out­rage at offen­sive con­tent. Ben­jamin con­sid­ers him­self a “clas­si­cal lib­er­al,” but has expressed his fas­ci­na­tion with the racist alt-right and has sharedhis plat­form with bla­tant­ly alt-right fig­ures.

Ste­fan Molyneux

Ste­fan Molyneux is an author and vlog­ger with a large fol­low­ing on YouTube. He is a pop­u­lar fig­ure among “red-pilled” men’s right activists (“red pilled” is a term from the sci-fi movie The Matrix that refers to rec­og­niz­ing the bru­tal real­i­ties of the world rather than liv­ing in bliss­ful igno­rance), and iden­ti­fies him­self as a “race real­ist,” a com­mon euphemism among white suprema­cists. Although Molyneux’s polit­i­cal views are bent toward the unfor­giv­ing Right, his pri­ma­ry involve­ment in the spread of extrem­ism is his will­ing­ness to host open­ly alt-rightextrem­ists, pro­vid­ing these fig­ures a big step toward online rel­e­van­cy.

Roam­ing Mil­len­ni­al

Roam­ing Mil­len­ni­al (RM) is an anony­mous Cana­di­an video blog­ger who uses her incred­i­bly pop­u­lar YouTube chan­nel to con­vey far-right talk­ing points that strad­dle the line of extrem­ism. RM’s videos have been ded­i­cat­ed to botched debunks of racial oppres­sion and gen­der inequal­i­ty, label­ing social jus­tice “can­cer,” and decry­ingnon-tra­di­tion­al gen­der iden­ti­ty. Although RM does not iden­ti­fy as alt-right, she has wel­comed right-wing extrem­ists like Tara McCarthy to appear on her chan­nel.

Styxhexenhammer666

Tarl War­wick, or “Styx,” was an ear­ly arrival to YouTube in 2007 and now posts dai­ly polit­i­cal com­men­tary videos in which he espous­es nation­al­is­tic views to his audi­ence of more than 170,000 sub­scribers. War­wick is often her­ald­ed on the racist cesspool of 4chan and 8chan’s “polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect” forum boards, where he says he sources his news to “break the stran­gle­hold of the main­stream media.” War­wick has appeared on bla­tant­ly alt-right YouTube chan­nels with Red Ice hosts and Tara McCarthy. He does not denounce eth­no-nation­al­ism, but does not claim to per­son­al­ly believe in a white eth­no-state. Recent­ly, War­wick has been seen boost­ing his pro­file on Infowars and Ste­fan Molyneux’s chan­nel.

12. In our dis­cus­sions of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work, the pro­gram notes that the net­work has long made a point of uti­liz­ing Jews. (A syn­op­tic overview of the Bor­mann net­work can be found in the descrip­tion for FTR #305.)

Using Jews as pri­ma­ry oper­a­tives has a num­ber of advan­tages: it pro­vides an excel­lent cov­er for a Nazi mon­ey-laun­der­ing oper­a­tion; the cap­i­tal derived for the state of Israel helps to assure con­nivance and silence on the part of the Israeli author­i­ties with regard to the exis­tence of the Bor­mann net­work and the Under­ground Reich; peo­ple can point to the great wealth of Bor­mann Jews and blame eco­nom­ic dis­tress on them, sim­i­lar to the Inter­net chat­ter gen­er­at­ed by the col­lapse of Bernard Mad­of­f’s Ponzi scheme.

It turns out that Ben­jamin Netanyahu and close asso­ciates–“Team Netanyahu,” if you will–appear to have an ongo­ing sweet­heart deal with ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems to pro­vide war­ships for the Israeli Navy. (We have talked about the pro­found links between the Thyssen inter­ests, the Bor­mann group and the Bush fam­i­ly in numer­ous pro­grams and posts, includ­ing FTR #‘s 273, 332, 370, 435 and 894.)

Note that ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems sub­con­tract­ed busi­ness for Israeli war­ship deals to a Lebanese-con­trolled firm Priv­in­vest. Such firms are char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bor­mann group busi­ness enti­ties.

Recall, also, that the Netanyahu fam­i­ly has been very close to Vladimir Jabotin­sky, the prog­en­i­tor of the Betar, arguably the most impor­tant of the fas­cist ele­ments with­in the Zion­ist move­ment.

“Sub­ma­rine Case Is Haunt­ing Netanyahu at a Crit­i­cal Time” by Isabel Ker­sh­n­er; The New York Times; 2/8/2017.

Amid a swirl of police inves­ti­ga­tions and ethics probes envelop­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu of Israel and his inner cir­cle, a bud­ding scan­dal over con­tracts for new sub­marines and oth­er war­ships appears to be gain­ing momen­tum as anoth­er poten­tial threat to his polit­i­cal future.

For weeks, the police have been car­ry­ing out an inquiry into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Israeli con­tracts with a Ger­man ship­build­ing com­pa­ny for the pur­chase of sub­marines and new mis­sile ships that Mr. Netanyahu cham­pi­oned. His per­son­al lawyer, David Shim­ron, also rep­re­sents the Israeli agent for the com­pa­ny, which has led to accu­sa­tions of a con­flict of inter­est in con­tracts that involve bil­lions of dol­lars of busi­ness and the shape of Israel’s defense strat­e­gy.

Moshe Yaalon, whom Mr. Netanyahu oust­ed as defense min­is­ter last year and who was against adding the new sub­marines, is report­ed to have recent­ly giv­en tes­ti­mo­ny. . . .

. . . . Ini­tial­ly, Israel’s Chan­nel 10 tele­vi­sion report­ed a poten­tial link between the Ger­man ship­build­ing com­pa­ny, ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems, and Mr. Netanyahu through his per­son­al lawyer, Mr. Shim­ron.

Soon came more reports of the seem­ing­ly strange cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Israeli pro­cure­ments of oth­er war­ships. There was the sud­den can­cel­la­tion in 2014 of an in6ternational bid­ding process for the con­struc­tion of four mis­sile corvettes in favor of the same Ger­man ship­yard. The ships are meant to pro­tect Israel’s nat­ur­al gas rigs in the Mediter­ranean against threats, par­tic­u­lar­ly from Hezbol­lah, the Lebanese mil­i­tant orga­ni­za­tion.

In anoth­er twist, the firm sub­con­tract­ed by ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems to build the four mis­sile boats for Israel is con­trolled by Priv­in­vest, a hold­ing com­pa­ny reg­is­tered in Beirut, Lebanon—technically an ene­my of Israel’s.  The sub­con­trac­tor, Ger­man  Naval Yards Kiel, is list­ed on Privinest’s web­site as a mem­ber of its major inter­na­tion­al ship­build­ing group, which has a pres­ence in 40 coun­tries. . . .

. . . . Describ­ing the deci­sion-mak­ing process in a detailed time­line, the office attrib­uted the deci­sion to the For­eign Min­istry, the Defense Min­istry and the navy after the Ger­man gov­ern­ment offered a 27.5 per­cent dis­count.

Mr. Shim­ron con­firmed that he rep­re­sent­ed Michael Ganor, the Israeli agent of ThyssenK­rupp Marine Sys­tems, and has rep­re­sent­ed Mr. Ganor  “in cer­tain aspects of an agree­ment” relat­ed to Mr. Ganor’s con­sul­tan­cy for the Ger­man com­pa­ny. . . .

. . . . Mr. Mar­galit, a mem­ber of the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee that approves bud­gets for mil­i­tary acqui­si­tions, was a tech­nol­o­gy entre­pre­neur before he entered pol­i­tics.

“I am used to hear­ing about big deals,” he said in a recent inter­view in his office at the Knes­set. “I devel­oped an ear for lis­ten­ing for when things add up and when they don’t.”

He said the ship­ping deals sound­ed “very fishy,” so he trav­eled to Ger­many in Decem­ber to do what he called some “due dili­gence.” On his return, he sent a let­ter to the attor­ney gen­er­al. In ti, he detailed the Lebanese con­nec­tion to the con­tract. And he assert­ed that anoth­er Priv­in­vest group mem­ber, Abu Dhabi Mar, has changed its name to Ger­man Naval Yards Kiel in 2015, while the deal with Israel was being for­mu­lat­ed, under pres­sure form three promi­nent Israelis who want­ed to obscure the com­pa­ny’s Arab own­er­ship. . . .

13. Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair recent­ly won plau­dits from Nazis and fas­cists for his attri­bu­tion of his father’s polit­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties to an inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy.

“Soros and Rep­til­ians Con­trol­ling the World: Yair Netanyahu Posts Meme Rife With anti-Semit­ic Themes” by Haaretz; Haaretz; 09/09/2017

Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu, post­ed an image on his Face­book page Sat­ur­day that seems to sug­gest a con­spir­a­cy is behind his family’s grow­ing legal prob­lems. The meme is laden with anti-Semit­ic imagery.

The meme, cap­tioned “the food chain,” fea­tures a pho­to of George Soros dan­gling the world in front of a rep­til­ian crea­ture, who dan­gles an alche­my sym­bol in front of a car­i­ca­ture of a fig­ure rem­i­nis­cent of the anti-Semit­ic “hap­py mer­chant” image.

The oth­er fig­ures in the chain are for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Barak, anti-Netanyahu protest leader Eldad Yaniv and Meni Naf­tali, a for­mer chief care­tak­er at the Netanyahus’ offi­cial res­i­dence who impli­cat­ed Sara Netanyahu in the case she is being indict­ed in.

David Duke, a for­mer grand wiz­ard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweet­ed the fol­low­ing in an appar­ent show of sup­port for Yair Netanyahu:

Netanyahu’s son posts a meme sug­gest­ing (((Soros))) is con­trol­ling the world: “Meme rife with anti-Semit­ic themes“https://t.co/6WxSTUNU4e— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) Sep­tem­ber 9, 2017

The neo-Nazi Dai­ly Stormer also post­ed an arti­cle regard­ing the meme enti­tled “Netanyahu’s Son Posts Awe­some Meme Blam­ing the Jews for Bring­ing Down his Jew Father,” in which they called Yair Netanyahu “a total bro.”

This ver­sion of the meme seems to have orig­i­nat­ed on a right-wing Face­book page. The meme is near­ly iden­ti­cal to, and appears to be adapt­ed from, a vicious­ly anti-Semit­ic image that has been repeat­ed­ly post­ed across the inter­net in recent years on racist and con­spir­a­cy-the­o­ry mes­sage boards.

Like most memes, it is impos­si­ble to deter­mine who orig­i­nal­ly cre­at­ed it. In one instance, it was post­ed by a white suprema­cist named John de Nugent with the title “Illu­mi­na­tus Jew Dumb Amer­i­can Burg­er” in its URL.

the truth is revealed pic.twitter.com/CiRKseODEe— Sam the Mule (@SamLeMule) Jan­u­ary 20, 2017

In the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the meme, the first fig­ure in the “food chain” is an obese wal­rus in an Amer­i­can flag T‑shirt tempt­ed by a ham­burg­er dan­gled in front of him. Behind the man is an Ortho­dox Jew moti­vat­ed by mon­ey, con­trolled by the same Illu­mi­nati fig­ure fea­tured in the car­toon that Netanyahu post­ed, with the same giant lizard loom­ing over them all.

The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter describes de Nugent as “a pro­lif­ic writer who has worked with numer­ous hate groups includ­ing the neo-Nazi Nation­al Alliance and the Holo­caust-deny­ing Barnes Review. De Nugent has run for elect­ed office, and has even vowed to one day become pres­i­dent. While main­tain­ing racist views about numer­ous racial and eth­nic groups, de Nugent is par­tic­u­lar­ly anti-Semit­ic, believ­ing that the Jews are, along with nefar­i­ous space aliens, intent on exter­mi­nat­ing the Aryan race.”

After Haaretz pub­lished a report about his meme, Yair Netanyahu dis­missed the claim that he is anti-Semit­ic and accused the news­pa­per of being exact­ly that.

Barak, who is depict­ed in the meme chas­ing mon­ey, sug­gest­ed that Yair Netanyahu should see a psy­chi­a­trist. “Is this what the kid hears at home?” he said. “Is it genet­ics, or a spon­ta­neous men­tal ill­ness? It doesn’t mat­ter. In any case, we should fund his psy­chi­a­trist instead of secu­ri­ty guards and a dri­ver.”

Labor leader Avi Gab­bay, also on Twit­ter, said: “It’s a par­tic­u­lar­ly sad day for Israel when a car­i­ca­ture that’s endorsed by the head of the KKK emerges from the home of the prime min­is­ter of the Jew­ish state.”

MK Zeha­va Galon (Meretz) added that “motifs in the Netanyahu fam­i­ly are anti-Semit­ic par excel­lence.” MK Mer­av Ben Ari (Kulanu) said that “this post deserves all man­ners of con­dem­na­tion, from the left and the right. I’m on the right.”

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Avichai Mendel­blit announced Fri­day that Sara Netanyahu would be indict­ed for fraud and breach of trust. She is to be charged with spend­ing 359,000 shekels ($102,000) in state funds on cater­ing at the prime minister’s offi­cial res­i­dence, while false­ly claim­ing that the house did not employ a cook. The indict­ment is sub­ject to a hear­ing, whose date has not yet been announced.

Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu has accused Naf­tali, the last link in Yair Netanyahu’s meme, of inflat­ing spend­ing on food dur­ing his tenure as chief care­tak­er of the offi­cial res­i­dence.

14. In numer­ous posts and pro­grams, we have high­light­ed the cor­po­ratist, lais­sez-faire eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The World Bank cites Ibn Khal­dun, the chief the­o­reti­cian of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy, as the ear­li­est advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion. In a 1981 speech, Ronald Rea­gan cit­ed Ibn Khal­dun in a pitch for his “sup­ply-side” eco­nom­ics.

This unites the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the Lud­wig Von Mis­es milieu (and Christo­pher Cantwell), Edward Snow­den, Julian Assange and Mil­ton Fried­man on com­mon ide­o­log­i­cal turf.

“Rea­gan Cites Islam­ic Schol­ar” by Robert D. McFad­den; The New York Times; 10/02/1981

Pres­i­dent Rea­gan, in his news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, cit­ed a 14th cen­tu­ry Islam­ic schol­ar as an ear­ly expo­nent of the ”sup­ply-side” eco­nom­ic the­o­ry on which his Admin­is­tra­tion bases many of its poli­cies. An author­i­ty on the schol­ar lat­er said that the ref­er­ence seemed accu­rate.

Sup­ply-side the­o­ry, among oth­er things, holds that a cut in tax rates will stim­u­late the econ­o­my and thus gen­er­ate even greater tax rev­enues.

Respond­ing to a ques­tion about the effects of tax and spend­ing cuts that began tak­ing effect yes­ter­day, Mr. Rea­gan said the sup­ply-side prin­ci­ple dat­ed at least as far back as Ibn Khal­dun, who is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the great­est Arab his­to­ri­an to emerge from the high­ly devel­oped Ara­bic cul­ture of the Mid­dle Ages.

Para­phras­ing the his­to­ri­an, Mr. Rea­gan said Ibn Khal­dun pos­tu­lat­ed that ”in the begin­ning of the dynasty, great tax rev­enues were gained from small assess­ments,” and that ”at the end of the dynasty, small tax rev­enues were gained from large assess­ments.”

”And,” said the Pres­i­dent, ”we’re try­ing to get down to the small assess­ments and the great rev­enues.”

Inter­pre­ta­tion Held Accu­rate

Franz Rosen­thal, the Ster­ling Pro­fes­sor of Near East­ern Lan­guages at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, who has trans­lat­ed many of Ibn Khaldun’s writ­ings and is regard­ed as one of the world’s fore­most Ibn Khal­dun schol­ars, said lat­er that the President’s inter­pre­ta­tion of the historian’s ideas on tax­es appeared to be accu­rate.

Ibn Khal­dun is per­haps best known as the author of ”Kitab al-Ibar,” a four-vol­ume uni­ver­sal his­to­ry, and ”Muqad­dimah,” an intro­duc­tion in which he argues that rise and fall of human soci­eties may be traced to spe­cif­ic, dis­cov­er­able caus­es.

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #983 Fascism, 2017 World Tour, Part 2”

  1. Oh look, anoth­er per­pe­tra­tor of the Holo­caust is get­ting hon­ored in Lithua­nia: This time it’s Kazys Skir­pa, the Lithuan­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Ger­many who first pro­posed eth­nic cleans­ing of Jews to Hitler. He’s get­ting a cou­ple of streets named after him:

    Jerusalem Post

    Why is Lithua­nia hon­or­ing per­pe­tra­tors of the Holo­caust?

    Kazys Skir­pa is just an exam­ple of the world cel­e­brat­ing defec­tive heroes.

    By GRANT ARTHUR GOCHIN
    Novem­ber 29, 2017 14:46

    Pri­or to 1915, (for approx­i­mate­ly 700 years), Jews lived in Lithuan­ian ter­ri­to­ries and enjoyed rel­a­tive peace. After a Russ­ian expul­sion of Jews, inde­pen­dent Lithua­nia real­ized their loss of human resources and invit­ed eco­nom­i­cal­ly active Jews to return to Lithua­nia, with promis­es of autonomous com­mu­ni­ties and full equal rights. This hon­ey­moon peri­od last­ed until 1924, when Lithua­nia abol­ished their post of “Min­is­ter with­out a Port­fo­lio for Jew­ish Affairs.”

    After a coup in 1926 the Lithuan­ian Volde­marist move­ment arose, it con­flat­ed Jew hate with Lithuan­ian patri­o­tism. A sub­se­quent Jew hate move­ment arose called Ver­slas, so that, by the 1940s, Jew hate and Lithuan­ian patri­o­tism were syn­ony­mous in many cir­cles. Pro­tec­tion­ism was leg­is­lat­ed to sup­press Jew­ish busi­ness­es, Jews were denied Civ­il Ser­vice jobs and were lim­it­ed in Uni­ver­si­ty enroll­ment.

    Lithuan­ian pogroms against Jews began pri­or to the arrival of Nazis; Lithua­ni­ans active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in the slaugh­ter of their Jew­ish neigh­bors and joy­ous­ly reaped the eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits of loot­ing.

    Lithuania’s Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion did not sur­vive the Nazi occu­pa­tion. Esti­mates reflect that 23,000 Lithua­ni­ans active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in per­se­cut­ing their Jew­ish neigh­bors, and hun­dreds of thou­sands par­tic­i­pat­ed in the shar­ing of Jew­ish loot. Since Lithua­nia regained inde­pen­dence in 1990, not a sin­gle per­pe­tra­tor has been brought to jus­tice by the Lithuan­ian Gov­ern­ment, rather, just the oppo­site: not­ed per­pe­tra­tors have been trans­formed into revered heroes.

