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

For The Record  

FTR #950 Shock to the System: Further Reflections on the Breitbart Axis

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

CampOfSaintsIntro­duc­tion: This broad­cast updates cov­er­age of key aspects of the Nazi/fascist, oops, we mean “alt-right” milieu that moved into gov­ern­ment cour­tesy of the Trumpenkampfver­bande and Bre­it­bart.

Fur­ther devel­op­ing the ter­ri­fy­ing real­i­ty of what Arti­fi­cial Intel­l­li­gence (AI) can accom­plish for the ded­i­cat­ed fas­cist, oops, we mean “alt-right,” adher­ent, we note an impor­tant address giv­en at SXSW. Microsoft researcher Kate Craw­ford gave a speech titled “Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fas­cism.” The pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ed the social impact of machine learn­ing and large-scale data sys­tems. The take home mes­sage? By del­e­gat­ing pow­ers to Bid Data-dri­ven AIs, those AIs could become fascist’s dream: Incred­i­ble pow­er over the lives of oth­ers with min­i­mal account­abil­i­ty: ” . . . .‘This is a fascist’s dream,’ she said. ‘Pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty.’ . . . .”

Turn­ing next to the polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy of Steve Ban­non and the sem­i­nal influ­ences on its devel­op­ment, we refresh our acquain­tance with Cur­tis Yarvin, aka “Men­cius Mold­bug,” a her­ald of the Dark Enlight­ment.

Cur­tis Yarvin has actu­al­ly opened a backchan­nel advi­so­ry con­nec­tion to the White House.

Note that the Ban­non influ­ences all seem to agree that what is need­ed is “a shock to the sys­tem.” We may very well expe­ri­ence just that. ” . . . .  . . . . Bannon’s read­ings tend to have one thing in com­mon: the view that tech­nocrats have put West­ern civ­i­liza­tion on a down­ward tra­jec­to­ry and that only a shock to the sys­tem can reverse its decline. . . . ”

Fas­cist philoso­pher Julius Evola is anoth­er of the key influ­ences on Ban­non. Evola was an ear­ly occult fas­cist, with strong con­nec­tions with Mus­solin­i’s Italy. Even­tu­al­ly Evola estab­lished strong, last­ing con­nec­tions with the Nazi SS, both oper­a­tional­ly and ide­o­log­i­cal­ly.

He is anoth­er advo­cate of the “shock to the system”/“blow it up” approach to the sta­tus quo. ” . . . Chang­ing the sys­tem, Evola argued, was ‘not a ques­tion of con­test­ing and polemi­ciz­ing, but of blow­ing every­thing up.’ . . . .”

A reveal­ing influ­ence on Ban­non is a French nov­el The Camp of the Saints by Jean Ras­pail. “. . . . The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Rev­e­la­tion 20:9is noth­ing less than a call to arms for the white Chris­t­ian West, to revive the spir­it of the Cru­sades and steel itself for bloody con­flict against the poor black and brown world with­out and the trai­tors with­in. The novel’s last line links past humil­i­a­tions tight­ly to its own grim para­ble about mod­ern migra­tion. ‘The Fall of Con­stan­tino­ple,’ Raspail’s unnamed nar­ra­tor says, ‘is a per­son­al mis­for­tune that hap­pened to all of us only last week.’ . . . . ”

In FTR #947, we high­light­ed Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, a Bre­it­bart alum­nus and Hun­gar­i­an fas­cist. Gor­ka is now the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s point man work­ing against Islam­ic ter­ror­ism. His view (and Ban­non’s) that we are engaged in an his­toric clash of civ­i­liza­tions. That is pre­cise­ly the point of view expressed by ISIS (and The Camp of the Saints) and will play into their hands.

That, in turn, will help pro­pel the U.S. into more end­less wars on the periph­ery of our empire, ulti­mate­ly sap­ping the nation’s vital­i­ty and lead­ing to the fall of the U.S. in a man­ner delin­eat­ed in FTR #944.

After review­ing Gorka’s anti-Semi­tism, his pro­found con­nec­tions to three gen­er­a­tions of Hun­gar­i­an fas­cism dat­ing to the pre-World War II peri­od and con­fir­ma­tion of his alle­giance to the Order of Vitezi Rend, we high­light the fact that Gor­ka is part of the Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives Group, some­thing of a par­al­lel NSC formed by Steve Ban­non. It reminds us of Hitler’s cre­ation of a par­al­lel gen­er­al staff, born of a mis­trust of his own senior offi­cers and a desire to have a trust­ed cadre to obey his orders.

” . . . . In the Unit­ed States, Gor­ka, who was appoint­ed deputy assis­tant to the pres­i­dent on Jan­u­ary 20, is known as a tele­vi­sion com­men­ta­tor, a pro­fes­sor and an “alt-right” writer who describes him­self as a coun­tert­er­ror­ism expert. A close asso­ciate of Stephen Ban­non, Trump’s chief strate­gist, Gor­ka is now part of Bannon’s key in-house White House think tank, the Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives Group. The new­ly formed group con­sists of fig­ures close to Trump and is seen by some as a rival to the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil in for­mu­lat­ing poli­cies for the pres­i­dent. . . .”

The con­clu­sion of the pro­gram fore­shad­ows dis­cus­sion in our next broad­cast, which will crit­i­cal­ly exam­ine Bernie Sanders cam­paign and dis­turb­ing indi­ca­tions that his can­di­da­cy may have been gen­er­at­ed by the Under­ground Reich as a vehi­cle for infil­trat­ing and desta­bi­liz­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

In FTR #941, we high­light­ed the push by Bernie Sanders and his promi­nent backer Tul­si Gab­bard to have Kei­th Elli­son, an African-Amer­i­can Mus­lim to be head of the DNC. He was not elect­ed head of the DNC, but is now deputy chair of the DNC, the posi­tion for­mer­ly held by Gab­bard.

Elli­son is net­worked with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, and the Nation of Islam as well. ” . . . . Indeed, the June 21, 1998 arti­cle states that at that time – that is, three years after Farrakhan’s march – Elli­son was a mem­ber of the Nation of Islam: ‘Elli­son has been active in the com­mu­ni­ty, but not with­in the estab­lished DFL par­ty [the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in Min­neso­ta]. A mem­ber of the Nation of Islam, Elli­son was the coor­di­na­tor of the Min­neso­ta par­tic­i­pants in the Mil­lion Man March and the sub­se­quent com­mu­ni­ty group that formed.’ . . . .”

In a point of dis­cus­sion that will be con­duct­ed at greater length in our next pro­gram, we con­clude by not­ing that anoth­er of Kei­th Ellison’s sup­port­ers to head the DNC was Faisal Gill, a Grover Norquist pro­tege whom we cov­ered in FTR #467.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Review of Gorka’s for­ma­tion of a fas­cist par­ty in Hun­gary in the last decade.
  • Review of Gorka’s doc­tri­naire anti-Semi­tism.
  • Review of Gorka’s net­work­ing with mem­bers of the Job­bik Par­ty in Hun­gary.
  • Review of Gorka’s sup­port­ive atti­tude toward the Arrow Cross Par­ty, which allied with Hitler.
  • Review of Job­bik’s affin­i­ty with Julius Evola.
  • Review of Karl Rove’s and Grover Norquist’s sem­i­nal sup­port for the cre­ation of a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood branch of the GOP.

1a. At the SXSW event, Microsoft researcher Kate Craw­ford gave a speech about her work titled “Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fas­cism,” the pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ed  the social impact of machine learn­ing and large-scale data sys­tems. The take home mes­sage? By del­e­gat­ing pow­ers to Bid Data-dri­ven AIs, those AIs could become fascist’s dream: Incred­i­ble pow­er over the lives of oth­ers with min­i­mal account­abil­i­ty: ” . . . .‘This is a fascist’s dream,’ she said. ‘Pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty.’ . . . .”

“Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Is Ripe for Abuse, Tech Researcher Warns: ‘A Fascist’s Dream’” by Olivia Solon; The Guardian; 3/13/2017.

Microsoft’s Kate Craw­ford tells SXSW that soci­ety must pre­pare for author­i­tar­i­an move­ments to test the ‘pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty’ of AI

As arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence becomes more pow­er­ful, peo­ple need to make sure it’s not used by author­i­tar­i­an regimes to cen­tral­ize pow­er and tar­get cer­tain pop­u­la­tions, Microsoft Research’s Kate Craw­ford warned on Sun­day.

In her SXSW ses­sion, titled Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fas­cism, Craw­ford, who stud­ies the social impact of machine learn­ing and large-scale data sys­tems, explained ways that auto­mat­ed sys­tems and their encod­ed bias­es can be mis­used, par­tic­u­lar­ly when they fall into the wrong hands.

“Just as we are see­ing a step func­tion increase in the spread of AI, some­thing else is hap­pen­ing: the rise of ultra-nation­al­ism, rightwing author­i­tar­i­an­ism and fas­cism,” she said.

All of these move­ments have shared char­ac­ter­is­tics, includ­ing the desire to cen­tral­ize pow­er, track pop­u­la­tions, demo­nize out­siders and claim author­i­ty and neu­tral­i­ty with­out being account­able. Machine intel­li­gence can be a pow­er­ful part of the pow­er play­book, she said.

One of the key prob­lems with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence is that it is often invis­i­bly cod­ed with human bias­es. She described a con­tro­ver­sial piece of research from Shang­hai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­si­ty in Chi­na, where authors claimed to have devel­oped a sys­tem that could pre­dict crim­i­nal­i­ty based on someone’s facial fea­tures. The machine was trained on Chi­nese gov­ern­ment ID pho­tos, ana­lyz­ing the faces of crim­i­nals and non-crim­i­nals to iden­ti­fy pre­dic­tive fea­tures. The researchers claimed it was free from bias.

“We should always be sus­pi­cious when machine learn­ing sys­tems are described as free from bias if it’s been trained on human-gen­er­at­ed data,” Craw­ford said. “Our bias­es are built into that train­ing data.”

In the Chi­nese research it turned out that the faces of crim­i­nals were more unusu­al than those of law-abid­ing cit­i­zens. “Peo­ple who had dis­sim­i­lar faces were more like­ly to be seen as untrust­wor­thy by police and judges. That’s encod­ing bias,” Craw­ford said. “This would be a ter­ri­fy­ing sys­tem for an auto­crat to get his hand on.”

Craw­ford then out­lined the “nasty his­to­ry” of peo­ple using facial fea­tures to “jus­ti­fy the unjus­ti­fi­able”. The prin­ci­ples of phrenol­o­gy, a pseu­do­science that devel­oped across Europe and the US in the 19th cen­tu­ry, were used as part of the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of both slav­ery and the Nazi per­se­cu­tion of Jews.

