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

For The Record  

FTR #887 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank­furt also reg­is­tered com­plaints, although far few­er.

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

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

Dwin­dling trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

From Our Adver­tis­ers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    23.1.2016 19:39

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Tim Warsinskey,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mil­i­tants May Have Accessed Gov­ern­ment Com­put­ers At Refuge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Tor, Tech­noc­ra­cy, Democ­ra­cy

    By David Golum­bia | Pub­lished: April 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And fur­ther:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Samuel Osborne
    Sat­ur­day 30 Jan­u­ary 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Swe­den received a record 160,000 refugees last year.


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

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

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