antifa notes (june 7, 2019) : Trouble At The Social Media Mill

G’day my fellow Aussie patriots,

Did I happen to mention I gotta patreon?

Also:

• In response to mounting public criticism, and in an attempt to forestall legal and financial penalties, Facebook, Twitter & YouTube have announced, each in their own way, that they’ll remove bAd content: ‘hate speech’, mostly (see : YouTube bans videos promoting Nazi ideology, Jim Waterson, The Guardian, June 6, 2019: ‘Content promoting fascism, supremacism or Holocaust denial will no longer be hosted’; YouTube bans neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denial videos in push against hate speech, Jon Brodkin, ars technica, June 6, 2019). Obviously, the rollout has had uneven effects, and been marked with the incompetency that’s now a hallmark of the social media giants’ attempts to placate lawmakers and publics … but it does represent an interesting moment in corporate policing.

In any event, much of the ongoing drama revolves around a harassment campaign conducted by right-wing blabbermouth Stephen Crowder against a Vox journalist, Carlos Maza, and the shambolic attempts by the corporation to respond to it. See : Here’s Everything You Need To Know About YouTube’s Chaotic 24 Hrs, Brad Esposito, pedestrian, June 6, 2019 | YouTube’s plan to fix hate speech failed before it even started, Chris Stokel-Walker, Wired, June 6, 2019 | YouTube Bravely Bans Nazis Hours After Throwing LGBT Users Under The Bigot Bus, Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo Australia, June 6, 2019.

As a result of YouTube/Google/Alphabet’s crackdown this week, a smol number of Australian channels have been closed, including ‘AustralianMeditations’, ‘BringingBackTheMan’ and ‘genocidal88’. The first belonged to ex-Liberal Party student Stefan Eracleous, the second to Shermon ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ Burgess (remember him?) and the third to the boneheads of Blood & Honour Australia/Southern Cross Hammerskins. ‘Thousands’ of other accounts have been removed, according to reportage, though it’s unclear precisely precisely which. Further, while some antisemitic and white supremacist channels have had their ability to generate revenue compromised, as Wired reports, ‘The YouTube channels of David Duke, Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and many other white supremacist figures remain on the site’ (YouTube Is Banning Extremist Videos. Will It Work?, Paris Martineau, June 5, 2019).

Another local serial pest, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon fanboy and YouTuber, Avi Yemini, has had his channel demonetised; Yemini is due back in court next week (June 13) to fight charges including ‘that he injured, harassed and threw a knife at the face of a woman’. YouTuber Claudia Benitez (‘Dia Beltran’) — who once allegedly sent an antisemitic text to Yeminem — has starred in an article in The Guardian titled Victorian Liberals fear far-right incursions as YouTuber attends party event (Christopher Knaus and Michael McGowan, June 5, 2019). Benitez has regularly interviewed various luminaries on the Australian far-right, including Cottrell, Erikson and Yemini, along with The Fake Sheikh, PHONy’s Mark Latham, Robert Spencer, Thomas Brasher (The Lads Society), Eurydice Dixon memorial vandal Andy Nolch, ex-United Patriots Front and Australia First Party member Chris Shortis, Fraser ‘Final Solution’ Anning, Daisy Cousens and various other, even lesser-known figures; her most-popular video, however, remains one about ‘rude customers’.

See also : Jack Dorsey Keeps Finding New Reasons to Defend Hate Speech on Twitter, Alison Durkee, Vanity Fair, April 26, 2019 (‘Dorsey’s conversation with Rep. Ilhan Omar came as the company reportedly grapples with how to ban white supremacists—without affecting Republican lawmakers’) | What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right: A Washington family’s nightmare year., Anonymous, Washingtonian, May 5, 2019 | YouTube Crackdown on Extremism Also Deleted Videos Combating Extremism, Kelly Weill, The Daily Beast, June 6, 2019 (‘For years, the site had lax enforcement of policies against hate speech. Then it rushed into a purge that swept up innocent actors, too’)

In other schnews:

• Neo-Nazi bodybuilder Blair Cottrell (The Lads Society/YouTube) had a court hearing this week, the final one before his appeal against a criminal conviction for religious vilification commences on August 12; Cottrell and his lawyer, John Bolton, are arguing that the Act under which he was convicted — the Victorian Racial & Religious Tolerance Act (2001) — is in fact un-Constititional.

• The True Blue Crew — one of the groupings that, along with the United Patriots Front, the alleged Christchurch killer, Brenton Tarrant, gave props to — has organised a flag parade in Sydney (Penrith Park) on Saturday, June 22. Co-sponsored by a segment of Reclaim Australia, it will presumably attract a similar number as last year’s event, it in turn inspired by similar rallies in Melbourne (2016/2017/2018).

antifa notes (march 5, 2019) : Milo Yiannopoulos & other #PellDefenders

[Update (March 7, 2019) : As noted below, Damien Costas and Penthouse Australia are touring Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’). For various reasons related to visa and financial difficulties, the tour has been postponed on several occasions: it has now been announced that the tour will commence on March 23. But before it does, the apparent decision to deny first McInnes, then Yaxley-Lennon and now Yiannopoulos a visa may yet mean the tour is cancelled. See : Milo Yiannopoulos could be denied Australian visa over unpaid police bill, Naaman Zhou, The Guardian, March 7, 2019. In the meantime, Yaxley-Lennon has embarked upon a campaign of harassment directed at critic Mike Stuchbery. See : Tommy Robinson hammered on my door at 5am and brought a torrent of abuse in his wake – but he won’t shut me up, Mike Stuchbery, The Independent, March 5, 2019.]

See : Guilty: The conviction of Cardinal Pell, 4 Corners, ABC, March 4, 2019.