    For exam­ple, Kazys Skir­pa, the Lithuan­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Ger­many, who first pro­posed eth­nic cleans­ing of Jews to Hitler, and one of the archi­tects of the Holo­caust, is cel­e­brat­ed with streets named in his hon­or in two major Lithuan­ian cities. May­or Sima­sius of Vil­nius says Skir­pa raised the flag of inde­pen­dence on Cas­tle Hill in 1919, Sima­sius has not shown much incli­na­tion in remov­ing Skir­pa’s street name. Skirpa’s Jew­ish vic­tims are clear­ly incon­se­quen­tial. The same posi­tion was artic­u­lat­ed on Octo­ber 10, 2017 on Lithuan­ian Nation­al TV by Con­ser­v­a­tive MP Lau­ry­nas Kas­ci­u­nas, who said Skir­pa sim­ply “mis­cal­cu­lat­ed” in his attempt to cur­ry favor with Nazi Ger­many by advo­cat­ing for eth­nic cleans­ing of Lithua­ni­a’s Jews.

    In 2012, Juozas Ambraze­vi­cius Brazaitis, who was Prime Min­is­ter of the inter­im Lithuan­ian Gov­ern­ment that pro­mot­ed the per­se­cu­tion of Jews, was re-buried in Lithua­nia with full State Hon­ors, despite his claims that Jews should not be mur­dered so pub­licly. Appar­ent­ly, mur­der­ing Jews more pri­vate­ly was prefer­able. Brazaitis was also edi­tor of a news­pa­per “I Laisve” which equat­ed Jews and Bol­she­viks, which pro­vid­ed jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the slaugh­ter of all Jews, includ­ing Jew­ish babies. This slan­der is still in exis­tence in cur­rent Lithua­nia.

    The grave of the geno­ci­dal mur­der­er, Bro­nius Norkus, is con­sid­ered a nation­al cul­tur­al mon­u­ment because, in 1941, he post­ed a flag on a hill at the Res­ur­rec­tion Church in Kau­nas. No men­tion is made of the tens of thou­sands of Jews he butchered. Many oth­er exam­ples of defec­tive hon­ors also exist.

    Cur­rent­ly, a mon­u­ment to Jonas Nor­ei­ka is affixed to the front the Vrublevs­ki Library of the Lithuan­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences in Vil­nius. Nor­ei­ka ordered the deten­tion and con­cen­tra­tion of the Jews from sev­er­al com­mu­ni­ties, in addi­tion to the plun­der of their pos­ses­sions. Despite the fact that no instal­la­tion per­mit was issued, the mon­u­ment was erect­ed. Protests and appeals to the May­or of Vil­nius have been met with eva­sive and dis­mis­sive respons­es. He declined respon­si­bil­i­ty and deferred the mat­ter to the Library‘s man­age­ment. The Library in turn, declined to act. An appeal for action was then sub­mit­ted to the Her­itage Depart­ment, who owns the build­ing.

    May­or Sima­sius referred the ques­tion of Noreika’s guilt to Lithuania‘s mis­named, “Geno­cide Cen­ter.”

    This cen­ter has repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed that no amount of proof of cul­pa­bil­i­ty will be suf­fi­cient for them to con­demn a Lithuan­ian Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tor.

    An appeal to Lithuan­ian Pres­i­dent Gry­bauskaite fol­lowed. She claimed that her office checked with the Geno­cide Cen­ter, the Lithuan­ian Supreme Court, and the Lithuan­ian State Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment and there were no con­cerns with hon­or­ing Nor­ei­ka. A fol­low-up request to the Pres­i­dent was met with the response that inves­ti­gat­ing the war crimes of Nor­ei­ka was beyond the juris­dic­tion of her office — the chief exec­u­tive offi­cer in Lithua­nia. She claims that she sin­cere­ly cares about the Holo­caust.

    An appeal to the leg­isla­tive branch of the gov­ern­ment was also polite­ly side­stepped. An inquiry made to the Ombuds­man of the Lithuan­ian Seimas (Par­lia­ment) was again referred back to the Geno­cide Cen­ter, which declared on Noreika‘s behalf, the infa­mous Nurem­berg Defense assert­ed by Nazi war crim­i­nal Eich­mann – “I was only fol­low­ing orders.“ That Nurem­berg Defense was reject­ed by the War Crimes Tri­bunal then; in Lithua­nia, it remains as an accept­able defense.

    After the fail­ure of legal and moral appeals to the exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive branch­es of gov­ern­ment, a new appeal was lodged against the Nor­ei­ka mon­u­ment focus­ing on aes­thet­ic val­ues, rather than on human val­ues. The Lithuan­ian Depart­ment of Cul­tur­al Her­itage has spe­cif­ic aes­thet­ic cri­te­ria for mon­u­ments, a request for review was sub­mit­ted and denied.

    A legal suit was filed in order to deter­mine if the Her­itage Depart­ments’ refusal was law­ful. This suit was reject­ed on a tech­ni­cal­i­ty by the Court, and declined. The dec­li­na­tion was appealed to the Lithuan­ian Supreme Admin­is­tra­tive Court who over­ruled the low­er Court and returned the case for recon­sid­er­a­tion. The low­er court then found a new tech­ni­cal­i­ty in order to dis­miss the case once again.

    The ridicu­lous­ness of the toss­ing of the case back and forth between Courts cre­at­ed a pur­pose­less vac­u­um.

    Low­er-lev­el Lithuan­ian courts have his­tor­i­cal­ly demon­strat­ed a lack of inde­pen­dence and sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to polit­i­cal pres­sure. There­fore, the mon­u­ment remains, with MPs like Kas­ci­u­nas defend­ing it.

    Appar­ent­ly, patri­o­tism wash­es away the stain of Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tion.

    Fun­da­men­tal to any democ­ra­cy is an hon­est and thor­ough exam­i­na­tion of its past. Lithuan­ian politi­cians strive to keep the pop­u­la­tion in a per­pet­u­al state of fear. Their per­va­sive method is a pos­si­ble impend­ing Russ­ian inva­sion (Russ­ian mis­chief mak­ing in the Baltics is a gen­uine con­cern). Dis­sention from their ide­o­log­i­cal ortho­doxy is labeled a Russ­ian plot. They see no rea­son for self-exam­i­na­tion, there­fore, ques­tion­ing the hon­or­ing of Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors con­sti­tutes oppos­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal state. Pub­lic sup­port for Sovi­et or Nazi crimes against Lithua­nia is crim­i­nal­ized, how­ev­er, sup­port for Lithuan­ian Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors is applaud­ed.

    A recent exam­ple is Dr. Dar­ius Udrys, a Lithuan­ian-Amer­i­can cur­rent­ly liv­ing in Vil­nius. Udrys is out­spo­ken in his crit­i­cism of Lithuan­ian offi­cials who hon­or Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors and war crim­i­nals. He has proven to be a con­tin­u­al irri­tant to Lithua­ni­a’s his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ists. In a recent online dis­cus­sion, Udrys ques­tioned the pro­pri­ety of the killing of civil­ians dur­ing Lithuania’s par­ti­san war against the Sovi­ets, and as a result, was forced out of his posi­tion as head of the city’s devel­op­ment agency. His oust­ing was pre­ced­ed by a pub­lic slan­der cam­paign led by a Vil­nius City Coun­cilmem­ber Ado­mas Buzin­skas and his ide­o­log­i­cal col­leagues. An appeal for redress was pre­sent­ed to the City’s Ethics Com­mis­sion, who ruled against Udrys, claim­ing that the slan­der­er was sim­ply being “patri­ot­ic.”

    Patri­o­tism and hon­or­ing of Lithuan­ian Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors have become syn­ony­mous, as was Jew hate and patri­o­tism in the late 1930s.

    ...

    ———-

    “Why is Lithua­nia hon­or­ing per­pe­tra­tors of the Holo­caust?” by GRANT ARTHUR GOCHIN; Jerusalem Post; 11/29/2017

    “Lithuania’s Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion did not sur­vive the Nazi occu­pa­tion. Esti­mates reflect that 23,000 Lithua­ni­ans active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in per­se­cut­ing their Jew­ish neigh­bors, and hun­dreds of thou­sands par­tic­i­pat­ed in the shar­ing of Jew­ish loot. Since Lithua­nia regained inde­pen­dence in 1990, not a sin­gle per­pe­tra­tor has been brought to jus­tice by the Lithuan­ian Gov­ern­ment, rather, just the oppo­site: not­ed per­pe­tra­tors have been trans­formed into revered heroes.

    Yep, since Lithua­nia regained inde­pen­dence, one Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tor after anoth­er has been trans­formed into revered heroes. And this time is the guy who first pro­posed the eth­nic cleans­ing of Jews to Hitler and one of the archi­tects of the Holo­caust:

    ...
    For exam­ple, Kazys Skir­pa, the Lithuan­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Ger­many, who first pro­posed eth­nic cleans­ing of Jews to Hitler, and one of the archi­tects of the Holo­caust, is cel­e­brat­ed with streets named in his hon­or in two major Lithuan­ian cities. May­or Sima­sius of Vil­nius says Skir­pa raised the flag of inde­pen­dence on Cas­tle Hill in 1919, Sima­sius has not shown much incli­na­tion in remov­ing Skir­pa’s street name. Skirpa’s Jew­ish vic­tims are clear­ly incon­se­quen­tial. The same posi­tion was artic­u­lat­ed on Octo­ber 10, 2017 on Lithuan­ian Nation­al TV by Con­ser­v­a­tive MP Lau­ry­nas Kas­ci­u­nas, who said Skir­pa sim­ply “mis­cal­cu­lat­ed” in his attempt to cur­ry favor with Nazi Ger­many by advo­cat­ing for eth­nic cleans­ing of Lithua­ni­a’s Jews.
    ...

    And this is just the lat­est instance of this pat­tern in Lithua­nia and across the Baltics. Because...

    ...
    Patri­o­tism and hon­or­ing of Lithuan­ian Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors have become syn­ony­mous, as was Jew hate and patri­o­tism in the late 1930s.
    ...

    As we can see, patri­o­tism isn’t just ‘the last refuge of the scoundrel’. These days, patri­o­tism is the last refuge of Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors, thanks to the scoundrels doing every­thing they can to make the hon­or­ing of Holo­caust per­pe­tra­tors syn­ony­mous with patri­o­tism.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 7, 2017, 3:32 pm
  2. This arti­cle should leave no dobut about what the polit­i­cal par­ty Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AFD) stands for. Some quotes from the arti­cle include:

    * “Die Welt said Steinke argued that ‘the war was — con­trary to today’s pro­pa­gan­da — not a war pri­mar­i­ly against Hitler, but against Ger­many and the Ger­man peo­ple,’ and that Stauf­fen­berg was ‘no hero.’ ...: ‘I would like to make it clear once again that I sole­ly eval­u­ate the actions of Stauf­fen­berg and not the actions of Hitler. I do not see how a suc­cess­ful assas­si­na­tion attempt would have helped the Ger­mans.”

    *“Ques­tion­able com­ments about the Nazi era by promi­nent mem­bers, and the lead­er­ship’s han­dling of them, have been a recur­ring issue for the par­ty.”

    * “In Jan­u­ary 2017 region­al AfD leader Bjo­ern Hoecke described the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al in Berlin as a ‘mon­u­ment of shame’ and demand­ed a ‘180 degree turn­around’ in the way Ger­many seeks to atone for Nazi crimes. The par­ty decid­ed this year not to expel him over the com­ments.”.

    Notice how the AFD region­al youth leader tries to recast a com­ment about the assas­i­na­tion attmept agains Hitler as a state­ment about mil­i­tary risk to Ger­many due to a pow­er struc­ture change while Ger­many was fac­ing a mil­i­tary defeat.
    — Notice that he leads the youth wing (reminds me of Hitler Youth). This per­son is in a posi­tion to influ­cence the impres­sion­able young peo­ple who afil­i­ate with the Par­ty.

    https://dailym.ai/2v8SDwq

    Anger in Ger­many as far right youth leader says the army offi­cer who tried to assas­si­nate Hitler was a ‘trai­tor’

    * Lars Steinke is a region­al head of far right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many’s youth wing
    * He is said to have called Colonel Claus von Stauf­fen­berg a ‘trai­tor’ on Face­book
    * Stauf­fen­berg plant­ed a brief­case bomb under a table in a bid to kill Hitler in 1944
    * Steinke called the plot a ‘cow­ard’s shame­ful attempt to save his own skin from the oncom­ing vic­tor’

    By JULIAN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE and REUTERS
    PUBLISHED: 10:54 EDT, 2 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:54 EDT, 2 August 2018

    A Ger­man far-right youth leader has come under­fire for say­ing the man tried to assas­si­nate Adolf Hitler was a ‘trai­tor’.

    Lars Steinke, region­al head of Alter­na­tive for Ger­many’s youth wing in the coun­try’s Low­er Sax­ony state, post­ed the com­ment on his pri­vate Face­book page.

    Steinke is said to have described Colonel Claus von Stauf­fen­berg’s plot to kill the dic­ta­tor as ‘a cow­ard’s shame­ful attempt to save his own skin from the oncom­ing vic­tor.’

    Stauf­fen­berg plant­ed a brief­case bomb under a table at Hitler’s mil­i­tary head­quar­ters in east­ern Prus­sia on July 20, 1944. 

    Pro­tect­ed by the heavy wood­en table, Hitler suf­fered only minor injuries and Stauf­fen­berg was exe­cut­ed that night with fel­low con­spir­a­tors.  

    The con­spir­a­tors, among the most promi­nent exam­ples of Ger­man resis­tance against the Nazis, are now hon­oured annu­al­ly on the anniver­sary of the assas­si­na­tion attempt.

    At the time of the assas­si­na­tion attempt, Nazi Ger­many was fight­ing a los­ing bat­tle in World War Two with Sovi­et forces and the West­ern allies.

    Hitler sur­vived the bomb­ing and was able to con­tin­ue his mil­i­tary cam­paign to con­quer Europe and erad­i­cate the con­ti­nen­t’s Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion for anoth­er year. 

    The plot — por­trayed in films such as the 2008 Hol­ly­wood movie ‘Valkyrie’ — helped estab­lish a prin­ci­ple under which Ger­man sol­diers today are encour­aged to defy orders if they would result in a crime or vio­late human dig­ni­ty. 

    But Die Welt cit­ed Steinke as say­ing any­one who want­ed to ‘wipe out’ their coun­try’s lead­er­ship at a time of rear­guard action and was pre­pared to risk the col­lapse of bat­tle fronts and so the unhin­dered advance of the ene­my was ‘an ene­my of the Ger­man sol­dier and civil­ian Ger­mans and so an ene­my of the Ger­man peo­ple and there­fore also my ene­my’.  

    Die Welt said Steinke argued that ‘the war was — con­trary to today’s pro­pa­gan­da — not a war pri­mar­i­ly against Hitler, but against Ger­many and the Ger­man peo­ple,’ and that Stauf­fen­berg was ‘no hero.’

    Speak­ing to Dai­ly Star Online, he added: ‘I would like to make it clear once again that I sole­ly eval­u­ate the actions of Stauf­fen­berg and not the actions of Hitler. I do not see how a suc­cess­ful assas­si­na­tion attempt would have helped the Ger­mans.

    ‘It seems to me that Stauf­fen­berg want­ed to get a bet­ter posi­tion after the war. And some­one who wants to gain an advan­tage at the expense of their own sol­diers and civil­ians is a trai­tor to me.’

    Alter­na­tive for Ger­many co-leader Joerg Meuthen said Steinke’s com­ments ‘are com­plete­ly unac­cept­able, show an absurd under­stand­ing of his­to­ry and have absolute­ly no place’ in the par­ty. He said lead­ers of the par­ty, known by its Ger­man acronym AfD, will con­sid­er the mat­ter next week.

    ‘Stauf­fen­berg is a hero of Ger­man his­to­ry,’ said fel­low leader Alexan­der Gauland. ‘Steinke has dis­qual­i­fied him­self from AfD. He should be expelled.’

    AfD won 12.6 per­cent of the vote to enter the Ger­man par­lia­ment last year on anti-migrant and anti-estab­lish­ment sen­ti­ment. 

    Ques­tion­able com­ments about the Nazi era by promi­nent mem­bers, and the lead­er­ship’s han­dling of them, have been a recur­ring issue for the par­ty.

    Oth­er AfD mem­bers have also pro­voked out­rage with their com­ments about the Nazi past. 

    Last year Gauland said Ger­mans should be proud of what their sol­diers achieved dur­ing both world wars.

    In Jan­u­ary 2017 region­al AfD leader Bjo­ern Hoecke described the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al in Berlin as a ‘mon­u­ment of shame’ and demand­ed a ‘180 degree turn­around’ in the way Ger­many seeks to atone for Nazi crimes. The par­ty decid­ed this year not to expel him over the com­ments.

    Posted by Mary Benton | August 6, 2018, 6:57 pm
  3. Here’s some­thing to keep an eye on in Brazil’s upcom­ing elec­tion: The sec­ond place can­di­date based on recent polls is Jair Bol­sonaro, a far right ‘pop­ulist’ who is often com­pared to Don­ald Trump. Bol­sonaro is known for speak­ing fond­ly of Brazil’s for­mer mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and promised to fill his gov­ern­ment with cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary lead­ers. He’s also known for say­ing things like he would like shoot cor­rupt mem­bers of the left­ist Work­ers’ Par­ty. That’s the par­ty of for­mer Brazil­ian pres­i­dent Luiz Iná­cio Lula da Sil­va (typ­i­cal­ly known as ‘Lula’), who has been lead­ing in the polls but at the same time he’s been sit­ting in jail and blocked from run­ning.

    Yep, the one can­di­date lead­ing the far right Bol­sonaro is a guy in jail who was being blocked from run­ning. So it’s an omi­nous sit­u­a­tion. And then it got more omi­nous last week when Bol­sonaro was stabbed dur­ing a cam­paign event and seri­ous­ly injured:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Brazil­ian can­di­date in seri­ous con­di­tion after stab­bing

    By MAURICIO SAVARESE and PETER PRENGAMAN
    Sep. 07, 2018

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Jair Bol­sonaro, a lead­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­date whose heat­ed rhetoric has elec­tri­fied some vot­ers and angered oth­ers in a deeply polar­ized Brazil, was stabbed at a cam­paign event Thurs­day and suf­fered seri­ous abdom­i­nal injuries.

    Police said the sus­pect­ed attack­er was in cus­tody.

    Dr. Luiz Hen­rique Bor­sato, who per­formed emer­gency surgery, said Thurs­day night that the right-wing can­di­date was in seri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion and would remain in inten­sive care for at least sev­en days. The first round of Brazil’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion is Oct. 7.