With AI this type of dis­crim­i­na­tion can be masked in a black box of algo­rithms, as appears to be the case with a com­pa­ny called Face­cep­tion, for instance, a firm that promis­es to pro­file people’s per­son­al­i­ties based on their faces. In its ownmar­ket­ing mate­r­i­al, the com­pa­ny sug­gests that Mid­dle East­ern-look­ing peo­ple with beards are “ter­ror­ists”, while white look­ing women with trendy hair­cuts are “brand pro­mot­ers”.

Anoth­er area where AI can be mis­used is in build­ing reg­istries, which can then be used to tar­get cer­tain pop­u­la­tion groups. Craw­ford not­ed his­tor­i­cal cas­es of reg­istry abuse, includ­ing IBM’s role in enabling Nazi Ger­many to track Jew­ish, Roma and oth­er eth­nic groups with the Hol­lerith Machine, and the Book of Life used in South Africa dur­ing apartheid. [We note in pass­ing that Robert Mer­cer, who devel­oped the core pro­grams used by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca did so while work­ing for IBM. We dis­cussed the pro­found rela­tion­ship between IBM and the Third Reich in FTR #279–D.E.]

Don­ald Trump has float­ed the idea of cre­at­ing a Mus­lim reg­istry. “We already have that. Face­book has become the default Mus­lim reg­istry of the world,” Craw­ford said, men­tion­ing research from Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty that showed it is pos­si­ble to pre­dict people’s reli­gious beliefs based on what they “like” on the social net­work. Chris­tians and Mus­lims were cor­rect­ly clas­si­fied in 82% of cas­es, and sim­i­lar results were achieved for Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans (85%). That study was con­clud­ed in 2013, since when AI has made huge leaps.

Craw­ford was con­cerned about the poten­tial use of AI in pre­dic­tive polic­ing sys­tems, which already gath­er the kind of data nec­es­sary to train an AI sys­tem. Such sys­tems are flawed, as shown by a Rand Cor­po­ra­tion study of Chicago’s pro­gram. The pre­dic­tive polic­ing did not reduce crime, but did increase harass­ment of peo­ple in “hotspot” areas. Ear­li­er this year the jus­tice depart­ment con­clud­ed that Chicago’s police had for years reg­u­lar­ly used “unlaw­ful force”, and that black and His­pan­ic neigh­bor­hoods were most affect­ed.

Anoth­er wor­ry relat­ed to the manip­u­la­tion of polit­i­cal beliefs or shift­ing vot­ers, some­thing Face­book and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca claim they can already do. Craw­ford was skep­ti­cal about giv­ing Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca cred­it for Brex­it and the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, but thinks what the firm promis­es – using thou­sands of data points on peo­ple to work out how to manip­u­late their views – will be pos­si­ble “in the next few years”.

“This is a fascist’s dream,” she said. “Pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty.”

Such black box sys­tems are start­ing to creep into gov­ern­ment. Palan­tir is build­ing an intel­li­gence sys­tem to assist Don­ald Trump in deport­ing immi­grants.

“It’s the most pow­er­ful engine of mass depor­ta­tion this coun­try has ever seen,” she said. . . .

1b. One of the influ­ences on Ban­non is Cur­tis Yarvin, aka Men­cius Mold­bug, who has actu­al­ly opened a backchan­nel advi­so­ry con­nec­tion to the White House.

Note that the Ban­non influ­ences all seem to agree that what is need­ed is “a shock to the sys­tem.” We may very well expe­ri­ence just that. ” . . . .  . . . . Bannon’s read­ings tend to have one thing in com­mon: the view that tech­nocrats have put West­ern civ­i­liza­tion on a down­ward tra­jec­to­ry and that only a shock to the sys­tem can reverse its decline. . . . ”

“What Steve Ban­non Wants You to Read” by Eliana John­son and Eli Stokols; Politi­co; 2/07/2017.

 . . . . Bannon’s read­ings tend to have one thing in com­mon: the view that tech­nocrats have put West­ern civ­i­liza­tion on a down­ward tra­jec­to­ry and that only a shock to the sys­tem can reverse its decline. And they tend to have a dark, apoc­a­lyp­tic tone that at times echoes Bannon’s own pub­lic remarks over the years—a sense that human­i­ty is at a hinge point in his­to­ry. His ascen­dant pres­ence in the West Wing is giv­ing once-obscure intel­lec­tu­als unex­pect­ed influ­ence over the high­est ech­e­lons of gov­ern­ment. . . .

 . . . . Before he emerged on the polit­i­cal scene, an obscure Sil­i­con Val­ley com­put­er pro­gram­mer with ties to Trump backer and Pay­Pal co-founder Peter Thiel was explain­ing his behav­ior. Cur­tis Yarvin, the self-pro­claimed ‘neo­re­ac­tionary’ who blogs under the name ‘Men­cius Mold­bug,’ attract­ed a fol­low­ing in 2008 when he pub­lished a wordy trea­tise assert­ing, among oth­er things, that ‘non­sense is a more effec­tive orga­niz­ing tool than the truth.’ When the orga­niz­er of a com­put­er sci­ence con­fer­ence can­celed Yarvin’s appear­ance fol­low­ing an out­cry over his blog­ging under his nom de web, Ban­non took note: Bre­it­bart News decried the act of cen­sor­ship in an arti­cle about the programmer-blogger’s dis­missal.

Moldbug’s dense, dis­cur­sive mus­ings on history—‘What’s so bad about the Nazis?’ he asks in one 2008 post that con­demns the Holo­caust but ques­tions the moral supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Allies—include a belief in the util­i­ty of spread­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion that now looks like a tem­plate for Trump’s approach to truth. ‘To believe in non­sense is an unforge­able [sic] demon­stra­tion of loy­al­ty. It serves as a polit­i­cal uni­form. And if you have a uni­form, you have an army,’ he writes in a May 2008 post.It’s been a while since I post­ed any­thing real­ly con­tro­ver­sial and offen­sive here,’ he begins in a July 25, 2007, post explain­ing why he asso­ciates democ­ra­cy with ‘war, tyran­ny, destruc­tion and pover­ty.’

Mold­bug, who does not do inter­views and could not be reached for this sto­ry, has report­ed­ly opened up a line to the White House, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Ban­non and his aides through an inter­me­di­ary, accord­ing to a source. . . .

1c. Fas­cist philoso­pher Julius Evola is anoth­er of the key influ­ences on Ban­non. Evola was an ear­ly occult fas­cist, with strong con­nec­tions with Mus­solin­i’s Italy. Even­tu­al­ly Evola estab­lished strong, last­ing con­nec­tions with the Nazi SS, both oper­a­tional­ly and ide­o­log­i­cal­ly.

Evola has also influ­enced Alexan­der Dug­in, a promi­nent Russ­ian ide­o­logue and politi­cian.

He is anoth­er advo­cate of the “shock to the system”/“blow it up” approach to the sta­tus quo. ” . . . Chang­ing the sys­tem, Evola argued, was ‘not a ques­tion of con­test­ing and polemi­ciz­ing, but of blow­ing every­thing up.’ . . . .”

“Fas­cists Too Lax For a Philoso­pher Cit­ed by Ban­non” by Jason Horowitz; The New York Times; 2/12/2017.

Those try­ing to divine the roots of Stephen K. Bannon’s dark and at times apoc­a­lyp­tic world­view have repeat­ed­ly combed over a speech that Mr. Ban­non, Pres­i­dent Trump’s ide­o­log­i­cal guru, made in 2014 to a Vat­i­can con­fer­ence, where he expound­ed on Islam, pop­ulism and cap­i­tal­ism.

But for all the exam­i­na­tion of those remarks, a pass­ing ref­er­ence by Mr. Ban­non to an eso­teric Ital­ian philoso­pher has gone lit­tle noticed, except per­haps by schol­ars and fol­low­ers of the deeply taboo, Nazi-affil­i­at­ed thinker, Julius Evola.

“The fact that Ban­non even knows Evola is sig­nif­i­cant,” said Mark Sedg­wick, a lead­ing schol­ar of Tra­di­tion­al­ists at Aarhus Uni­ver­si­ty in Den­mark.

Evola, who died in 1974, wrote on every­thing from East­ern reli­gions to the meta­physics of sex to alche­my. But he is best known as a lead­ing pro­po­nent of Tra­di­tion­al­ism, a world­view pop­u­lar in far-right and alter­na­tive reli­gious cir­cles that believes progress and equal­i­ty are poi­so­nous illu­sions.

Evola became a dar­ling of Ital­ian Fas­cists, and Italy’s post-Fas­cist ter­ror­ists of the 1960s and 1970s looked to him as a spir­i­tu­al and intel­lec­tu­al god­fa­ther.

They called them­selves Chil­dren of the Sun after Evola’s vision of a bour­geoisie-smash­ing new order that he called the Solar Civ­i­liza­tion. Today, the Greek neo-Nazi par­ty Gold­en Dawn includes his works on its sug­gest­ed read­ing list, and the leader of Job­bik, the Hun­gar­i­an nation­al­ist par­ty, admires Evola and wrote an intro­duc­tion to his works.

More impor­tant for the cur­rent Amer­i­can admin­is­tra­tion, Evola also caught on in the Unit­ed States with lead­ers of the alt-right move­ment, which Mr. Ban­non nur­tured as the head of Bre­it­bart News and then helped har­ness for Mr. Trump.

“Julius Evola is one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing men of the 20th cen­tu­ry,” said Richard Spencer, the white nation­al­ist leader who is a top fig­ure in the alt-right move­ment, which has attract­ed white suprema­cists, racists and anti-immi­grant ele­ments.

In the days after the elec­tion, Mr. Spencer led a Wash­ing­ton alt-right con­fer­ence in chants of “Hail Trump!” But he also invoked Evola’s idea of a pre­his­toric and pre-Chris­t­ian spir­i­tu­al­i­ty — refer­ring to the awak­en­ing of whites, whom he called the Chil­dren of the Sun.

Mr. Spencer said “it means a tremen­dous amount” that Mr. Ban­non was aware of Evola and oth­er Tra­di­tion­al­ist thinkers.

“Even if he hasn’t ful­ly imbibed them and been changed by them, he is at least open to them,” he said. “He at least rec­og­nizes that they are there. That is a stark dif­fer­ence to the Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment that either was igno­rant of them or attempt­ed to sup­press them.”