The conviction last week of Archbishop George Pell on five counts of child sexual abuse of two boys in the 1990s has triggered a number of his supporters. Among those who immediately jumped to his defence are Newscorpse trollumnists Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine, Catholic academics Frank Brennan and Greg Craven, and Tory politicians Tony Abbott and John HoWARd. According to Bolt (MORE DOUBTS OVER PELL CASE: PAUL KELLY AND GUY RUNDLE, Herald Sun, March 2, 2019):

George Pell’s conviction on child sex abuse has already been questioned by me, Frank Brennan, Greg Craven, John Silvester, George Weigel, Miranda Devine, Peter Wales, senior lawyers, Tess Livingstone and even Guy Rundle.

Surely some of the commentators and activists who have been so savagely celebrating Pell’s fall, and so eager to vilify me for explaining my doubts about the verdict, will pause and ask if something really did go wrong in this case, after all. Can so many people from both sides of the political spectrum really have no reason for doubting – and for risking such hatred to say so?

Er, maybe. But in terms of ‘both sides of the political spectrum’, presumably, this is a reference to Rundle, The Leftist. (Note that Livingstone has written not one but two books on Pell, George Pell: Right from the Start (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2002) — to which Weigel contributed a foreword — and George Pell : Defender of the Faith Down Under (Ignatius Press, 2005).) In Quadrant (The ‘Getting’ of George Pell, February 27, 2019), Geoffrey Luck joins Rundle & Co. to assert that:

The conviction of George Pell demonstrates the power to skew justice of the emotional claptrap surrounding the serious crime of child abuse. Complaints by persons with identity protection appearing decades after supposed events are accepted at face value; the guilt of the accused is presumed, largely as the result of media-induced disgust. The jury’s decision is reduced to a distorted balance of probabilities, with motivation never examined.

Uh-huh. (Note that there’s a series of articles on Quadrant — Catholics, Sex, and Cardinal Pell; The Cloud of Doubt over Pell’s Conviction; The Pell Case: What It Says, Where It’s Going; This Was a Fair Trial?; What Happened to ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’? — attacking the conviction as unjust.) In any case, while there’s been a mountain of analysis and commentary, according to various law-talking guys, Pell stands a good chance of successfully appealing his conviction. In the meantime, while maintaining his innocence, he sits in Melbourne Remand Centre, and will be sentenced for his crimes on March 13. See also : We Should Afford George Pell The Assumption Of Innocence Until Proven Guilty By Andrew Bolt, The Shovel, March 5, 2019 | Is George Pell innocent?, Andrew Clark, Australian Financial Review, March 1/2, 2019 | George Pell’s conviction, Alex McKinnon, The Saturday Paper, March 1, 2019 | These public figures are defending convicted child sex abuser George Pell, The New Daily, February 27, 2019 | The moral and intellectual collapse of Australian conservatism, Richard Cooke, The Guardian, January 11, 2019 | 20.4.1 – Appeal Against Conviction – Judicial College of Victoria.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Joining Bolt, Devine, Brennan, Craven, Abbott, HoWARd, Kelly, Silvester, Weigel, Wales, Livingstone and even Guy Rundle among the ranks of the #PellDefenders is Bolt’s #BFF Milo Yiannopoulos. According to Yiannopoulos (For whom the Pell tolls, The Spectator Australia, March 2, 2019), Pell’s conviction is testament to nothing other than the power of the progressive Catholic hierarchy … the so-called “lavender mafia” of powerful left-wing gay bishops in Rome. Contra the fact that Pell was found guilty by a jury after police investigated complaints by his victims and then laid charges in July 2017, for Milo: ‘It’s tough to escape the conclusion that Cardinal Pell’s true crime was being a strident doctrinal and political conservative … this is just another case of a conservative being pelted with retaliatory allegations by a sinful, guilty leftist establishment.’

Ho hum.

Yiannopoulos is, of course, notorious for inter alia making comments endorsing paedophilia, though this is considered irrelevant by his Australian fanbase. Funnily enough, among his thousands of fanboys is Andrew Bolt, who was hired to act as MC at Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagement in Perth in December 2017 and otherwise — along with a number of other Newscorpse properties — did his bit to promote Yiannopoulos’ tour via numerous positive endorsements on his various media platforms. Further, Yiannopoulos, along with Not-So-Proud Boy Gavin McInnes and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’), is meant to be touring Australia again next week, although it seems as if the tour — again organised by Damien Costas and Penthouse Australia — is in some jeopardy, given that none of the three appear to have been granted visas, and McInnes was denied one last year. Naturally, Bolt understands the possibility of his chum Yiannopoulos being denied a visa as constituting a great crime: unlike, say, Pell’s abuse, or Yiannopoulos’ endorsement of paedophilia (see : MILO CAN’T COME, BUT THIS HATEPREACHER CAN?, Herald Sun, March 1, 2019 & elsewhere).

As for the tour, while Costas has been busy selling tickets for months, it’s not been a straightforward affair. Thus, for the benefit of those of you coming in late …

Yiannopoulos was originally going to return to Australia by way of Queensland businessmen (and crank Mormons) Ben and Dan Spiller. Trading as ‘AE Media’, and with the generous assistance of their Mummy & Daddy, in April 2018 the Spiller Bros announced that they were intending to bring back Milo in May, when he would be joined by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and serial pest Neil Erikson (and possibly disgraced Sky News presenter Ross Cameron). Almost immediately upon it being announced the tour collapsed in a heap.

Undeterred, in September the Spillers (AKA ‘Future Now Australia’) announced that they’d be touring Fraser ‘Final Solution’ Anning, Ann Coulter, Yaxley-Lennon and Yiannopoulos in November/December. That, too, collapsed in a heap, with Yaxley-Lennon withdrawing and the tour being promoted as ‘Ann & Milo’. Not long after, the organisers announced that this tour too was cancelled, and ticket-holders would instead be issued tickets to see Gavin McInnes. That tour, organised by Damien Costas (Penthouse Australia), would later add Yaxley-Lennon to the bill. Intended to kick-off in December, the tour was delayed until February 2019, then again until March 2019.