    The doc­tor said the two-hour pro­ce­dure stopped seri­ous inter­nal bleed­ing and repaired most of the dam­age from the knif­ing. The can­di­date will need fur­ther surgery with­in months for a part of his intestines that was tem­porar­i­ly fixed with a colosto­my, the sur­geon said.

    “We can’t say when he will be able to leave hos­pi­tal,” Bor­sato said. “But in the first hours after the surgery his recov­ery has been very sat­is­fac­to­ry.”

    Numer­ous videos on social media showed Bol­sonaro, who has promised to crack down on crime in Latin America’s largest nation, being stabbed with a knife to the low­er part of his stom­ach while cam­paign­ing in Juiz de Fora, a city about 125 miles (200 kilo­me­ters) north of Rio de Janeiro.

    At the moment of the attack, Bol­sonaro was on the shoul­ders of a sup­port­er, look­ing out at the crowd and giv­ing a thumbs up with his left hand.

    After the attack, he is seen flinch­ing and then goes out of view. Oth­er videos show sup­port­ers car­ry­ing him to a car and hit­ting a man who was appar­ent­ly the sus­pect.

    Police spokesman Flavio San­ti­a­go con­firmed to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press that 40-year-old Ade­lio Bis­po de Oliveira had been arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with the inci­dent.

    De Oliveira was beat­en bad­ly by Bol­sonaro sup­port­ers after the attack. The man was arrest­ed in 2013 for anoth­er assault, police said.

    Luis Boudens, pres­i­dent of the Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Fed­er­al Police, told AP that the assailant appeared to be men­tal­ly dis­turbed.

    “Our agents there said the attack­er said he was ’on a mis­sion from God,’” Boudens report­ed. “Their impres­sion is that they were not deal­ing with a men­tal­ly sta­ble per­son. He didn’t expect to be arrest­ed so quick­ly; agents react­ed in sec­onds.”

    Bolsonaro’s son, Flavio Bol­sonaro, ini­tial­ly post­ed on Twit­ter that the injury was super­fi­cial and his father was fine. How­ev­er, an hour lat­er he post­ed anoth­er tweet say­ing the wound was “worse than we thought.”

    He arrived at the hos­pi­tal “almost dead,” Flavio wrote. “His con­di­tion now seems sta­bi­lized. Please pray.”

    A state­ment from fed­er­al police said the can­di­date had body­guards. In the videos, Bol­sonaro does not appear to be wear­ing a pro­tec­tive vest. Such mea­sures are rare for can­di­dates in Brazil.

    ...

    Bol­sonaro, a for­mer army cap­tain, is sec­ond in the polls to jailed ex-Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Sil­va, who has been barred from run­ning but con­tin­ues to appeal.

    Despite being a con­gress­man since 1991, Bol­sonaro is run­ning as an out­sider ready to upend the estab­lish­ment by crack­ing down on cor­rup­tion in pol­i­tics and reduc­ing crime, in part by giv­ing police a freer hand to shoot and kill while on duty.

    While Bol­sonaro has a strong fol­low­ing, he is also a deeply polar­iz­ing fig­ure. He has been fined, and even faced charges, for deroga­to­ry state­ments toward women, blacks and gays.

    He speaks nos­tal­gi­cal­ly about the country’s 1964–1985 mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and has promised to fill his gov­ern­ment with cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary lead­ers.

    Ear­li­er this week, Bol­sonaro said dur­ing a cam­paign event that he would like to shoot cor­rupt mem­bers of the left­ist Work­ers’ Par­ty, which made da Sil­va its can­di­date. The com­ment prompt­ed an imme­di­ate rebuke from the attor­ney gen­er­al, who asked Bol­sonaro to explain that com­ment.

    His vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate, Hamil­ton Mourao, is a retired gen­er­al who blamed left­ists for the knife attack.

    Under­ling Brazil’s divi­sions, peo­ple took to Twit­ter to either to decry the stab­bing and ask for prayers for Bol­sonaro or to say the can­di­date had brought it upon him­self and even may have staged it.

    The top five trend­ing top­ics in Brazil were relat­ed to the stab­bing.

    Oth­er pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates quick­ly denounced the stab­bing and many of them decid­ed to sus­pend their cam­paign events Fri­day.

    “Pol­i­tics is done through dia­logue and by con­vinc­ing, nev­er with hate,” tweet­ed Ger­al­do Alck­min, for­mer gov­er­nor of Sao Paulo who has focused neg­a­tive ads on Bol­sonaro.

    Fer­nan­do Had­dad, who is expect­ed to take da Silva’s place on the Work­ers’ Par­ty tick­et, called the attack “absurd and regret­table.”

    The attack comes at a time of increas­ing­ly heat­ed rhetoric, and some­times vio­lence, relat­ed to cam­paigns and can­di­dates.

    In March, while da Sil­va was on a cam­paign tour in south­ern Brazil before his impris­on­ment, gun­shots hit bus­es in his car­a­van. No one was hurt, and da Sil­va, who is in jail on a cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion, was not in the vehi­cles that were hit.

    Also in March, Marielle Fran­co, a left-lean­ing black coun­cil­woman in Rio de Janeiro, was shot to death along with her dri­ver after attend­ing an event on empow­er­ing black women.

    It wasn’t imme­di­ate­ly clear how the attack on Bol­sonaro might reshape a pres­i­den­tial race very much up in the air with the front-run­ner, da Sil­va, in jail. In many ways, the inci­dent feeds Bolsonaro’s nar­ra­tive that Brazil is in chaos and needs a strong hand to steady it.

    “It’s like­ly that Bol­sonaro will use the attack to argue his oppo­nents are des­per­ate, that they had no oth­er way to stop him,” said Mauri­cio San­toro, a polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Rio de Janeiro’s state uni­ver­si­ty.

    A hand­ful of Bol­sonaro sup­port­ers held a vig­il in São Paulo on Thurs­day night, and briefly exchanged insults with left­ists. ‘They made Bol­sonaro a mar­tyr,’ said Jonatan Valente, a stu­dent. ‘I think the left shot itself in the foot because with this attack they will end up elect­ing Bol­sonaro.’”

    ———-

    “Brazil­ian can­di­date in seri­ous con­di­tion after stab­bing” by MAURICIO SAVARESE and PETER PRENGAMAN; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 09/07/2018

    “Bol­sonaro, a for­mer army cap­tain, is sec­ond in the polls to jailed ex-Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Sil­va, who has been barred from run­ning but con­tin­ues to appeal.”

    The sec­ond place far right can­di­date was stabbed and the first place can­di­date sits in jail and is blocked from run­ning. That’s the state of Brazil’s pol­i­tics.

    And as the arti­cle notes, this was just the lat­est inci­dent of polit­i­cal vio­lence this year. Da Sil­va’s car­a­van was shot at in March, and anoth­er left-lean­ing was assas­si­nat­ed after attend­ing an event on empow­er­ing black women:

    ...
    The attack comes at a time of increas­ing­ly heat­ed rhetoric, and some­times vio­lence, relat­ed to cam­paigns and can­di­dates.

    In March, while da Sil­va was on a cam­paign tour in south­ern Brazil before his impris­on­ment, gun­shots hit bus­es in his car­a­van. No one was hurt, and da Sil­va, who is in jail on a cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion, was not in the vehi­cles that were hit.

    Also in March, Marielle Fran­co, a left-lean­ing black coun­cil­woman in Rio de Janeiro, was shot to death along with her dri­ver after attend­ing an event on empow­er­ing black women.
    ...

    And while it’s unclear what exact­ly the impact of the stab­bing will be on pres­i­den­tial race next month, it’s hard to avoid the con­clu­sion that this could eas­i­ly play into Bol­sonaro’s ‘law and order’ nar­ra­tive and give him a polit­i­cal boost:

    ...
    It wasn’t imme­di­ate­ly clear how the attack on Bol­sonaro might reshape a pres­i­den­tial race very much up in the air with the front-run­ner, da Sil­va, in jail. In many ways, the inci­dent feeds Bolsonaro’s nar­ra­tive that Brazil is in chaos and needs a strong hand to steady it.

    “It’s like­ly that Bol­sonaro will use the attack to argue his oppo­nents are des­per­ate, that they had no oth­er way to stop him,” said Mauri­cio San­toro, a polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Rio de Janeiro’s state uni­ver­si­ty.

    A hand­ful of Bol­sonaro sup­port­ers held a vig­il in São Paulo on Thurs­day night, and briefly exchanged insults with left­ists. ‘They made Bol­sonaro a mar­tyr,’ said Jonatan Valente, a stu­dent. ‘I think the left shot itself in the foot because with this attack they will end up elect­ing Bol­sonaro.’”
    ...

    And should Bol­sonaro win, it sounds like he’ll be mod­el­ing his admin­is­tra­tion on Brazil’s mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship, which is extra omi­nous when crack­ing down on crime is one of his sig­na­ture issues. All the ingre­di­ents are in place for a for an extreme­ly nasty peri­od for Brazil:

    ...
    Despite being a con­gress­man since 1991, Bol­sonaro is run­ning as an out­sider ready to upend the estab­lish­ment by crack­ing down on cor­rup­tion in pol­i­tics and reduc­ing crime, in part by giv­ing police a freer hand to shoot and kill while on duty.

    While Bol­sonaro has a strong fol­low­ing, he is also a deeply polar­iz­ing fig­ure. He has been fined, and even faced charges, for deroga­to­ry state­ments toward women, blacks and gays.

    He speaks nos­tal­gi­cal­ly about the country’s 1964–1985 mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and has promised to fill his gov­ern­ment with cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary lead­ers.

    Ear­li­er this week, Bol­sonaro said dur­ing a cam­paign event that he would like to shoot cor­rupt mem­bers of the left­ist Work­ers’ Par­ty, which made da Sil­va its can­di­date. The com­ment prompt­ed an imme­di­ate rebuke from the attor­ney gen­er­al, who asked Bol­sonaro to explain that com­ment.

    His vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate, Hamil­ton Mourao, is a retired gen­er­al who blamed left­ists for the knife attack.
    ...

    And note that the per­son who com­mit­ted the attack, was indeed a for­mer mem­ber of the left-lean­ing PSOL par­ty. So that will no doubt help Bol­sonaro, although he also appears to be clear­ly men­tal­ly ill:

    ...
    Police spokesman Flavio San­ti­a­go con­firmed to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press that 40-year-old Ade­lio Bis­po de Oliveira had been arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with the inci­dent.

    De Oliveira was beat­en bad­ly by Bol­sonaro sup­port­ers after the attack. The man was arrest­ed in 2013 for anoth­er assault, police said.

    Luis Boudens, pres­i­dent of the Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Fed­er­al Police, told AP that the assailant appeared to be men­tal­ly dis­turbed.

    “Our agents there said the attack­er said he was ’on a mis­sion from God,’” Boudens report­ed. “Their impres­sion is that they were not deal­ing with a men­tal­ly sta­ble per­son. He didn’t expect to be arrest­ed so quick­ly; agents react­ed in sec­onds.”
    ...

    So what should we expect in Brazil’s upcom­ing elec­tion? That clear­ly depends on the fate of da Sil­va’s can­di­da­cy. And that fate became much clear­er today: the dead­line for par­ty’s to nom­i­nat­ed can­di­dates was approach­ing and da Sil­va’s par­ty would either have to nom­i­nate a dif­fer­ent nom­i­nee or risk have no can­di­date on the bal­lot at all if da Sil­va’s appeals failed. So da Sil­va offi­cial­ly gave up his bid today hours before the dead­line:

    BBC

    Lula: Jailed ex-leader pulls out of Brazil elec­tion

    12 Sep­tem­ber 2018

    For­mer Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Luiz Iná­cio Lula da Sil­va has pulled out of next mon­th’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to allow his run­ning mate to stand in his place.

    Lula had been the fron­trun­ner despite being in jail for a cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion and despite the top elec­toral court bar­ring his can­di­da­cy.

    With the dead­line for the reg­is­tra­tion of can­di­dates only hours away, he threw his weight behind his Work­ers’ Par­ty col­league Fer­nan­do Had­dad.

    The elec­tion is on 7 Octo­ber.

    It has been a tumul­tuous elec­tion cam­paign dom­i­nat­ed by Lula’s legal bat­tles and the stab­bing last week of Jair Bol­sonaro, the far-right can­di­date who is sec­ond in the polls behind Lula.

    Mr Bol­sonaro was attacked by a lone assailant dur­ing a cam­paign ral­ly and is still in hos­pi­tal.

    What has hap­pened with Lula?

    With the clock tick­ing down on a dead­line for can­di­dates to be reg­is­tered, senior mem­bers of the Work­ers’ Par­ty gath­ered in front of the police head­quar­ters where Lula, 72, is serv­ing a 12-year prison sen­tence for cor­rup­tion.

    The par­ty’s founder, Luiz Eduar­do Green­hal­gh, then read out a let­ter writ­ten by Lula in his cell.

    In it, Lula, who gov­erned from Jan­u­ary 2003 until Decem­ber 2010, said that he had been “unjust­ly impris­oned” before ask­ing “all who would vote for me to vote for our friend Fer­nan­do Had­dad for pres­i­dent”.

    Why was Lula barred?

    Lula was barred from run­ning for the pres­i­den­cy under a 2010 law dubbed “Clean Slate”. It pro­hibits those who have a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion which has been upheld on appeal from run­ning for pub­lic office.

    In July 2017, Lula was found guilty of accept­ing an upgrade to a beach­front flat as a bribe from an engi­neer­ing firm involved in a major cor­rup­tion scheme.

    Lula has always denied any wrong­do­ing and appealed against the ver­dict. The appeal was reject­ed and Lula was giv­en 24 hours to turn him­self in.

    From his cell, Lula has con­tin­ued the legal fight against his con­vic­tion and the ban which pre­vents him from run­ning for pub­lic office.

    Why did he final­ly give up?

    The deci­sion was made less than two weeks after Brazil’s top elec­toral court ruled that he was “inel­i­gi­ble” to run for the pres­i­den­cy.

    Lula’s legal team has appealed against that deci­sion and the Supreme Court is still due to rule on it.

    But after a Work­ers’ Par­ty request to extend the dead­line to reg­is­ter pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates from the 11 Sep­tem­ber to 17 Sep­tem­ber was reject­ed, its lead­er­ship felt it had to act.

    Not reg­is­ter­ing Mr Had­dad meant that if Lula’s appeal were to fail, the par­ty could have been left with­out a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date alto­geth­er.

    After Lula backed Mr Had­dad in his let­ter, the par­ty reg­is­tered him as its new can­di­date with just hours to spare.

    What next?

    The Work­ers’ Par­ty hopes peo­ple who were going to vote for Lula will now vote for Mr Had­dad.

    Lula left office with record approval rat­ings in 2010 and despite his impris­on­ment, almost 40% of peo­ple asked by polling firm Datafol­ha said they would vote for him.

    Mr Had­dad, on the oth­er hand, is not very well known out­side of São Paulo, where he was may­or from 2013 to 2017.

    In his let­ter, Lula said that Mr Had­dad “will be my rep­re­sen­ta­tive in this bat­tle”. “Our name is now Had­dad!” he wrote.

    In its first TV spot since Mr Had­dad became its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, the par­ty also stressed the links between the two men.

    Both Lula and Mr Had­dad appear for the same amount of time and rather than talk­ing about him­self, Mr Had­dad prais­es Lula and his achieve­ments.

    ...

    Who is Fer­nan­do Had­dad?

    He was the min­is­ter of edu­ca­tion dur­ing Lula’s pres­i­den­cy and is thought to enjoy his trust. He was Lula’s vice-pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate until now.

    From 2013 to 2017, the 55-year-old also served as may­or of São Paulo, Brazil’s most pop­u­lous city and faced mass demon­stra­tions against bus fare ris­es.

    The Work­ers’ Par­ty hopes that Mr Had­dad will get through to the run-off sched­uled for 28 Octo­ber.

    But Mr Had­dad is fac­ing legal prob­lems of his own. Pros­e­cu­tors allege that dur­ing his cam­paign for may­or his team received a loan from a con­struc­tion firm which stood to ben­e­fit from con­tracts once he was elect­ed. He has denied any wrong­do­ing.

    What do the polls say?

    The most recent poll car­ried out by research com­pa­ny Ibope between 8 and 11 Sep­tem­ber sug­gests the fol­low­ing results for the top five can­di­dates:

    Jair Bol­sonaro (far right, PSL): 26%
    Ciro Gomes (cen­tre left, PDT): 11%
    Mari­na Sil­va (green, Rede): 9%
    Ger­al­do Alck­min (cen­tre right, PSDB): 9%
    Fer­nan­do Had­dad (Work­ers’ Par­ty, PT): 8%

    It is expect­ed that Mr Had­dad’s share will rise now he is the Work­ers’ Par­ty’s offi­cial can­di­date.

    ———-

    “Lula: Jailed ex-leader pulls out of Brazil elec­tion”; BBC; 09/12/2018

    “With the dead­line for the reg­is­tra­tion of can­di­dates only hours away, he threw his weight behind his Work­ers’ Par­ty col­league Fer­nan­do Had­dad.”

    So Brazil’s top court blocks da Sil­va’s can­di­da­cy two weeks ago. His team appealed that deci­sion and the court is due to rule on that appeal. But the dead­line to nom­i­nate can­di­dates was also fast approach. So the Work­ers’ Par­ty request­ed an exten­sion of the dead­line to nom­i­nate can­di­dates, that got reject­ed, and the par­ty was faced with a deci­sion: gam­ble of da Sil­va’s appeal suc­ceed­ing and risk hav­ing no can­di­date at all if it fails, or nom­i­nate some­one else. So they went with da Sil­va’s run­ning-mate Fer­nan­do Had­dad:

    ...
    The deci­sion was made less than two weeks after Brazil’s top elec­toral court ruled that he was “inel­i­gi­ble” to run for the pres­i­den­cy.

    Lula’s legal team has appealed against that deci­sion and the Supreme Court is still due to rule on it.

    But after a Work­ers’ Par­ty request to extend the dead­line to reg­is­ter pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates from the 11 Sep­tem­ber to 17 Sep­tem­ber was reject­ed, its lead­er­ship felt it had to act.

    Not reg­is­ter­ing Mr Had­dad meant that if Lula’s appeal were to fail, the par­ty could have been left with­out a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date alto­geth­er.

    After Lula backed Mr Had­dad in his let­ter, the par­ty reg­is­tered him as its new can­di­date with just hours to spare.
    ...

    And accord­ing to recent polls, Had­dad was run­ning in 5th place, with Bol­sonaro retain­ing a sub­stan­tial lead. At the same times, Had­dad’s polls are expect­ed to rise now that da Sil­va has pulled out and endorsed him:

    ...
    What do the polls say?