Mr. Ban­non, who did not return a request for com­ment for this arti­cle, is an avid and wide-rang­ing read­er. He has spo­ken enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly about every­thing from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” to “The Fourth Turn­ing” by William Strauss and Neil Howe, which sees his­to­ry in cycles of cat­a­clysmic and order-oblit­er­at­ing change. His aware­ness of and ref­er­ence to Evola in itself only reflects that read­ing. But some on the alt-right con­sid­er Mr. Ban­non a door through which Evola’s ideas of a hier­ar­chi­cal soci­ety run by a spir­i­tu­al­ly supe­ri­or caste can enter in a peri­od of cri­sis.

“Evolists view his ship as com­ing in,” said Prof. Richard Drake at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mon­tana, who wrote about Evola in his book “The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Mys­tique and Ter­ror­ism in Con­tem­po­rary Italy.”

For some of them, it has been a long time com­ing.

“It’s the first time that an advis­er to the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent knows Evola, or maybe has a Tra­di­tion­al­ist for­ma­tion,” said Gian­fran­co De Tur­ris, an Evola biog­ra­ph­er and apol­o­gist based in Rome who runs the Evola Foun­da­tion out of his apart­ment.

“If Ban­non has these ideas, we have to see how he influ­ences the pol­i­tics of Trump,” he said.

A March arti­cle titled “An Estab­lish­ment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right” in Bre­it­bart, the web­site then run by Mr. Ban­non, includ­ed Evola as one of the thinkers in whose writ­ings the “ori­gins of the alter­na­tive right” could be found.

The arti­cle was co-writ­ten by Milo Yiannopou­los, the right-wing provo­ca­teur who is wild­ly pop­u­lar with con­ser­v­a­tives on col­lege cam­pus­es. Mr. Trump recent­ly defend­ed Mr. Yiannopou­los as a sym­bol of free speech after demon­stra­tors vio­lent­ly protest­ed his planned speech at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.

The arti­cle cel­e­brat­ed the youth­ful inter­net trolls who give the alt-right move­ment its ener­gy and who, moti­vat­ed by a com­mon and ques­tion­able sense of humor, use anti-Semit­ic and racial­ly charged memes “in typ­i­cal­ly juve­nile but unde­ni­ably hys­ter­i­cal fash­ion.”

“It’s hard to imag­ine them read­ing Evola,” the arti­cle con­tin­ued. “They may be inclined to sym­pa­thize to those caus­es, but main­ly because it annoys the right peo­ple.”

Evola, who has more than annoyed peo­ple for near­ly a cen­tu­ry, seems to be hav­ing a moment.

“When I start­ed work­ing on Evola, you had to plow through Ital­ian,” said Mr. Sedg­wick, who keeps track of Tra­di­tion­al­ist move­ments and thought on his blog, Tra­di­tion­al­ists. “Now he’s avail­able in Eng­lish, Ger­man, Russ­ian, Ser­bian, Greek, Hun­gar­i­an. First I saw Evola boom, and then I real­ized the num­ber of peo­ple inter­est­ed in that sort of idea was boom­ing.”

Born in 1898, Evola liked to call him­self a baron and in lat­er life sport­ed a mon­o­cle in his left eye.

A bril­liant stu­dent and tal­ent­ed artist, he came home after fight­ing in World War I and became a lead­ing expo­nent in Italy of the Dada move­ment, which, like Evola, reject­ed the church and bour­geois insti­tu­tions.

Evola’s ear­ly artis­tic endeav­ors gave way to his love of the Ger­man philoso­pher Friedrich Niet­zsche, and he devel­oped a world­view with an over­rid­ing ani­mos­i­ty toward the deca­dence of moder­ni­ty. Influ­enced by mys­ti­cal works and the occult, Evola began devel­op­ing an idea of the individual’s abil­i­ty to tran­scend his real­i­ty and “be uncon­di­tion­al­ly what­ev­er one wants.”

Under the influ­ence of René Guénon, a French meta­physi­cist and con­vert to Islam, Evola in 1934 pub­lished his most influ­en­tial work, “The Revolt Against the Mod­ern World,” which cast mate­ri­al­ism as an erod­ing influ­ence on ancient val­ues.

It viewed human­ism, the Renais­sance, the Protes­tant Ref­or­ma­tion and the French Rev­o­lu­tion all as his­tor­i­cal dis­as­ters that took man fur­ther away from a tran­scen­den­tal peren­ni­al truth.

Chang­ing the sys­tem, Evola argued, was “not a ques­tion of con­test­ing and polemi­ciz­ing, but of blow­ing every­thing up.” . . . .

1d. It’s time for anoth­er peek into Steve Bannon’s psy­che. Which unfor­tu­nate­ly means we have to take anoth­er peek into far-right hate lit­er­a­ture.

“. . . . The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Rev­e­la­tion 20:9is noth­ing less than a call to arms for the white Chris­t­ian West, to revive the spir­it of the Cru­sades and steel itself for bloody con­flict against the poor black and brown world with­out and the trai­tors with­in. The novel’s last line links past humil­i­a­tions tight­ly to its own grim para­ble about mod­ern migra­tion. ‘The Fall of Con­stan­tino­ple,’ Raspail’s unnamed nar­ra­tor says, ‘is a per­son­al mis­for­tune that hap­pened to all of us only last week.’ . . . . ”

“This Stun­ning­ly Racist French Nov­el Is How Steve Ban­non Explains The World” by Paul Blu­men­thal and JM Rieger; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 3/04/2017.

“The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant inva­sion to destroy West­ern civ­i­liza­tion.

Stephen Ban­non, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s chief strate­gist and the dri­ving force behind the administration’s con­tro­ver­sial ban on trav­el­ers, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee cri­sis in human his­to­ry.

It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type inva­sion into Cen­tral and then West­ern and North­ern Europe,” he said in Octo­ber 2015.

“The whole thing in Europe is all about immi­gra­tion,” he said in Jan­u­ary 2016. “It’s a glob­al issue today — this kind of glob­al Camp of the Saints.”

“It’s not a migra­tion,” he said lat­er that Jan­u­ary. “It’s real­ly an inva­sion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.”

“When we first start­ed talk­ing about this a year ago,” he said in April 2016, “we called it the Camp of the Saints. … I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?”

Ban­non has agi­tat­ed for a host of anti-immi­grant mea­sures. In his pre­vi­ous role as exec­u­tive chair­man of the right-wing news site Bre­it­bart — which he called a “plat­form for the alt-right,” the online move­ment of white nation­al­ists — he made anti-immi­grant and anti-Mus­lim news a focus.

But the top Trump aide’s repeat­ed ref­er­ences to The Camp of the Saints, an obscure 1973 nov­el by French author Jean Ras­pail, reveal even more about how he under­stands the world. The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s nev­er found a wider audi­ence. There’s a good rea­son for that: It’s breath­tak­ing­ly racist.

“[This book is] racist in the lit­er­al sense of the term. It uses race as the main char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of char­ac­ters,” said Cécile Alduy, pro­fes­sor of French at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty and an expert on the con­tem­po­rary French far right. “It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immi­grants that wash ashore like the plague.”

The book, she said, “reframes every­thing as the fight to death between races.”

Upon the novel’s release in the Unit­ed States in 1975, the influ­en­tial book review mag­a­zine Kirkus Reviews pulled no punch­es: “The pub­lish­ers are pre­sent­ing The Camp of the Saints as a major event, and it prob­a­bly is, in much the same sense that Mein Kampf was a major event.”

Lin­da Chavez, a Repub­li­can com­men­ta­tor who has worked for GOP pres­i­dents from Ronald Rea­gan to George W. Bush but opposed Trump’s elec­tion, also reviewed the book back then. Forty years lat­er, she hasn’t for­got­ten it.

“It is real­ly shock­ing­ly racist,” Chavez told The Huff­in­g­ton Post, “and to have the coun­selor to the pres­i­dent see this as one of his touch­stones, I think, says vol­umes about his atti­tude.”

The plot of The Camp of the Saints fol­lows a poor Indi­an dem­a­gogue, named “the turd-eater” because he lit­er­al­ly eats sh it, and the deformed, appar­ent­ly psy­chic child who sits on his shoul­ders. Togeth­er, they lead an “arma­da” of 800,000 impov­er­ished Indi­ans sail­ing to France. Dither­ing Euro­pean politi­cians, bureau­crats and reli­gious lead­ers, includ­ing a lib­er­al pope from Latin Amer­i­ca, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indi­ans or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by rec­og­niz­ing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white peo­ple of Earth, mean­while, wait silent­ly for the Indi­ans to reach shore. The land­ing will be the sig­nal for them to rise up every­where and over­throw white West­ern soci­ety.

The French gov­ern­ment even­tu­al­ly gives the order to repel the arma­da by force, but by then the mil­i­tary has lost the will to fight. Troops bat­tle among them­selves as the Indi­ans stream on shore, tram­pling to death the left-wing rad­i­cals who came to wel­come them. Poor black and brown peo­ple lit­er­al­ly over­run West­ern civ­i­liza­tion. Chi­nese peo­ple pour into Rus­sia; the queen of Eng­land is forced to mar­ry her son to a Pak­istani woman; the may­or of New York must house an African-Amer­i­can fam­i­ly at Gra­cie Man­sion. Raspail’s rogue heroes, the defend­ers of white Chris­t­ian suprema­cy, attempt to defend their civ­i­liza­tion with guns blaz­ing but are killed in the process.

Calgues, the obvi­ous Ras­pail stand-in, is one of those tak­ing up arms against the migrants and their cul­tur­al­ly “cuck­old­ed” white sup­port­ers. Just before killing a rad­i­cal hip­pie, Calgues com­pares his own actions to past hero­ic, some­times myth­i­cal defens­es of Euro­pean Chris­ten­dom. He harkens back to famous bat­tles that fit the clash-of-civ­i­liza­tions nar­ra­tive — the defense of Rhodes against the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Con­stan­tino­ple to the same — and glo­ri­fies colo­nial wars of con­quest and the for­ma­tion of the Ku Klux Klan.

Only white Euro­peans like Calgues are por­trayed as tru­ly human in The Camp of the Saints. The Indi­an arma­da brings “thou­sands of wretched crea­tures” whose very bod­ies arouse dis­gust: “Scrag­gy branch­es, brown and black … All bare, those flesh­less Gand­hi-arms.” Poor brown chil­dren are spoiled fruit “start­ing to rot, all wormy inside, or turned so you can’t see the mold.”