Costas has also had to deal with a number of legal difficulties, most of them seemingly arising from the fact that he’s been screwing over his suppliers.

Penthouse publisher and Yiannopoulos tour organiser fights multiple legal battles
Ben Hagemann
Crikey
February 22, 2019

Australian Penthouse publisher Damien Costas will be bankrupted next month unless the pornographer repays personally secured debts amounting to more than $200,000.

On Wednesday, the Federal Circuit Court gave Costas a full calendar month (until March 20) to repay his debts before a bankruptcy petition filed in September 2018 by printers TMA Australia will be finalised.

The petition has since been joined by Southern Colour (Vic) Pty Ltd. and was recently supported by Le Montage — the Sydney restaurant venue where a speaking event in December 2017 featuring the notorious political troll Milo Yiannopoulos sparked protests and violent street clashes requiring heavy police intervention. Costas subsequently refused to pay Victoria Police $50,000 in attendance fees for the Melbourne leg of the same tour.

Costas’ solicitor Daniel Riedstra sought adjournment of the bankruptcy decision until March 13, and argued that his client would be solvent thanks to a loan of $750,000 (expected to clear in late February) as outlined in an affidavit given by Costas on February 18. Crikey sought a copy of this affidavit from Costas’ lawyer but did not hear back by deadline.

“If we’re back on the 13th and things haven’t gone to plan, we’ll be in a very difficult position,” Reidstra told the court, after explaining that bankrupting Costas would have negative flow-on effects to his various companies and employees.

Of the promised refinancing deal, Crikey understands Costas’ affidavit earmarked $400,000 for the development of a restaurant (to be named “Guccione’s” in honour of the founder of Penthouse magazine, Bob Guccione), which will be built in the ground floor of the Darlinghurst offices where Australian Penthouse is published, despite resistance from locals who petitioned the local council to refuse the development approval for a licenced venue.

Costas’ debts include $175,000 for printing services, which he personally secured with applicant and first creditor TMA Australia, according to the company’s managing director, Anthony Karam.

“He signed a personal guarantee when he applied for credit with our organisation. Penthouse went into administration, and we then proceeded to pursue the debt from him personally,” Karam explained to Crikey.

“But the day before the court hearing he showed up and agreed to make full restitution, full payment, with interest, costs, and suchlike.

“He said he needed a payment plan, which we provided him with … to prevent further trouble. I mean, obviously sometimes you try to help people; you don’t want to be cruel, so we gave him a payment plan over three months. After that he just didn’t make the payment threshold, so we moved to a summary judgement to bankrupt him.”

It’s been a busy week for Costas, who appeared at the Downing Centre on Monday to sue Le Montage for a security bond worth $30,000, in the case of Filthy Gorgeous Productions Pty Ltd v Le Montage Pty Ltd.

The counsel for Filthy Gorgeous Productions Pty Ltd, Charles Waterstreet did not surface to support his client, who was alone as he informed the court of learning only hours earlier that the infamous defence lawyer had double-booked his morning, and was busy elsewhere conducting “a very important criminal cross-examination” according to a message given to the court.

In evidence at an earlier hearing, Costas said it was a “chaotic scene” when he arrived at the venue for the Yiannopoulos event in December 2017, and that he did not read the contract presented to him on a clipboard by venue manager Dominic Hannah, and as such could not have been aware that this “second” contract contained a new clause, introduced because of Hannah’s apprehension of a growing level of risk involved with hosting the highly controversial event. The clause stipulated that a $30,000 security deposit for potential damages was only refundable “at our discretion”.

Magistrate Megan Greenwood was not satisfied with the plaintiff’s claim of ignorance, exclaiming: “One of these contracts has five paragraphs, and the other has six; they do not even share a common paragraph.”

Instead, Greenwood accepted evidence given by Hannah that he witnessed Costas “run his pen over the document before signing”.

The court found in favour of Le Montage and awarded costs against Costas.

Outside the Downing Centre, Costas had little time to talk as he made a beeline for his next engagement — “a conference with my lawyer for about six hours” — but he did state for the record: “We will be appealing the decision.”

And if that’s not enough litigation for the strongest of entrepreneurial stomachs, the ever-unflappable Costas is also engaged in a legal battle with the Department of Home Affairs, over a decision to deny his visa application for political agitator Gavin McInnes — the estranged founder of VICE magazine who has publicly disavowed his association with an alt-right men’s group of his own conception, “The Proud Boys”. McInnes was booked to speak with anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson in a national speaking tour dubbed “The Deplorables”, scheduled for December last year and cancelled only days before ticketholders expected to hear their favourite firebrands speak.

Directions for the bankruptcy petition will be filed on March 15, with the final judgment to be handed down at 11am on Wednesday March 20.

Disclosure: Ben Hagemann is a freelance journalist previously published in Australian Penthouse. He is still owed around $2300 for writing and photography work for the publication.

See also : Milo Yiannopoulos (Penthouse Florida) ~versus~ Damien Costas (Penthouse Australia) (December 11, 2018).

XYZ

In addition to apologias from Bolt and Yiannopoulos, David Hiscox‘s AltRight website XYZ has published an article by Adam Piggott (George Pell and the Australian assault on Christianity, February 27, 2019) which argues that the conviction was a product of a leftist conspiracy (part of a larger war upon Christianity itself), and on that basis should be disregarded: If they can get Pell convicted and jailed on such ridiculous charges then they can get anyone … George Pell was the number three man in the Vatican and a direct threat to the current Pope and his socialist agenda. The charges of pedophilia are beyond ludicrous if one takes the trouble to read the details of the trial. This has been a political and cultural assassination.