    The most recent poll car­ried out by research com­pa­ny Ibope between 8 and 11 Sep­tem­ber sug­gests the fol­low­ing results for the top five can­di­dates:

    Jair Bol­sonaro (far right, PSL): 26%
    Ciro Gomes (cen­tre left, PDT): 11%
    Mari­na Sil­va (green, Rede): 9%
    Ger­al­do Alck­min (cen­tre right, PSDB): 9%
    Fer­nan­do Had­dad (Work­ers’ Par­ty, PT): 8%

    It is expect­ed that Mr Had­dad’s share will rise now he is the Work­ers’ Par­ty’s offi­cial can­di­date.
    ...

    So will Had­dad be able to pose a seri­ous a chal­lenge to Bol­snaro as a kind of stand-in for da Sil­va? We’ll know in a month, but as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, the polling seems to indi­cate that Bol­sonaro will actu­al­ly have bet­ter chances against Had­dad than the oth­er three main can­di­dates: Ciro Gomes, Mari­na Sil­va, and Ger­al­do Alck­min. These polls show Bol­sonaro los­ing in a run-off against Sil­va and Alck­min, and pos­si­bly los­ing against Gomes. So as the arti­cle points out, Bol­sonaro should prob­a­bly hope for a run off between him­self and Had­dad. And as the arti­cle also notes, the invest­ment com­mu­ni­ty gen­er­al­ly seems to pre­fer Bol­sonaro to all the oth­er can­di­dates except for the cen­tre-right Alck­min. And that tells us some­thing we should already have guessed but is worth keep­ing in mind: Brazil’s busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty and the inter­na­tion­al busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty is prob­a­bly going to be back Bol­sonaro in the inevitable upcom­ing run-off:

    Forbes

    Wall Street Doubts Brazil’s Right-Wing Can­di­date Bol­sonaro Can Win Pres­i­den­cy

    Ken­neth Rapoza
    Sep 11, 2018, 12:19pm

    Wall Street increas­ing­ly doubts Brazil’s right-wing can­di­date will win the pres­i­den­cy in elec­tions next month.

    Jair Bol­sonaro can draw a crowd like no oth­er can­di­date. They cheer for him at air­ports. They pray for him in the streets of Sao Paulo, fol­low­ing last week’s stab­bing in the stom­ach by a sup­port­er of the left-wing politi­cians dur­ing a ral­ly. Now recov­er­ing in an inten­sive care unit, Bol­sonaro’s poll num­bers pro­vide lit­tle evi­dence that he can over­come cur­rent rejec­tion lev­els of 44%.

    Investors here believe the fire­brand con­gress­man makes it to a sec­ond round but gets beat by a cen­trist every time. The only can­di­dates he might beat — and it will be close — will be Work­ers’ Par­ty (PT) politi­cian Fer­nan­do Had­dad and its ally, Ciro Gomes, depend­ing on the poll. A poll by Ibope has him beat­ing Had­dad and los­ing to Gomes.

    Of the two, Had­dad is con­sid­ered more to the cen­ter with Gomes look­ing less friend­ly to pri­vate busi­ness and more of a “rab­ble-rouser.”

    Nomu­ra Secu­ri­ties in New York esti­mates that if Bol­sonaro faces off against Had­dad or Gomes in a runoff elec­tion in Novem­ber, the Brazil­ian real would weak­en by at least 2%, with gov­ern­ment bond yields ris­ing by dou­ble dig­its.

    Bol­sonaro is pre­ferred by investors to all can­di­dates except Ger­al­do Alck­min of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (PSDB).

    PSDB has gov­erned Brazil for almost as long as PT. The two have been rivals like Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans for over 20 years. Investors pre­fer Alck­min as the steady hand, even though he polls cur­rent­ly under 10% and a par­ty mem­ber got nabbed in the mas­sive Petro­bras Car Wash scan­dal on Tues­day.

    For Amer­i­can read­ers, Bol­sonaro’s style is one part bom­bas­tic Trump, one part 1980s social val­ues Repub­li­can: he’s tough on crime, pro-gun, pro-mil­i­tary and not very sup­port­ive of the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty, which gar­ners most of the dis­dain against him in the press both here and in Brazil.

    The stab­bing took place the day after a local poll by the Ibope polling firm showed sev­er­al can­di­dates gain­ing on front-run­ner Bol­sonaro. The num­ber of unde­cid­ed vot­ers declined, pos­si­bly because many of them were wait­ing to see if the Elec­toral Court would allow for the jailed ex-pres­i­dent and PT founder Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Sil­va to run for office. He can­not run. And so PT is now throw­ing its finan­cial weight behind Had­dad, a for­mer Sao Paulo may­or.

    Worse for Bol­sonaro vot­ers is that polls still show him los­ing in every sec­ond round with the excep­tion of a runoff against Had­dad and Gomes. Then it becomes a nail-biter. The Brazil­ian real is cur­rent­ly 4.17 to the dol­lar. It was a weak­er 4.22 a cou­ple weeks ago. If Had­dad or Gomes make it to round two, it will eas­i­ly go back to 4.22 and prob­a­bly worse.

    Investors con­sid­er Bol­sonaro to be rel­a­tive­ly pro-to-neu­tral for the mar­ket out­look. The same can be said for the only woman run­ning for office, Mari­na Sil­va. She is con­sid­ered slight­ly more neg­a­tive, but not by much.

    Bol­sonaro ver­sus Mari­na “would include two can­di­da­cies that are in the mid­dle group of mar­ket pref­er­ence, clos­er to neu­tral. Bol­sonaro would be slight­ly more pos­i­tive,” says Mario Cas­tro, an econ­o­mist for Nomu­ra Secu­ri­ties. Bol­sonaro ver­sus Had­dad or Gomes “would rep­re­sent the biggest chance of a left-wing vic­to­ry even if we do not assume the left can­di­date to be the favorite,” he says.

    Bol­sonaro fans should hope for a PT vic­to­ry in round one if they want Brazil’s busi­ness class to get behind their man.

    To date, nobody knows which way this is going. “There is a 50/50 chance of an opti­mistic... or pes­simistic out­come,” Cas­tro says.

    Last Thurs­day’s stab­bing could cause some addi­tion­al down­ward moves to the Brazil­ian real, though it will be hard­er to qual­i­fy the rea­sons for the move if all emerg­ing mar­kets are head­ing in the same direc­tion. Emerg­ing mar­kets have been out of favor now for weeks.

    Should Bol­sonaro begin to poll bet­ter, the real will strength­en as investors price in the like­li­hood of Had­dad and Gomes los­ing. The more like­ly near-term reac­tion to polls is investor cau­tion and pru­dence.

    ...

    “Bol­sonaro fans should hope for a PT vic­to­ry in round one if they want Brazil’s busi­ness class to get behind their man.”

    It’s a reflec­tion of how much the Brazil­ian elec­tion is in flux: Bol­sonaro stands the best chance if he ends up in a run-off against the can­di­date from the par­ty that, until recent­ly, had the one can­di­date more pop­u­lar than him:

    ...
    Investors here believe the fire­brand con­gress­man makes it to a sec­ond round but gets beat by a cen­trist every time. The only can­di­dates he might beat — and it will be close — will be Work­ers’ Par­ty (PT) politi­cian Fer­nan­do Had­dad and its ally, Ciro Gomes, depend­ing on the poll. A poll by Ibope has him beat­ing Had­dad and los­ing to Gomes.

    ...

    The stab­bing took place the day after a local poll by the Ibope polling firm showed sev­er­al can­di­dates gain­ing on front-run­ner Bol­sonaro. The num­ber of unde­cid­ed vot­ers declined, pos­si­bly because many of them were wait­ing to see if the Elec­toral Court would allow for the jailed ex-pres­i­dent and PT founder Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Sil­va to run for office. He can­not run. And so PT is now throw­ing its finan­cial weight behind Had­dad, a for­mer Sao Paulo may­or.

    Worse for Bol­sonaro vot­ers is that polls still show him los­ing in every sec­ond round with the excep­tion of a runoff against Had­dad and Gomes. Then it becomes a nail-biter. The Brazil­ian real is cur­rent­ly 4.17 to the dol­lar. It was a weak­er 4.22 a cou­ple weeks ago. If Had­dad or Gomes make it to round two, it will eas­i­ly go back to 4.22 and prob­a­bly worse.
    ...

    And when that run-off arrives, Bol­sonaro appears like­ly to have the back­ing of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, unless it’s a run-off between Bol­sonaro and the cen­tre-right, which would be a pret­ty sad out­come for Brazil if that’s what it comes to:

    ...
    Bol­sonaro is pre­ferred by investors to all can­di­dates except Ger­al­do Alck­min of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (PSDB).

    ...

    Worse for Bol­sonaro vot­ers is that polls still show him los­ing in every sec­ond round with the excep­tion of a runoff against Had­dad and Gomes. Then it becomes a nail-biter. The Brazil­ian real is cur­rent­ly 4.17 to the dol­lar. It was a weak­er 4.22 a cou­ple weeks ago. If Had­dad or Gomes make it to round two, it will eas­i­ly go back to 4.22 and prob­a­bly worse.

    Investors con­sid­er Bol­sonaro to be rel­a­tive­ly pro-to-neu­tral for the mar­ket out­look. The same can be said for the only woman run­ning for office, Mari­na Sil­va. She is con­sid­ered slight­ly more neg­a­tive, but not by much.

    Bol­sonaro ver­sus Mari­na “would include two can­di­da­cies that are in the mid­dle group of mar­ket pref­er­ence, clos­er to neu­tral. Bol­sonaro would be slight­ly more pos­i­tive,” says Mario Cas­tro, an econ­o­mist for Nomu­ra Secu­ri­ties. Bol­sonaro ver­sus Had­dad or Gomes “would rep­re­sent the biggest chance of a left-wing vic­to­ry even if we do not assume the left can­di­date to be the favorite,” he says.

    ...

    To date, nobody knows which way this is going. “There is a 50/50 chance of an opti­mistic... or pes­simistic out­come,” Cas­tro says.
    ...

    So we’ll see whether or not Brazil ends up elect­ing a guy who speaks nos­tal­gi­cal­ly about Brazil’s dic­ta­tor­ship years. As the econ­o­mist from Nomu­ra put it, “There is a 50/50 chance of an opti­mistic... or pes­simistic out­come.” And, yes, he was dis­turbing­ly refer­ring to Bol­sonaro win­ning as an “opti­mistic out­come” when he made that state­ment, which is a reminder that the only real prob­lem the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty typ­i­cal­ly has with the far right is how unlik­able it is, mak­ing it hard­er to hold pow­er. But if his pre­dic­tions are cor­rect it’s look­ing like Brazil is a coin-flip away from a far right pres­i­den­cy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 12, 2018, 3:19 pm
  4. Oh look at that: Brazil’s busi­ness elites appear to strong­ly pre­fer Jair Bol­sonaro,the far right pro-dic­ta­tor­ship can­di­date, over his like­ly left-wing oppo­nent. So what’s the offi­cial excuse from Brazil’s investors for why they’re sup­port­ing a pro-tor­ture can­di­date who has a long his­to­ry of call­ing for a return to dic­ta­tor­ship? Appar­ent­ly it’s Bol­sonaro’s selec­tion of Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go-edu­cat­ed Paulo Guedes as his eco­nom­ic advi­sor. Bol­sonaro has even hint­ed that he’s going to make Guedes some sort of “super min­is­ter” who will be in charge of finance, plan­ning and trade, and have wide lat­i­tude to set eco­nom­ic poli­cies. Poli­cies that Guedes as already said will include a con­tin­u­a­tion of mass pri­va­ti­za­tion plans for state assets. And that’s appar­ent­ly what pass­es as a rea­son to sup­port the pro-tor­ture guy:

    Reuters

    Why Brazil’s busi­ness elites are warm­ing to a far-right flamethrow­er for pres­i­dent

    Tatiana Bautzer, Marcela Ayres, Chris­t­ian Plumb
    Octo­ber 1, 2018 / 12:07 AM

    SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) — Brazil’s busi­ness class is qui­et­ly root­ing for far-right pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Jair Bol­sonaro to win the nation’s high­est office this month, fear­ful of a return to left­ist rule in Latin America’s largest econ­o­my.

    The nation’s cur­ren­cy and equi­ty mar­kets have increas­ing­ly ral­lied in lock-step with favor­able poll num­bers for Bol­sonaro, a fire­brand con­gress­man bet­ter known for his broad­sides against gays and Afro-Brazil­ians than his embrace of free mar­kets. Over a 27-year leg­isla­tive career, Bol­sonaro has vot­ed repeat­ed­ly to pre­serve state-owned monop­o­lies and against reform­ing Brazil’s bloat­ed pub­lic pen­sion sys­tem.

    But his selec­tion of a respect­ed Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go-edu­cat­ed banker, Paulo Guedes, as his eco­nom­ic advi­sor is good enough for many investors and busi­ness own­ers. Some view Bol­sonaro as the least worst alter­na­tive in a race that is shap­ing up as a show­down between the far right and far left.

    Poll­sters are pre­dict­ing a sec­ond-round run-off between Bol­sonaro and for­mer Sao Paulo May­or Fer­nan­do Had­dad, can­di­date for the left­ist Work­ers Par­ty, or PT, who has been surg­ing in the polls. Many econ­o­mists blame sta­tist poli­cies of the PT, which ruled Brazil for much of the past 15 years, for tip­ping Brazil into a deep down­turn, whose ves­tiges are still weigh­ing on the econ­o­my.

    Luciano Hang, the own­er of the pri­vate­ly-owned depart­ment store chain Havan, is one of few exec­u­tives to open­ly sup­port Bol­sonaro, whose unabashed admi­ra­tion for Brazil’s for­mer mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and fre­quent den­i­gra­tion of women and minori­ties have alien­at­ed large swaths of the elec­torate.

    Still, Hang esti­mates that “more than 80 per­cent” of peo­ple in a 300-mem­ber busi­ness coun­cil to which he belongs are back­ing Bol­sonaro now that more mod­er­ate can­di­dates in a crowd­ed pres­i­den­tial field appear to be fad­ing.

    “Busi­ness peo­ple and entre­pre­neurs through­out Brazil in all seg­ments of the pub­lic favor Bol­sonaro and will active­ly cam­paign for him,” Hang said.

    Bolsonaro’s grow­ing accep­tance among Brazil’s busi­ness elites under­scores how a polar­ized polit­i­cal land­scape is dri­ving mod­er­ates to extremes, and how mar­kets are unset­tled by a wide-open and unpre­dictable race. Those jit­ters have already slowed the country’s M&A and IPO mar­kets to a crawl and last month sent Brazil’s cur­ren­cy, the real, to a record low against the dol­lar.

    Bol­sonaro is the cur­rent front-run­ner among 13 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates head­ing into the first round of bal­lot­ing slat­ed for Oct. 7, with 27 per­cent of the like­ly vote, accord­ing to a sur­vey last week from polling firm Ibope.

    But whether he ulti­mate­ly pre­vails remains to be seen. If no can­di­date wins a major­i­ty on the first bal­lot, as is pre­dict­ed, the top two vote-get­ters will face off in a final round of vot­ing on Oct. 28, when the same poll shows Bol­sonaro los­ing to Had­dad by 4 per­cent­age points.

    Had­dad, an econ­o­mist, has been meet­ing with major investors to quell fears about a PT return to pow­er. Known for his book­ish, calm demeanor, Had­dad has played up his ortho­dox posi­tions on infla­tion, exchange rates and deficits.

    Still, he has acknowl­edged he would dump the labor and spend­ing reforms of unpop­u­lar out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Michel Temer. And he has made it clear his admin­is­tra­tion would run state-con­trolled oil com­pa­ny Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) or Petro­bras as a devel­op­ment vehi­cle and scut­tle the pro­posed sale of Embraer’s (EMBR3.SA) com­mer­cial jet busi­ness to Boe­ing Co (BA.N).

    Had­dad recent­ly tweet­ed that the mar­ket was “an abstract enti­ty that ter­ror­izes the pub­lic.”

    SUPER MINISTER

    Cor­po­rate admir­ers of Bol­sonaro, mean­while, point to his choice of advi­sor Guedes as a rea­son to tune out their candidate’s divi­sive rhetoric, author­i­tar­i­an lean­ings and wild­ly shift­ing views on Brazil’s econ­o­my. Bol­sonaro, for exam­ple, once sug­gest­ed that ex-Pres­i­dent Fer­nan­do Hen­rique Car­doso be gunned down for pri­va­tiz­ing for­mer gov­ern­ment enter­pris­es includ­ing iron ore min­er Vale.

    In con­trast, Guedes, cur­rent­ly the head of asset man­age­ment firm Bozano Inves­ti­men­tos, is a fierce advo­cate of pri­va­tiz­ing Petro­bras and gov­ern­ment-con­trolled lender Ban­co do Brasil SA (BBAS3.SA).

    If elect­ed, Bol­sonaro has promised to make Guedes a kind of super min­is­ter in charge of finance, plan­ning and trade, with wide lat­i­tude to set eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy.

    Guedes has held a series of meet­ings with invest­ment banks, cor­po­rate chief­tains and inter­na­tion­al investors to coax them onto the Bol­sonaro band­wag­on. The banker has also met with mem­bers of the Finance Min­istry at least three times in an effort to sig­nal con­ti­nu­ity with Temer’s reform agen­da, includ­ing changes to the country’s insol­vent pen­sion sys­tem.

    “Paulo Guedes indeed gives Bolsonaro’s can­di­da­cy a lot of cred­i­bil­i­ty,” said Clau­dio Paci­ni, head of Brazil­ian stock trad­ing at U.S. bro­ker INTL FCStone in Mia­mi. “Togeth­er with the fear of the rise of the left, the two things mit­i­gate in Bolsonaro’s favor.”

    SHAKY ALLIANCE?

    But some ques­tion how long the Bol­sonaro-Guedes part­ner­ship might last even if the can­di­date is elect­ed.

    “Bol­sonaro is a recent con­vert to pro-mar­ket lib­er­al­ism — that’s not his thing, it’s nev­er been his thing,” said Mon­i­ca de Bolle, direc­tor of Latin Amer­i­can stud­ies at the Johns Hop­kins School of Advanced Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies (SAIS) in Wash­ing­ton.

    Such doubts were height­ened last month when Guedes pro­posed reviv­ing an unpop­u­lar finan­cial trans­ac­tions tax known as the CPMF to raise bad­ly need­ed rev­enue. That idea was swift­ly shot down by Bol­sonaro from the hos­pi­tal where he has been con­va­lesc­ing. He was stabbed by a men­tal­ly dis­turbed assailant at a cam­paign ral­ly last month.

    Guedes can­celed at least two planned pub­lic appear­ances soon after, fuel­ing spec­u­la­tion that he had been effec­tive­ly muz­zled by the cam­paign for the time being.