The ship’s inhab­i­tants are also sex­u­al deviants who turn the voy­age into a grotesque orgy. “Every­where, rivers of sperm,” Ras­pail writes. “Stream­ing over bod­ies, ooz­ing between breasts, and but­tocks, and thighs, and lips, and fin­gers.”

The white Chris­t­ian world is on the brink of destruc­tion, the nov­el sug­gests, because these black and brown peo­ple are more fer­tile and more numer­ous, while the West has lost that nec­es­sary belief in its own cul­tur­al and racial supe­ri­or­i­ty. As he talks to the hip­pie he will soon kill, Calgues explains how the youth went so wrong: “That scorn of a peo­ple for oth­er races, the knowl­edge that one’s own is best, the tri­umphant joy at feel­ing one­self to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these young­sters’ addled brains.”

The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Rev­e­la­tion 20:9 — is noth­ing less than a call to arms for the white Chris­t­ian West, to revive the spir­it of the Cru­sades and steel itself for bloody con­flict against the poor black and brown world with­out and the trai­tors with­in. The novel’s last line links past humil­i­a­tions tight­ly to its own grim para­ble about mod­ern migra­tion. “The Fall of Con­stan­tino­ple,” Raspail’s unnamed nar­ra­tor says, “is a per­son­al mis­for­tune that hap­pened to all of us only last week.”

Ras­pail wrote The Camp of the Saints in 1972 and 1973, after a stay at his aunt’s house near Cannes on the south­ern coast of France. Look­ing out across the Mediter­ranean, he had an epiphany: “And what if they came?” he thought to him­self. “This ‘they’ was not clear­ly defined at first,” he told the con­ser­v­a­tive pub­li­ca­tion Le Point in 2015. “Then I imag­ined that the Third World would rush into this blessed coun­try that is France.”

Raspail’s nov­el has been pub­lished in the U.S. sev­er­al times, each time with the back­ing of the anti-immi­gra­tion move­ment.

The U.S. pub­lish­ing house Scrib­n­er was the first to trans­late the book into Eng­lish in 1975, but it failed to reach a wide audi­ence amid with­er­ing reviews by crit­ics. A rare favor­able take appeared in Nation­al Review. “Ras­pail brings his read­er to the sur­pris­ing con­clu­sion that killing a mil­lion or so starv­ing refugees from India would be a supreme act of indi­vid­ual san­i­ty and cul­tur­al health,” then-Dart­mouth pro­fes­sor Jef­frey Hart wrote in 1975. “Ras­pail is to geno­cide what [D.H. Lawrence] was to sex.” Hart added that “a great fuss” was being made over “Raspail’s sup­posed racism,” but that the “lib­er­al rote anath­e­ma on ‘racism’ is in effect a poi­so­nous assault upon West­ern self-pref­er­ence.”

The book received a sec­ond life in 1983 when Cordelia Scaife May, heiress to the Mel­lon for­tune and sis­ter to right-wing bene­fac­tor Richard Mel­lon Scaife, fund­ed its repub­li­ca­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion. This time it gained a cult fol­low­ing among immi­gra­tion oppo­nents.

May’s mon­ey has also been instru­men­tal in fund­ing the efforts of John Tan­ton, the god­fa­ther of the anti-immi­gra­tion move­ment in the U.S. Tan­ton, who began as an envi­ron­men­tal­ist and pop­u­la­tion con­trol pro­po­nent, found­ed a host of groups focused on restrict­ing immi­gra­tion, includ­ing the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform, the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, Num­ber­sUSA and U.S. Eng­lish. May’s for­tune has fueled these groups with tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in con­tri­bu­tions over the years.

Lin­da Chavez was recruit­ed in 1987 to head U.S. Eng­lish, which advo­cates for Eng­lish to be des­ig­nat­ed the country’s offi­cial lan­guage. But then a series of dis­turb­ing sto­ries paint­ed Tanton’s motives in a racial light. Among oth­er issues, Chavez said she learned that his fund­ing came from the pro-eugen­ics Pio­neer Fund and from May, who Chavez knew had helped pub­lish The Camp of the Saints. Chavez recalled see­ing Tanton’s staffers car­ry­ing the book around their offices. She quit the group.

Tan­ton, who insists his oppo­si­tion to immi­gra­tion is not con­nect­ed to race at all, told The Wash­ing­ton Post in 2006 that his mind “became focused” on the issue after read­ing The Camp of the Saints. In 1995, his small pub­lish­ing house, Social Con­tract Press, brought the book back into print for a third time in the U.S., again with fund­ing from May. His­to­ri­ans Paul Kennedy and Matt Con­nel­ly tied the book to then-cur­rent con­cerns about glob­al demo­graph­ic trends in a cov­er sto­ry for The Atlantic.

“Over the years the Amer­i­can pub­lic has absorbed a great num­ber of books, arti­cles, poems and films which exalt the immi­grant expe­ri­ence,” Tan­ton wrote in 1994. “It is easy for the feel­ings evoked by Ellis Island and the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty to obscure the fact that we are cur­rent­ly receiv­ing too many immi­grants (and receiv­ing them too fast) for the health of our envi­ron­ment and of our com­mon cul­ture. Ras­pail evokes dif­fer­ent feel­ings and that may help to pave the way for pol­i­cy changes.”

In 2001, the book was repub­lished one more time, again by Tan­ton, and again gained a cult fol­low­ing among oppo­nents of immi­gra­tion like the bor­der-patrolling Min­ute­men and even­tu­al­ly the online “alt-right.”

Bannon’s alt-right-lov­ing Bre­it­bart has run mul­ti­ple arti­cles over the past three years ref­er­enc­ing the nov­el. When Pope Fran­cis told a joint ses­sion of Con­gress that the U.S. should open its arms to refugees in Sep­tem­ber 2015, Breitbart’s Julia Hahn, now an aide to Ban­non in the White House, com­pared his admo­ni­tion to Raspail’s lib­er­al Latin Amer­i­can pon­tiff. And the novel’s the­sis that migra­tion is inva­sion in dis­guise is often reflect­ed in Bannon’s pub­lic com­ments.

The refugee cri­sis “didn’t just hap­pen by hap­pen­stance,” Ban­non said in an April 2016 radio inter­view with Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, who now works for the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil. “These are not war refugees. It’s some­thing much more insid­i­ous going on.”

Ban­non has also echoed the novel’s the­o­ry that sec­u­lar lib­er­als who favor immi­gra­tion and diver­si­ty weak­en the West.

Now Ban­non sits at the right hand of the U.S. pres­i­dent, work­ing to beat back what Ban­non calls “this Mus­lim inva­sion.” And Trump is all in on the project. Dur­ing the cam­paign, he called for a ban on all Mus­lims enter­ing the coun­try. His Jan. 28 exec­u­tive order, since blocked in the courts, turned this cam­paign idea into exec­u­tive pol­i­cy.

Trump has con­tin­ued to defend the exec­u­tive order as a life-or-death nation­al secu­ri­ty issue. “We can­not allow a beach­head of ter­ror­ism to form inside Amer­i­ca,” he said in his first speech to a joint ses­sion of Con­gress on Tues­day.

Five days ear­li­er, Trump had called his immi­gra­tion enforce­ment efforts a “mil­i­tary oper­a­tion.”

Although Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty offi­cials walked back that state­ment, the president’s con­fla­tion of immi­gra­tion with war­fare did not go unno­ticed.

“They see this as a war,” Chavez said.

Chavez, who sup­ports some of Trump’s eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy pro­pos­als, called the direc­tion the White House is tak­ing on immi­gra­tion and race “extreme­ly dan­ger­ous.” She said Trump’s immi­gra­tion moves are “a kind of purg­ing of Amer­i­ca of any­thing but our North­ern Euro­pean roots.” Ban­non, she added, “wants to make Amer­i­ca white again.”

1e. In FTR #947, we high­light­ed Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, a Bre­it­bart alum­nus and Hun­gar­i­an fas­cist. Gor­ka is now the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s point man work­ing against ter­ror­ism. His view (and Ban­non’s) that we are engaged in an his­toric clash of civ­i­liza­tions. That is pre­cise­ly the point of view expressed by ISIS (and The Camp of the Saints) and will play into their hands.

That, in turn, will help pro­pel the U.S. into more end­less wars on the periph­ery of our empire, ulti­mate­ly sap­ping the nation’s vital­i­ty and lead­ing to the fall of the U.S. in a man­ner delin­eat­ed in FTR #944.

“The Islam­o­pho­bic Huck­ster in the White House” by Steven Simon and Daniel Ben­jamin; The New York Times; 2/24/2017.

The new point man for the Trump administration’s counter­jihadist team is Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, an itin­er­ant instruc­tor in the doc­trine of irreg­u­lar war­fare and for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty edi­tor at Bre­it­bart. Stephen K. Ban­non and Stephen Miller, the chief com­mis­sars of the Trump White House, have framed Islam as an ene­my ide­ol­o­gy and pre­dict­ed a his­toric clash of civ­i­liza­tions.

Mr. Gor­ka, who has been appoint­ed deputy assis­tant to the pres­i­dent, is the expert they have empow­ered to trans­late their pre­dic­tion into nation­al strat­e­gy. Mr. Gor­ka was born and raised in Britain, the son of Hun­gar­i­an émi­grés. As a polit­i­cal con­sul­tant in post ­Com­mu­nist Hun­gary, he acquired a doc­tor­ate and involved him­self with ultra­na­tion­al­ist pol­i­tics. He lat­er moved to the Unit­ed States and became a cit­i­zen five years ago, while build­ing a career mod­er­at­ing mil­i­tary sem­i­nars and estab­lish­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as an ill-­in­formed Islam­o­phobe. (He has respond­ed to such claims by stat­ing that he has read the Quran in trans­la­tion.) . . .

2a. Sup­ple­ment­ing infor­ma­tion about Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka pre­sent­ed in FTR #948, we note that he is, indeed a mem­ber of the Order of Vitezi Rend, a recon­sti­tut­ed Hun­gar­i­an fas­cist order.

“EXCLUSIVE: Nazi-Allied Group Claims Top Aide Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka as Mem­ber” by Lily Bay­er and Lar­ry Cohler-Ess­es; For­ward; 3/16/2017.

Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, Pres­i­dent Trump’s top counter-ter­ror­ism advis­er, is a for­mal mem­ber of a Hun­gar­i­an far-right group that is list­ed by the U.S. State Depart­ment as hav­ing been “under the direc­tion of the Nazi Gov­ern­ment of Ger­many” dur­ing World War II, lead­ers of the orga­ni­za­tion have told the For­ward.