While XYZ is apparently happy to defend convicted paedophiles (and therefore Christianity‽), one thing it’s not happy with is The Jew. The attitude of two of its principal contributors, David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’) and Ryan Fletcher, are summarised below:

Note that, along with Yiannopoulos, Hilton was a sometime contributor to Rowan Dean’s Spectator; he’s also one of numerous anti-Semities and white nationalists published by Tucker Carlson’s site The Daily Caller. See : The Daily Caller Has A White Nationalist Problem, Stephen Piggott and Alex Amend, SPLC, August 16, 2017 | The Daily Caller exposed for publishing prolific antisemite; still employs editor with white nationalist ties, SPLC, May 29, 2018 | A Daily Caller Editor Wrote for an ‘Alt-Right’ Website Using a Pseudonym, Rosie Gray, The Atlantic, September 5, 2018 | Why Have So Many Daily Caller Writers Expressed White Supremacist Views?, Bethania Palma and Alex Kasprak, snopes, September 6, 2018. Fletcher’s own contributions to the neo-Nazi cause are more modest, having penned ‘From HEMP to Hitler’ and enlisted Christopher ‘Crying Nazi’ Cantwell to voice it for an audiobook version.

Finally:

• As noted previously, serial pest Neil Erikson has been kicked off Facebook. In other sad news, he’s recently been joined by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who has had his own page deleted, along with his Instagram; Google and YouTube, however, have still got his back. The mouthy little gobshite is also apparently being sued for defamation (see : Tommy Robinson threatened with libel action over Syrian schoolboy posts, Nazia Parveen, The Guardian, March 3, 2019).

• ‘Tiny’ Avi Yemini is almost certainly Yaxley-Lennon’s loudest fanboy in Australia, the antipodean PayPaltriot having secured sponsorship from US and other radical right-wing networks in order to fly to London and join his hero on-stage at various recent rallies. A candidate for the ‘Australian Liberty Alliance’ (ALA) at last year’s Victorian state election, Yeminem and his running-mate Kaylah Jones between them scored 2,075 votes or 0.48%. It’s unlikely that Tiny will be running for the ALA again, however, as the party has applied to re-brand itself as ‘Yellow Vest Australia’.

APPENDIX

Perhaps the best response to Bolt’s proclamation that Pell is innocent comes from Clare Linane:

An Open Response to Andrew Bolt.

Dear Mr Bolt,

My name is Clare Linane. As you know, I am a Ballarat local who has been living with the aftermath of child sexual abuse for many years. My husband, Peter Blenkiron, is a survivor of clergy abuse at 11 years old. You met him whilst in Rome three years ago.

I am compelled to write to you after you expressed your opinion that George Pell has been falsely convicted (27 & 28 Feb, Herald Sun).

You are entitled to your opinion.

What concerns me, however, is your statement that your opinion is based on “overwhelming evidence”. I believe this is misleading, irresponsible and ignorant. Your lack of genuine insight into the issue of sexual child abuse makes a mockery of survivors and all they have endured.

The “overwhelming evidence” you mention includes some of the following points (*), which I would like to respond to in an attempt to help educate you about this issue:

* “One of the boys, now dead, denied he’d been abused”

To provide context for readers, when the mother of the now deceased victim asked him, more than once, if he had been sexually assaulted – he denied it.

Among survivors of clergy (and non-clergy) childhood sexual abuse, it is common for them to deny the abuse occurred. As vulnerable children, they are incredibly embarrassed, confused, and ashamed. They do not understand what has happened to them, and their shame is magnified by the revered status of their abuser. According to the rigorous Report for the Royal Commission into The Impact of Delayed Reporting on the Prosecution and Outcomes of Child Sexual Abuse Cases [PDF]: “children have also been found to be less likely to disclose and more likely to delay if the perpetrator is a parent or parent figure, or a person in a position of trust and authority”

I asked my own husband about this. Although Brother Edward Dowlan had molested and raped him in 1974, when his parents asked him in 1975 if anything had happened to him, his response was to vehemently deny it. He states, “You deny it because you don’t want them to feel guilty. You don’t want them to carry the guilt of having sent you to this wonderful school, within their wonderful Church … only for you to be abused. So you just deny it, to protect them”.

The piece of important evidence you do fail to point out, is that the deceased victim began using heroin at 14 years of age, after enduring the abuse at 13. He abandoned a scholarship at St Kevins, spiraled into drug abuse, and died of a heroin overdose at 30.

This pathway is sadly all too common for sexual abuse victims.

* “The other (alleged victim) whose identity and testimony remain secret, didn’t speak of it for many years”

According to the same report, “Boys and adolescent males are less likely than their female counterparts to disclose child sexual abuse at the time of the abuse. When they do disclose, they take longer to do so … For example … in a 2008 study … for nearly half the men (45 per cent), it took at least 20 years for them to discuss their abuse”.

Additionally, The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse Final Report (2017) found that the average time it took for men to disclose was 25.7 years. The surviving choirboy disclosed 19 years after his abuse – earlier than average. The other choirboy died 18 years after his abuse, so was also well inside the average.

Given this evidence, the fact that one of the complainants didn’t speak of his abuse for many years is, it would seem, indicative of a genuine abuse survivor; not a reason to doubt, as you imply.

* “It allegedly happened in the sacristy, normally a very busy room”

You state in your article that you are not a Catholic. I am curious to know why you believe the sacristy is normally a very busy room?

I was raised a Catholic, and have asked my extensive network of Catholic friends and family about the sacristy. I’m yet to find one who tells me the sacristy was, or is, ‘normally’ very busy. The adjectives used have included “quiet … weird … uncomfortable … scary … silent … solemn”.

* “where Pell would have known people were almost certain to walk in”

The prospect of discovery did not deter clergy abusers. Children were raped with their parents in the next room. In St Alipius, Ballarat, one child I know of was physically carried away from the playground by Ridsdale and Best, screaming for his life, in front of the other children. At St Patricks College, boys were physically punished at the back of the classroom then molested while the rest of the class faced forward.