    Guedes declined to com­ment about the dis­agree­ment. But de Bolle of SAIS sees tur­bu­lence ahead.

    “It seems obvi­ous that Paulo Guedes wouldn’t last in a Bol­sonaro gov­ern­ment,” she said.

    ...

    “The gov­ern­ment is broke and Bol­sonaro has no allies to push for bud­get cuts, and not even a his­to­ry of pur­su­ing them,” said a senior banker at one of Brazil’s top lenders.

    For the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, the banker said, a vote for Bol­sonaro is a choice between “the awful and the extreme­ly awful.”

    ———-

    “Why Brazil’s busi­ness elites are warm­ing to a far-right flamethrow­er for pres­i­dent” by Tatiana Bautzer, Marcela Ayres, Chris­t­ian Plumb; Reuters; 10/01/018

    But his selec­tion of a respect­ed Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go-edu­cat­ed banker, Paulo Guedes, as his eco­nom­ic advi­sor is good enough for many investors and busi­ness own­ers. Some view Bol­sonaro as the least worst alter­na­tive in a race that is shap­ing up as a show­down between the far right and far left.”

    He may be a pro-tor­ture advo­cate of dic­ta­tor­ship, but he’s our pro-tor­ture advo­cate of dic­ta­tor­ship. That appears to the be sen­ti­ment help by Brazil’s busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty:

    ...
    Poll­sters are pre­dict­ing a sec­ond-round run-off between Bol­sonaro and for­mer Sao Paulo May­or Fer­nan­do Had­dad, can­di­date for the left­ist Work­ers Par­ty, or PT, who has been surg­ing in the polls. Many econ­o­mists blame sta­tist poli­cies of the PT, which ruled Brazil for much of the past 15 years, for tip­ping Brazil into a deep down­turn, whose ves­tiges are still weigh­ing on the econ­o­my.

    Luciano Hang, the own­er of the pri­vate­ly-owned depart­ment store chain Havan, is one of few exec­u­tives to open­ly sup­port Bol­sonaro, whose unabashed admi­ra­tion for Brazil’s for­mer mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and fre­quent den­i­gra­tion of women and minori­ties have alien­at­ed large swaths of the elec­torate.

    Still, Hang esti­mates that “more than 80 per­cent” of peo­ple in a 300-mem­ber busi­ness coun­cil to which he belongs are back­ing Bol­sonaro now that more mod­er­ate can­di­dates in a crowd­ed pres­i­den­tial field appear to be fad­ing.
    ...

    Bol­sonaro’s like­ly left-wing oppo­nent, on the oth­er hand, has made it clear that he was stop the neolib­er­al poli­cies of the cur­rent right-wing gov­ern­ment. And when the choice is between a left-wing can­di­date who respects human rights and won’t bend to busi­ness inter­ests or a far right pro-tor­ture, pro-dic­ta­tor­ship can­di­date, the choice is clear. Investors are cool with the tor­ture and dic­ta­tor­ship:

    ...
    Had­dad, an econ­o­mist, has been meet­ing with major investors to quell fears about a PT return to pow­er. Known for his book­ish, calm demeanor, Had­dad has played up his ortho­dox posi­tions on infla­tion, exchange rates and deficits.

    Still, he has acknowl­edged he would dump the labor and spend­ing reforms of unpop­u­lar out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Michel Temer. And he has made it clear his admin­is­tra­tion would run state-con­trolled oil com­pa­ny Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) or Petro­bras as a devel­op­ment vehi­cle and scut­tle the pro­posed sale of Embraer’s (EMBR3.SA) com­mer­cial jet busi­ness to Boe­ing Co (BA.N).

    Had­dad recent­ly tweet­ed that the mar­ket was “an abstract enti­ty that ter­ror­izes the pub­lic.”
    ...

    Also some in the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty are con­cerned that Bol­sonaro is appar­ent­ly only a recent con­vert to the kind of extreme free-mar­ket ide­ol­o­gy favored by Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go econ­o­mists like Guedes:

    ...

    Cor­po­rate admir­ers of Bol­sonaro, mean­while, point to his choice of advi­sor Guedes as a rea­son to tune out their candidate’s divi­sive rhetoric, author­i­tar­i­an lean­ings and wild­ly shift­ing views on Brazil’s econ­o­my. Bol­sonaro, for exam­ple, once sug­gest­ed that ex-Pres­i­dent Fer­nan­do Hen­rique Car­doso be gunned down for pri­va­tiz­ing for­mer gov­ern­ment enter­pris­es includ­ing iron ore min­er Vale.

    In con­trast, Guedes, cur­rent­ly the head of asset man­age­ment firm Bozano Inves­ti­men­tos, is a fierce advo­cate of pri­va­tiz­ing Petro­bras and gov­ern­ment-con­trolled lender Ban­co do Brasil SA (BBAS3.SA).

    ...

    SHAKY ALLIANCE?

    But some ques­tion how long the Bol­sonaro-Guedes part­ner­ship might last even if the can­di­date is elect­ed.

    “Bol­sonaro is a recent con­vert to pro-mar­ket lib­er­al­ism — that’s not his thing, it’s nev­er been his thing,” said Mon­i­ca de Bolle, direc­tor of Latin Amer­i­can stud­ies at the Johns Hop­kins School of Advanced Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies (SAIS) in Wash­ing­ton.

    Such doubts were height­ened last month when Guedes pro­posed reviv­ing an unpop­u­lar finan­cial trans­ac­tions tax known as the CPMF to raise bad­ly need­ed rev­enue. That idea was swift­ly shot down by Bol­sonaro from the hos­pi­tal where he has been con­va­lesc­ing. He was stabbed by a men­tal­ly dis­turbed assailant at a cam­paign ral­ly last month.

    Guedes can­celed at least two planned pub­lic appear­ances soon after, fuel­ing spec­u­la­tion that he had been effec­tive­ly muz­zled by the cam­paign for the time being.
    ...

    So the fact that Bol­sonaro is pledged to make Guedes a kind of super min­is­ter with pow­ers to imple­ment a range of neolib­er­al poli­cies is pre­sum­ably going a long way to address those con­cerns:

    ...
    SUPER MINISTER

    ...

    If elect­ed, Bol­sonaro has promised to make Guedes a kind of super min­is­ter in charge of finance, plan­ning and trade, with wide lat­i­tude to set eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy.

    Guedes has held a series of meet­ings with invest­ment banks, cor­po­rate chief­tains and inter­na­tion­al investors to coax them onto the Bol­sonaro band­wag­on. The banker has also met with mem­bers of the Finance Min­istry at least three times in an effort to sig­nal con­ti­nu­ity with Temer’s reform agen­da, includ­ing changes to the country’s insol­vent pen­sion sys­tem.

    “Paulo Guedes indeed gives Bolsonaro’s can­di­da­cy a lot of cred­i­bil­i­ty,” said Clau­dio Paci­ni, head of Brazil­ian stock trad­ing at U.S. bro­ker INTL FCStone in Mia­mi. “Togeth­er with the fear of the rise of the left, the two things mit­i­gate in Bolsonaro’s favor.”
    ...

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, the idea that Bol­sonaro is only a recent con­vert to neolib­er­al­ism and pri­va­ti­za­tions does­n’t appear to be quite accu­rate. As the arti­cle points out, when the New York Times inter­viewed Bol­sonaro back in 1993, he was open­ly call­ing for a return to dic­ta­tor­ship and was an enthu­si­as­tic backer of the wave of pri­va­ti­za­tions that was sweep­ing the coun­try at that time. He was even quot­ed in the inter­view say­ing, “I vote for every pri­va­ti­za­tion bill that I can...It is the left that oppos­es pri­va­ti­za­tion. They just want to pre­serve their gov­ern­ment jobs.”

    The arti­cle also notes that that Guedes actu­al­ly worked in Chile under Pinochet and described Pinochet’s dic­ta­tor­ship as “an intel­lec­tu­al point of view”.

    And the arti­cle makes very clear that if you look at the inter­na­tion­al inter­ests who have long backed the kind of mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship Bol­sonaro wants to return to, it’s pret­ty clear that Wall Street (and the CIA) is going to be back­ing Bol­sonaro’s can­di­da­cy in addi­tion to Brazil’s invest­ment class:

    Brasil Wire

    “Pinochet via Fuji­mori”: Wall Street’s New Man In Brazil, Jair Bol­sonaro

    Sep­tem­ber 10, 2018

    New York Times, July 1993. In an arti­cle called “Conversations/Jair Bol­sonaro; A Sol­dier Turned Politi­cian Wants To Give Brazil Back to Army Rule“, Jour­nal­ist James Brooke inter­viewed a 38 year old con­gress­man. Brazil was strug­gling, a Pres­i­dent gone, in the third year of direct­ly elect­ed Gov­ern­ment since the coup of 1964, and the already infa­mous for­mer Army Cap­tain Bol­sonaro was propos­ing a return to Mil­i­tary Rule.

    This may have sound­ed out­landish, but just 4 years pre­vi­ous­ly, declas­si­fied doc­u­ments reveal that if the 1989 elec­tion had not gone the right way, Brazil’s Mil­i­tary estab­lish­ment and the Unit­ed States already had con­tin­gency plans for anoth­er Coup to set things right. It is safe to assume that a Latin Amer­i­can politi­cian fea­tured in the New York Times is already on the US Government’s radar.

    Brooke wrote: Apply­ing to pol­i­tics the bold­ness he once dis­played as an army para­chutist, Con­gress­man Jair Bol­sonaro plunged into unchart­ed ter­ri­to­ry a few weeks ago when he strode to the podi­um of Brazil’s Cham­ber of Deputies and called for the clos­ing of Con­gress. “I am in favor of a dic­ta­tor­ship,” he bel­lowed in a speech that rat­tled a coun­try that only left mil­i­tary rule behind in 1985. “We will nev­er resolve seri­ous nation­al prob­lems with this irre­spon­si­ble democ­ra­cy.”

    “Every­where I go, peo­ple embrace me and treat me like a nation­al hero,” Mr. Bol­sonaro assert­ed. “The peo­ple in the streets are ask­ing for the return of the mil­i­tary. They ask, ‘When are you com­ing back?’ “

    But to many defend­ers of Brazil­ian democ­ra­cy, the Bol­sonaro phe­nom­e­non rep­re­sents a flash­ing yel­low light — a sign that peo­ple are grow­ing impa­tient with democracy’s fail­ure to curb infla­tion and deliv­er a bet­ter style of life, and a warn­ing that politi­cians on the author­i­tar­i­an right are eager to take advan­tage of this mood, and to cul­ti­vate it. The Fuji­mori Mod­el. Today a new and less odi­ous mod­el for Latin Amer­i­can author­i­tar­i­an­ism has emerged in Peru’s Pres­i­dent, Alber­to K. Fuji­mori. Faced with con­gres­sion­al dead­lock last year, Mr. Fuji­mori, a civil­ian, ordered the Peru­vian Army to close the country’s Con­gress and its courts. One year lat­er, Mr. Fuji­mori rules with a com­pli­ant, one-cham­ber Con­gress.

    Dur­ing the inter­view, Bol­sonaro was enthu­si­as­tic about the strat­e­gy of Fuji­mori, and even then, 25 years ago, was laud­ing polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion as the ele­ment that would enable a return to mil­i­tary rule:

    “I sym­pa­thize with Fuji­mori,” the Brazil­ian con­gress­man con­tin­ued. “Fuji­moriza­tion is the way out for Brazil. I am mak­ing these warn­ings because the pop­u­la­tion is in favor of surgery.” Polit­i­cal surgery, Mr. Bol­sonaro con­tin­ued, would involve clos­ing Con­gress for a defined peri­od of time and allow­ing Brazil’s Pres­i­dent to rule by decree. The jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for a such a con­sti­tu­tion­al break, he said, would be “polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion” and Brazil’s infla­tion, which is now run­ning at 30 per­cent a month. With Con­gress often dead­locked in bat­tles among its 21 par­ties, Brazil’s press has dis­played an increas­ing fas­ci­na­tion with the Fuji­mori mod­el. In the last month, Brazil­ian news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and tele­vi­sion news pro­grams have car­ried long inter­views with the Peru­vian leader. “Fuji­mori put 400,000 civ­il ser­vants in the street,” Mr. Bol­sonaro assert­ed. “How could we ever do that here?”

    The con­gress­man was equal­ly enthu­si­as­tic about the wave of Neolib­er­al Pri­vati­sa­tions then sweep­ing the region and the world:

    When it held pow­er in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Brazil­ian mil­i­tary vast­ly expand­ed Brazil’s state sec­tor, implant­i­ng a wel­ter of state-run com­pa­nies and monop­o­lies. Today, Mr. Bol­sonaro said, the lead­ers of the armed forces favor bring­ing the state back to basics: defense, edu­ca­tion and health. “I vote for every pri­va­ti­za­tion bill that I can,” Mr. Bol­sonaro said. “It is the left that oppos­es pri­va­ti­za­tion. They just want to pre­serve their gov­ern­ment jobs.”

    25 years lat­er, Jair Bol­sonaro is sec­ond placed in the Pres­i­den­tial polls. He lies in a hos­pi­tal bed, con­nect­ed to all man­ner of tubes and devices, after suf­fer­ing an appar­ent assas­si­na­tion attempt.

    New Nor­mal

    The weath­er vane for gaug­ing opin­ion in the cor­ri­dors of pow­er is anglo cor­po­rate media. In 2017 came the first pub­lic signs that Jair Bol­sonaro was becom­ing accept­able to investors, and what fol­lowed was a con­cert­ed attempt to nor­malise his can­di­da­cy.

    For a long time he looked like an anti-estab­lish­ment out­lier, yet has been part of their armoury for years – break glass in case of emer­gency.

    Bol­sonaro has nev­er been “Brazil’s Trump” as some for­eign media have depict­ed over the past year. Despite he and his sup­port­ers’ protes­ta­tions he is an actu­al fas­cist, for­mer Mil­i­tary and unlike the US Pres­i­dent, is far from being a bil­lion­aire, nor real­i­ty TV host.

    It should be empha­sised how­ev­er that the depic­tion of the Bol­sonaros as “out­siders” is wide of the mark. Jair has been a fed­er­al deputy for 27 years, his sons Eduar­do, a fed­er­al deputy since 2015, Flávio, a state deputy since 2010, and Car­los, a city coun­cil­lor since 2000. The fam­i­ly has 13 apart­ments worth R$15 mil­lion, and a sum­mer house in Angra dos Reis. Jair and Eduar­do pock­et­ed over R$ 700,000 in hous­ing allowance despite hav­ing two apart­ments in Brasil­ia. Jair’s estate alone is worth R$2.3 mil­lion. Eduardo’s per­son­al estate grew by 432% between 2014–2018.

    In arti­cles such as this one in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Jour­nal and this one on the BBC, his nor­mal­i­sa­tion accel­er­at­ed through 2018. “Out­spo­ken com­ments”, “Arch-Con­ser­v­a­tive”, “Law and Order cam­paign­er”, “Hard­line can­di­date” have been the kind of euphemisms used for Bolsonaro’s Neo­fas­cist pol­i­tics.

    Human Rights dom­i­nate nar­ra­tives on for­eign gov­ern­ments when it suits, but Israel and Sau­di Ara­bia are clear exam­ples of how eas­i­ly such rhetoric is dis­re­gard­ed when it is in North Atlantic inter­ests to turn a blind eye. His pub­lic remarks from any­one else, god for­bid a leader like Venezuela’s Maduro, would draw unan­i­mous con­dem­na­tion. Some­how they’re now accept­able com­ing from a politi­cian who promis­es to let cap­i­tal run free.

    In the 1990s US Oil giant UNOCOL (Now Chevron) decid­ed after nego­ti­a­tions to back the Tal­iban regime in Afghanistan. Girls being banned from school was some­thing they could live with. More recent­ly the US and its allies had no qualms what­so­ev­er about back­ing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

    And through­out Pinochet’s reign of ter­ror in Chile, and since, hor­rif­ic crimes were rel­a­tivised, dimin­ished and ignored on account of his eco­nom­ic pol­i­cythe cre­ation of a Neolib­er­al lab­o­ra­to­ry in the coun­try, a glo­ri­ous exper­i­ment in which thou­sands were dis­ap­peared, tor­tured and killed.

    Nev­er under­es­ti­mate the lev­els of human suf­fer­ing that “Wall Street”, and those whom blithe­ly serve its inter­ests, are pre­pared to accept.

    Blood Waltz

    On Sep­tem­ber 4, speak­ing at a cam­paign ral­ly in Acre, an excit­ed Bol­sonaro called for the machine gun­ning of Work­ers Par­ty mem­bers.

    Brazil­ian Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Raquel Dodge deemed that no crime had been com­mit­ted, and that no harm had been done.

    Two days lat­er, whilst being car­ried on the shoul­ders of sup­port­ers through the city of Juiz da Fora in the state of Minas Gerais, an assailant approached the Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­date and plunged a knife into his abdomen. Although ini­tial­ly report­ed as a sur­face wound and not a threat to his life, he arrived at hos­pi­tal with, accord­ing to his son, “40% blood loss” and mul­ti­ple injuries to his intestines, liv­er and oth­er organs. Some of these claims were lat­er debunked.

    His attack­er Ade­lio Bis­po de Oliveira was imme­di­ate­ly depict­ed by Bol­sonaro allies as a Worker’s Par­ty mil­i­tant. The rumour spread quick­ly, and risked spark­ing retal­ia­to­ry attacks. Coup loy­al­ist news­pa­per Estadão emphased that he described him­self as “mod­er­ate left”, effec­tive­ly a euphemism for the PT. It was also report­ed that between 2007–2014 he had been affil­i­at­ed to the PSOL par­ty, who imme­di­ate­ly denounced the attack as did all the oth­er can­di­dates and par­ties.

    Dil­ma Rouss­eff was less sym­pa­thet­ic in her response, remark­ing “When you plant hatred, you har­vest the storm”. Giv­en that in 2015 he pub­licly expressed hope that she die of an heart attack or can­cer, and ded­i­cat­ed his vote for her impeach­ment to her tor­tur­er, it was sur­pris­ing that her response gen­er­at­ed any con­tro­ver­sy at all.

    The attack ampli­fied fears of a wider demon­i­sa­tion of the left in gen­er­al, which always spikes at elec­tion time. In 1989, just pri­or to the elec­tion, busi­ness­man Albinio Diniz was kid­napped, which was blamed on Lula’s Work­ers Par­ty. The tim­ing of the kid­nap­ping so soon before the elec­tion meant that the PT could not respond to the accu­sa­tion through the media, due to a com­pul­so­ry ban on cam­paign­ing for the final 24 hours ahead of vot­ing. Lula would lose the elec­tion to Fer­nan­do Col­lor.