The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was estab­lished as a loy­al­ist group by Admi­ral Mik­los Hor­thy, who ruled Hun­gary as a staunch nation­al­ist from 1920 to Octo­ber 1944. A self-con­fessed anti-Semi­te, Hor­thy imposed restric­tive Jew­ish laws pri­or to World War II and col­lab­o­rat­ed with Hitler dur­ing the con­flict. His coop­er­a­tion with the Nazi regime includ­ed the depor­ta­tion of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Jews into Nazi hands.

Gorka’s mem­ber­ship in the orga­ni­za­tion — if these Vitézi Rend lead­ers are cor­rect, and if Gor­ka did not dis­close this when he entered the Unit­ed States as an immi­grant — could have impli­ca­tions for his immi­gra­tion sta­tus. The State Department’s For­eign Affairs Man­u­al spec­i­fies that mem­bers of the Vitézi Rend “are pre­sumed to be inad­mis­si­ble” to the coun­try under the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act.

Gor­ka — who Vitézi Rend lead­ers say took a life­long oath of loy­al­ty to their group — did not respond to mul­ti­ple emails sent to his work and per­son­al accounts, ask­ing whether he is a mem­ber of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he dis­closed this on his immi­gra­tion appli­ca­tion and on his appli­ca­tion to be nat­u­ral­ized as a U.S. cit­i­zen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for com­ment.

But Bruce Ein­horn, a retired immi­gra­tion judge who now teach­es nation­al­i­ty law at Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­si­ty, said of this, “His silence speaks vol­umes.”

The group to which Gor­ka report­ed­ly belongs is a recon­sti­tu­tion of the orig­i­nal group on the State Depart­ment list, which was banned in Hun­gary until the fall of Com­mu­nism in 1989. There are now two orga­ni­za­tions in Hun­gary that claim to be the heirs of the orig­i­nal Vitézi Rend, with Gor­ka, accord­ing to fel­low mem­bers, belong­ing to the so-called “His­tor­i­cal Vitézi Rend.” Though it is not known to engage in vio­lence, the His­tor­i­cal Vitézi Rend upholds all the nation­al­ist and often­times racial prin­ci­ples of the orig­i­nal group as estab­lished by Hor­thy. . . .

2b. It should sur­prise no one to learn that Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka has a long and exten­sive rela­tion­ship with the Hun­gar­i­an far-right, includ­ing found­ing a Hun­gar­i­an polit­i­cal par­ty with two promi­nent mem­bers of Job­bik. In FTR #947, we not­ed that a mem­ber of Job­bik had writ­ten a glow­ing pref­ace to a vol­ume authored by fas­cist ide­o­logue Julius Evola, one of the philo­soph­i­cal iflu­ences on Stephen Ban­non.

We note that Gor­ka is a mem­ber of what appears to be a par­al­lel NSC, The Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives Group. They may well be in a posi­tion to imple­ment the shock to the sys­tem hoped for by Ban­non, Evola, Yarvin et al.

“Exclu­sive: Senior Trump Aide Forged Key Ties To Anti-Semit­ic Groups In Hun­gary” by Lili Bay­er; For­ward; 2/24/2017.

When pho­tographs recent­ly emerged show­ing Sebas­t­ian Gor­ka, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s high-pro­file deputy assis­tant, wear­ing a medal asso­ci­at­ed with the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist regime that ruled Hun­gary dur­ing World War II, the con­tro­ver­sial secu­ri­ty strate­gist was unapolo­getic.

“I’m a proud Amer­i­can now and I wear that medal now and again,” Gor­ka told Bre­it­bart News. Gor­ka, 46, who was born in Britain to Hun­gar­i­an par­ents and is now an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, asked rhetor­i­cal­ly, “Why? To remind myself of where I came from, what my par­ents suf­fered under both the Nazis and the Com­mu­nists, and to help me in my work today.”

But an inves­ti­ga­tion by the For­ward into Gorka’s activ­i­ties from 2002 to 2007, while he was active in Hun­gar­i­an pol­i­tics and jour­nal­ism, found that he had close ties then to Hun­gar­i­an far-right cir­cles, and has in the past cho­sen to work with open­ly racist and anti-Semit­ic groups and pub­lic fig­ures.

Gorka’s involve­ment with the far right includes co-found­ing a polit­i­cal par­ty with for­mer promi­nent mem­bers of Job­bik, a polit­i­cal par­ty with a well-known his­to­ry of anti-Semi­tism; repeat­ed­ly pub­lish­ing arti­cles in a news­pa­per known for its anti-Semit­ic and racist con­tent; and attend­ing events with some of Hungary’s most noto­ri­ous extreme-right fig­ures.

When Gor­ka was asked — in an email exchange with the For­ward — about the anti-Semit­ic records of some of the groups and indi­vid­u­als he has worked with, he instead piv­ot­ed to talk about his family’s his­to­ry.

“My par­ents, as chil­dren, lived through the night­mare of WWII and the hor­rors of the Nyi­las pup­pet fas­cist regime,” he said, refer­ring to the Arrow Cross regime that took over Hun­gary near the very end of World War II and mur­dered thou­sands of Jews.

In the Unit­ed States, Gor­ka, who was appoint­ed deputy assis­tant to the pres­i­dent on Jan­u­ary 20, is known as a tele­vi­sion com­men­ta­tor, a pro­fes­sor and an “alt-right” writer who describes him­self as a coun­tert­er­ror­ism expert. A close asso­ciate of Stephen Ban­non, Trump’s chief strate­gist, Gor­ka is now part of Bannon’s key in-house White House think tank, the Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives Group. The new­ly formed group con­sists of fig­ures close to Trump and is seen by some as a rival to the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil in for­mu­lat­ing poli­cies for the pres­i­dent.

Gor­ka, who views Islam as a reli­gion with an inher­ent predilec­tion for mil­i­tan­cy, has strong sup­port­ers among some right-lean­ing think tanks in Wash­ing­ton. “Dr. Gor­ka is one of the most knowl­edge­able, well-read and stud­ied experts on nation­al secu­ri­ty that I’ve ever met,” Joseph Humire, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Cen­ter for a Secure Free Soci­ety, told the For­ward. Humire has known Gor­ka for near­ly a decade, and con­sid­ers him “top-notch.”

Born in Lon­don to par­ents who fled Hungary’s post-World War II Com­mu­nist regime, Gor­ka has had a career that’s marked by fre­quent job changes and shift­ing nation­al alle­giances. The U.S. gov­ern­ment is the third sov­er­eign state to hire him in a nation­al secu­ri­ty role. As a young man, he was a mem­ber of the Unit­ed Kingdom’s Ter­ri­to­r­i­al Army reserves, where he served in the Intel­li­gence Corps. Then, fol­low­ing the fall of Com­mu­nism in Hun­gary, he was employed in 1992 by the country’s Min­istry of Defense. He worked there for five years, appar­ent­ly on issues relat­ed to Hungary’s acces­sion to NATO.

Gorka’s mar­riage in 1996 to an Amer­i­can, Katharine Cor­nell, an heir to Penn­syl­va­nia-based Cor­nell Iron Works, helped him become a U.S. cit­i­zen in 2012.

A Web of Deep Ties to Hungary’s Far Right

It was dur­ing his time in Hun­gary that Gor­ka devel­oped ties to the country’s anti-Semit­ic and ultra­na­tion­al­ist far right.

Dur­ing large-scale anti-gov­ern­ment demon­stra­tions in Hun­gary in 2006, Gor­ka took on an active role, becom­ing close­ly involved with a protest group called the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Com­mit­tee (Mag­yar Nemzeti Bizottság). Gor­ka took on the roles of trans­la­tor, press coor­di­na­tor and advis­er for the group.

Among the four Com­mit­tee mem­bers named as the group’s polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives was Lás­zló Toroczkai, then head of the 64 Coun­ties Youth Move­ment. Toroczkai found­ed that group in 2001 to advo­cate for the return of parts of mod­ern-day Ser­bia, Slo­va­kia, Roma­nia and Ukraine to form a Greater Hun­gary, restor­ing the country’s pre-World War I bor­ders.

In 2004, two years before the Movement’s involve­ment in the 2006 protests, Hun­gar­i­an author­i­ties opened an inves­ti­ga­tion into the Movement’s news­pa­per, Mag­yar Jelen, when an arti­cle referred to Jews as “Gali­cian upstarts” and went on to argue: “We should get them out. In fact, we need to take back our coun­try from them, take back our stolen for­tunes. After all, these upstarts are suck­ing on our blood, get­ting rich off our blood.” At the time of the article’s pub­li­ca­tion, Toroczkai was both an edi­tor at the paper and the Movement’s offi­cial leader.
Gor­ka co-found­ed his polit­i­cal par­ty with three oth­er politi­cians. Two of his co-founders, Tamás Mol­nár and Atti­la Bégány, were for­mer mem­bers of Job­bik. Mol­nár, a senior Job­bik politi­cian, served as the party’s vice pres­i­dent until short­ly before join­ing Gorka’s new ini­tia­tive, and was also a mem­ber of the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Com­mit­tee dur­ing the 2006 protests, issu­ing state­ments togeth­er with extrem­ist mil­i­tant fig­ures such as Toroczkai.
Toroczkai cur­rent­ly serves as vice pres­i­dent of Job­bik and is the may­or of a vil­lage near the bor­der Hun­gary shares with Ser­bia. Last year, he gained noto­ri­ety in the West for declar­ing a goal of ban­ning Mus­lims and gays from his town.

In Jan­u­ary 2007, inspired by the 2006 protests and his expe­ri­ence with the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Com­mit­tee, Gor­ka announced plans to form a new polit­i­cal par­ty, to be known as the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Coali­tion. Gor­ka had pre­vi­ous­ly served as an advis­er to Vik­tor Orbán, now Hungary’s right-wing nation­al­ist prime min­is­ter. But fol­low­ing Orbán’s failed attempts to bring down Hungary’s then-Social­ist gov­ern­ment, Gor­ka grew dis­en­chant­ed with Orbán’s Fidesz par­ty.

In his email exchange with the For­ward for this arti­cle, Gor­ka explained: “The Coali­tion was estab­lished in direct response to the unhealthy pat­terns vis­i­ble at the time in Hun­gar­i­an con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics. It became appar­ent to me that the effect of decades of Com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor­ship had tak­en a deep­er toll on civ­il soci­ety than was expect­ed.”

Gor­ka co-found­ed his polit­i­cal par­ty with three oth­er politi­cians. Two of his co-founders, Tamás Mol­nár and Atti­la Bégány, were for­mer mem­bers of Job­bik. Mol­nár, a senior Job­bik politi­cian, served as the party’s vice pres­i­dent until short­ly before join­ing Gorka’s new ini­tia­tive, and was also a mem­ber of the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Com­mit­tee dur­ing the 2006 protests, issu­ing state­ments togeth­er with extrem­ist mil­i­tant fig­ures such as Toroczkai.