To use your words, at any stage all of these abusers would have known “people were almost certain to walk in”. And yet they proceeded. Their revered status as ‘next to God’, and their knowledge that the organisation for which they worked was not about to hold them accountable, meant the risk of discovery was not a deterrent.

* “There is no history or pattern of similar abuse by Pell, unlike with real Church pedophiles such as Gerard Ridsdale”

This point is totally irrelevant to Pell’s guilt or otherwise.

Sexual abuse of children is a crime. You don’t have to do it to (at least) 65 children like Ridsdale; just the once.

Furthermore, it is incorrect. There is a pattern in the allegations about Pell. The fifth count relates to Pell pushing one of the choirboys and grabbing his genitals. The Southwell inquiry in 2002 saw a complainant making an allegation of Pell “getting a good handful” of his genitals in the water at Phillip Island. In that internal Church Inquiry Justice Southwell found that he believed both the complainant and Pell. Similar claims were made by the Eureka Pool complainants, one of whom died, another of whom was to be the complainant in the so-called “swimming pool trial”. That trial was dropped because the evidence of another complainant was ruled inadmissible. The judge did NOT rule out the evidence of the complainant who made the grabbing allegations.

* ”the man I know seems not just incapable of such abuse, but so intelligent and cautious that he would never risk his brilliant career or good name on such a mad assault in such a public place”

I’ve never met George Pell so I cannot give a personal opinion of what he is capable of. Even if I could, it would be totally irrelevant to his likely guilt or innocence and would most certainly not be ‘overwhelming evidence’.

Pedophiles can be otherwise lovely, intelligent, charismatic people. We know from history they include extremely successful politicians, celebrities, judges, teachers, priests … they are from all walks of life and run the whole gamut from stupid to brilliant, charming to repulsive.

* “Maybe they misremembered. Maybe they had the wrong guy”

Please spend some time listening to survivors recount their experiences. You’ll notice that whilst they might be blurry with exact dates and times, the details of the perpetrator they sadly cannot get out of their head. My husband struggles to wear aftershave because Dowlan wore it whilst he abused him. He remembers looking at the shaving nicks on his abuser’s neck as the molestation took place, and the scent of what came to be, to him, the sickening smell of cologne. Another survivor I know gets physically ill when someone smokes Alpine cigarettes around him, because one of his abusers smoked them.

Furthermore, these boys were 13, not 3. Their brain development at that age makes them well and truly capable of facial recognition. George Pell has always had a very distinctive physical presence and had been Archbishop for several months at the time. He was extremely well-known, not just in the cathedral but also in the media and society more generally. The victim in this case is unlikely to have mixed Pell up with another 6 foot 4 archbishop.

* “I would, and did, read the transcripts of the trial”

No Andrew, you may have read a partial transcript. The full transcript is not available to you or any of us. Only the survivor, the police, the lawyers, the judge, the jury and Pell have heard all the evidence. So please stop implying that you know all the facts: you do not, and nor do I.

* “Could this attack have happened when not a single witness corroborated a single one of the accuser’s’ claims?”

Yes, it could. I am yet to meet a survivor who had a witness to the crime committed against them. And yet these crimes occurred.

To conclude, Andrew, I reiterate that you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But please don’t make the irresponsible claim that it is based on “overwhelming evidence”.

This week, I’ve been asked my opinion many, many times. My response?

“Any opinion I have is irrelevant and ill-informed, because I am not privy to all the facts of the case.”

How about everyone stops trying to convince people of Pell’s innocence or guilt; it is not the most important issue here.

We have hundreds, potentially thousands of survivors throughout Australia who have not yet come forward. And when the likes of yourself, and other commentators, use your public profile to cast doubt over the outcome of a trial, you make these people even less likely to come forward and get the assistance they so desperately need.

If you want to support Pell, go and visit him in jail. Help fund his appeal. Take Miranda Devine with you.

In the meantime, here in Ballarat we are going to continue to try to deal with the fact that our suicide rate among males is twice that of Melbourne and 65 percent greater than the Victorian average.

We are going to keep helping women, children, mothers, fathers, and siblings pick up the pieces as their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers prematurely end their lives.

We are going to keep lobbying for the redress scheme that the Royal Commission recommended, so that our survivors get the practical and emotional assistance they need.

We are going to keep trying to figure out how to reverse what has now become a cultural problem whereby males in our community resort to suicide instead of seeking help.

Honestly, the fact that our most senior Catholic has been jailed is the least of our worries right now.

On Troll Hunting (Ginger Gorman)

Troll Hunting by Australian journalist Ginger Gorman is a new book which examines the world of online hate and its human fallout. Along with interviews with a small number of trolls and general reflections upon this hateful world, Gorman’s book includes a number of case studies of trolling, some of which are relatively well-known while others not: all make for disturbing reading. While it’s of general relevance, many of the characters and events which populate this world would be especially familiar to (Australian) readers, or at least those who take an interest in such matters: on the one hand, ‘GamerGate’, convicted terrorist Joshua Goldberg, Andrew Auernheimer (AKA ‘weev’) and GNAA; on the other hand, those subject to what Gorman calls ‘predator trolling’, including writer Van Badham and lawyers Josh Bornstein and Mariam Veiszadeh (among others). Gorman’s book is well-written and engaging, and weaves together the author’s own experience of being ‘trolled’ with those of others, along with some examples of ‘troll hunting’ and ‘troll hunters’, the latter category including journalist and lawyer Luke McMahon. As well as being of general interest, the text is of particular interest to me because of the ways in which the ‘world of online hate’ has been ‘weaponized’ by elements of the far right, a theme explored in more detail in the anthology Cyber Racism and Community Resilience: Strategies for Combating Online Race Hate (Palgrave, 2017). At a little over 250 pages long, the text includes endnotes, which are useful, but — rather annoyingly — no index.