    Bolsonaro’s vice, Gen­er­al Mourão, react­ed to the attack with a chill­ing: “If you want to use vio­lence, we are the pro­fes­sion­als of vio­lence.” while Gus­ta­vo Bebian­no, leader of the PSL, the “Social Lib­er­al Par­ty” to which Bol­sonaro belongs, said sim­ply “now it is war”.

    In a video from his hos­pi­tal bed Bol­sonaro whim­pered, “I’ve nev­er hurt any­one”. In the first pho­to of the Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date con­scious since arriv­ing for treat­ment at São Paulo’s Albert Ein­stein Hos­pi­tal he made his trade­mark “Two Gun” hand ges­ture.

    His son Flav­ió post­ed on social media: “A mes­sage for these thugs who tried to ruin the life of a guy who is the father of a fam­i­ly, who is the hope for all Brazil­ians: you just elect­ed the pres­i­dent, it will be in the first round”.

    In a coun­try where can­di­dates and top gov­ern­ment offi­cials have been known to die in plane crash­es at key moments in the polit­i­cal con­junc­ture, where a Pres­i­dent elect sud­den­ly died before tak­ing office, and where the lead­ing can­di­date has been jailed with no mate­r­i­al evi­dence, peo­ple do not nec­es­sar­i­ly believe what they see on the news. The fact that Bol­sonaro met with the own­er of Globo, the largest media con­glom­er­ate in Latin Amer­i­ca, 2 days before the knife attack, and that the video footage shows no blood, has led a large per­cent­age of the Brazil­ian pop­u­la­tion to con­clude that the inci­dent was sim­u­lat­ed or exag­ger­at­ed to some extent. Regard­less of whether this is the case or not, and we may nev­er know, the fact is that Globo has used the inci­dent to alter its por­tray­al of Bol­sonaro from an right wing fringe out­lier to a hero – even a mar­tyr, dur­ing the 15 min­utes of air­time they gave to the knife attack.

    Wall Street was watch­ing, and there was a sharp rise in the Real against the Dol­lar as news broke of an attack which was imme­di­ate­ly inter­pret­ed as increas­ing his chances of elec­tion. On Sep­tem­ber 10, White House spokes­woman Sarah Sanders con­firmed that mem­bers of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion had “reached out” to Bol­sonaro.

    In Plain Sight

    It was a col­umn for Fol­ha do São Paulo by Bri­an Win­ter, edi­tor of Amer­i­c­as Quater­ly, the mag­a­zine of Wall Street lob­by and think tank AS/COA (Amer­i­c­as Society/Council of the Amer­i­c­as). COA’s main patron is Chevron, but the cor­po­rate mem­ber­ship is a who’s who of US Cor­po­ra­tions, Banks and Invest­ment funds. A bridge between cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment pow­er, intel­li­gence, region­al lead­ers and busi­ness, its pur­pose is to influ­ence the Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics in the inter­ests of its mem­bers. In 2016, at an AS/COA event, post-coup Pres­i­dent Michel Temer admit­ted that Dil­ma Rouss­eff had been impeached because she refused to imple­ment their extreme Neolib­er­al pro­gramme “Bridge to the future”. The doc­u­ment was odd in that it appeared to have been trans­lat­ed from Eng­lish, with social media users remark­ing on its unusu­al word­ing. Econ­o­mist Mar­cio Pochmann not­ed sim­i­lar­i­ties between “Bridge to the Future” and the “Gov­ern­ment Eco­nom­ic Action Plan” (PAEG) which fol­lowed the Coup of 1964. One such sim­i­lar­i­ty, he says, is the strong inter­na­tion­al influ­ence.

    The col­umn in Fol­ha do São Paulo open­ly admit­ted for the first time, for a wealthy Paulista read­er­ship, that Wall Street now sup­port­ed the Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­da­cy of Jair Bol­sonaro. And this was from the hors­es mouth, as “Wall Street” in effect equals the mem­ber­ship of the Coun­cil of the Amer­i­c­as, the actu­al organ­i­sa­tion for which the author works.

    Win­ter wrote: “There is, final­ly, the moral ele­ment. How can investors sup­port a can­di­date with posi­tions such as those of Bol­sonaro on women, minori­ties and human rights? That’s the easy ques­tion. I know many hon­est peo­ple on Wall Street who feel repulsed by Bol­sonaro. But they admit in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions that there is no room for feel­ing. As one told me, “my job is to make sure the bonds get paid on time. As for the rest-it’s up to the Brazil­ians to decide.”

    For those famil­iar with the his­to­ry of AS/COA, the hand­wring­ing tone of the col­umn should have come as no sur­prise. Pulitzer win­ning inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Sey­mour Hersh wrote about it in his book “Price of Pow­er“, detail­ing its role in the build up to the 1973 Chilean coup which left Sal­vador Allende dead and brought Augus­to Pinochet to pow­er.

    “Mil­lions of dol­lars in (US)AID and CIA funds were allo­cat­ed, with the full knowl­edge of the Chilean and Unit­ed States gov­ern­ments, to Roman Catholic orga­ni­za­tions through­out the coun­try whose objec­tive was to oppose Protes­tantism and com­mu­nism. Frei won hand­i­ly, with 56 per­cent of the vote. Frei, who was ful­ly aware of the source of his fund­ing, also received covert help from a group of Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions known as the Busi­ness Group for Latin Amer­i­ca. The Group had been orga­nized in 1963 by David Rock­e­feller, pres­i­dent of the Chase Man­hat­tan Bank, at the express request of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, who was direct­ing his administration’s fight against Cas­tro and the spread of com­mu­nism in Latin Amer­i­ca. It includ­ed on its exec­u­tive com­mit­tee such promi­nent cor­po­ra­tion exec­u­tives as C. Jay Parkin­son, board chair­man of Ana­con­da; Harold S. Geneen, head of the Inter­na­tion­al Tele­phone and Tele­graph Cor­po­ra­tion, which owned and oper­at­ed the tele­phone facil­i­ties in Chile; and Don­ald M. Kendall, chair­man of Pep­si­Co, the soft­drink com­pa­ny, which had exten­sive busi­ness activ­i­ties in Latin Amer­i­ca.

    The prin­ci­pal con­tact in Chile for the CIA as well as for the Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions was the orga­ni­za­tion of Agustín Edwards, a close friend of Kendall’s, who was the own­er of the con­ser­v­a­tive El Mer­cu­rio news­pa­per chain in Chile and a focal point for the oppo­si­tion to Allende and the left. The CIA and the Busi­ness Group, which by 1970 had been reor­ga­nized into the Coun­cil of the Amer­i­c­as, relied heav­i­ly on Edwards to use his orga­ni­za­tion and his con­tacts to chan­nel their mon­eys into the 1964 polit­i­cal cam­paign. Many of the ties between the Busi­ness Group and the CIA in 1964 remained in place long after the elec­tion. For exam­ple, Enno Hob­bing, a CIA offi­cial who had ini­tial­ly been assigned as liai­son to the Busi­ness Group, even­tu­al­ly left the CIA and became the prin­ci­pal oper­a­tions offi­cer for the Coun­cil.”

    David Rock­e­feller remained at its head until his death in 2017. Oth­er notable staff include for­mer Deputy US Sec­re­tary of State, first Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence, key plot­ter in Venezuela’s failed 2002 Coup and over­seer of war crimes in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca, John D. Negro­ponte, and Juliana Bar­bas­sa, who now works at the New York Times Latin Amer­i­ca desk.

    Inter­fer­ence in Brazil’s elec­tion, and foment­ing sup­port for the sub­se­quent coup of 1964 were amongst the nascent COA’s first tasks. Rock­e­feller told a meet­ing at West Point in late 1964 that “the bank­ing com­mu­ni­ty had decid­ed ear­ly on that João Goulart was not accept­able and that he had to go”. It had fund­ed Brazil­ian Insti­tute for Demo­c­ra­t­ic Action (IBAD) and a relat­ed organ­i­sa­tion called Demo­c­ra­t­ic Action (ADEP) spend­ing between 12–20 mil­lion dol­lars (2018: up to $165m) financ­ing anti-Goulart/an­ti-Com­mu­nist can­di­dates dur­ing the 1962 elec­toral cam­paign.

    In 2005 a new think tank was formed draw­ing togeth­er Neolib­er­als from Brazil and out­side, includ­ing jour­nal­ists, econ­o­mists and politi­cians, that was called a suc­ces­sor organ­i­sa­tion to IBAD. Over the next decade its alum­ni would come to dom­i­nate the eco­nom­ic media nar­ra­tive in Brazil. It was called Insti­tu­to Mil­le­ni­um, and its founder a Brazil­ian Banker called Paulo Guedes.

    Bolsonaro’s “Brain”

    AS/COA held at least one off record meet­ing with Bol­sonaro and his advi­sors in 2017. What fol­lowed was a road to Dam­as­cus style con­ver­sion to the pub­lic rhetoric of free mar­kets and the min­i­mal state. Yet, where­as pri­or he had been depict­ed as a some kind of eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist, it was clear as ear­ly as the 1993 New York Times inter­view, that he was always staunch­ly pro-pri­vati­sa­tion.

    Despite this long held com­mit­ment to free-mar­kets, he admit­ted pub­licly in a TV Inter­view with Mar­i­ana Godoy that he doesn’t under­stand any­thing about eco­nom­ics, and that’s where his “guru” Paulo Guedes comes in.

    Wall Street investors see the Bolsonaro/Guedes com­bi­na­tion like Pinochet and the Chica­go Boys. Neolib­er­al­ism at the point of a gun.

    Guedes was a founder of what became BTG Pactu­al bank, and actu­al­ly worked in Chile under Pinochet. He describes his geno­ci­dal dic­ta­tor­ship as “an intel­lec­tu­al point of view”. Wall Street Jour­nal and oth­ers have open­ly defend­ed Pinochet, and in 2015, Win­ter him­self described the Dic­ta­tor as a “Rev­o­lu­tion­ary” and equat­ed him with Che Gue­vara.

    Since becom­ing part of Bolsonaro’s team in 2017, named as his prospec­tive Finance Min­is­ter Guedes has described the for­mer Sol­dier as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of an aban­doned Brazil­ian mid­dle class, and they have worked to con­sol­i­date sup­port amongst the Bul­let, Bible & Bull con­gres­sion­al cau­cus, with a promise of carte blanche for the farm­ing industry’s vio­lence against Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and Social Move­ments. With a nod to extrac­tive multi­na­tion­als he said “where there is indige­nous land, there is wealth beneath it“.

    In 2017 Guedes embarked on an inter­na­tion­al mis­sion to improve Bolsonaro’s image with investors and for­eign media. It appeared to have some effect, as this April 2018 Bloomberg arti­cle shows.

    He open­ly sup­ports tor­ture and his con­gres­sion­al vote for Dil­ma Rousseff’s impeach­ment was marked by a dement­ed eulo­gy to the man, Car­los Bril­hante Ustra, respon­si­ble for her bru­tal and sex­u­al tor­ture in the ear­ly 1970s. He has twice made rape-relat­ed threats and remarks to PT Con­gress­woman Maria do Rosario, for which he was con­vict­ed. He has made racist remarks at pub­lic events for which he has been con­vict­ed. He is an out­spo­ken homo­phobe, denier and apol­o­gist for vio­lence and mur­der of LGBTQ Brazil­ians. He has said that “30,000 Brazil­ians need­ed to be killed for the coun­try to func­tion”.

    Yet in the eyes of Wall Street, he is prefer­able to a Social Demo­c­rat.

    At the point of a gun

    Ear­ly in 2018 it was was report­ed that, at an event of Guedes’ BTG Pactu­al Bank, Bol­sonaro pro­posed a solu­tion to organ­ised crime in Brazil’s fave­las, such as Rio de Janeiro’s Rocin­ha, home to around 70,000 inhab­i­tants. It was to drop leaflets from heli­copter, warn­ing cit­i­zens to evac­u­ate and the gangs that they had four hours to sur­ren­der. After some hours the fave­las should be machine gunned. He was also report­ed­ly applaud­ed by the audi­ence, made up of the bank­ing and busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty.

    Pre­vi­ous­ly the can­di­date has said on tele­vi­sion that Chile’s Augus­to Pinochet did what he had to do, but “didn’t go far enough” and in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber 2018, his son and fel­low con­gress­man Eduar­do tweet­ed (then delet­ed) that “We will change Brazil with or with­out bul­lets”. He was recent­ly pho­tographed with new advi­sor, white suprema­cist Steve Ban­non.

    Back in 2014, from a sound truck shared with Koch Broth­ers-linked pro-coup group MBL, son Eduar­do addressed the small crowd at one of the first protests fol­low­ing the re-elec­tion of Dil­ma Rouss­eff, with a pis­tol in his belt, demonised “com­mu­nists” and eulo­gised the Mil­i­tary Police. He has since pro­posed a law that would make “apolo­gia for com­mu­nism” a crim­i­nal offence.

    His father Jair once said that he “would call a mil­i­tary coup on the day he was elect­ed”, and dou­bled down on this by appoint­ing Gen­er­al Mourão, as his Pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate. With Bol­sonaro in hos­pi­tal, it is Mourão, who open­ly express­es his belief in Brazil’s return to mil­i­tary rule, who now takes cen­tre stage in the cam­paign.

    Dur­ing a inter­view before a pan­el of jour­nal­ists on Globo News, Mourão remarked “Heroes kill” when asked about the actions of Car­los Bril­hante Ustra, head of the feared inter­nal intel­li­gence agency DOI-CODI dur­ing the mil­i­tary regime, the man per­son­al­ly respon­si­ble for the tor­ture of Dil­ma Rouss­eff.

    With Mourao’s rhetoric peo­ple are yet more afraid their cam­paign could be an attempt to induce mil­i­tary rule through a cha­rade at the bal­lot box, with the clear leader in jail and pre­vent­ed from run­ning. The unearthing of Bolsonaro’s 1993 quotes in the NYT raised the spec­tre of a “Fuji­mo­ri­an Auto-Coup” and Mourão comes from the school of thought that the Dic­ta­tor­ship should have nev­er end­ed.

    Author­i­tar­i­an Coup-loy­al­ist and Supreme Court Judge Alexan­dre de Moraes, who was appoint­ed fol­low­ing the con­tro­ver­sial death of Judge Teori Zavasc­ki in ear­ly 2017, is over­see­ing Bolsonaro’s con­vic­tion for racism, and by not act­ing to sen­tence him before the elec­tion is accused of main­tain­ing Bolsonaro’s free­dom and elec­tion prospects – effec­tive­ly kept as an estab­lish­ment “plan B” in case his for­mer boss Ger­al­do Alck­min didn’t progress to the sec­ond round – which now looks high­ly unlike­ly.

    ...

    God & Brazil above all

    Bolsonaro’s 2018 cam­paign man­i­festo, cre­at­ed in con­junc­tion with Paulo Guedes, is called “Project Phoenix”. Pub­lic secu­ri­ty and lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of Gun own­er­ship take cen­tre stage, but it is also explic­it­ly in favour of the process which has seen pri­vati­sa­tion of Brazil’s state owned com­pa­nies and resources fur­ther opened to for­eign own­er­ship. He also pro­pos­es mil­i­tary style school­ing, and cen­sor­ship of “left­ist” ide­ol­o­gy from class­rooms.

    Mean­while, in con­tra­dic­tion of the beliefs held by his core sup­port, the man­i­festo also reach­es out to Brazil’s poor­est by insist­ing it will retain key social pro­gramme Bol­sa Famil­ia.

    It also con­tains dozens of ref­er­ences to God. His sup­port amongst Neopen­te­costal, Evan­gel­i­cal con­gre­ga­tions is strong. (The ear­ly growth of such groups as a pow­er­ful, import­ed, social­ly con­ser­v­a­tive force in Brazil­ian soci­ety is doc­u­ment­ed in William Col­by and Cather­ine Dennett’s ‘Thy Will Be Done’).

    The same voic­es who nor­malise Bol­sonaro now have breath­less­ly pro­mot­ed the “pro-mar­ket” Car Wash anti-cor­rup­tion oper­a­tion for the past 4 years, which has drawn an offi­cial UNHRC rebuke for its impris­on­ment of the lead­ing can­di­date in October’s elec­tions, for­mer Pres­i­dent Lula da Sil­va. The Human Rights com­mit­tee issued an order, under a treaty that is bind­ing under Brazil­ian law, that Lula must be allowed to run for Pres­i­dent, and have access to his par­ty and media. All of these requests were denied, putting Brazil in breach of its inter­na­tion­al human rights com­mit­ments.

    For Bol­sonaro and his sup­port­ers, the very notion of Human Rights is “com­mu­nist”. He has promised to with­draw Brazil from the UN, if elect­ed and aban­don Brazil’s Human Rights min­istry.

    It had long been clear that the Mil­i­tary would not accept a Lula can­di­da­cy, and 9th Sep­tem­ber this was made all but offi­cial by head of the armed forces Gen­er­al Vil­las-Boas, which brought instant con­dem­na­tion from the Work­ers Par­ty.

    Jair Bol­sonaro is a case-study in the rela­tion­ship between Fas­cism and Neolib­er­al­ism.

    It is crit­i­cal for the out­side world to under­stand that this new-look, mar­ket-friend­ly Bol­sonaro is only in a posi­tion where vic­to­ry is even the­o­ret­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble because, and only because, of for­mer Pres­i­dent Lula’s con­test­ed impris­on­ment. That impris­on­ment has been aid­ed through infor­mal (and ille­gal) col­lab­o­ra­tion between the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Brazil­ian Fed­er­al Police, dis­cus­sion of which is an Anglo media taboo.

    The first polls con­duct­ed after his attack showed only a very slight increase in his vot­ing inten­tion, well short of the “first round vic­to­ry” pre­dict­ed by those with­in his camp. Thank­ful­ly he has mas­sive pub­lic rejec­tion, there will be an enor­mous mobil­i­sa­tion to stop him and he is still unlike­ly to emerge from the sec­ond round, regard­less of the attempt on his life.

    If investors tru­ly believe that a Fascist’s vic­to­ry in such an obvi­ous sham of an elec­tion would pro­tect their assets, they mas­sive­ly under­es­ti­mate the Brazil­ian peo­ple, and should think again. If, some­how Jair Bol­sonaro is elect­ed Pres­i­dent of Brazil, we should be under no illu­sion – there will be blood.

    ———–

    ““Pinochet via Fuji­mori”: Wall Street’s New Man In Brazil, Jair Bol­sonaro”; Brasil Wire; 09/10/2018

    “New York Times, July 1993. In an arti­cle called “Conversations/Jair Bol­sonaro; A Sol­dier Turned Politi­cian Wants To Give Brazil Back to Army Rule“, Jour­nal­ist James Brooke inter­viewed a 38 year old con­gress­man. Brazil was strug­gling, a Pres­i­dent gone, in the third year of direct­ly elect­ed Gov­ern­ment since the coup of 1964, and the already infa­mous for­mer Army Cap­tain Bol­sonaro was propos­ing a return to Mil­i­tary Rule.