Job­bik has a long his­to­ry of anti-Semi­tism. In 2006, when Gorka’s polit­i­cal allies were still mem­bers of Job­bik, the party’s offi­cial online blog includ­ed arti­cles such as “The Roots of Jew­ish Ter­ror­ism” and “Where Were the Jews in 1956?”, a ref­er­ence to the country’s rev­o­lu­tion against Sovi­et rule. In one speech in 2010, Job­bik leader Gabor Vona said that “under com­mu­nism we licked Moscow’s boots, now we lick Brus­sels’ and Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s.”

In found­ing the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Coali­tion, Gor­ka and the for­mer Job­bik politi­cians aimed to rep­re­sent “con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues, decid­ed­ly stand­ing up to cor­rup­tion and bring­ing Chris­tian­i­ty into the Con­sti­tu­tion,” accord­ing to the party’s orig­i­nal pol­i­cy pro­gram. At the time, Hungary’s con­sti­tu­tion was sec­u­lar.

The party’s founders did not see them­selves as far right or anti-Semit­ic.

“I knew Gor­ka as a strong­ly Atlanti­cist, con­ser­v­a­tive per­son,” Mol­nár, the for­mer Job­bik vice pres­i­dent and co-founder of Gorka’s par­ty, told the For­ward in a phone con­ver­sa­tion. He added that he could not imag­ine Gor­ka hav­ing anti-Semit­ic views.

Mol­nár first met Gor­ka at a book launch event for Gorka’s father, Pál Gor­ka, in 2002. The younger Gor­ka and Mol­nár became friends, bond­ing over their shared inter­est in the his­to­ry of Hungary’s 1956 rev­o­lu­tion and the fact that both had par­ents who were jailed under the country’s Com­mu­nist regime.

Mol­nár became involved with Job­bik in 2003, in the far-right party’s ear­ly days, and quit in 2006. In his words, “Job­bik went in a mil­i­tant direc­tion that I did not like.”

Gor­ka rejects the notion that he knew any of his polit­i­cal allies had con­nec­tions to the far right.

“I only knew Mol­nár as an artist and Bégány as a for­mer con­ser­v­a­tive local politi­cian (MDF if I recall),” Gor­ka wrote in response to a ques­tion regard­ing the Job­bik affil­i­a­tions of his for­mer par­ty co-founders. “What they did after I left Hun­gary is not some­thing I fol­lowed.” (MDF is an acronym for the Hun­gar­i­an Demo­c­ra­t­ic Forum, a now-defunct cen­ter-right par­ty.)

In fact, both Mol­nár and Bégány were mem­bers of Job­bik before, and not after, they found­ed the new par­ty with Gor­ka. Mol­nár was Jobbik’s high-pro­file vice pres­i­dent until Sep­tem­ber 2006, before he, Gor­ka and Bégány launched the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Coali­tion in ear­ly 2007.

Gor­ka appeared at a press con­fer­ence with Mol­nár on Sep­tem­ber 21, 2006 — one day after Mol­nár resigned his posi­tion as Jobbik’s vice pres­i­dent. Gor­ka was also pho­tographed on Sep­tem­ber 23, 2006, wear­ing a badge with the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Committee’s logo as he was stand­ing next to Mol­nár at a podi­um while Mol­nár briefed the press on the Committee’s activ­i­ties. At the time Gor­ka was mak­ing these pub­lic appear­ances with the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Committee’s lead­er­ship, extreme-right leader Toroczkai was already a top mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee.

Bégány, mean­while, had indeed been a mem­ber of MDF for a time, but in 2005 he joined Job­bik and served for­mal­ly as a mem­ber of Budapest’s Dis­trict 5 Coun­cil rep­re­sent­ing the far-right par­ty. Bégány’s for­mal par­ty biog­ra­phy, post­ed on the Job­bik web­site in 2006, said it is his “belief that with­out belong­ing to the Hun­gar­i­an nation or to God it is pos­si­ble to live, but not worth it.” Like Mol­nár, Bégány left Job­bik only a few months before start­ing the new par­ty with Gor­ka.

Mol­nár, Bégány and the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Com­mit­tee were not Gorka’s only con­nec­tion to far-right cir­cles. Between 2006 and 2007, Gor­ka wrote a series of arti­cles in Mag­yar Demokra­ta, a news­pa­per known for pub­lish­ing the writ­ings of promi­nent anti-Semit­ic and racist Hun­gar­i­an pub­lic fig­ures.

The newspaper’s edi­tor-in-chief, András Benc­sik, is noto­ri­ous in Hun­gary for his own long-stand­ing anti-Semit­ic views. In 1995, the Hun­gar­i­an Jew­ish pub­li­ca­tion Szom­bat crit­i­cized Benc­sik for writ­ing that “the sol­id cap­i­tal, which the Jews got after Auschwitz, has run out.” That same year, Szom­bat not­ed, Benc­sik wrote in Mag­yar Demokra­ta, “In Hun­gary the chief con­flict is between nation­al and cos­mopoli­tan aspi­ra­tions.” In Hun­gar­i­an soci­ety, “cos­mopoli­tan” is gen­er­al­ly a code word for Jews.

In Decem­ber 2004, the U.S. State Depart­ment report­ed blunt­ly to Con­gress that, “the week­ly news­pa­per Mag­yar Demokra­ta pub­lished anti-Semit­ic arti­cles and fea­tured arti­cles by authors who have denied the Holo­caust.”

In the sum­mer of 2007, Benc­sik became one of the founders of the Hun­gar­i­an Guard, a now-banned para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion known for assault­ing and intim­i­dat­ing mem­bers of Hungary’s Roma com­mu­ni­ty. The per­pe­tra­tors in a spate of racial­ly moti­vat­ed mur­ders of Roma in 2008 and 2009 were found to have con­nec­tions to the Guard.

Gorka’s arti­cles for Mag­yar Demokra­ta focused not only on decry­ing Hungary’s then-Social­ist gov­ern­ment, but also on high­light­ing the per­ceived injus­tices of the Treaty of Ver­sailles, the post-World War I agree­ment that led to the loss of two-thirds of pre­war Hungary’s ter­ri­to­ry.

“We fought on the wrong side of a war for which we were not respon­si­ble, and were pun­ished to an extent that was like­ly even more unjust — with the excep­tion of the dis­mem­ber­ment of the Ottoman Empire — than any oth­er pun­ish­ment in the mod­ern age,” Gor­ka wrote in a 2006 arti­cle in Mag­yar Demokra­ta.

Asked about his choice of jour­nal­is­tic out­lets, Gor­ka wrote, “I am […] unfa­mil­iar with Benc­sik. I believe it was one of his col­leagues who asked me if I want­ed to write some OpE­ds.” Gor­ka told the For­ward that his writ­ing at the time shows “how every­thing I did was in the inter­ests of a more trans­par­ent and healthy democ­ra­cy in Hun­gary. This includ­ed a rejec­tion of all revan­chist ten­den­cies and xeno­pho­bic cliques.”

Gorka’s claim to be unfa­mil­iar with Benc­sik must be weighed against his deep immer­sion in Hun­gar­i­an pol­i­tics and Benscik’s sta­tus as a major fig­ure in Hungary’s right-wing polit­i­cal scene. At the time, Gor­ka gave pub­lic inter­views as an “expert” on the Hun­gar­i­an Guard, which Benc­sik helped to found. In one 2007 inter­view, Gor­ka clar­i­fied his own view of the Guard, say­ing, “It’s not worth talk­ing about ban­ning” the group. Despite its extreme rhetoric against minori­ties, Gor­ka said, “The gov­ern­ment and media are inflat­ing this ques­tion.”

An Affin­i­ty for Nation­al­ist Sym­bols

It was in mid-Feb­ru­ary that Gorka’s affin­i­ty for Hun­gar­i­an nation­al­ist and far-right ideas first came to the Amer­i­can public’s atten­tion. Eli Clifton of the news web­site Lobel­og noticed from a pho­to­graph that the new deputy assis­tant to the pres­i­dent had appeared at an inau­gu­ra­tion ball in Jan­u­ary wear­ing a Hun­gar­i­an medal known as Vitézi Rend. The medal sig­ni­fies a knight­ly order of mer­it found­ed in 1920 by Admi­ral Mik­los Hor­thy, Hungary’s long­time anti-Semit­ic ruler and Hitler’s ally dur­ing World War II. Notwith­stand­ing this alliance, and the group’s des­ig­na­tion as Nazi-col­lab­o­ra­tors by the U.S. State Depart­ment, many with­in Hungary’s right revere Hor­thy for his staunch nation­al­ism dur­ing the over­all course of his rule from 1920 to 1944.

Bre­it­bart, the “alt-right” pub­li­ca­tion, where Gor­ka him­self served as nation­al secu­ri­ty edi­tor pri­or to join­ing the White House staff, defend­ed his wardrobe choice, writ­ing on Feb­ru­ary 14 that, “as any of his Bre­it­bart News col­leagues could tes­ti­fy, Gor­ka is not only pro-Israel but ‘pro-Jew­ish,’ and defends both against the threat of rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ism.”

“In 1979 my father was award­ed a dec­la­ra­tion for his resis­tance to a dic­ta­tor­ship, and although he passed away 14 years ago, I wear that medal in remem­brance of what my fam­i­ly went through and what it rep­re­sents today, to me, as an Amer­i­can,” Gor­ka told Breibart on Feb­ru­ary 15, as the con­tro­ver­sy regard­ing his choice to wear a Hor­thy-era medal inten­si­fied.

But the medal was not the first time Gor­ka expressed appre­ci­a­tion for sym­bols that many asso­ciate with Hungary’s World War II-era Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers. In 2006, Gor­ka defend­ed the use of the Arpad flag, which Hungary’s mur­der­ous Arrow Cross Par­ty used as their sym­bol. The Hun­gar­i­an Arrow Cross Par­ty killed thou­sands of Jews dur­ing World War II, shoot­ing many of them along­side the Danube Riv­er and throw­ing them into the water. Gor­ka told the news agency JTA at the time that “if you say eight cen­turies of his­to­ry can be erad­i­cat­ed by 18 months of fas­cist dis­tor­tion of sym­bols, you’re los­ing his­toric per­spec­tive.”