Gorman’s book is divided into three parts: ‘Trolls’, ‘Targets’ and ‘Troll hunting’. The first part examines the evolution of online trolling, the emergence of ‘predator trolls’ in particular — which Gorman defines (p.18) as those who set out to do real-life harm — and details the author’s lengthy conversations and interactions with several of its enthusiastic practitioners. In the second part, Gorman provides case studies of predator trolling and investigates the ways in which law enforcement has responded, or more precisely failed to respond, to these activities. Gorman also explores how social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have dealt with trolling and cyberhate generally — which is argued to be less-than-adequate. The third and final part of the book explores how some trolls, including Goldberg, came unstuck. Throughout the text, Gorman reflects upon her journey into this ‘world of online hate’, and how her interactions with the creatures which inhabit it change her understanding of them, their world, and its relationship to broader social and technological trends, especially racism and misogyny and the central place of social media in everyday life.

‘Trolling’ IRL

While the second part reveals varying degrees of incompetency and indifference on the part of tech companies, after documenting the systemic failure of law enforcement to address cyberbullying, Gorman does detect a more hopeful sign (pp.119–120):

Some stories are emerging of more appropriate, and effective, responses to cyberbullying complaints. Take comedian and writer Catherine Deveny. After making controversial comments on Twitter and Facebook about Anzac Day in 2018 — describing it as ‘Bogan Halloween’ and a ‘fetishisation of war and violence’ — she was doxed multiple times. Her home address was posted all over the internet and she received an avalanche of credible rape and death threats. She was the focus of several facebook hate groups. One night, five men in a ute turned up to her house. One of them knocked on her door and videoed himself doing it.

Within forty-eight hours of Deveny’s original comments being posted — and the resultant blow-up of public vitriol — Victorian counter-terrorism police reached out to her. They got her statement and started investigating. Police patrolled outside her house and work events. An investigator from the Office of the Federal eSafety Commissioner also got in touch. In contrast to many who’d gone before her, Deveny received significant and appropriate support. After hearing so many dire stories, it’s great to hear one like this. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all predator-trolling victims could rely on getting this kind of assistance?

LOL.

For what it’s worth, I remember when this incident took place, and at the time made brief reference to it on the blog. In which context, a few things. First, those responsible for paying Deveny a nocturnal visit included right-wing activists Julian de Ross (AKA ‘Hugh Pearson’), Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic and Ricky Turner. Secondly, whatever became of the intervention by Victorian counter-terrorism police and the Office of the Federal eSafety Commissioner, the boys carried on as before. Thus one month later, members of the same crew — on this occasion consisting of Paul Exley and Danny Peanna/Parkinson from Sydney, together with the Melbourne-based Grgurovic, Logan Spalding, and their ringleader Neil Erikson — filmed themselves disrupting a church service in Gosford; in June, Erikson, Turner and several others paid another nocturnal visit to a private address, on this occasion that of rival right-wing entrepreneur Dave Pellowe. While it’s unclear if those responsible for attending Deveny’s and Pellowe’s address faced any legal repercussions (it seems not), for his part in the disruption of the church service Erikson at least was later charged under an obscure law making it an offence to ‘obstruct a member of the clergy in the discharge of his or her duties’.

It’s possible, I suppose, to characterise this behaviour as ‘IRL trolling’ — but there’s certainly other interpretations. One critical difference is that, while it may be performed for teh lulz, unlike almost all of the examples of ‘trolling’ Gorman provides in her book, such actions are not really all that anonymous. In fact, while there’s occasionally some effort made to disguise the identities of those responsible, for the most part it’s very public — and by public I mean ‘filmed and then published by/on Facebook’. When de Ross, Grgurovic, Turner & Co. visited Deveny’s home; Exley, Peanna, Grgurovic, Spalding and Erikson disrupted a church service; and Erikson, Turner & Co. visited Pellowe’s home; these actions were undertaken precisely in order to be documented and distributed via Facebook. So too, the numerous other occasions upon which Erikson in particular has undertaken the role of a serial pest, from disrupting council meetings and various left and ‘multicultural’ events to stalking and abusing various public figures he happens to dislike. (Note that Grgurovic is due in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 26 over assault charges; Erikson, along with his kameraden Ricky Turner and Richard Whelan, have a date on May 13 over similar.)

All of these acts have been performed publicly and for the benefit of his Facebook audience, the corporation having granted Erikson permission to do so for at least the last four years. Thus, it was only in the space of the last few days that Facebook, for unknown reasons, banned a number of Erikson’s accounts. (It’s possible that the pest may have come unstuck upon announcing the re-launch of the ‘United Patriots Front’ by creating an event page for a February 16 rally at Federation Square — the UPF collapsed after Facebook banned its page in May 2017.) Still, there are hundreds if not thousands of very similar pages on the site, and it remains the critical tool for far-right organising in Australia and elsewhere. (See, for example, Fraser Anning’s Neo-Nazi connections (The White Rose Society, January 11, 2019) and Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests (Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, The New York Times, August 21, 2018) for two among innumerable other instances.)

More broadly, while Gorman makes fairly short work of the corporate pablum spewed by Facebook and Twitter concerning their commitment to combating trolling and ‘hate speech’, if Facebook in particular is understood as being a massive private data-collection agency — one which derives a substantial proportion of its profits from selling this information to advertisers (and whoever else can pay for it) — it’s possible to cut through this nonsense fairly easily. Further, like corporations generally, Facebook is able to use the enormous financial and political power at its disposal to ensure the forms of regulation which might inhibit its continued growth and profitability are kept at bay. And while YouTube/Google doesn’t feature in Gorman’s account, its role in promoting racist and fascist propaganda, along with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, rivals that of Facebook, and has long been understood as a key node in the distribution and promotion of race-hate and other forms of hate speech (see, for example, ‘Fiction is outperforming reality’: how YouTube’s algorithm distorts truth, Paul Lewis, The Guardian, February 2, 2018 and ‘Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube’, Rebecca Lewis, Data & Society, September 9, 2018).