    He’s been open­ly call­ing for a return to mil­i­tary rule pret­ty much since the end of mil­i­tary rule. That’s how long Jair Bol­sonaro has been advo­cat­ing a new dic­tor­ship:

    ...
    This may have sound­ed out­landish, but just 4 years pre­vi­ous­ly, declas­si­fied doc­u­ments reveal that if the 1989 elec­tion had not gone the right way, Brazil’s Mil­i­tary estab­lish­ment and the Unit­ed States already had con­tin­gency plans for anoth­er Coup to set things right. It is safe to assume that a Latin Amer­i­can politi­cian fea­tured in the New York Times is already on the US Government’s radar.

    Brooke wrote: Apply­ing to pol­i­tics the bold­ness he once dis­played as an army para­chutist, Con­gress­man Jair Bol­sonaro plunged into unchart­ed ter­ri­to­ry a few weeks ago when he strode to the podi­um of Brazil’s Cham­ber of Deputies and called for the clos­ing of Con­gress. “I am in favor of a dic­ta­tor­ship,” he bel­lowed in a speech that rat­tled a coun­try that only left mil­i­tary rule behind in 1985. “We will nev­er resolve seri­ous nation­al prob­lems with this irre­spon­si­ble democ­ra­cy.”
    ...

    And at the same time he was a fierce advo­cate of any pri­va­ti­za­tion bill he could vote for. So while he may have voiced some oppo­si­tion to some par­tic­u­lar pri­va­ti­za­tion in recent years, it looks like he’s been a pret­ty clas­sic fas­cist more or less all along: an advo­cate of neolib­er­al poli­cies with some ‘pop­ulist’ rhetoric thrown in the trick the rubes:

    ...
    The con­gress­man was equal­ly enthu­si­as­tic about the wave of Neolib­er­al Pri­vati­sa­tions then sweep­ing the region and the world:

    When it held pow­er in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Brazil­ian mil­i­tary vast­ly expand­ed Brazil’s state sec­tor, implant­i­ng a wel­ter of state-run com­pa­nies and monop­o­lies. Today, Mr. Bol­sonaro said, the lead­ers of the armed forces favor bring­ing the state back to basics: defense, edu­ca­tion and health. “I vote for every pri­va­ti­za­tion bill that I can,” Mr. Bol­sonaro said. “It is the left that oppos­es pri­va­ti­za­tion. They just want to pre­serve their gov­ern­ment jobs.”

    25 years lat­er, Jair Bol­sonaro is sec­ond placed in the Pres­i­den­tial polls. He lies in a hos­pi­tal bed, con­nect­ed to all man­ner of tubes and devices, after suf­fer­ing an appar­ent assas­si­na­tion attempt.
    ...

    And that’s why, despite the fre­quent por­tray­als of the guy as an anti-estab­lish­ment out­lier, in real­i­ty he’s the ulti­mate insid­er and has been all along:

    ...
    New Nor­mal

    The weath­er vane for gaug­ing opin­ion in the cor­ri­dors of pow­er is anglo cor­po­rate media. In 2017 came the first pub­lic signs that Jair Bol­sonaro was becom­ing accept­able to investors, and what fol­lowed was a con­cert­ed attempt to nor­malise his can­di­da­cy.

    For a long time he looked like an anti-estab­lish­ment out­lier, yet has been part of their armoury for years – break glass in case of emer­gency.

    Bol­sonaro has nev­er been “Brazil’s Trump” as some for­eign media have depict­ed over the past year. Despite he and his sup­port­ers’ protes­ta­tions he is an actu­al fas­cist, for­mer Mil­i­tary and unlike the US Pres­i­dent, is far from being a bil­lion­aire, nor real­i­ty TV host.

    It should be empha­sised how­ev­er that the depic­tion of the Bol­sonaros as “out­siders” is wide of the mark. Jair has been a fed­er­al deputy for 27 years, his sons Eduar­do, a fed­er­al deputy since 2015, Flávio, a state deputy since 2010, and Car­los, a city coun­cil­lor since 2000. The fam­i­ly has 13 apart­ments worth R$15 mil­lion, and a sum­mer house in Angra dos Reis. Jair and Eduar­do pock­et­ed over R$ 700,000 in hous­ing allowance despite hav­ing two apart­ments in Brasil­ia. Jair’s estate alone is worth R$2.3 mil­lion. Eduardo’s per­son­al estate grew by 432% between 2014–2018.
    ...

    Next, the arti­cle cov­ers the impor­tant role of the AS/COA (Amer­i­c­as Society/Council of the Amer­i­c­as) think tank in sup­port­ing right-wing gov­ern­ments in Brazil. And it was at an AS/COA even in 2016 when cur­rent pres­i­dent Michel Temer — who came to pow­er after the impeach­ment of left-wing Dil­ma Rouss­eff over ques­tions cor­rup­tion charges — admit­ted that Rouss­eff was impeached because she refused to imple­ment the desired neolib­er­al “Bridge to the future” agen­da:

    ...
    In Plain Sight

    It was a col­umn for Fol­ha do São Paulo by Bri­an Win­ter, edi­tor of Amer­i­c­as Quater­ly, the mag­a­zine of Wall Street lob­by and think tank AS/COA (Amer­i­c­as Society/Council of the Amer­i­c­as). COA’s main patron is Chevron, but the cor­po­rate mem­ber­ship is a who’s who of US Cor­po­ra­tions, Banks and Invest­ment funds. A bridge between cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment pow­er, intel­li­gence, region­al lead­ers and busi­ness, its pur­pose is to influ­ence the Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics in the inter­ests of its mem­bers. In 2016, at an AS/COA event, post-coup Pres­i­dent Michel Temer admit­ted that Dil­ma Rouss­eff had been impeached because she refused to imple­ment their extreme Neolib­er­al pro­gramme “Bridge to the future”. The doc­u­ment was odd in that it appeared to have been trans­lat­ed from Eng­lish, with social media users remark­ing on its unusu­al word­ing. Econ­o­mist Mar­cio Pochmann not­ed sim­i­lar­i­ties between “Bridge to the Future” and the “Gov­ern­ment Eco­nom­ic Action Plan” (PAEG) which fol­lowed the Coup of 1964. One such sim­i­lar­i­ty, he says, is the strong inter­na­tion­al influ­ence.

    The col­umn in Fol­ha do São Paulo open­ly admit­ted for the first time, for a wealthy Paulista read­er­ship, that Wall Street now sup­port­ed the Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­da­cy of Jair Bol­sonaro. And this was from the hors­es mouth, as “Wall Street” in effect equals the mem­ber­ship of the Coun­cil of the Amer­i­c­as, the actu­al organ­i­sa­tion for which the author works.

    Win­ter wrote: “There is, final­ly, the moral ele­ment. How can investors sup­port a can­di­date with posi­tions such as those of Bol­sonaro on women, minori­ties and human rights? That’s the easy ques­tion. I know many hon­est peo­ple on Wall Street who feel repulsed by Bol­sonaro. But they admit in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions that there is no room for feel­ing. As one told me, “my job is to make sure the bonds get paid on time. As for the rest-it’s up to the Brazil­ians to decide.”
    ...

    “I know many hon­est peo­ple on Wall Street who feel repulsed by Bol­sonaro. But they admit in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions that there is no room for feel­ing. As one told me, “my job is to make sure the bonds get paid on time. As for the rest-it’s up to the Brazil­ians to decide.”

    No room for feel­ings (feel­ings of being repulsed about a pro-tor­ture can­di­date). Just ensure the bonds get paid on time. And that, right there, is why peo­ple hate the neolib­er­al par­a­digm. It’s ide­o­log­i­cal­ly socio­path­ic, like fas­cism.

    Next, the arti­cle describes the impor­tant his­to­ry behind the AS/COA: Its CIA roots and a long his­to­ry sup­port­ing Brazil’s mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship:

    ...
    For those famil­iar with the his­to­ry of AS/COA, the hand­wring­ing tone of the col­umn should have come as no sur­prise. Pulitzer win­ning inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Sey­mour Hersh wrote about it in his book “Price of Pow­er“, detail­ing its role in the build up to the 1973 Chilean coup which left Sal­vador Allende dead and brought Augus­to Pinochet to pow­er.

    “Mil­lions of dol­lars in (US)AID and CIA funds were allo­cat­ed, with the full knowl­edge of the Chilean and Unit­ed States gov­ern­ments, to Roman Catholic orga­ni­za­tions through­out the coun­try whose objec­tive was to oppose Protes­tantism and com­mu­nism. Frei won hand­i­ly, with 56 per­cent of the vote. Frei, who was ful­ly aware of the source of his fund­ing, also received covert help from a group of Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions known as the Busi­ness Group for Latin Amer­i­ca. The Group had been orga­nized in 1963 by David Rock­e­feller, pres­i­dent of the Chase Man­hat­tan Bank, at the express request of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, who was direct­ing his administration’s fight against Cas­tro and the spread of com­mu­nism in Latin Amer­i­ca. It includ­ed on its exec­u­tive com­mit­tee such promi­nent cor­po­ra­tion exec­u­tives as C. Jay Parkin­son, board chair­man of Ana­con­da; Harold S. Geneen, head of the Inter­na­tion­al Tele­phone and Tele­graph Cor­po­ra­tion, which owned and oper­at­ed the tele­phone facil­i­ties in Chile; and Don­ald M. Kendall, chair­man of Pep­si­Co, the soft­drink com­pa­ny, which had exten­sive busi­ness activ­i­ties in Latin Amer­i­ca.

    The prin­ci­pal con­tact in Chile for the CIA as well as for the Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions was the orga­ni­za­tion of Agustín Edwards, a close friend of Kendall’s, who was the own­er of the con­ser­v­a­tive El Mer­cu­rio news­pa­per chain in Chile and a focal point for the oppo­si­tion to Allende and the left. The CIA and the Busi­ness Group, which by 1970 had been reor­ga­nized into the Coun­cil of the Amer­i­c­as, relied heav­i­ly on Edwards to use his orga­ni­za­tion and his con­tacts to chan­nel their mon­eys into the 1964 polit­i­cal cam­paign. Many of the ties between the Busi­ness Group and the CIA in 1964 remained in place long after the elec­tion. For exam­ple, Enno Hob­bing, a CIA offi­cial who had ini­tial­ly been assigned as liai­son to the Busi­ness Group, even­tu­al­ly left the CIA and became the prin­ci­pal oper­a­tions offi­cer for the Coun­cil.”

    David Rock­e­feller remained at its head until his death in 2017. Oth­er notable staff include for­mer Deputy US Sec­re­tary of State, first Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence, key plot­ter in Venezuela’s failed 2002 Coup and over­seer of war crimes in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca, John D. Negro­ponte, and Juliana Bar­bas­sa, who now works at the New York Times Latin Amer­i­ca desk.
    ...

    And one of the ear­li­est actions of the COA was foment­ing sup­port for the 1964 coup. It also fund­ed the Brazil­ian Insti­tute for Demo­c­ra­t­ic Action (IBAD). And in 2005 a suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tion to IBAD was formed, the Insti­tu­to Mil­le­ni­um. It’s founder was Paulo Guedes:

    ...
    Inter­fer­ence in Brazil’s elec­tion, and foment­ing sup­port for the sub­se­quent coup of 1964 were amongst the nascent COA’s first tasks. Rock­e­feller told a meet­ing at West Point in late 1964 that “the bank­ing com­mu­ni­ty had decid­ed ear­ly on that João Goulart was not accept­able and that he had to go”. It had fund­ed Brazil­ian Insti­tute for Demo­c­ra­t­ic Action (IBAD) and a relat­ed organ­i­sa­tion called Demo­c­ra­t­ic Action (ADEP) spend­ing between 12–20 mil­lion dol­lars (2018: up to $165m) financ­ing anti-Goulart/an­ti-Com­mu­nist can­di­dates dur­ing the 1962 elec­toral cam­paign.

    In 2005 a new think tank was formed draw­ing togeth­er Neolib­er­als from Brazil and out­side, includ­ing jour­nal­ists, econ­o­mists and politi­cians, that was called a suc­ces­sor organ­i­sa­tion to IBAD. Over the next decade its alum­ni would come to dom­i­nate the eco­nom­ic media nar­ra­tive in Brazil. It was called Insti­tu­to Mil­le­ni­um, and its founder a Brazil­ian Banker called Paulo Guedes.
    ...

    So Guedes lit­er­al­ly found­ed a suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tion to one of the enti­ties ear­li­er financed by the COA/CIA. So it should come as no suprise the Wall Street views the Bolsonaro/Guedes team in a very pos­i­tive light: Guedes is basi­cal­ly work­ing for the CIA! And now he’s seen as Bol­sonaro’s “Brain”. And Guedes is the kind of “Brain” that viewed Pinochet’s dic­ta­tor­ship as “an intel­lec­tu­al point of view”, which is no suprise since he worked for Pinochet too:

    ...
    Bolsonaro’s “Brain”

    AS/COA held at least one off record meet­ing with Bol­sonaro and his advi­sors in 2017. What fol­lowed was a road to Dam­as­cus style con­ver­sion to the pub­lic rhetoric of free mar­kets and the min­i­mal state. Yet, where­as pri­or he had been depict­ed as a some kind of eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist, it was clear as ear­ly as the 1993 New York Times inter­view, that he was always staunch­ly pro-pri­vati­sa­tion.

    Despite this long held com­mit­ment to free-mar­kets, he admit­ted pub­licly in a TV Inter­view with Mar­i­ana Godoy that he doesn’t under­stand any­thing about eco­nom­ics, and that’s where his “guru” Paulo Guedes comes in.

    Wall Street investors see the Bolsonaro/Guedes com­bi­na­tion like Pinochet and the Chica­go Boys. Neolib­er­al­ism at the point of a gun.

    Guedes was a founder of what became BTG Pactu­al bank, and actu­al­ly worked in Chile under Pinochet. He describes his geno­ci­dal dic­ta­tor­ship as “an intel­lec­tu­al point of view”. Wall Street Jour­nal and oth­ers have open­ly defend­ed Pinochet, and in 2015, Win­ter him­self described the Dic­ta­tor as a “Rev­o­lu­tion­ary” and equat­ed him with Che Gue­vara.
    ...

    And now, since offi­cial­ly join­ing Bol­sonaro’s team, one of Guedes’s jobs is to improve Bol­sonaro’s image with investors and for­eign media, some­thing he should be excep­tion­al­ly good at giv­en his inter­na­tion­al back­ers:

    ...
    Since becom­ing part of Bolsonaro’s team in 2017, named as his prospec­tive Finance Min­is­ter Guedes has described the for­mer Sol­dier as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of an aban­doned Brazil­ian mid­dle class, and they have worked to con­sol­i­date sup­port amongst the Bul­let, Bible & Bull con­gres­sion­al cau­cus, with a promise of carte blanche for the farm­ing industry’s vio­lence against Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and Social Move­ments. With a nod to extrac­tive multi­na­tion­als he said “where there is indige­nous land, there is wealth beneath it“.

    In 2017 Guedes embarked on an inter­na­tion­al mis­sion to improve Bolsonaro’s image with investors and for­eign media. It appeared to have some effect, as this April 2018 Bloomberg arti­cle shows.
    ...

    But Guedes isn’t just focused on Bol­sonaro’s image. He also co-cre­at­ed Bolosonaro’s “Project Phoenix” agen­da. An agen­da of more guns, mass pri­va­ti­za­tions, mil­i­tary style school and the cen­sor­ship of “left­ist” ide­ol­o­gy from class­rooms. Oh, and Bol­sonaro con­sid­ers the very notion of Human Rights “com­mu­nist” and promised to aban­don Brazil’s Human Rights min­istry:

    ...
    God & Brazil above all

    Bolsonaro’s 2018 cam­paign man­i­festo, cre­at­ed in con­junc­tion with Paulo Guedes, is called “Project Phoenix”. Pub­lic secu­ri­ty and lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of Gun own­er­ship take cen­tre stage, but it is also explic­it­ly in favour of the process which has seen pri­vati­sa­tion of Brazil’s state owned com­pa­nies and resources fur­ther opened to for­eign own­er­ship. He also pro­pos­es mil­i­tary style school­ing, and cen­sor­ship of “left­ist” ide­ol­o­gy from class­rooms.

    ...

    The same voic­es who nor­malise Bol­sonaro now have breath­less­ly pro­mot­ed the “pro-mar­ket” Car Wash anti-cor­rup­tion oper­a­tion for the past 4 years, which has drawn an offi­cial UNHRC rebuke for its impris­on­ment of the lead­ing can­di­date in October’s elec­tions, for­mer Pres­i­dent Lula da Sil­va. The Human Rights com­mit­tee issued an order, under a treaty that is bind­ing under Brazil­ian law, that Lula must be allowed to run for Pres­i­dent, and have access to his par­ty and media. All of these requests were denied, putting Brazil in breach of its inter­na­tion­al human rights com­mit­ments.

    For Bol­sonaro and his sup­port­ers, the very notion of Human Rights is “com­mu­nist”. He has promised to with­draw Brazil from the UN, if elect­ed and aban­don Brazil’s Human Rights min­istry.

    It had long been clear that the Mil­i­tary would not accept a Lula can­di­da­cy, and 9th Sep­tem­ber this was made all but offi­cial by head of the armed forces Gen­er­al Vil­las-Boas, which brought instant con­dem­na­tion from the Work­ers Par­ty.

    Jair Bol­sonaro is a case-study in the rela­tion­ship between Fas­cism and Neolib­er­al­ism.
    ...

    And, of course, it sounds like the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice played a role in the jail­ing of Lula, the can­di­date who would be lead­ing in the polls right now if he was­n’t in jail. So it’s pret­ty clear who the US gov­ern­ment wants to win in the elec­tion:

    ...
    It is crit­i­cal for the out­side world to under­stand that this new-look, mar­ket-friend­ly Bol­sonaro is only in a posi­tion where vic­to­ry is even the­o­ret­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble because, and only because, of for­mer Pres­i­dent Lula’s con­test­ed impris­on­ment. That impris­on­ment has been aid­ed through infor­mal (and ille­gal) col­lab­o­ra­tion between the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Brazil­ian Fed­er­al Police, dis­cus­sion of which is an Anglo media taboo.
    ...