Gorka’s Unlike­ly Trans­for­ma­tion

After the fail­ure of his new par­ty in 2007, Gor­ka moved to the Unit­ed States and over the past 10 years has worked for the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, Marine Corps Uni­ver­si­ty, Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty, and Joint Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Uni­ver­si­ty.

For­mer col­leagues in the States ques­tioned the qual­i­ty of Gorka’s work on Islam, and said that he shied away from pub­lish­ing in peer-reviewed jour­nals, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Retired Lt. Col. Mike Lewis told the Post that when Gor­ka was lec­tur­ing to mem­bers of the armed forces, he “made a dif­fi­cult and com­plex sit­u­a­tion sim­ple and con­firmed the offi­cers’ prej­u­dices and assump­tions.”

But Humire, of the Cen­ter for a Secure Free Soci­ety, defend­ed Gorka’s world­view. “Since I’ve known him he has been empha­siz­ing a point that is not prop­er­ly under­stood by most con­ven­tion­al coun­tert­er­ror­ism experts,” said Humire, “that the mod­ern bat­tle­field is fought with words, images, and ideas, not just bombs and bul­lets. If you study asym­met­ric war, this empha­sizes the men­tal bat­tle of attri­tion and the moral bat­tle of legit­i­ma­cy over the phys­i­cal bat­tle for the ter­rain. Dr. Gor­ka under­stands this at a very high lev­el and has taught this to our war fight­ers for sev­er­al years,” said Humire.

3a. In FTR #941, we high­light­ed the push by Bernie Sanders and his promi­nent backer Tul­si Gab­bard to have Kei­th Elli­son, an African-Amer­i­can Mus­lim to be head of the DNC. He was not elect­ed head of the DNC, but is now deputy chair of the DNC, the posi­tion for­mer­ly held by Gab­bard.

Elli­son is net­worked with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, and the Nation of Islam as well.

We have cov­ered Far­rakhan’s high­ly sus­pi­cious behav­ior in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of Mal­com X, whose man­tle the then “Louis X” assumed, in FTR #21.

We have also cov­ered Far­rakhan’s out­ra­geous defense of con­tem­po­rary enslave­ment of Africans by Arabs.

“The Elli­son Decep­tion” by Jared Israel [edit­ed by Saman­tha Criscione]; The Emper­or’s New Clothes; 1/30/2017.

 . . . . If you are like most peo­ple, you prob­a­bly don’t know much about Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, but after you read what I have post­ed below, you will see that describ­ing it as “rad­i­cal black Mus­lims” triv­i­al­izes the hor­ror of an appa­ra­tus of fas­cists – pho­to­graph­ic neg­a­tive images of David Duke and com­pa­ny – thus sup­port­ing the impres­sion, which David Corn and oth­ers wish to con­vey, that the Elli­son con­tro­ver­sy is noth­ing more than the polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed harass­ment of a pro­gres­sive politi­cian, exploit­ing some minor indis­cre­tions, long, long ago. . . .

. . . . As Pio­neer Press, the sec­ond high­est cir­cu­la­tion news­pa­per in the Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul area, report­ed in a June 21, 1998 arti­cle on Ellison’s cam­paign for the office of State rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Elli­son had been the Min­neso­ta ‘coor­di­na­tor’ [7] of the so-called Mil­lion Man March.  Giv­en that Farrakhan’s march was a Nation of Islam project, it fol­lows that the Min­neso­ta coor­di­na­tor was either a mem­ber of the Nation of Islam or so close to the NOI as to be indis­tin­guish­able from a mem­ber.  Indeed, the June 21, 1998 arti­cle states that at that time – that is, three years after Farrakhan’s march – Elli­son was a mem­ber of the Nation of Islam:“Ellison has been active in the com­mu­ni­ty, but not with­in the estab­lished DFL par­ty [the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in Min­neso­ta]. A mem­ber of the Nation of Islam, Elli­son was the coor­di­na­tor of the Min­neso­ta par­tic­i­pants in the Mil­lion Man March and the sub­se­quent com­mu­ni­ty group that formed.” [See foot­note 7]

In the next arti­cle in this series, I will present hard evi­dence that Elli­son was already a mem­ber in 1995, when he was orga­niz­ing for Farrakhan’s march.

(Dur­ing the cur­rent debate over Ellison’s Nation of Islam ties, nobody else has men­tioned the June 21, 1998 Pio­neer Press arti­cle, let alone post­ed it on the Inter­net.  You can read it in Appen­dix I, where we have copied it for Fair Use – very fair, since it con­tains infor­ma­tion vital for assess­ing a key politi­cian.  Let’s get this infor­ma­tion out to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble!) . . . .

3b. In a point of dis­cus­sion that will be con­duct­ed at greater length in our next pro­gram, we note that anoth­er of Kei­th Ellison’s sup­port­ers to head the DNC was Faisal Gill, a Grover Norquist pro­tege whom we cov­ered in FTR #467.

“Ver­mont Elects First Mus­lim Par­ty Chair, Sends ‘Strong Mes­sage’ to Trump” by Alex Seitz-Wald; NBC News ; 3/6/2017.

“To have a Mus­lim and immi­grant to be the state par­ty chair sends a real­ly strong mes­sage to Trump and his type of pol­i­tics that this is not where the coun­try is at,” he told NBC News.

The White House released a new exec­u­tive order Mon­day restrict­ing trav­el from six Mus­lim-major­i­ty coun­tries after a fed­er­al court halt­ed an ear­li­er ver­sion. Trump says the move is nec­es­sary for secu­ri­ty, but Gill and oth­er crit­ics say it’s mere­ly an attempt to legal­ly dis­crim­i­nate against Mus­lims.

Gill is an out­sider in ultra-white, ultra-lib­er­al Ver­mont in more ways than one. In a state that is near­ly 95 per­cent white, a Pak­istani-born for­mer Repub­li­can from Vir­ginia stands out.

“Us and Wyoming keep going back and forth for least diverse,” Gill quipped.

After emi­grat­ing to the U.S. and going to law school, Gill served five years in the Navy’s JAG corps before enter­ing Repub­li­can pol­i­tics in Vir­ginia. That led to a post in the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty under George W. Bush. . . .

 

 

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #950 Shock to the System: Further Reflections on the Breitbart Axis”

  1. True or not, about Kei­th Ellison’s ties to the peo­ple you write about him being tied to, what is on the pub­lic record is on the pub­lic record, and it does not man­ner how strong or weak these ties are. If all Kei­th Elli­son ever did was to help CAIR with a food dri­ve for poor Mus­lim chil­dren, he would be dam­aged goods, as the Repub­li­cans use that fact to tar him to the degree that it would not be pos­si­ble to get any work done even if he want­ed to. And the left talks about peo­ple vot­ing for Trump being stu­pid? Well, I think this push­ing for Kei­th Elli­son by the left shows them to be just as stu­pid.

    Posted by David | March 25, 2017, 5:46 pm
  2. The fol­low­ing is a main­stream media arti­cle (CNN) about Con­gress­man Kei­th Ellison’s ques­tion­able asso­ci­a­tion with Nation of Islam.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/politics/kfile-keith-ellison-nation-of-islam/

    Rep. Kei­th Elli­son faces renewed scruti­ny over past ties to Nation of Islam, defense of anti-Semit­ic fig­ures

    (CNN)Rep. Kei­th Ellison’s past ties to the Nation of Islam and his defense of its anti-Semit­ic leader, Louis Far­rakhan, are resur­fac­ing as he cam­paigns to lead the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee.

    Elli­son, the first Mus­lim elect­ed to Con­gress, pub­licly renounced his asso­ci­a­tion with the Nation of Islam in 2006 after it became an issue dur­ing his run for Con­gress, when local Repub­li­can blog­gers began pub­lish­ing his old law school columns and pho­tos con­nect­ing him to the orga­ni­za­tion.

    “I have long since dis­tanced myself from and reject­ed the Nation of Islam due to its prop­a­ga­tion of big­ot­ed and anti-Semit­ic ideas and state­ments, as well as oth­er issues,” Elli­son wrote at the time.

    But sev­er­al out­lets have resur­faced Ellison’s past writ­ings as he runs for DNC chair, rais­ing new con­cerns about his own views and what they would mean for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty if he were to be its leader. A CNN KFile review of Ellison’s past writ­ings and pub­lic state­ments dur­ing the late 1980s through the 1990s reveal his decade-long involve­ment in the Nation of Islam and his repeat­ed defense of Far­rakhan and oth­er rad­i­cal black lead­ers against accu­sa­tions of anti-Semi­tism in columns and state­ments to the press. None of the records reviewed found exam­ples of Elli­son mak­ing any anti-Semit­ic com­ments him­self.

    Pelosi fight expos­es Demo­c­ra­t­ic fault lines, puts pow­er to check Trump in ques­tion

    In one scathing col­umn from 1990 unearthed by CNN’s KFile, Elli­son accused the uni­ver­si­ty’s pres­i­dent of chill­ing the free expres­sion of black stu­dents by open­ly crit­i­ciz­ing a con­tro­ver­sial speak­er invit­ed to speak on cam­pus by the Africana Stu­dent Cul­tur­al Cen­ter. That speak­er, Kwame Ture (also known as Stoke­ly Carmichael), had pub­licly claimed that Zion­ists had col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis in World War II and has been quot­ed as say­ing “Zion­ism must be destroyed.”

    Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Pres­i­dent Nils Has­sel­mo said he “per­son­al­ly found the state­ments in Ture’s speech con­cern­ing alleged Zion­ist col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nazis deeply offen­sive.” Elli­son, writ­ing under the name “Kei­th E. Hakim” for the Min­neso­ta Dai­ly, the stu­dent news­pa­per at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta where Elli­son attend­ed law school, argued that Has­sel­mo “denounced Ture’s com­ment with­out offer­ing any fac­tu­al refu­ta­tion of it,” and defend­ed Ture’s right to speak on cam­pus and to ques­tion Zion­ism.

    Elli­son wrote, “Con­cern­ing Zion­ism and Ture’s speech, the ASC­C’s posi­tion is sim­ply this: Whether one sup­ports or oppos­es the estab­lish­ment of Israel in Pales­tine and Israel’s present poli­cies, Zion­ism, the ide­o­log­i­cal under­gird­ing of Israel, is a debat­able polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy. Any­one, includ­ing black peo­ple, has the right to hear and voice alter­na­tive views on the sub­ject — notwith­stand­ing our nom­i­nal cit­i­zen­ship.”