In any case, to return to Goldberg and Veiszadeh (pp.218–219):

Towards the end of 2014, [Veiszadeh] publicly voiced her outrage that a Woolworths supermarket in Cairns was selling singlets printed with the Australian flag alongside the tagline,’If you don’t love it, LEAVE’.

Three months after her tweet, the far right anti-Islam group The Australian Defence League posted her tweet to their Facebook page. From there, it was picked up by the alt-right Daily Stormer website. Chillingly, The Daily Stormer post about Veiszadeh, written under the byline Michael Slay, demanded of its thousands of followers: ‘Stormer Troll Army … assemble!’ ‘We need to flood this towelhead subhuman vermin with as much racial and religious abuse as we possibly can,” the spite-filled post reads …’

(Note that a few weeks ago the former ‘President’ of the ADL, Ralph Cerminara, was found ‘guilty of two counts of intimidation and one count of common assault’ after attacking his neighbour in Sydney.)

In addition to being attacked on The Daily Stormer, Veiszadeh’s tweet also triggered a Queensland woman, Jay-Leighsha Bauman, to send Veiszadeh messages calling her a “whore”, a “rag-head” and [telling] her to return to her own “sand dune country” — Bauman was later sentenced to 180 hours of community service for the crime. A few months later, an Ordinary Mum™ and Reclaim Australia supporter was charged with threatening to slit Veiszadeh’s throat. On these and other occasions, it seems the chief fault of those charged was not bothering to anonymise their threats; the fact that Bauman’s threats were reported on by both the BBC and CNN may also have prompted authorities to take a closer look. That said:

Later in 2015, Luke McMahon and Elise Potaka reported in Fairfax newspapers that Michael Slay turned out to be not one person, but two. One of those two men was Joshua Goldberg, whose main trolling preoccupation was preserving freedom of speech. As the troll hunter explained earlier, this was how he ended up choosing targets such as Josh Bornstein.

Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes

The ‘other’ Michael Slay was of course Jewish neo-Nazi and toy-doll enthusiast Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes, who was exposed by McMahon in April 2017. Like Goldberg, Sykes contributed scores of articles to The Daily Stormer, inter alia attacking Veiszadeh along with Badham, Bornstein, Dr Tim Soutphommasane and yours truly. Currently, Sykes is the chief writer for the ‘United Nationalists of Australia’ blog, the online shitsheet of the ‘Australia First Party’. In that capacity, Sykes attacks the various enemies of the AFP on the left as well as the right. Sometimes, this creates legal difficulties. Hence, after publishing an article in June 2017 by party leader Dr Jim Saleam which detailed alleged crimes committed by members of rival fascist groupuscule ‘Klub Nation’, in May 2018 legal action against Saleam and the blog was apparently taken by various persons associated with KN. (Member of this radical right-wing network are also implicated in an attempt to infiltrate the Young Nationals in NSW last year.) Beyond this, members of the neo-Nazi ‘Lads Society’ and, more recently, a man called Michael Freshwater, have also been attacked by Sykes on the UNA blog. While Sykes was dismissed by ex-UPF and Lads Society organiser Tom Sewell as a ‘divisive little Jew’, Freshwater, it’s alleged, has been part of a conspiracy to undermine AFP, embracing elements of the Liberal Party as well as neo-Nazis like Mark McDonald, the leader of the Lads Society in Sydney and former leader of neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Squadron 88’.

Notes

• Joshua Goldberg (as ‘Moon Metropolis’) published a statement on Medium on December 28, 2018 which provides a defence of sorts to his actions: ‘It was always my intention to infiltrate online jihadist spheres so that I could eventually become either a journalist, an FBI agent, or both.’ The statement also refers to … when I got Milo Yiannopoulos to publish that “expose” on Shaun King, I did it purely to see the shitstorm that I knew it would create, not because I actually care in the least about anything involving either Shaun King or Milo Yiannopoulos (both of those people are complete and utter clowns as far as I’m concerned). The article, ‘Did Black Lives Matter Organizer Shaun King Mislead Oprah Winfrey By Pretending To Be Biracial?’ (Breitbart, August 19, 2015), is dissected in this blogpost on Internet Famous Angry Men. Yiannopoulos is of course a very well-known troll who for several years was able to translate his trolling activities into sponsorship by wealthy right-wing reactionaries and sought to acquire more filthy lucre by conducting (semi-)lucrative tours. In fact, Yiannopoulos, along with Gavin McInnes and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, are supposedly being brought to Australia by Penthouse Australia publisher Damien Costas next month (March 9–14) for a speaking tour. For his part, Costas is currently embroiled in a legal battle with publicist Max Markson regarding alleged unpaid debts; there’s also allegedly been some fisticuffs. See also : Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream, Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed, October 5, 2017 (A cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.”).

• Gorman makes reference (pp.199-200) to a category of trolling known as ‘media fuckery’, and cites US academic Whitney Phillips who defines it as ‘the ability to turn the media against itself … by either amplifying or outright inventing a news item too sensational for media outlets to pass up’. This brought to mind two things. First, a recent example of ‘media fuckery’ in which a fake Facebook page titled ‘Melbourne Antifa’ applauded the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. This later featured in an article in The Daily Mail by Stephen Johnson (‘Melbourne Antifa extremists praise Las Vegas shooter’, October 2, 2017), was fact-checked by FactCheck.Org and Snopes and in May 2018 also triggered a bizarre interaction between myself and a right-wing blogger in the US. Secondly, the phrase immediately brought to mind similar terms such as ‘culture-jamming’ and ‘subvertising’, political practices which pre-date both ‘media fuckery’ and teh intarwebs as a whole. See : How To Make Trouble And Influence People.