    And that’s all part of why this elec­tion is look­ing so dire for Brazil: It’s not just Brazil’s busi­ness class that’s get­ting behind Bol­sonaro. It’s the inter­na­tion­al busi­ness class, and the US gov­ern­ment, who are get­ting behind Bol­sonaro on the promise that he’ll impose some sort of author­i­tar­i­an fas­cist rule. It’s utter­ly dia­bol­i­cal and at the same time ‘just busi­ness’:

    ...
    If investors tru­ly believe that a Fascist’s vic­to­ry in such an obvi­ous sham of an elec­tion would pro­tect their assets, they mas­sive­ly under­es­ti­mate the Brazil­ian peo­ple, and should think again. If, some­how Jair Bol­sonaro is elect­ed Pres­i­dent of Brazil, we should be under no illu­sion – there will be blood.
    ...

    So we’ll see how this elec­tion pans out. It Bol­sonaro wins out its look­ing like an excep­tion­al­ly bloody peri­od com­ing up for Brazil. But giv­en the inter­ests behind Bol­sonaro, and their his­to­ry of foment­ing coups, you have to won­der if blood can be avoid­ed if Bol­sonaro does­n’t win. It seems like Brazil is in a ‘bloody either way’ sit­u­a­tion here.

    And in oth­er news, Jair Bol­sonaro’s son, Car­los, tweet­ed out a pic­ture of some­one being tor­tured last week. It was pre­sum­ably a pre­view of the Bol­sonaro agen­da the invest­ment class is get­ting behind.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 2, 2018, 3:51 pm
  5. Jair Bol­sonaro just arrived for his first offi­cial trip in the US. It sounds like deal­ing with Venezuela (regime change) is going to the top item on his agen­da. Anoth­er item includes meet­ing with Steve Ban­non. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, Bol­sonaro’s son, Eduar­do Bol­sonaro, announced in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary that he was part of the Brus­sels-based group known as The Move­ment which is ded­i­cat­ed to pro­mot­ing far right nation­al­is­tic val­ues and tac­tics. Ban­non set up The Move­ment. Also on Bol­sonaro’s sched­ule is dine at the res­i­dence of Brazil­ian ambas­sador Ser­gio Ama­r­al with “opin­ion mak­ers”. Those “opin­ion mak­ers” include Ban­non and US-based Brazil­ian writer Ola­vo de Car­val­ho, con­sid­ered Bol­sonaro’s ide­o­log­i­cal guru. So the “opin­ion mak­ers” Bol­sonaro will be din­ing with appear to be fas­cist opin­ion mak­ers. That appears to be at the core of Bol­sonaro’s agen­da for this vis­it: plot­ting regime change in Venezuela and meet­ing with his fas­cist opin­ion mak­ers:

    AFP

    Brazil’s Bol­sonaro in US to cement an alliance with Trump

    17/03/2019 — 22:16

    Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro arrived in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day to meet with his US coun­ter­part Don­ald Trump and cement a bud­ding con­ser­v­a­tive-pop­ulist alliance that, in part, aims to ramp up pres­sure on Venezuela.

    The far-right leader flew out of Brasil­ia ear­ly Sun­day with six min­is­ters, among them For­eign Min­is­ter Ernesto Arau­jo, Econ­o­my Min­is­ter Paulo Guedes and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ser­gio Moro, Brazil­ian media report­ed. They touched down at Joint Base Andrews, on the out­skirts of Wash­ing­ton, at 3:40 pm.

    It was Bol­sonaro’s first trip abroad for a bilat­er­al meet­ing since tak­ing office on Jan­u­ary 1. He attend­ed the Davos sum­mit in Switzer­land in Jan­u­ary.

    Bol­sonaro, who will also meet in Wash­ing­ton with the head of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States (OAS), is sched­uled to return to Brazil on Tues­day.

    Out­side the White House Sun­day after­noon, dozens of demon­stra­tors gath­ered to protest the vis­it — hold­ing signs includ­ing one that accused Bol­sonaro of being a “mur­der­er” over appar­ent links to sus­pects in the mur­der of rights activist Marielle Fran­co. Police have said those ties are coin­ci­den­tal.

    - Admir­er of Trump -

    A Trump-Bol­sonaro bond could see the lead­ers of the Amer­i­c­as’ two most pop­u­lous democ­ra­cies work­ing in con­cert on a range of region­al issues.

    Most press­ing is the cri­sis in Venezuela, where the Unit­ed States and Brazil — and dozens of oth­er coun­tries — have rec­og­nized oppo­si­tion leader Juan Guai­do as inter­im pres­i­dent with the goal of push­ing Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro from pow­er.

    The tough-talk­ing Bol­sonaro has long expressed his admi­ra­tion for Trump. He echoes the US leader in spurn­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al orga­ni­za­tions and left­ist pol­i­tics, while pro­mot­ing busi­ness­es over envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns at home.

    Their shared nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment can be seen in anoth­er rela­tion­ship: that of Bol­sonaro’s son Eduar­do, who is a fed­er­al law­mak­er, with Trump’s for­mer strate­gist Steve Ban­non.

    Eduar­do Bol­sonaro announced in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary that he was part of the Brus­sels-based group known as The Move­ment, which Ban­non set up to pro­mote far-right nation­al­is­tic val­ues and tac­tics.

    ...

    - Eyes on Venezuela -

    But most eyes will be on devel­op­ments sur­round­ing Venezuela, which shares a bor­der with Brazil.

    Pre­vi­ous Brazil­ian admin­is­tra­tions took a friends-to-all approach to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. But not Bol­sonaro.

    The 63-year-old for­mer para­troop­er is vehe­ment­ly opposed to left­ist cur­rents, at home and abroad, and he shares Trump’s hos­til­i­ty to the “dic­ta­tor” Maduro, who took over after the death of social­ist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013.

    Trump has repeat­ed­ly insist­ed that “all options are on the table” with regards to Venezuela, a phrase under­stood to include mil­i­tary action.

    But Bol­sonaro, like oth­er mem­bers of the most­ly Latin Amer­i­can Lima Group, has ruled out mil­i­tary action in favor of a pol­i­cy of tight­en­ing the eco­nom­ic and diplo­mat­ic noose around Maduro.

    As well as a “pri­vate meet­ing” with Trump in the Oval Office on Tues­day, Bol­sonaro will sit down with OAS Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Luis Alma­gro, and par­tic­i­pate in var­i­ous forums to pro­mote eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties in Brazil.

    The Unit­ed States is Brazil’s sec­ond biggest trade part­ner after Chi­na.

    After his arrival, Bol­sonaro was sched­uled to dine at the res­i­dence of Brazil­ian ambas­sador Ser­gio Ama­r­al with “opin­ion mak­ers” includ­ing, accord­ing to press reports, Ban­non and US-based Brazil­ian writer Ola­vo de Car­val­ho, con­sid­ered Bol­sonaro’s ide­o­log­i­cal guru.

    Bol­sonaro is stay­ing in Blair House, the offi­cial US state res­i­dence oppo­site the White House used for vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries.

    After his return to Brazil, Bol­sonaro is plan­ning a trip to Chile and then, in late March, to Israel. He forged close ties with Israel’s con­ser­v­a­tive leader, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu, when the lat­ter attend­ed Bol­sonaro’s inau­gu­ra­tion.
    ———-

    “Brazil’s Bol­sonaro in US to cement an alliance with Trump”; AFP; 03/17/2019

    “The tough-talk­ing Bol­sonaro has long expressed his admi­ra­tion for Trump. He echoes the US leader in spurn­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al orga­ni­za­tions and left­ist pol­i­tics, while pro­mot­ing busi­ness­es over envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns at home.

    Yep, the Brazil­ian Trump is com­ing to meet the orig­i­nal. And it makes a lot that they’re so sim­i­lar. They both are both fol­low­ers of Steven Ban­non:

    ...
    Their shared nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment can be seen in anoth­er rela­tion­ship: that of Bol­sonaro’s son Eduar­do, who is a fed­er­al law­mak­er, with Trump’s for­mer strate­gist Steve Ban­non.

    Eduar­do Bol­sonaro announced in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary that he was part of the Brus­sels-based group known as The Move­ment, which Ban­non set up to pro­mote far-right nation­al­is­tic val­ues and tac­tics.

    ...

    After his arrival, Bol­sonaro was sched­uled to dine at the res­i­dence of Brazil­ian ambas­sador Ser­gio Ama­r­al with “opin­ion mak­ers” includ­ing, accord­ing to press reports, Ban­non and US-based Brazil­ian writer Ola­vo de Car­val­ho, con­sid­ered Bol­sonaro’s ide­o­log­i­cal guru.
    ...

    And it’s also no sur­prise regime change in Venezuela is at the top of the agen­da. For an open fas­cist like Bol­sonaro hav­ing the Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment next door must be a major issue:

    ...
    Pre­vi­ous Brazil­ian admin­is­tra­tions took a friends-to-all approach to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. But not Bol­sonaro.

    The 63-year-old for­mer para­troop­er is vehe­ment­ly opposed to left­ist cur­rents, at home and abroad, and he shares Trump’s hos­til­i­ty to the “dic­ta­tor” Maduro, who took over after the death of social­ist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013.

    Trump has repeat­ed­ly insist­ed that “all options are on the table” with regards to Venezuela, a phrase under­stood to include mil­i­tary action.

    But Bol­sonaro, like oth­er mem­bers of the most­ly Latin Amer­i­can Lima Group, has ruled out mil­i­tary action in favor of a pol­i­cy of tight­en­ing the eco­nom­ic and diplo­mat­ic noose around Maduro.
    ...

    And while Bol­sonaro may not be open­ly talk­ing about mil­i­tary action against the Maduro gov­ern­ment, that does­n’t mean he isn’t qui­et­ly talk­ing about it.

    And note that Bol­sonaro is meet­ing with the OAS dur­ing his trip:

    ...
    Bol­sonaro, who will also meet in Wash­ing­ton with the head of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States (OAS), is sched­uled to return to Brazil on Tues­day.
    ...

    Keep in mind that the OAS joined Trump back in Sep­tem­ber in leav­ing on the table mil­i­tary action against Maduro’s gov­ern­ment.

    So Bol­sonaro is open­ly talk­ing to the OAS which is poten­tial­ly a big omi­nous. Now check out who Bol­sonaro is also qui­et­ly talk­ing to dur­ing his trip the US: the CIA. He made a trip the CIA’s head­quar­ters. It was­n’t on his offi­cial pres­i­den­tial agen­da:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Brazil’s far-right pres­i­dent vis­its CIA on first US trip

    By BEN FOX
    03/18/2019

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The pres­i­dent of Brazil vis­it­ed CIA head­quar­ters Mon­day on his first offi­cial trip to the U.S., an unusu­al move that reflects the country’s shift in lead­er­ship to a more pro-Amer­i­can stance.

    Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro planned to dis­cuss “inter­na­tion­al themes in the region” at the vis­it to head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia, accord­ing to his son, Eduar­do, a Brazil­ian law­mak­er accom­pa­ny­ing him.

    Eduar­do Bol­sonaro described the CIA as “one of the most respect­ed intel­li­gence agen­cies in the world,” in a tweet that was like­ly to raise eye­brows back home in Brazil, where the U.S. and its spy ser­vices have been regard­ed with sus­pi­cion in recent years.

    In 2013, leaks from Edward Snow­den revealed that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency had wire­tapped con­ver­sa­tions of then-Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­eff, lead­ing to a years of frosty rela­tions between the U.S. and Brazil.

    “No Brazil­ian pres­i­dent had ever paid a vis­it to the CIA,” said Cel­so Amor­im, who served as for­eign min­is­ter under for­mer Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Sil­va and is a Bol­sonaro crit­ic. “This is an explic­it­ly sub­mis­sive posi­tion. Noth­ing com­pares to this.”

    The CIA had no com­ment on the vis­it.

    Bol­sonaro vis­it­ed the agency with his jus­tice min­is­ter, Ser­gio Moro, lead­ing dai­ly O Globo report­ed. The paper not­ed that the vis­it was not pub­lished in the president’s agen­da and press were not allowed to accom­pa­ny him inside.

    ...

    Bol­sonaro was sched­uled to speak to the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce lat­er Mon­day.

    He is to meet with Trump on Tues­day, when he is expect­ed to dis­cuss trade and coop­er­a­tion on the inter­na­tion­al cam­paign to press Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro to give up pow­er to the oppo­si­tion.

    ———-

    “Brazil’s far-right pres­i­dent vis­its CIA on first US trip” By BEN FOX; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 03/18/2019

    “Bol­sonaro vis­it­ed the agency with his jus­tice min­is­ter, Ser­gio Moro, lead­ing dai­ly O Globo report­ed. The paper not­ed that the vis­it was not pub­lished in the president’s agen­da and press were not allowed to accom­pa­ny him inside.

    It was just a spon­ta­neous unof­fi­cial vis­it to the CIA. Noth­ing to wor­ry about.

    So with that in mind, here’s an arti­cle from Jan­u­ary 17 about Bol­sonaro pledg­ing to “restore democ­ra­cy” in Venezuela. The arti­cle men­tions Bol­sonaro’s for­eign min­is­ter meet­ing with a group of Venezue­lan oppo­si­tion lead­ers and dis­cussing ideas for “con­crete action”. The arti­cle also also notes that Bol­sonaro’s gov­ern­ment had just offi­cial­ly rec­og­nized Juan Guai­do as the right­ful pres­i­dent of Venezeu­la (on Jan 12), which even Guai­do him­self had not yet pro­claimed at that point. Or the US, which did­n’t pro­claim Guai­do to be the right­ful pres­i­dent until Jan 23. Although the Jan 12th dec­la­ra­tion by Brazil was pre­ced­ed by an OAS dec­la­ra­tion on Jan 10th that Maduro’s gov­ern­ment not be rec­og­nized as legit­i­mate. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the OAS was at the meet­ing where Bol­sonaro met with Venezue­lan oppo­si­tion lead­ers.

    In oth­er words, part of what makes Bol­sonaro’s trip the CIA so omi­nous is that the Bol­sonaro gov­ern­ment has at times pub­licly been even more enthu­si­as­tic than the US in call­ing for regime change in Venezuela:

    Reuters

    Brazil’s Bol­sonaro pledges action to ‘restore democ­ra­cy’ in Venezuela

    Jan­u­ary 17, 2019 / 6:13 PM

    BRASILIA (Reuters) — Brazil’s far-right Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro said on Thurs­day he would do all he could to “to re-estab­lish order and democ­ra­cy” in Venezuela, while his for­eign min­is­ter met with Venezue­lan oppo­si­tion lead­ers.

    The right-wing gov­ern­ment of Bol­sonaro on Sat­ur­day said it rec­og­nized Juan Guai­do, a Venezue­lan oppo­si­tion leader who is head of the con­gress, as the right­ful pres­i­dent of Venezuela — even though Guai­do him­self has not pro­claimed him­self pres­i­dent.

    Social­ist Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro began a new term last week under a cloud of inter­na­tion­al crit­i­cism by gov­ern­ments around the world, who have described him as an ille­git­i­mate leader whose poli­cies have plunged Venezuela into its worst ever eco­nom­ic cri­sis.

    “We will con­tin­ue doing every­thing pos­si­ble to re-estab­lish order, democ­ra­cy and free­dom there,” Bol­sonaro said in a video, in which he stood next to the head of the oppo­si­tion-appoint­ed Supreme Court in exile, Miguel Angel Mar­tin.

    “We asked the peo­ple of Venezuela to resist and have faith, because I believe a solu­tion is com­ing soon,” Bol­sonaro said in the video issued by his office.

    Guai­do, a law­mak­er from the hard-line Pop­u­lar Will oppo­si­tion par­ty, said last week he was pre­pared to assume the pres­i­den­cy on an inter­im basis and call elec­tions, but would only do so with sup­port of the armed forces.

    Since tak­ing office Jan. 1, Bol­sonaro has stepped up crit­i­cism of Maduro’s gov­ern­ment, the Unit­ed States’ biggest ide­o­log­i­cal foe in Latin Amer­i­ca.

    Also at the meet­ing was a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Luis Alma­gro, the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States who has said Venezuela should be sus­pend­ed from the region­al forum.

    Bolsonaro’s for­eign min­is­ter Ernesto Arau­jo spent the morn­ing hud­dled with a group of Venezue­lan oppo­si­tion lead­ers, led by the exiled for­mer may­or of Cara­cas, Anto­nio Ledez­ma, to ana­lyze the sit­u­a­tion and Guaido’s readi­ness to take over as act­ing pres­i­dent, a Brazil­ian for­eign min­istry state­ment said.

    Venezuela’s Infor­ma­tion Min­istry did not imme­di­ate­ly reply to a request for com­ment.

    The meet­ing also dis­cussed ideas for “con­crete action” to re-estab­lish democ­ra­cy in Venezuela, the state­ment said, with­out giv­ing fur­ther details.

    The oppo­si­tion lead­ers said 300,000 peo­ple were starv­ing and more than 11,000 new­born babies were dying each year due to the lack of med­i­cine in what they called a “silent geno­cide per­pe­trat­ed by the Maduro dic­ta­tor­ship,” the state­ment said.

    ...
    ———-

    “Brazil’s Bol­sonaro pledges action to ‘restore democ­ra­cy’ in Venezuela”; Reuters; 01/17/2019

    ““We will con­tin­ue doing every­thing pos­si­ble to re-estab­lish order, democ­ra­cy and free­dom there,” Bol­sonaro said in a video, in which he stood next to the head of the oppo­si­tion-appoint­ed Supreme Court in exile, Miguel Angel Mar­tin.”

    Bol­sonaro’s gov­ern­ment pledged to do “every­thing pos­si­ble” to foment regime change in Venezuela back in Jan­u­ary, days after his gov­ern­ment declared Juan Guai­do to be the right­ful pres­i­dent:

    ...
    The right-wing gov­ern­ment of Bol­sonaro on Sat­ur­day said it rec­og­nized Juan Guai­do, a Venezue­lan oppo­si­tion leader who is head of the con­gress, as the right­ful pres­i­dent of Venezuela — even though Guai­do him­self has not pro­claimed him­self pres­i­dent.
    ...

    And note that the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the OAS was at this meet­ing back in Jan­u­ary:

    ...
    Also at the meet­ing was a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Luis Alma­gro, the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States who has said Venezuela should be sus­pend­ed from the region­al forum.
    ...

    And this is all why Bol­sonaro’s vis­it with the CIA is so omi­nous. Because even if Bol­sonaro’s gov­ern­ment sticks with the pledge to not use mil­i­tary force to over­throw the Maduro gov­ern­ment there’s plen­ty of non-mil­i­tary forms of force that could used. And non-mil­i­tary regime change is, of course, kind of a CIA spe­cial­ty.

    Or maybe they’ll go with the mil­i­tary option Trump keeps threat­en­ing. We’ll see. But with Juan Guai­do promis­ing to pri­va­tize Venezue­la’s oil sec­tor it’s hard to imag­ine the goal of regime change chang­ing any time soon.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 18, 2019, 3:26 pm

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