    He added, “Alter­na­tive­ly, the Uni­ver­si­ty’s posi­tion appears to be this: Polit­i­cal Zion­ism is off-lim­its no mat­ter what dubi­ous cir­cum­stances Israel was found­ed under; no mat­ter what the Zion­ists do to the Pales­tini­ans; and no mat­ter what wicked regimes Israel allies itself with — like South Africa. This posi­tion is unten­able.”

    Accord­ing to an account by the Anti-Defama­tion League, Ture said in his speech on UM’s cam­pus that “the Zion­ists joined with the Nazis in mur­der­ing Jews, so they would flee to Pales­tine.”

    Elli­son wrote oth­er columns in law school defend­ing Far­rakhan against charges of racism and argu­ing for repa­ra­tions for slav­ery.

    A spokesper­son for Elli­son told CNN that Elli­son “rejects all forms of anti-Semi­tism” and said “the right wing has been push­ing these sto­ries for years to dri­ve a wedge between Con­gress­man Elli­son and the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty.” Since announc­ing his can­di­da­cy for the DNC chair, Jew­ish groups like the Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL) and J‑Street have come to Ellison’s defense on his past asso­ci­a­tions and writ­ings.

    Ellison’s involve­ment with the Nation of Islam would con­tin­ue after he grad­u­at­ed from law school in 1990. Elli­son helped orga­nized the Min­neso­ta del­e­ga­tion to the 1995 Mil­lion Man March, which was led by Far­rakhan. The Star Tri­bune report­ed at the time that Elli­son spoke ahead of the con­tro­ver­sial Khalid Abdul Muham­mad, who was kicked out of the Nation of Islam by Far­rakhan two years ear­li­er for mak­ing bla­tant­ly anti-Semit­ic com­ments, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta in efforts to raise funds for the Mil­lion Man March. Accord­ing to The Star Tri­bune report, Muhammed’s speech at the uni­ver­si­ty was racist, anti-Semit­ic, and homo­pho­bic.

    Ellison’s spokesper­son not­ed to CNN that “Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, Ste­vie Won­der, Maya Angelou, and many oth­ers also attend­ed the March” and said he “had no addi­tion­al involve­ment with March orga­niz­er Louis Far­rakhan or his orga­ni­za­tions, has long since denounced him, and rejects all forms of anti-Semi­tism.”

    Elli­son con­tin­ued to defend Far­rakhan against accu­sa­tions of anti-Semi­tism through­out the 1990s.

    “Min­is­ter Far­rakhan is a role mod­el for black youth,” wrote Elli­son in an Insight News op-ed in 1995. “He is not an anti-Semi­te.”

    When the then-exec­u­tive direc­tor of The Min­neapo­lis Ini­tia­tive Against Racism, Joanne Jack­son, came under fire in 1997 for alleged­ly say­ing dur­ing a forum that Jews are the most racist white peo­ple she knows and that she did not think Far­rakhan was a racist, Elli­son, who iden­ti­fied by his reli­gious name of Kei­th Elli­son-Muham­mad, defend­ed her, say­ing, “She is cor­rect about Min­is­ter Far­rakhan. He is not a racist. He is also not an anti-Semi­te.” (Elli­son would lat­er address this inci­dent in 2006, writ­ing in a let­ter to a local Jew­ish group, “While some at that meet­ing jus­ti­fied her com­ments, I spoke out in favor of increased dia­logue between the Jew­ish and African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties. I believe that Ms. Jack­son’s alleged remarks were clear­ly big­ot­ed, dis­crim­i­na­to­ry sto­ry, inap­pro­pri­ate, and even ridicu­lous.”)

    In 1998, Elli­son launched a bid for Min­neso­ta state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, a race he lost after fail­ing to gain the endorse­ment of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in the state, known as the DFL. Both the Star-Tri­bune and Insight News iden­ti­fied Elli­son, who at time was still going by Kei­th Elli­son-Muhammed, as deeply involved in the Nation of Islam at the time. Dur­ing that race, Elli­son rebuffed any insin­u­a­tion he was, him­self, anti-Semit­ic.

    “I am opposed to the sub­ju­ga­tion of any class or per­son on account of their reli­gion, nation­al ori­gin, sex, race, or gen­der,” Elli­son said. “I reject anti-Jew­ish atti­tude from what­ev­er source.”

    At the time, Elli­son host­ed a local radio show “Black Pow­er Per­spec­tives.” The show, which aired on KMOJ radio, was host­ed by Elli­son for years under the name “Kei­th Muham­mad.”

    That same year, Elli­son was pic­tured with copies of The Final Call, the offi­cial news­pa­per of the Nation of Islam. The pic­ture, which was uncov­ered by the Min­neso­ta Demo­c­rat Exposed blog in 2006, was tak­en at a ral­ly against police bru­tal­i­ty.

    “The source of this pho­to is an old right-wing attack blog whose author now regrets his writ­ings,” an Elli­son spokesman told CNN’s KFile. “He read­i­ly admits he made ‘moun­tains out of mole­hills’ and speaks favor­ably about Con­gress­man Ellison’s work.”

    Michael Brod­ko­rb, the blog­ger who uncov­ered the pho­to told CNN: “Elli­son will face new scruti­ny about his past asso­ci­a­tions, but he will have the advan­tage of bal­anc­ing this dis­cus­sion with his exten­sive work in Con­gress since being elect­ed a decade ago.”

    WASHINGTON — APRIL 17: U.S. Rep. Kei­th Elli­son (D‑MN) speaks to the Con­sul­ta­tion on Con­science held by the Reli­gious Action Cen­ter of Reform Judaism at the Can­non House Office Build­ing April 17, 2007 on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton. (Pho­to by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

    As recent as 2000, Elli­son pub­licly defend­ed vio­lent, fringe ele­ments of the far-left. He appeared at a fundrais­er that year for domes­tic ter­ror­ist Sara Jane Olson, a mem­ber of the self-styled rev­o­lu­tion­ary group the Sym­bionese Lib­er­a­tion Army (SLA), which is best known for kid­nap­ping heiress Patri­cia Hearst. Olson was appre­hend­ed in 1999 in rela­tion to the 1975 attempt­ed bomb­ings of two police cars and the slay­ing of Myr­na Opsah dur­ing a bank rob­bery.

    At the event, Elli­son told the Pio­neer Press he believed the pros­e­cu­tion of Olson was polit­i­cal. In his speech, Elli­son not­ed he did­n’t know much about the SLA and he thought Olson was being pros­e­cut­ed in the court of pub­lic opin­ion because of some of her polit­i­cal beliefs.
    “I’m a sup­port­er of any­body who’s sub­ject to polit­i­cal pros­e­cu­tion based on their being in a vil­i­fied group,” he told the Pio­neer Press. “Your chances of get­ting a fair tri­al are low. I’ve been wait­ing for the evi­dence against her. I don’t think they would not cheat to pros­e­cute this woman.”

    Elli­son also spoke favor­ably of con­vict­ed cop killer Assa­ta Shakur and expressed his oppo­si­tion to any attempt to extra­dite her to the Unit­ed States from Cuba, where she had fled after escap­ing prison.

    “I am pray­ing that Cas­tro does not get to the point where he has to real­ly barter with these guys over here because they’re going to get Assa­ta Shakur, they’re going to get a whole lot of oth­er peo­ple,” Elli­son said at the event, which also includ­ed a silent auc­tion and speech by for­mer Weath­er Under­ground leader Bernar­dine Dohrn. “I hope the Cuban peo­ple can stick to it, because the free­dom of some good decent peo­ple depends on it.”

    Oth­er promi­nent black lead­ers also opposed Shakur’s extra­di­tion at the time, includ­ing Rep. Max­ine Waters of Cal­i­for­nia when she chaired the Con­gres­sion­al Black Cau­cus.

    Dur­ing his suc­cess­ful 2006 run for Con­gress, Elli­son dis­tanced him­self from his past sup­port for the Nation of Islam and Far­rakhan when the local Repub­li­can blogs, Min­neso­ta Democ­rats Exposed and Pow­er­line Blog, uncov­ered many of Ellison’s past writ­ings.

    Elli­son pub­licly renounced the Nation of Islam in a 2006 let­ter to Jew­ish groups.

    In the let­ter, Elli­son wrote he had seen the Nation of Islam and the Mil­lion Man March as pos­i­tive effort to pro­mote respon­si­bil­i­ty and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment in the black com­mu­ni­ty and that he had failed to scru­ti­nize the views of Far­rakhan and Khalid Abdul Muham­mad and wrong­ly dis­missed con­cerns they were anti-Semit­ic.
    Dur­ing the race, Elli­son told the Wash­ing­ton Post that his polit­i­cal beliefs had mod­er­at­ed over time. While he said he nev­er said any­thing homo­pho­bic or anti-Semit­ic, he acknowl­edged he had been slow to judge those who did.
    Ellison’s work in the Min­neso­ta leg­is­la­ture, like help­ing with an ethics com­plaint against a Min­neso­ta rep­re­sen­ta­tive who denied that Nazis per­se­cut­ed gays dur­ing the Holo­caust, was able to gar­ner him the sup­port of some Jew­ish groups dur­ing his 2006 run for Con­gress. Those groups stood by him when his past com­ments on Far­rakhan sur­faced.

    “When sev­er­al local right wing blogs began attack­ing him, those in the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty who know and work with Kei­th ral­lied behind him,” said Rep. Frank Horn­stein, a long­time mem­ber of Min­neso­ta’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The Amer­i­can Jew­ish World endorsed Elli­son say­ing they were” con­vinced that Elli­son has had a real change of heart and mind.”
    Speak­ing to a syn­a­gogue in 2006, Elli­son said he was con­fronting a past he was­n’t proud of.

    “I was­n’t proud of my work with the Nation of Islam,” Elli­son said, “but I was hop­ing it would­n’t come up. I have come face to face with my past.”

    After ini­tial pub­li­ca­tion of this sto­ry, a spokesper­son for Elli­son point­ed CNN’s KFile to a post by the con­gress­man on Medi­um pub­lished Wednes­day night, where he wrote, “In my effort to pur­sue jus­tice for the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty, I neglect­ed to scru­ti­nize the words of those like Khalid Muhammed and Far­rakhan who mixed a mes­sage of African Amer­i­can empow­er­ment with scape­goat­ing of oth­er com­mu­ni­ties. These men orga­nize by sow­ing hatred and divi­sion, includ­ing, anti-Semi­tism, homo­pho­bia and a chau­vin­is­tic mod­el of man­hood. I dis­avowed them long ago, con­demned their views, and apol­o­gized.”

    Min­neso­ta Dai­ly staff con­tributed research to this report.

    Posted by Joshua Goldstein | March 25, 2017, 6:19 pm

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