• Gorman also makes reference (p.47) to local neo-Nazi activist Blair Cottrell in the context of a discussion regarding ‘hate leaching into the mainstream’ and Cottrell’s appearance as a very special guest on Adam Giles’ show on Sky News in August last year. As noted elsewhere, Cottrell – following an appearance on Sky News – told his 25,000 Twitter followers he might as well have raped presenter Laura Jayes on air because “not only would she have been happier with that but the reaction would’ve been the same”. In which context, a few things: first, while Facebook has banned the UPF and Cottrell, such commentary is considered acceptable by Twitter (to which platform Cotrell shifted after being kicked off Facebook). Secondly, his kamerad Neil Erikson made a similar remark directed at another female journalist, Jodi Lee, in November last year: ‘Jodie [sic] Lee acted like I had raped her on live TV….. She wishes!’ Thirdly, Cottrell has an extensive criminal record, mostly revolving around his stalking of an ex-girlfriend. Finally, Cotrell, Erikson and fellow white nationalist Chris Shortis were convicted in September 2017 of inciting hatred for Muslims; Cottrell is appealing the conviction on the grounds that the Victorian Act under which he was convicted (The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001) is in fact un-Constitutional, and will be appearing in the County Court in Victoria on February 19.

• While Gorman devotes relatively little space to d0xing, it’s relevant in several instances. In her chapter on weev, ‘A Professional Racist’, for example, Gorman notes (p.232) that weev appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast with Mike Enoch and Christopher ‘Crying Nazi’ Cantwell. Later in the chapter (p.236), Gorman also refers to ‘Azzmador’, who along with Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin wrote a post for the site encouraging their fellow neo-Nazis to attend the murderous ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. As it happens, Mike Enoch is in fact Mike Peinovich, who got d0xxed in January 2017, while ‘Azzmador’ is Robert Warren Ray. (According to a November 2018 report, Ray is currently a fugitive after being charged with a felony allegedly committed at the rally.) As for Cantwell, late last year he voiced an audio version of local neo-Nazi Ryan Fletcher’s tract ‘From HEMP to Hitler’, which has been promoted on David Hiscox’s AltRight website XYZ. See also : The far right, the “White Replacement” myth and the “Race War” brewing, Julie Nathan, ABC (Religion & Ethics), February 12, 2019:

The potential for violence which such online posts portend was graphically demonstrated in the United States in October 2018 by Robert Bowers, who wrote on Gab, a Twitter-like platform which is a haven for extremists and racists, “Screw your optics, I’m going in.” Shortly afterwards, he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and murdered eleven Jews. Afterwards, Bowers told police that he was motivated by his belief that “the Jews” were “committing genocide to my people.”

Chillingly, these words were echoed by another Gab user, an Australian named Ryan Fletcher, who wrote, “I think its [sic] about time to say ‘f*** your optics I’m going in’.” Fletcher has a dark history of calling for the murder of Jews in Australia and worldwide, and of posting images of Jews being killed, on his Gab account. Fletcher subscribes to the myth: “#White gentiles are waking up to the agenda of #ZOG (which is #WhiteGenocide).” “ZOG” stands for “Zionist Occupied Government,” a term used to insinuate that “the Jews” control the United States and other Western governments. Fletcher also writes articles for XYZ.

• Speaking of neo-Nazis, Gorman notes that inre her own experience of being trolled in 2013 (pp.10–11), Six days after Newton was sentenced in 2013 came the second frightening moment. Don found a photo of our family on the fascist social network Iron March. The now-defunct website carried the slogan ‘Gas the kikes’ on its homepage. Iron March was of course the birthplace of Australian neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Antipodean Resistance’. Its British cousins, National Action, have been proscribed as a terrorist organisation (see : See Graham Macklin, ”Only Bullets will Stop Us!’: The banning of National Action’, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol.12, No.6 (2018) [PDF]). See also : Extreme neo-Nazi ‘death cults’ drawing in children as young as 13, report warns, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, February 17, 2019 (‘Exclusive: Children as young as 13 being drawn into ideologies ‘harder, darker and more committed than ever before’’).

Below : Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes (Australia First Party/United Nationalists (of) Australia; Jacob Hersant (Antipodean Resistance/The Lads Society):

See also : Online abuse of women in the media, Justine Landis-Hanley, The Saturday Paper, February 16, 2019 | Meet The Woman Giving A New Face To Troll Hunting, Jamila Rizvi, Future Women, February 2019 | The ‘Canary In The Coalmine’ Link Between Terrorism And Trolling, Alex Bruce-Smith, Ten Daily, February 5, 2019 | Internet trolls are not who I thought — they’re even scarier, Ginger Gorman, ABC, February 2, 2019 | Troll hunting: a journey to the dark side, Karen Hardy, The Canberra Times, February 2, 2019 | Twitter, the barbarian country, or how I learned to love the block button, Van Badham, The Guardian, January 31, 2019 | Troll Hunting review: Ginger Gorman goes in search of the online bullies, Jonathan Green, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 18, 2019 | Staring down the trolls: Mute, block or resort to ‘digilantism’?, Ginger Gorman, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 16, 2017 | Cyberhate With Tara Moss, ABC, 2017 | Misogyny Online: A Short (and Brutish) History, Emma A Jane, SAGE (2017) | Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, Gabriella Coleman, Verso (2014). As well as providing some further detail regarding weev’s activities prior to his going full nazi as an editor for The Daily Stormer, Coleman’s book also contains important background on the various (sub-)cultural contexts from which the ‘predator troll’ emerged. (Note also that, in conversation with weev in August 2010, Coleman writes (p.22): ‘His denunciation of “the repulsive order of the financiers” had the ring of truth, given the recent financial mess their recklessness has engendered, so I found myself, only minutes into my first bona fide conversation with a world famous troll, in agreement with him.’ LOL.)

#Slackest100

two things:

1) i’ve unpublished the slackbastard facebook page. it will likely return in march. i’m still tweeting & can be reached via blog or email.

2) i’ve created a list of good/bad muzak & called it the #slackest100.